Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cadburry Egg Creme Brulee

I am so excited to finally be posting this!!

I love Easter! It has been one of my favorite holiday's ever since I was a kid. I love coming up with new ways to make each year fun and exciting. This year we had some close friends over. I knew I wanted to do something new for dessert, but I couldn't really think of anything off the top of my head that I was dying to off to the Internet I went! It didn't take me long to stumble across Jessica's blog Pie of the Tiger and realize that she has some great stuff on her blog! That is when I saw this!!! Yes this is CADBURRY EGG CREME BRULEE!!!! Cadburry Eggs just happen to be one of my favorite Easter candies, but who would have thought to put them in Creme Brulee!!! HELLO!!! That is GENIUS!!!! I knew as soon as I saw her post that this was going to be our dessert for Easter, and really everything else didn't matter anymore! HAHA
I do have to tell you that this took a while to prepare, but trust me it was worth every minute! The Creme Brulee was so creamy, and when you dug down deep enough and got a little Cadburry Egg on your spoon...oh my...look out dessert fans!! This will definitely satisfy that sweet tooth craving!!! My friends RAVED about these things! I just might have to make them a staple at every Easter dinner from now on! Thanks Jessica!!!
Cadburry Egg Creme Brulee

6 - 6 oz Ramekins
6 Cadburry Creme Eggs
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
6 large egg yolks, chilled
Put cream, sugar and vanilla bean in a medium sauce pan. Bring up to a simmer and then steep for 15 minutes. Using the whip attachment on a low speed, add the egg yolks. While the whip attachment is still going, slowly pour a small amount of cream mixture into mixing bowl (to temper the eggs). Continue slowly pouring in the cream mixture until all combined, being careful not to whip too much air into the eggs. The air shows up as bubbles on top of the custard.
Place one Cadburry Egg in each ramekin. I placed all my ramekin's in a 9x13 glass baking dish...this works well for the water bath. Once the cream and eggs are mixed together, strain the mixture into a large measuring cup and pour it carefully up to the rim of each ramekin.
You probably will end up with a few bubbles on the surface of the custard. You can get rid of them by using your blow torch and carefully pop the bubbles with a quick brush of a low flame across the top. Be extremely careful to avoid any places where the chocolate is peeking up above the surface. Chocolate scorches at a very low temperature and can’t handle the heat of the torch.
At this point, fill the baking dish holding the ramekins with boiling water, about two-thirds of the way up their sides, cover the top tightly with foil to keep the tops from overcooking and put the whole thing in a 300 degree oven for 40 - 50 minutes, or until the custard is set.

Once the custards are set – they still wiggle, but they wiggle as one mass – take the baking dish out of the oven. This can be very dangerous because the water is extremely HOT! So be very careful. If you feel more comfortable, you can always remove the ramekins from the pan while it’s still in the oven, and then move the water when it’s cool. When the ramekins are cool enough to handle, put them on a baking rack until they get down to room temperature, then stash them away in the fridge to chill for at least two hours before serving.
The key to getting a good caramelization on top of your Creme Brulee is to make sure you have an even layer of sugar on top. I just sprinkled about a teaspoon of sugar onto each one and rolled it around to make sure the entire top was covered. I then just dumped out any extra sugar laying on top. Using a blow torch on low, carefully run the flame over top the sugar. Keep the flame moving so you don't scorch the sugar. You just want to get a nice crunch on the top! (I actually ran out of juice in my blow on the last I just put it under the broiler on HI for about a minute and it worked pretty well! The presentation wasn't as nice, but if you are in a pinch or don't have a blow torch give it a try!)
I was so pleased with how these turned out! I had never made Creme Brulee before and now I can't wait to make it again, and try out some new possibilities!!!
~Photography by Kristen Wiltse

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Garlic Butter Cheddar Cheese Twists

I LOVE BREAD! Seriously I do. Bread has to be one of the best comfort foods out to dessert! These little guys were so yummy!!! I wanted some type of bread for my Easter dinner, and came up with this idea. I actually used crescent rolls to make them, just to save me a step. They were so easy and everyone really loved them. These would be a good party appetizer, especially if you need something quick and easy!

Garlic Butter Cheddar Cheese Twists
(recipe from the kitchen of Liesl)
1 package of reduced fat crescent rolls
1 tablespoon butter, melted
garlic salt
cheddar cheese
cooking spray
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a muffin pan with non stick cooking spray. This part is kinda tricky to explain, but when you open a can of the crescent rolls notice how two of the crescent triangles make a square...try to keep those together. You want to separate the crescent rolls into 4 squares, which is two of the crescent rolls together. Press the part of the square that has the perforation (where you would separate them) together. You don't want to dough to come apart when you twist it. Once you have pressed the seam together, cut each square into thirds longways. Then take one of the thirds and twist it up, tucking one end underneath so it doesn't come apart. Place into the greased muffin pan. Continue process until you have finished all the twists.
Combine the melted butter with a couple dashes of garlic salt. Brush the tops of the twists with the garlic butter mixture. Sprinkle tops of twists with cheddar cheese.
Place in oven and bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until nice and golden.
~Photography by Kristen Wiltse

Lemon Thyme Garlic Roasted Chicken

I hope everyone had a great Easter! We had a fabulous one, and I can't wait to share all my recipes with you all...especially dessert! I was so sad this year that we couldn't be near family. Easter has always been one of my favorite holiday's. I decided to invite some friends over to the house this year who I knew didn't have any big plans either. I figured it would be nice to be with them since we all couldn't be at home.

My original plans involved a rack of Lamb, but it was SO EXPENSIVE that I decided to go with roasted chicken instead. I had several reasons for this:

1-I knew it would be fairly easy to throw together.
2-I could get a lot of "bang for my buck" by roasting two chickens.
3-There would be plenty of food.
And the main reason 4-LEFTOVERS!!! LOL I love roasted chicken leftovers! The possibilities for meals are endless!
My friend, who has a membership to Sam's Club, found these two beauties at 5 lbs. each for a total of $10!!! That's a steal! These chickens turned out so delicious! They were so unbelievably moist and the flavor was just delicious! I had lots of Thyme in my garden so I knew I wanted to do something with that...and lemon always pairs so nicely with Thyme. I am going to give you the recipe as I did for the two chickens, but you could certainly half it...or not so you can have the yummy leftovers. ;o)

Lemon Thyme Garlic Roasted Chicken
(recipe from the kitchen of Liesl)
2 5lb Chickens
8 Lemons (6 cut in half and 2 cut into thin slices)
10 Whole Garlic Cloves
Garlic Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place chickens in a large roaster. Stuff the cavities of each of the chickens with two lemons (that would be 4 lemon halves for each bird). Stuff 3 Garlic cloves into each bird as well as a handful of fresh Thyme. Repeat process: 2 more lemon halves, 2 garlic cloves, and more fresh Thyme. Sprinkle tops of Chicken with Garlic Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper. Using the remaining slices of lemon, spread them over top of the chickens. Lay some extra Thyme springs on top of the lemon slices...this gives the skin a nice flavor.
Cover the pan with aluminium foil and place in oven for 3 hours. After the 3 hours is up, remove the aluminium foil and raise oven temp to 350 degrees. Cook chicken another 20 minutes just to get the skin a bit crispy. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Remove chicken from oven and let it sit for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
FYI-this flavor combination makes a GREAT gravy, so I highly suggest making a gravy out of its drippings.
Lemon Thyme Garlic Gravy
(recipe from the kitchen of Liesl)
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
2 Cups of the Chicken drippings
In a large saucepan melt butter. Whisk flour into butter creating a Roux. Once flour and butter are combined, slowly whisk in chicken drippings. Whisk until thickened.
I wanted to take a moment and let all you know that these great photos were taken by Kristen Wiltse. She is a great photographer! And of course that is why she was invited over for Easter dinner (JK) ... because every food blogger wants a great photographer around!!! LOL

Monday, April 13, 2009

Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken

One word...AMAZING! I saw this recipe on a new blog I started following Stephanie Cooks. I loved the ingredients that the recipe listed, but somehow it struck me as an odd combination. None-the-less, it got my interest enough that I wanted to make it! (Plus it was a weight watchers recipe so I figured it couldn't be that unhealthy!) I made this with the rice recipe that she posted as well, however, my pictures didn't turn out at all :o( But do make the rice as it was some of the best rice I have ever had!

The chicken was so moist inside and the brown sugar gave the outside a nice sweet crunch! It was so tasty and I can't wait to make this again!

Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken
(recipe from Stephanie Cooks)
Brown Sugar, 2 tsp unpacked
2 Chicken Breast
3 Garlic Cloves Minced (use less if you don't like as much garlic)
1 tablespoon Salted Butter
Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
Melt the butter in a frying pan. Brown the garlic in the butter. Add chicken breasts to garlic and butter and cook thoroughly, adding salt and pepper as you like it. When chicken is fully cooked add brown sugar on top of each breast (1 tsp per breast). Allow the brown sugar to melt into the chicken (about 5 minutes). Serve with your favorite carb, and veggie or salad...I highly recommend the garlic rice pilaf.
Garlic Rice Pilaf
(recipe from Stephanie Cooks)
1/4 cup white rice (not instant)
1/4 cup orzo
1-1.5 cups of chicken broth
Garlic powder to taste
Onion powder to taste
Olive Oil
Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the orzo and rice. Allow the rice mixture to lightly brown. Pour in the chicken broth and seasonings. Turn the heat down low, cover the sauce pan. Allow it to cook until the liquid absorbs (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Caribbean Coconut Crusted Salmon

These pictures don't do this meal any justice...and starting this weekend, my husband and I have decided to start a "let's get a good camera" fund!!! I can't deal with my crappy camera anymore!

This dinner was so yummy!!! I saw this on Dragon's Kitchen, which I love by the way, and couldn't wait to make it for dinner! My hubbie and I love salmon. We actually love almost all types of seafood! Come to think of it the coconut crust on this dish would be good on a lot of other cuts of fish! The coconut added a great crunch and the hint of sweetness from the pineapple brought all the flavors together quite well. I highly recommend this dish. It was so easy to make and very satisfying! You could also half this recipe for just two people, but we wanted leftovers!!! We used our leftovers on a salad and made a caribbean type salad! It was just as yummy!

Caribbean Coconut Crusted Salmon with Caribbean Salsa
(recipe from Dragon's Kitchen)
1 1/4 cups of shredded, unsweetened coconut
4 6 oz salmon filet's, skin removed
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put coconut into a freezer bag. Drop in the salmon filet's one at a time and toss to coat. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes.
For the Caribbean Salsa:
2 cups of fresh pineapple, cut into small chunks
1 small red onion, diced
1 cup of fresh cilantro, minced
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 lime (I actually used lemon because that is what I had on hand)
Several dashes of your favourite hot sauce
Put pineapple, red onion and cilantro into a medium-sized bowl. Add lime zest and juice, oil and hot sauce. Toss well and let flavors mingle for at least one half hour before serving.
**You will probably end up with a lot of leftover salsa. It tasted great on chicken! We marinated chicken in some of the salsa and then grilled it! So if you have leftover salsa give that a try!**

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Creamy Tomato Basil Italian Sausage Soup

I love soup. To me it's really one of those foods that always hits the spot and never lets me down. It's is especially tasty on those cloudy, rainy days when there is a slight chill in the air. Nashville has been kinda dreary lately too. You never know how our spring season is going to start...but lately it's been sunny and mid 70s one day and then rainy, dismal and in the 30-40s the next day! YIKES! That's why us Nashvillians ALWAYS get sick this time of year!!! LOL

So the other day, when we were having one of our dark-dismal-rainy days, I decided to check out my Google Reader and see what I had marked as "must makes" in the soup department. I recently had seen this recipe from Picky Palate and remembered how easy and delicious it sounded. I also knew that it called for ingredients that I just happened to have on hand.

One important note: I have a deep freezer (A.K.A. MY BEST FRIEND! sorry Jenn :o) ) and a fully stocked pantry. Yes my friends, these items are the best thing that anyone who loves to cook must have. I love being able to walk out to my freezer and get italian sausage or ground beef or whatever. Not having to run to the store is a God send ... especially on those dark-dismal-rainy days!! So I must share with you one staple that always seems to come in handy. We are all guilty of short cuts. There is always that day when making something COMPLETELY homemade just isn't going to cut it! For me ... I must always keep on hand a jar of Traditional flavored Ragu! Now I must admit, I make my pasta sauce 100% homemade and when it comes to spaghetti I must use my homemade stuff (and that is why I have a deep freezer - seriously you should see all the sauce and jam and soup and meat and everything I have in there! LOL), but I can't tell you the number of times I have been happy that the Ragu was sitting in my pantry! There are a lot of recipes out there where having a jar of sauce on hand is very helpful. I could probably go on and on about freezer/pantry staples, but why would I want to continue to bore you when what you really want to hear about it the Creamy Tomato Basil Italian Soup!!!

This soup was so tasty. It really hit the spot and it was so filling. I tried to make mine less fatty by using skim milk instead of half and half, but if you don't care about that then I suggest using half and half for a much creamier soup! But the skim milk to me was probably just as tasty! Maybe I am just biased, because Basil is one of my favorite herbs to cook with (I can't keep enough of it in my garden), but basil and tomato are great flavors to marry. I actually added extra Basil just because I like it so much! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did...and yes I made extra so I could put some in my freezer!!! LOL I am telling you my deep freezer would rock your socks off!
Creamy Tomato Basil Italian Sausage Soup
(adapted from Picky Palate)

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lb Italian Sausage
15 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (stacked, rolled and thinly sliced)
1 26 oz jar of whatever pasta sauce you like (you could use homemade I cheated and used Ragu)
1 Cup water
1 1/2 Cups Skim Milk
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Dash of Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

Place olive oil into a medium sized dutch oven over medium heat. Cook sausage until browned, stirring frequently and breaking up the sausage into small pieces. Stir in basil leaves, pasta sauce, water, milk, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook until warm then reduce heat to low. Simmer until ready to serve. I simmered mine about 30 minutes...I wanted to give the soup time to let the flavors mingle! But if you are in a time crunch this soup is really ready once everything is added to the pot and it is warmed up.