Thursday, February 26, 2015

Buffalo Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are one of my favorite things to make on a Friday night. Sure, they're messy, but they're also packed with flavor and are always a popular choice. Rather than buy a bag of premade frozen wings, try this buffalo chicken wings recipe from Landria's new cookbook, Super Paleo Snacks. You won't be disappointed.


Buffalo Chicken Wings
Excerpted from Super Paleo Snacks by Landria Voigt




Ready for a little spice? Traditional buffalo wings are delicious, but too often they are fried in unhealthy oils and coated with gluten. This wonderful recipe is a Paleo twist on a favorite party snack that can be enjoyed anywhere, anytime for a protein-packed snack.

2¾ pounds (1245 g) raw chicken wings
½ cup (64 g) arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
½ cup (112 g) grass-fed butter
½ cup gluten-free hot sauce (such as Texas Pete’s)

Set the wings on a few paper towels and pat dry. In a resealable plastic freezer bag, combine the arrowroot, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne (if using). Add the wings to the bag, and shake until they are well coated. Set a wire rack on a baking sheet, and place the wings on the rack. Put the pan in the fridge for 1 hour to help the wings absorb the spices and dry out so they won’t end up soggy.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C, or gas mark 6). After the hour of refrigeration, bake the wings for 20 minutes. Turn the wings over and bake for another 20 minutes. While the wings bake, in a small saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the hot sauce until well combined. Set aside. As it sits, it will thicken up, which will add more flavor to the wings.

Take the wings out of the oven and brush them with the sauce. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Broil them for the last minute or two to get them crispy.

Yield: about 2 dozen wings

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Super Paleo Snacks 

Snacks are essential for making sure we get the proper amount of nutrients. They refuel our bodies and allow us to be productive at work, school and during fitness activities, but it's so difficult to find a snack that isn't processed, boxed, or GMO. What's a Paleo-lover to do? You need snacks to feel good about eating, that are portable, appealing, inexpensive, and easy to make. That's a tall order. Luckily, there is Landria Voigt's Super Paleo Snacks. With over 100 recipes using Paleo superfoods like coconut, avocado, sweet potatoes, and almond, you will be on your way to amazing health benefits including reduced incidence of diabetes, autoimmune illnesses, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. These recipes are quick and easy to make, most take under 15 minutes to prepare! Try every easy Paleo-approved recipe for enjoyable bites, treats, and munchies. You'll always have something healthy, natural, and delicious for snacking!
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Chocolate Banana Pops

When I was in Newport Beach, California there were banana stands everywhere selling frozen bananas. It made me immediately think of Arrested Development and made my coworkers and I just have to buy a frozen banana. It was delicious. Seriously delicious. What I had thought was just a silly whim was actually an amazing (and fairly healthy) snack.

So when I saw this recipe for Chocolate Banana Pops in Laura's newest cookbook, I couldn't help but share it with you all. The book doesn't publish until June, but you can preorder your copy today. That is, if you can get someone to hold your chocolate banana pop.

Chocolate Banana Pops
Excerpted from The Best Homemade Kids' Snacks on the Planet by Laura Fuentes of Momables.com


Eating a banana has never been this much fun! This is the perfect kitchen activity for kids, so invite
them to help make their own treat.

1 cup (175 g) chocolate chips
1 tablespoon (14 g) coconut oil
Assorted toppings for coating bananas, such as crushed homemade cookies, sprinkles, nuts, or shredded coconut
3 bananas, peeled

In a double boiler, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil.

Place each topping in a separate shallow dish. On a flat surface, cut bananas in half. Push an ice cream stick through each banana half.

Dip the first banana half in the melted chocolate, allow the excess chocolate to drip from the banana
into the bowl, and transfer the banana to a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle a few toppings over the banana. Have fun with this step, mixing and matching toppings as you please.

Repeat the dipping and tossing process with the remaining banana halves. Place coated banana halves in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove from freezer and enjoy!

Yield: 6 servings

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The Best Homemade Kids' Snacks on the Planet

If you're a parent or a caregiver, you know that kids are hungry all the time. And while you want to give them the best, snack time can be a true test. How do you avoid the convenient-but-unhealthy storebought treats and instead provide something that not only tastes good, but is good for them them too?

With The Best Homemade Kids' Snacks on the Planet, you'll find more than 200+ great ideas for solving the snack conundrum. Recipes and ideas you can whip up in minutes, without fuss in the kitchen, or fuss from your kid! So whether you're packing snacks for your purse, the school bag, the sports bag, or the can't-make-it-until-dinner whining hour, you'll find quick and healthy ideas everyone in your family will love.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Goat Cheese and Rose Cheesecake

Let's make cheesecake, shall we? I know, making cheesecake at home can seem daunting, but with a little patience, you'll end up with something truly outstanding. Rather than just sticking to cream cheese and canned fruit, give this goat cheese and rose cheesecake a try. You might find it's the best thing you've tasted in a while. I know I did.

If you loved this recipe (and really, how could you not?) be sure to preorder your copy of Melanie's cookbook, Making Artisan Cheesecake, today. 

Goat Cheese and Rose Cheesecake
Excerpted from Making Artisan Cheesecake by Melanie Underwood


Although this cheesecake has honey, it is not that sweet and is more akin to having a cheese for dessert. If you like it sweeter, add an extra 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar. Also, cream cheese can be substituted for a creamier cheesecake.

CRUST
Nut Crust made with pistachios (recipe follows)

CHEESECAKE
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) heavy cream
1/3 cup (20 g) dried rose petals
2 2/3 pounds (1176 g) goat cheese
2/3 cup (230 g) honey
6 eggs

GARNISH
Fresh organic rose petals
Rose Syrup (recipe follows)

To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC, or gas mark 4). Follow the instructions for the Nut Crust (recipe below), using pistachios. Let cool completely before adding the cheesecake batter.

To make the cheesecake: Lower the oven to 325ºF (170ºC, or gas mark 3). In a medium-size saucepan, heat the heavy cream just until boiling. Remove from the heat and add the rose petals. Cover the pan and set aside for 15 minutes. Strain the mixture, pressing down on rose petals to extract as much of the cream as possible. Set aside to cool to room temperature. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix the goat cheese on low speed until softened, scraping down the sides of the bowl, underneath the paddle, and the paddle frequently with a rubber spatula, about 2 minutes. Add the honey and continue mixing on low and scraping down the sides, bottom, and paddle until combined, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix just until combined, about 10 seconds after each egg. Slowly stir in the infused heavy cream.

Prepare the springform pan for a water bath (download here). Place the springform pan in a large cake pan or a roasting pan (one that is around the same height or lower than your springform pan). Pour the batter over the crust and level it with a small offset spatula. Place in the oven and pour almost boiling water into the roasting pan (it should come up halfway around the sides of the pan). Bake for about 55 minutes, until the cheesecake is firm around the edges, but still jiggly in the center (the jiggly part should be about the size of a quarter).

Remove from the oven and remove the cheesecake from the water bath. Remove the foil from the sides of the pan. Gently run a small sharp knife or small spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen the cheesecake from the sides. Allow to cool at room temperature. Place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours (this will help the cheesecake set completely).

To unmold the cheesecake, gently run a small sharp knife or small spatula around the edges of the pan. Release the latch on the side of the pan and then lift the ring straight up. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

To garnish: Top with fresh rose petals and drizzle with rose syrup. 

Yield: One 10-inch (25 cm) cheesecake

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BOTTOM-ONLY NUT CRUST

2 cups (190 g) finely ground nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, or pecans; mix no more than two)
2 tablespoons (26 g) granulated or brown sugar
3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC, or gas mark 4).

In a medium bowl, combine the nuts and sugar. Add the butter and stir with a rubber spatula to combine, making sure all the butter is absorbed and the crumbs or nuts are evenly coated.

Place the mixture in a 10-inch (25 cm) springform pan. Using the palm of your hand or the bottom of a glass, press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan. For a bottom-and-sides crust, use the sides of a glass to press about half of the mixture into the sides of the pan.

Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until slightly firm. (The nut crust will be toasted to a golden brown and have a nutty aroma.) Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, about 10 minutes.

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Rose Syrup

Find the reddest rose petals you can to make this syrup as it will intensify the color. Be sure to use only rose petals that have not been sprayed with pesticides. If you do not have access to fresh rose petals, dried petals are a great substitute and easily available. You can substitute any edible flower, but try to pick ones with bright colors.

FRESH ROSE PETAL SYRUP

1 cup (60 g) packed fresh organic rose petals
1 cup (200 g) sugar, divided
2 cups (470 ml) water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium-size bowl, combine the rose petals and 1/4 cup (50 g) of the sugar, rub them together to bruise the petals, then cover and set aside overnight.

In a medium-size saucepan, combine the remaining 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar and the water; bring to a boil and then add the rose petal/sugar mixture. Simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes, or until syrupy and thickened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Strain the syrup and discard the petals. Stir in the vanilla. Refrigerate the syrup until ready to use.

Yield: 1 cup (235 ml)

DRIED ROSE PETAL SYRUP

1/2 cup (30 g) dried rose petals
2 cups (470 ml) water
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium-size bowl, combine the rose petals and water; cover and set aside overnight. Strain the syrup and discard the petals.

In a medium-size saucepan, combine the rose water and sugar; bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture is syrupy and thickened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Stir in the vanilla. Refrigerate the syrup until ready to use.

Yield: 1 cup (235 ml)

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Making Artisan Cheesecake

Make it a classic or make it your own- with this book, you can create virtually any cheesecake you can imagine.

Cheesecake is a classic, hugely popular dessert consisting of a mixture of soft cheese, egg, and sugar on a crust. There are many, many variations, from fruit-flavored cakes to cheesecake pops to versions with ricotta, quark, or goat cheese. And there are a variety of techniques for making a cheesecake successfully, including baking in a water bath and not baking at all, that can intimidate home cooks. Try your hand at mouthwatering recipes like:

- Maple Macadamia Cheesecake
- Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Honey & Lavender
- Coffee-Toffee Cheesecake
- Hot Chocolate Cheesecake
- Mascarpone & Raspberry Cheesecake
- Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

Making Artisan Cheesecake presents the classic and well-loved cheesecake in a new, adventurous, and modern way, and answers any questions about it that home cooks and bakers- foodies who love delicious classic desserts- might ask. In addition to sharing many variations, author Melanie Underwood teaches all the techniques behind building a range of different styles, and encourages readers to develop their own unique recipes. She also covers options for crusts, cheeses, and batters; baking techniques; how to keep the top from cracking; and the differences among various styles, including New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Italian, Brazilian, and Japanese.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Roasted Tomato, Jerusalem Artichoke, and Toasted Hazelnut Sandwich

It sometimes feels rather overwhelming to make healthy decisions. Waking up early to get that important workout in, choosing the stairs over the elevator, even spending extra time to create healthy meals ahead of time so you can quickly make them when you're on the go. Thankfully, sometimes the best healthy choices are easy. Sometimes they're sandwiches.

If you want something fast, easy, healthy, and delicious, choose this roasted tomato, artichoke, and hazelnut sandwich from Katie's new cookbook. Use your favorite bread or try Katie's recipe for Parmesan kale bread. Either way, you'll love the results.

Roasted Tomato, Jerusalem Artichoke, and Toasted Hazelnut Sandwich
Excerpted from Superfood Sandwiches by Katie Chudy


RECOMMENDED BREAD: Parmesan Kale Bread (recipe follows), Spelt and Flaxseed Challah, Semolina Quinoa Focaccia, whole grain bread

YIELD: 4 sandwiches

To me, this is a perfect vegetarian sandwich. It has heartiness from the roasted Jerusalem artichokes, tang from the roasted tomatoes, crunch from the toasted hazelnuts, and an herbal accent, courtesy of the trio of mint, basil, and chives. It’s the perfect balance and especially good to enjoy at the very start of spring, when Jerusalem artichokes are still in season.

2 cups (300 g) peeled and chopped Jerusalem artichoke (1-inch [2.5 cm] pieces)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) extravirgin olive oil, divided
1 cup (150 g) cherry tomatoes
Kosher salt, to taste
½ cup (75 g) hazelnuts
Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
2 tablespoons (30 ml) Meyer lemon juice
2 tablespoons (5 g) chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons (5 g) chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon (3 g) chopped fresh chives
1 cup (240 g) Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon honey
8 slices bread
1 cup (70 g) spinach

Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC, or gas mark 6). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pile the Jerusalem artichokes on one side. Coat with half of the oil. Make a small pile of the tomatoes on the other side of the baking sheet. Coat with the remaining oil and season both with salt. Bake until the tomatoes become golden and shrivel slightly (if done first, remove them and continue cooking the Jerusalem artichokes), 25 to 30 minutes. 

Cook the Jerusalem artichokes until they have no resistance when pierced with a knife, 30 to 40 minutes. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, in a small ovenproof skillet, toast the hazelnuts in the oven, checking them often so they don’t burn, until they turn golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest and juice, basil, mint, and chives. Stir in the yogurt and the honey. Lightly toast the bread. Spread the yogurt–herb mixture on each slice. Divide the spinach among half of the slices of bread and neatly pile on the roasted tomatoes and Jerusalem artichokes. Crush the hazelnuts with a knife and divide among the slices of bread. Top with the other slices of bread.

FEATURED SUPERFOODS:

Basil, chives, Greek yogurt, hazelnuts, honey, Jerusalem artichokes, lemons, mint, olive oil, spinach, tomatoes

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Parmesan Kale Bread
Excerpted from Superfood Sandwiches by Katie Chudy


YIELD: 1 loaf, 8 to 10 slices

I was not one of those people who loved kale—until I found new ways to introduce my taste buds to this flavorful, versatile green. Now I can’t seem to get enough of it. If you’re like me and need some convincing, give this recipe a shot; it may change your mind about kale. If you’ve already fallen under this mighty green’s spell, then you’ll love this bread

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups (140 g) chopped kale
1 cup (235 ml) warm water
2½ teaspoons (10 g) yeast
2 teaspoons honey
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup (100 g) grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1½ cups (180 g) whole wheat flour
1¾ cups (210 g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons (5 g) chopped fresh basil

In a small skillet over medium heat, heat the oil and add the kale. Heat the kale until it has wilted down but still is vibrantly green, 3 to 4 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the water, yeast, and honey. Stir to combine and let sit until the yeast gets foamy.

Using a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, combine the nutmeg, ⅔ cup (65 g) of the cheese, both flours, and salt. If you don’t have a stand mixer, combine these ingredients by hand in a large bowl. Add the egg and lemon zest and mix on low speed. Slowly add the yeast mixture, along with the cooked kale and basil. Knead for about 5 minutes on medium speed, or until the dough releases from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball in the center. If making dough by hand, knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes, or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic but is still a little sticky. If the dough still sticks to the sides of the bowl or to your hands and looks a little wet, add another ¼ cup (30 g) flour. Put the dough in a large, greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC, or gas mark 4). Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down with your hands and lay it in a bread loaf pan. Pour the remaining ⅓ cup (35 g) cheese on top of the dough. Bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the internal temperature of the dough is 200ºF (93ºC). Let cool for a couple of minutes before cutting into it. Wrap any remaining bread tightly with plastic wrap.

FEATURED SUPERFOODS:

Basil, eggs, honey, kale, lemons, olive oil, whole wheat flour 

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Superfood Sandwiches Crafting Nutritious Sandwiches with Superfoods for Every Meal and Occasion

There's nothing better than chomping into a super-fresh sandwich with crusty bread, packed high with all your favorite nutritious fillings. Some say the sandwich is boring and classless - not the case for these sandwiches packed with superfoods.

Superfood Sandwiches features recognized superfoods, fresh vegetables, fruits, all-natural meats and cheeses, and quality baked breads, making any sandwich a respectable and versatile meal.

Start from scratch or use up some leftovers. Whether you're on a budget or aiming for gourmet, Chef Katie Chudy provides tips and shortcuts for those in a hurry as well as more detailed recipes and options, making some extra effort in the kitchen well worth it. Inside, you'll find easy and healthy recipes, such as:

- Buttermilk Whole Wheat Bread
- Tomatillo Yogurt Sauce
- Beet Green and Pecan Pesto
- Turmeric Chickpeas with Cardamon Spiced Apple Sandwich
- Spinach and Zucchini Cornmeal Cakes with Spiced Goat Cheese
- Argentinian Steak Sandwich with Kale Chimichurri
- Sage Roasted Pumpkin and Smoked Gouda Melts
- Edamame Fried Rice Veggie "burger"
- Quinoa Crusted Eggplant Parmesan Sub
- Swiss Chard, Fennel and Walnut Sandwich with Panchetta Chips and Saffron Yogurt Sauce

Superfood Sandwiches revitalizes the concept of the everyday sandwich, drawing on global flavors and incorporating healthy superfoods that you want to eat. Celebrate the sandwich - a hearty meal option that is nutritious enough for any time of the day or night - while featuring fun and quirky recipes that will liven up your kitchen.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Little Cake Ball Planets

My mother is a professional cake decorator, so I'm going to preface this post by saying that I have always been a bit spoiled when it comes to clever cake concoctions. Still, this recipe/project from Marsha's new book, Surprise Cakes, is simply wonderful and brings a sense of whimsy to baking and cake decorating that you don't normally see.

Whether you plan on making these little planets for a kids' birthday party, Earth Day, or heck, just a Friday night (hey, some of us like to have fun food), you're going to be impressed at how marvelous they come out and how delicious they taste.

Let's all celebrate our planet together. Let's do it with cake balls.

Happy weekend.

Little Planets
Excerpted from Surprise Cakes by Marsha Janine Phipps


Impressive on the outside, surprising on the inside, these delicious and moreish cake balls are perfect for a child's birthday party. Have fun dipping the balls and creating your own worlds, and let the guests find out what's at the core of your planet—cake!

Preparation Time: 45 minutes plus baking and freezing | Servings: 12

12 vanilla cupcakes, 6 colored red (use storebought or your favorite vanilla cupcake recipe)
4 tbsp Classic Buttercream (recipe follows)
7 oz (200 g) white chocolate
4 tbsp vegetable oil
Gel food colors in green and blue

Break up the cupcakes into crumbs, keeping the red crumbs in one bowl and the uncolored cupcake crumbs in another bowl.

Add 1–2 tablespoons of buttercream to the bowl containing the uncolored cake crumbs and mix together to form a dough. Roll the dough into 12 balls, each with a diameter of approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm). Place the balls on a piece of parchment paper set on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze on the sheet for 30 minutes.




Mix the remaining buttercream into the red cake crumbs to create a red dough. Take the frozen balls out of the freezer. Divide the red dough in the bowl into 12 equal portions. Taking 1 portion, create
a large dough ball, then flatten it out in your palm until it is about ¼ inch (5 mm) thick. Place one of the frozen balls in the center of this shape and carefully envelope the frozen ball in the red dough (see picture on page 38). Make sure that all of the vanilla cake ball is covered in red dough, which should be molded around the ball inside so that the whole thing looks spherical. Place the covered ball on a piece of parchment paper set on a baking sheet, then repeat the process with the remaining frozen balls and portions of red dough. Cover the balls with plastic wrap, then freeze on the baking sheet for 1 hour.


Break the white chocolate into pieces and place 5½ oz (150 g) in one bowl and 1½ oz (50 g) in another bowl. Melt the chocolate in a microwave oven in 30 second bursts using the highest heat setting. Once runny, add 3 tbsp vegetable oil to the larger portion and 1 tbsp to the smaller portion and mix thoroughly (this will make the chocolate extra runny). Color the larger portion blue and the smaller portion green using gel food colors.


Remove the balls from the freezer and pierce each one with a toothpick, inserting it halfway into the ball. Dip each ball into the blue-colored melted chocolate. Gently tap the toothpick against the top of the bowl, knocking off any excess chocolate. This coating of blue is the ‘sea’ on your little planet. Remove the toothpick, using a teaspoon to help you, and place the completed ball on a cookie sheet lined with baking parchment. Repeat with the remaining balls. If the balls start to become soft, return them to the freezer for 5–10 minutes. Once all the balls are decorated, pop the sheet into the freezer and freeze the cake balls for 10 minutes.

Once hardened, use a toothpick to spread some green melted chocolate onto the blue, creating land on your planets. Pop the balls back into the freezer for a final 10 minutes before serving. These can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week if you are not serving them immediately.

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Classic Buttercream


Quick and simple and absolutely delicious, this buttercream continues to be a favorite frosting with bakers around the world. It is rich, sweet and firm, so it forms a nice base for fondant decoration, and is perfect for decorating cupcakes. This recipe can be easily adapted by choosing different flavors of extract, or cocoa powder for chocolate buttercream.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Portion: Enough to fill and cover an 8-inch (20-cm) cake with 3 layers or top at least 12 cupcakes

3½ cups (1 lb 2 oz/500 g) confectioner’s sugar
1 cup (9 oz/250 g) unsalted butter, softened and cubed
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Gel food color (optional)

Pour the confectioner’s sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and set to medium speed. One by one, add the cubes of butter and allow them to be slowly mixed into the sugar. It may take a minute or two for the buttercream to begin to form, so be patient.
Once all the butter is incorporated, add the milk and continue to mix on a medium speed. Once the milk is incorporated, leave the mixer to continue blending the mixture on a high speed for about 5 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla extract (or another flavoring of your choice). If you are coloring the frosting, use gel food color. Reduce the stand mixer’s speed setting to slow and add small amounts at a time using a toothpick (allowing the stand mixer to blend the color for you) until you have the desired shade.

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Surprise Cakes 50 Delicious Cakes to Delight and Amaze

Surprise Cakes brings the art of cake decorating to a whole new level, revealing how to bake amazing and surprising designs and patterns right inside your cake. So when you slice open your masterpiece for guests, you'll be treated to oohs and aahs all around.

The impact of your cake--traditionally lost upon cutting - will go on to surprise your guests with hidden designs baked baked directly into the sponge, or through clever use of frostings or jam. With recipes, baking tips, and frostings, you'll be guided through the easy, step-by-step process from the very start of your project to the finish.

There are clever projects for all occasions including:

- Gender Reveal Cakes which are a baby shower favorite. Slice open the cake to discover the gender of the baby!

- Animal Surprise Cakes which reveal cakes featuring fun and zany animal prints and patterns like zebra stripes and leopard spots.

- Birthday Cakes for Kids like rainbow surprise cakes, paint splatter cakes, and balloon-inside cakes.

Enjoy creating 50 cakes to surprise friends and family with throughout the year: 35 celebration cakes and 15 smaller recipes like surprise cupcakes.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

All About Cilantro and Skirt Steak with Chimichurri

Cilantro
Excerpted from Homegrown Herb Garden by Ann McCormick and Lisa Baker Morgan


Cilantro and coriander are the same plant. Generally speaking, in the Americas cilantro refers to the green leaves and coriander to the small round seeds. In Europe, coriander refers to both and if the recipe calls for the seeds, it will indicate that.

Cilantro has a grassy, citrusy smell with a cooling component, giving a vivid brightness to whatever it is added to. It resembles flat parsley, but the leaves are thinner and more rounded. If you are confused as to which is which, smell them: cilantro has a strong citrus smell while parsley smells like grass. Some cooks—including Julia Child herself—have an aversion to cilantro and use basil as a substitute.

Pairings

Cilantro is used worldwide more than any other herb. It is prevalent in Asian, Thai, Vietnamese, Caribbean, Portuguese, Middle Eastern, Persian, Turkish, and Mexican cuisines. It is found in everything from Mexican tacos and Vietnamese soups to Middle Eastern stews, falafels, and Turkish gözleme.

The citrus flavor in cilantro pairs well with a range of fish and seafood, including clams, mussels, crab, shrimp, calamari, octopus, cuttlefish, and lobster. It also goes well with other citrus flavors (such as lime and lemon) and Asian flavors, including curry, fresh ginger, and lemongrass.

In addition to seafood, cilantro adds a bright note to heavier proteins, including eggs, pork, beef, poultry, and lamb.

The cooling component of cilantro makes it an ideal companion for spicy foods (peppers, radishes, and chiles) as well as other foods with cooling components such as avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers, and apples. Cilantro complements tropical flavors, including coconut, mango, papaya, and pineapple.

Cilantro is often in the company of asparagus, cabbage, onions, scallions, corn, and mushrooms. It
breathes freshness into legumes such as beans, lentils, and garbanzo beans, and it is a great addition to rice dishes, orzo, and couscous. It pairs well with semi-hard and salty cheeses such as feta, ricotta, Cheddar, Havarti, and Mexican cheeses.

Cilantro adds freshness to condiments such as guacamole, chimichurri sauce, salsas, salad dressings, and yogurt sauces, and pairs well with other grassy herbs, including basil, dill, chervil, mint, and parsley.

It goes nicely with olive, peanut, and sesame oils and oily nuts such as Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, and peanuts.

How to Use

To take advantage of cilantro’s bright, fresh flavor, add it just before serving. Although it is heartier than chervil, it will still wilt.

Cooked, cilantro turns into an unappealing dark green stringy mess. However, cilantro can enhance flavor during the cooking process. Add a handful of cilantro to the cavity of  poultry or fish when roasting or grilling or include cilantro in poaching or steaming liquid or en papillote. When used this way, the cilantro is not eaten.

Both the leaves and the trimmed stems can be used. For maximum freshness, add whole cilantro leaves and stems to soup or broth or an herb salad. For a more diffused flavor, chop the cilantro and incorporate it into rice dishes or condiments.

To chop cilantro, gather the bunch in your left hand and proceed to chop it in the same fashion as you would chervil. To preserve its fresh flavor, give it a final chop just before serving.

Larger leaves can be cut in a chiffonade for a delicate presentation; however, you probably will not be able to roll the leaves as you can with basil due to size. Cilantro’s lacy pale purple flowers are a gorgeous touch to dishes but are usually only available in the springtime.

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Skirt Steak with Chimichurri


Chimichurri is both a marinade and a sauce from Argentina served with grilled steak. Traditionally it is made of parsley and oregano, but I use marjoram and cilantro to bring an unparalleled freshness to this dish. You can substitute other cuts of meat, such as a hanger steak, but always serve it sliced to take advantage of the sauce.

For vegetarians, the sauce goes well with large slices of roasted cauliflower or pan-fried medium-firm tofu. Simply place the sauce in a sauté pan, add the roasted cauliflower or diced tofu, and toss in the sauce.

2 cloves garlic, minced
1⁄2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1⁄4 cup finely minced Italian parsley
1 tablespoon minced marjoram
1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
1⁄2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
3 tablespoons (45 ml) Xérès or sherry vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon lime zest
1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon gros sel de Guérande or sea salt
1 pound (454 g) skirt steak
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed

Combine the garlic, herbs, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, lime zest, red pepper flakes, and sea salt in a bowl. Set aside.

Pour one-third of the sauce into a sealable plastic bag. Add the meat. Seal the bag and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 3 hours.

Remove the meat from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Remove from the marinade and wipe off the excess. Discard the marinade in the bag. Season the meat with kosher salt and pepper.

Preheat a grill (or broiler) on high. Turn the heat down to medium-high. Grill the steak for about 5 minutes on each side. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes.

Slice the meat against the grain on the diagonal. Spoon the remaining chimichurri sauce over the meat and serve.

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Homegrown Herb Garden

Take your home cooking to the next level by incorporating fresh homegrown herbs! You don't need lots of space for a huge herb garden, and you don't need to spend a lot of money on fresh herbs at the grocery store or farmers' market. With Homegrown Herb Garden, you can choose the herb or herbs you will use the most and build your herb garden around them. Start with an overview of how to grow, harvest, and store herbs. Then, learn how to handle each herb and what flavors they work well with. The culinary section includes how to prepare and use your herbs, plus savory and sweet recipes to feature them in. Choose your favorite herbs, learn to grow them successfully, and never be at a loss for what to do with them!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Everything Nutella: In Honor of Michele Ferrero

While millions across the world were celebrating Valentine's Day with roses, chocolates, and yes - Nutella - billionaire Michele Ferrero quietly passed away at the age of 89. He was the founder and patriarch of the Italian Nutella empire.

Whether you grew up with Nutella on your breakfast table or spent many an all-nighter in college and university clutching your spoon and tiny (or huge) jar, most of us were touched by this favorite spread in some way or another.

So today we salute Mr. Ferrero for a life well lived and a job well done. Michele, we raise our chocolate-covered spoons to you. Rest well.

Nutella®-stuffed Cinnamon Sugar Muffins
Excerpted from Sally's Baking Addiction by Sally McKenney


They may look like muffins, but a dunk in melted butter and a generous roll in cinnamon-sugar makes these baked breakfast treats taste like donuts, without the hassle of frying. Hiding inside each muffin is a sweet Nutella® surprise, which is layered into the batter as you fill the muffin pan. The muffins are ready in a jiffy, making them perfect for busy mornings. Sometimes I double the recipe and send them along with Kevin to work. His co-workers are always thankful!

Prep time: 20 minutes • Total time: 45 minutes • Makes: 8 muffins

Muffins

1∕3 cup (75g) butter, softened to room temperature
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup (120ml) milk
1½ cups (190g) white whole wheat flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp salt
8 tsp Nutella®

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping

3 tbsp butter
¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spray the muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar together in a large bowl on medium speed until creamed, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and milk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Using a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon, gently stir in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until combined.
Do not overmix.

Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of batter into a muffin cup. Layer with 1 teaspoon of Nutella® in the center and spoon another heaping tablespoon of batter on top. If the muffin cups are completely full, that is ok. They will not overflow while baking. Repeat layering batter and Nutella® into each muffin tin for all 8 muffins. Fill the unused cups one-third full with water to prevent the pan from warping.

Bake at 425°F for 5 minutes and then, leaving the muffins in the oven, reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 13–16 minutes until the batter is set. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes.

For the topping: Melt the butter in a small bowl or pan. In a separate small bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon together. Dip the top of each muffin into the melted butter and then dip into the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Swirl them around in the cinnamon-sugar a bit to make sure you get a thick coating. Set upright on a cooling rack. The muffins will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5.

Sally Says: I use white whole wheat flour in this recipe, which has the same nutrient value as whole wheat flour but tastes milder and lighter. If you can’t find white whole wheat flour you can use all-purpose flour or a mix of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour.

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Here are a few of our favorite Nutella-inspired recipes from the past few years. We hope you'll enjoy making them for the first time or remaking your favorites in honor of a truly fantastic man who brought us all one of our favorite chocolate-y creations.

Nutella Pana Cotta

Nutella Truffles

Nutella Brownie Cake

Nutella Pie

Nutella Souffles

Banana and Nutella Milkshake

Nutella and Orange Whoopie Pies

Triple Chocolate Nutella Cookies

Need more? Don't we all. Be sure to also pop by our amazing Nutella Pinterest board.

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Nutella The 30 best recipes

From irresistible macaroons to tasty cheesecakes, discover new ways of using, cooking and enjoying Nutella with 30 mouthwatering recipes. 30 delicious recipes in a Nutella-shaped book for all the fans of the famous spread:

- little individual sweets: from a revisited version of bread with Nutella to Nutella and banana tartlettes
- generous Nutella cakes to share: cake roll, Twelfth Night cake or even a Nutella charlotte.
- creamy, ‘must have’ recipes: mousse and little cream
- surprising recipes to impress both young and old: macaroons, caramelized hazelnut stuffed truffles, little mango egg rolls