Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wine Bottle Cake

This week is my brother's birthday. To celebrate he, his family, and a couple of close friends came over last night for a small feast. One of our friends, Matt, had his birthday on Friday, so it was a joint celebration. Since my brother and his wife are complete winos (they LOVE the wineries), I designed a cake (complete with many sketches) that would fit that love. The base, "crate", of the cake is a two layer chocolate cake, filled with strawberry preserves. I covered the sides with marshmallow fondant, dyed brown, scored and then painted a darker brown for contrast. The top is covered with chocolate shavings for the "packaging". Then the wine bottle is a yellow cake, covered in marshmallow fondant. I thought it may have been a little small for all six of us, but even with generous portions, we still only got through about half the cake. :-) Thankfully for my waistline, they took home the leftovers. Happy Birthday Vinnie and Matt!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cream Puffs with Goat and Cream Cheese


1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup (half stick) butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/3 cup flour
4 eggs, plus one for brushing


4 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces soft goat cheese
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon dill
Pinch of ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease two baking sheets.

For the pastry, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter in the water and milk. Add the salt and ground nutmeg. Removing from heat, add the flour all at once and stir rapidly with a wooden spoon. Once combined, allow to cool for about five minutes.

Add 4 eggs, one at a time, and combine well. Then add mixture into pipping bag and pipe small mounds onto the baking sheet (they do not spread easily). Lightly brush with a beaten egg. Bake for about 20 minutes until lightly golden.

Meanwhile, to make the filling, combine the cheeses and milk and beat until smooth. Add the spices.

When the pastries are baked and cooled, slice in half and spread the filling on the bottom half. Replace the tops to make a sandwich. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pasta with Tomatoes and Zucchini

I have been in a slump lately. Slump...ha! Lazy is a more accurate description. I've been working at such a hectic pace that I just burned out. With the new year, I'm trying to get motivated again and this past weekend was productive. Billed a full day's work on Saturday, finally went to church (Unitarian Universalist) and even stayed for a meeting after the service. I also spent way too much time and money in Whole Foods. Man, that place gets me every time. It gets me excited to try new things. Hopefully, it will help me to get more motivated with cooking too!

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon parsley
1 tablespoon basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional, but adds lots of good nutrients)

Heat a large pot of water and cook the spaghetti until al dente. Meanwhile, in a small saute pan, saute the oil, garlic, and tomato for about 2 minutes. Then add to a large bowl. Then saute the sliced zucchini for about 3-4 minutes. Add the zucchini, parsley, basil, salt, and nutritional yeast to the bowl. Combine well. Toss with the cooked spaghetti and serve while still hot.

Crab and Cream Cheese Wontons

I am strangely addicted to crab wontons at Pei Wei. Quite awesome actually. Rather than driving about 30 minutes away to get them, I have decided to figure out how to make them at home. Thankfully, it was a success! (Go me!) And they tasted quite yummy. Life is good!

1 can of crab meat (or fresh)
3 green onions, chopped
8 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)
1 egg white
Wonton wrappers
Vegetable oil

Cook the crab meat in a small saute pan for about 6-7 minutes. Add to a food processor and add the green onions and cream cheese. Combine until just smooth. Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, add oil (about an inch worth) and heat over low-to medium heat. Then add a small amount to the middle of a wonton wrapper. Using the egg white, seal the edges (I folded it like an envelope). Add the stuffed wonton to the oil and cook until golden brown on all sides. Remove from the oil. Serve with sweet and sour sauce (found at international supermarkets, like HMart or GrandMart).

Monday, January 3, 2011

Vegetable Casserole

It's been a little bit since I've posted anything. One, I've been having to go through all the holiday leftovers. Two, I've been ridiculously lazy. Yeah. I'm still working on that.

1 cup mushrooms sliced
1 cup fresh corn
1 large bell pepper chopped
1 zucchini chopped
1/2 cup onions chopped
1 can pinto beans rinsed
1 cup shredded cheese
1 cup fat free sour cream
1 cup wild rice cooked
2 teaspoons thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

In a large pan, combine the mushrooms, bell pepper, zucchini, onion, and spices. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until tender. Add to a large bowl. Then combine rice, beans, corn, sour cream, and 1/2 cup cheese. Mix well and add into a glass baking dish. Cook at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.