Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cream Puffs Filled with (What Else?) Chocolate Cream

These are so much simpler than you are thinking so don't just click off until you really look.
Profiteroles, doesn't it sound fancy? It is a very easy batter, spooned onto sheet pans and baked, when opened it is hollow so fill it with loads of cream, custard, or chicken salad. What?! yes, the puff itself is not sweet, so it can host a variety of fillings, how about some pimiento cheese?
The finished photo is this recipe but doubled that gives you perspective on how large and how many it makes.
This is just before I dusted them with powdered sugar. A chocolate glaze is good too...
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter (only the real thing)
1 cup flour, all purpose or white spelt
14 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
In a heavy sauce pan, bring the water and butter to a boil.
 Add flour and salt all at once and stir constantly until a smooth ball forms.
Remove from heat and add eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition.
 Beat well. Preheat the oven to 400F.
Cover a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Spoon onto the baking sheet like drop cookies.
Bake at 400F. for 15minutes then reduce the temperature to 350F. and continue to bake for 30 minutes longer. They should be puffed and golden.
When completely cool, make the cream.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
If you want chocolate cream just add 1 tablespoon cocoa and 1 more tablespoons sugar. I used both vanilla and chocolate cream in these photos.
Beat until fluffy, if you over beat it will be butter so don't turn it on and walk away.
Fill pastry bag, if you have one, if not you can spoon it into the puffs.

 Snip off the end.
Cut off  the tops of each puff and set aside.

Pipe the cream into each puff and replace the top.

Now, before anyone walks into the kitchen, pop one in your mouth, it is your duty, as the cook, to taste test everything.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Oatmeal Thumbprints with a Handful of Coconut

These were chewy, coconutty, easy, yummy, "just couldn't stay away from them" cookies. This photo does not do them justice. There were several still on the plate when I came home Saturday afternoon...no one else was home...they weren't safe...diet disaster ensued. When my daughter arrived home later in the afternoon and asked the location of the cookies, I was completely chastened by her look of unbelief. I shall in the future always save one for her :)

1 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole grain (I used spelt for both flours)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups oatmeal
1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
jam (I used seedless blackberry)

Lightly grease baking sheets.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a large mixer bowl, beat butter and coconut oil together until light and fluffy.
Add sugar, brown sugar, and molasses and beat until thoroughly incorporated.

  Add eggs, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla.
Add the flour mixture, mixing only until incorporated. Stir in the oats and coconut.

Drop by tablespoon onto prepared pan. Make a divot in the center of each dough ball
and fill with 1 teaspoon jam.
Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the edges are golden.

I know, you can't wait so go get the butter out to soften! And start the coffee too ;)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Portobello Caps

These were scrumptious! Similar to a baked artichoke, spinach dip but with the added flavor of the earthy portobello mushroom. Definitely over the top delicious.
6 medium-large portabello mushrooms
1 box frozen spinach
1 can artichokes, packed in water, drained, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons real mayo
3 drops hot sauce (like Frank's)
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil plus 1 clove garlic pressed for brushing
Remove the stems from the mushrooms, chop stems and scrape the inside of the caps.

Thaw and drain the spinach, press with a couple paper towels to get all the liquid out.
In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, artichokes, chopped mushroom stems, garlic, parmesan, mayo, hot sauce, and worcestershire sauce. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and the last garlic clove.
Brush the inside of the caps with the olive oil/garlic mixture. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 400F. for 15 minutes.
 Pack as much filling into each cap as possible, place back in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until filling is bubbly.

Serve as appetizers, a side dish or just next to a big salad.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cabbage, Onions, and Garlic, Oh My!

Recently a friend gave me several cabbages. "Several" would be an understatement. One can only eat so much coleslaw and you can't can cabbage. So, since my favorite soup begins with cabbage, onion and garlic sauted in butter I did just that, in large quantity then froze it in 2 cup portions.
Begin by chopping the cabbage and onion, put them in a large pot with a couple tablespoons of butter or olive oil.

Press the garlic into the pot.
Cook and stir until tender.

Add salt and pepper if desired. I added hot peppers to some of it.
Let cool, bag, freeze. Don't forget to clearly mark the contents on the bag or you will wonder what it is and never actually pull it out and use it.
Use this to start vegetable soup or minestrone. I'm sure you will come up with many other uses for such a base, do share your ideas, I am always on the look out for simple, healthy dinners.