Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fried Pickles

Summer time means rooftop party time! We had some friends over the other night and everyone brought something to the table. I made 2 batches of parmesan balls and a batch of friend pickles. Let me just warn those with small prepared for a "fried"smell to linger for a few hours post frying. This was my first time to deep fry anything and I must say I thought it was a success. I found two different recipes and modified/combined the two. I was pleased with my results and being that these were gone in about 15 minutes...I think my guest were pleased too! 

Fried Pickles

1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 Tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons of garlic powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
36 dill pickle slices, cold
Canola oil
Ranch dressing for dipping

Beat egg, milk and a pinch of cayenne.  Place 1/2 cup cornstarch in a shallow dish.  In another dish, mix 1/2 cup each cornstarch and cornmeal with dill, paprika, salt and pepper.

Dip cold pickle slices in the plain cornstarch, then the egg wash, then the cornmeal mixture.  Fry in 2 inches of 375
F canola oil until golden, about 3 minutes.

Drain on paper towels and serve with ranch dressing.

Individual Lemon Mascarpone Trifles

I have a fabulous bookclub that meets once a month and this was my month to host. I decided to make shrimp and grits and individual trifles for dessert. I didn't know what to expect with my trifle but it was so delicious! The lemon and the creme de cassis were such great compliments to each other and really exceeded my expectations. The best part...this took all of 5 minutes to make.  I am already planning to make a larger version for the 4th of July!

Adapted from Giada 

1/2 cup sugar 
1 lemon, zested and juiced 
16 ounces mascarpone cheese 

1 cup of whipping cream
1 store-bought angel food cake, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices 
1/2 cup creme de cassis liqueur 
2 cups quartered strawberries 
Fresh mint leaves, chopped, for garnish (i skipped this) 

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar with the lemon juice. Cook until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Let cool.
In a medium bowl, combine the cooled sugar mixture with the mascarpone cheese, whipping cream, and the lemon zest. Using a whisk, whisk until the mixture is light and fluffy.
To build the trifle, line the bottom of a glass with a layer angel food cake. Brush the angel food cake with some creme de cassis liqueur. Spoon a layer of the cheese mixture over the pound cake, and then a layer of berries. Repeat the layers until all the ingredients are used, finishing with a top layer of berries. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Garnish with chopped mint leaves.

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

My friend and I had been eyeing these on Noble Pig for quite some time, so for her birthday I decided to surprise her with her own birthday batch! They were so cute and yummy and would be perfect for a gathering or to take with you on a picnic. Don't forget to serve with pizza dip for dipping. 

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

Adapted from Noble Pig

3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup whole milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 ounces pepperoni, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup pizza sauce
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 375o.  Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder; whisk in the milk and egg.  Stir in the mozzarella and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes.

Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups.  Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Microwave the pizza sauce until warmed through, then stir in 1 Tablespoon basil.  Sprinkle the puffs with the remaining 1 Tablespoon basil.  Serve the puffs with the pizza sauce for dipping.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Rosemary and Potatoes

Christian and I have both had very busy weeks for the past few weeks but still want to enjoy a nice homecooked meal when possible. Enter the slow cooker. I really can't decide which I love more...the slow cooker or the food processor. They both amaze me. When we got home from work tonight the apartment smelled so good that we had to dig in immediately. If you are pressed for time and want a good meal to come home to, you should definitely try this recipe. It's a winner!

Braised Chicken Thighs with Rosemary and Potatoes
Adapted from Southern Living

8 chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 lbs)  -- i used skinless
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 large baking potatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs), peeled and sliced ( i used about 2 1/2)
2/3 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary 
4 garlic cloves, minced

-Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add chicken, and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until browned
-Place onion in a 4 quart slow cooker; top with potato. Arrange chicken on top of potato
-Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, broth, rosemary, and garlic in a small bowl; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour; reduce to low and cook 4 hours until chicken is done and vegetables are tender. (I cooked on low for about 8-10 hours).