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Friday, April 29, 2011

White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Blueberry Coulis

White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Blueberry Coulis

  Panna Cotta is a classic Italian Dessert, traditionally flavored with vanilla and served with fresh fruit. Panna Cotta is velvety smooth and decadent. It is truly a treat. I decided to change it up and add white chocolate and make a blueberry coulis to go along with it.  Panna Cotta is best chilled overnight, so it is a great make-ahead dessert.  Many recipes call for less milk and cream or more gelatin.  In my opinion this makes a Panna Cotta that is too jiggly (that is my technical term for it).  I like my Panna Cotta to be just set and slightly delicate, not bouncy or firm.  This Panna Cotta melts in your mouth, and no- it is not low fat!

Panna Cotta

1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp gelatin
3 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
100g white chocolate ( I used Lindt swiss white chocolate)

Pour 1/2 cup of milk into a large bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over the top. Set aside and allow gelatin to soften.
In the meantime, finely chop chocolate.  Combine all remaining ingredients, including chocolate, in a heavy saucepan.  Gently bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.

Stir gelatin mixture. Add boiled milk mixture, and stir well until gelatin is completely dissolved.  Place bowl in an ice water bath, stirring occasionally until mixture is significantly thickened.  Approximately 45min.  Pour into 6 individual ramekins, each covered with plastic wrap. Chill at least 4 hours, although I highly recommend overnight.

Blueberry Coulis

2 cups  Frozen Blueberries (thawed)
1/3 cup sugar

Combine Blueberries and sugar in a blender. Puree until smooth.   Strain through a fine sieve. Refrigerate until ready to use.

1 cup blueberries to garnish
white chocolate shavings for garnish

To serve, run the blade of a thin sharp knife around the inside edge of the ramekin.  Briefly dip the outside of each ramekin in hot water, invert ramekin over dessert plate.  Panna Cotta should slide out. Drizzle with Blueberry coulis and garnish with fresh blueberries.  Indulge!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Blue Blondies

Blue Blondie
 If you have never tried a blondie, it is basically a brownie made with white chocolate and no cocoa.  For this challenge I decided to go out on a limb and add blueberry to this already perfect square, a gamble to be sure.  I was so nervous that these wouldn't turn out, that while they were baking in the oven I was pacing the kitchen wondering why I had attempted such a foolish thing.  Well, risk certainly has it's rewards. These are so delicious!  The kids had friends over after school, so I decided to test the blue blondies out on them. Kids are always honest (mine a little too much so), so when I received a rating of "awesome" from all of them I knew they would become a family favorite. These are very easy to make, which is good because they disappear quickly. 

Blue Blondies

1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1tsp vanilla

1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped white chocolate (I used Lindt Swiss White Chocolate)
1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1 cup blueberry pie filling

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 2L/2.2Q rectangular baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine melted butter and brown sugar in mixing bowl and mix until well blended.  Add egg and beat well.  Add milk and vanilla and mix well.

Add flour and salt. Mix until ingredients come together. 

Stir in both kinds of chocolate.

Spread mixture into prepared baking dish.

Top with blueberry pie filling,  gently spreading evenly (careful not to disturb bottom layer).

Bake at 350° for 40-45 min until toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Allow to cool. Cut into 32 bars. Devour!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Week #3: Blueberries, Milk, White Chocolate

This challenge is starting a day late, as it was Easter yesterday and we were happily visiting with both my family and my husband's family, one for lunch and one for dinner- How lucky we are to do that! I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just a little relieved that that no one suggested turkey for the challenge this week. After two turkey dinners mere hours apart, I've had my fill (until Thanksgiving of course when we will gladly do it all over again!)

It's time to switch gears  back to the sweets, and probably some baking.
The ingredients came quickly to my kids this week, perhaps they are getting the hang of this.
Daughter: blueberries
Son: milk
Husband: white chocolate (he stipulated that it  must be good quality- would I use any other kind?)

I'm going to aim for two recipes again, so keep checking back, or subscribe by email and get all the recipes delivered right to your inbox. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Let The People Speak!

Okay, so apparently my "comment" section wasn't allowing people to comment, what's the point of having it then right?!  I do believe I have fixed the problem, thus allowing the comments to flow freely. Just click on "comment" below the post you would like to comment on.
So, if you have a comment bubbling up inside, please let it out!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bodacious Blue Cheese Burgers

Bodacious Blue Cheese Burger

This burger is bursting with mellow blue cheese, smothered in grilled balsamic peppers and topped with crispy bacon. I'm so glad for this challenge! I never would have considered this combination and it was the BEST burger I have ever had!  I didn't need a single condiment there was so much flavor...mmmmm!

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 sweet onion
1 egg
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp ketchup
2 dash of Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper
4 chunks mellow blue cheese

1 yellow pepper (red or orange would be fine too)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil

4 strips bacon

4 Kaiser Rolls

Finely chop onion. Add to ground beef.  Add egg, Worcestershire, ketchup, Tabasco, salt and pepper and mix well.  Form into 4 patties, each with a chunk of blue cheese nestled inside.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the beef to marinate. 
Thickly slice peppers. Toss with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.  Preheat BBQ.

Grill burgers until cooked through. Do not press down on burgers and try to flip only once.
Grill peppers on BBQ until slightly charred and fork tender.

Fry bacon until crisp.

Butter both sides of buns. Lightly grill on BBQ.

Place one burger on each bun, top with grilled peppers and bacon.  Add other toppings of your choice.  Enjoy with a nice cold beer!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Baked Brie with Roasted Red Peppers and Bacon

Baked Brie with Roasted Red Peppers and Bacon

Baked brie is probably my all time favorite savory treat.  The tang of the roasted peppers and the smokiness of the bacon in this recipe are a delicious contrast to the creamy brie.  Enjoy with multi-grain tortilla chips, or any light crispy cracker.

4 roasted red peppers (jarred)
2 slices bacon
1 round of brie 450g
1 tbsp parsley

Drain and coarsely chop peppers.  Cook bacon until crispy,  then crumble.  Chop parsley.   Score the top of the brie and place in a baking dish.   Top brie with peppers, bacon and parsley.   Bake for approx. 30min @350° until cheese is melted and bubbly. Enjoy with your favorite wine and friends!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Week #2: Bacon, Cheese and Peppers

Here we go again!  With a little effort, the family came up with the ingredients for the week. 
Husband: bacon
Daughter: cheese
Son: peppers

My mind is already whirling with the possibilities.  I will post the recipes as I make them.  I'm hoping to at least match last week with two recipes. Check back, or subscribe to the feed so you don't miss the recipes. I promise they'll be yummy!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Love Bites

Love Bites

Peanut butter cookies sandwiched with chewy caramel and chocolate. These are yummy and well worth the effort.  My kids both really like these cookies, and  one is enough to feel like you have had a real treat. Makes 36 cookies

1/2 cup butter softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375°.  Cream butter, peanut butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg and mix until well blended.  In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add to butter mixture and blend well.  Turn dough out onto cookie sheet and press flat covering the base of the cookie sheet.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 1 or 2 min only.  Using small cookie cutter (I used a 2" heart), cut out shapes from the cookie.  Move quickly, as the cookie will harden as it cools. Cut into 72 shapes.  These are the outside layers of the cookie sandwich.

2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment. Combine all ingredients in heavy saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stirring constantly.  Once it has reached a boil, continue to cook for 9-10 min, until it lightens in colour slightly, and a dollop dropped in a glass of cold water forms a solid, yet soft malleable ball.  Remove from heat and immediately pour onto prepared pan.  Be careful it is extremely hot. Don't stir, or smooth out, this will change the texture of the finished caramel.  Just let it settle on its own.  Allow the caramel to cool completely. Cut out shapes with the same cookie cutter you used for the cookie layer. You will need 36 for the cookies (too bad you will have leftover caramel to munch on). Caramel should be soft and chewy, but still hold form. To make nice shapes, remove each heart as you cut it. If you leave it for even a minute it will start to stick back to the rest.

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips divided

This is not very fancy or technical, but in my experience the easiest way to work with melted chocolate that you intend to pipe.  Place 1/2 cup of chocolate chips into a baggie. Heat it the microwave on high for  approx. 40 seconds.  Remove, seal baggie and smoosh with your hands until all chocolate is melted. Snip a small hole in the corner of the baggie to pipe.  Repeat with remaining 1/2 when you're ready for it.

Assemble the Cookie

Now that you have all of the layers prepared you can assemble the cookies.  Take one cookie, pipe on some melted chocolate, place a caramel on top. Set aside to set.  Repeat until you have used all 36 caramels. This will take one baggie of chocolate.  Once all of the bottoms have been assembled and have set, melt the next baggie of chocolate.  Pipe remaining chocolate on top of the caramel layer and place a cookie on top, finishing the "sandwich"  Allow to set completely. Enjoy! Store in an air tight container.

Heavenly Caramel Tarts

Heavenly Caramel Tarts
What could be more delicious than a chocolate shortbread tart filled with gooey caramel and topped with salted peanuts?  These are decadent, melt in your mouth, delicious little bites of heaven! 

Chocolate Shortbread Tart Shell

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 1/3 cup flour
2 tbsp cocoa

Cream butter and sugar.  Add Flour and cocoa, mix well.  You do not need to roll the tart shells out.  Using mini muffin tins, simply press approx one rounded tablespoon of dough into each muffin cup, coming up the sides.  Prick bottoms with a fork.
Bake @ 325° for 10 min.  Remove from oven, prick bottoms for a second time, return to oven and bake an additional 10 min.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Caramel Filling
This is the same caramel that is used for the love bites, it is simply taken off the heat earlier.

2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in heavy saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stirring constantly.  Once it has reached a boil, continue to cook for 6-7 min. Remove from heat and immediately spoon caramel into prepared tart shells.  Allow to cool until the top of the caramel is slightly set.
Coarsely chop 1/3 cup salted peanuts and sprinkle on top of the tarts.

Week #1 The Recipes Using Chocolate, Caramel, and Peanuts

I have definately set myself up for a lot of hard work here!  It is really difficult to come up with something original.  As far as I know, I have come up with two unique recipes.  I got lucky and both recipes turned out really well, no disasters to report this week.  My kids were in heaven. 

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Week #1: My First Challenge

Here we go!  I can already tell this is going to be a lot more challenging than I had anticipated.  To begin with my son (age 3) doesn't quite get the concept.  When I asked what food he would like to use in a recipe he started dancing around the living room shouting out foods that he a) doesn't like- mango, and b) has never had- coffee.  So I needed to prompt him to choose something he likes. Well that worked and I got and emphatic "CHOCOLATE!".  My daughter, being the saucy little thing that she is, instantly said "pickles".  Oh boy....So day one and I need to set some ground rules.  I think perhaps in weeks to come I will make a picture book with my son with various foods in their food groups and let him choose one.  My daughter has been asked to not choose an item that would be disgusting with what her brother has chosen.  My husband had to be told that "no, he could not always choose meat".
Ground rules set, here is what they came up with:
Son: chocolate
Daughter: caramel
Husband: peanuts
I think I'm with the right family!
Now all I need to do is stop thinking of all of the yummy recipes I have in my cookbooks, and come up with a new recipe.....Stay tuned, and play along!