Thursday, June 25, 2009

CEiMB: Vegetable Cheese Strata

This week's Craving Ellie in My Belly is from Jenn of A Mid-Life Culinary Adventure she chose for us to make Vegetable Cheese Strata from The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life by Ellie Krieger. I was excited to try this recipe. The ingredients broccoli, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, two types of cheeses all sounded delicious. Unfortunately, I have been extremely busy, and the recipe calls for the strata to sit overnight in the refrigerator to allow time for the bread to absorb the egg mixture. So tomorrow morning, I will have beautiful picture of my strata to post. I only made a few substitutions, I used scallions instead of onions, and and like Leslie over at Lethally Delicious, I threw in some spinach as well. I can't wait to see how this turns out tomorrow!

The next day...

The strata looked just gorgeous when it came out of the oven. It puffed up nicely, and was golden brown. I baked mine for 70 minutes, and added a little bit of extra mozzarella on top during the last 10 minutes. I forgot to mention yesterday, that I halved the recipe, and used a 9x6 pan. I also wasn't exactly precise when measuring the vegetables, so mine is full of them, which I love. And the taste? I really loved it. The cheese and veggies go great with the eggs, and the sun-dried tomatoes add just a hint of sweetness. I will definitely make this one again. I am so glad I have joined this group. The first two recipes I have made have been excellent, and I can't wait to keep trying more!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

CEiMB: Double Chocolate Pudding

I have joined a new group of talented bloggers! Much like Tuesdays with Dorie, each week, a member of the group picks one recipe from the cookbook, and everyone in the group makes and blogs about that recipe. This group is called Craving Ellie in My Belly, the cookbook from which we are cooking is called The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life by Ellie Krieger.

Ellie is a Food Network chef and a dietitian. I have often watched her show, Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger, and I am excited about trying a lot of the recipes in her cookbook.

This week's recipe pick is from Tessa of Handle the Heat. She chose for us to bake the Double Chocolate Pudding Pie from The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life by Ellie Krieger. Since it was just me who would be enjoying this dessert I took a suggestion from the Craving Ellie in My Belly website and decided to just make the pudding and not the whole pie. I halved the recipe and the pudding fit perfectly in two small bowls. Other than that, I stuck to the recipe exactly. After the pudding had cooled in the refrigerator, I topped it with whipped cream and crushed graham crackers. You can find the recipe here.

It is called Double Chocolate Pudding because it contains both cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate, and I think that it really adds to the deep flavor of the pudding. Instead of relying on heavy cream to thicken the pudding, Ellie's recipe uses two thickeners, cornstarch and gelatin, which makes the pudding thick enough for a pie, but perhaps a bit too thick for pudding alone. This is a really rich pudding, it is hard to believe that it is made with skim milk. I really liked this recipe, next time, I might add some instant coffee to the pudding to make it have a mocha flavor. I look forward to upcoming recipes!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

TWD: Parisian Apple Tartlets

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie is from Jessica of My Baking Heart. She chose for us to bake the Parisian Apple Tartlets from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. You can find the recipe here. I knew that when this recipe was picked that I was going to participate this week. This recipe couldn't be simpler. It only contains four ingredients, puff pastry, apples, brown sugar, and butter. All you do is place the apples on the puff pastry, sprinkle brown sugar on top, dot with butter, and pop in the oven. I sprinkled a little cinnamon on top to give it a little spice, but other than that, I didn't make any other substitutions. My pastry took a bit longer than the recipe called for, about 30 minutes, but it was well worth the wait. These pastries are tart and sweet (I used Gala apples), and very buttery. I think this would be an elegant but easy dessert to serve to guests. I definitely will be making this again, I would love to try it with pears, plums, or peaches.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Shell Pasta Salad with Cheese and Peas

I am always looking for new pasta salad recipes, so when I came across this recipe from Pillsbury, I thought it would be a good side dish for a recent family get-together. I changed some of the ingredients from the original recipe, but for the most part, it is pretty similar. Overall, I think this is a good dish for a gathering or picnic. The sweet peas balance out the saltiness of the chunks of cheese, and the addition of honey mustard is a nice twist to a traditional mayonnaise based pasta salad.

Shell Pasta Salad with Peas and Cheese

serves 8-10

For the Salad:
  • 8 oz. (2 cup) uncooked small shell pasta
  • 1 cup frozen sweet peas
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 6 oz. sharp Cheddar cheese, cubed (1 1/2 cups)
For the Dressing:
  • 2/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sweet honey mustard
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt (depending on your seasoning preference)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley.
  • Cook pasta in a post of boiling salted water to al dente as directed on the package, adding peas during last 3 minutes of cooking time. Drain and rinse with cool water. (Usually I do not like to rinse my pasta, but it does get rather sticky when it cools if you do not rinse it.)
  • In medium bowl, combine cooked pasta and peas, and all remaining salad ingredients.
  • In small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients; blend well. Add to salad and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with parsley. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to blend flavors.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

TWD: Cinnamon Squares

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie is from Tracey of Tracey's Culinary Adventures. She chose for us to bake the Cinnamon Squares from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. The recipe can be found here. I was excited to try these. The recipe is extremely easy to put together, and I really like the combination of chocolate and cinnamon. Usually I make quite few substitutions to these recipes to put my own spin on them, but this one I kept simple. The only think I changed was substitute skim milk for the whole milk because that is all I had on hand. I figured it wouldn't make much of a difference given all the butter that was in the recipe. The whole house filled up with the smell of cinnamon. The cake took about 50 minutes to bake.

I halved the recipe for the icing and only spread a thin layer of it over the cake, because I didn't want the cake to be too sweet or the chocolate to be the dominating flavor. I think this cake tasted great. I might reduce some of the sugar in the batter next time because it still was rather sweet, but not too bad. This cake goes great with coffee or milk. Another great recipe from Dorie! Be sure to check out the blogroll to see what other bloggers did.