Saturday, June 18, 2011

Christina's Chocolate Covered Fruit with Hazelnut Ganache Drizzle

Attention foodies!  There IS a way to spruce up an average dessert.  In my opinion however, chocolate covered anything is NEVER average.  This fiasco began with the impulse purchase of a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  After a few taps of the bag and a toss of the hand, my sweet tooth was satisfied.  So now what? What to do with a practically full bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips? Raid the fridge for some fruit and start dipping!

If you're trying to get your loved ones to eat more fruit, this is a fool-proof method.  I promise that my recipe is a fun, easy and positively delicious sweet fix for your sweet tooth!

Prep Time: 10 Minutes   Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Ingredients:
-1- 11.5oz bag (or if you're like me, minus half a palm-full) semi-sweet chocolate chips
-1/4 cup Coffee House Hazelnut Breve Cream coffee creamer
-1/2 tbs butter
-1/2 cup water
-1 box strawberries
-1 sliced apple
-wax paper
--You can use any type of fruit for the recipe

Steps:
1. Place the chocolate chips into a glass bowl and place the glass bowl in a small pot filled with water
--Ensure the pot is smaller than the bowl so the bowl can rest on the rim of the pot
Tip: Heat the water at low heat so it doesn't overflow 
2. Continue stirring the chocolate chips so they melt evenly
3. Keeping the bowl over the pot, begin dipping the fruit into the chocolate and place it on the wax paper
Tip: Once you dip the fruit, twist it in a circular motion in the air to keep it from dripping with chocolate
4.Turn the stove off under the chocolate
5. Heat the coffee creamer in a small glass bowl in the microwave for about thirty seconds
6. Turn the stove back on to low heat and quickly stir in the creamer and butter with a fork
7. Once the chocolate is liquefied into a ganache, drizzle it over the dipped fruit
7. Place the fruit into a refrigerator for at least a half hour 
You can leave it in the refrigerator as long as necessary
8. Serve cold and enjoy!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Christina's Go-Banana(s) bread with Splenda!

I know there's not one person out there who hasn't experienced the tragedy of a banana that is half past dead (aka too ripe).  Your first thought is "Shoot! I just wasted 50 cents/pound (or so) on this fruit!"  

Well no need to fear my lovely foodies, there is a solution in sight-- Make Banana Bread!!! (Yum)

I usually focus my energy on recipes that fall under the culinary rather than pastry arts (it's the waiting around part that bores me). However, when bananas bite the dust right in front of you, you either submit them to the evil wasteland called a trashcan, or make something worth eating.  That is why you should try my banana bread recipe that is fun, easy and positively delicious! So if someone complains about the bananas being too ripe, shout the words of a famous French aristocrat who knew what she wanted out of life-"Let them make banana bread!" Or something of that nature ;)

Prep Time: 7 minutes  Bake time: 1 hour
Ingredients:
-2 cups all purpose flour
-4 smashed bananas 
-2 tbs vanilla extract
-8 tbs melted unsalted butter
-3/4 tbs baking soda
-1 cup Splenda (equal measurement if you'd rather have sugar)
-1/2 tsp salt
-2 medium eggs
-1.5 tbs cinnamon
-To add an extra kick, feel free to stir in 1/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips to the batter!

Steps:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 
^The culprit- couldn't handle the heat.  In all seriousness though, this is the stage the bananas should be in. If they're not overly ripe, the texture won't be moist and the bread won't be sweet.
2. Peel the bananas and mash them in a bowl to the point of a puree
3. In large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix the batter until it is smooth and thick
Tip: If you have an electric mixer, use it.  It saves a lot of time and ensures the right consistency 
4. Use a piece of butter to grease a bread loaf pan (10" x 5" x 3").  It doesn't have to be that exact size though.
5. Pour the batter into the baking pan and smooth out the surface
6. Bake the bread for an hour
Tip: Use a toothpick or a small knife to stick in the center of the bread once an hour is over.  If the toothpick is as clean as it was when you poked it in the bread, you're good to go! If there's batter on the toothpick, wait another 15 minutes or so.
7. Slice the bread in 1.5 inch slices but serve only for whoever is eating at the time and wrap the rest in saran wrap to keep the freshness




Sunday, June 12, 2011

Kusa!

Hello everyone!  I hope the summer has been as good to you as it has me!  I apologize for the lack of posts. Rest assure, you will see a rush of recipes in the near future and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

This recipe is straight from home.  It's a recipe that I grew up with and each bite I take reminds me of the times I used to watch my mom cook up a storm in the kitchen.  Kusa, like most other Lebanese dishes, is very healthy and wholesome.  The protein, produce and few carbs in this dish are sure to fill you up with satisfaction!

I might state that although it is a time consuming dish to cook, it still falls in my book of recipes that are Fun, Easy and Positively delicious! =)

Servings: 5    Prep-time: 1 hour   Cook time: 50-60 minutes
Ingredients:
-10 small zucchini squash (you can use the longer zucchini but it's a bit more difficult to pit out)
-1 lb ground sirloin beef
-1-28oz can tomato sauce
-3 tbs melted butter or margarine
-1 cup uncooked rice
-6 cloves chopped garlic with salt
-4 tbs all spice
-1 tbs salt
-1 tbs black pepper
-1 1/2 cups water

Steps: 
1. Vigorously wash the zucchini with a vegetable brush under cold water.  This ensures the sand particles are removed before cooking...Trust me, they're there and this is 100% necessary.  Nobody wants to bite onto a grain of sand!
2. Slice off the rough ends and use a zucchini pitter (shown below) to pit out the meat of the zucchini.  Make sure to leave enough around the rim so that the zucchini doesn't break apart.  
Tip: Start by twisting out a small hole in the middle of the zucchini and twist through toward the other end.  This is a fragile process because it's really easy to poke a hole in zucchini skin if you're not careful.  Look Carefully:
^ this is the amount that should be left all throughout the zuccini
3. Rinse the zucchini and set aside
4. in a medium size bowl, mix together all the remaining ingredients EXCEPT for the tomato sauce, salt and pepper and garlic
Tip: Your hands are a great tool while cooking.  If you're gutsy (as you should be after reading this blog for so long) you should take off your jewelry and use your hands to mix the ground beef and ingredients so that it is all equally distributed. 
5. Stuff the zucchini with the ground beef mixture little by little so that you pack enough in
Tip: Don't over stuff the zucchini.  Tapping it on a hard surface to ensure the perfect amount of meat is stuffed is a good technique.  Remember: Tap it! Don't pound it!  These green veggies are fragile little things!
6. Placed the stuffed zucchini in a deep pot in a structured manner. Make sure not to overcrowd the zucchini on each level.  Space in this case is not a bad thing!
7. In a medium bowl, stir the tomato sauce, garlic and salt and pepper together.  Place it in the pot over the zucchini

8. Add 1 1/2 cups water and cook on medium heat for 45 minutes before checking if it's cooked all the way through

Tip: Don't close the lid all the way, leave some space for the steam to travel so the sauce doesn't over-flow
Finally, serve hot and enjoy!