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Chocolate Eclairs

Chocolate Eclairs

This months Daring Bakers challenge was chocolate eclairs. I have been wanting to try making chocolate eclairs for a while and making them for the Daring Bakers was the perfect opportunity. Chocolate eclairs consist of cream puff pastry or choux pastry, pastry cream and a chocolate glaze. The chocolate eclairs were pretty fun to make. The choux pastry was interesting as the dough is made on the stove top. The original recipe called for a chocolate pastry cream but I decided to go with a simple vanilla pastry cream. The chocolate eclairs turned out really well. The puff pastry was nice and light and airy and the pastry cream was cool and refreshing and full of vanilla goodness. They were a bit messy to eat but so good.

Chocolate Eclairs


Ingredients:
cream puff pastry
chocolate glaze (warmed)
pastry cream

Directions:
1. Slice the eclairs in half horizontally with a serrated knife.
2. Place the tops on a rack above parchment paper.
3. Spread the glaze over the tops and allow the chocolate to set.
4. Fill the bottoms with pastry cream.
5. Place the set tops onto the bottoms and enjoy.

Choux Pastry

Cream Puffs (Choux Pastry)


Ingredients:
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 stick unsalted butter (cut into 8 pieces)
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs (room temperature)

Directions:
1. Bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to a roiling boil.
2. Reduce the heat to medium and mix in all of the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together.
3. Continue to stir for 2-3 minutes. The dough will be soft and smooth.
4. Pour the dough into a bowl and beat in the eggs one at a time.
5. Form the dough into the desired shapes on parchment paper lined baking sheets.
6. Bake in a pre-heated 375F oven and bake for 7 minutes.
7. Stick the handle of a wooden spoon into the oven door to hold it ajar and bake for another 5 minutes.
8. Rotate the baking sheet from front to back and bake for another 8 minutes or until the eclairs are puffed and golden brown. (With the door ajar.)
9. Let the eclairs cool for a few hours.

Pastry Cream

Pastry Cream


Ingredients:
1 cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean (sliced and seeds scraped)
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (sifted)
1 1/4 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)

Directions:
1. Bring the milk and vanilla bean seeds to a boil in a saucepan.
2. Mix the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch in another sauce pan.
3. Temper the egg yolks and with the milk and combine.
4. Strain the mixture back into the sauce pan.
5. Bring the mixture to a boil while whisking and continue to whisk for a minute.
6. Transfer the cream to a bowl and set the bowl in an ice water bath to cool while still stirring.
7. Once the mixture has cooled some stir in the butter.
8. Return the bowl to the ice water bath and continue to stir until completely cooled.

Chocolate Sauce


Ingredients:
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (finely chopped)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar

Directions:
1. Bring everything to a boil in a sauce pan while stirring.
2. Reduce the heat to low and continue stirring until the sauce thickens.

Chocolate Glaze


Ingredients:
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (finely chopped)
2 teaspoons unsalted butter (cut into 4 pieces, room temperature)
3 1/2 tablespoons Chocolate Sauce (room temperature)

Directions:
1. Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small sauce pan.
2. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate.
3. Stir in the butter followed by the chocolate sauce.

Take a look at the other Daring Bakers creations.

Avocado and Sweet Corn Salad

Avocado and Sweet Corn Salad

I have been enjoying the sweet corn lately and I recently discovered that I really like avocados. When I came across this recipe for an avocado and sweet corn salad I just had to try it. The combination of the sweet corn and the creamy avocados sounded really good. Of course the bacon didn't hurt either. I had also been wanting to try this recipe for a creamy salsa verde dressing and I thought that it would go really well with this salad. The avocado and sweet corn salad with creamy salsa verde dressing turned out really well. The avocado, black beans and dressing made the salad nice and creamy and the juicy tomatoes and sweet corn cut through the creaminess. The salsa verde in the dressing added a lot of flavour and a bit of heat to the salad. Overall the salad was a really nice combination of flavours and textures.

Avocado and Sweet Corn Salad


Ingredients:
2 cups sweet corn kernels
1 avocado (pitted, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces)
1 cup tomatoes (cut into bite sized pieces)
1 cup black beans
2 green onions (sliced)
1 handful cilantro (chopped)
4 slices bacon (chopped and cooked)
creamy salsa verde dressing

Directions:
1. Assemble salad.

Creamy Salsa Verde Dressing


Ingredients:
1/2 cup salsa verde
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
1 lime (juice)
1/4 cup cilantro

Directions:
1. Puree everything in a blender or food processor.

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Sweet Corn Ice Cream

Sweet Corn Ice Cream

I first came across the concept of a sweet corn ice cream last year and it sounded really good. I would never have thought of a corn ice cream but I liked the idea of using corn in a sweet dish. The only problem was that I had just missed the local corn season. I bookmarked the recipe and I have been impatiently waiting to try it. Now that the local fresh sweet corn is here I finally got my chance to make it. The recipe is a bit interesting as the corn cob is simmered in the milk and cream to infuse it with even more corn flavour. The sweet corn ice cream was so good!! It was well worth the months of waiting. It was the creamiest ice cream that I have ever had and it was full of sweet corn flavour. Although I enjoyed the texture of the whole corn kernels in the ice cream I think that next time I will puree them so that I can enjoy the creaminess of the ice cream even more. I think I have a new favorite ice cream!

Ingredients:
1 ear corn (kernels reserved, cut into 1 inch slices)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks

Directions:
1. Simmer the corn cob in the heavy cream and milk for 10 minutes.
2. Remove the corn cob.
3. Add the corn kernels and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes.
4. Temper the egg yolks and add them along with the sugar and vanilla extract to the pan.
5. Cook at low heat until it thickens and can coat the back of a spoon.
6. Chill the mixture in the fridge.
7. Freeze according to the instructions for your ice cream machine.

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Shrimp and Blueberry Salad

Shrimp and Blueberry Salad

I had gotten too many blueberries and I needed to use them. I felt like eating light and I thought that it might be nice to try blueberries in a salad. Often on warm summer days I feel like having a light meal and salads fit the bill perfectly. When turning a salad into a meal I generally try to add some meat to make it a little more substantial and this time I went with some succulent shrimp. I poached the shrimp until they were just cooked and then ran them under cold water to stop the cooking process. For the rest of the salad I just used what I had on hand. Since I already had the blueberries out, I thought that it would be nice to make a blueberry vinaigrette. I was thinking of a tarragon blueberry vinaigrette made with some blueberry maple syrup. I quite enjoyed the shrimp and blueberry salad! The blueberries went well in a salad and the blueberry vinaigrette was pretty tasty! It seems that I was even able to work the blueberry, maple and pecan combo into a salad. Now I have some extra blueberry maple syrup to enjoy.

Shrimp and Blueberry Salad


Ingredients:
6 shrimp (cooked)
1 cup salad greens
1/4 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons peas
1 tablespoon pecans (toasted, chopped)
1 tablespoon handful feta (crumbled)
1 tablespoon blueberry vinaigrette

Directions:
1. Assemble salad.

Blueberry Vinaigrette


Ingredients:
1 tablespoon blueberry maple syrup
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon tarragon (chopped, optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Mix Everything.

Blueberry Maple Syrup


Ingredients:
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:
1. Simmer everything in a sauce pan for 10 minutes.
2. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh. (optional)

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Curried Chicken Burger

Curried Chicken Burger

Summer is the perfect time for enjoying burgers and this summer I seem to be on a burger kick. I have made a few different burgers so far using a different meat in each one. I wanted to try making chicken burgers next and I was thinking that curried chicken burgers would be really tasty. I started out with the ground chicken and added a heaping tablespoon of my favorite curry powder followed by some ginger, garlic and some chili heat. I also wanted to try making the burgers with some herbs in them and cilantro sounded perfect. I could not resist dressing the burger up with some spicy mango chutney and some cool and creamy curried mayonnaise. The chicken burgers turned out pretty good. They were nice and moist and they held together well. Most importantly, they were really tasty! The mango chutney and mayonnaise went well with the chicken burgers adding even more flavour. I served the chicken burgers with some curried potato salad with peas and some mango and black bean salsa. It was a really nice summer meal.

Ingredients:
1 pound ground chicken
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon garlic (grated)
1 teaspoon ginger (grated)
1 teaspoon chili sauce
1/4 cup green onions (chopped)
1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
1 egg
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
4 buns
curried mayonnaise
lettuce
tomatoes
mango chutney

Directions:
1. Mix the chicken, curry powder, garlic, ginger, chili sauce, green onions, cilantro, egg, and bread crumbs in a large bowl.
2. Form 4 patties and place on a broiling pan.
3. Broil until cooked, about 10-15 minutes flipping once in the middle.

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Apricot Chicken Curry

Apricot Chicken Curry

The farmers market was full of apricots and I wanted to do something with them. I remembered seeing a recipe for a Thai inspired apricot chicken a while ago and I liked the sound of using apricots in a savoury dish. I also really like the sound of using Thai flavours as I was itching to use some more of the red curry paste that I had just made. In addition to an apricot sauce I wanted nice chunks of apricots as well as the chicken to form the body of the curry. I was thinking that I would make a pretty standard Thai curry except that the coconut milk would be replaced by pureed apricots. Since I was already using apricots I thought that it would be nice to use some apricot preserves for the sweetener instead of the palm sugar. The apricot chicken curry came together quickly and easily and it was really good! The apricot sauce was a nice balance of sweet, salty, tart and spicy and it was so full of apricot goodness. I really enjoyed the fruit based curry sauce. I served the apricot chicken curry on some aromatic coconut jasmine rice.

Ingredients:
4 apricots (stoned and peeled)
1 tablespoon apricot preserves
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 lime (juice and zest)
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 pound chicken breast (cut into bit sized pieces)
6 apricots (stoned and peeled and cut into bite sized pieces)
1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
1 red chili (sliced)

Directions:
1. Puree the apricots, apricot preserves, fish sauce, lime juice and zest in a food processor.
2. Heat the oil in a pan.
3. Add the red curry paste and saute for a minute.
4. Add the chicken and the apricot sauce and simmer until the chicken is cooked, about 6-10 minutes.
5. Add the apricots and simmer for a minute.
6. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.
7. Serve on coconut jasmine rice and garnish with sliced red chilies.

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Blueberry Maple Oatmeal Muffins with Pecan Streusel

Blueberry Muffins with Pecan Streusel

I just couldn't let blueberry season go by without making some blueberry muffins! I wanted to try a healthier muffin recipe and a quick search turned up this recipe for blueberry oatmeal muffins. I liked the sound of using the rolled oats in the muffins along with whole wheat flour and a mashed banana and some vanilla yogurt for some extra moisture and flavour. Of course I could not resist replacing some of the sugar with maple syrup. Next, I just had to work in some pecans and I though that a pecan streusel would be a good idea. I had to make one unexpected additional change to the recipe as I was out of vegetable oil and I replaced it with an equal amount of butter. The blueberry muffins turned out great! I don't even want to say how many I ate when they were fresh out of the oven. The muffins were super moist and had a really nice light and yet substantial texture and they full of flavour! The pecan streusel topping worked out surprisingly well. It stuck to the muffins and provided additional texture and flavour to every bite of muffiny goodness. These muffins are going to disappear way too quickly.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1 over ripe banana (mashed)
1/4 cup butter (melted)
1 egg
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup flour
pinch cinnamon
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions:
1. Mix the brown sugar, maple syrup, yogurt, banana, butter, egg and rolled oats in a bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes.
2. Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
3. Mix the wet and dry ingredients along with the blueberries until just mixed.
4. Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin pan.
5. Mix the pecans, flour, cinnamon, brown sugar and butter until they form crumbs.
6. Spoon some of the streusel onto the muffins.
7. Bake in a preheated 375F oven for about 20 minutes.

Blueberry Muffins with Pecan Streusel

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Green Beans with Sichuan Pork

Green Beans with Sichuan Pork

I have been enjoying a lot of fresh locally grown produce from the farmers market lately but I realized that I have not been doing much with green vegetables. Green beans are one of my favorite green vegetables and they had some nice looking ones at the farmers market which I picked up. I have come across several Chinese recipes that include both meat and vegetables but where the vegetables are the primary ingredient and the meat is more of a garnish. I liked the idea of the increased prominence of the vegetables in a meal and wanted to try it. I had been craving something spicy and I decided to go with some of my favorite flavours in a Sichuan style meal. The green beans with Sichuan ground pork came together quickly and easily. The dish was really tasty and had a nice level of heat. The fact that the dish was mostly green beans made it a nice light meal along with some rice. I liked this kind of meal and I will have to try to work more vegetables into my dishes.

Ingredients:
1/2 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon ginger (chopped)
1/2 pound ground pork
1 pound green beans
1/2 tablespoon fermented black beans (soaked in water for 10 minutes and chopped)
1 tablespoons chili bean paste
1 tablespoons chili sauce (or to taste)
1/2 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
1 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoon chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
3 green onions (chopped)

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in the pan.
2. Add the garlic and ginger and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
3. Add pork and brown.
4. Add the green beans, fermented black beans, chili bean paste, chili sauce, Sichuan peppercorns, soy sauce, and chicken stock and simmer until the green beans are just cooked, about 5 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and mix in the sesame oil and green onions.

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Corn and Black Bean Quesadillas

Corn and Black Bean Quesadillas

I had been enjoying the fresh sweet corn straight off the cob all week and I was looking to change it up a bit. I also had some black beans that needed using and I thought that a corn and black bean quesadilla filled with melting cheese would hit the spot. It was sounding pretty much like a quesadilla filled with a corn and black bean salsa and some cheese so I decided to make a big bowl of corn and black bean salsa for the filling. I like quesadillas because they are simple, quick and tasty and these were no different. You really can't go wrong with the combination of sweet corn, creamy black beans with some chili heat and melted cheese toasted in tortillas! The corn and black salsa was also great by itself and it will likely disappear quickly.

Corn and Black Bean Quesadillas


Ingredients:
2 tortillas
2 handfuls cheese such as cheddar or jack etc. (grated)
1/2 cup black bean salsa

Directions:
1. Melt a touch of butter in a pan.
2. Place a tortilla into the pan.
3. Cover the tortilla with the corn and black bean salsa and top with a handful of cheese and the other tortilla.
4. Cook until the quesadilla is golden brown on both sides and the cheese is melted.

Tip: Place a plate onto the quesadilla and flipped it from the pan to the plate and then slide it back into the pan to flip the quesadilla.

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Corn and Black Bean Salsa


Ingredients:
1 cup corn
1 cup black beans
1 jalapeno (chopped)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 cup green onions (chopped)
1 tablespoon cilantro (chopped)

Directions:
1. Mix the corn, black beans, jalapeno, chili powder, cumin, lime juice, green onions and cilantro in a large bowl.

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Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

Along with the green tomatoes the farmers market was also filled with perfectly ripe locally grown red field tomatoes. I had been waiting for the fresh field tomatoes so that I could try a caprese salad. A caprese salad or a insalata caprese is a simple salad consisting of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. The salad can be seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper and maybe even a touch of balsamic vinegar. For my caprese salad I decided to spurge a little and I got some imported Italian fresh buffalo mozzarella. The caprese salad was really good! It was nice and fresh and tasted like summer. The buffalo mozzarella was soft and had an amazing texture without having a strong which only accentuated the flavours of the tomatoes and basil.

Ingredients:
1 fresh ripe tomato (sliced)
1 ball fresh mozzarella (sliced)
1 handful fresh basil leaves

Directions:
1. Assemble salad.

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Caprese Salad

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Blueberry Maple Pecan Frozen Yogurt

Blueberry Maple Pecan Frozen Yogurt

Last week the food blogging sphere was full of blueberry sour cream ice cream and that got me craving some blueberry ice cream. Luckily the farmers market was still full of blueberries on the weekend I picked some up. Although I wanted to try a sour cream ice cream, frozen yogurt was calling my name. I could not resist pairing the blueberries with maple syrup and I used some to replace a bit of the sugar. Frozen yogurt can be a little tart so you have to use more sweetener than with normal ice cream. It is a good idea to add the sugar a bit at a time and taste test until you get it to the desired sweetness. Since I already had blueberries and maple I decided to add the third part of my current favorite trio of flavours, some toasted pecans. The blueberry, maple and pecan frozen yogurt turned out really well. The blueberry flavour was nice and strong there was a nice hint of maple. I really enjoyed the texture of the frozen yogurt and the toasted pecans added a nice contrast. Of course you have to melt all of the frozen yogurt in your mouth to find all of the pecan bits so you get to enjoy it longer.

Ingredients:
2 cups blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup pecans (toasted and chopped)
2 cups plain yogurt

Directions:
1. Heat the blueberries, sugar and maple syrup and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Remove from the heat.
3. Let cool then mix in the yogurt along with the pecans and test for sweetness.
4. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.
5. Freeze according to the instructions for your ice cream machine.

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Salsa Verde Turkey Burger

Salsa Verde Turkey Burger

Last year I tried tomatillos for the first time and I really enjoyed them. I have been keeping my eyes open for them and when I came across them at the farmers market on the weekend I picked some up right away. Of course the first thing that I made was some salsa verde and while I was enjoying it I remembered seeing this recipe for salsa verde turkey burgers on Prudence Pennywise. I liked the sound of pretty much everything about these burgers from the turkey to the salsa verde to the pepperjack cheese to the avocado to the way that it used the cilantro and I would even get to use some more green tomatoes! The salsa verde burgers did not hold together too well but they were super moist and they tasted great! I have been enjoying avocados lately and I would not have thought to combine them with mayonnaise but it was a fabulous combination that went well in this burger. Normally I would have just chopped up the cilantro and mixed it in with the burger but I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was as a fresh garish in the burger. The tartness of the green tomatoes complimented the other flavours of the burgers nicely. These burgers may have been a bit messy but they were oh so tasty!

Ingredients:
1 pound ground turkey
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup salsa verde
4 slices pepperjack cheese
1 avocado (pitted and scooped)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic (grated)
4 buns/rolls
green tomatoes (sliced) or pickled green tomatoes (sliced)
cilantro (optional)

Directions:
1. Mix the turkey, egg, breadcrumbs and salsa verde in a bowl.
2. Form 4 patties and place them on a broiling pan.
3. Broil until cooked, about 10-15 minutes.
4. Place the cheese slices on the patties and broil until melted, about 1 minute.
5. Mix the avocado, mayonnaise and garlic and mash the avocado to the desired consistency.
6. Serve the burger in a bun with the avocado mayonnaise, cilantro and sliced green tomatoes.

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Take a look at the SnackShots: Sandwich roundup on Greedy Gourmet.

Blueberry Amaretti Crisp

Blueberry Amaretti Crisp

I came across this recipe for a blueberry crisp with an amaretti cookie topping in Food & Drink magazine and knew that I would have to try it. The combination of almonds and blueberries sounded really good. The fresh local blueberries have been calling my name and this seemed like a great way to use them. The blueberry crisp was super easy to make and it turned out great! Hot blueberries sitting in a pool of melting vanilla ice cream is just so good! The almond flavours worked well with the blueberries and I really liked the texture that the amaretti cookies gave the topping. I will definitely be making this one again! I must confess that it was so good that I could not wait for dinner the next day and had some right out of the fridge for breakfast with some vanilla yogurt.

Ingredients:
6 cups blueberries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup amaretto
2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup amaretti cookies (crushed)
1/4 cup almonds (sliced)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter (melted)

Directions:
1. Toss the blueberries with the cornstarch, sugar and amaretto.
2. Mix the flour, amaretti cookies, almonds, brown sugar and butter in a large bowl.
3. Place the blueberries into an 8x8 inch baking dish and pour the topping on.
4. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until it is bubbling and the top is golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Blueberry Amaretti Crisp

Blueberry Amaretti Crisp

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Cherry and Chocolate Stracciatella Ice Cream

Cherry and Chocolate Stracciatella Ice Cream

I have been enjoying cherries by the bowl full lately and while I was snacking on a bowl I was thinking about ice cream. I remembered seeing Mike's cherry frozen yogurt with chocolate stracciatella at Mike's Table and thinking that I just had to try it. I realized that I had not really done an ice cream with chocolate chips and now was the perfect time since cherries and chocolate go so well together. This recipe did not however call for chocolate chips but rather melted chocolate was poured into the ice cream when it was almost done and still in the maker which sounded like fun. I went with my standard ice cream base and I used halved cherries as I wanted some nice big chunks of cherries in the ice cream. The stracciatella ice cream was a bit more challenging to make than normal ice cream as you have to time the melting of the chocolate and pouring it into the ice cream when it is almost done but not quite. The cherry and chocolate stracciatella ice cream turned out really well. I though that I might have poured the chocolate in a bit too late but the chocolate had mostly formed nice little flakes. There were also a few big chunks which were always nice to run into. The cherry and chocolate flavoured creamy ice cream was really good!

Ingredients:
1 cup cherries (pitted and chopped)
1/2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate

Directions:
1. Heat the cherries and sugar in a small sauce pan until the sugar is dissolved and the cherries are tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Heat the cream and milk in a sauce pan until it almost boils, about 5 minutes.
3. Reduce the heat to low.
4. Add one tablespoon of the cream mixture to the eggs to temper them.
5. Add the egg mixture to the sauce pan.
6. Cook at low heat until it thickens and can coat the back of a spoon.
7. Remove from the heat and stir in the cherries and vanilla extract.
8. Chill the mixture in the fridge.
9. Start freezing according to the instructions for your ice cream machine.
10. When the ice cream is almost done melt the chocolate and pour it into the ice cream in a thin stream.

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Greek Style Zucchini Fritters with Tzatziki

Greek Zucchini Fritters with Tzatziki

This time of year is so amazing! There is so much fresh produce around that you have to pick and choose what to get each week and everything looks so good that you have a hard time choosing. Very often I end up with some extras like an odd zucchini here and there. Luckily it is pretty easy to find a quick and tasty ways to enjoy any of the fresh fruits or vegetables that you have. I had one zucchini too many this week and I remembered trying and liking zucchini fritters last year and I decided to make those again. Fritters or cakes are essentially the main ingredient, in this case zucchini, mixed with a batter and fried. This time I decided to change up the flavours a bit and went with a Greek inspired theme with some dill and feta. Since I had the dill I thought that serving the fritters with some dilled tzatziki would be a great idea. Fritters are super easy to make and take very little time. The zucchini fritters turned out really well! With the feta and dill the fritters were tasty and the cool and creamy tzatziki finished them off perfectly.

Greek Style Zucchini Fritters

(makes 2 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 cups zucchini (grated, and squeezed to drain)
1 handful fresh herbs (such as parsley, dill, mint; chopped)
2 green onions (chopped)
1/4 cup feta (crumbled)
1/2 cup flour (I like to use whole wheat)
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons oil

Directions:
1. Mix the zucchini, herbs, green onion, feta, flour, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl.
2. Heat the oil in a pan.
3. Spoon the zucchini mixture into the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side.

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Blueberry and Maple Pecan Granola Parfait

Blueberry and Maple Pecan Granola Parfait

I had been wanting to try making my own granola for a while but I purposefully held off until the summer. I had seen granola being served with yogurt and fresh berries as a parfait and I wanted to try it like that. Now that the fresh local blueberries were out was the perfect time. I used the maple pecan granola that had survived my snacking for breakfasts last week in the form of parfaits with vanilla yogurt, fresh blueberries and topped it off with some maple syrup. It was amazing! The crunchy granola went really well in the cool and creamy vanilla yogurt with the juicy blueberries were just bursting with flavour. Towards the end of the week I had run out of vanilla yogurt and I decided to try some left over cottages cheese that needed to be used. I was pleasantly surprised that the slightly tangy cottage cheese worked really in this otherwise sweet dish. I would also imagine that vanilla frozen yogurt would also work well.

Blueberry and Maple Pecan Granola Parfait on Plate

Ingredients:
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 handful maple pecan granola
1 handful blueberries
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Directions:
1. Assemble parfait.

Blueberry and Maple Pecan Granola Parfait with Cottage Cheese

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Maple Pecan Granola

Maple Pecan Granola

When I was a kid I enjoyed eating granola cereal with milk for breakfast. I really liked the crunchy texture and all of the goodies that were mixed in with the granola. I had not had granola in a long time and I wanted to try making some for myself. Last weekend I finally got around to doing it. Granola is basically rolled oats, nuts and honey that is baked until crispy. You can add other goodies to granola such as more grains, dried fruits, or even chocolate. I wanted to keep my first granola pretty simple and I was thinking that it had to contain both maple syrup and pecans. I quickly found this recipe for maple pecan granola which was just what I was looking for. The granola was super simple to make; You just mix the ingredients and bake stirring the granola a few times to ensure that it remains loose and that it does not stick together too much. The maple pecan granola turned out really well! It was nice and crunchy and it had just the right amount of sweetness. I found that I was grabbing just one more handful to snack on each time I passed it. Since the granola was so easy to make I am now looking forward to experimenting with different combinations of ingredients.

Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup pecans (chopped)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons oil
1 pinch salt

Directions:
1. Mix everything in a large bowl.
2. Spread the mixture onto a baking pan.
3. Bake in a preheated 300F oven for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes.

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Maple Pecan Shortbread

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Raspberry and Lime Muffins

Raspberry and Lime Muffins

It had been a long time since I last made muffins and I had been seeing some nice ones around the food blogging sphere. Elle from Elle's New England Kitchen recently made some blueberry and lemon and raspberry and lime muffins that caught my attention. Although blueberry and lemon is one of my favorite combinations for muffins it was the raspberry and lime ones that I was most interested in. I had not tried the raspberry and lime combo and it sounded like another good one. The locally grown raspberries had been looking good lately and it was time to try the muffins. The raspberry and lime muffins turned out good! The were nice and light and moist and the pockets of raspberries in the middle were wonderful. I really liked the raspberry and lime flavour combination. With all of the fresh berries around I am looking forward to making more muffins.

When making a blueberry and lemon coffeecake I like to pour sweetened lemon juice over the coffeecake followed by some sugar after it is done baking. I then pop it under the broiler until the sugar bubbles. This infuses the coffeecake with more moist lemony goodness and the melted sugar forms a crispy layer on top which is really nice. I used the same method with lime juice for these raspberry and lime muffins. Unfortunately it did not work out as well as I had hoped with the muffins. The muffins were starting to look too dark before all of the sugar on the top had melted and I had to pull them out of the oven. Oh well, the partially melted sugar topping was still really good. Next time I will have to pull the muffins out of the oven a little earlier before adding the topping.

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
1/4 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1/2 cup icing sugar
3 tablespoons sugar

Directions:
1. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
2. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl.
3. Beat in the eggs, vanilla extract and lime zest.
4. Mix in the milk.
5. Mix in the dry ingredients.
6. Gently fold in the raspberries.
7. Spoon the mixture in to a greased muffin pan.
8. Bake in a preheated 375F oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.
9. Mix the lime juice and zest with the icing sugar and pour over the muffins.
10. Sprinkle the muffins with the sugar.
11. Broil the muffins until the sugar on top bubbles, about 2 minutes. Be careful and watch them to make sure that they do not burn.

Raspberry and Lime Muffins

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Kimchi Pajeon (Kimchi Pancake or Pizza)

Kimchi Pajeon (Kimchi Pancake or Pizza)


Kimchi pajeon is a Korean kimchi pancake or pizza that is similar to the Japanese okonomiyaki. In its base form a pajeon is made with eggs, flour and green onions and from there you can add whatever you want. In this case the obvious next ingredient is the kimchi. Kimchi adds a ton of flavour to the pancakes and gives them a nice bit of heat. I really like the crunchy texture that the kimchi adds. Like most pancakes you are going to need some liquid that makes this the perfect way to use up any excess kimchi juice at the bottom of the container. With that you have the simple version of the kimchi pancake. I like to add some bacon as it goes really well with kimchi and when I am looking for something healthier I like to add grated zucchini, squash or sweet potatoes. Once you have the pancakes you can top them with various garnishes and/or serve them with dipping sauces. You can really do whatever you want.


Kimchi Pajeon (Kimchi Pancake or Pizza)


Kimchi Pajeon (Kimchi Pancake or Pizza)

(makes 2 pancakes)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 strips of bacon (cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup kimchi liquid
1 egg
1/2 cup kimchi (drained and chopped)
2 green onions (chopped)

Directions:
1. Cook the bacon in a pan and set aside to cool retaining the grease.
2. Mix the bacon, flour, water, kimchi liquid, egg, kimchi and green onions in a large bowl.
3. Heat the bacon grease in the pan.
4. Add the batter and cook until golden brown on both sides.

Ssam Sauce

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon ssamjang
1/2 tablespoon gochujang
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions:
1. Mix everything until smooth.

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Cherry Clafoutis

Cherry Clafoutis

I first came across the concept of a clafoutis last year after I started food blogging. I had however, just missed cherry season so I decided to wait. Now that the local cherries are here I had my chance. A clafoutis is a custard like dessert where fruit, most commonly the cherry, is baked in a custard like batter that is similar to pancake batter. Several recipes that I saw recommended cooking the cherries whole, with the pits in but I really don't enjoy having to worry about biting into pits as I eat so I pitted my cherries first. I ended up going with this really simple recipe for a cherry clafoutis. I was a bit surprised as to how easy the clafoutis was to make. You simply mix the batter and bake it. The cherry clafoutis turned out pretty good! I enjoyed the soft and moist texture of the clafoutis and the cherries went really well in it. Clafoutis can be made with other fruits and now I am looking forward to experimenting with it. I have seen a few blueberry clafoutis that have been looking good...

Ingredients:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound cherries (pitted)

Directions:
1. Mix the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl.
2. Mix in the eggs, one at a time.
3. Mix in the milk and vanilla extract.
4. Place the cherries on the bottom of a greased 9 inch pie plate.
5. Pour the batter over the cherries.
6. Bake in a preheated 375F oven until the clafoutis is puffed and golden brown, about 40-45 minutes.

Cherry Clafoutis

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Grilled Teriyaki Chicken and Pineapple Sandwich

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken and Pineapple Sandwich

I had some leftover pineapple that needed a home and I remember seeing a teriyaki and pineapple combo that sounded good. A simple grilled teriyaki chicken sandwich with a slice of pineapple sounded like it would hit the spot. I had also been wanting to try grilling pineapple and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do it. This sandwich was pretty simple to make, though the chicken seemed to char quickly, no doubt because of the sugar in the teriyaki sauce. The grilled teriyaki chicken and pineapple sandwich tasted great. I really liked the combination of the sweet and salty teriyaki sauce with the sweet and tangy pineapple. I also enjoyed the fact that the pineapple was warm from the grill. A quick and simple meal for a warm summer day.

Ingredients:
1 chicken breast
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1 slice pineapple
2 sliced tomato
2 leaves lettuce
1 tablespoon mayonnaise

Directions:
1. Marinate the chicken in the teriyaki sauce for 20 minutes to overnight.
2. Grill the chicken and pineapple.
3. Assemble sandwich.

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No Bake Cheesecake

No Bake Cheesecake

Cheesecake is one of my all time favorite desserts. I have made several different types of cheesecakes but they have all been baked cheesecakes. The no-bake cheesecake has always interested me and it was time to try making one. I found a lot of different recipes no-bake cheesecakes, many using different ingredients. In the end I decided to go with a whipped cream and cream cheese mixture to form the cheesecake. With the cheesecake recipe decided it was time to think about a crust. I like a simple graham cracker crust but I was thinking that it would be nice with some pecans in it as well. I then thought that instead of adding sugar and butter to form the crust that I could just use some maple syrup to both add some sweetness and bind it together. With pecans and maple syrup already there I could not pass up on adding some blueberries so I placed a few blueberries in the cheesecake filling and a few more on top along with some maple syrup. The no-bake cheesecake turned out really well! It was lighter that a baked cheesecake and it was nice and creamy and cool and refreshing and good. If I had a choice between a baked and a no-bake cheesecake I would probably go for the baked but the no-bake is excellent in its own way. On a hot summer day it is hard to beat a no-bake cheesecake which does not require you to turn the oven or even the stove.

Tilapia Baked in Tamarind Sauce

Tilapia Baked in Tamarind Sauce

I had recently come across a jar of tamarind paste in the back of my fridge that I had picked up a while ago and hardly used. I wanted to experiment some more with the tamarind and while I was searching for recipes I came across this one for tilapia baked in a tamarind sauce which sounded really good. I like baking fish in sauces as they come out nice and moist full of the flavour of the sauce. This particular tamarind sauce is a Thai recipe. One of the things that I like the most about Thai recipes is that they tend to try to balance sweet, sour, spicy and salty. It is a god idea to sample the sauce after everything has been added to it and then tweak it to your tastes. The tilapia baked in tamarind sauce turned out really well! The tilapia was nice and moist and the tamarind sauce was really tasty. I served the tilapia with some coconut jasmine rice which provided a refreshing contrast to the flavourful tilapia. So far I have really been enjoying tamarind and I look forward to using it again.

Ingredients:
1/2 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon palm sugar (or brown sugar)
1 teaspoon chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 clove garlic (grated)
1 teaspoon ginger (grated)
1 tilapia fillet (of other white fish)
1 green onion (sliced)
1 red chili pepper (sliced)

Directions:
1. Heat the tamarind, water, lime juice, fish sauce, palm sugar, chili sauce, shrimp paste, garlic and ginger in a small sauce pan and stir to combine.
2. Taste test the sauce to ensure that the sweet, sour, salty and spicy aspects are balanced.
3. Pour 1/2 of the sauce over the tilapia in a baking dish and make sure that the tilapia is fully coated in it.
4. Cover with aluminum foil.
5. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until cooked, about 10-12 minutes.
6. Serve with the remaining tamarind sauce, sliced green onions and red chillies.

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Blueberry Blintzes

Blueberry Blintzes

I have been seeing blintzes around the food blogging sphere for a while and I had been wanting to try them. From the recipes that I found blintzes are essentially a crepe wrapped around a cheese filling and covered with a sauce. I had been wanting to try making blueberry blintzes and this weekend the farmers market was full of the local blueberries. What better way to kick off blueberry season? After looking at a bunch of recipes I came up with this one. I used my standard crepe recipe and I went with a combination of cream cheese and cottage cheese for the cheese filling. I really like the combination of blueberries and maple syrup and I could not resist adding some maple syrup to the blueberry sauce. The blintzes took a bit of time to make but they were well worth it. The blueberry blintzes were so good! The warm cheese filling was a nice combination of sweet and tangy and it went well with the maple blueberry sauce. The blintzes were a perfect weekend breakfast.

Blueberry Blintzes


Makes 4 blintzes.

Ingredients:
crepes
cheese filling
blueberry sauce
1 tablespoon butter

Directions:
1. Place 1/4 cup of the cheese filling into a crepe an wrap it like a burrito.
2. Melt the butter in a pan.
3. Add the blintzes, seem side down, and cook until golden brown on top and bottom turning once.
4. Serve the blintzes with blueberry sauce on top.

Cheese Filling


Ingredients:
1 cup cottage cheese
1 4 ounce package cream cheese (softened)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions:
1. Mix everything.

Blueberry Sauce


Ingredients:
1 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Directions:
1. Mix the cornstarch into the water.
2. Simmer everything in a sauce pan for 5 minutes.

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Prawn and Pineapple Curry

Prawn and Pineapple Curry

While I was searching for red curry paste recipes I came across a recipe for a prawn and pineapple curry which sounded interesting. I had not used fruit in a Thai curry before and I wanted to try. I took my basic outline of a Thai curry and added the shrimp and pineapple and I used the freshly made red curry paste. Other than the flavour, the thing that I like most about Thai curries is that they are easy to make and they come together quickly. This curry was no different and it was ready in only a few minutes. The flavours of the red curry paste were so good! Though, it was not quite as hot as I would have liked it. I will add more red chillies the next time I make it. The pineapple worked well in the curry adding a nice sweetness and tartness to the flavours of the curry. It was really nice biting into the juicy and refreshing pieces of pineapple in the curry.

Ingredients:
1 can coconut milk
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 pound shrimp (peeled and deviened)
1 pound pineapple (cut into bite sized pieces)
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons palm sugar (or brown sugar)
2 kaffir lime leaves (or basil, sliced)
1 handful Thai basil (chopped)
1 red chili (sliced)

Directions:
1. Skim 1 tablespoon of the thicker coconut milk from the top of the can and heat it in a pan. (Or heat one tablespoon oil in a pan.)
2. Add the red curry paste and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
3. Add the coconut milk, shrimp, pineapple, fish sauce, palm sugar and kaffir lime leaves and simmer until the shrimp are cooked, about 3-5 minutes.
4. Taste the curry and make sure that all of the flavours are balanced.
5. Remove from heat and stir in the basil.
6. Serve garnished with red chilies.

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Penang Kung (Prawn Penang Curry)
Penang Gai (Chicken Penang Curry)
Shrimp and Pineapple Teriyaki
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Thai Pineapple Fried Rice
Thai Cucumber and Pineapple Salad

Red Curry Paste

Red Curry Paste

I have really been enjoying Thai curries ever since I discovered them about a year ago. At first I started with simple curries using store bought curry paste. I have been slowly adding more authentic ingredients as I have been finding sources for them. A while ago I made my first curry paste, a penang curry. Though I had been planning to make the classic red curry paste I was distracted by the peanuts in penang curry and I made that instead. I had been craving some curry lately and now was the time to try making the red curry paste. One of the things that I like about Thai curry pastes is that they contain a lot of fresh ingredients. You should be able to find all of the ingredients at your local Asian grocery store. Thai curry pastes are pretty easy to make; You just mash everything in a mortar and pestle or you could make it even easier and use a food processor. This time I soaked the dried red chili peppers in some lime juice to soften them up a bit so that they could be ground into smaller pieces more easier. The curry paste keeps well in the freezer for a couple of months so you can freeze the extra paste in single serving amounts (one or two tablespoons) for easy use later on.

Thai curries are pretty simple as well; You just need some curry paste, coconut milk, meat and/or vegetables, fish sauce, palm sugar and possibly some fresh herbs and chilies. To bring out the full flavour of the curry paste you are going to want to saute it a bit before adding the other ingredients. You can saute it in some oil or you could use the thicker part of the coconut milk from the top of the can. Saute it until it is nice and fragrant, about a minute or two, before adding the rest of the coconut milk and the other ingredients.


Red Curry Paste


adapted from The Big Book of Thai Curries by Vatcharin Bhumichitr

Ingredients:
10 dried red chilies (toasted)
1 kaffir lime (or lime, juice and zest)
4 tablespoons shallots (chopped)
3 tablespoons garlic (chopped)
2 tablespoons galangal (or ginger, chopped)
2 tablespoons lemongrass (peeled, lower 2 inches)
1 tablespoon cilantro root
1 teaspoon white peppercorns (toasted and ground)
2 teaspoons coriander seeds (toasted and ground)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (toasted and ground)
1 tablespoon shrimp paste

Directions:
1. Soak the dried red chilies in the lime juice for 30 minutes.
2. Mash everything with a mortar and pestle or puree everything in a food processor.

Red Curry Paste Ingredients

Similar Recipes:
Penang Curry Paste
Thai Green Curry Paste

Use in:
Thai Peanut Chicken Noodle Soup