Friday, June 21, 2019

SK week 25 | Chocolate Budino

We bid farewell to one of our sweet Tuesday Night Dinner friends this week. Josie is moving to Colorado and we're all going to miss her terribly! Our goodbye dinner was simple chicken on the grill with salad and roasted potatoes, but I decided to make something a little fancier for dessert. Deb had posted this chocolate budino a couple weeks ago and I knew it would fit the bill perfectly!

(Here's the Smitten Kitchen post)

You'll need:
5 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream (plus more to make whipped cream for topping)
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
two pinches sea salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
(Note: One recipe should make 8 small servings. I doubled it and made it into 12 bigger servings)

Finely chop your chocolate and set aside.

In a large pot, whisk the egg yolks and sugar well. 

Slowly drizzle in the heavy cream, whisking the whole time. 

Ready to cook!

Slowly warm over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.

You want to keep cooking it like this until it thickens enough to coat your spoon or spatula. It takes a while, but if you're not patient you'll end up with scrambled eggs.

Strain the cream mixture over the chopped chocolate.

Stir to combine.

Add the butter, salt, and vanilla.

Mix well. 

Divide into your cups or ramekins. Refrigerate until cold and set. I made these in the morning for dessert that night. But they don't need that long--it's already quite pudding-consistency when it goes into the fridge.

Top with whipped cream and a wafer cookie. Serve to your sweet Denver-bound friend. ;)

Final verdict: Delicious. It's SO rich, though. Only a few people actually finished it. So maybe smaller servings are the way to go. But definite winner and really pretty easy. Perfect when you need something a little "fancier" than a pan of brownies. :)

Friday, June 14, 2019

SK week 24 | Strawberry Chiffon Shortcake

Dan's birthday was yesterday and we celebrated with my side of the family last weekend. He's a big fan of strawberry shortcake, so when I saw this cake, I knew it was perfect. And thanks to a quick google search for a gluten-free chiffon cake, I was able to find the right flour combination to make this recipe gluten free!

(Here's the Smitten Kitchen post)

You'll need:
(for the cake)
2 1/4 cups cake flour (for GF: 1 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons white rice flour, 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon potato starch, 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon tapioca starch, and 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum)
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 large egg yolks at room temperature (pro tip from the GF recipe, eggs separate more easily when they're cold, so separate them and then let them come to room temp)
8 large egg whites at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
(for the filling)
2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 quarts strawberries, sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

First, wash and slice the berries. Mix in the 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Stick in the fridge until you're ready for it. (Stir it once in a while).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prep cake pans by lightly spraying with cooking spray and lining with parchment. (You can see her note about how many cakes to do, etc. I used three round cake pans and it worked well).

Sift together the flour, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

In another bowl, beat egg yolks, water, oil, and vanilla until smooth.

Stir in the flour mixture until smooth.

Get your egg whites and cream of tartar into a stand mixer (or mix it by hand, but the whisk feature is literally one of the main reasons I even have my Kitchenaid).

Once you're at soft peaks, add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar.

And beat until you have stiff peaks. Like this. :)

Use a rubber spatula to fold about a quarter of the egg whites into the batter.

Then carefully fold in the rest until it looks just uniform. Don't overmix!

Divide among your prepared cake pans. Bake 40-50 minutes, but start checking around 30 minutes.

You want them to look nice and golden, and for a toothpick to come out clean. Let cool like this for an hour, then carefully remove from the pan and cool completely before assembling.

Once you're ready, whip your heavy cream and powdered sugar. I tend to prefer a softer peak for whipped cream, but for this particular recipe, you're going to want to go for stiff peaks. Just don't make butter. ;)

For assembly, dollop some whipped cream on a cake layer, arrange strawberries on the cream, and repeat for all three layers. If you have extra whipped cream, you can make the top pretty. :) Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Final verdict? Definite winner! And it was pretty easy to make. The cake was a little tedious, but it was much better than angelfood cake. This will definitely be made again in our house!

Friday, June 07, 2019

SK week 23 | Frozen Hot Chocolate

It's finally summer here, and the toasty temps make me want all the frozen drinks. So when Smitten Kitchen posted this last week, I knew it had to happen soon. :)

(Here's the Smitten Kitchen post)

You'll need:
3 ounces semi- or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 cold milk, preferably whole
3 cups ice
1/2 cup heavy cream
chocolate shavings for garnish

Melt the chopped chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. (I microwaved it and it worked fine--just 30 seconds at a time at 50% power until it was melted).

Whisk in the cocoa powder and 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of the cold milk.

Then whisk in the remaining cup of milk. (At this point, set aside and make your whipped cream--whip the heavy cream and remaining sugar).

Pour chocolate mixture over ice in a blender.

Blend well.

Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings (which were unnecessary, but cute) ;) And enjoy! Slowly, so you don't get brain freeze.

Final verdict: This was pretty good. It was a little icy for my taste--I think I was expecting more of a milkshake vibe, which is definitely isn't. But it was good! And perfect for a hot day. :)

Friday, May 31, 2019

SK week 22 | Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

Do you have rhubarb taking over your life? Or, like me, do you have a neighbor who has rhubarb taking over her life and she is kind enough to let you take some off her hands? ;) Rhubarb is in season right now (and, spoiler alert, it can be in season ALL SUMMER LONG if you keep up with it! Just keep picking it and it will keep growing!) and it is so delicious with strawberries. I wanted to use rhubarb in something this week because I keep watching it grow and grow and grow out my kitchen window, so I searched rhubarb on Smitten Kitchen's site and found lots of possibilities. I decided to go with this crumble and we had it for dessert with our big crew on Tuesday night. :)

(Here's the Smitten Kitchen post)

You'll need:
1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar (bonus--now I have it for when I make those muffins again!)
zest of one lemon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped
1 quart strawberries, quartered
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup sugar
3-4 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt

(Note: I doubled everything and made two because I was making it for a crowd)

Turn your oven on to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugars, and lemon zest. Add the melted butter and mix until clumps form.

Like this. :) Refrigerate until needed.

Toss rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a deep dish pie plate (I used one square baking dish and one bigger casserole dish. Both worked fine).

Cover the fruit mixture evenly with the topping. Bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes.

Of course we all dove in before I could get a good picture, but it will be all golden on top and bubbly underneath.

And your second serving might look something like this. ;)

Final verdict: I think everyone enjoyed it! Hence the second servings. ;) It was really good--I'm used to a crisp having oats in the topping, so this was different but I liked it. And it was so quick and easy. I actually did everything through assembly and stuck them in the fridge until I was ready to bake.

So go hunt some rhubarb (or hit up a farmers market this weekend) and make this. :)

Friday, May 24, 2019

SK week 21 | Chicken Gyro Salad

It might be starting to warm up finally. Maybe. I may have still needed the furnace this week. Maybe. But summer is awesome for salads, and I'm always excited for a new one, so I couldn't wait until *actual* summer to make this. :)

(Here's the Smitten Kitchen post)

For the chicken marinade you'll need:
1 tablespoon olive oil
zest and juice of one lemon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika (I didn't have this so I skipped it)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
black pepper
chicken (she calls for 10 thighs--I used three breasts because that's what I had in the freezer)

Mix all the marinade ingredients well.

Pour into a ziplock bag with the chicken and massage. Marinate for at least a couple hours or overnight.

For the tzatziki you'll need:
2 cups plain greek yogurt
1 seedless cucumber
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Grate the cucumber onto a clean dish towel, then squeeze the excess liquid out.

Mix all of the sauce ingredients well. Refrigerate until ready to use.

So I ended up using a GF wrap for this instead of eating it as a salad. To assemble, you'll need your sliced chicken, the tzatziki, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes (we're not raw onion fans, but if you are, then by all means, add some red onion as well).

Wrap it up or pile it up in a salad and enjoy!

Final verdict: SO delicious. This was a winner and it will for sure be in our regular summer meal rotation!

Friday, May 17, 2019

SK week 20 | Perfect Blueberry Muffins

Last weekend, I was lying in bed and scrolling through Instagram (like you do), and Smitten Kitchen had posted a story about her kids making her recipe for blueberry muffins and she linked to it. I clicked quick, saw that we had *almost* all of the ingredients, and got out of bed to make them. :)

(Here's the Smitten Kitchen post)

You'll need:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
zest from half a lemon
3/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt the butter, and whisk in the sugar, lemon zest, sour cream, and egg.

Add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk.

Sprinkle the flour and blueberries on top of the wet mixture.

Fold the blueberries and flour into the wet ingredients.

Portion into as many muffin cups as you can. She made 9--I got 11. But a couple could have been a little bigger.

***Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar (1 teaspoon per muffin). This is the one ingredient I didn't have. I sprinkled a little white sugar, but I may as well have skipped it--you couldn't tell once they baked.

Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

And enjoy!

Final verdict: They were fine. They definitely fit the "hmm, I feel like baking something this morning" bill, which is what I was looking for that morning. I don't know that I'd make them again. They were definitely the best the first day. And the turbinado sugar would make an awesome crunchy top!