Archive for April, 2013

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Cauliflower Pizza Crust

April 26, 2013

20130424 Cauliflower Crust

Cauliflower pizza crusts seem to be popping all over the place as an alternative to traditional pizza crusts. I really like pizza. I really like cauliflower. I had to try them together! I really like the substitute crust and will definitely be making it again. It was easy to put together and, after a few minutes out of the oven to cool and set, could be eaten like your favorite crispy crust.

You will need:

  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1 T minced onion
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 T parsley (or oregano or basil)
  • 1/2 c shredded cheese

Then you will…

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (this is a must since the cauliflower has to cook off water; you don’t want it to stick).
  2. Cut the cauliflower into florets, removing the stem/greens and the core.
  3. Use a food processor to chop the cauliflower until it resembles small grains.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the cauliflower with the other ingredients.
  5. Spread the “dough” on the parchment paper until just over 1/4-inch thick.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes at 350. Increase the temperature to 400 and bake another 15 minutes until turning golden brown.
  7. Top with cooked ingredients and return to oven until hot through.

20130424 Cauliflower Pizza

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Coconut Lime Chip Cookie Bars

April 22, 2013

These cookie bars might look like chocolate chip cookies at first glance, but inside they have a surprise: toasted coconut and fresh lime! I had some extra coconut lying around from another recipe and a lime and decided to make a baked treat with them. I used semisweet chocolate chips, but I think white chocolate chips would be a tasty alternative.

20130401 Lime Chip Cookie

You will need:

  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c applesauce, unsweetened
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 1/2 c flour
  • 2 c chocolate chips
  • 2/3 c shredded coconut

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13×9-inch baking dish with tinfoil and lightly grease with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter with the applesauce and sugars until well mixed.
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well mixed and smooth.
  4. Stir in the salt, baking soda and lime zest.
  5. Add the lime juice and 1/2 c of the flour. Mix well.
  6. Add the rest of the flour and mix until combined.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips and the coconut.
  8. Spread in the prepared pan.
  9. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden and a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.
  10. Allow to cool 15 minutes before transferring the foiled-lined cookie to a wire rack.
  11. Cool completely before cutting into bars.
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Honey Ginger Shrimp

April 17, 2013

This is a really easy shrimp dish that has a lot of taste. I had it with some roasted vegetables and couscous, but it would also be great with some rice or even on top of a salad. Go wild and try them as the filling of shrimp tacos!

You will need:

  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 4 T honey
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/2 t red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 lb large shrimp, peeled and de-veined

Then you will…

  1. Combine all the ingredients (except for the shrimp) in a measuring cup. Mix well.
  2. Pour the marinade into a large plastic zip-top bag.
  3. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Squeeze out the extra air and seal the bag.
  4. Refrigerate the shrimp with the marinade for an hour. Toss the shrimp a few times during the hour to ensure they are evenly covered.
  5. Allow the shrimp to warm up on the counter for 10 minutes.
  6. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat (no oil needed since you have oil in the marinade).
  7. Place shrimp in your heated pan in a single layer. Let them cook for about a minute on one side; they will start to turn pink and curl up.
  8. Flip them over and allow them to cook another 30 seconds or so until they are opaque and cooked through.
  9. Remove from pan and serve hot!

20130401 Honey Ginger Shrimp

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Coconut Citrus Bars

April 12, 2013

I wanted to bring something to D.C. for Mr. D, and the result were these coconut-topped citrus bars. They are not difficult to make, but you do need to allow them to cool completely before cutting and serving. These will be more like a lightly topped shortbread bar than a traditional lemon bar. If you want something a bit tangier and juicier, try my regular citrus bars.

20130326 Coconut Cirtus Bars

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 3/4 c unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 3 lemons, juiced
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3/4 c coconut flakes

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour and powdered sugar. Cut in the butter until you have a crumbly mixture.
  3. Press the dough into the prepared pan. Try to make it a relatively even thickness to ensure proper baking.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, sugar, baking powder and 1/2 cup of the mixed citrus juices.
  6. Pour the filling over the partially baked crust.
  7. Sprinkle with the coconut flakes.
  8. Bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden and the filling is set.
  9. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.
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Carbonara e Pepe

April 7, 2013

This winter I went to Rome with several girlfriends, where we explored the sites all day with breaks for delicious espresso and pasta. One of the last nights was S’s birthday. We decides to go back to our most favorite of restaurants: Da Sergio. It is in a small alley off of the Campo de Fiori and conveniently close to our holiday apartment.  I ordered cacio e pepe, which is pasta tossed with cheese, butter and a liberal amount of fresh pepper. S ordered the carbonara – a creamy delight of egg, cheese and crispy pancetta. That night we discovered that those two dishes must be secret lovers, because they were divine when mixed together! Below is my attempt to recreate what we experienced in Rome. It is rich and amazing…the perfect complement to a special occasion.

You will need:

  • 1 lb pasta (I used fresh bucatini from DC’s Eastern Market to stay true to Roman tradition)
  • 1/2 lb thick cut pancetta, chopped
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 c Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 2/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 t fresh ground pepper

Then you will…

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta’s cooking water and drain.
  2. In a medium saucepan, brown the pancetta over medium heat. Do not drain drippings! Remove from heat and add the butter.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs with the cheeses and pepper in a medium bowl.
  4. Add the cooking water to the pancetta and butter. Return to heat and bring to bubble.
  5. Toss the pancetta mixture with cooked pasta. Remove from heat.
  6. Gradually stir in the egg mixture. Be sure to stir constantly to avoid scrambling your eggs from the heat of the pasta and pancetta mixture. This will make a very velvety sauce.
  7. Serve and celebrate!

20130324 Carbonara Pepe

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Spinach Dip with Dill Bread

April 3, 2013

I decided to turn my apartment warming into a pre-Saint Patrick’s shindig. This spinach-rich dip and dill biscuit bread were a great combination, plus it is easy to put together. If you wanted to vary the recipe a bit, consider trying Greek yogurt instead of the sour cream. You could also add a little bit of hot sauce for some kick!

20130315 Spinach Dip

You will need:

  • 16 oz low-fat sour cream
  • 10 oz (1 package) frozen chopped spinach, thawed with the excess water squeezed out
  • 3/4 c scallions, chopped
  • 8 oz (1 can) water chestnuts, drained and rinsed and chopped
  • 1 packet ranch dressing mix
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated (scant)
  • 1/4 c cheddar cheese, grated (scant)
  • 1/4 c butter, melted
  • 3/4 t dill weed
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • 1/4 t mustard powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 containers (~7 oz each) refrigerated biscuits

20130315 Dill Bread

Then you will…

  1. Combine the sour cream, spinach, scallions, water chestnuts,and ranch dressing mix in a medium bowl. Mix well. Cover a refrigerate at least one hour before serving.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the cheeses with the butter, dill, garlic powder, and mustard.
  4. Cut each biscuit in half. Lay half of the pieces in an ungreased Bundt pan.
  5. Top with half of the cheese mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Repeat with remaining biscuits and filling.
  7. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Let cool for 2-5 minutes in the pan before inverting onto a plate.
  9. Best when served warm with the cold spinach dip!
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