Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lobster Filled Phyllo Triangles


This week on my Patch Column, "Cooking with Chelsea", I'm feautring Lobster Filled Phyllo Triangles- a spin off the traditional Spinach and Feta Spanakopita.  My mom and I made these a couple of months ago to test out a new dish to add to the appetizer table for Easter. 

We absolutely loved this recipe because it can be made ahead of time, frozen, and baked straight out of the freezer, providing a convenient dish that every hostess will be happy to have in her recipe collection.  Leaving you with one less dish to worry about when you have a busy day of cooking and baking to juggle. 

Not only are these convenient, but they're also delicious.  Made with rich ingredients, the filling is full of wonderful flavor. It's a dish that will impress!

Click here to find this recipe on Patch!




StumbleUpon

Friday, April 29, 2011

Couscous Summer Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

IMGP2181

This week I was honored when one of my FAVORITE bloggers, Laurie at Simply Scratch, asked me to write a guest post for her.  I've admired her talents as a blogger for a long time and have always looked up to her website as one of the best!  So you can only imagine my excitement when she asked me... little old me... to write a guest post while she travels to visit her sisters this week!

Her simply scratch mentality is one that I respect and look up to.  I'm always checking in to see what she's going to come up with next!  Her recipes range from fun and creative to simple and basic, providing a one stop shop for excellent recipes from scratch.  If you don't already follow her, you should!

Check out my guest post and recipe for a Couscous Summer Salad with Lime Vinaigrette!



StumbleUpon

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mom's Easter Almond Ring

IMGP3572


Every family celebrates the holidays differently.  In my family, way back before I can remember, my relatives divided the holidays up so everyone has their own holiday and no one has the responsibility of hosting more than one.  This is essential considering the enormous family we have and the amount of time it takes to prepare for every gathering!

Easter is and always has been my mom's holiday.  While she is known for many recipes in our family, her Easter Almond Ring is my personal favorite and a necessity on the dessert table every year.

While this recipe may seem long, it's a perfect dessert for a special occasion.  The lengthy process consists of minor steps here and there and two rising periods that allow you to multitask at the same time.  While it may seem long and intimidating, it's not as difficult as it looks!

If you like almond, you'll love this cake.  It's full of almond flavor with a great sweet icing to provide that extra bit of sweetness to the bread like consistency.  I would compare it to a danish, perfect with a cup of coffee.  Everyone always looks forward to taking it home to enjoy for breakfast the next morning!

Hope you enjoy my Mom's Easter Almond Ring as much as me and my family have over the years!


Recipe Tips
  • When working with dough, it is important to create a warm environment to allow the yeast to rise.  I do that by preheating my oven to 400 degrees and placing the dough on top of the stove in a bowl wrapped in a dish towel. My mom on the other hand, doesn't preheat her oven and only wraps it tightly in two thick dish towels.  There are many different methods that work!
  •  The picture I took of my dough on the oven has a dish towel placed on top.  I ended up wrapping it around my bowl of dough to trap the warmth inside of the bowl better.


Begin with combining yeast and warm water in the bowl of an electric mixer:


IMGP3036


Stir until your yeast dissolves:

IMGP3051


Then in a small sauce pan, bring your milk to scalding over medium heat.  Set it aside until it cools completely:


IMGP3030


Add your milk:


IMGP3056


Sugar:


IMGP3060

Butter:


IMGP3069


Egg:


IMGP3073

Cardamom:


IMGP3078


Salt:

IMGP3086

And two cups of flour to your mixing bowl:


IMGP3092


Mix on medium speed with your paddle attachment until combined:

IMGP3097


Then add the rest of your flour:


IMGP3109

Mix until combined and your dough appears thickened:


IMGP3119

  Once mixed, switch your paddle attachment with the dough hook and mix on high speed for 5 minutes to knead your dough.  Your mixer will shake, but don't worry- that's normal!  You can also knead by hand if you prefer:

IMGP3130

Once it's done kneading, place your dough in a greased large mixing bowl:

IMGP3133

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.Cover your mixing bowl with a dish cloth and place it on the warmest part of your stove.  In order for your dough to rise, you need to create a warm environment.  A helpful trick to create this is by warming your stove and wrapping your bowl in a dish cloth:


IMGP3146


Let your dough rise for about 2 hours until it doubles in size:


IMGP3190


Meanwhile, prepare your almond filling by combining your almond paste, brown sugar, and butter in the bowl of your electric mixer:


IMGP3168

Mix on medium until smooth, about 5 minutes:

IMGP3181

Once your dough has risen, transfer it to a lightly floured work surface and roll into a15x9 inch rectangle:

IMGP3200

Drop your almond filling onto the dough:


IMGP3205


Spread it evenly along the entire surface:

IMGP3210

Then roll your dough into a tight roll, beginning at the 15 inch side:


IMGP3221

Once rolled, pinch the seams together:

IMGP3227

Stretch the roll to even out the thickness and place the pinched seams facing down:


IMGP3240

Bring the two ends together:

IMGP3243

And pinch them to create a solid ring.  Your seam will not look perfect, but don't worry about it- you'll hide the imperfections with your glaze later!

IMGP3256

Transfer your ring to a greased cookie sheet. Then using a pair of sharp scissors, make cuts 2/3 of the way through your ring in 1 inch intervals:


IMGP3266

Rotate your slits on its side to lay flat across one another:

IMGP3275

Drape your ring with plastic wrap, cover it with a dish towel and return it to the top of your preheated oven.  Lower your oven temperature to 350 degrees and allow your dough to rise for another 40 minutes.  Don't worry about how much it rises, it will be minimal:

IMGP3281


Remove the dish towel and plastic wrap and bake your ring uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until a deep golden color.  Set your ring aside and allow to cool completely. Then transfer to your serving dish:

IMGP3520

Meanwhile, mix together your glaze by combining your confectioners sugar, vanilla, and water in a bowl.  Mix until combined.  If mixture is too thick, Add 1/2 teaspoon at a time of water until you reach your desired consistency.

IMGP3533

Chop your cherries into little pieces and dry them thoroughly with a paper towel:


IMGP3566

Once your bread is cooled, spread your glaze along the surface and sides of the ring:

IMGP3541

Place your pecans along the top spreading them out evenly about every 3 slits:

IMGP3569


Then sprinkle your cherries along the top:


IMGP3594

Serve and enjoy!

IMGP3751






Mom's Easter Almond Ring
Betty Crocker's International Cookbook
Makes: 1 Almond Ring
Prep Time: 45 minutes (not including two rise periods)
Bake Time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients
Cake:
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105 deg-115 deg)
3/4 lukewarm milk (scalded, then cooled)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Almond Filling:
1/2 cup almond paste
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup pecans
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, finely chopped and dried



Directions

Begin with combining yeast and warm water in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Stir until your yeast dissolves.  Then in a small sauce pan, bring your milk to scalding over medium heat.  Set it aside until it cools completely.  Add your milk, sugar, butter, egg, cardamom, salt, and two cups of flour to your mixing bowl.  Mix on medium speed with your paddle attachment until combined.  Then add the rest of your flour and mix until combined and your dough appears thickened.

Once mixed, switch your paddle attachment with the dough hook and mix on high speed for 5 minutes to knead your dough.  Your mixer will shake, but don't worry- that's normal!  You can also knead by hand if you prefer.

Once it's done kneading, place your dough in a greased large mixing bowl.  Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cover your mixing bowl with a dish cloth and place it on the warmest part of your stove.  In order for your dough to rise, you need to create a warm environment.  A helpful trick to create this is by warming your stove and wrapping your bowl in a dish cloth.  Let your dough rise for about 2 hours until it doubles in size.

Meanwhile, prepare your almond filling by combining your almond paste, brown sugar, and butter in the bowl of your electric mixer.  Mix on medium until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Once your dough has risen, transfer it to a lightly floured work surface and roll into a15x9 inch rectangle.  Drop your almond filling onto the dough and spread it evenly along the entire surface.  Then roll your dough into a tight roll, beginning at the 15 inch side.  Once rolled, pinch the seams together.  Stretch the roll to even out the thickness and place the pinched seams facing down. Bring the two ends together and pinch them to create a solid ring.  Your seam will not look perfect, but don't worry about it- you'll hide the imperfections with your glaze later!

Transfer your ring to a greased cookie sheet. Then using a pair of sharp scissors, make cuts 2/3 of the way through your ring in 1 inch intervals.  Rotate your slits on its side to lay flat across one another.  Drape your ring with plastic wrap, cover it with a dish towel and return it to the top of your preheated oven.  Lower your oven temperature to 350 degrees and allow your dough to rise for another 40 minutes.  Don't worry about how much it rises, it will be minimal.

Remove the dish towel and plastic wrap and bake your ring uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until a deep golden color.  Set your ring aside and allow to cool completely. Then transfer to your serving dish.  

Meanwhile, mix together your glaze by combining your confectioners sugar, vanilla, and water in a bowl.  Mix until combined.  If mixture is too thick, Add 1/2 teaspoon at a time of water until you reach your desired consistency.  Chop your cherries into little pieces and dry them thoroughly with a paper towel.  Once your bread is cooled, spread your glaze along the surface and sides of the ring.  Place your pecans along the top spreading them out evenly about every 3 slits.  Then sprinkle your cherries along the top.  Serve and enjoy!
StumbleUpon

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuna and Chickpea Salad

IMGP1968


Chickpea and tuna fish are often paired together in my family.  My mom serves it as a quick and easy dinner option along with boiled potatoes.  She seasons it with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper providing a simple yet satisfying meal my dad really enjoys.

My dad is a meat and potatoes kind of guy - he also loves sardines so a dish consisting of tuna fish is something he welcomes with open arms.  This has become my mom's go-to dish when she's looking for something quick and convenient since most of the ingredients are always stocked in her pantry.

While I love my mom's go-to dish just the way it is, I thought I would try blogging it with a slight variation by adding a great variety of vegetables to provide color, texture, and an extra layer of freshness!  Just like my mom's version, it's a healthy dish that satisfies without pushing you over the edge.

It's also perfectly versatile.  It's a great item to bring to lunch and eat with a fresh loaf of bread or an excellent side salad to serve with grilled chicken and burgers.  It can be made as a light weeknight meal or a great lunch to look forward to.

No matter what the occasion, it's healthy, fresh, flavorful, and extremely easy- an item you can't go wrong with!  Hope you enjoy it!


Start with dicing your celery:


IMGP1801

Cut your cucumber in half:

IMGP1811

Then dice into small cubes:


IMGP1825

Prepare your radishes by removing the stem:

IMGP1839

Then very thinly slicing them:

IMGP1853

Finely dice your red onion:

IMGP1888

Roughly chop your cilantro:

IMGP2111


Drain and wash your chickpeas:

IMGP1891

Drain your tuna fish:

IMGP1901

Combine all of your ingredients into a large bowl:

IMGP1910




IMGP1923

Zest your lemon and add to your bowl of ingredients:

IMGP2616

Juice your lemon and add to your bowl:

IMGP2625


Add your cider vinegar:


IMGP1937


And olive oil:

IMGP1941

Season with salt and pepper and toss until coated:

IMGP1955



A wonderfully light salad full of beautiful color and flavor!


IMGP2011


Serve with a fresh loaf of bread and enjoy!

IMGP2214







Tuna and Chickpea Salad
Serves: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
(Printable Recipe)


Ingredients
3/4 cup celery, diced
3/4 cup cucumber, diced
1/2 cup radishes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
3/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1  30-ounce can of chickpeas
1 can tuna fish
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper


Directions
Start with preparing your ingredients by dicing your celery and cucumber into small pieces.  Cut the stems off of your radishes and thinly slice them.  Finely dice your red onion and roughly chop your cilantro.  Finish with draining your chickpeas and tuna and combine all of the ingredients into a large bowl.  Then zest and juice your lemon.  Add the lemon zest and lemon juice, cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to your bowl.  Toss until coated.  Serve with a fresh loaf of bread and enjoy!

StumbleUpon