Whipped Cream Recipe

whipped creamThis recipe for whipped cream is another essential component recipe that you can use with many desserts. It is easy to make and does not have any of the preservatives that the store bought versions of whipped cream contain.

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tspn pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp sugar

  1. Using a stand mixer, whip all of the ingredients together at high speed until stiff peaks appear.
  2. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
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Bauru Recipe

Bauru sandwichThe Baura gets its name from the Brazilian city, Baura located in the state of São Paulo. It was first served at the Ponto Chic Restaurant in the 1930s. Like most popular sandwiches, many variations of the Baura have been developed over the years. The sandwich is usually served on French bread with roast beef, some type of melting cheese, and usually tomatoes. This recipe also includes pickled cucumbers for added flavor.

French bread
1/4 pound of freshly cut roast beef
4 slices tomato
4 slices mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cucumber, sliced
oregano to taste
Kosher salt to taste

  1. The night before you make this sandwich, mix the vinegar with the sugar. Combine this mixture with the sliced cucumber in an air-tight container and refrigerate overnight. You can use these pickled cucumbers when you make the Bauru.
  2. Cut the French bread lengthwise and remove the soft inner bread.
  3. Layer the roast beef on the bottom piece of the French bread.
  4. Dust the roast beef lightly with salt and oregano.
  5. Place the slices of tomato on top of the roast beef followed by the pickled cucumber slices.
  6. Top with melted mozzarella cheese and the top piece of the French bread.
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Maple Pear Porridge Recipe

steel cut oats porridgeThis recipe for Maple Pear Porridge is my entry into the Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods Spar For The Spurtle Porridge Making Contest. The creators of the top three recipes will be flown to Portland, Oregon to compete in a live cook-off. The winner then will receive an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Scotland, to represent Bob’s Red Mill in the 18th Annual Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship in Scotland, $2,500 in cash, and several other prizes. The deadline for the contest is July 31st. Click here for more details about the contest.

After learning about this contest, I wanted to come up with a unique but simple recipe using steel cut oats. This recipe involves cooking the oats and also making a sauce that is added just before it is served. In addition to the recipe below, you can also view this video that will walk you through how to make this simple breakfast treat.

Referred to as brochan in the Scottish Highlands, porridge is most commonly made with oats, boiling water, and salt. This recipe for maple pear porridge is no exception. However, it takes this combination of simple ingredients to the next level in terms of taste. Even if you are not a big fan of oatmeal, you have to give this dish a try.

2 cups of water
1/2 tspn kosher salt
1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill Steel Cut Oats
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tspn pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup shelled walnuts
1/2 of a pear, pealed and sliced

  1. In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Add the kosher salt and stir.
  3. Add the steel cut oats, the brown sugar, and the cinnamon stick. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. While the oats cook, peel and slice the pear into length wise wedges.
  5. After 20 minutes have passed, add the vanilla to the oats and stir.
  6. In a separate small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the butter, maple syrup, and walnuts. Cook for about 5 minutes until the butter has melted. Stir the mixture and then remove from heat.
  7. Distribute the oats evenly between 2 serving bowls. Place the slices of pear around the perimeter of the bowl. Top with the walnut, butter, and maple syrup sauce.
This recipe makes 2 servings

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Oregon Ginger Salmon Recipe

Oregon Ginger SalmonThis recipe for Oregon Ginger Salmon is another quick and easy dish that will help you include more fish in your diet. All you have to do is prepare the marinade, throw in the salmon steaks, and refrigerate overnight. When you arrive home from work, you can put them on the grill or bake them in the oven and they will be ready in about 25 minutes.

4 salmon steaks
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1-2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, diced
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp Old Bay seasoning

  1. Mix together all of the ingredients (except the salmon steak) in a medium sized casserole dish.
  2. Place the salmon steaks, skin side up, in the marinade and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
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Coffee Flan Recipe

coffee flanCoffee flan is a standard dessert in Spain and Portugal as well as other Spanish and Portuguese speaking nations. Flan is a perfect ending to classic Latin meals such as Ropa Viejas, Carnitas, or Pork Tenderloin in Chipotle Mole. It is a light dessert that is just sweet enough to crave another serving.

The most challenging part of this recipe is coating the molds with the caramelized sugar before the sugar hardens. But if you work quickly, you can do it. This recipe is ideal for parties or other gatherings as you can make it a day or two in advance so that it is ready to serve.

Recommended Equipment:
6 - 8 ceramic ramequins

1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup warm water
3 tspn Nescafe Clasico instant coffee
1/2 tspn vanilla
1/4 tspn cinnamon

  1. Grease each of the 6 ramequins.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the 1/2 cup of sugar over medium heat. Stir the sugar continuously until it melts into a smooth caramel.
  3. Quickly pour equal parts of the caramel into each of the ramequins and then let them cool.caramelized sugar in cups
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the instant coffee and the warm water. Set aside for later.
  6. In a mixer, mix together the eggs and 1/2 cup of sugar. Mix in the cinnamon, vanilla, sweetened condensed milk, whole milk, and the instant coffee mixture.
  7. Evenly distribute the mixture into the ramequins.
  8. Place the ramequins into a deep roasting pan.
  9. Pour warm water into the roasting pan so that the water is about 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep.
  10. Carefully place the roasting pan into the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until a fork inserted into the flan and it comes out clean.
  11. Remove the flan from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate until it is ready to serve.
  12. To serve the flan, Use a knife to cut around the perimeter of the ramequin to free the flan from the sides. Then place a small plate on top of the ramequin and quickly flip it over. The flan should release from the ramequin and come to rest on the plate.
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Watermelon Caipirinha Recipe

watermelon caipirinhaWatermelon caipirinhas are cocktails that were made for summer. The sweet, refreshing taste of watermelon, the tart lime juice, with the punch of cachaça create a perfect drink. Here in the States, cachaça used to be very difficult to find. Recently, however, brands such as Leblon, Cabana, Pitu, 51, Água Luca, and Beleza Pura are making this South American spirit easier to obtain. So there is no reason not to try watermelon caipirinhas. In fact, after you purchase your cachaça you can also try the traditional Caipirinha and the Batida de Maça.

Recommended Equipment:
cocktail shaker
food processor or blender

2 tspn sugar
1/2 lime, cut into quarters
1 cup of watermelon pieces, seeds removed
1 shot of cachaça

  1. Put the watermelon pieces into a blender or food processor and puree.
  2. Muddle the pieces of lime with the sugar at the bottom of the shaker using a wooden spoon.
  3. Add the cachaça and the watermelon puree to the shaker along with crushed ice.
  4. Shake until your arm hurts and then strain into your favorite cocktail glass.

Hampton Style Blueberry Pie Recipe

hamptons blueberry pieThis recipe for Hampton Style Blueberry Pie is based on the type of pies that you can buy at roadside stands all along the Eastern seaboard of the United States, and in particular in the Hamptons on New York’s Long Island.

It starts with a rich, slightly salty crust (see All-Purpose Pie Crust Recipe). It is then filled with 2 pints of fresh blueberries, cream cheese, and a hint of fresh, sweet basil. Top this with a thin lattice of crispy crust and you have the perfect Hampton Style Blueberry Pie. Serve it with a scoop of your favorite ice cream for a perfect Summer time dessert.

pie crust

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp dry basil
4 tbsp all purpose flour
4 oz. cream cheese
1 egg
2 pints of blueberries

  1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Add filling to pie crust. Top with dough lattice.
  3. Bake 1 hour. Let cool for at least 30 minutes then serve.
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All-Purpose Pie Crust Recipe

This is a simple recipe for an all-purpose pie crust. It involves making a dough with small pellets of butter and shortening surrounded by flour. When baked, the butter and shortening produce small amounts of steam that result in a perfectly, flaky crust. You can use this fundamental recipe to make almost any type of pie depending on what ingredients that are in season.

1 tspn salt
2 tbsp sugar
5 oz. cold water
3 1/2 cups pastry (winter) flour
3 oz. butter
4 oz. shortening

  1. In a small mixing bowl, dissolve sugar and salt in the cold water.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, butter, and shortening with your hands until small, pea sized pellets of butter form in the flour.
  3. Make a hole in the middle of the flour and pour in the salt, sugar, and water mixture. Mix the dough until just incorporated.
  4. Form the dough into a rectangle brick and lightly dust it with flour. Then wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Remove from the refrigerator and allow to rise to room temperature for 30 minutes.
  6. Cut the dough into 2 equal sized pieces. You can make 2 open faced pies or one pie with a bottom and top crust.
  7. Using a rolling pin on a well floured surface, roll out the dough so that it is 1 inch greater than the pie pan.
  8. Place the dough in the pie pan and trim off any excess from the edge of the pie.
  9. Apply an egg wash (one egg and an equal part of water whisked together) to the edge of the pie. This will help the top layer of dough adhere to the bottom.
  10. Pour in the pie filling and then place the top layer of dough on top of the filling.
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Book Review: The Unofficial Harry Potter Sweet Shoppe Book

Harry Potter Sweet Shop BookThe Unofficial Harry Potter Sweet Shoppe Book, by Dinah Bucholz, features 35 easy to make recipes for candies and other sweets from the pages of the Harry Potter Anthology. Recipes for Crunchy Roaches, Triple Peppermint Humbugs, Sugar Mice, Chocolate Love Potions, Mincemeat Ice Cream and many others are included in this unusual cookbook. In addition, the book is accompanied by decorative glassine candy bags, candy molds, and broom-shaped lollipop sticks.
harry potter sweet shoppe kit

As a reviewer of this book, I think I should admit at this point that I have not read all of the Harry Potter Books (but I have seen all of the films). As such, I was completely lost as to which recipes to attempt for my review. I ended up choosing the Pumpkin Juice and the Double Strawberry Ice Cream since I planned to let my 2 ½ year old daughter be the “Guinea Pig”/taste tester for my creations. Her bed time is 7:30 so sugar content was an important factor in the selection process.

Anyway, the first recipe that we tried was the Pumpkin Juice. Unfortunately, pumpkins are not currently in season in my neighborhood, so I was forced to use canned pumpkin. The recipe was very simple and called for mixing the pumpkin pulp with apple juice, white grape juice, and pineapple juice. My daughter did not care for this new drink, not on the basis of taste, but because it had a different name than her standard Juicy Juice. I thought it was really good, however. The resulting mixture had a sweet, citrus flavor with a hint of richness from the pumpkin. I would definitely make this one again especially during the autumn months when pumpkins are in season.

The second recipe that we tried was the Double Strawberry Ice Cream. Although this recipe took a little longer to prepare (over 7 hours from start to finish), the steps were pretty simple. I used an ice cream attachment on my Kitchen Aid mixer to mix and freeze the cream. The end result was a fresh, creamy ice cream packed with strawberry flavor. The only thing about this recipe that could be improved was the texture. The ice cream was extremely hard when frozen and had to be thawed for about 15 minutes before serving. I'm not sure if this was a result of the recipe itself or my ice cream maker.

Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. This is a great book for any die-hard "Pott-Heads" or for any kids that show an interest in cooking. The recipes are simple but based on good, fundamental culinary foundations. The book and candy making accessories will lead to many fun filled hours in the kitchen and will most likely inspire further creative moments.

Related Posts/Recipes:
Double Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe
Pumpkin Juice Recipe

Pumpkin Juice Recipe

harry potter pumpkin juiceWhat could be worse than missing the train and having to fly your father's car to school? Eating sweets for hours and then realizing you have nothing with which to wash it down, although crashing into a murderous tree probably ranks up there as well. After finishing the bag of toffees Harry and Ron find in the car, Harry is so thirsty he starts fantasizing about the pumpkin juice he could buy if he were on the Hogwarts Express(see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 5).

1 small pumpkin (sugar pumpkin or pie pumpkin)
2 cups apple juice
1 cup white grape juice
1 cup pineapple juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the pumpkin in half pole to pole and scoop out the seeds. Don't worry about the stringy fibers; they are hard to remove and won't affect the results. Place the pumpkin halves face down on a baking sheet and roast 45 minutes to 1 hour until soft. Remove from the oven.
  2. When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and discard the skin. Place the cooked pumpkin in a large fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl and push the pumpkin through using a rubber spatula. Scrape and mash as you push; it will take several minutes. Discard the pulpy mass left in the sieve. Stir the sieved pumpkin in the bowl to evenly distribute the juices, and then measure out one cup.
  3. Place the cup of sieved pumpkin in a pitcher along with the apple juice, grape juice, and pineapple juice. Stir vigorously until the pumpkin is completely dispersed. Chill the juice for 3 to 4 hours.
  4. Before serving, stir the juice well, as the pumpkin will settle to the bottom. Fill crystal goblets with ice cubes and pour the juice over the ice.
Makes 5 cups

Although this recipe was tested using freshly roasted pumpkin, it would probably work if you use canned pumpkin instead to save the bother of making it from scratch.

Recipe courtesy of The Unofficial Harry Potter Sweet Shoppe Book by Dinah Bucholz.

Related Posts/Recipes
Double Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe
The Unofficial Harry Potter Sweet Shoppe Book

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Double Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe

harry potter double strawberry ice creamDo you sometimes wish you had a cook like Mrs. Weasley in your home? Imagine finishing off a weeknight supper with homemade strawberry ice cream. Harry enjoyed this dessert, the finish of a sumptuous meal, the night before going to see the fateful international Quidditch match (see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 5).

1 pound of strawberries, chopped
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup strawberry jelly (not jam or preserves)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 egg yolks

  1. Mix the strawberries and sugar together and let it sit for 1 hour to allow the juices to be extracted. Drain well and reserve the juice. Set aside.
  2. Combine the strawberry jelly, milk, and heavy whipping cream in a medium saucepan and cook over high heat, whisking constantly, until the jelly has melded and the mixture is smooth -- do not boil. Temper the egg yolks by whisking in 1 cup of the hot mixture; then return the yolk mixture to the saucepan while whisking constantly. Cook until the mixture thickens slightly; again, do not boil. Pour the mixture through a sieve.
  3. Stir in the reserved juice. Lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and cool to room temperature. In seperate containers, chill the custard mixture and chopped strawberries until completely cold, about 6 hours for the custard.
  4. Freeze the custard mixture according to the manufacturer's instructions for your ice cream maker. Add the strawberries 2 minutes before the churning is over. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm.
Makes about 6 cups.

Recipe courtesy of The Unofficial Harry Potter Sweet Shoppe Book by Dinah Bucholz.

Related Posts/Recipes
Pumpkin Juice Recipe
The Unofficial Harry Potter Sweet Shoppe Book

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Italian Bakery Style Pizza Recipe

Italian Bakery Style PizzaItalian Bakery Pizza is a traditional favorite at Italian bakeries. Italian bakery pizza crust is thick and flavorful and similar to lightly crisp bread. The dough takes longer to prepare than Chicago style or Neapolitan style pizza but it is well worth the wait.

1 package of active dry yeast
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup warm water
2 tbsp olive oil
pinch of kosher salt
3 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup beer

1 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 1/2 tspn dried oregano
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 tspn sugar
1 tspn kosher salt
1 tspn minced garlic

  1. In a mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup warm water and the yeast. Stir so that the yeast dissolves. Add the flour and stir well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Let the bowl sit in a warm place for an hour.
  2. Add 1/4 cup of warm water to the mixing bowl along with the beer, salt, vegetable oil, and 3 1/2 cups of flour. Mix well.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Knead the dough until it is soft and smooth - about 8 minutes. Put the dough in a lightly floured bowl and cover it again with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Let the bowl sit in a warm place for an hour and a half.
  4. Dough should almost double in size. Punch the dough down and knead it for another 2 minutes on a well floured surface.
  5. Lightly oil a baking pan with olive oil. Roll out the dough until it is about the size of the baking pan.
  6. After you have pressed the dough evenly into the pan, let it sit in a warm place for another 40 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Top with sauce and your favorites toppings. For the pizza pictured above, I used thinly sliced mozzarella cheese and some Parmesan cheese.
  9. Bake the pizza for 20 minutes or until the crust begins to turn golden brown.
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Lentil Chili

lentil chiliThis recipe for Lentil Chili is a fine chili that's a snap to make and full of flavor. It has it all: low calories, low fat, high fiber, garlic, cheese, sour cream - all the great things in life. If spicy foods give you heartburn, you should be fine if you leave out the chipotle pepper, as there's not much cumin or chili powder in each serving. If you like your chili spicy and don't have access to chipotle peppers, use cayenne, adding 1/8 tspn at a time to your preferred level of spiciness.

1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 large onion, diced
1 15oz. can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tspn ground cumin
1 tspn dried oregano
1/2 chipotle in adobo (optional)
1/4 tspn salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dried lentils
6 tbsp nonfat sour cream
6 ounces reduced-fat Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded

  1. Place the olive oil in a large saucepan, over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened. Add the crushed tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, oregano, chipotle (if using), salt, and pepper to taste, and stir well.
  2. Add 5 cups of water and the lentils and stir well. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the lentils are cooked through but not mushy, 45 minutes to an hour.
  3. Serve topped with 1 1/2 tbsp of sour cream and 1 1/2 oz. of Monterrey Jack cheese per serving.
Recipe courtesy of Just Tell Me What To Eat by Timothy S. Harlan, MD.

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Blackened Red Fish
Fettuccini with Broccoli and Shrimp

Bistecca alla Fiorentina Recipe

FiorentinaThe Bistecca alla Fiorentina is a Tuscan killer of a steak. Weighing in at 3 pounds, it is large, tender and made for the barbecue. This style of steak originated in Tuscany and is made from the local Chianina cattle there.

The bistecca de fiorentina is basically a double sized porterhouse so you may need to call ahead to your butcher to have it specially cut for you as porterhouses are normally sold at 1 to 1 1/2 pounds. This is a steak that is perfect for the summertime as you can also grow many of the herbs used to season it in your own backyard.

Although the Fiorentina is an Italian specialty, consider serving it with some Brazilian Vinaigrette Relish.

Recommended Equipment:
meat thermometer
charcoal grill
fiorentina cooking on weber grill

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
2 tbsp fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp Kosher salt
3 pound T-Bone steak
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I used 3 olive olive oil)

  1. Light the grill.
  2. In a small mixing bowl combine the first five ingredients.
  3. Apply half of the herb mixture to one side of the T-Bone steak. Then drizzle 1 to 1/2 tbsp of olive oil and rub it into the herb mixture.
  4. Turn the steak over and repeat the previous step.
  5. Cover the steak in plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  6. When the grill is extremely hot, put the steak on the grill and then cover the grill. Cook for 13 minutes on the first side so that the meat is well charred.bistecca de fiorentina
  7. Flip the steak and cook for another 13 minutes.
Note: The internal temperature of the meat should be around 130 degrees Fahrenheit for medium-rare.

Need a wine to go with the Bistecca alla Fiorentina? Try this one: MontGras Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva


Banana Muffin Recipe

banana muffinsSometimes we have leftover bananas that we need to use up before they go bad. This recipe for banana muffins is a good way to use them up. They are easy to make and if you store them in an air tight container they will last up to 3 days.

2 bananas, mashed
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup butter
1 tspn baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tspn vanilla
1 tspn nutmeg

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar.
  3. Beat in the egg.
  4. Mix in the baking soda, nutmeg, flour, and vanilla.
  5. Add the mashed bananas and mix all of the ingredients until well combined.
  6. Pour the batter into paper lined or greased muffin tins.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes.
Related posts/recipes:
Jalapeno Corn Muffins

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