Friday, April 25, 2014

Kale and Quinoa Asian Style Soup

Here's my twist on an Asian style soup I tried yesterday. I loved the use of kale and quinoa, and especially my kid's reactions - they LOVED it (and they don't like kale or quinoa)! Even my pickiest had seconds, and asked that I make it again, and my youngest requested this broth next time she is sick. 
This soup was incredibly filling.  Halfway through the bowl we were all surprisingly full.   
The original recipe called for tofu - yet, no matter how it is served, I just can't love tofu (or eggplant, but that's another story).  As such, I've adapted this recipe to fit my family's tastes - and it definitely isn't vegetarian.  Healthy, filling, simple. Family friendly. Check!

1.5 c. cubed or shredded cooked chicken 
1 T. olive oil
1 large onion - chopped
4 carrots - chopped
4 large garlic cloves - minced
1 T. turmeric (I used fresh, and grated it - careful, it stains)
1/4 c. dried mushrooms, broken into bite size pieces (optional)
1/2 c. dry quinoa
2 c. chicken broth or vegetable broth
4 c. boiling water
(OR 1 quart boiling water, and 3 T. Knorr chicken soup bouillon instead of the broth and water
1 bunch kale, leaves only, chopped)
2.5 T. miso
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 chopped scallions - green and white
Chopped avocado - optional 

Heat olive oil in heavy bottomed sauce pan.  Add carrots and onion, and saute until tender.  Add garlic and turmeric and stir to combine, then add quinoa and bouillon (if using), and mushrooms, and cook for three minutes, stirring constantly.  Add chicken, and boiling water, and cover with a lid and allow to cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Add kale.  Cook until tender - approximately 3 minutes, then remove from heat and mix in miso.  Mix well so that miso disolves properly. 

Garnish with red peppers, avocado, and scallions and serve immediately.    


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Strawberry Lemonade Cake, OR Pink and White Checkerboard Cake with Lemon Curd Filling

This cake is made using strawberry and white or  lemon cake mixes, and is filled with lemon curd, with buttercream frosting.  Checkerboard cakes are very simple to make, and I love to hear the gasps when the cake is sliced and served.   

1 Box Strawberry Cake mix
1 Box White or Lemon Cake mix

Prepare and bake cakes as directed, using two 9 inch rounds for each mix. Remove cakes from pans, and allow to cool.  Wrap with plastic wrap, and freeze for 1-3 hours for easier handling. 
Use household items to cut cocentric rings in each cake (ie the lid to a sour cream carton, 
a small bowl for the next ring, and a tablespoon turned upside down for the final inner ring).  
Carefully take each layer apart and re-assemble cake rounds, alternating rings. 
Layer rounds, and fill each layer with lemon curd.  Crumb coat with curd and freeze prior to decorating if desired. 
 I used Ina Garten's Lemon Curd recipe - as follows: 
3 lemons
1.5 c. sugar
1 stick butter - room temperature
4 large eggs
1/2 c. lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
1/8 t. kosher salt

Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, avoid the white pith. Place in a food processor, along with sugar, and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar. 
Cream the butter, and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt.  Mix until combined. 

Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken just below a simmer.  Remove from heat and cool or refrigerate.
Frost and decorate with Decorator's Buttercream Frosting

1/2 c. vegetable shortening
1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
4 c. powdered (confectioner's) sugar
2 T. milk
1 t. vanilla
Assorted food colors

Cream shortening and butter together.  Mix in vanilla.  Slowly add in powdered sugar, then add milk or additional powdered sugar as needed. Mix colors as needed. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fools - Repost

Since it has been 4  years since I originally posted this - I'm reposting - since it is a much loved tradition in our that our kids talk about, and wait for all year long. 

Here's our traditional April Fool's Day dinner.
Much to my children's delight, our "spaghetti and meatballs" are the main entree, and our "cupcakes" are our dinner entree.

Our spaghetti is made from a slice of cake (anything BUT angel food cake will do) centered on a plate, then covered with small strands of frosting piped from a frosting bag (or a very stiff sweetened whipping cream if angel food cake is used). The entire concoction is then covered with a sauce made of blended fresh strawberries and a touch of sugar.
Our meatballs are 'chocolate no bake cookies' - rolled into balls before they completely cool.

For Dessert, I use the meatloaf recipe from Feet of Meat for our 'cupcakes' and cook it in muffin tins, and frost the (meatloaf) cupcakes with mashed potatoes, and sprinkle with chives. 

 Once a year folks!