Thursday, May 24, 2012

Roasted Eggplant Caviar Dip

When you need to dip into veggies. 
When you have a lot of appetizers, other than a veggie tray, veggies tend to get lost at times. I know that whenever we have friends over, veggies are an after thought to the meal. A vegetarian friend brought this Roasted Eggplant Caviar Dip to my house one time and now it is a frequent visitor. It is a sneaky way to get people to eat eggplant, as it doesn't taste like most eggplant dishes too. Eaten on a crispy bread is a great way to enjoy it. 

Roasted Eggplant Caviar Dip
1 large globe eggplant
salt and pepper
olive oil
2 shallots
Balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Toasted bread for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
Peel the eggplant and cut into even sized cubes. Drizzle the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil. Put the eggplant in the dish, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Then toss with more olive oil. Place about 3 Tablespoons over water in the dish, cover tightly with foil, and bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until very soft.
Even the oven is roasting away the eggplant, peel and dice the shallots very fine. Place shallots, minced garlic in with 3 Tablespoons of the balsamic vinegar into a food processor or blender (or a bowl for a chunkier texture). Let sit for about 10 minutes (or until your eggplant is done if you are quick).

Once the eggplant is done, add eggplant to the shallot and garlic mixture, mashing with a fork, and let it cool to room temperature. Using a food processor or blender for finer texture pulse in the chopped cilantro, adding balsamic vinegar to help with smoothness. Adjust the seasoning. Add additional olive oil and balsamic to taste. Serve on grilled bread. Or use that chip and dip that doesn't do much and let your guest spread to their desired taste.

Adopted from Group Recipes

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Black and White Mocha Cookies

Everything drink should be a cookie.
First things, first. I have to confess I don't coffee. It it just a taste I dislike. Simple as that. I didn't even have a taste, however these cookies were approved by coffee loving friends. When I moved to Utah, I met 2 girls that have become good friends. We often go to coffee and they always get mochas. Thus the black and white mocha cookies.

On a side note. The blog as been silent because I got a full time job. I am the Marketing and Production Coordinator for a small firm that sells benefits to credit unions. The job is great, the adjustment back to full time employment has been tricky to find balance. Now that it has been a month on the job, thing are flowing a bit better.

Black and White Mocha Cookies 
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup sugar                                                                                 
1/2 cup packed brown sugar                                                             
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon warm water
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted & cooled
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
In a large bowl, cream butter with granulated and brown sugars until fluffy and well combined. In a small mug, dissolve coffee in water. Add dissolved coffee to creamed mixture, mix well. Then add in egg, melted chocolate and vanilla, blend until combined. 
In medium size bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture (dough will be sticky). Shape into two rolls (like refrigerated store cookie dough) about 2 inch diameters. Wrap each roll in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm. Unwrap and cut into 1/4-in. slices. Place apart on ungreased baking sheets, or silpmat lined cookie sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until firm. Remove to wire racks to cool. 
In a microwave safe bowl, melt white chocolate 20 seconds at a time, until chocolate is smooth and melted. Dip each cooled cookie halfway; shake off excess. Place on waxed paper to harden.

Slight change from Best of Country Cookies

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Chicken Soulvaki

Light and fresh flavors for chicken
The past few days have been really nice out. It is hard to believe that spring is here, if only for a day or two at a time. With the warmer weather, the grill as already been fired up multiple times. This chicken soulvaki is a quick and easy. We enjoy the chicken on flat bread with tzatziki, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and lettuce. If there are leftovers, I made a salad with tzatziki as the dressing. This is our go to summer meal, because it doesn't involve heating up the oven (unless you don't have a grill). Summer isn't here yet, but spring alright started to cook it up. 

Chicken Soulvaki
1 pound chicken breast, cut into strips or
chicken tenders
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, juice and zest or 1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tablespoon tzatziki 
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients and stir well. Let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes at minimum to overnight. Skewer the meat, if using wood skewers be sure to soak them for at least 20 minutes. Cook on the grill or under a broiler for about 4-5 minutes per side, until chicken is cooked through.
Serve on flat bread with tzatziki, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, and onions.

Adapted from Closet Cooking

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Midnight Brownies

For the late night snacker or day time eater.
Dark as night, these brownies could be eaten at midnight without anyone seeing that you are eating anything. At my house, we have come to enjoy dark chocolate over milk chocolate more and more. Our candy dish was filled with dark chocolate until it wasn't possible to keep full anymore. When I was picking up some sprinkles to make these cookies. I saw the dark cocoa powder. I bought it not knowing I needed it for the cookies, even though I did. The only thing on my mind was brownies, dark chocolate brownies. Since I had walnuts in the pantry, I added them in to give a crunch. I also enjoy the creamy melted chocolate chips in my brownies, so I threw some in too. Feel free to add or delete either of these depending on your tastes.  

Midnight Brownies
2 cups sugar 
1/2 cup baking dark cocoa 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
2/3 cup vegetable oil, divided 
1/2 cup boiling water 
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt 
2 eggs 
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 13 in by 9 in pan.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa and baking soda. Add 1/3 cup oil and water; beat until smooth. Beat in the flour, vanilla, salt, eggs and remaining 1/3 cup oil. Stir in walnut.   
Spread into prepare pan.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. *Note- with the dark chocolate it can be hard to tell if they are done. Check the side. 

Adapted from Taste of Home

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pineapple Cherry Cookies

Tropical cookies to fight the winter blues
There seems to be a desire for spring that many are feeling throughout the cold weather states. There are glimpses of sun and warmer days that trick you. When the sun hides its face for a couple of days, these cookies can help to rid you of the winter blues. The bright colors and tropical favors may transport you to a warmer time or place. These are also great if you don't like a really sweet cookie as the favors shine without the sweet. Until the sun shines through the clouds and spring has sprung, eat pineapple cherry cookies!

Pineapple Cherry Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 cup finely chopped maraschino cherries

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 
In a large bowl, cream butter with sugar and brown sugar until fluffy. Add one egg at a time, combine after each one. Also beat in vanilla. 
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in pineapple and cherries. 
Drop tablespoons on an ungreased baking sheet (or silp-mat lined baking sheet). Bake for 7-9 minutes until lightly brown along edges. Remove to wire rack and cool.

Slight change from All Recipes 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Grapefruit Ricotta Cookies

 Tart and creamy cookie
When we returned from our New Year's trip to California, we had an overload of citrus. We definitely reach our limit of vitamin C with all the oranges we ate in the weeks to followed. When I opened the fruit drawer in the fridge the other day, I noticed there were still some grapefruits left. Instead of just eating one for breakfast, I thought of cookies! I remembered a ricotta cookie I had seen. Surprising I also had ricotta in my fridge. I got right to making these cookies. My husband always claims that he does not like ricotta. I was not surprised when he didn't question what was in the cookies and just gobbled them up. Tasty. The glaze helps to add a bit more sweetness to the cookies.

Grapefruit Ricotta Cookies 
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1/2 grapefruit, zested
2 eggs
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons grapefruit juice
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the large bowl,  combine the butter, sugar, grapefruit zest until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until well combined. Add the ricotta cheese, vanilla, and grapefruit juice. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Spoon the tablespoons of dough onto slip mat lined (or parchment paper) baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 20 minutes. While cookies cool, prepare glaze.

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons grapefruit juice
1/2 grapefruit, zested
Whisk the powdered sugar, grapefruit juice, and grapefruit zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours.

Adapted from Everyday Italian

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Purple People Eater Cookies

Not just for the monsters to eat.

Valentine's day has arrived. I am not big on Valentine's day. I usually eat way too much candy and baked goods. Simply because sweet are everywhere. I always think of chocolate covered strawberries for V-day. This is probably because you can find them just about everywhere. Is that because strawberries in chocolate are romantic? My solution for Valentine's day-raspberries and chocolate in a cookie. Although not strawberries, frozen raspberries are a great substitution. I was hoping for a nice Valentine color, instead they look like purple people eaters. 
The recipe comes from a great cookbook I got for Christmas as a gift. Best of Country Cookies is packed for of contest winning country (not city) cookies. However I also found that she posted it on Allrecipes. Here is a great cookie for forced affection day or any other day of the year!

Purple People Eater Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup raspberries fresh or frozen (defrosted), pureed
1 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips or bar broken into pieces

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition also mix in vanilla. Beat in raspberries until mixed in. Add in chocolate chip. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in white chocolate.

Drop by teaspoonfuls inches apart onto a slip mat lined cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool before serving.