Weekend Fare: Lemon Coconut Bars

Okay, seriously, these are delicious! Citrus and coconut – how can you go wrong? The creamy, sweet, and tart were just the perfect balance. These would make a wonderful contribution for a pitch-in or for a light dessert.

LEMON COCONUT BARS
(Bon Appetit Dessert Cookbook)
Print This Recipe

Crust:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted, cooled
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Filling:
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon (packed) finely grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt

1/4 cup powdered sugar

For crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving overhang. Butter foil. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in processor; blend 5 seconds. Add coconut and butter; process until mixture resembles fine meal and begins to clump together. Gather dough into ball. Press dough evenly over bottom of prepared pan. Bake crust until golden at edges, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare filling:
Combine 3/4 cup sugar, eggs, lemon juice, lemon peel, flour, baking powder, and salt in processor. Blend filling until smooth.

Remove crust from oven. Pour filling evenly over hot crust. Return to oven and bake until filling begins to brown at edges and is just set and springy to touch in center, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to rack; cool lemon bars completely.

Using foil as aid, transfer lemon bars to work surface. Flatten foil edges. Cut into 16 bars. Sift powdered sugar over. (Can be made 5 days ahead. Store airtight in single layer in refrigerator.)

Off the Shelf: June Magazine Reviews

Food Network Magazine (Stephanie): This issue is filled with an abundance of summery recipe goodness. Beverages, hotdogs toppings, condiments, desserts, grilling ideas. Some recipes that look particularly appealing to me are Chinese Beef and Broccoli, Cold Peanut Soba Noodles with Chicken, Warm Pasta-Bean Salad, Buttermilk-Pecan Ice Cream, Salted Caramel Milkshakes, and Fresh Peach Cake.

I made the Almost Famous Corn Salsa recipe. This is a copy-cat recipe for the Chipotle Restaurant’s Roasted Corn Salsa. We’re big fans of Chipotle around here, so the other night when I was making soft tacos, I mixed up this salsa to top them. It was tasty and a great addition to our tacos.

ALMOST FAMOUS CORN SALSA
(from Food Network Magazine, June 2011)
Print This Recipe

1/2 small poblano chile pepper, seeded
3 teaspoons olive oil
Kosher salt
1 cup fresh corn kernals or frozen corn, thawed
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tablespoons red onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Preheat grill to medium high. Brush the poblano pepper with 1 teaspoon olive oil and grill, skin-side down, until charred, but still firm. About 5 minutes. Cool slightly; peel and finely chop.

If using fresh corn, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn and cook until tender, 2-3 minutes; drain.

Mix the corn (if using frozen, add it here), poblano, jalapeno, cilantro, and red onion in a bowl. Stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, lime juice, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

COOKING LIGHT (Stephanie): I was pleased with all the seasonal, delicious sounding recipes featured in this issue, as well–Curry Chicken Wraps with Nectarine Chutney, White Bean and Sage Pita Burgers, Grilled Apricot Halves, Curried Potato Salad, Pina Colada Sorbet, Cherry-Almond Crisp, and Rich Chocolate Pudding Pie.

I chose the Mango-Coconut Sherbet recipe. I love using my ice cream maker and I like coconut milk ice cream. My one drawback is that I’m not terribly fond of mangoes. However, they were on sale for a $1 last week, so I figured it was frugal enough experiment. The sherbet turned out great, but the mango flavor was just too strong for me. So, if you like mangoes, you are sure to like this recipe. It’s super easy and the toasted coconut on top makes this dessert look fancy. I plan to experiment with other fruits to replace the mango, because I really liked this recipe.

MANGO-COCONUT SHERBET
(from Cooking Light, June 2011)
Print This Recipe

2 cups cubed peeled ripe mango
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, toasted

Combine cubed mango, sugar, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and coconut milk in a blender; process until mixture is smooth, scraping sides as necessary. Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions to soft-serve consistency. Spoon sherbet into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze 2 hours or until firm. Before serving, sprinkle each dish with coconut.

BON APPETIT (Alaina) – This issue has some wonderful, seasonal recipes and an interesting article about Gwyneth Paltrow – by the way, is there anything she doesn’t do? There are some great looking recipes for crostinis and salads and strawberries. As always, the pictures are tempting and I have yet to have a recipe not turn out from Bon Appetit. You can’t go wrong with any of their tantalizing recipes.

I especially loved the section on lettuce, cherry, and chicken. It was from there that I found the recipe I wanted to try – Cherry Clafouti. Cherries are practically my favorite fruit and since I happened to have some, I couldn’t resist. This was delicious. Not too sweet and so pretty!

CHERRY CLAFOUTI
(from Bon Appétit, June 2011)
Print This Recipe

1 pound fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted, or frozen pitted cherries, thawed, drained
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
4 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Powdered sugar
10″ springform cake pan or eight 2/3- or 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups

Preheat oven to 375°. Butter cake pan or ramekins. Arrange cherries in a single layer in pan.

Combine milk and cream in a small saucepan; bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Set aside. Combine eggs, flour, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl; whisk to blend. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture; whisk until custard is smooth. Pour custard evenly over cherries in pan. If necessary, gently shake pan to allow custard to settle.

Bake clafouti until custard is set and top is golden brown, about 30 minutes for ramekins and 45-55 minutes for cake pan. Let cool 3 minutes, then run a knife around pan sides to loosen clafouti (if using a cake pan). Dust top with powdered sugar; cut into wedges and serve.

EVERYDAY WITH RACHAEL RAY (Alaina) – It’s been awhile since I have really liked an issue of this magazine but the June issue was great. There were so many interesting recipes and photos – just look at the cover!
 
There are many different burgers and sandwiches, popsicles, and many salads and sides. The Crispy Cheese w/Strawberry Salad, Antipasti Bowl, Thai Style Chicken w/Basil & Pineapple, Lemon-Scented Carbonara, and the Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Ice Pops are just a few of the delicious recipes! I decided to try one of the more unusual looking recipes – Spicy Cucumber & Blueberry Salad. It was suprisingly refreshing and delicious. The flavors really worked together!
 
 
SPICY CUCUMBER & BLUEBERRY SALAD
(from Everyday with Rachael Ray, June/July 2011)
Print This Recipe 

2 lbs. english cucumbers, halved lengthwise
Salt
1 large jalapeño chile, seeds and ribs discarded, finely chopped
4 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 cup EVOO
1 1/2 pt. blueberries
1 cup cilantro leaves

Using a hand held slicer, slice the cucumbers into half-moons about 1/8 inch thick; season with salt.

In a large bowl, combine the jalapeño, lime juice, garlic and cumin; whisk in the EVOO. Add the cucumbers, blueberries and cilantro and toss to coat.

Baker’s Delight: Lime Shortbread

First, don’t forget to enter our great giveaway! It ends tomorrow!

This weekend I needed to make a quick dessert and so I turned to one of my newest cookbooks, Bon Appetit Dessert. Heather actually gave me this amazing cookbook for my birthday and I just couldn’t wait to start trying the delicious recipes! This recipe was for Lemon Shortbread Squares but I switched it up to to make them lime. We LOVED them! I doubled the recipe and put them in a 12×18 bar pan which made them thinner than the original recipe but it was perfect for us. These are just so good and so incredibly easy!

LIME SHORTBREAD
(Adapted from Bon Appetit Desserts)
Print This Recipe

1/2 c. sugar
1 Tb. finely grated lime peel
3/4 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tb. fresh lime juice
2 Tb. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. flour

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray pan with nonstick spray.

Using fingertips, rub sugar and lime peel together in large bowl to release essential oils in peel. Add butter. Using electric mixer, beat until mixture in light and fluffy. Beat in lime juice, then cornstarch, and salt, Add flour and beat just until blended. Using fingers, press dough firmly and evenly over bottom of prepared pan. Pierce dough all over with fork.

Bake shortbread until cooked through and just golden brown, about 50 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes. Cut and enjoy. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Baker’s Delight: Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

We are pleased to welcome back Sarah Pulliam Bailey with this guest post! These would be great for you weekend and summer picnicking!

Chocolate chip cookies provide the ultimate comfort food. If you’re serving chocoholics, consider baking double chocolate chip cookies, which offers a rich, moist, chewy dessert.

The cookies did not turn out terribly even because I was in a hurry and grabbed rounded spoonfuls of dough, which made them puffier. If you prefer more uniform, flattened cookies, you could roll the dough up on parchment paper in a log, refrigerate for two hours, and cut individual cookies. You could also substitute white chocolate chips for peanut butter chips and chopped peanuts. Some of the reviews suggested using 1 tsp. of baking soda and 1 tsp. of baking powder, so consider experimenting. The recipe takes about 30 minutes and makes about 3 dozen cookies.

 

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
(Adapted from allrecipes.com)
Print This Recipe

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 tsp. of salt
1 tsp. of vanilla
2 cups white chocolate chips or chunks (12 oz. bag)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets. In a large bowl (I used my KitchenAid), cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each one well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually stir the mixture into the other bowl. Fold in white chocolate chips. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto the cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes (9 minutes was perfect in my oven). Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling. If you have a smaller kitchen, consider investing in a tiered cooling rack.

Baker’s Delight: Banana Cupcakes

I first made this recipe a few years ago and really enjoyed it! Recently, I was asked to provide banana cupcakes for an open house and I remembered these. And so, I returned to the recipe and adapted it – these were the result. The honey cream cheese frosting is fabulous – not too sweet but oh so wonderful. These also make wonderful mini cupcakes – a batch makes 24 regular cupcakes and a lot of minis.  

BANANA CUPCAKES
(Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network)
Print This Recipe

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 ripe bananas, peeled and coarsely mashed

Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)

Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl to blend. Beat the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the banana. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Bake on the middle rack until the tops are golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out with no crumbs attached, about 25 minutes. Transfer cakes to a rack and cool slightly. Cool completely before frosting.

To frost the cupcakes: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in   the honey. Spread the frosting over the muffins. Sprinkle with the walnuts if desired.

Baker’s Delight: Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes

As promised, here is the lemon cupcake recipe! We really enjoyed these. I still want to tweak the frosting a little bit but it’s really good. Don’t skip the lemon curd, it’s excellent and it will make more than you need which is a happy bonus.  You can print all of these recipes here.

LEMON CURD
(Adapted from Ina Garten)

Zest of 3 lemons
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
4 eggs
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp. salt

Combine lemon zest, sugar, butter, eggs, lemon juice, and salt in a saucepan.

Cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate – place plastic wrap on surface of curd while it cools.


LEMON CUPCAKES

2 1/2 c. cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 c. sugar
5  eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon extract
2/3 c. buttermilk
Zest of 2 lemons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with paper liners.

Into a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time until just combined. Add vanilla and lemon extract and zest. Add buttermilk and dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on wire racks before filling and frosting.


RASPBERRY CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6-8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup raspberry preserves

Using a hand-held mixer beat cream cheese and butter together until light and smooth. Add vanilla extract and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time until thoroughly incorporated and desired thickness is reached.


TO ASSEMBLE:
Remove a small amount of cake from the center of the cooled cupcake and spoon in the chilled lemon curd. Use a pastry bag or Ziploc bag to frost the cupcakes. Store finished cupcakes in the refrigerator.

Baker’s Delight: Vanilla Cupcakes

This week, I set out on a mission to find  a vanilla cupcake recipe for my oldest son’s birthday. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Reviews on nearly every vanilla (or white) cake recipe are mixed – some love it, some hate it, some think it’s light, some think it’s dense…you get the idea. And let’s be honest, not everyone is a competent baker, so it’s hard to know which reviews to trust!

Finally, I deicided to just jump in and try a recipe. Bobby Flay had one which I adapted to work for me. The texture was lovely and the flavor was quite good. The chocolate frosting he included was delicious as well – a frosting recipe unlike any I have ever made. These definitely got the seal of approval from my family and the birthday boy loved them! They would also make a beautiful Easter or spring dessert.

VANILLA CUPCAKES
(adapted from Bobby Flay’s Mini Vanilla Bean Cupcakes)
Print These Recipes

2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 3/4 cup sugar, divided
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1Tablespoon vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks, room temperature
3 large egg whites, room temperature
Creamy Chocolate Frosting, recipe follows
Sprinkles for decorating, if desired

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Fill muffin tins with liners .

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 1/2 cups sugar together in a large bowl. Whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and yolks in a medium bowl.

In a clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. With the machine running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; continue to beat until stiff peaks just form, 30 to 60 seconds Transfer to a separate bowl and set aside. Wash the bowl and dry.

Add the flour mixture to the now-empty mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment. With the mixer running at low speed, gradually pour in the butter mixture and mix until almost incorporated (a few streaks of dry flour will remain), about 15 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape the whisk and sides of the bowl. Return the mixer to medium-low speed and beat until smooth and fully incorporated, 10 to 15 seconds.

Using a rubber spatula, stir 1/3 of the whites into the batter to lighten, and then add the remaining whites and gently fold into the batter until no white streaks remain.

Fill the cupcake molds 3/4 full and bake until just firm, about 18-22 minutes. Let cool and frost with Creamy Chocolate Frosting. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

CREAMY CHOCOLATE FROSTING
(Adapted from Bobby Flay at FoodNetwork.com – adaptations noted)

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa (I used dark chocolate cocoa powder)
 Pinchof fine sea salt
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon espresso powder (I omitted this since I was making them for kids but it would have been a fantastic addition!)

In a food processor (or using a mixer), process the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the corn syrup and vanilla and process until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and then add the melted chocolate and espresso and pulse until smooth and creamy, 10 to 15 seconds.

Off the Shelf: March Magazine Reviews

Cooking Light (Stephanie): Usually I either love Cooking Light, or I’m disappointed by it. This month, though, I felt so-so about it. A few recipes jumped off the pages for me: Black Bean Hummus, Meyer Lemon Curd Tart, Tropical Sherbet, Chicken Souvlaki Pitas with Tahini Sauce. But most of the other recipes were just kind of forgettable.

I decided to try the Vegetable Korma as Jeremy likes Indian food and I haven’t been very proactive about making it in my own kitchen. The dish was good, but not quite as flavorful as either of us expected. The dish definitely needed some salt and maybe if I’d added a little curry powder, it might have packed more punch. I used chickpeas in place of the edamame, mostly because if we’re eating a meatless meal, chickpeas rank high on Jeremy’s preferred protein list. It was good and something I might make again, but with a little tweaking.

VEGETABLE KORMA
(from Cooking Light March 2011)
Print This Recipe

1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 c. chopped onion
1 Tbsp minced peeled ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 c. frozen shelled edamame
1 12-oz baking potato, peeled and diced
1 c. chicken broth
1 tsp flour
1 13.5-oz can light coconut milk
3 c. cauliflower florets
2 c. hot cooked rice

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, and saute for 2 minutes. Add 1 Tbsp ginger and garlic; saute for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in tomato paste and spices; saute for 1 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in edamame and potato. Combine chicken broth, flour, and milk, stirring until smooth. Add broth mixture to pan , and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 3 c. cauliflower, and simmer for 9 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Serve over rice. Makes 4 servings.

Bon Appetit (Stephanie): Bon Appetit was filled with lots of great sounding  recipes, many of which I hope to make. Potato and Yam Soup with Bacon and Spinach; Pork and Lemongrass Meatballs in Lettuce Cups; Roasted Pears with Blackberries, Ricotta, and Lavender Sugar; Savoy Cabbage Rolls with Halibut, Browned Butter and Capers Espresso Pound Cake with Cranberries and Pecans. Don’t these sound amazing?!

But my pantry supplies dictated that those recipes would have to wait until a later date. Chocolate Puddings with Orange Whipped Cream won out for my recipe testing. It came together very quickly (besides the 3 hours for cooling in the fridge, of course). Now I don’t have any orange liqueur, but the recipe suggested Kahlua or amaretto as alternatives. So I dolloped Kahlua whipped cream on my chocolate pudding. I think the best chocolate pudding I’ve ever eaten. Delicious!

CHOCOLATE PUDDINGS WITH ORANGE WHIPPED CREAM
(from Bon Appetit March 2011)
Print This Recipe

1/2 c. + 3 Tbsp sugar, divided
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 1/2 c. whole milk, divided
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 c. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c. chilled whipping cream
1 Tbsp Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur (or Kahlua or amaretto)
1/4 tsp finely grated orange peel (omit if using a different liqueur)

Whisk 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 tsp salt in a saucepan to blend. Add 1/2 cup milk and egg yolks; whisk until smooth. Whisk in remaining 2 cups of milk. Bring mixture to a boil over medium/high heat, whisking constantly. Boil 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove pan from heat; add chocolate chips and butter. Whisk pudding until melted and smooth. Stir in vanilla.

Divide pudding evenly among 6 dessert cups. Place plastic wrap directly onto surface of each, covering pudding completely. Chill at least 3 hours.

Beat whipping cream, liquer, zest, 1 Tbsp sugar until peaks form. Dollop whipped cream on puddings.

Cook’s Illustrated (Alaina): One magazine I have not reviewed often (or maybe ever?!) is Cook’s Illustrated. It is a fabulous magazine! My gift subscription is just coming to an end and I will be sad for that. The recipes are amazing, the product & brand reviews are excellent, and the articles & technique explanations are incredibly understandable and helpful. The magazine contains fewer recipes than most cooking magazines but the recipes are well chosen and you know they will turn out well.

They included Whole-Wheat Sandwich Bread, Boston Cream Pie, and Spaghetti with Mushrom and Tomato Sauce among other delicious-looking recipes. I decided to try the snow peas. There was an article on how to use them and several variations to make a wonderful side dish. They were so good!

SAUTEED SNOW PEAS W/LEMON & PARSLEY
Cook’s Illustrated, March/April 2011
Print This Recipe

1 Tb. vegetable oil
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 Tb.)
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Salt & Pepper
1/8 tsp. sugar
3/4 lb. snow peas, tips pulled off and strings removed
1 Tb. minced fresh parsley leaves

Combine 1 tsp oil, shallot, and lemon zest in small bowl. Combine 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper, and sugar in second small bowl.

Heat remaining 2 tsp. oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add snow peas, sprinkle with salt mixture, and cook, without stirring, 30 second. Stir and continue to cook, without stirring, 30 seconds longer. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until peas are crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Push peas to sides of skillet; add shallot mixture to clearing and cook, mashing with spatula, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Toss to combine shallot mixture with vegetables. Transfer peas to bowl and stir in lemon juice and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Food Network (Alaina): This magazine was once again great! I must have looked through it 20 times trying to decide which recipe to try. I had several marked like Rosemary Chips, Chicken, Sausage & Peppers, Tilapia Milanese, Citrus Salad, and Gorgonzola Polenta. It was an Italian themed issue and there were a lot of great pasta recipes, too. And the pull-out of 50 recipes for this month was pesto based recipes – yum. I will be sharing one of the pesto recipes next week – it was so good! 

They had a wonderful section on bruschetta with many variations. So inspiring! I decided to try a couple of the sweet ones and they were fabulous! They would be perfect for a tea, shower, or brunch especially. They were no-too-sweet and so pretty and they had eight different ideas for the sweet bruschetta and six ideas for the savory.

ORANGE CREAM BRUSCHETTA
Food Network Magazine, March 2011
Print This Recipe

Segment a blood orange (I used regular) over a bowl: reserve juice. Toss the segments with 1 Tb. superfine sugar (I used regular). Simmer the juice and 1 Tb. of sugar in a saucepan until syrupy. Spread whipped cream on the toast rounds (I used a french baquette and toasted both sides of the bread in the oven); top with an orange segment and shaved chocolate. Drizzle with orange syrup.

BANANA-HAZELNUT BRUSCHETTA
Food Network Magazine, March 2011
Print This Recipe

Toss 2 sliced bananas with 1 Tb. melted butter; spread on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar and bake at 425 degress until golden, about 10 minutes (mine never really were golden but they were definitely roasted). Spread hazelnut butter (I used a chocolate hazelnut spread) on the toast rounds. Top with the toasted bananas, whipped cream, and chopped hazelnuts (I used toasted almonds).

Baker’s Delight: Salted Toffee-Chocolate Squares

Honestly, I just didn’t know what to make for today. It’s been a long couple of weeks filled with illness at our house and my desire to cook and bake has been almost non-existant. And so, I looked at magazines and websites looking for something that would inspire me. I wrote to one of my friends that I was at a loss…and then, I happened to pick up my May 2010 issue of Everyday Food. I turned to the back for the index and instead, I came across this recipe. I had everything on hand and decided to give it a shot.

Oh. My. Goodness. These are amazing. They combine so much yumminess into one cookie that I can hardly stand it! They certainly aren’t on the “healthy list” but they are worth the splurge. The coarse salt is just the perfect flavor addition – makes all of the flavors come alive. I had to walk away from the pan of cookies; in fact, I had to go upstairs so I would not eat more. So, without further ado, here is the amazing and easy recipe!

SALTED TOFFEE-CHOCOLATE SQUARES
(Everyday Food, May 2010)
Print This Recipe

13 graham crackers
1 bag (8 ounces) toffee bits
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped toasted natural almonds
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (4 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips)
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place graham crackers in a single layer on sheet, edges touching. Sprinkle toffee bits and almonds over graham crackers.

In a small saucepan, bring sugar and butter to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat and cook at a rapid simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is syrupy, 2 minutes. Immediately pour over graham crackers. Bake until sugar topping is bubbling, 12 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate and salt over graham crackers. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into 2-inch squares. Let cool completely on sheet on a wire rack. (Store in an airtight container, up to 1 week.)

Read more at Marthastewart.com: Salted Toffee-Chocolate Squares Recipe – Martha Stewart Recipes

Crock-pot Cooking: Baked Maple Apples

I’ve been in a bit of a cooking rut lately. To try and unstuck myself, I’ve been checking out cookbooks from the library, reading favorite cooking blogs, perusing cooking magazines. This weeks cooking inspiration attempt is my crock-pot, helped out by the newly released cookbook, More Make if Fast, Cook it Slow, written by the crock-pot queen herself, Stephanie O’Dea.

Monday nights I get home from yoga around 7 p.m. I need something easy for supper. This week I knew I was serving leftovers, but I wanted a little something extra. So, I quickly put together these baked apples. And in two hours we had a nice little treat. Super easy and perfect alongside a meal, or as a lightly sweetened dessert.

We love cinnamon in our house, so I sprinkled these with cinnamon before baking. The orange juice added a bit of a tangy quality to the sauce. If you don’t prefer that, you might try substituting apple juice.

BAKED MAPLE APPLE HALVES
(from More Make it Fast, Cook it Slow)
Print This Recipe

2 large apples, cored and cut in half
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 c. orange juice
2 Tbsp maple syrup
Whipped cream, if desired

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Put the apple halves into the bottom of the slow cooker, flesh-side up. In a small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Stir in the orange juice and maple syrup. Spoon the butter and syrup mixture evenly into the apple halves. Cover and cook on low for 2 to 3 hours, or on high for 1 to 2 hours. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.