Friday, January 27, 2012

Heath Chip Donuts

I've been bad. I've been very, very bad. I...BAKED!!!

This is what happens when I'm home alone and bored. In case you didn't know, I am currently in the process of getting my good body back. I have made changes to my diet and my daily routine to facilitate this. I've actually entered a contest at my gym to keep me motivated. Baking donuts, however, is not conducive to achieving my fitness goals.

All that said, these are pretty darn good! I ate one hot off the presses--more about that in a moment--and now I'm done. Now, you'll notice I said I baked donuts, and not that I fried donuts. This makes me feel a teensy bit better about this recipe. It still has too much butter and sugar to be considered acceptable, though.

Anyway, back to the baking process: in a Christmas gift exchange with our family, we received a Sunbeam Donut Maker. It's been chilling out in the box for a month, and tonight it called to me. I had a feeling there'd be a recipe book inside, and sure enough, there was. (You can find the entire user manual at the link above.) I took the liberty of adding Heath chips, to give these donuts a little more dimension. And because, obviously, there weren't enough calories already.

The only problem I had with this very simple recipe was the batter's thickness. I anticipated it being pourable, and it wasn't. Not sure why, but this is what happened as a result of slightly over-filling the molds with extra thick batter:


Chocolate Chip Donuts

Makes: 10
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 12 minutes (6 minutes per batch)
This donut batter is best made just before making donuts. Un-iced donuts will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 day.

1½ cups plain flour
½ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
9 tablespoons butter, melted
¾ cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup milk chocolate bits
Cocoa powder, to dust

1. Preheat Donut machine. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the center. Whisk in the butter, milk, egg and chocolate bits until mixture forms a smooth batter. Transfer to a pitcher or fabric piping bag.

2. Spray machine with cooking oil. Fill bases of preheated donut rings with half of the batter. Close lid and cook for 6 minutes or until donuts are golden and cooked. Use a non-stick spatula to transfer donuts to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter to make 10 donuts in total. Dust with cocoa powder, if desired.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Kabocha Squash Hummus

Early in the week, I made this, but I didn't take any pictures, because hummus just isn't that attractive. I also wasn't sure if I was going to even post it as a blog, since I've blogged about hummus already. But, alas, I didn't get around to making anything else new this week, so I decided to go ahead and do it.

I think I'd like this recipe a lot more if it called for a certain amount of squash, i.e. less. I roasted only have of the squash and didn't even use all of it, because my food processor is a mini. Still, it's too squashy. So, add the kabocha with caution, unless you REALLY LOVE it.

Kabocha Squash Hummus

1 medium kabocha squash--peeled, seeds removed and discarded, and flesh coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 head garlic
One 16-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1½ tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic-chile paste

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, toss the squash pieces with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the squash on a baking sheet, place in the oven and roast until the squash flesh is fork tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the squash from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

2. Slice the top of the garlic head off and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, then wrap in aluminum foil and place in the oven until softened and fragrant, about 30 minutes. Reserve two of the cloves for the hummus and save the rest for another use.

3. In a food processor, combine the cooked squash, roasted garlic cloves, chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and garlic-chile paste. Process until smooth, season with salt and serve at room temperature.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chocolate-Dipped Smoked Almond-Bacon Brittle

I am SO no kidding you right now! This really happened. And I have one of my best friends to thank for it. Two of them, actually!

My lifelong friend, Libby, is throwing a Bacon party this weekend, and each guest is asked to bring some food containing bacon--classic or otherwise. Right away I decided to bring my favorite layered salad and some Bacon Explosions that I have in the freezer. My friend, Meg, decided she wanted to try something from her I Love Bacon cookbook. But since she hadn't tried making it before, she came over so that we could test it out first, in case it was a massive fail. But honestly, how can anything with bacon and candy together in one place be a failure? I know.

Since we were unsure of how many people we'd be feeding, we decided to double the recipe. (This was also because Meg was certain only half of it would make it to the party.) This more than quadrupled the cook time, however, so if you're going to double this recipe, I highly suggest you do it in batches. Or have plenty of wine handy to help you power through all the stirring.

In classic M.E. style, one ingredient got left out--the pink peppercorns. I ended up grinding a little black pepper in and also adding a couple dashes of cayenne to give it a kick, but the heat is lost in all the sweet. It's still yummy, though, and I'm sure it's going to be a huge hit!

Thanks for joining me, Meg! We may just have to make this a regular thing...
(Yes, we got photobombed by the mister.)

Chocolate-Dipped Smoked Almond-Bacon Brittle

¼ pound bacon
2 cups smoked almonds
1 ¼ cups sugar
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes, at room temperature
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon crushed pink peppercorns
8 ounces 60% cacao chocolate, chopped

Cut bacon into bite-size pieces. Place pieces in large saute pan and cook over medium heat until crispy, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. Coarsely chop smoked almonds and set aside. Line baking sheet with silicone liner or waxed paper.

In large saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Cook mixture on medium-high heat about 4 minutes, or until sugar turns thick and syrupy. Slowly add softened butter and continue stirring until mixture emulsifies. Keep cooking and stirring until mixture is golden brown, about 4 minutes longer.

Remove pan from heat. If mixture is not smooth, whisk until it is. Stir in baking soda, salt, peppercorns, crispy bacon bits and almonds. Quickly but carefully pour brittle onto prepared baking sheet. When cool and hard, break brittle into bite-size pieces.

Melt chocolate in microwave in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals, stirring in between intervals, until mixture is entirely melted but not hot. Cool chocolate to room temperature, then either dip pieces of brittle in the chocolate or drizzle the chocolate on top. Chill brittle until chocolate is set. Store in a tightly sealed container for up to 1 week.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Red Curry Hummus

I realize that this recipe isn't all that new, since all hummus uses basically the same base, but this one prepares the beans FIRST, which ended up making all the difference! So when my attempt to use up some ingredients in my fridge turned out so yummy, I had to blog about it.

I love this recipe. I still think there's too much tahini for my taste buds, but everything else is perfect. I even used Morton Light salt and it's fantastic. Love love love! I just wish I had some naan.

Red Curry Hummus

1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh
2 tablespoons tahini paste
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons parsley, fresh

Prepare Garbanzo Beans by using fingers to rub off as many of the paper membranes as possible. Bring Beans to a boil in salted water and cook for about 10 minutes. This process is tedious (and optional) but will result in very creamy hummus.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until creamy. If the consistency isn't quite to your liking, add additional teaspoons of water.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011 is Over


2011 is over, and my recipe resolution has been fulfilled. Was I successful in trying a new recipe every week? On average, yes. In actuality, no. But I feel accomplished nonetheless. I had some fabulous experiences in the kitchen last year. I even feel positive about all my screw-ups (which amounts to at least half of my recipes) because they taught me to be more careful.

I have decided to continue blogging about new recipes I have made, but I'm not going to promise that I'll do it once a week. If all goes well, in the next several days I'll be jumping headfirst into a new career that will have me traveling up and down the state every week and sometimes out of state. I think it would be silly for me to expect a new recipe from myself on a weekly basis.

To those of you who have been around since the beginning, I applaud you for sticking with me! And to those of you who've joined in more recently, thanks so much for coming, and please don't hesitate to comment and make suggestions about anything/everything food!

I do have a question for you: which screw-ups would you like to see me make RIGHT?? I have a few ideas, like the debut Fabio Viviani recipe, but I'd love to hear from my readers. So take a looksie if you have time and holler out your choices!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Panko Crusted Crab Cake Bites with Roasted Pepper Chive Aioli

How amazing do these sound?? I knew as soon as I got the "Dish from Food" email that these would be on my NYE menu. And they were a HIT! I just wish more people would have been able to try them; we had 5 no-shows. :^{

These hors d'oeuvres are simple and delicious. The only change I had to make to this recipe was using dried chives instead of fresh. Why? Because my grocery store had NO fresh chives! I bet the fresh zing of those tiny little onions would have made all the difference. And actually, I had some green onions that I could have diced up and added, but I didn't think of that at the time. Next time I can't find fresh chives, though, I'll do that. Because I am making these again.

Panko Crusted Crab Cake Bites with Roasted Pepper Chive Aioli

12 ounces shelled cooked crab
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup minced fresh chives
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1 1/4 cups panko (see notes) or fine dried bread crumbs
Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli (recipe follows)
Fresh chives, rinsed and cut into 1-inch lengths

Sort through crab and discard any bits of shell.

In a large bowl, combine celery, minced chives, mayonnaise, egg, mustard, and hot sauce; mix well with a fork. Add crab and 1/4 cup panko; stir gently just to mix.

Put remaining 1 cup panko in a shallow bowl. Shape crab mixture into 24 cakes, each about 2 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. Turn each cake in panko to coat on all sides, pressing gently to make crumbs adhere. Place cakes slightly apart in an oiled 12- by 17-inch baking pan.

Bake in a 475° regular or convection oven until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. With a spatula, transfer crab cakes to a platter. Spoon a dollop of Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli onto each cake. Garnish platter with fresh chives. Serve hot.

Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli

In a small bowl, mix 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup chopped drained canned roasted red peppers, 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon minced garlic. Makes about 1/2 cup.