Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Creamy Ceasar Dressing

Making salad dressing yourself can give you a much healthier product and cater to your personal tastes. I have two Ceasar dressing recipes that I like equally, one creamy and the other a rich olive oil version loaded with garlic, yum. I made this one today because I wanted it on more than salad, I drizzled this over a baked potato. I'm sure given enough time I could come up with a multitude of things to dip or drizzle over, this is just plain good.
1 cup mayo (I used Vegenaise because it is all grapeseed oil, but use what you prefer)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
1 table anchovy paste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon parsely
I put all of this in a cup and use my smart stick to blend it, a blender or magic bullet works well too.
It is that easy. Really.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Applesauce Cupcakes with Dulce De Leche Icing

These little gems are now my favorite cupcakes...ever! The cake is light and moist, the icing is creamy and luscious, with a wonderfully rich dulce de leche flavor topped with a drizzle of sweetness. Yummy!
If you are going to shoot for an over the top icing you might consider a simpler cake in order to not detract from the richness of the fluff on top.
Applesauce Cake Recipe:
2 cups flour (I used white spelt, use what you like)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
4 large eggs
1 pint unsweetened applesauce (2 cups)
Preheat oven to 350F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners or grease well; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, soda, powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together both sugars, butter and eggs.
Add the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Whisk in applesauce.

Fill each liner 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Transfer to wire cooling rack, cool completely.
While they cool make the icing.
Dulce De Leche Icing:
6 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
pinch salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup canned dulce de leche by Nestle
1 teaspoon vanilla
Place a saucepan with about 2 inches of water over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Combine egg whites, sugar and salt in a metal bowl, place over simmering water. Whisk constantly, until an instant read thermometer reads 160F, mixture will resemble marshmallow fluff. Remove bowl from heat and beat until stiff meringue peaks form and the outside of bowl is no longer warm, about 10 minutes. Beat in the butter a little at a time.
Add the dulce de leche, beat until incorporated. If icing curdles just keep beating.

This amount should frost 24 cupcakes or a 9" cake.
For Drizzle:
In a small saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons dulce de leche with 2-3 tablespoons milk, stirring constantly until a  (like Elmers glue) pourable consistency. Cool completely or you will melt your frosting.
Place in a piping bag or a sandwich baggie with the corner snipped off.

Frost cool cupcakes then drizzle, admire, eat one!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Savory Roasted Potatoes with Red Pepper

Sometimes I get hung up on the side dishes and forget just how easy it is to put together a simple and delicious accompaniment to a serving of meat or a hearty sandwich. This was outstanding because it only took a few minutes and because I pulled everything out of the fridge without a trip to the market. So, as a side note, you could substitute the red pepper for almost any vegetable you already have.
 All I did for this was wash and cut some yellow potatoes into large bite sized chunks. Red potatoes would be good too or any waxy variety you have. I am about to get very technical here so hang on... Choose the size baking dish that fits your family, the amount of potatoes you need to fill both the dish and your family. This is my favorite dish for this type of food.
Yes, it is a little scruffy looking but that is because it is well seasoned and often used to produce something much enjoyed, sounds like most of us ;)
I put a drizzle of olive oil in the bottom, or use butter if you prefer...
Add the cut potatoes and some onion.

Dice some red pepper, I used about 1/2 a large pepper here. Salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle some marjoram, parsley, rosemary, or what ever herbs make you happy, and one or two minced garlic cloves. Drizzle more olive oil over the top, you don't need it to float, just a couple tablespoons will do nicely. I like some coarse, flaky salt on top too. It cooks best as a single layer.
Pop this into a preheated oven, 400F. for 35-40 minutes depending in the size dish and amount of spuds used, obviously if you have a load of food piled in deeply then it will take longer.

Simple, tasty, very little prep time, healthy, and all in one dish!
I really needed some more color on this plate.