Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ginger Orange Glazed Carrots

I think these are pretty standard all over the place, but I love them and they work great with the rest of the Easter menu I am going with.  And even better, it uses up the carrots my husband's worried we won't use up quick enough.  I am making enough for 10 people today, so I'll downsize the recipe for the blog (usually I don't feed that many people, I don't know about you readers out there...).

Ginger Orange Glazed Carrots

1-2 carrots per person (that's for whole carrots, you can use baby carrots too, just plan for about a cup of carrots per person)
2 oranges, juiced
2-3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
a couple of shakes of allspice or nutmeg, if desired

Cut the carrots into sticks or sliced rounds.  Place in a medium saucepan with the orange juice, brown sugar, ginger, and spices.  Over medium heat, stir til carrots are tender and glaze has thickened.  Serve hot with your favorite protein and starch.  Delicious!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mustard Rosemary Garlic Marinade

Ok kids, this is the amazing recipe that my grandparents used to use on lamb every Easter when I was a kid growing up.  Papa would get a boneless leg of lamb, butterfly it, and then marinate it in this fabulous mixture for a few days before grilling it perfectly and serving it with delicious roasted potatoes and other amazing food.  Yep, I have grandparents that double as gourmet cooks.  Probably where my mom got her love of cooking, and maybe where I adopted it from too.  So you can thank Grandma and Papa for this one, and maybe me too, just for sharing.  It's meant for lamb, of course, but you can use it for chicken too (the ingredients go really well with the flavor of chicken, too.  And I can't afford lamb right now, so that's what it ended up on here...)

Mustard Rosemary Garlic Marinade

1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c lemon juice
1/4 c rosemary, chopped
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp mustard seed, or course ground mustard
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

This makes a lot of marinade, so you might want to downsize it a bit if you aren't doing the whole leg of lamb.  As I said before, it's made for a 8-9 lb leg of lamb, boneless and butterflied.   So if you want to make chicken, it would probably be delicious on a whole chicken, or on LOTS of chicken pieces.  :)

Just mix all of the above ingredients in a large ziplock bag, add the meat, and then mash it around and place in the fridge for a day or so before cooking.  If you are doing lamb, Grandma says to grill the meat 10 minutes per side, after bringing it to room temperature.  If you are cooking a whole chicken, cook it like you would a roast chicken.  If you are doing boneless skinless chicken breasts, pound them thin before you put it in the marinade, and then fry it in a bit of oil in a saute pan.  Slice thin and serve with the roasted potatoes posted previously.


Garlic Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

This is something that I originally ate at my Grandma's house and loved, and it's really a simple recipe.  Super easy, and super tasty.  And goes great with the chicken or lamb you decide to make from the recipe I am going to post next--great for an Easter feast for sure.  Or any other time of the year, for that matter.  Anywho, I hope you like them as much as I do.

Garlic Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

1 lb baby red potatoes, quartered
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed, and minced
4 tbsp olive oil
pinch each of salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a medium to large bowl, mix together rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper, potatoes and oil until the potatoes are coated well.  Dump contents of bowl into a large baking dish (I usually use a 13x9 pan).  Spread it out so they don't overlap and they all have enough space to brown nicely.   Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden brown, whichever comes first.   Make sure to let them rest for a bit before you pop the delicious bites of potato in your mouth, because if you aren't careful, you'll burn your mouth.

Serve with lamb, chicken, steak, whatever you like.  And a veggie of course...because a meal isn't complete without a good veggie.  Stay tuned for a great veggie recipe I plan to make next for Easter dinner....

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sparkling Limeade

This is sort of inspired by someone I knew when I was in high school.  We went to their house for a party once, and she had made this sparkling cucumber limeade drink thing that was DELICIOUS.  I have ever since been trying to figure out the recipe and have since failed.  But this is close.  And you'd be surprised how easy it is!

Sparkling Limeade

1 2 liter bottle of 7up or Sprite or similar lemon lime soda (I used diet of course, that works fine too.)
1 lime, sliced into rounds
1 can limeade concentrate
1/2 a cucumber, sliced into rounds

Combine the limeade and 7up gently in a pitcher with a spoon.  Be careful, because you don't want the soda to bubble over.  Add the lime and cucumber slices to the mix and serve cold.

See?  It's that easy!  Enjoy!

Creme Brulee with Berries

Who out there doesn't like a good creme brulee?  I mean seriously, the stuff is DIVINE.  It's probably not healthy for any of us, and its not cheap at the fancy restaurants, but soooo worth it when you can have it, right? I found this wonderful recipe on Food Network's awesome index of recipes, and it was wonderful.  The truth is, when it comes to making creme brulee or any other kind of custard, the important part is technique.  So pay close attention to the instructions, because if you do it right you will have a delightfully smooth, creamy custard with a delicious caramelized sugar crust/shell.  Do it wrong, and you'll end up with heavy cream mixed with scrambled eggs and sugar.  And that's just not good eats.  Here we go...

Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee with Sliced Strawberries

2 1/3 c heavy whipping cream
2/3 c sugar (YES, it has to be the real stuff, no substitutions this time)
1 vanilla bean (optional--plain creme brulee just uses a bit of vanilla extract, this recipe is vanilla bean though)
6 egg yolks

Brulee top:
3 tbsp granulated sugar

this can be any berries you want, or have on hand. I used strawberries because I had them.  the original recipe calls for raspberries, which would be equally delicious, as would blueberries or blackberries.  About a cup of whatever berries you choose, and a couple tsp of sugar, depending on the sweetness you want.  It also suggests adding lemon zest, but I didn't and it was delicious.

You will also want to invest in some ramekins.  4 of them, each about 4 inches or 6 oz.    A baker's torch would be nice too, but if you don't have one, use your broiler (that's what I did).


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place ramekins in a 9x13x2 baking pan.  In a small saucepan or tea kettle, heat some water.

In a medium saucepan combine heavy cream and sugar (not over heat yet).  Using a sharp paring knife, slice the vanilla bean down the center lengthwise along the seam of the bean.  Scrape out the center of the vanilla bean and add to the cream and sugar mixture.  Toss in the bean too.  If you get some of the stuff in the center of the bean on your hands, just use a bit of sugar to rub it off into the cream mixture.

Heat cream and sugar and vanilla bean over medium heat until it simmers, whisking constantly to keep from burning.  When it comes to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat to low, and continue to simmer for 10 minutes (SET THE TIMER, do not cook longer than the prescribed 10 minutes).  When it's done cooking, remove the vanilla bean (just the shell part) and either throw away or dry it out, and you can use it later to make vanilla sugar.

Now, here is the tricky part: tempering the eggs.  You have to mix the hot cream with the cold eggs without getting scrambled eggs.   I used a ladle and just mixed a small amount of the cream with the eggs as I whisked it, so it brought the eggs to temperature and kept things smooth.  That's probably the best way to do it, because if you just add all of the eggs to the hot cream, you'll end up with scrambled eggs.

**Once you have added a couple of ladles full of the cream to the eggs, whisking the whole time, you should be able to just add the rest of the cream because by then the eggs are up to temp and you've combined them well enough that it won't matter.**  Mix the rest of the cream in, and scrape out all of the vanilla bean goodness into there, and make sure everything is mixed in well.

Now, all you have to do is ladle the mixture into your ramekins.  I actually used a silicone bowl since it was flexible and heat proof and wouldn't move around on me when I was whisking and ladling at the same time while tempering the eggs.  So just evenly portion the custard into your 4 ramekins.  Then you need to create a water bath around them by pouring in the hot water around them into the baking dish you placed them in at the beginning.  You'll want enough water to go up halfway around the ramekins.

Carefully place the 9x13 into your oven and bake custard for 30-35 minutes.  The custard should be set, but jiggle slightly when you lightly shake the pan.  When it's done baking, remove the ramekins from the water bath and let cool to room temperature, then transfer to the fridge to chill the rest of the way.

Once fully cooled, sprinkle sugar on top of each ramekin to cover the whole custard, but not too thick (about 2 tsp per ramekin).  Place on a baking sheet under the broiler for about 3-5 minutes, watching the whole time, making sure the sugar doesnt burn, but turns golden brown.  Let cool.

Mix the berries, sugar, and lemon zest together.  Top the creme brulee with the berries and enjoy!