IHCC


This month we have an extra Potluck with an interesting twist – No Cook Challenge!!  It is so hot in so many places that not having to turn the oven on is a definite plus.

The easy way would be a salad of some kind.  Or maybe some Cerviche.  But we are not fans of that and we eat lots of salad so I really wanted something different.  What about a dessert?  It’s not often I make something that doesn’t need baking or cooking of some kind so when I found these NO COOKING lemon bars  from Past Chef Ellie Krieger it was obvious what I was going to make.  And it was easy.

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Mom used to make lemon ice box PIES all the time.  So did my grandmother but I just haven’t done one in years.

Lots of lemon flavor in these.  More than I expected.  And super easy to make so I guess they will be making a regular appearance in this house.

Fat free condensed milk.  Low fat Cream cheese. Not much guilt here.  Too bad they don’t make a low fat low sugar condensed milk.  Ah, well, someday….

I did have one problem.  I never could get them to ‘harden’ where they could be sliced easily.  They just didn’t gel all the way.  I may have used too little gelatin but I’m not sure.  They were still tasty. Lots of flavor.

The recipe is from Ellie’s So Easy on page 238.  But I also found it on FoodTV.

For more No – Cook dishes visit I Heart Cooking Clubs.

 

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This month’s chef of the month is Diana Henry.  When we were cooking with her starting  October 2014 (for the next 6 months) I didn’t get to do many of her recipes.  I saw lots of yummy dishes through the other members of IHCC.  One of them was this dish which looks so tasty.

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Spaghetti with Bacon, Egg, and Smoked Cheese.

This would be a great brunch dish.  A warm gooey egg drizzling down over spaghetti tossed with bacon and cheese.  It was comforting.  It was full of flavor.  It was delicious.  I understand how it got rave reviews from the members who made it.  I will definitely make it again.  The egg mixed with the melty cheese and crunchy bacon. 

The only change I would make would be to use less pasta.  2 ounces was really way too much for a single serving.  I didn’t realize it until I saw all that goodness piled on the plate and I knew I could not eat all of it.

    6 oz spaghetti
    3 tbsp olive oil
    4 oz bacon
    2 large eggs
    salt and pepper
    2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    1 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (use about 1/2 cup chopped cilantro)
    2 oz smoked cheese, grated {I used Smoked Gruyere.}

Cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil {I actually didn’t use this for the bacon}in a large frying pan and cook the bacon until crispu and brown. Set aside.
Fry the eggs sunny side up. {If you used the rest of the olive oil, which I didn’t spoon the warm oil up over the top of the eggs to cook the yolks.} Season with salt and pepper.
Drain the pasta and put into the saucepan. Add the extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add in the bacon and parsley and toss.
Divide between two plates, sprinkle on the cheese, and top each serving with a fried egg. Serve immediately.

The recipe is from Henry’s Cook Simple:  Effortless Cooking Every Day.  You can find it HERE.  You should try this one.

For more from Diana Henry visit I Heart Cooking Clubs .

This weeks’ theme for I Heart Cooking Clubs was Fresh and Fruity.  Which is a great theme for this time of the year.  So many fresh fruits and veggies everywhere.  But here in the south while we have plenty of veggies coming in we don’t really have any fruits.  Watermelon is about all.  Fortunately for me I have some ‘fresh’ fruit that I canned last year so I used that.

For these….

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apple and pear upside-down caramel tarts

They are mini versions of a tarte Tatin and they are easy to put together.  And delicious.

Caramel sauce:
    1 ½ cups sugar
    4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
    ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 cup whipping cream

Tarts:

    2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, cored and cut into ½-inch–thick wedges
    2 Anjou pears, peeled, quartered, cored and cut into ½-inch-thick wedges
    1 frozen puff pastry sheet (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
  • To make the caramel sauce: Stir the sugar and 1/3 cup water in a medium heavy saucepan over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the syrup comes to a simmer, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to remove any sugar that clings to the side.
  • The sugar that clings to the side of the pan has a tendency to crystallize and ruin the silky consistency of the caramel, so wiping the sugar off the sides of the pan will help prevent this from happening.
  • Allow the sugar syrup to boil without stirring, brushing down the sides of the pan and swirling the pan occasionally to ensure it cooks evenly, for about 8 minutes or until it begins to turn golden brown.
  • You will need to watch the syrup closely as it can burn quite easily.
  • Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Add the butter and whisk until the butter melts and the mixture forms a caramel sauce. Stir in the cinnamon.
  • Pour three-fourths of the caramel sauce into four 4-inch-diameter cake pans with at least 1 3/4-inch-high sides, dividing equally.
  • Allow the caramel in pans to cool.
  • Whisk the cream into the remaining caramel sauce to blend and set the caramel sauce aside.
  • To make the tarts: Arrange a layer of the apples and pears decoratively over the caramel in the pans, then stack the remaining apples and pears to fill the pans completely. Unfold the pastry on a work surface and press the seams together if necessary.
  • Cut out four 4-inch rounds.
  • Place the pastry rounds over the apples and pears and tuck the pastry down between the sides of the pans.
  • Prick the pastry 5 to 6 times with a fork or small sharp knife.
  • Cover the tarts with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day to chill the pastry.
  • Preheat the oven to 450° F.
  • Transfer the tarts to a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through and the apples are very tender.
  • Let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the juices to cool and thicken slightly.
  • Place a plate over each tart.
  • In a swift movement, invert each tart onto each plate.
  • Remove the pans.
  • Drizzle some of the reserved caramel sauce around the tarts and serve.
  • Reserve any remaining caramel sauce in the refrigerator for another use.
  • These are definitely going into the dessert rotation. I always have puff pastry in the freezer and always have apples and pears on the counter (or in the pantary) so it would be no trouble to put these together – often.

    These are from relaxed cooking with curtis stone (page 358)

    Check wit the other members of I Heart Cooking Club to see what they made with fruit this week.

    The only thing I left out in the title – PESTO!  This is sooo good. Fresh pasta mixed with home made pesto and shrimp.  What a great combination.! How can you go wrong with that?

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    fresh linguine with garlic shrimp and homemade pesto

    The theme this week for I Heart Cooking Clubs was Surf and Turf.  We could use seafood or beef/poultry/etc.  When given a choice I am definitely going with the Surf!!

    I used some whole grain spaghetti instead of linguine and left out the roasted tomatoes – not a fan!   I will definitely make this again.

    Try as I might I just couldn’t replicate Curtis’ nice little mound of pasta.  And I tried – several times.  But it’s not how it looks, right!

    Did Surf win out over Turf this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs?  Check it out and see!

     

    This week’s theme for IHCC is Local and Seasonal. Which is perfect because our garden is now producing. That’s definitely local and absolutely seasonal. We have been harvesting cucumbers, tomatoes, and zucchini for about a week now. The corn is growing beautifully and the eggplant is ALMOST there. In addition our neighbor’s garden is also thriving with all the rain we have been having. Between the two gardens I managed to find all the right ingredients for Curtis’

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    crispy vegetable fritters

    These little fritters are full of zucchini, carrots, potatoes, and onions and that’s really about all.  There is no flour, no milk, just two eggs, seasoning and the veggies.  They are light and crispy and delicious.  They went together in no time and were the perfect side.

    The veggies are cut into very thin strips ( I used my mandolin and the smallest julienne setting) then simply mixed and fried.  Shallow frying with very little EVOO makes them healthier than deep frying.

    The recipe is on page 34 of Curtis’ Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone.

    What more Local and Seasonal?  Click on over to I Heart Cooking Club for this week’s table full of goodness.

    I’ve always liked Donna Hay’s books.  Kayte introduced me to her recipes way back in 2012 when I joined Wednesday’s with Donna Hay.  Since then I have added four of her wonderful books to my collection.  Even tho’ I have made a lot of her dishes I still have plenty more marked.  Thank goodness for PotLuck with I Heart Cooking Clubs..

    We needed a dessert in the house.  But we are trying to go sugar free.  But we needed a dessert.  Fortunately there are several with Donna that are easily adaptable using a sugar substitute rather than the real thing.

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    Custard Tart

    I feared that the custard would not thicken if using Splenda with Fiber but my fears were unfounded.  It thickened nicely and made a great dessert for us.

    The recipe calls for using warmed milk with a vanilla bean.  Instead, after warming the two I split the bean and added the seeds to the milk.  I did bring out the vanilla flavor a lot better.  And I hated to waste a whole bean.

    This was just perfect.  Not a big sweet dessert.  Just sweet enough to enjoy after dinner.

    I made 1/2 the recipe and ended up with 4 mini tarts (rather than pies).  I added just a little whipped cream on top.

    The recipe is from Donna’s The New Cook.  (page 181)

    Potluck brings all kinds of good dishes to the table.  Check out the POTLUCK for May at IHCC.

    This week we woke up with Curtis.  Not literally, of course.  But facing Curtis across the breakfast table would be a treat!

    I had marked this recipe a long time ago hoping we would eventually need a breakfast item.

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    spicy sausage breakfast burritos

    A whole wheat tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, spicy sausage {I used a local Cajun Sausage}, and onions.  And I really should call this a semi-spicy burrito because I left out the jalapeño.  Trust me, the cajun sausage had plenty of bite without it.

    The sausage is broiled and then sliced before being mixed in with the eggs and green onions.  This makes it quick and easy to make.

    This was the perfect breakfast.  Lots of protein, lots of flavor.

    The recipe is from  relaxed cooking with curtis stone. (page 53) I also found it HERE if you want to try it.

    What else is for breakfast?  Check the buffet at I Heart Cooking Clubs.

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