Friday, April 28, 2006

Catering the Film Festival Reception.....

See everyone milling around the food?

I " donated" food in return for an ad worth 60 dollars for the London Lesbian Film Festival. I totally stressed out about what to provide. I knew I was going to do a cheese/fruit platter so when I went to Ann Arbor a few weeks ago, I bought supplies at Trader Joe's. On Thursday I decided to do some cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles. I also made a big BLT sandwich, although I wasnt happy with the bread. I wanted foccacia, but I couldnt find any at Kroger, Meijer or the 2 grocery stores in my town. I should have baked some, but I didnt plan ahead. I thought I would also do something " light" so I made a Giada recipe. Shrimp salad in Endive leaves with a parsely sauce. Of course, the grocery store in town was out of Italian parsely, so I subbed dill instead.

Another company was providing food as well and I was pleased that my food was tastier and more attractive.

Now let's just hope I get some business from this.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Composed Salad......

AKA clean out the fridge/freezer salad. I had half a bag of frozen cooked shrimp in the freezer and a bunch of produce, so I threw this salad together. I bought a couple of fresh beets and roasted those. Shreeded carrots and hot house cucumbers were tossed in as well. I whipped up a balsamic vinegarette and topped the salad with goat cheese and some wonderful spicy/sweet pecans I bought at Trader Joe's. Easy and tasty. This salad would be perfect for SweetNick's ARF Tuesday.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Mexican food......

Yesterday I led a creative cooking group in London. I chose the menu and supervised the cooking. We made a basic cooked salsa, guacamole, red chicken chili enchilada's( I forgot to take a pic of that), rice, beans and a margarita pie.

Everything was really good, however, I have a low tolerance for spicy foods. I thought the salsa and the enchilada's were spicy. The margarita pie was simple to make and very refreshing. The crust consists of crushed pretzels, sugar and butter. Its pressed in and then refridgerated for an hour. The filling is whipped cream, sweetened condensed milk, lime zest, juice, tequila and triple sec. The pie was really nice after a spicy meal. It was fun cooking with other people and sharing my knowledge of Mexican foods.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Sugar High Friday #17

Welcome to Sugar High Friday. This month's edition is hosted by lick the spoon. This month's theme is liquor.

Since I travel back and forth from the US to Canada, I'm afforded the opportunity to visit the Duty Free Shops. I've taken advantage of that by buying all the liquors you'd need for cooking( well, except framboise).

So, I looked at my stash and had to choose between kahlua, frangelico and Bailey's. I chose franjelico because I absolutly love hazelnuts.

I searched the Cooking Light website and picked this. Hazelnut Raisin Poundcake. When I saw that the recipe had no reviews, I thought" Hmmm, maybe I should pick another one". Obviously, I didnt.

I cut a big slice for my neighbors tonight and I snuck a taste. It was just ok. I'll let it sit till tomorrow and see if I change my mind.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Double Maple Cupcakes ( CL).....

A couple of weeks ago, Robin brought me home 2L of Canadian Grade 3( like US grade B or C) maple syrup. Traditionally, the darker grades are for cooking, but a lot of people really like the darker grades( me included) for waffles and pancakes. Since I tend to mix half sugar free and half regular syrup, the darker grades work well for me.

So, I've been itching to bake something with the syrup. Enter these cupcakes. Sometimes a group of recipes from Cooking Light will just stick with me, and I remembered this one. ( As an aside, I made a peanut butter cupcake years ago from the same issue and its weird, but I can't find that PB cupcake recipe on the website).

We're having some people over for dinner tonight after we attend out town's rummage sale. Since I'm making calzone's for dinner, I wanted a light dessert. The maple flavor really comes through too. If you like maple, you'll love these.

Double-Maple Cupcakes

1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon imitation maple flavoring
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/4 cup maple syrup

3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon imitation maple flavoring
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.To prepare cupcakes, beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine milk and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition.

Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups lined with paper liners. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

To prepare the frosting, beat 3 tablespoons maple syrup and next 4 ingredients (syrup through 1/8 teaspoon salt) at medium speed of a mixer 1 minute. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating just until blended (do not overbeat). Spread the frosting over cupcakes.

CALORIES 255(28% from fat); FAT 7.8g (sat 4.5g,mono 2.3g,poly 0.4g); PROTEIN 2.7g; CHOLESTEROL 55mg; CALCIUM 50mg; SODIUM 207mg; FIBER 0.4g; IRON 1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 43.9g

Monday, April 17, 2006

A meal not cooked by me..

This was the first holiday I was too sick to cook a meal, thus I didnt cook. I went to Ann Arbor last week and on my way home, I picked up a spiral sliced ham. My MIL never had one before so she was excited to try it. I'm not a big ham person so it didnt matter to me either way. She made some scallop pototoes too. This was a simple meal and normally I'd care, but I was just too sick( with some weird virus) to care.

Tonight is our community kitchen meeting. I think we'll be cooking on Thursday night as Wednesday night( scheduled cook night) is our town's famous rummage sale. Last year I scored an Italian Food Mill( brand new) for 25 cents.

I'm making calzones again for Wednesday night( we always have ppl over for dinner after the rummage sale) and I need to find a dessert. Anyone have any suggestions?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Cherry Cobbler....

Another recipe from America's test kitchen. I found a couple bags of frozen sour cherries in the freezer, and I knew they were from last August. So, I defrosted one and then went looking for a recipe. This was a fairly simple recipe. Mix the cherries( frozen) with some sugar and cornstarch. Bake in the oven for about 20 min, remove then top with a sweet biscuit dough. The dough came together fairly quickly. I used a regular spoon to mix it up. I added some cinnamon because I really love the flavor. Throw it back in the oven and bake another 20 min. Unlike my spouse, I am a big fan of fruit based dessert. I also dont care for pie crust so this was perfect for me. I gave half of it to my client and hopefully they enjoyed it too.

I hate to admit this, but I'm kinda sick of cooking. I need a break. Do you ever feel that way?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Asian spiced pork tenderloin and curried coucous...

Robin bought me American's Test Kitchen Family cookbook for xmas. She asked me the other day why I havent made anything from it. My answer is " I have too many cookbook's". Sound familar? I pulled it out this morning and looked for a recipe using the pork tenderloin I found in the freezer. As an aside, tonight after dinner, Robin and I went thru the downstairs freezer. I made a list of everything in there. It wasnt pretty, but it's not as bad as we both though.

So, I whipped up an asian style wet rub( more like a marinade) for the pork. Canola oil, diced jalapeno and garlic, ginger and soy. I added some chinese 5 spice powder to it. I chucked it in a ziplock bag and let it marinate for about 3 hrs( too long because the soy made it a tad too spicy). Robin "manned" the grill until it registered 140 on an instant read. We tented it with foil and let it sit until it came up to 160f. I also made a curried couscous pilaf. Fairly simple and straightforward. I took some help with the veggie. I used a bag of mixed beans + carrots that you just toss in the microwave. I topped it with a smidge of a seasame ginger sauce with some sesame seeds.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Toffee blondies(One smart cookie)....

Both Anna and Joe have baked items from One Smart Cookie. I was intrigued so I read the reviews at Amazon and saw that the author is Canadian. Perfect, I knew my local library would have the book. I marched down there and ordered that and her other book called Grazing. I was called the next day to pick up One Smart Cookie. I'd like to bake a few things from it before I decide to buy it. Robin picked out this recipe. They were good, nice flavor and chewy. I couldnt tell that they were low-fat. Now, to be totally honest, I didnt use the melted caramels as suggested. I had some leftover cajeta( goats milk dulce de leche) and so I used that. The one thing I dont like about the recipes( after reading a lot of them) is that what the author removes in fat she puts back in sugar. There seemed to be a lot of sugar in the recipes. Maybe I can modify that as well. Anyway, these were good and I'd make them again.

Cleaning out the freezer.....

A lot of bloggers are cleaning out their freezers. We sorely need to clean ours out too, as we have a chest freezer in the basement and a thick ring of ice has formed inside. We didnt realize that we bought a frosting freezer. So, my goal for the next month is to use up what we have and get rid of my large stock of pantry items. Doesn't help that I'm going to Ann Arbor on the 11th for a couple of days. Trader Joe's and Whole Food's call my name. I will be getting a case of San Marzano tomatoes because once you have those, domestic canned tomatoes just dont cut it. Anyway, I digress.....

Tonight I made a low-fat fettucini alfredo using some frozen shrimp, frozen crab ( Trader Joe's) and my last two frozen pesto cubes. I also used fat free half and half and only 1tsp of butter. I was impressed by the half and half as this was my first time using it. (I wish they sold it in Ontario). I used fresh fettucini as I prefer that to dried when making alfredo.

Robin requested orgasm bread. Yes, its that good!! The official name is stuffed artichoke bread. I tried to cut the fat down in that too by severly reducing the butter, and cheese. It was still very very good.