Monday, January 21, 2013

Sherry Cream Sauce

I finally have it: the KitchenAid pasta attachment! I was ecstatic when I opened this gift from my husband, never would have thought that a kitchen gadet would get me all giddy on Christmas morning.

I've made homemade pasta in the past, but the hard part was rolling it out and getting it thin enough and having it keep that shape. I can't believe how easy this attachment makes rolling the pasta. Feed it through a couple times and just like that you have a nice thing sheet of homemade pasta perfect for ravioli, manicotti, or for feeding through another cutter to make fettuccinie like I did below. While you won't see my whipping up homemade pasta everytime I want some spaghetti, these attachments do make it a whole heck of a lot easier than what I was doing before.

A few weeks ago for my brother's 30th birthday my husband and I wanted to treat him to dinner now that we're back home in NJ. We picked this delicious looking Italian restaurant in Jersey City called Porto Leggero. Wow, it was amazing! I ordered a pasta dish that came in a to-die-for sherry cream sauce.

To recreate this at home, I started with a basic roux. I added fat free half & half (go for full cream if you want, but then you won't need as much flour) a generous amount of Sherry, and flour to thicken it up. Finish off with Parmesan cheese, salt, and a good bit of fresh cracked pepper. I really like my cream sauces to have cracked pepper in them, so I tend to be heavy handed on thi part. Overall, this is a really great deviation from a traditional cream sauce. The Sherry really adds this depht to the flavor that you're not always getting in an alfredo. Enjoy!

 
 
Ingredients
-1 and 1/2 cup fat free half & half
-3 tablespoons flour
-1 tablespoon butter
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-1/3 cup Sherry cooking wine
-1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
-1/2 teaspoon salt
 
1. In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter and stir in 1 tablespoon of flour. Cook 1 minute. Add the half & half, remaining 2 tablespoons of flour, and the Sherry and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add the salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Simmer about 10 minutes to thicken, serve over Fettuccine or other thick pasta.
 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Loaded Potato Slabs

Looking for the perfect appetizer for your Super Bowl snacking? These little potato slabs are a serious crowd pleasing appetizer and also easy to eat, which gets major points in my book. If there's one thing I can't stand about appetizers and hors d'oeurves is that some of them have no practicality in eating. They need to be something you can easily eat with one hand while holding your cocktail in your other. One of the biggest offenders of these is the chicken satay, can there be anything more cumbersome to eat? So you're at a cocktail party and are offered a chicken satay and you have to clumsily gnaw at the meat on a stick, and then when you're finished you're left with this big stick searching around for either a trash tray or just hold it in your napkin. No thanks.

 
Ingredients
-2 baking potatoes
-1/2 teaspoon paprika
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
-2 tablespoons EVOO
-1/3 cup sharp Cheddar cheese
-4 slices of bacon, cooked and diced small
-3-4 scallions, diced
-Sour cream for garnishing
 
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and slice potatoes very thin to about 1/4 inch in thickness. Place slices on a baking sheet and season with the garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Drizzle with the EVOO evenly. Bake for 30 minutes, flip potatoes and bake an additional 15 minutes.

2. Remove from oven and cover each slice with cheese and bacon pieces. Cook an additional 10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with sour cream and scallions.
 
 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pioneer Woman's Beef Enchiladas

Time for another recipe swap! I love these swaps, it gives me a chance to make something I might not normally choose to make on my own, or something new that I've never had before. I absolutely love enchiladas, so I was excited when the recipe I received was the Pioneer Woman's Enchiladas from the blog Cheese Curd in Paradise.

On a side note, I think its funny I get the blog with that title. If you know that I used to work at The Citadel, you know that every year we had to plan a huge Jimmy Buffet themed party called Cheeseburger in Paradise. Now that I don't work there anymore, I'm finally at the point where I can look at flamingos or hear a Jimmy Buffet song with out cringing.

Anyway, these were delicious, and I'll definitely make them again. I didn't use chilis because I don't really like them, and next time I might cut back a tad on the chicken broth. I highly suggest giving these a try!



Ingredients
Sauce:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon flour
1 can (28 oz) red enchilada sauce
1 and 1/2 cups chicken stock (original recipe calls for 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Meat:
1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, diced small
1/2 teaspoon salt
Tortillas:
12 corn tortillas
1/2 cup canola oil
Fillings/Assembly:
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
 
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and flour and whisk together to make a paste. Cook about 1 minute. Pour in enchilada sauce, chicken stock, cilantro, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the sauce simmers, brown the meat with onions and salt in a skillet. Drain fat.
 
 
2. Heat canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. One at a time fry tortillas in oil until soft about 30 seconds per side. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. .
 
 
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour ½ cup red sauce in bottom of baking dish. Spoon meat, some enchilada sauce, shredded cheese and green onions in the center of a tortilla. Roll up and place with seam down in the baking dish. Repeat until dish is filled and pour the remaining enchilada sauce over top and sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese and green onions.
 
4. Bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle cilantro over enchiladas and serve with sour cream.


Source: Cheese Curd in Paradise











Swaps hosted by http://tasteofhomecooking.blogspot.com

Monday, January 14, 2013

Frozen Chocolate Mousse Pie

Is there anything more decadent than a chocolate mousse filled of semi-sweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, and Bailey's liquor? Below is your remedy for a serious chocolate craving.
 
I knew I was going to make something chocolatey this weekend. My brother had given me a new baking cookbook for Christmas and I locked eyes with a chocolate, honey, and pecan pie. After buying all the ingredients, I set out to make it on Sunday afternoon. I then learned Lesson #145 on why I should read a recipe before setting out to make it. The first line of the recipe reads "This recipe is lengthy, and is best made over the course of 2 days." Gah?! Secondly, the recipe involved making caramel sauce, which I've tried before and failed miserably at. So, I decided to attempt that pie another day, and settled on making this delicious Paula Deen recipe for a frozen mousse pie. The only modifications I made were adding the bittersweet morsels, and cutting the recipe in half. 
 



 
 
Ingredients
-1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
-1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
-2 cups heavy cream, plus 1 tablespoon
-1 pie shell
-1 tablespoon Bailey's Irish Cream
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
-1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pie shell in pie dish and prick holes in the bottom and bake 12-14 minutes.
 
2. In a small sauce pan, melt the chocolate chips with the 1 tablespoon heavy cream. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and Bailey's.
 
3. With an electric mixer, whip the 2 cups heavy cream with the powdered sugar until stiff cream has formed. Fold 1 cup of the whipped cream into the melted chocolate. Slowly fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour mixture into baked pie shell and place in the freeze for a minimum of 4 hours.
 
Source: Paula Deen

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Almond Frosting

It was my mother-in-law's birthday right before Christmas, and since we've finally moved back home to New Jersey I wanted to make her one of my cakes. She loves I Love Lucy, so I thought it would be fun to make a cake to that theme! I was really disappointed when my local bakery wouldn't print images of I Love Lucy on a sugar sheet due to copyright issues, so I had to resort to my Plan B, which is this retro looking TV with the iconic heart in the center.

I've mentioned before, I hate the actual baking of the cake. I don't think I've ever been "wowed" by the taste of homemade cake, so I usually either team up with my pals Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines for the cake. I'd much rather put my effort into make a delicious frosting. For this one, I wanted to make an almond frosting, one of my favorite flavors and a general crowd pleaser. Like the peanut butter frosting for my brother's guitar cake, this frosting is super easy and pretty idiot-proof. A really great compliment to a vanilla cake.

 
 
Ingredients
-1/2 cup butter, softened
-1 and 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
-3 tablespoons milk
-2 cups powdered sugar
 
1. Cream the butter with an electric mixer. Beat in the almond extract.
 
2. Stir in the powdered sugar and milk alternately.
 


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

I love Pillsbury Cinnamon Buns. One of the best smells on Saturday morning is the baking of some doughy, brown-sugary, cinnamony goodness. So yesterday morning I was on a mission to have some. I open my refrigerator door to my delight I see the blue Pillsbury tube in the door. Upon grabbing it, I realize its actually a tube of Grands biscuits, not cinnamon buns. I'm sure you can relate to this type of let down. Since I was already on a cinnamon mission, I needed to find a way to create something similar, but that didn't require yeast and rise time. Thankfully, I found this recipe that did the trick.  
 
These little muffins are super easy to make, no time needed to let anything rise, and bake in 20 minutes. Drizzle a little glaze over top and get ready for some very sticky fingers. I'm not going to say I'll never go back to my Pillsbury buns, but I'll definitely be making these again!

 
 
 
 
Ingredients
Muffin
-3 cups flour
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 cup milk
-1 egg
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/2 cup brown sugar
Filling
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-2 teaspoons cinnamon
-2-3 tablespoons butter, melted.
Glaze
-1 tablespoon butter, softened
-2/3 cups powdered sugar
-2-3 tablespoons milk
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a muffin tin. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. In your stand mixer, combine the milk, egg, vanilla, and brown sugar. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined, but do not over mix. Let rest while you make the filling.

2. To make the filling, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together with a fork.

3. Lightly knead the dough on a floured surface and roll out to approximately 12inch by 24inch rectangle. Coat dough with the melted butter, reserving some to drizzle on top. Evenly spread the brown sugar cinnamon mixture. Beginning with the long side of the dough, roll up and pinch the seam together to secure, and secure to two ends. Slice into 2inch sized muffins. Brush muffins with melted butter and bake 20 minutes.

4. To make the glaze, mix all ingredients and drizzle over warm muffins.

Source: A Feast For the Eyes



Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Peanut Butter Frosting and Guitar Cake

Ok, ok...so this isn't a fully sized guitar cake. I guess its more of a ukulele if you want to get technical about size. But let's not get hung up about that, I'm here to talk about frosting...peanut butter frosting.

My brother turned 30 a few weeks ago and since I'm finally back home, I wanted to make sure he had a special cake. He's an absolute incredible guitar player, so the idea for the guitar cake came almost instantly. I found a stencil online so that I could trace the guitar head shape, then used the remainder for the part with the strings (is there an actual name for it?). I originally had plans of making the guitar a more authentic wood look, however I ran into a food coloring debacle at the last minute. I couldn't find gel food coloring anywhere! Both eh A&P and Shop Rite only had the liquid drop coloring, which made making the colored fondant a little different. Oh well, I think it still turned out OK.

The cake was chocolate with a delicious light and fluffy peanut butter frosting...one of the best flavor combinations there is! Its also incredibly easy to make...which is a big deal when you're making a fondant cake from scratch.

 
 
Ingredients
-1/2 cup butter, softened
-1 cup creamy peanut butter
-3 tablespoons milk
-2 cups powdered sugar
 
1. With an electric mixer, cream the butter. Beat in the peanut butter, adding the 3 tablespoons of milk until smooth.
 
2. Stir in powdered sugar, and continue to beat until frosting is smooth and fully incorporated.
 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Cajun Mac n' Cheese

Happy New Year!!! Let's start this year of blogging off right with a good old comfort food recipe.

If you don't like mac n' cheese you can leave my blog now. For those of you who are left, which should be everyone, this recipe puts a Cajun twist on the classic dish. It has all the creaminess, cheesiness goodness of mac n' cheese, but adds a kick with Cajun seasoning, Andouille sausage, and red peppers. I only changed a few things, I added some crispy bacon and I mixed the shredded cheese into the milk mixture to make the cheese sauce, instead of adding it in at the end as stated in the original recipe. I've never cooked with Andouille or Cajun seasoning before, so this was definitely stepping out of my cooking comfort zone!

It's been exciting moving back to New Jersey! Things are getting back to "normal" I guess you can say. One big change is transitioning my wedding and event planning business from Charleston back here in New Jersey. I don't talk about this often, in fact, I don't think I've ever mentioned it here. But, check out my website: Catherine Kut Events. It's my pride and joy, and hopefully in the next 5-8 years this will grow to be something to support me full time!



Ingredients
-3/4 box penne pasta
-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
-4 slices bacon, cooked crispy and diced
-6 ounces Andouille sausage, diced into bite-sized pieces
-2 scallions, sliced thin
-1 red bell pepper, chopped
-1 tablespoon Cajun spice blend
-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
-2 cups whole milk
-1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1. Cook penne pasta, reserve 1/4 cup of the water.

2. Heat the EVOO in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the Andouille and cook 2 minutes. Add the red peppers, bacon, and scallions and cook an additional 3 minutes, frequently stirring. Add the Cajun seasoning and flour, continuing to stir and cook 2 minutes. Pour in the milk and shredded cheese and cook 5 minutes while whisking, until cheese is completely melted and blended.

3. Add the reserved 1/4 water from the pasta to the cheese sauce and the penne pasta. Stir to completely coat pasta, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.



Source: Pass the Sushi