Saturday, August 27, 2016

Saturday in Ellen's Kitchen


 Good Saturday to all of you dear readers. I have a couple of tips that I've used recently that you might find helpful, too. In the photo above use a mixing bowl upside down to set your measuring cup on when adding liquid to a set line. With it elevated like this you can see better and measure more accurately.
 
I used this Fruit-Fresh product for the first time this summer when I had to prepare a large quantity of pears for freezing. They kept the pears from turning brown.
One more tip I saw but don't have a photo of is using the warmer on your coffee maker to melt chocolate. Just put the chocolate in a glass bowl and turn the warmer on and as it melts give it a stir. This is useful if you do not have a microwave oven.  
This isn't my kitchen but it's a room in our basement where I have shelving for my large quantity of dishes, serving pieces, platters, cake plates, trays, chargers, and Christmas dishes. This area supplements my kitchen. The dishes in my kitchen that we use everyday are plain white. The dishes down here in my basement are dishes I like to use for showers, celebrations, desserts, and holidays. Most of these dishes were acquired at thrift shops. On these shelves you'll find dishes in pinks, blues, greens, reds, transferware in blues, pinks, black, and brown. My parents dishes that us siblings gifted them for their 50th wedding anniversary, service for 24, came down to me when my mother downsized into their senior apartment. I suppose at this stage of my dish life you can't call me a minimalist. I do offer my dishes to friends and family whenever they might need them.

Thank you for stopping by today. Hope your weekend is going well.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Flash Back Friday - Corn Cheese Bake


Corn season is here so I'm sharing my corn cheese bake again for Flash Back Friday. You can use all green or all red sweet peppers if that is what you have. To make it look more appealing I like to use both. This time I used hot sauce instead of crushed red pepper and increased the sweet peppers from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup.
  • 2 cups corn, cooked and drained
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup sweet green pepper, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup sweet red pepper, chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 drops hot sauce..optional, you can add more or less as to your liking.
  • 1/2 cup (approx 12) crackers, crushed (crushed cornflakes is an option)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. In a medium sized bowl whisk together corn, milk, eggs, cheese, sweet peppers, salt and pepper. Pour into a greased baking dish. (6 1/2" x 6 1/2" x 2")
  2. Add melted butter to crushed crackers and stir until crumbly.
  3. Sprinkle cracker crumbles on top of corn mixture.
  4. Bake in 350º oven for 40 minutes.
  5. Serve hot as a side dish.
  6. Serves: 4 to 6

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Shrimp and Mango Wraps or Tacos

Spicy shrimp, sweet mango and crispy slaw. A simple and delicious light summer meal.

Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2-3 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro OR parsley
  • 2 tbsp green onions, cut into small pieces
  • juice from 2 limes
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  1. Mix together, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Filling:
  • 25-30 shelled shrimp
  • olive oil
  • Cajun spice
  • 2 mango's cut into spears
  • 3 cups ready made or your own slaw mix 
  • 1/2 red or orange pepper, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, optional 
  • wraps or taco shells
  1. Rinse shrimp. Drain well. Pour a little olive oil over to just coat shrimp. 
  2. Sprinkle with Cajun spice. Let sit in refrigerator for 1/2 hour.
  3. Cut up mango.
  4. Place slaw mix, cut up pepper and cilantro in a bowl. Toss.
  5. Cook shrimp in a fry pan either on your grill or stove top. Cook until pink and cooked through. About 3-4 minutes.
  6. If using wraps lay on grill to warm just until you see grill marks. OR, warm in oven.
  7. Fill wraps with filling and top with sauce. 


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Dessert Crepes


I served this dessert at a recent family dinner.
It was inspired by a dessert my husband ordered at a local restaurant, that I could only enjoy with my eyes, because of course it wasn't gluten free.
So I came up with my own version and my husband declared it was better than the restaurant dessert. Yes, yes, I know ...  he's my husband ..  but he IS usually pretty honest!  smile

It can be made ahead and refrigerated until served.

Crepes
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk 
  • 1/4 cup water 
  • 2/3 cup Julie's Flour 
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • butter - for frying 
  1. Measure milk and water in lg. measuring cup, add the 4 eggs and whisk until blended.
  2. Combine dry ingredients and then whisk briskly into the liquids.
  3. Heat 9" skillet, then add a dab of butter. Hold skillet in your hand and spread butter to cover bottom. Pour in just enough batter to cover bottom of the pan, again holding in your hand and tilting pan to move the batter. Place on hot element and let cook until bottom is golden ...  using egg turner, slip under the crepe and flip it over to cook the other side. 
  4. Stack cooked crepes on a plate and let cool. 
**Fillings - You can use any filling you wish.  I used two - one a white chocolate filling and the other a dark chocolate filling ...  My favorite was the white chocolate, but the rest of my family said they couldn't choose. 

Fillings 

White Chocolate Filling

  • 3 cups whole milk 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 4 tbsps cornstarch 
  • 4 egg yolks 
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 
  • 1 generous cup of white chocolate chips 
  1. Mix together milk, sugar and cornstarch, and yolks in a saucepan and heat to boiling point. 
  2. Cook and stir until mixture thickens.  (Do not overcook) 
  3. Remove from stove and add butter, chips and vanilla stirring until melted and mixture is smooth. 
  4. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap touches the custard to prevent a layer forming on top. 
  5. Chill in refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the crepes. 
Chocolate Filling  
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 6 tbsps water  
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder 
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  1. Bring water to a boil, and dissolve gelatin in the water. Set aside.
  2. Mix sugar with cocoa powder, sift ... set aside
  3. Whip cream until stiff, beat in gelatin and the sugar/cocoa mixture. 
  4. Keep in fridge until ready to assemble crepes. 
Assembling -  
  1. Spoon or pipe the filling down the center of a crepe. Smooth a little filling along one edge - this will act as 'glue' to keep the crepe from unrolling . Starting with the other edge roll the crepe around the filling, ending with the 'glue'-edged side. 
  2. Arrange on serving tray and garnish with whipped cream, fresh strawberries and drizzled melted chocolate. 
  3. Refrigerate until serving. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Coconut Cream Bars


If you love coconut as much as I do you will want to make these delicious bars. A perfect dessert to serve family or company. We have coconut lovers in our family so this will disappear fast.
Adapted from All Recipes.

Crust:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  1. In a medium sized bowl whisk together flour and icing sugar.
  2. Using a pastry blender cut in the butter until you have coarse crumbs.
  3. Press into a 9 x 9" square pan.
  4. Bake at 350º for 20 minutes until slightly golden in color. Place on cooling rack and allow to cool while making the filling.
Filling:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  1. In a medium sized bowl whisk together sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add coconut milk and eggs and whisk until well blended.
  2. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat and add flaked coconut and extracts. 
  4. Pour over the crust. Allow to cool to lukewarm, then place in refrigerator and chill for a few hours until firm.
  5. Top with whipped cream and toasted coconut.
  6. Serves: 9 generous pieces.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Bruschetta on Naan Bread


We've been enjoying this appetizer all summer long.  It was a favourite of ours from a local restaurant until they removed it from their menu.  It was worth trying to recreate!  You can make this recipe smaller or larger to suit your occasion.  Just keep the ratio of the ingredients.

  • purchased naan bread (sizes vary)
  • purchased basil pesto
  • 1 cup finely diced sweet white onion
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced tomato
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • a handful fresh basil leaves, finely chopped (if fresh leaves are not available I find freeze-dried available in the produce section to be a good substitute)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • purchased reduced Balsamic Glaze  
  1. Arrange naan bread on pizza pans. Regular cookie sheets will work but it is better if air can get underneath the bread to help it crisp in the oven. Toast on one side under broiler. 
  2. Spread pesto over each piece of bread.  
  3. Combine remaining ingredients except Balsamic Vinegar glaze.   Spoon topping over pesto.
  4. Bake in 350 F oven until parmesan melts and bread is heated through. 
  5. Drizzle Balsamic Glaze over the Bruschetta and cut into serving pieces. 
  6. Serve immediately. 
This Bruschetta filling works equally as well on slices of toasted Baguette.   


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Bread for the Journey


Whenever I am outside in God`s nature I see his marvellous hand in the beauty surrounding us. The following hymn touched a chord in my heart..of quiet rest, near to the heart of God.
Where are you finding that quiet rest?

Near to the Heart of God

  1. There is a place of quiet rest,
    Near to the heart of God;
    A place where sin cannot molest,
    Near to the heart of God.
    • Refrain:
      O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
      Sent from the heart of God;
      Hold us, who wait before Thee,
      Near to the heart of God.
  2. There is a place of comfort sweet,
    Near to the heart of God;
    A place where we our Savior meet,
    Near to the heart of God.
  3. There is a place of full release,
    Near to the heart of God;
    A place where all is joy and peace,
    Near to the heart of God.
  4. Cleland B. McAfee