Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Chocolate Hazelnut Potstickers

We had a lot of food for our Oscars celebration, and this was the star. I saw it on Hallmark's Mad Hungry: with Lucinda Scalla-Quinn, and you can see her recipe here. She calls them ravioli, because technically, that's what they are.  But the secret is using Wanton wrappers. I found my wrappers at my local King Soopers in the produce aisle of all places (I figured I would find them in the frozen desert area).

The wonton wrappers make this an extremely easy dish to make.  Just lay your wrapper out, put a tablespoon of your hazelnut spread on it. Then, using a pastry brush, brush water around the edges, and add another wonton wrapper on top of it (the water acts as a glue). Cut your wontons with a cookie cutter, or a a drinking glass.

Next, heat 1/4 cup of water and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter on the stove. Add your wontons to the pan, and cover tightly. This will steam the wontons.  

Allow to steam, covered for two minutes. 

Remove the lid, and let the rest of the liquid evaporate. 

You'll know when they are done, the smell is fragrant and reminiscent of chocolate chip cookies being freshly baked. 

Remove from the pan. Two scoops of vanilla ice cream and orange zest finish this delicious dish! 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oscar Worthy Crab Dip

It's the night of the Oscars, and if you don't live in Greeley, you're probably getting together with friends to watch the big event. Hopefully, it's not the late hour, and you have plenty of time to make some yummy appetizers. But, if it is the late hour, then here is a great recipe for you!

Final Product

It's my mom's Crab Dip. Here's what you need:
12 oz. Cream Cheese (I used the 1/3 Fat option), room temperature
1 can crab meet (best to go with quality here--you don't want tinny tasting crab)
1 bottle of Red Chili Sauce (Heinz or similar)
Half a lemon's amount of juice
2 table spoons worcestershire
Grated onion (I used freeze-dried chives), about two tablespoons

Offset spatulas are great for spreading. I received mine as a gift from an elderly friend, but I'm sure you can find one in a   specialty cooking store. 
Mix the cream cheese, lemon juice, worcestershire and onion together in a small bowl. Using an offset spatula  spread this on your service platter.  Layer the bottle of red chili sauce on top of your cream cheese mixture. Next, sprinkle your crab meat over the chili sauce, and finally sprinkle your parsley. Refrigerate. Serve with Wheat Thins (I prefer plain).


Quiche and Chatter

Eggs, the wonder.

There was a commercial a few years back which stated the Amazing Egg. Well, it's true. They are the corner stone of good cooking, unless you're french, then it's butter. But it's amazing to think that I used to HATE eggs, until a few years back.

Mini Quiche 
I made mini quiche this late hour. The recipe I used was simple: pie crust, eggs, cheese, and a filling (I used chopped bell peppers). The mixture is not important, but as a suggestion, make sure your eggs equal at least a 1/2 of your other ingredients). You can use anything for a quiche. I recommend checking in on your quiche a lot, thus the timing will depend. I will post a detailed instruction later.

Ingredients for these:

1/4 cup milk
6 eggs
1 cup cheese
1 Red Pepper, diced
1 Yellow Pepper, diced
Salt and Pepper to taste

1 Pie dough crust
Cooking Spray

Mix the eggs, milk, cheese, peppers and S&P. Set aside. For mini quiche, use a round cookie cutter, or if you don't have one a standard drinking class will work (I used two glasses of different sizes, as I used two different sized muffin pans). Put cut pie crusts into muffin pan. Spoon in egg mixture, just enough to cover the crust and a little bit of the side. Bake at 350 degrees, approximately 30 minutes (as always, it's better to start at about 15 minutes, and check in. Better to add time, as you can't take it away!).

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Best Pie Dough Recipe--EVER

Cherry and Peach Pie 

So, I realized after my last post that I have not actually discussed my favorite pie dough recipe on here. So, here we go. While watching the show Mad Hungry on the Hallmark Channel, I fell in love with several of Lucinda Scala-Quinn's recipes--and have discussed quite a few of them on this blog. However, the absolute staple recipe which I have come to love is her pie dough recipe, aka Basic Dough.

The recipe is extremely simple, and consists of four ingredients. I recommend using a pastry cutter, as I feel it gives the best results. Second, I would suggest paying close attention to the elasticity of the dough. Being the person I am, I am extremely hesitant about deviating from the recipe. If it says use "1/2 milk" then that's all I use. However, this is one place where it is okay to deviate. If the dough is too dry, add more milk.

Don't over work your dough (i.e. roll it out too much). A lot of the flakiness of the dough comes from the rather good chunks of butter, which melts into the rest of the dough, and creates air pockets (aka the flakiness). Thus, you want to see the chunks of butter when you are rolling out your dough.

Finally, this doesn't have to be a sweet pie only dough. I've used it for quiche, chicken pot pie, etc. The website also notes that you can freeze the dough (so you can make a lot of it in advance, just divide it before you freeze).

Chicken Pot Pie, full crust

Stuffed Cajun Chicken and Potatoes Gratin

To sum it up, before you read, "Yum."

I've been a bit absent from the cooking world lately, mainly due to lack of inspiration. However, I now have the Food Network again, and my mom got an iPad and now has Pinterest. Thus, how I found protein for this meal: Cajun Chicken Stuffed with Pepper Jack Cheese and Spinach. The recipe, was rather easy, and I did do as the author suggests, and I made my own Cajun seasoning. I did have to make a few substitutes (no onion salt, so used celery salt instead).  

However, I would say I will do it a bit differently, next time. The author suggests that you pound your chicken into a 1/4'' flatness. I did this on the first one, but it was nearly impossible to stuff, and the "rolling" was quite difficult. On the second breast, I merely "butterfly" cut the breast, so that I had a nice pocket, leaving two "seams" on the side, as well as of course the bottom. This made the stuffing of the spinach/pepper jack much easier. 

The next thing I altered, was I bought my spinach fresh, and cooked it. In case you were not aware, spinach cooks extremely quickly, and also significantly decreases in mass. The "bunch"of spinach you buy, will shrivel up to almost nothing, but it is all still there! (I just put some olive oil in a frying pan, put it over medium heat, and added the spinach, popped the cover on, and let it cook down, occasionally tossing it just to ensure it didn't burn.) 

Finally, I would just note that if you are cutting the recipe down, you won't need all of the spice. My mistake was not testing the mixture to note the spiciness. Thus, for the future, I will probably decrease the spice by half. 

On to other things. I used my trusty AllRecipes app on my iPhone to find the Potatoes Gratin. My amazing mom bought my partner and I a mandolin, so I of course had to find a recipe which I could use it for. This recipe is very straight forward, and I would rate it 5 stars. The taste is simple, and the onions really enhance the cheese and potato flavor.  

And the finale: 

This is a Tart Cherry and Peach pie. I used my favorite pie crust recipe which I've blogged about before, and the purchased filling from the store. I normally would not buy pre-made fillings, but this filling came in a jar. The crust is latticed as you can tell, and so darn flaky. I prepped the dough (one note I will make is, sometimes the dough is a little dry, so just add more milk. I think I ended up using 3/4 of a cup as opposed to 1/2, as the recipe suggested)  like always, and then preheated the oven to 350*.  I didn't make any changes to the filling, but I did taste it before I dumped it all in. 

This pie will be great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.