Sriracha-Sesame Popcorn

After a bit of a hiatus from RITK we are back and I have some great recipes coming up for your reading pleasure in the next few weeks. It’s been a crazy last few months with lots of cake orders, some blog construction, and just general life business. Today’s recipe is one of my favorite snacks to make for parties, I hope you enjoy it!

I’ll have a new recipe next week on the blog so, be sure to subscribe to RITK so you never miss a delicious post!

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I started making stove top popcorn as a way to make popcorn a bit healthier (this is way better than those microwave packets full of salt and fake butter!)  I love stove top popcorn with just a bit of salt but after a while I thought of ways to make my snacks more savory and spicy. Today’s recipe is one of my concoctions to keep my snacks interesting. This recipe is also great to make in large batches, store in a airtight container and pack in lunches.

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So let’s talk about the method, below I will guide you through popping kernels on the stove, this is my favorite way to make popcorn at home and the method I use even if I’m not adding this sauce. I use olive oil although you can use sesame oil or coconut oil. After the popcorn is coated in spicy sauce, it goes into the oven to dry out. Before I added this last step I was eating soggy popcorn that required a few napkins, however drying the popcorn out in the oven cuts down on the messiness and also adds some more crunch.

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Sriracha-Sesame Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c olive oil
  • 1 1/3 c unpopped corn kernels
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp Sriracha

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

To pop the popcorn; I find it’s easier to do this in two batches. Start with a large-sized pot and heat 6 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. Heat until the oil is shiny and easily coats the bottom of the pan. Add 2/3 c of corn kernels to the warm oil and stir with a wooden spoon so that the kernels are evenly coated and spread out over the base of the pot. Cover and let the kernels pop (approximately 10-12 minutes).

Stay close to the pot, if you don’t hear any popping within a 4-5 second interval it’s time to take the pot off the heat. Once the kernels are all popped remove from heat. VERY CAREFULLY, using hot-pot-holders, firmly hold the lid down on the pot while you flip it over 2-3 times. This releases the steam from the popcorn. Next pour the popcorn into 2 shallow baking pans and pick out any burned or unpopped kernels and throw away.

Next, in a small saucepan combine the hot sauce, butter, and sesame oil over low heat until well combined and makes a thin sauce.

Distribute the sauce as evenly as possible over the popped corn (I like to use a combination of a slotted spoon and my hands). Then bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Store the popcorn in airtight containers or plastic bags.

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‘Tis the Season for Cake Orders

It’s been a busy month with lots of cake orders and I thought you might like to see what I’ve been working on. Here are some photos of my recent cake orders as well as a couple from last summer.

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This is what the kids are calling a “naked cake.” This type of cake where there is little or no frosting is becoming more and more popular at weddings. This is a lemon cake with strawberry filling and a whipped cream cheese frosting with white chocolate shavings. Decorated with fresh flowers

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These cupcakes were so much fun to make; a vanilla cupcake tinted blue with blue and white vanilla butercream topped with a white chocolate snowflake. And yes, you guessed it, they were for a Frozen-themed birthday party!

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A lemon cake for 2! This 6 inch cake is filled with a homemade lemon-strawberry curd, frosted with a vanilla buttercream and topped with fresh flowers.

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Another delicious lemon cake filled with strawberry filling and frosted with vanilla buttercream, a very popular flavor this year! Decorated with fresh flowers

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This is my favorite way to decorate cupcakes!

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This 14 inch cake was fun to decorate, I love scroll work.

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For more photos follow Clara’s Cake Shop on Facebook.

If you are local to the Kitsap area and are interested in placing an order you may contact me at: ClarasCakeShop@gmail.com.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies

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Fall has always been my favorite season. I love the mild weather, the sunny afternoons, and the comfortable clothes that come along with the change in temperatures. I grew up in Upstate NY, and let me tell you, if you’ve never been there during Fall, add it to your bucket list. The days of sweltering, humid summer days are gone, and are replaced by cool, crisp air an a breathtaking view of the leaves changing colors. It’s a lovely sight to see. It doesn’t matter how many years it’s been since I was in school, September always marks the beginning of fall in my mind and also gives me a feeling of new beginnings.

I know the calendar date for Fall isn’t quite here yet, but along with the cooler temperatures, this time of year has me yearning, like many, for a Pumpkin Spice Latte. They remind me of my days as a student, living in Boston, getting settled in a new dorm and starting a new semester.

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I know there are many PSL lovers out there, so I created this cookie recipe for us. It has real pumpkin in it, the spices that make it feel like fall, and a hint of coffee flavor. This cookie is fluffy, and cakey in texture and I am absolutely in love with it. So if you love pumpkin, and fall flavors, I suggest grabbing your self a can of pumpkin puree and getting these cookies started!

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Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp coffee grounds
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c white chocolate chips

Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the flour, corn starch, baking soda, salt, coffee grounds, and pumpkin pie spice and set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix the butter on a low speed to spread it around the bowl. With the mixer running slowly add the sugars and beat on a medium speed until it has lightened in color and increased in volume slightly. Add the egg and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

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Next add the pumpkin and vanilla extract. Mix on a low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix on a low speed for an additional 30 seconds.

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Finally, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Mix on low for 30 seconds.

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Using a spoon, drop the dough into 1 1/2 inch spoonfuls on a lined baking sheet.

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Feel free to place them close together to get them all one one shape. They won’t look pretty, and the dough will be sticky.

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Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (do not skip this step! Alternatively, the dough could be made the day before and left to chill over night in the fridge, just be sure to cover the tray with plastic wrap). After the dough has chilled for 2 hours gently reshape the dough into even disks and spread them out on the pan.

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake the cookies for 6 minutes, rotate the pan and put the tray on a different shelve in the oven (if your tray is on the top shelf, move it to the middle or bottom rack, etc.). Bake for an additional 6 minutes.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

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Last step! Carefully melt your white chocolate (microwave or double boiler method whichever you prefer, click here for more information on melting chocolate without burning it).  Working quickly, pour the white chocolate into a small zip lock bag or a piping bag. If using a zip lock bag snip a small hole in one of the bottom corners. Drizzle the chocolate over the cookies.

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Is white chocolate just not your jam? I’ll admit I wasn’t always the biggest fan, and I’ve only recently started to come around to it, so I understand if you don’t dig white chocolate, so here are some alternatives:

While we’re on the topic of alterations, if you feel this cookie would be even better with a 1/2 c of chocolate chips or a handful of pecans, go for it!

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Now, I know this recipe only calls for a few tablespoons of pumpkin puree, but I wouldn’t leave you high and dry with will those leftovers, now would I? Here are some of my favorite fall recipes that use pumpkin puree, let me know which ones you like best!

Never miss a post by becoming a Reckless Subscriber and receive posts directly in your inbox, and if you’re looking for sneak-peaks of future posts or what’s cooking in my kitchen check out my Instagram account, RecklessInTheKitchen.

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Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp coffee grounds
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c white chocolate chips

Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the flour, corn starch, baking soda, salt, coffee grounds, and pumpkin pie spice and set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix the butter on a low speed to spread it around the bowl. With the mixer running slowly add the sugars and beat on a medium speed until it has lightened in color and increased in volume slightly. Add the egg and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Next add the pumpkin and vanilla extract. Mix on a low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix on a low speed for an additional 30 seconds. Finally, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Mix on low for 30 seconds.

Using a spoon, drop the dough into 1 1/2 inch spoonfuls on a lined baking sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (do not skip this step! Alternatively, the dough could be made the day before and left to chill overnight in the fridge, just be sure to cover the tray with plastic wrap). After the dough has chilled for 2 hours gently reshape the dough into even disks and spread them out on the pan.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake the cookies for 6 minutes, rotate the pan and put the tray on a different shelve in the oven (if your tray is on the top shelf, move it to the middle or bottom rack, etc.). Bake for an additional 6 minutes.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.  Last step! Carefully melt your white chocolate (microwave or double boiler method whichever you prefer, click here for more information on melting chocolate without burning it).  Working quickly, pour the white chocolate into a small zip lock bag or a piping bag. If using a zip lock bag snip a small hole in one of the bottom corners. Drizzle the chocolate over the cookies.

 

Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

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I feel that you should know this about me-I hate lemon extract. I think it has an alcohol-flavor to it, and when added to baked goods, it pretty much makes them taste artificial. OK, so now that’s out of the way we can get on to today’s recipe. Earlier this summer I was whipping up an assortment of cookies to bring to a party. I was making these awesome funfetti cookies from Avery Cooks, and these to die for chocolate sugar cookies from Handmade Charlotte.

I was thinking to myself that I needed a third cookie to round out my cookie tray and since it was the start of the summer I thought, a fruit flavor would be ideal. After taking stock of what I already had in the kitchen I decided to pair my lemons with some white chocolate chips that had been sitting in my baking pantry. I used the funfetti cookie recipe as my base and the recipe below is the result. They were such a big hit at the party that I decided to make them again and bring them to another get together. Throughout the summer whenever I needed to bring a dish to share or a dessert I made these lemon cookies, and every time they were a crowd-pleaser. After making them a few times I am finally ready to share this recipe with you.

Now, this is not the easiest cookie recipe you’ll ever make, but follow the instructions closely and the result will be a fluffy cookie with a cake-like texture packed with a fresh lemon flavor.

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Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  • zest from 2 large lemons
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 c white chocolate chips

Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the flour, corn starch, baking soda, and salt and set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix the butter and lemon zest on a low speed for 1 minute to spread it around the bowl. With the mixer running slowly add the sugar and beat on a medium speed until it has lightened in color and increased in volume slightly.  Add the egg and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

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Reduce the speed to low and add the lemon juice, mix to combine. Next, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Mix on low for 30 seconds. Add the white chocolate chips and beat momentarily to incorporate, less than 1 minute, or fold in by hand.

Fair warning to all; this dough is quite sticky but do not worry. This next step is a bit messy, that’s part of the fun, right?

Form the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls (this is an approximate measurement, above all else try to keep the dough in uniform size so they bake evenly and don’t let them get too big), and flatten slightly on a lined baking sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (do not skip this step!).

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While the cookies are chillin’ like villains in the fridge, let’s talk about baking cookies. I’m going to confess to you that cookies are not my strong point, and it took a lot (seriously, A LOT) of practice to get these just right. As one of my bosses used to say, cookies are just a touch thing. Meaning, it takes practice to know when to take them out of the oven at just the right time. These cookies are cakey, and soft. When you take them out of the oven, they are going to look raw to you. BUT trust me, and trust your baking instincts. The edges of the cookies should look set. The center of the cookies will look under cooked, aka pale and glossy. However, this is OK. You do not want the cookies to become very brown on the bottom. The cookies will firm up while they cool.

Here is what my cookies look like when I pull them out of the oven:

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Now on to my next point, not all ovens are created equal. I’m sure you know this but, baking times vary depending on both the size of your cookie and your oven. The suggested baking time works for my oven, so I recommend starting there, but you have the description above of what they should look like so use your judgement, if they need another minute or 2.

OK, back to the cookies. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread the cookies out on lined baking sheets (do not skip this either, you should either be using parchment paper or a silicon baking mat), and bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan half-way through the baking time.

Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

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If you like this cookie recipe, stay tuned, I’ve got another cookie recipe coming in a few weeks as well as some great dishes to kick of the fall season with! To make sure you don’t miss these posts, be sure to subscribe and become a Reckless Subscriber!

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Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  • zest from 2 large lemons
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 c white chocolate chips

Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the flour, corn starch, baking soda, and salt and set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix the butter and lemon zest on a low speed for 1 minute to spread it around the bowl. With the mixer running slowly add the sugar and beat on a medium speed until it has lightened in color and increased in volume slightly.  Add the egg and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Reduce the speed to low and add the lemon juice, mix to combine. Next, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Mix on low for 30 seconds. Add the white chocolate chips and beat momentarily to incorporate, less than 1 minute, or fold in by hand.

Form the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls (this is an approximate measurement, above all else try to keep the dough in uniform size so they bake evenly and don’t let them get too big), and flatten slightly on a lined baking sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (do not skip this step!).

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread the cookies out on lined baking sheets (do not skip this either, you should either be using parchment paper or a silicon baking mat), and bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time.

Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Refridgorator Pickles

 

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Anyone who knows me, knows of my love for pickles, really anything pickled I will eat. I always have and I always will. I find the salty and tangy flavors satisfying and I personally believe they pair with just about any meal. But hey. that’s just me.

Not too long ago, a good friend of mine introduced me to this recipe and I have been making them every week ever since. What are refrigerator pickles you ask? Good question. Refrigerator pickles are pickles that are pickled and stored in the fridge. They are good for about 2 weeks. This is opposed to pickles that are canned and can be stored for the long term.

This recipe is for a sweet pickle yet, they are still quite tangy and they are super easy to make! I hope you enjoy these as much as I have.

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Recipe courtesy of Abigail Robinson

Ingredients:

  • 3 c water
  • 1 c vinegar
  • 1/2 granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/4 of a medium-sized onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • handful of fresh dill
  • 2-3 cucumbers, sliced any which way you like

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Note on Ingredients: Think of the amounts listed with the ingredients above as ratio suggestions. This is what appeals to my taste buds but, if you prefer your pickles sweeter, then add some more sugar. Want them to taste more tangy? Add another splash of vinegar.

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Directions:

Let’s get this easy-peasy brine started; combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Stir the mixture occasionally and leave the mixture on the stove top until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved. Once dissolved, remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.

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Once your brine has cooled to room temperature pour the brine into the container that the pickles will be living in (I typically leave them in a large plastic container or large glass jar). Add the chopped onion, garlic, peppercorns, fresh dill, and sliced cucumbers to the brine and seal up the container.

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Allow the cucumbers to sit in the brine for at least 8-12 hours before trying the pickles.

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Store them in the fridge in a sealed container for 7-10 days.

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Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Recipe courtesy of Abigail Robinson

Ingredients:

  • 3 c water
  • 1 c vinegar
  • 1/2 granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/4 of a medium-sized onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • handful of fresh dill
  • 2-3 cucumbers, sliced any which way you like

Directions:

Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Stir the mixture occasionally and leave the mixture on the stove top until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved. Once dissolved, remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.

Once your brine has cooled to room temperature pour the brine into the container that the pickles will be living in (I typically leave them in a large plastic container or large glass jar). Add the chopped onion, garlic, peppercorns, fresh dill, and sliced cucumbers to the brine and seal up the container.

Allow the cucumbers to sit in the brine for at least 8-12 hours before trying the pickles.

Store them in the fridge in a sealed container for 7-10 days.

Tapas with Friends

I hope you are all enjoying your summer! After a much-needed hiatus, Reckless in the Kitchen is back in action and I have got some lovely recipes for you to enjoy. Today I am going to share my menu and recipes from a Tapas party I recently hosted.

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It was a small gathering of friends and since it was the end of July I was striving to keep the food light and fresh (aka I did not want to slave over the stove for hours or have my oven on for a particularly long time). I also wanted my food to have an Italian theme to it so I picked some of my favorite Italian party dishes, and a few new ones and created the following menu;

The Menu:

  • Anti Pasta plate
  • Nectarine-Basil-Mozzarella Salad
  • Sicilian Marinated Shrimp
  • Roasted Grape and Ricotta Crostini
  • Polenta Bruschetta
  • Gazpacho
  • Mini-Meatballs with Sauce
  • Lemons filled with Cream

Below I’ve listed the recipes and/or assembly instructions. I’ll let you know right now that the Roasted Grape and Ricotta Crostini and the Lemons filled with Cream were big hits with my guests!

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How I Assemble an Anti-Pasta Plate:

Now if there is one thing I have learned, it is that everyone assembles these just a bit differently. For this particular evening I was trying to keep this dish relatively small since I was preparing several small plates of food. So here’s my rule of thumb; 1-2 meats, 1-2 hard cheeses, olives, and other vegetables that I associate with Anti-Pasta plates. I know, that’s not super specific, but the point is you can really make these your own depending on what you’re feeling like serving. Here’s what’s on the plate above:

  • Salami
  • Bella Vita cheese with coffee rinds
  • Asiago cheese
  • Green olives with garlic cloves stuffed in the center
  • Kamalata olives
  • Mushrooms in olive oil (I get this in a jar in the “Italian” or Pasta section of my grocery store)
  • Pepperoncini
  • Artichoke hearts in olive oil

 

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Nectarine (or Peach) Basil Mozzarella Salad-This was my favorite dish, it uses ripe peaches or nectarines which were at their peak and it tastes so fresh. Yum!

From Real Simple Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe peaches or nectarines, peeled
  • 1 c fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1 inch cubes (or use small balls)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

Cut the fruit into 6-8 wedges, and then cut the wedge in half. In a large bowl, combine the fruit, basil, mozzarella, olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss to combine.

 

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Sicilian Marinated Shrimp (Gamberi Marinati all Siciliana)
From Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner? by Lisa Caponigri-This happens to be one of my favorite cookbooks that I’ve received over recent years.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 c fresh orange (or lime juice)
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2 lbs shrimp, uncooked, tails-on

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the lemon and orange (or lime) juices, the garlic, red pepper flakes and the salt. Whisk to combine.

Add the shrimp to the marinade, toss to coat, and let marinate for 5 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp from the marinade and add to the hot skillet. Cook, stirring, until they turn bright pink and transfer to a serving bowl.

Roasted Grape and Ricotta Crostini-These were a huge hit! You should make these immediately!
From Real Simple Magazine

Ingredients:

  • whole red grapes (amount depends on how many crostini you are making)
  • olive oil
  • fresh thyme
  • salt
  • pepper
  • crostini  (Click here for directions)
  • ricotta

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450° F. Toss grapes with olive oil, fresh thyme sprigs, salt, and pepper and roast until their skins burst, 7 to 9 minutes.

Slather crostini with ricotta, top with the grapes.

 

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This time of year I am making big batches of gazpacho about every 2 weeks because we love it so much in this house. This cold soup is the perfect way to enjoy the season’s produce. Click here for my recipe for Gazpacho

 

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Polenta Bruschetta

Ingredients:

  • polenta, cut into thin rounds (You can make the polenta yourself and cut it into rounds or your can buy the premade polenta that comes in a log shape at the grocery store)
  • 1 small ripe tomato, seeds removed and diced
  • fresh basil, torn into small pieces
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Romano cheese, grated

Directions:

Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Spray pan with non stick spray and working batches toast the polenta rounds, letting each side cook for 2-4 minutes depending on thickness of the polenta rounds. You want the polenta to look slightly browned with a few black spots on each side.

Place the toasted polenta on a baking sheet. In a small mixing bowl combine the tomato, basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Using a spoon distribute the mixture onto the polenta and top each one with a small amount of Romano cheese. Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes (time depends on your oven, you want the cheese to melt, but don’t let it burn).

 

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Well I wasn’t going to have Italian food without my sauce and meatballs joining the party. I heated up some mini meatballs and sauce form the freezer and topped them with grated mozzarella.

Click here for my recipe for homemade meatballs

Click here for my recipe for homemade pasta sauce

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Lemons filled with Cream (Limoni Ripieni)-This was by far my favorite item of the night. I absolutely loved them and I cannot wait to try this recipe with oranges and limes. If you are looking for the perfect hot-weather dessert, search no further!
From Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner? by Lisa Caponigri

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 medium-sized lemons
  • 2 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar

Directions:

Wash and dry the lemons. Cut off enough of one end of each lemon so that it will stand upright. Cut a “cap” off the other end of each lemon. Using a paring knife and a spoon remove all the pulp from each lemon. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the pulp, removing any seeds or pith, and squeeze the remaining pulp to get 1/4 c of juice. Set the lemons upright in a dish or pan that can fit into the freezer.

In a medium bowl with an electric mixer, whip the cream to stiff peaks, adding the sugar gradually. Once the cream is whipped, stir in the lemon juice and pulp (Note: Don’t add the lemon juice while you are whipping the cream or the cream will curdle.)

Immediately spoon (or pipe) the mixture into the lemons. Set them in the freezer to freeze for about 30 minutes. Remove the lemons from the freezer 30 minutes before serving the top with their caps.

Buon appetito!


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Sicilian Marinated Shrimp (Gamberi Marinati all Siciliana)

From Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner? by Lisa Caponigri

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 c fresh orange (or lime juice)
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2 lbs shrimp, uncooked, tails-on

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the lemon and orange (or lime) juices, the garlic, red pepper flakes and the salt. Whisk to combine.

Add the shrimp to the marinade, toss to coat, and let marinate for 5 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp from the marinade and add to the hot skillet. Cook, stirring, until they turn bright pink and transfer to a serving bowl.

 

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Roasted Grape and Ricotta Crostini

from Real Simple Magazine
Ingredients:

  • whole red grapes (amount depends on how many crostini you are making)r
  • olive oil
  • fresh thyme
  • salt
  • pepper
  • crostini
  • ricotta

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450° degrees. Toss grapes with olive oil, fresh thyme sprigs, salt, and pepper and roast until their skins burst, 7 to 9 minutes. Spread ricotta on crostini and  top with the grapes. Serve immediately.

 

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Polenta Bruschetta

Ingredients:

  • polenta, cut into thin rounds (You can make the polenta yourself and cut it into rounds or your can buy the pre-made polenta that comes in a log shape at the grocery store)
  • 1 small ripe tomato, seeds removed and diced
  • fresh basil, torn into small pieces
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Romano cheese, grated

Directions:

Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Spray pan with non stick spray and working batches toast the polenta rounds, letting each side cook for 2-4 minutes depending on thickness of the polenta rounds. You want the polenta to look slightly browned with a few black spots on each side.

Place the toasted polenta on a baking sheet. In a small mixing bowl combine the tomato, basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Using a spoon distribute the mixture onto the polenta and top each one with a small amount of Romano cheese. Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes (time depends on your oven, you want the cheese to melt, but don’t let it burn).

 

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Lemons Filled with Cream (Limoni Ripieni)

From Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner? by Lisa Caponigri

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 medium-sized lemons
  • 2 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar

Directions:

Wash and dry the lemons. Cut off enough of one end of each lemon so that it will stand upright. Cut a “cap” off the other end of each lemon. Using a paring knife and a spoon remove all the pulp from each lemon. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the pulp, removing any seeds or pith, and squeeze the remaining pulp to get 1/4 c of juice. Set the lemons upright in a dish or pan that can fit into the freezer.

In a medium bowl with an electric mixer, whip the cream to stiff peaks, adding the sugar gradually. Once the cream is whipped, stir in the lemon juice and pulp (Note: Don’t add the lemon juice while you are whipping the cream or the cream will curdle.)

Immediately spoon (or pipe) the mixture into the lemons. Set them in the freezer to freeze for about 30 minutes. Remove the lemons from the freezer 30 minutes before serving the top with their caps.

 

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Nectarine Basil Mozzarella Salad

From Real Simple Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe peaches or nectarines, peeled
  • 1 c fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1 inch cubes (or use small balls)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

Cut the fruit into 6-8 wedges, and then cut the wedge in half. In a large bowl, combine the fruit, basil, mozzarella, olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss to combine.

Homemade Lo Mein: The Amazing One Pot Wonder!

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So, let’s talk about “One pot wonder” meals for a minute. Have you seen them on Pinterest or elsewhere? The first one I saw was from Martha Stewart (click here to view). When I first saw this recipe, I thought to myself “there’s no way that works.” But then I was thinking if it did work, what an easy meal this would be to have in my repertoire when I was out of homemade pasta sauce or just needed something easy. So I gave it a whirl, with the disclaimer to my husband that it might not work and we might be ordering pizza for dinner.

To my surprise and pleasure, it turned out great! So boom, just like that I was a believer in “one pot wonder” meals. It got me thinking that I could convert one of my favorite soup recipes into a Lo Mein dish. I picked up some Lo Mein noodles from the grocery store and gave it a try. Once again I was pleased by the ease of the recipe and flavorful result. This is the perfect meal to throw together after a busy a day or when you want a lighter alternative to Chinese take-out.

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And, I urge you to experiment with this one and swap out the veggies for different combinations or use beef instead of chicken (or no meat at all) if you like!

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Homemade Lo Mein

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • fresh ginger, minced, about 1 inch
  • 4 c chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c sweet peppers, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 jalapenos, diced
  • 1/2 c carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 c broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 c button mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz (one small can) water chestnuts
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 bunch of green onions, diced
  • Lo Mein noodles

Directions:

I know most of these recipes typically just throw everything in a pot and let it cook, but I had to make just one minor adjustment. There’s no way I could make a recipe with meat in it without browning it first. It makes the chicken taste better and gives the pot a better base flavor. So we’re going to start there. In a large pot heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat. Coat the cubed chicken with salt and pepper. Once the oil is warm and easily coats the bottom of the pot saute the chicken for 5 minutes, stirring to ensure all sides are browned.

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After 5 minutes add the minced garlic and ginger and saute for 1 minute. Add all remaining ingredients. Spread out the noodles a bit so they don’t cook in one big clump.

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Bring the mixture to a boil stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and cook for 15-18 minutes, stirring halfway through.

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Most (but not all) of the liquid  should be cooked off. If it is not at this point let it continue to cook for 2-3 minutes uncovered. Be sure to stir the noodles every once in a while to prevent the noodles from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Let the noodles rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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These noodles are great with scallion pancakes, click here for the recipe.

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Want to see some more easy chicken dinners?

Click here to view Bruschetta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Clicke here to view Lemon Oregano Roasted Chicken Thighs

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Homemade Lo Mein

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • fresh ginger, minced, about 1 inch
  • 4 c chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c sweet peppers, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 jalapenos, diced
  • 1/2 c carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 c broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 c button mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz (one small can) water chestnuts
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 bunch of green onions, diced
  • Lo Mein noodles

Directions:

In a large pot heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat. Coat the cubed chicken with salt and pepper. Once the oil is warm and easily coats the bottom of the pot saute the chicken for 5 minutes, stirring to ensure all sides are browned.

After 5 minutes add the minced garlic and ginger and saute for 1 minute. Add all remaining ingredients. Spread out the noodles a bit so they don’t cook in one big clump.

Bring the mixture to a boil stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and cook for 15-18 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Most (but not all) of the liquid  should be cooked off. If it is not at this point let it continue to cook for 2-3 minutes uncovered. Be sure to stir the noodles every once in a while to prevent the noodles from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Let the noodles rest for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Flaky Flatbread and White Bean Hummus

I am in love with today’s recipes. A few weeks ago I read in Bon Appetit magazine the recipe for flaky flatbread I have shared below. I wanted to try it almost immediately. My husband and I made them together and devoured all of them that same day. The flavors may be simple, but it is still rich in flavor and texture. An absolute treat.

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Flaky Flatbread

From Bon Appetit Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 c all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • olive oil

Directions:

Whisk kosher salt and 3 cups flour in a large bowl. Drizzle in melted butter; mix well.

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Gradually mix in ¾ cup water. Knead on a lightly floured surface until dough is shiny and very soft, about 5 minutes.

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Wrap in plastic; let rest in a warm spot at least 4 hours.

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Divide dough into 10 pieces and, using your palm, roll into balls. Place balls on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 15 minutes.

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Working with 1 piece at a time, roll out balls on an unfloured surface with a rolling pin into very thin rounds or ovals about 9” across. (If dough bounces back, cover with plastic and let rest a few minutes.)

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Brush tops of rounds with room-temperature butter and sprinkle with sea salt.

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Roll up each round onto itself to create a long thin rope,

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then wind each rope around itself to create a tight coil.

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Working with 1 coil at a time, roll out on an unfloured surface to 10” rounds no more than ⅛” thick.

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Heat a large cast-iron griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Working 1 at a time, brush both sides of a dough round with room-temperature butter and cook until lightly blistered and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.

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Transfer bread to a wire rack and sprinkle with sea salt.

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Top these delicious flatbreads with a dip of your choice or try this easy and tasty white bean hummus. What I love about white beans is the buttery flavor they have, they make for delicious dips.

White Bean Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 can white beans (Canellini beans, Navy beans, etc.)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Directions:

Rinse and drain the white beans. Toss the beans and the remaining ingredients into a food processor. Blend until mostly smooth with just a few large chunks remaining.

Scrape bowl of food processor and put hummus into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 3-4 hours before serving (trust me this tastes great when the flavors have had a chance to meld together first).

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Flaky Flatbread

From Bon Appetit Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 c all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • olive oil

Directions:

Whisk kosher salt and 3 cups flour in a large bowl. Drizzle in melted butter; mix well. Gradually mix in ¾ cup water. Knead on a lightly floured surface until dough is shiny and very soft, about 5 minutes.

Wrap in plastic; let rest in a warm spot at least 4 hours.

Divide dough into 10 pieces and, using your palm, roll into balls. Place balls on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 15 minutes.

Working with 1 piece at a time, roll out balls on an unfloured surface with a rolling pin into very thin rounds or ovals about 9” across. (If dough bounces back, cover with plastic and let rest a few minutes.)

Brush tops of rounds with room-temperature butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Roll up each round onto itself to create a long thin rope, then wind each rope around itself to create a tight coil. Working with 1 coil at a time, roll out on an unfloured surface to 10” rounds no more than ⅛” thick.

Heat a large cast-iron griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Working with one piece of dough at a time, brush both sides of a dough round with room-temperature butter and cook until lightly blistered and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.

Transfer bread to a wire rack and sprinkle with sea salt.

 

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White Bean Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 can white beans (Cannellini beans, Navy beans, etc.)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Directions:

Rinse and drain the white beans. Toss the beans and the remaining ingredients into a food processor. Blend until mostly smooth with just a few large chunks remaining.

Scrape bowl of food processor and put hummus into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 3-4 hours before serving.

Orange Spice Shortbread Cookies

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Who doesn’t love an easy slice and bake cookie recipe? Well, I certainly do at least. This post about an orange spice cookie that is easy to make didn’t start here though. I was actually trying a recipe I had never made before out of my Silver Spoon Italian cookbook. The recipe was so simple, it intrigued me. Instead of butter, the recipe called for olive oil and there were no leavening agents. I was curious. What I got however, was an odd, strange cookie withe the texture of sawdust.

I’m not sure if the ratios for the recipe were wrong or if this is some Italian delicacy I don’t have a pallet for but, this was not the cookie I was looking for. Then the search was on. I wanted a shortbread cookie. An easy one to make. One that didn’t require the fuss of rolling out the dough and using a cookie cutter. And Bam! I found this recipe from one of my favorite magazines, Real Simple.

The dough was a little dry at first, and I was tempted to panic thinking I had run into the same mistake twice, but unlike my flop from Silver Spoon, this dough comes right together.  And, I can tell you these cookies taste even better the day after you make them!

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Orange Spice Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from Real Simple Magazine

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Ingredients:

For the cookies:

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 c and 2 Tbsp of granulated sugar
  • zest of one orange (save the orange for the glaze)
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) butter, room temperature

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 c confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange juice

Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and cinnamon and set aside. In a small mixing bowl combine the sugar, orange zest, and the inside of the vanilla bean and set aside.

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Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar mixture together on a low speed until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Slowly add the dry ingredients. The dough will be very crumbly.

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Place the dough onto some parchment paper or wax paper. Press the dough together to form a log. Wrap tightly with parchment paper and press the log to your work surface to form a long rectangle. Chill in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours or in the freezer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap the dough from the parchment paper and using a sharp knife slice into 1/3 inch-thick cookies. Place cookies on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat.

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Bake for 12-15 minutes rotating the pan halfway through. The recipe makes approximately 20 cookies depending on the size of your log. While the cookies are cooling make the glaze by combining the confectioner’s sugar and orange juice.

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Once the cookies are completely cool drizzle the cookies with the orange glaze.

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Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.

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Orange Spice Shortbread Cookies

Adapted from Real Simple Magazine

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 c and 2 Tbsp of granulated sugar
  • zest of one orange (save the orange for the glaze)
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) butter, room temperature

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 c confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange juice

Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and cinnamon and set aside. In a small mixing bowl combine the sugar, orange zest, and the inside of the vanilla bean and set aside.

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar mixture together on a low speed until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Slowly add the dry ingredients. The dough will be very crumbly.

Place the dough onto some parchment paper or wax paper. Press the dough together to form a log. Wrap tightly with parchment paper and press the log to your work surface to form a long rectangle. Chill in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours or in the freezer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap the dough from the parchment paper and using a sharp knife slice into 1/3 inch-thick cookies. Place cookies on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat.

Bake for 12-15 minutes rotating the pan halfway through. The recipe makes approximately 20 cookies depending on the size of your log. While the cookies are cooling make the glaze by combining the confectioner’s sugar and orange juice.

Once the cookies are completely cool drizzle the cookies with the orange glaze.

Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.

Homemade Sour Gummies

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I’ve seen these all over Pinterest and I really wanted to make some homemade sour gummies (aka sour patch kids) that weren’t artificially flavored.

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Before I jump into this recipe, I would like to talk about some of the ingredients listed below; I rarely name brands in my recipes, because while there are a few brands I always go to, in general I like to let readers choose which products to use, it’s your food after all! However, for this recipe I have noted the brands for two ingredients and here’s why;

I strongly recommend Simply Lemonade since the whole point of this recipe (for me) is to cut back on artificial flavors. If you look at their ingredients, it is just water, lemon, and sugar. So the way I see it, it’s just saving me the trouble of making lemonade from scratch. You can certainly use any kind of juice, freshly squeezed, or store bought that strikes your fancy.

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The other brand I mention is Knox for the gelatin. This is because not all gelatin is created equal, and I can’t with confidence say you will get the same results with other products. So, save yourself the trouble and use Knox gelatin, it can be found in most large grocery stores. I promise they are not paying me!

Homemade Sour Gummies
Recipe Adapted from Knox Gelatine

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Ingredients:

  • 1 c Simply Raspberry Lemonade*
  • 1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice (1-2 lemons depending on size)
  • food coloring (optional)
  • 2 packets of Knox Gelatin

*A note on ingredients; as noted above, you can use any kind of juice, lemonade, or flavoring you like but the trick is, that all of your liquid adds up to 1 1/4 c. The ratios in this recipe are really important to ensure the gummies hold their shape.

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Directions:

In a small sauce pan over low heat, warm the lemonade, lemon juice and food coloring (if using). Once the mixture is warm (not even boiling or simmering), add the gelatin.

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Stir with a fork until completely dissolved (2-3 minutes).

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Pour the mixture into a mold of your choice. I used a square brownie pan, but candy molds or a cake pan would work equally well.

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Place in freezer for 10-12 minutes. To de-mold the gelatin, run a butter knife around the edges.

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Then cut the gummie into 4 sections for easy removal from the pan.

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I then placed the gelatin on a paper towel and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter.

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I used the smallest cookie cutter I own so they are little bite-sized adorable gummies, but they are just as good at any size.

Store the gummies in a an airtight container and keep at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

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Homemade Sour Gummies

Recipe Adapted from Knox Gelatine

Ingredients:

  • 1 c Simply Raspberry Lemonade*
  • 1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice (1-2 lemons depending on size)
  • food coloring (optional)
  • 2 packets of Knox Gelatin

*A note on ingredients; as noted above, you can use any kind of juice, lemonade, or flavoring you like but the trick is, that all of your liquid adds up to 1 1/4 c. The ratios in this recipe are really important to ensure the gummies hold their shape.

Directions:

In a small sauce pan over low heat, warm the lemonade, lemon juice and food coloring (if using). Once the mixture is warm (not even boiling or simmering), add the gelatin. Stir with a fork until completely dissolved (2-3 minutes).

Pour the mixture into a mold of your choice. I used a square brownie pan, but candy molds or a cake pan would work equally well. Place in freezer for 10-12 minutes. To de-mold the gelatin, run a butter knife around the edges. Then cut the gummie into 4 sections for easy removal from the pan.

Place the gelatin on a paper towel and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter. Store the gummies in a an airtight container and keep at room temperature or in the refrigerator.