July 24, 2013

Chocolate Hazelnut Crepes with Blackberry Glaze


Last November, my husband, son, my son's fiancée and I took a  cooking class at The Kitchen Conservatory in St. Louis, Missouri.  The class was a Christmas gift to the four of us from my oldest son and his wife.  One of the things we made was Crepes.  The evening was a lot of fun.  Hands-on learning.  It was Italian night, and we all sat down to eat after we were done cooking.  There were approximately six couples in the class.  Did I mention it was fun!  Anyway, back to the Crepes.  This was the first time I had made them, and I always thought of them as being very fancy and mysterious, and a BIG DEAL.  Well, they are like making a really thin pancake.  Not too difficult.  I bought a crepe pan while I was there.  They have a great store with lots of cool kitchen items.  I was talking to one of the nice ladies that works there, and she said she will make a crepe and put Nutella inside!  Enough said.  


I bought this crepe mix at The World Market.  I just followed the directions on the back.


I spread Jif Hazelnut Chocolate onto the crepe and rolled it up. And then for the truly yummy part, I made a blackberry glaze to pour over the top of the crepe.  



I wish I had had the presence of mind to cut the crepe in half so we could see all the glorious chocolate.  But I am new to this food blog, and I will do better in the future.

If you would like to try these for yourself, here's how I did it:

I made the crepe batter using a mix and following the directions on the mix can.

I prepared the Crepes in a crepe pan, spread hazelnut spread on the crepe and rolled it up.

I prepared the blackberry glaze as follows:

1/2 cup blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons of corn starch

Mash the blackberries in a pan, add sugar, and water.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.   Add corn starch to thicken.  Strain mixture, discarding seeds and skins.

Sprinkle powdered sugar over crepe and drizzle blackberry glaze over crepe.

Serve to family and friends!







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July 22, 2013

Giardiniera


Saturday morning, my husband and I made Giardiniera.  I had seen it on Deep Dish South blog, and we decided to give it a try.  My husband loves the kind you buy in the store, and we thought it would be fun with all the fresh veggies available at our local farmer's market.  It turned out very good.  This recipe tastes like Bread and Butter pickles to me.  But I like things a little on the sweet side as opposed to sour.  


We blanched cauliflower and carrots, and stacked the vegetables in quart size, sterilized jars.


We made the brine with vinegar, sugar, celery seed, mustard seed, and a pinch of salt.


After filling four jars with the vegetables and brine, we sealed the jars, let them cool completely, and put them in the refrigerator.  We did a taste Monday evening.  It turned out great!


Here's how we did it:

Giardiniera

Three cups cauliflower
1/2 cup carrots, sliced into coin shapes
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
1 sweet onion, quartered, and sliced
1 large cucumber, cut into coin shapes
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, and sliced into thin strips
1 toe of garlic, sliced very thin

Blanch cauliflower and carrots by bringing a pot of salted water to a boil, add vegetables, and boil for two minutes.  Immediately remove from heat and stop cooking process by submerging in ice water.


Brine

6 cups of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of mustard seed
1 teaspoon of celery seed
Pinch of salt

Mix together all ingredients in pan.   Cook on medium heat until sugar is dissolved.

Distribute the cauliflower, carrots, peppers, onion, and garlic in four separate sterilized quart-sized jars.   Pour brining solution evenly in each jar.  Let cool completely.  Cover tightly with lids and refrigerate for two days before eating.



This is Gracie, our ten-year old shih-tzu.  She was enjoying the back yard Saturday morning.
She is more interested in what's going on in the kitchen when there's meat involved or chocolate chips!






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July 10, 2013

Farmer's Market Green Peppers



As I said in an earlier blog post, we live just a few blocks from the Farmer's Market.  Local farmers set up their stands and sell their fruits and vegetables every Tuesday morning during growing season.



The green peppers were b-e-autiful.


I made stuffed bell peppers for supper one night last week.   


I chopped up onion and celery . . .


I mixed it it with ground beef, one egg, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and rice.  Frankly,  I would leave the rice out next time.  It doesn't add much in my opinion and made them a little drier than I would have liked them.


I baked at 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.


I topped them with tomato sauce and Longhorn cheese.







 

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July 8, 2013

White Cupcakes with Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting


I made these cupcakes some time ago, but have been so busy with the July 4th holiday, that I haven't had a minute to post until this morning.  It is blueberry season in southern Illinois, and again I bought these blueberries at my favorite produce stand.  Their fruits and vegetables are beautiful.  


I used a white cake mix (any brand will do), and I made the blueberry cream cheese frosting.


Here's how I did it:

White Cupcakes:

1 package white cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Vegetable cooking spray

Beat cake mix, buttermilk, canola oil, eggs, and vanilla extract on low speed until blended.  Increase speed to medium and beat two minutes.

Place paper cupcake liners in muffin pans and spray with cooking spray.  Using an ice cream scoop, spoon batter into baking cups, filling approximately two-thirds full.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on wire racks.  Remove from pans and let cupcakes cool completely.

For frosting:

In a saucepan, 1/2 cup crushed blueberries, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 tsp. cornstarch.  Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 3 oz. package cream cheese
1 16 ounce package powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Blueberry glaze
Milk

Beat butter, cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended.  Add blueberry glaze, vanilla, and a small amount of milk one tablespoon at a time until frosting is the desired consistency.  

Frost cupcakes in the desired manner and garnish with blueberries.  


Serve to family and friends (or friendly co-workers).






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