Friday, June 29, 2012

Muffin Tops with berries and cream

At the end of the school year, we discovered our grocery store no longer carried frozen muffin tops. They were the go to quick breakfast we could pop in the toaster oven before we ran down the street to chase the bus. I'm just joking about chasing the bus since we do have a great bus driver and he waits for us. I think he waits because he knows I will be rewarding him for his patience the next day with some kind of dessert. I will admit sometimes I feel guilty and wish I was the mom who made their children a big breakfast every school day. I just don't see it happening anytime soon besides on the weekends. My children have never complained and they do eat breakfast every morning but sometimes it is a cooked muffin top.
I had to make these red, white, and blue!
Well, I figured I would get a head start and try to make up some muffin tops. My Aunt E made some blueberry muffins when we were visiting and gave me her recipe. My youngest daughter loved the muffins so I had to tweak it to be more of a cross between a muffin and a biscuit. Since I made it at night, I even added berries and whip cream for a delicious dessert. I haven't froze the cooked muffin tops yet but I think they will come out fine. My youngest daughter already told me that she liked these muffin tops better.
Berry Muffin Tops
2 1/2 cups Bisquick baking mix
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cups low fat milk
2 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
1 egg
1 cup chopped berries (I used fresh strawberries and blueberries)


Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Mix the bisquick, sugar, milk, butter, and egg until incorporated.
  4. Fold in the berries.
  5. Spoon about 1/2 cup of batter onto the baking sheet. Space the batter about 4 inches apart.
  6. Bake the muffin tops for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Allow the muffin tops to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe by Jen of Sweet Morris.
*There are many homemade recipes for Bisquick online but I haven't tried them out yet.
Did you already know...
-In 1930, a General Mills executive was served fresh biscuits on a train and asked the chief his secret. The chief told him about his pre-assembled mix of some of the ingredients. The executive went back to the company and  asked the companies chemist to create a baking mix.
-General Mills introduced the Bisquick baking mix in 1931.
-Bisquick is available gluten free.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Roasted chicken

I love roasted chicken meals. My family always think I spent a lot of time cooking them. I don't tell them differently since I want them to be impressed. I didn't even peel the potatoes for this dish. I talked my husband into scrubbing them for me. I also cheated by using baby carrots.
My husband would call this a winner winner chicken dinner. The original recipe called for Herbes de Provence seasoning but I wanted to use up the herbs I already had in my kitchen. I did research Herbes de Provence and some recipes called for lavendar and some recipes said the original does not contain lavender. Since I didn't have any lavender, I just made this roasted, herb chicken. Please feel free to express your opinion of Herbes de Provence with or without lavender.
Roasted Herb Chicken with vegetables
1/4 cup white wine
2 Tbsp olive oil

3 lb. bone-in chicken breast and legs
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
1 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp fennel seed
1 lb. small red potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes

2 cups baby carrots


Directions:
  1. Preheat ove ot 425 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  3. Spread the chicken and vegetables onto the parchment paper.
  4. In a bowl, mix the wine, oil, and the herbs.
  5. Spread the wine mixture over the chicken and toss.
  6. Arrange the chicken skin side down.
  7. Roast the chicken for 30. Turn the chicken and stir the vegetables.
  8. Continue to cook the chicken for another 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. The vegetables should be tender. 
Recipe adapted from McCormick website.
Did you already know...
-In 1889, Willoughby M. McCormick formed his company at the age of 25 years old in Baltimore.
-Mr. McCormick sold root beer, flavoring extracts, fruit juices and other products under several different trademarks.
-His products were sold door to door during this time.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Virgins Bloody Marys

When I went to make this weeks Project Pastry Queen, I hadn't realized that I did not have any non-flavored vodka. I figured the Bloody Marys recipe picked by Emily of She Makes and Bakes probably wouldn't taste the best with blueberry vodka. Even if I had drank 5 Bloody Marys, I still would have stayed away from the blueberry vodka. 
When I went to take my photos, my son suddenly appeared. (It is like when you have an important phone call and the children insist they need to talk to you right then even though they had been playing quietly for the last hour.) I was very glad I decided to make these nonalcoholic. I even let him try it. He said it was very spicy but good. He liked the celery sticking out of the drink the best. I liked it but next time I'll definitely add vodka. Isn't that the best part of a Bloody Mary? My husband says the best part is that it is a meal in a drink. He thinks Bloody Marys should be garnished with shrimp and other great toppings. I kept it simple but please check out the other member's version of this recipe. I bet no one used blueberry vodka
Virgin Bloody Marys
4 cups tomato juice
Juice of 2 limes
2 tsp horseradish
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp Frank's Red Hot sauce
Salt and pepper
Celery for garnish


Directions:
  1. Combine the tomato juice, lime juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, hot pepper sauce, salt, and pepper to taste in a large pitcher.
  2. Divide the drinks evenly in 4 glasses and garnish with the celery.
Recipe adapted from The Pastry Queen cookbook by Rebecca Rather.
Did you already know...
-Bloody Marys are a popular brunch drink.
-Bloody Marys are said to be a good hangover cure.
-Bloody Marys tend to be high in sodium.
Bloody Marys are a good disguise!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sweet Cakes

We went to see the Disney's Brave. We liked it a lot. Afterwards, the kids asked me for some sweet cakes as in the movie. I searched the internet and did not find anything. Nothing at all. So, I had to create a recipe. The kids loved them. 
They informed me that the Sweet Cakes should have been topped with cherries but I didn't have any. If you have them, it would make a nice topping. I also added some chopped up strawberries to a few and they were good. My son and I liked the jam topping. Any chopped up fruit would be a great addition. Also, top the sweet cakes with any desired fruit. I did top a few with strawberries but I preferred the jam. The Sweet Cakes are like a cross between a cookie and a cupcake. They are soft and tender. Be brave and try them today!
Sweet Cakes
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
 1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar.  
  5. Add the egg and combine.
  6. Add the  vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  7. To the butter mixture, add 1/3 of the flour and mix.
  8. Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour.
  9. Add the remaining flour to the butter and mix.
  10. Add the milk to the mixture and mix until incorporated. The batter will be thick.
  11. Spoon about 3 Tbsp of batter onto the parchment lined baking sheet.
  12. Space the batter about 4 inches apart.
  13. Bake the sweet cakes about 7 minutes or until golden brown.
  14. Set aside and allow to cool.
Icing
1 cup powder sugar, sifted
3 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:
  1. Combine the sugar, water, and vanilla together.
  2. Drizzle the icing over the sweet cakes.
Top each sweet cake with:
1 tsp of jam
cherries
other desired fruit 

Recipe created by Jen of Sweet Morris.
Did you already know...
-In the movie Brave, Merida's hair consist of 1,500 separate curls.
-Pixar had to create a software for Merida's hair and her movements with her hair which took almost 3 years to develop.
-The original name for the movie Brave was The Bear and the Bow.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Broccoli and Cheese Chicken Pasta

My youngest daughter was trying to talk her brother into giving her some of his money. He asked her if she was mad. She replied, "I'm not mad. I'm brilliant." I guess I will know what to say the next time anyone calls me mad.
Since it has been so unusually hot, I did not want use the oven because I'm not mad yet. I saw this recipe and I figured I would try it. The family liked it a lot and there was plenty leftovers for lunch the next day.
Stovetop Broccoli and Cheese Pasta
1 lb. thin egg noodles
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 cups chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
8 oz. butter, unsalted
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 lb broccoli
1 1/2 cups milk

Directions:
  1.  In a large pot, boil the water according to the egg noodle package.
  2. Add the broccoli with the egg noodles when the water is ready.
  3. Drain the pasta and broccoli. Run the pasta and broccoli under cool water to stop the cooking.
  4. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the oil.
  5. Once the oil is heated, add the chicken. Cook the chicken until browned and cooked through.
  6. Remove the chicken and set aside on a plate.
  7. Add the butter with the garlic clove to the skillet.
  8. Remove the garlic clove after a minute and whisk in the flour.
  9. Add the salt and pepper. Stir.
  10. Slowly, whisk in the chicken broth until combined.
  11. Increase the heat to high and whisk until thick.
  12. Reduce the heat to low and slowly stir in the cheese until melted.
  13. Add the chicken, broccoli, and pasta to the cheese sauce. Stir.
  14. Slowly add the milk to the desired thickness. Mix well. Allow to cook for a few minutes while stirring.
  15. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from Picky Palate.
Did you already know...
-Cattle being used as a form of money dates back to 9000 B.C.
-Around 2000 B.C., cattle shaped bronze pieces were used as a form of money.
-Around 650 B.C., the ancient city of Lydia produced coins with the value printed on them.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

4th of July

Do you have any 4th of July plans? Do you have any traditions? We always watch fireworks. My favorite place to watch fireworks would be over the ocean. Since the water reflects the fireworks, the display always looks twice as spectacular. Do you have a favorite place to watch fireworks? I'm partial to Monterey but I can't fly there every year (or ten years). One year I was in Colorado and it hailed on the 4th of July. I guess it is better than rain.
When I showed my oldest daughter these cupcakes, she thought they looked wonderful. If you are going to make the batter red, white, and blue, it is easier to have another person helping than taping the bags. I think next time I would just leave the batter white and decorate the tops. I can only tell you that everyone said they tasted delicious. I served these cupcakes at a party and they were gone fast. I think my youngest daughter hid one for later since she liked them so much. They were suppose to look like snow cones but my colors are a little to vibrant and not as coned shape as desired but
Red, White, and Blue Cupcakes
2 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
4 egg whites
1 cup skim milk
1 Tbsp vanilla
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/4 tsp salt
food coloring, if desired

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, and baking powder.
  4. In another bowl, mix together the egg whites, milk, and vanilla.
  5. To the flour bowl, add the butter and mix until it starts to combine.
  6. Slowly add the milk mixture and mix until completely combined. (Add any food coloring at this step if desired.)
  7. Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full. 
  8. Bake the cupcakes for 16 minutes or until done.
  9. Remove the cupcakes and allow to cool before frosting.
Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups powder sugar
4 tsp milk

1/4 tsp salt
food coloring
sugar crystals in coordinating colors to the food coloring


Directions:
  1. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and vanilla together.
  2. Slowly, add the powder sugar and beat until combined.
  3. Add the milk to the butter cream and mix until smooth.
  4. Divide the frosting evenly into three bowls.
  5. Set one bowl to the side without adding any food coloring
  6. Add a different color of food coloring to the other two bowls. Mix well.
  7. Pipe the white frosting down the center of each cupcake.
  8. Add the white sugar crystals over the white frosting.
  9. Pipe one side of the cupcake with one of the colored frosting. 
  10. Add the coordinating color to the colored frosting.
  11. Repeat with the remaining color on the other side of the cupcake.
  12. Add the colored sugar crystal to the same color on the cupcake.
  13. Sprinkle a little of the white sugar crystal over the whole cupcake.
Recipe adapted from Bakerella.
Did you already know...
- In 1919, Samuel Bert produced the first snow cone at the State Fair of Texas.
-In 1920, Samuel Bert created a ice crushing snow cone machine.
-A stuffed snow cone is a snow cone with soft serve ice cream in the middle.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

PQ Baby shower

Welcome to our virtual baby shower for Emily of Ruf Love! What an exciting time. She is having a baby boy. To celebrate this gift of life, PQ members wanted to express our congratulations to Emily. Emily of A Gilt Nutmeg is the gracious host so please stop by the PQ site and Emily's site to see what each one of us made to honor Emily and her family.
 Since this was a PQ virtual baby shower, I decided to make the Emergency Fruit Crostatas in mini form. The crust is wonderful. Plus it has fruit in it! 
Mini Fruit Crostatas
1 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chilled unsalted butter
4 Tbsp ice water
1 cup fruit

Directions:
Crust:
  1. Cut the butter into small pieces or grate the butter for smaller pieces.
  2. In a food processor,  pulse 1/2 cup sugar with the flour and salt.
  3. Add the butter and pulse about 3 to 5 times or until the mixture is crumbly.
  4. Pour 1 Tbsp of water at a time through the food processor's feed tube.
  5. Pulse the dough until the dough begins to hold together.
  6. Remove the dough and shape into a ball.
  7. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Fruit Prep:
  1. Chop any large pieces of fruit to the size of a blueberry.
  2. Add the fruit to a bowl and toss with about 1/2 cup of sugar.
  3. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Crostatas:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 F degrees.
  2. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness.
  3. Using the rim of a large glass, cut out circles from the dough.
  4. Press the dough into a muffin tin.
  5. Into the center of each dough in the tin, spoon about 1 1/2 Tbsp of the fruit.
  6. Fold the dough slightly over the fruit.
  7. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
  8. Bake the crostatas for 12 minutes or until the edges of the crust brown.
  9. Allow the crostatas to cool in the muffin tin for about 10 minutes and remove.
Recipe adapted from The Pastry Queen cookbook.
Did you already know...
-About 4 million babies are born a year in the U.S.
-There are around 107 boys born to every 100 girls born worldwide.
-For the first 6 weeks from conception all embryos develop as females.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Icebox Dessert

It is hard to buy my husband a gift early. He seems to always be home when it arrives. It is just my luck. Well, my husband loves coffee. He drinks it all the time. It doesn't affect his sleep at all. Now, I drink half decaf sometimes. If I drink any past noon, I will not be sleeping any time soon. Which could be why I tend to do my blog late at night. So the day my husband received his new coffee maker, he made two cups. The machine takes k-cups and he thinks it is the coolest thing. The next day he had four cups. I have a feeling he really likes it.
Now, I haven't been feeling the best so the kids have been helping me in the kitchen. This is the best dessert for kids to make for Dad on Father's Day. I only instructed. I did not make it. My daughter loves it so we have made it several times. The first time I heard about this dessert was on Smitten Kitchen's website but the recipe is also on the box of the chocolate wafer cookies. I will say the first food blog I ever checked out was her website. I still check it out.
Oh, this is going to be good!
Icebox Dessert
2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp fine sugar
1 (9 oz.) package chocolate wafer cookies
1 oz. semi sweet chocolate square 
  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream with the sugar until soft peaks form.
  2. Take one cookie and spread the whipped cream on both sides.
  3. Add a cookie to the whipped cream cookie and continue to add cookies to each end to form a long train. 
  4. Take the remaining whipped cream and frost the top and down the sides of the cookie train to cover.
  5. Grate the chocolate over the whipped cream.
  6. Cover the dessert and refrigerate for at least several hours or overnight.
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen.
Singing is allowed during assembly
Did you already know...
-It is estimated to be over 70 million father's in the U.S.
-In 1909, Sonora Dodd conceived the idea Father's Day to honor her widowed father who raised his six children.
- In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson designated Father's Day to be the 3rd Sunday in June.
-June was the month Sonora Dodd's father was born.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Macaroni Grill Bread

Did you realize that Father's Day is this Sunday? Are you doing anything special with your Father? Do you take him golfing or fishing? Do you buy him a gift? I am unable to see my Dad this Sunday. It is so sad. It's sad because he has decided to visit England for the next two weeks with my oldest daughter. Instead, I will spend Father's Day with my husband and his Dad. It will be fun.
One of the things my husband likes is homemade bread. He tends to have his favorite but he is willing to try other ones. I made this copy cat recipe and he loved it. The best thing about this recipe would be it yields two loaves. We had half a loaf left the next day so my daughter made BLT sandwiches after toasting a few slices. I will say it was the best BLT sandwich I have ever had. I have eaten at Macaroni Grill but it has been awhile so I can not say if it taste like the restaurants but it is so good.
Macaroni Grill Rosemary Bread
1 1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp dried rosemary, chopped
2 Tbsp butter, melted
coarse salt for sprinkling on top

  1. Directions:
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large cup, combine the yeast, sugar, and water. Allow the yeast to proof for five minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the salt, 1 Tbsp rosemary, and 3 cups of flour.
  5. Add the yeast to the flour mixture and mix. 
  6. Slowly, add the remaining flour to the mixture until the dough is slightly tacky and holds it shape. The dough should be soft and smooth.
  7. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise for about 1 to 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
  8. Punch down the dough and divide in half.
  9. Shape the loaves into two smooth, ovals and place one on each end of the baking sheet.
  10. Brush on the melted butter on top of each loaf.
  11. Sprinkle the tops of the loaves with the remaining rosemary.
  12. cover the loaves with lightly greased plastic wrap and allow to double in size again about 1 hour.
  13. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  14. Sprinkle each loaf with the coarse salt.
  15. Bake the loaves for 18 minutes or until browned. the loaves need to be baked through. 
  16. Transfer the loaves to a wire rack to cool.
Recipe adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.
Did you already know...
-Romano's Macaroni Grill Restaurants were founded by Philip Romano.
-The first restaurant was opened in 1988 in Leon Springs, Texas.
-There are over 200 restaurants world wide.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Peanut Butter Florentines

Have you ever had florentine cookies? They are lacy and crisp. They are good. They are fickle when it comes to humidity. Why? The once crisp cookies becomes soft. It does affect the taste. They are still good soft or crisp. If your cookie becomes soft, they can be added to your yogurt parfait.
Or you can make an ice cream sandwich.
Or top a cupcake.
This weeks pick for The Project Pastry Queen was picked by Missy of Creative Missy. Please check out what the other members made this week. The original recipe called Ruby-Flecked Florentines since they are flecked with cranberries and raisins. I was in the mood for a plain, lacy cookie. They did come out good. Humidity made some of them droop but it was alright.

Peanut Butter Florentines
2 cups sliced blanched almonds
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup agave syrup
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup peanut butter

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Process only 1/2 cup of almonds in a blender or food processor until fine.
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.
  5. One at a time, add the sugar, agave syrup, flour, and peanut butter. Stir after each addition.
  6. Stir in the grounded almonds with the sliced almonds.
  7. Roll 1 Tbsp of the dough into balls. The dough will be sticky.
  8. Space the balls of dough about 3 inches apart on the baking sheets.
  9. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before gently transferring them to a wire rack.
Recipe adapted from The Pastry Queen cookbook.
Where is my ice cream cookie? What my brother ate it?
Did you already know...
-Florentine cookies did not originate in Florence Italy.
-Dried fruit and zest are traditional additions to this cookie.
-The well wrapped cookies can be frozen up to a month.

Friday, June 8, 2012

2 graduations and a funeral

It has been a crazy week. Our oldest son graduated on Monday. Also, I attended a distant relative's funeral earlier this week. Now, today is my oldest daughter's graduation. Will I cry? I hope not. (My husband almost did at our son's graduation.) I know we will cheer! Will I rest? No, I will be preparing for the graduation party. Since I needed more time this week (as you probably can tell with my blog postings), I prepared some quick meals. We couldn't order pizza every night, could we?
I love pasta so I really liked this quick meal. The most important thing is the kids liked it. If you love pasta and need a quick meal, I would recommend this dish. If you have a favorite quick meal you love, please send it my way. Can you send me some time too?
Skillet Lasagna
1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped 
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small green bell pepper, chopped fine
1 1/2 cups uncooked campanelle, mafalda, or broken lasagna noodles
1 1/4 cups water
1/8 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp dried parsley
1/8 tsp dried thyme
1 (14 0z.) tomato pasta sauce
1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded 

Directions:
  1. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Drain the fat from the skillet.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper to the ground bee. Cook for 2 minutes. 
  3. Add the uncooked noodles, water, oregano, basil, parsley, thyme, and tomato sauce to the hamburger. Heat to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for uncover for about 10 minutes or until the noodles are tender.
  5. Sprinkle the cheese on top and serve.
Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker website.
Did you already know..
-In 1321, the University of Coimbra in Portugal required its graduates to wear gowns.
-Before the 1920s, the graduation gowns were grey in the U.S.
-In the 1950s, the graduates were permitted to wear gowns of their school colors.

Congratulations to my daughter! I love you.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Homemade Mascarpone

Do you bookmark recipes you want to try? I have a long list of bookmarked recipes. When I saw this recipe, I knew I would try it but just didn't know when until I saw this recipe. It called for 1 1/2 lbs of mascarpone. I wasn't sure how close it would be to the mascarpone I purchase in the store. Mascarpone currently cost $4 for 8 oz. I calculated it is cheaper to purchase heavy cream and make it myself. I used Oakhurst fresh heavy cream since the heavy cream can not be ultra-pasteurized. This recipe makes 1 1/2 cups of mascarpone. 
I did purchase a container of mascarpone so I could compare. The homemade version was not as smooth as the commercial version. Both versions tasted the same. I didn't notice any other differences besides price. In the future, I will make homemade mascarpone since it is normally used in a dish. 
Homemade Mascarpone
2 cups fresh pasteurized heavy cream*
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)

Directions:
  1. Drape 4 layers of cheesecloth over a medium empty bowl. The cheesecloth needs to hang into the bowl only halfway. Secure the cheesecloth by a large rubber band.
  2. In a large pan, heat the heavy cream over medium heat stir occasionally so the bottom doesn't scorch.
  3. Continue to simmer the cream until a candy thermometer reads 190 degrees F. 
  4. Stir in the lemon juice and continue to heat the mixture at 190 degrees F for 5 minutes while stirring constantly.
  5. After 5 minutes, the cream should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  6. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow the cream to cool to room temperature for about 30 to 45 minutes. The mixture will appear to be a little thicker than the original heavy cream.
  7. Pour the cream mixture into the cheese cloth so it can drain into the bowl.
  8. Cover the cream mixture with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 12 hours. 
  9. Carefully lift the mascarpone cheese with the cheesecloth. Discard the liquid left in the bowl. 
  10. Transfer the cheese from the cheesecloth to an airtight container.
  11. Store the cheese in the refrigerator and use within a week.
Recipe adapted from The Pastry Affair.
*My husband is a milkman so I used fresh heavy cream which are sold to restaurants and not available in stores.
Did you already know...
-Mascarpone is a soft Italian cream cheese.
-Mascarpone can be used in savory and sweet dishes like Tiramisu.
-Some substitutes are ricotta cheese, creme fraiche, sour cream with some cream cheese, and cream cheese with a little butter but the taste will be different.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Savory Lobster and Shrimp Cheesecake

Since I am a Mainer, I had to make this dish with lobster. I really didn't have a choice, did I? When I was looking through The Pastry Queen cookbook, I made several suggestions to my husband. I mentioned how I would substitute the crab and he was all for it. I am really curious on what the other Project Pastry Queen members think of my pick this week. 
I will admit I didn't know how it would come out. My husband said that he liked it very much. He said it was close to a quiche. My oldest daughter said she could taste the cream cheese and could understand why it is called a cheesecake. Two of my children liked it. My youngest daughter didn't want to try it. She says she doesn't like lobster. I asked her if she knew she lived in Maine but it didn't influence her decision. I think maybe when her oldest brother tries it then she might. She tells me that there is no way that is happening. 
 If you like seafood and cream cheese, I would say this is a dish for you! Did I sell you on it? Were you convinced you should try it? I did like it but I need to warn you that it is very rich. It did take me about 90 minutes before the dish was done. I would recommend this dish as an appetizer so you can share.
Savory Lobster and Shrimp Cheesecake
Crust
60 saltine crackers
3/4 cups unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp freshly ground white pepper

Mascarpone Filling
1 lb uncooked shrimp, fresh (Defrost if using frozen)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
12 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 lb mascarpone cheese
5 large eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 lb lobster meat, cleaned and coarsely chopped 
3 green onion tops, thinly sliced

Directions:
To make the crust:
  1. Grease a 10 inch springform pan with cooking spray or a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, place the crackers and pulse until fine. (The crackers can be crushed in a plastic bag by a rolling pin.)
  3. Add the melted butter and pulse until combined.
  4. Add the pepper and salt and pulse for 20 seconds.
  5. Press the mixture evenly into the pan.
To make the filling:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Peel and devein the shrimp, if necessary.
  3. Rub the shrimp evenly with salt and cayenne.
  4. In a saute pan, heat the butter over medium heat.
  5. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook the shrimp for 1 to 3 minutes, until the shrimp curl and turn pink.
  6. Transfer the shrimp into a small bowl and refrigerate until needed.
  7. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy with a mixer.
  8. Add the mascarpone cheese and beat on medium speed for 1 minute only so the mixture doesn't curdle.
  9. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating about 30 seconds on medium-high heat after each addition.
  10. Add the flour and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. The mixture should be creamy.
  11. Coarsely chop the cooled shrimp before adding the shrimp to the mixture.
  12. Add the lobster and green onions.
  13. Fold the mixture until the seafood and green onions are incorporated.
  14. Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the saltine crust.
  15. Bake the cheesecake for 60 minutes (or 30 minutes if using a 9 x 13 pan) or until the mixture is brown on top and firm. It should not jiggle when nudged.
  16. Allow the cheese cake to cool for at least 60 minutes (30 minutes in a 9x 13 pan). 
  17. Serve in wedges or squares. The dish can be served warm or at room temperature. 
Recipe adapted from The Pastry Queen.
Since it is raining out, I had a helper today.
Did you already know....
-Live lobster should be cooked the day they are purchased.
-Lobsters need salt water so they should not be stored in tap water.
-Cooked lobster should be used within 3 days.
-Soft shelled lobster is sweeter and more tender than hard shelled lobsters.

I did use homemade mascarpone for 1 lb of this dish. I will be posting the recipe tomorrow.

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