Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Easter Egg Cake

Looking for a festive cake for Easter?
My kids needed to take a treat to a meeting today, and my youngest daughter decided she'd make a cake, and that she wanted to do a basket weave for the frosting.
A bit ambitious, but I let her go for it.
My oldest daughter had a brainstorm for the top of the cake, and here's what we came up with

2 round cakes - any flavor will do.
Crumb coat frost them to seal in all of those little crumbs.
Basket weave the sides.
Place colored plastic eggs and Easter egg candies on top - secure with frosting if needed.
Pipe and fill in the spaces with frosting grass.

For the basket handle, we were a little stumped. We bought a real basket and tried to use it's handle, but it actually was too wide, and broke the cake apart (we even soaked it). After repairs, as we milled around trying to figure out what we could use, I realized that we have some sheets of beeswax that we used for making candles at a birthday party last year.
We rolled the beeswax into a basket handle and added a ribbon.
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Breakfast Casserole

We had a Relief Society (a religious women's organization) conference this past weekend, and I was asked to make 4 breakfast casseroles.
They gave me the ingredients, the pans, and the recipe.  I wasn't sure what to expect and couldn't decide whether or not I would like the final outcome.  I was surprised at how much I liked it - and several people asked for the recipe afterwards as well.   This is a perfect make ahead, feed a crowd type of meal that's sure to please.

2 lb. bag of frozen hash-browns (diced not shredded)
1 lb. ham - cubed (lunch meat style works fine as well)
6 eggs
2 c. milk (divided)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

Cook and drain hash browns.
Cube ham and place in bottom of a 9x13" pan.
Cover ham with hash browns.
Mix 6 eggs, and 1 c. milk and pour over hash brown and ham.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Mix 1 c. milk and cream of mushroom soup, and pour over casserole.

Cover with foil and bake at 350* for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with shredded cheese.
Bake an additional 30 minutes uncovered.

Cantalope Smoothie

I first had this treat living in Guatemala.  Totally refreshing and cool, for a hot day. 
2 c. cantaloupe chunks - (peeled and seeded).
2 c. ice
Sugar to taste
Water as needed

Place ice in blender, then add cantaloupe.
Cover, and blend until smooth.
Add sugar to taste, and water if consistency is too thick.
Serve immediately.

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Easy Buttery Rolls

I first made these for Thanksgiving, and my family loved them.
I thought I'd try them again today, and I've already eaten 2! They really are easy, and are oh, so tasty.

1.5 c. milk
3/4 c. + 1 T. sugar
1/2 c. butter
1 egg
1 T. salt
2 T. yeast
2 c. warm water
9-10 c. flour

Dissolve 2 T. yeast and 1 T. sugar in 2 c. warm water.  Set aside to proof.
Meanwhile, in a microwave safe bowl, melt butter.  Add milk and 3/4 c. sugar and heat for 1.5 minutes.
Place in mixer, and add 1 T. salt to milk mixture, then slowly add 1 beaten egg - beating quickly so that it doesn't cook.
Add 2 c. flour to continue to cool it back down, and then add yeast mixture and mix.
Continue to add an additional 7-8 cups of flour until dough is dense and sticky.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to rise (approximately 1 hour) until doubled.

Cover working space with flour, and divide dough into 4 even balls.
Working with one ball at a time, using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a circle on a floured counter.
Spread with soft butter from edge to edge (optional)
Cut the dough into quarters using a pizza cutter.
Cut each quarter into 3 pieces.
Roll each triangle starting with the wide end.
Tuck the tail of the triangle under the roll and place on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray/oil.  Approximately 3 rows of 8 should fit on one cookie sheet (2 balls of dough).
Place pans in warm area and allow to rise until they are touching and full in size (30-45 minutes).

Bake at 350* for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove from oven and immediately run a stick of butter over the tops for a butter glaze.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Crudites - Fruit and veggie garnishes,

I got to help cater for my friend's business' grand opening yesterday.
Because it is a diet center, we had lots (and lots) of fruits and veggies.  
I had a tough time finding a source for these online.
Perfect for that fancy Valentines Day dinner!

For the fruit, we did fruit shish-ka-bobs with strawberries, pineapple, and kiwis threaded onto a stick, and presented on a pineapple.
We hollowed out mini-melons, cut a zig-zagged edge, and served watermelon balls in one watermelon bowl, and cantaloupe pieces (in the shape of hearts) in another.

For the veggies, we loaded curly celery sticks, carrot sticks, curls and jewels/pinwheels, broccoli, cauliflower, red, yellow, & orange pepper slices into see through glasses, and slid a cucumber onto the edge (margarita style).  Next time, I would place a dallop of ranch dressing in the bottom of the glass, but since this was for a diet center, we left the dressing as 'optional'.
Love love loved how they turned out.  So colorful and flavorful!

Curly celery (or green onions/scallions) - this was so fun to make!  And I loved the result.  It was interesting to eat though - since each sliver was curled in a distinct direction.  

Wash and trim celery
Cut into 3 inch increments
Starting approx. .5 inches from the narrowest end, cut down center.
Continue to cut slivers on both sides of the center cut.
(If celery is thick, you may want to cut the slivers in half going the other direction as well to make thinner slivers - carefully.)
Place in ice water, and refrigerate until ends curl...approx. 30-60 minutes.  The longer they stay in the ice water, the curlier they get.  Ours turned into really fun little octopus like creations.  They added great visual texture and we placed them upside down - hanging out of the glasses.

Carrot Jewels or pinwheels
After peeling a carrot, carefully cut lengthwise from tip to bottom on an angle, applying only enough pressure to cut to the heart rather than completely through the carrot.  Repeat, making a V shaped cut, and gently remove the V from the carrot.  Repeat 2-3 times, then slice into .25 or .5 inch bite sized chunks.

Carrot Curls
After peeling carrots, using carrot/potato peeler, cut long thin carrot strips. 
Gently roll into a curl, and secure with a toothpick. 
Place in ice cold water and allow to soak for several hours. 
Curls may also be wound around a skewer and allowed to soak.  
Remove toothpick (or from skewer) before serving. 

Curly carrot sticks (sorry the photo doesn't do justice)

After peeling carrots, slice into thin carrot sticks.
Place in ice cold water and refrigerate for several hours.
Carrot sticks will begin to curl.  The longer they soak - the curlier they will become.

 Radish Rosettes
Unfortunately, these were the only two radishes that came home with me, and I didn't get pictures of the others. 
Slice off the root of the radish, and also the top.  
With a paring knife, gently cut down at an angle, starting about 1/4th inch down from the top of the radish.  Cut until bottom is almost reached, but don't cut all the way through.  
Gently repeat this process, making cross cuts - cutting on the angles above the previous cuts.  Continue as desired. 
Place radish rosettes into ice water and refrigerate over night, or for at least 8 hours to allow them to 'bloom'. 

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