Friday, August 5, 2011

Here...fishy, fishy, fishy.... tacos!!!! Why they weren't a part of my childhood, I will never know, but as an adult I am FULLY in love with them! I love how fresh they are and how you can eat your fill and not be unhealthy. I love that you can use pretty much whatever fish you want and that you can get them from carts on the streets of LA! I love the sour bite of vinegar and the crunch of cabbage. Fish tacos are AMAZING!!!

I recently decided to make my own and after a complete FAIL of a first try I did a little research and came up with this recipe. Enjoy!!!

Fish Tacos
Makes 8 tacos

1 red onion, thinly sliced
About 1 1/2 c. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 pound flaky white fish (cod or catfish will totally work here!)
Corn tortillas
Sour cream (or Mexican creme)
Shredded cabbage
2 limes, cut into wedges

Marinated onions:
  1. Slice red onions and place them in a bowl
  2. Pour enough red wine vinegar over the onions to cover them
  3. Allow them to sit for at least 30 minutes
Seasoning and cooking the fish:
  1. Mix olive oil, chili powder, cumin and a dash of salt in a small bowl
  2. Cut the fish into slices about a finger's width wide
  3. Place fish on a plate or platter and drizzle the "marinade" over the fish
  4. Rub the mixture all over the fish and let sit for 20 minutes
  5. Heat your oven to 350F
  6. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking oil
  7. Place fish on cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, just until fish is cooked through
Assemble your tacos:
  1. Heat your tortillas
  2. Load up your tortillas with all of the good stuff (fish, onions, cabbage, tomatoes, sour cream, cilantro...)
  3. Squeeze a lime wedge over your tacos and eat!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Gluten Free Strawberry-Cherry Pie

If you're like me you LOVE summer fruit! I love all of the berries and the juicy nectarines and that sweet smell that doesn't exist in the produce aisle any other time of year! And if you're like me you LOVE making pies! I love the whole creative process of mixing random raw ingredients and creating something absolutely beautiful and delicious!!! In my quest to bake and eat gluten free I have finally started baking with some GF flours and the results were genius!!!!! This gem of a pie comes out with a flaky crust that reminded me of shortbread and a thick fruity filling that will knock your socks off! After sharing the pie with one of my friends family, her 10 year old son thanked Heavenly Father for the pie during his evening prayers! It's a GOOD pie!!! Here is my slightly adapted recipe for Strawberry-Cherry Pie from the fabulous Gluten Free Girl blog!

Gluten Free Strawberry-Cherry Pie

For the dough:
350g King Arthur All-Purpose GF Flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 c. ice-cold water, plus a few splashes if needed

For the filling:
1lb. strawberries (as juicy as possible!)
1lb. cherries, pitted
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 c. sugar
70g King Arthur All-Purpose GF Flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 large egg, beaten

Making the dough:
  1. Cut the butter into one-inch cubes. Put them in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  2. Put the flour and salt into a large food processor. Pulse them together until the flour is fluffy and aerated.
  3. Add the butter cubes and pulse 10 times. Make sure these are good pulses! The flour and butter should look like a sandy mixture, with the butter chunks still visible.
  4. Pour in the 1/2 c. of ice-cold water. Pulse five time. Look at the dough. If it still looks a bit dry, add a splash of water, not exceeding 1/4 c. The finished dough should look like curds of dry cottage cheese.
  5. Pour the dough out onto a cool, clean surface. Gently gather all the dough together in your hands. Working quickly, take half the dough and make it into a ball, then flatten it into a plump disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Repeat for the remaining dough.
Making the filling:
  1. Take the tops off the strawberries. If they are super big then cut them into cherry-sized pieces. Pit the cherries and throw them into the bowl with the strawberries.Pour in the almond extract and toss the berries to coat. Put the sugar, flour and cinnamon on top of the fruit and toss gently with your hands.
  2. Let the fruit sit while you roll out your dough.
Rolling out the dough and baking:
  1. Get two pieces of parchment paper and lightly, VERY lightly, grease them with vegetable oil. You will roll out your dough between these guys! Don't try gluten free dough on a floured board! It's too delicate and it tears into a million pieces!
  2. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  3. Unwrap one disk and place between greased sides of parchment. Now get ready for some Zen rolling!
  4. Pretend that the dough is the face of a clock. Roll out once at 12 o'clock, then lift the pin and roll at 12:10. Moving in "ten-minute" increment, roll out the pie dough to slightly larger than your pie pan. Be patient!!!! Think of this time as meditation time!!! Roll out the dough evenly.
  5. Lift the top piece of parchment paper off (save it for your next disc of dough) and flip your dough into your pan. Carefully peel the parchment off of your dough...but if it rips just stick it back together! It can handle some manhandling!
  6. Pour your filling into your lovely bottom crust and smooth it out so that it's evenly distributed in the pan.
  7. Roll out the remaining dough. Lay it onto the pie gently. If the dough breaks...NO STRESS!!! Just pat the pieces back together! Tuck the edges into the crust and crimp with either your fingers or a fork.
  8. Cut a few slits into the top crust. Brush the top crust with the beaten egg. Place the pie pan on a parchment lined baking sheet (to catch drips and random falling crust) and slide it into the oven.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 375F.
  10. Bake 45-55 minutes more until juices are bubbling out of the pie, the crust is browned and you hear a sizzle-whump when you putt your ear to the baked pie.
Waiting to eat your pie:
  1. Remove the pie from the oven and place it on cooling rack (still in the pan!!!)
  2. Let it cool for at least 2 hours so that the filling can set-up. If you rush it you'll have a GIANT mess!!!
  3. Serve your pie on lovely little dessert plates and enjoy the tastes of summer!
Weight Watchers Points Plus Value: 10pts. for 1/10 of the pie

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ah...Summer Salads!!!

I don't know about you, but I have been DYING from the heat lately! It has been blistering and today was no exception! Even as I type this at nearly 7:00pm it is 84F outside...ridiculous! To add to the fantastical sweat fest I'm having, I menu planned to roast a chicken tonight. Oh yes...I am a genius!!! So in my attempts to stay as cool as possible I whipped up a little summer salad with fruit fresh from the fridge to cool me off and help think of blissful winter days basking in the snow!!! Here's what I "cooked" up!

Watermelon, Orange and Feta Salad
Adapted from Everyday Food, Issue 84

1/4 of a small seedless watermelon, rind removed and flesh cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 large orange, pith and peel removed, divided into sections
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
2-4 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

  1. On a platter or in a bowl combine first five ingredients and toss. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  2. Cover and refrigerate until just before serving. Serves 4.
  3. Weight Watchers Points Plus Value: 2pts. per serving
Happy summer salads everyone!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fennel and Radish Salad of Deliciousness

I have been wanting to figure out how to make new and exciting salads for myself, seeing as how I'm bored with the usual greens, tomatoes, green onions, carrots...blah, blah, blah. Martha Stewart must have read my mind when she put together the ideas in issue 83 of Everyday Food!!! One of the fabulous salads featured was a fennel and radish salad that sounded like exactly what I have been looking for. I whipped it up and found that although it was needed more I added some white balsamic vinegar and it was GENIUS! Enjoy this tasty, crunchy salad alongside a roast chicken hot out of the oven and you'll know that summer is on its way!

Fennel and Radish Salad

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp white-wine vinegar
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 medium fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
4 radishes, thinly sliced
2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
White balsamic vinegar to taste

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice, white-wine vinegar, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Add fennel bulbs, radishes and capers to the bowl. Toss to combine.
3. Sprinkle white balsamic over salad, about 1 tsp at a time, tasting as you go until you have enough acid.
4. Sprinkle with fennel fronds and enjoy!
Serves 4

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Cake (A bit late but still delicious!)

A family from church has completely adopted me and today (Mother's Day!) I made a cake to honor the sweet, sweet mom in the family! She has become a dear friend and someone whose love I cherish. The love her family has shared with me has changed me and my life. The family that she has made is exceptional. I honestly can't imagine my life without them. In honor of how amazing this lady is, I decided to make a White Velvet Butter Cake filled with my homemade strawberry jam and topped with, my favorite, Seven Minute Frosting. A sweet treat for a sweet friend and awesome mom!

Happy Mother's Day Heidi!!!!!

White Velvet Butter Cake
from The Cake Bible, Rose Levy Beranbaum

5 lg. egg whites
1 c. milk, whole
2 1/4 tsp. vanilla
3 c. sifted cake flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease, line with parchment, grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl lightly combine the egg whites, 1/4 c. milk and vanilla.
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and remaining 3/4 cup milk. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake's structure. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with a spatula. The pans will be about 1/2 full. Bake 25-35 minutes or until
  5. a tester inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cakes should start to shrink from the sides of the pans only after removal from the oven.
  6. Let the cakes cool in the pans on racks for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and invert onto greased wire racks. To prevent splitting, reinvert so that the tops are up and cool completely before icing.
Seven Minute Frosting
from The Joy of Cooking, Rombauer & Becker

2 unbeaten egg whites
1 1/2 c. sugar
5 tbsp. cold water
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
  1. Place everything except the vanilla in the top of a double boiler over rapidly boiling water. Beat them constantly with an electric hand mixer for 7 minutes. Remove icing from heat.
  2. Add the vanilla and continue beating until the icing is the right consistency to spread.
  3. Makes about 2 cups.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Luck o the Irish

The Irish must be some of the luckiest people ever!!!! I mean seriously...corned beef, fresh butter from the cow, all of your side dishes made with butter...YUM!!! I had a little gathering celebrating the land of the shamrock and scored some amazing new recipes that I just had to share with you!!! Both are butter-tastic and absolutely delicious! Share these with your friends, drop them off at a neighbors house or just sit in front of your favorite movie sipping hot chocolate and munching matter what you do, you'll be feeling lucky!

Irish Soda Bread
Adapted from The Secrets of Jesuit Baking*

5 c. sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 stick of butter, cold
3 tbsp. caraway seeds
2 1/2 c. buttermilk
1 large egg, slightly beaten
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Generously butter two 9x5 bread pans.
  2. Stir together the sifted flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut in the butter and mix very thoroughly with your hands until it gets grainy. Stir in caraway seeds.
  3. Add the buttermilk and egg to the flour mixture. Stir until well moistened. Shape dough into 2 loaves (with loads of flour on your hands!) and place in the pans.
  4. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Test with a toothpick for doneness. Cool in pans for 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  5. Serve with fresh, homemade butter (pour heavy cream into a jar, seal it, shake it until you have butter).
*This recipe called for 2 1/2 cups of raisins that I decided would ruin the bread. I'm SO happy that I ditched the raisins! It was absolutely perfect without them!

Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from Ina Garten's Shortbread Hearts recipe

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 c. sifted flour
pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment or Silpat mats.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer lightly cream butter and sugar together (the less mixing the better.) Add in the vanilla and mix.
  3. Mix together flour and salt and slowly add to butter mixture. Mix until just combined.
  4. Dough will be crumbly! Pour out onto a lightly floured board and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove dough from fridge and roll out on floured surface to about 1/2" thick. Cut with 2 1/2 inch round cutter and place on prepared trays. Sprinkle with granulated sugar so that your cookies sparkle!
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are barely golden.
  7. Makes 24- 2 1/2" cookies
Oh...and since I'm doing Weight Watchers here are the PointsPlus values for these lovelies:
Irish Soda Bread: 1 slice = 4 pts. (if each loaf is cut into 12 slices)
Shortbread Cookies: 1 cookie = 6 pts.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chili-Glazed Pork Tenderloin & Sweet Potato Hash

My lunch today was pretty much the most delicious meal I've had in a LONG, LONG time!!!! To be honest, I was nervous to use an entire teaspoon of chili powder on the tenderloin (spicy is not my friend) but, holy smokes, was it worth it! This is a great recipe for dinner with the family or to wow your sweetheart with. This sweet and savory dish is sure to impress!!!

Chili-Glazed Pork Tenderloin & Sweet Potato Hash
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/4 pounds), Trader Joe's has a great selection
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
salt & pepper
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 medium sweet-potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled
2 large shallots, peeled and sliced
1 6-oz. package baby spinach

1. Heat broiler. Place the pork on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Rub with 1 tsp of the oil, the chili powder, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Broil, turning occasionally and basting with the maple syrup twice, until cooked through, 10-12 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
2. Meanwhile, in a food processor fitted with the coarse grating disk, grate the sweet potatoes.
3. Heat the remaining tbsp of oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 2-3 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and cook, tossing occasionally, until tender, 7-9 minutes more. Add the spinach and cook, tossing, until wilted, 1-2 minutes more.
4. Serve the pork and potatoes with hot sauce if desired.

Serves 4

Sunday, January 9, 2011

New York Cheesecake!

This past Saturday I threw a baby shower for a sweet friend of mine and a little birdie told me that cheesecake was her favorite. Naturally, I busted out my favorite cheesecake cookbook Cheesecake Extraordinaire by Mary Crownover and went to work! This one is surprisingly light, given the two pounds of cream cheese involved! The top layer of sweetened sour cream gives it just the right boost! I did add a few things in the directions just to make it easier for you! Happy baking!

Super New York-Style Cheesecake

Vanilla Wafer Crust-
38-40 vanilla wafer cookies, Nilla wafers work the best
1/2 c. butter, melted
  1. In a food processor, pulse the cookies until they are fine crumbs. With processor on, drizzle in butter until all crumbs are moist. Pulse if needed to mix.
  2. Press crumb mixture evenly onto the bottom and about 3/4 of an inch up the sides of a greased 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside of the pan in foil to avoid drips in your oven. Set aside.
New York Filling-
32 oz. cream cheese, full fat please!, at room temperature
1 c. sugar
3 tbsp. flour
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 c. heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. sour cream
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. In the bowl of a mixer combine cream cheese, sugar and flour. Beat until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating between additions. Add in whipping cream, orange zest, lemon zest and 1 tsp. vanilla. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl as you mix! Pour the cream cheese mixture over the crust.
  2. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 200F and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until the center no longer looks wet or shiny. It should still jiggle a little in the center when you shake the cake. Remove the cake from the oven.
  3. Stir together the sour cream, 2 tbsp. sugar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Spread over the warm cheesecake.
  4. Return cheesecake to the oven and bake for 15 minutes more. Remove from oven and run a sharp knife around the inside edge of the pan. Do not chill cheesecake.
  5. Makes 12-18 slices