Monday, 28 January 2013

Family Favorite: Double Chocolate Peppermint Bread Pudding

Chocolate is a Family Favorite for Thousands
Chocolate is a favorite of the majority of people and when they can get a double dose of chocolate they are on cloud nine. Almost everyone I know has some form of chocolate once a week. I personally love chocolate, having a little every day, whether it is in my coffee, dessert, and pancakes. You name it and I can find a place to add chocolate.
Chocolate Bread Pudding on Every Occasion
Our family has Turkey on Thanksgiving and smoked Brisket on Christmas and Double Chocolate Bread Pudding Family Favorite on both. When making the following recipe if you don't like peppermint you can add raspberry, banana or any of flavor that you like with chocolate.
Chocolate Cake Recipe
1# 11oz Granulated Sugar
1# 2oz All Purpose Flour
5 ¾ oz Cocoa Powder
3 tsp Baking Soda
2 ¼ tsp Kosher Salt
9 oz Eggs
3 oz 4tsp Canola Oil
15 oz Buttermilk
15 oz Milk
2 ¼ tsp Peppermint Flavor
Directions: Prepare to round cake pans and preheat oven at 325 degrees.
Sift dry ingredients together and place in bowl (mixing bowl w/paddle attachment if you have a Kitchen Aid mixer). In a separate bowl combine eggs and oil. In another bowl combine buttermilk, milk and peppermint.
Gradually add the eggs and oil to the dry mixture, followed by the buttermilk, milk and peppermint. Occasionally stop and scrape the bowl. Mix until combined. Pour into prepared pans.
Bake at 325 degrees for about 40-60 minutes until a wooded skewer inserted into the center of the cake come out clean. Place on cooling rack for 5-10 minutes, then turn cakes out on to a cookie sheet and let cool completely. Once cool cut into 1" squares and place in a greased 11 x 9 cake pan.
Prepare Custard
2 ½ cups Heavy Cream
¼ cup 2 tbls Whole Milk
¾ cups Granulated Sugar
2 Eggs
1 ½ tsp Peppermint Flavor
3 tbls Semisweet Chocolate Chips
3 tbls Granulated Sugar mixed with ¼ tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
In a heavy saucepan, scald the heavy cream, whole milk and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Remove the pan from the heat and add 1 ¾ cups semisweet chocolate. Whisk until chocolate is melted.
In a large heat proof bowl, whisk the eggs and the peppermint until well blended. Slowly temper the eggs by whisking the hot chocolate and milk mixture. Whisk the chocolate custard to blend well and pour the mixture over the cake cubes. Scatter the remaining chocolate chips on top of the custard and sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Allow the bread pudding to sit for 10 to 1 minutes to ensure the cake cubes are soaked with custard. Take the cake pan and place in a roasting pan on the middle shelf of the oven. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan so that it comes 1 inch up the sides of the cake pan.
Bake for 50 minutes until the custard has thickened. When the pan is gently shaken the center will barely move. Serve Warm.
I hope than you enjoy this family favorite recipe as much as we do.

Article Source:

A Gourmet Dessert That Is Simple to Make and Elegant to Serve

The New York Polish Cheese Coffeecake is a beautiful and absolutely delicious dessert that is so easy to make it will surprise you. My daughter was afraid to try it though she had the recipe for many years. I made it with her to show how it is done. Her comment was that she would have made it long ago, had she known how simple it is. Anyone can make this dessert that puts on a gourmet look with just everyday effort. We all have occasions where we want to impress, and this is the dessert for the job. It is rich but not overly sweet. The crust is flaky and tender. The filling is smooth and creamy. Because it is rich it will easily make at least 12 portions.
I discovered this recipe for New York Polish Cheese Coffeecake a lot of years ago, when my children were still little. They are all grown up now, with families of their own. When I visited one of my daughters recently, she brought up this recipe, saying that she had always wanted to try it, but it seemed like it would be time consuming, and with 2 boys and a job, she needed something that was easy.
I told her we could get the simple ingredients and make it together, so she could see just how easy this dessert really could be. We went grocery shopping and picked up the ingredients, came home and made the dough. We rolled it out, filled it and topped with the second piece of dough. Then letting it set for a couple of hours to let the crust have some time to get that little bit of flaky rise, we popped it in the oven. She was astounded at how easy it all was.
When a special occasion comes around and a really spectacular gourmet looking and tasting dessert is what is needed, try this recipe. It was a fortuitous accident that led me to the recipe, and I have enjoyed making this dessert for numerous fine dinners. It is always received with acclaim, both for how pretty it is, and for how very good it tastes. It is hard to go wrong.
New York Polish Cheese Coffeecake
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup evaporated milk or cream, just warm
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 pound cream cheese, softened
1 egg, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, or pecans
Confectioner's sugar for dusting
Dissolve yeast in evaporated milk or cream. Add the tablespoon of sugar. Set aside. Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter till crumbly, as for pie dough. Add in the egg yolks and the yeast mixture and mix until well combined. Divide dough in halves.
Roll the first half just a bit wider and longer than the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch pan. This will allow the dough to go up the sides about 1 1/2 inch, and the filling will be against the dough rather than the side of the pan.
Make filling. Beat cream cheese, egg yolk, 1 cup of sugar and vanilla in a bowl until light and fluffy. Spread onto the bottom crust and smooth the top.
Roll out the second half of the dough to fit the top of the pan. If possible, set the pan on top of the dough and use the outline to trace a perfect size, cutting with a small knife to make a neat edge. Using the rolling pin, roll the piece of dough onto the pin, and then unroll neatly over the top of the filling.
Beat the egg white with a whisk until frothy. You are not looking for meringue, but just enough bubbles to hold onto the nuts on top of the pastry. Brush the top pastry with the beaten egg white. Sprinkle with nuts.
Cover and let rise in a warm place till doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Cool and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. Makes 12 servings.
Extra Notes
For serving, I like to cut this pastry right down the center of the length of the pan, then cut across the pan, making bar shapes. If you would like to make a rich pastry even richer, add 2 to 4 ounces of grated white chocolate to the filling mixture when mixing. No need to melt it first, it melts and blends in with the filling while baking. Enjoy this incredibly gourmet dessert and make guests think you slaved away all day long, when in reality it was about a half hour of work. It can easily be made a day in advance and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature to serve.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Easy Healthy Salad - Strawberry Lemon Salad

Eating right leads to a healthier life. While it is so simple an idea it not as easy as it sounds. Proper nutrition choices should be the main motivation for us home cooks.
This healthy recipe is fast, flavorful and nutritious and can easily be prepared within 30 minutes or less. Perfect when you get home from a long and tiring day at work and too drained to cook that big meal. This dish can be served as an appetizer or as a dessert. Strawberry-lemon salad is thoroughly refreshing with a balance of flavors that will surprise your palate: bitter, sweet, and sour. The rind of the lemon are sliced into thin strips and heated in sweet sugar syrup, then used to garnish the slices of strawberries. Lemon sauce is poured on the dish and a sprig of mint is used to decorate and add fresh flavor. It is also served with scoops of lemon sorbet making this ultra-invigorating. Add Macaroon pieces at the end of the recipe, which has already been prepared beforehand. You can also purchase macaroons in a pastry shop, create your own, or substitute it with other similar pastries. The starch will contrast to the fruits and give it a dry dimension.
Here is how to make this awesome healthy recipe.
Cooking Recipe Preparation time
• Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking Recipe Ingredients
• 6 lemons
• 0.55 lbs. strawberries
• 3.5 oz. sugar
• 0.33 lbs. pectin
• 4 scoops of lemon sorbet
• 8 macaroon pieces
Cooking recipe preparation instructions
1. Peel the 2 lemons.
2. Mince the lemon peels. Blanch in cold water and drain.
3. Preserve the lemon peels in a mixture of half water, half sugar.
4. Recover the lemon juice.
5. Add 0.33 lbs. sugar. Bring to boil.
6. Add the pectin, boil again, and skim (remove the mousse).
7. Wash and prepare the strawberries. Cut them into quarters.
8. For the presentation, spread the lemon sauce over the serving dish. Place a scoop of lemon sorbet on top of it and lay the strawberries around it. Decorate with some fresh mint leaves and preserved lemon peels.
This refreshing salad dessert can be combined with a sweet wine such as Maury's vins doux naturels, which is made of Grenache grape varieties. This kind of wine is extremely fruity and will complement well with the sweetness of the strawberry, the bitterness of the lemon skins, and the sweet-sourness of the lemon sauce. While it is very simple to make, this dish has complex and intricately layered flavors that can be savored unhurriedly for superior enjoyment.

Article Source:

Short Overview of the Most Popular Fruits for Smoothies

Smoothies are not only healthy but also delicious. The amount of minerals they consist of enchanted us. You can drink it without feeling guilty about this short moment of pleasure. How could you resist such a perfect drink?
One Fruit to Rule Them All
I've been questioned about this stuff time after time -- what is the best fruit to put into a smoothie? Is there such a fruit, which must always be included in smoothies we make?
I have to let you down, however -- there is no such thing. All of the fruits were made almost equal, some have more vitamins, other have more enzymes, but there aren't any better fruits or worse. It all comes down to your taste and your preferences. Just remember, that when you want to identify how nutritious a fruit is, everything depends upon how it is prepared. Here comes a description of the most famous fruits that are used to create smoothies.
The Most Famous Fruits
I reckon that no fruit's as popular as oranges. Oranges are not only the most favored fruit, but they're also amongst the most cherished ones. The truth is that they are both healthy and delightful. Oranges are full of magnesium, which is a chemical element that can help our organism sustain normal blood pressure. Therefore it's among the most healthy fruits in existence.
When conversing about delicious and famous fruits, strawberries need not to be forgotten. It would be a disgrace to leave them out not just because of their delightful taste, but additionally because they are equally nutritious as oranges. Strawberries are jam-packed with riboflavin (vitamin B2), which is accountable for body growth (crucial for children). This fruit is additionally really light and very delicious -- sweet and delicate.
As you probably know, bananas can easily be made into a smoothie and taken as is. However, the real reason why we like smoothies so much is because their taste is more complex. Bananas are very useful while preparing smoothies, because they add the extra thickness to the drink. In case you prefer your smoothie sweet, incorporating bananas may help you achieve that. Also, bananas contain tryptophan, a substance which makes people happier compared to what they usually are.
To Sum Up
What you should bear in mind at all times is that the beauty of a smoothie lies in its simplicity. If you try mixing up too many fruits, chances are you'll end up with a smoothie that is not only very complex, but also absolutely inedible. Each of the mentioned three fruits is a perfect base for a delightful, smart smoothie.
To make things interesting, don't settle for those 3 fruits only, test as frequently as you can. Bananas fit with honey, honey goes well with oats, oats and honey are exceptionally nutritious. Like just about anything else, preparing smoothies is something of an art; in order to make the perfect one you ought to learn a lot.

Article Source:

Friday, 2 November 2012

Unique Vegetable Soup

You are probably wondering about the perfect food that is quick and easy to prepare, has myriads of choices of ingredients, benefits you with better health, and is cost effective to make? Then, the answer to all your questions is vegetable soup.
Why is vegetable soup so important?
For starters, this soup is very easy to prepare. With just few easy steps, anyone can prepare it.
There are plenty of soups recipes available. You can try out different vegetables every time you prepare it.
Although for most recipes, the method of preparation remains the same, it may vary a little depending on the ingredients you choose.
You may not have adequate vegetables in your diet at the moment. For instance, most American diets have a lesser vegetable content. So, with vegetable soup, you can boost your vegetable intake to meet your five-a-day recommended portion.
Consuming this soup is advantageous to your health, as vegetables reduce the chances of heart disease, hypertension, Diabetes, it protects you against specific type of cancers, and, in general, it leads to an increase in the body's resistance against many diseases and aliments through improving the body's immune system.
If you are weight conscious, vegetable soup acts like a diet soup, which limits unwanted calories and fat build-up in your body unlike other foods. It can help you reduce and maintain the required weight.
If you are sick, vegetable soup acts like a healthy soup that improves your health by providing you with the necessary nutrients.
Here are some ingredients to prepare vegetable soup:
50 grams each of any two vegetables. They can be carrots, onions, potatoes, cauliflower, etc. They can be scraped and chopped depending on your choice.
200 grams of tomatoes.
20 grams of butter.
1 tablespoon of oats
2 teaspoons of ginger and garlic paste
50 milliliters of fresh skimmed milk
2 teaspoons of oil
1 tablespoon of flour (all purpose)
1 teaspoon of pepper powder
Salt as per your taste
1 - 2 green chilies
5 - 6 cups of water
5 - 6 neatly chopped Coriander leaves.
Method of preparation of vegetable soup:
You have to ignite or switch on your stove, and place a pan on it.
Put 5 - 10 grams of butter in the pan, and heat it. You have to let the butter span across the pan as it melts.
Put the ginger and garlic paste into the pan, and fry it for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring it so that it does not stick to the pan.
Put in the vegetables and tomatoes into the pan.
Put in 5 - 8 cups of water, and let it boil. Time is dependent on the flame intensity.
When you feel the vegetables are cooked, you can sprinkle some pepper powder upon it depending on your taste.
Now, you have to mix milk, flour, and oats in a jug, and then add the mixture to the pan.
Now, you can decrease the flame intensity to a simmer.
Fry oil with a mixture of the Coriander leaves and green chilies for about 1 - 2 minutes in another pan, and then transfer it to the vegetable soup pan. Take care to protect yourself from the oil if it spurts when you transfer it to the soup.
Simmer for 2 more minutes, and stir the contents well.
Now your vegetable soup is ready.

Article Source:

Maintaining A Healthy Diet While At Work

One of the problems that many of us face when we work for a living is the fact that it can be quite difficult to eat healthily through the day. As a matter of fact, we may find that we are simply grabbing something as quick as possible from vending machines or candy machines that may be at our place of business. Quite obviously, this is not going to result in our having the optimum health that we would desire and it can actually cause problems in the long run that are difficult to control. That being said, what are some of the things that you can do to ensure that you are eating as healthy as possible when you are stuck at work?
One of the more obvious points to eating healthy is the fact that you must be prepared in advance. If you are leaving everything to chance, it is likely that you are going to be hitting one of the candy machines in your office at sometime during the day. This can be disastrous for your waistline, as well as your overall health. If you plan in advance, on the other hand, and bring yourself some food that is healthier than what comes out of the vending machines at work, you will be in a better position. What are some of the options that are open to you?
Some people find that it is very beneficial to do all of their cooking on one or two days every week. If you cook on the weekend, it is often possible for you to cook enough that you will be good for the majority of the week. Having the food prepared in advance and even distributed in smaller Tupperware containers will make it easy for you to grab a pre-prepared lunch and take it with you in the morning. This will help you to avoid the fast food restaurants and the other unhealthy options that are available to you in the work environment.
Another thing that you are going to need in order to be successful with eating healthy is proper motivation. When you are first starting some type of a healthy eating regime, it can be very difficult to stick with it for the long run. As a matter of fact, it is often estimated that you have to go at least 21 days without a particular food or type of food before it becomes a habit. If you are able to stick with it for that long, you may just find that you are able to avoid it for the rest of your life.
One final thing that you should consider is the fact that being healthy is not just a matter of eating healthy. Exercise and getting plenty of rest are also going to play key parts in being healthy at work and in your home environment. Get outside and get some fresh air when possible and if all you can do is walk, by all means go for a walk. The more you spend time exercising, the less you will have a problem with your health.
The author has worked in the food industry for many years and can see the rise in healthy food consumption in the market. He suggest to those who work in a office, to replace the candy machines they have in there with some healthy vending machines alternatives. This will help them stay away from junk foods and maintain their healthy diet.

Article Source:

Tips to Make Easy Citrus Chicken

Chicken is one of those entrees that can get boring quickly. How many chicken rice and mushroom casseroles can you eat anyway?
The advantages of chicken include it's relatively cheap, tastes good, and cooks quickly. Here's a recipe that is adaptable for any season. The tang of the citrus brings out the best in the chicken. The herbs add a fresh note and more flavor. If you don't like garlic, use scallions instead. Change the citrus and herbs and it's a brand new dish. Here are tips to make easy citrus chicken.
4 Chicken breasts, 8 thighs or 8 drumsticks
1 orange
2 lemons
2 limes
1 pink grapefruit
4 slices of citrus fruit
1/2 cup chopped herbs, sage, cilantro, parsley or tarragon
3 cloves chopped garlic
salt and pepper to taste

This dish includes all four citrus fruits. However, you could use only one fruit and herb, such as lemon and tarragon for a French dish, limes and cilantro for Southwest flavor -- add a 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, or Orange and sage.
Zest the fruit, leaving the white pith. That's bitter and won't add any flavor. Squeeze the citrus fruit until you have at least 1 cup of juice. Add the zest, garlic and chopped herbs. Reserve 1/2 cup of the marinade.
Pull the skin away from the chicken but don't remove it. You want the marinade to bath the chicken meat. Add the marinade. Push some of the herbs, zest and garlic under the skin. Refrigerate for a minimum of four hours up to overnight.
Now you have your choice of cooking methods. Pull the skin back over the chicken meat. The skin keeps the meat moist. Brown in a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. Lower the heat and let simmer for 30 to 45 minutes until the chicken is cooked through, the juices run clear and the meat is no longer opaque. Or brown the chicken then transfer to a slow-cooker with the marinade. Add enough chicken broth to cover the meat. Cook for four to eight hours depending on your slow-cooker.
Or put the chicken straight from the fridge into a baking pan. Add the marinade. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Serve with couscous or rice. Add the reserved marinade to the rice or couscous during the last five minutes of cooking. Actually with the couscous add the boiling water, stir then immediately add the marinade. Cover for five minutes then fluff with a fork.
Plate the chicken adding a slice of the citrus fruit on top as a garnish. This dish is good with peas, fresh string beans or asparagus.
Make a double batch. Use the leftovers for chicken salad adding 1/4 cup of the citrus juice you used for the marinade, 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 1/2 cup of chopped celery and one small can of mandarin oranges.
Now you know how to make easy citrus chicken.

Article Source: