Saturday, December 29, 2012

The wonder that is Spaghetti Squash

 I have been wanted to make a recipe with Spaghetti Squash for far too long. Don't know why it took me so long. My sis has been obsessed for awhile, so what better time to make something then when I was visiting her. We made a casserole with ricotta and spinach and it was to die for. It was such a fitting recipe with the spaghetti looking vegetable. Real simple helped us out with the recipe.

It is such an intriguing vegetable to me. Maybe the most intriguing. I don't get how/why it peels away in spaghetti like for. This was my first big thrill of shredding the inside of one!

 It is by far the best of the squashes out there. I will definitely have to have more fun with this ingredient. 

Here is the recipe:
Spaghetti Squash Casserole with Ricotta and Spinach

- 1 spaghetti squash, roughly 3 pounds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 15 ounce container of ricotta
- 1 large egg
- 1 box of frozen spinach (or 4 cups baby spinach chopped)
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Drizzle the cut sides with the oil, place cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast until tender, 40 to 50 minutes. 
3. While that is baking, combine the ricotta, egg, spinach, garlic, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper.
4. With a fork, gently scrape out the strands of flesh.
5. Add to the ricotta mixture and mix to combine.
6. Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish.
7. Sprinkle mozzarella to cover the top.
8. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cheese starts to crisp.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Irish Brown Bread

 Had some Irish Brown Bread at the Burren, my fave Irish pub down the road a couple weeks ago. My food was tasty, but I couldn’t stop dreaming about that bread. I wanted to make some of my own. I had all the ingredients on hand except buttermilk, which most recipes call for. I knew that the sourness was probably crucial to getting the taste right. I stumbled upon this recipe, which helped me make homemade buttermilk, so that I could be lazy and not go to the store. The bread came out awesome!!

Here’s the recipe:

Irish Brown Bread

- 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 4 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 cup finely ground old fashioned oats
- 1 1/3 cups milk (I used 1%)
- 1/3 cup apple-cider vinegar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Make buttermilk by mixing milk and vinegar in a small bowl, and letting it stand until thickened, about 5-10 minutes. (It is kinda of crazy watching this happen!)
3. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.
4. Mix in butter until it resembles coarse meal.  I find it is best to use your hands to do this.
5. Add in milk mixture.
6. Stir dough until it is roughly combined then move to a clean surface.
7. Knead dough until it combines into a nice ball.
8. Move ball to a greased cookie sheet and shapen into a round disk.
9. Cut an X into the top, 3/4 inch deep.
10. Bake for roughly an hour. 
11. Let cool on a wire rack after you have cut off one end to enjoy :)

This bread is going to be awesome all week for quick breakfast as well as on the side of the chili I made!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Candy Cane Cake Truffles

While the whole cake pop/cake truffle craze has been going on, don’t think that I haven’t thought about making some. I don’t know how I let it go this long, but I finally made some. I dreamed up a recipe of my own with the standard concept. Feast your eyes on this Christmas Treat: Candy Cane Cake Truffles.

I brought them to a Christmas party and they were a hit. All 50 were devoured!

The recipes is below. Just to warn you this is a lengthy and messy process. I make the cake the day before to space out the work. I also went along with most recipes and used store bought boxes of cake mix and frosting. Not my usually style, but I didn't object to how they came out tasting.

t had been planning on making truffles all along. (I'm not that impressed with eating things on sticks.) I feel truffles sound way more classy then pops. But my plan was to make them more like a pop using a toothpick to dip. I would then after they hardened pull out the toothpick creating perfectly circular balls. This did not go as planned. They were falling right off the toothpick. So alas, I made these messy globs I would like to call truffles. They didn't have the exact presentation I would have liked, but tasted gosh darn good. If you figure out how to make them prettier, let me know!

Candy Cane Cake Truffles

- 1 box of vanilla cake mix (follow recipe)
- 1 jar of vanilla frosting
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 box of candy canes crushed up
- 1 bag of white candy melts or white chocolate chips

1. Bake cake following directions from box.
2. Crumble cake into a large bowl. (I cut off any areas on the side top or bottom that got too hard. I figured they would ruin the shape and texture of the balls.)
3. Add peppermint extract to frosting. 
4. Combine frosting and half of the crushed candy canes with the cake crumbles.
5. Shape into 1" balls and place on cookie sheet. 
6. After all balls are made put in the freezer for about an hour.
7. Set up a make shift double boiler or use a real one if you are that cool, to melt chocolate.
8. Take out 3 balls at a time to dip. (Don't take them all out at once or they will come back to room temp and not be sturdy.
9. Use a fork to dip each cake ball and cover with chocolate. My method was to dip, roll the ball around, retrieve it with a fork, tap the fork on the side of the bowl to let some excess drip off, then coerce onto the cookie sheet.
10. Sprinkle a spoonful of crush peppermint over the top.
11. Let stand until chocolate sets.

Store them in an airtight tupperware. You can leave them out at room temp, or put them in the fridge. I prefer the fridge because it keep the inside harder.