The United States produces the largest amount of strawberries in the world, over 1.3 tonnes in one year! Our largest crop comes from California and it's the milder temperatures that allow us to have fresh strawberries almost year round. Here in Texas we are anxiously awaiting fall but it was 112 degrees in Austin so we are still in summer-mode. I wanted to create a snack for Emma that was on the healthier side but yet easy to pop into her mouth, so I prepared my stuffed strawberry bites! She loves to grab the leaves, take her bite and throw the stem away. Cool, creamy and sweet - these are sure to please!
Stuffed Strawberry Bites
15-20 strawberries, washed and dried
1 C mascarpone cheese
1 T sugar
1/3 heavy cream
Directions: Wash and dry the strawberries and leave the leaves and stem attached. I used a hand corer to core the center of each strawberry, then a small paring knife to remove it. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the mascarpone and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add the cream and beat until stiff. Fill a piping bag with a star tip and gently pipe mascarpone cream filling into each strawberry and serve! You can prepare these ahead of time, cover with Saran Wrap and store in the refrigerator.
Perfect for a Girls Night Out cocktail party, just serve with your favorite champagne!
Even on Sunday mornings I get up rather early and enjoy the peacefulness of a quiet home alone. It's my time to just be...
silent, still, serene.
As the coffee was brewing, I noticed a container of blueberries and knew they would compliment my fluffy buttermilk pancake recipe. It has simple ingredients but it's the buttermilk that makes it taste as wonderful as it does. I like to toss the blueberries into each pancake after I ladle it onto the griddle. One flip and they cook up, soft and juicy. Top with a pad of butter and warm maple syrup - I didn't have to call anyone to the breakfast table, they were just waiting for me to finish!
Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
2 C flour
2 T sugar
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
11/2 C buttermilk
1/4 C canola oil
1/2 C fresh blueberries
Directions: In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt, mixing to combine. Meanwhile, preheat your griddle over medium-high heat and lightly oil. In a bowl, mix together the buttermilk, eggs and oil using a whisk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix gently, basically until just blended and do NOT over stir. Ladle pancake mix onto the griddle (about 1/2 C) and add the blueberries. Flip when browned to cook the other side. Serve immediately with butter and warmed syrup.
toss the blueberries into the pancake on the griddle
One of my favorite Austin restaurants is Chez Zee. They have an amazing menu which includes a Pecan Crusted Goat Cheese Salad. I decided to make it at home for my family and wanted to share it with you. Wonderful how a little dab of pecan crusted goat cheese can make a relatively plain salad dance in your mouth.
Pecan Crusted Goat Cheese Salad
4-8 oz goat cheese
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 C pecans, chopped finely
any simple vinaigrette
Directions: In a small bowl, combine goat cheese and minced shallots. Roll into individual balls and set aside. Finely chop pecans and place in a separate bowl. Add pepper to taste and mix. Take one goat cheese ball and press into the chopped pecans, flattening it into a disk. Try to keep them uniformed in size
goats cheese mixed with minced shallots
finely chopped pecans with pepper
goat cheese balls
pressed into pecans to become medallions
To serve, place butter lettuce on a plate, top with 1 or 2 pecan crusted goat cheese medallions, sprinkle with a touch of fresh minced parsley and drizzle with your favorite vinaigrette.
Keeping in line with my Afternoon Snack theme, today could be the pinnacle. We are anxiously awaiting autumn here in Austin. We've had 70 days over 100 degrees with temperatures reaching upwards of 107 degrees plus we're in a severe drought. Things aren't green nor are there any indications of fall - everything is brown, dry and cracking. However, in my home this afternoon, it SMELLED like fall. I just couldn't resist packed pumpkin and created my Pumpkin Cupcakes. I used orange papers too and could almost envision the cooler temps and falling leaves. These are yummy, with a dollop of cream cheese frosting, and dusted with fresh grated nutmeg. If these don't scream fall, I don't know what will. The neighborhood kids (big and small) seem to think so!!!
1/2 C butter, room temperature
1 C brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 C flour
1 t soda
1 t salt
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t fresh grated nutmeg
1 1/4 C packed pumpkin
3/4 C butter milk
Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
4 T butter, softened
1 T vanilla
3 C confectioners sugar
fresh grated nutmeg for garnish
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin cups with papers. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, soda, salt, ground spices and set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Add vanilla and scrape down sides of bowl. On low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and pumpkin, in about three additions. Finally add buttermilk and mix well.
Using an ice cream scoop, fill cupcake papers 2/3 way full (depending on the scoop size, about 2 scoops). Bake in oven for 18 minutes. Place on wire rack to cool before frosting.
For cream cheese frosting, beat the cream cheese until smooth then add the butter and vanilla and mix well. Add the confectioners sugar a cup at a time and beat until fluffy. Pipe onto the cupcakes and sprinkle with fresh grated nutmeg as a garnish. Makes 24 cupcakes or 48 mini cupcakes!
My morning today was all about back to school! Made coffee the night before, set everything for 6 a.m., got Emma up and rolling and we were off! Once back home in the quiet and peaceful house, I settled in at the desk to check my emails, foodbuzz, blogs, etc. On foodbuzz I noted a great blog post from Erin at Dinners, Dishes and Desserts; the Hershey's Double Peanut Butter Bar. What a great idea - so I ran into the kitchen but ended up making modifications for a slightly different After School Snack! Check out Erin's food blog at www.dinnersdishesanddesserts.com for more of her wonderful recipes and thanks for the inspiration!
Toasted Oats, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
1/2 C butter, softened
1 C crunchy peanut butter
1 C brown sugar, packed
1 T molasses
1 t vanilla
2 1/4 C flour
1 C rolled oats, toasted
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 1/2 C chocolate chips
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9 inch baking pan. Toast oats in a saute pan over medium heat and set aside. Mix butter and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl until combined. Add sugar, mixing well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one then add molasses and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and stir into wet peanut butter mixture. Add toasted oats and chocolate chips and mix well.
Spread batter into greased baking pan evenly and bake for about 22 minutes. Cool, then cut into desired sizes.
I've been remiss in blogging this past week as I've been super busy getting our youngest daughter ready to start 3rd grade. From clothes shopping (she has grown 2 inches in 4 months) to school supplies (spent over $45.00) and organizing her closet, we are now set.... or at least I thought I was. I remembered she has to take a snack to school every day in addition to lunch. "Hmmmm.... what to make, what to make", I pondered. Rather than buying some store bought, overly processed and full of sugar snack I decided to make Cranberry Citrus Cream Scones. I love knowing each ingredient that goes into her tummy and dried cranberries add such a nice texture with the flavor of the lemon and orange. NOW I am ready for her to happily skip into school Monday morning. Try these for yourself, they are great for breakfast too!
Cranberry Citrus Cream Scones
2 1/4 C all purpose flour
1/4 C + 3 T sugar
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1 C dried cranberries
1 T + 1 t lemon zest
1 T + 1 t orange zest
1 C heavy cream (you can use half and half, I did)
3 T butter, melted
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1/4 C sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the cranberries and 1 T of both lemon and orange zest. Add cream (or half and half) and stir just until the dough forms. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead a few times, until dough holds together. Form into a 3x10 rectangle, about an inch thick and cut into wedges.
Place on a baking sheet lined with a silpat liner. Combine remaining sugar with the remaining lemon and orange zest and mix well. Brush each scone with melted butter then sprinkle with the sugar mixture. Bake scones for 15 minutes or until light brown. Cool and serve - store remaining scones in a zip lock bag.
Faraday's Kitchen Store (1501 Ranch Road 620 North, Austin, TX 78734) is excited to announce this years 6th Annual Foodie-Palooza Kitchen Gadget Expo. On Saturday, September 24, 2011 from 10 AM to 4 PM, attendees will be able to test drive all the hottest kitchen tools from the most innovative culinary vendors of 2011. Their will be a Special Guest appearance by Legendary and World Renowned Garnishing Expert Chef Harvey Rosen. Admission is FREE! For more information around this event, please visit http://faradayskitchenstore.com or call 512.266.5666
We also invite everyone to come by and become a “Gadget Master” by trying the hottest NEW kitchen tools. Stop by all the gadget stations and try out the tools to complete your punch card. After completion, you will be put into a drawing for the Grand Chef Master Gadget Basket! Local Food Vendor Samplings, too! All this…and you won’t even believe how much more! If you would like pictures from previous Foodie-Palooza events please let us know.
Faraday's Kitchen Store is a locally owned Austin Kitchen Store specializing in cookware, bakeware, cutlery and the coolest in kitchen tools- with the BEST PRICES in town! We normally get several hundred people at these anniversary events (this years Foodie-Palooza represents our 6th year of being in business). This year we are doing less with chef demonstrations and more with customer involvement. This year’s Gadget Expo will be more about providing customers with hands-on approach and getting them to test drive the latest in kitchen tools themselves. It should be a blast!
Saw some gorgeous Portobello Mushrooms the other day and thought how great they'd be on the grill. Since it's so HOT in Texas right now, we are really into cold food. Decided that a mango and avocado salsa would be delicious on top of the grilled mushrooms then added blackberries and balsamic vinegar to round out the wonderful flavors of this dish!
Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Mango Avocado Salsa
5 large portobello mushrooms, wiped clean
1 mango, cut into chunks
1 avocado, cut into chunks
1/2 small red onion, finely minced
10 cherry tomatoes, chopped
10 blackberries, cut in half
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper
Directions: Wipe down the mushrooms to remove any dirt. On a baking tray, drizzle mushrooms with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then season with salt and pepper. Heat the grill to med-high and grill the mushrooms for 8 - 10 minutes per each side.
In a large bowl, combine mango, avocado, red onion, tomatoes and blackberries. Add the lime juice, salt and pepper to taste, mixing well.
To plate - start with the Portobello Mushroom as the base, top with the salsa then drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve!