Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dessert: Cinnamon Brandy Zucchini Cake

Difficulty: Easy

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 40-50 min

Serves: (15)

This dessert is the perfect transition into fall. Use up your leftover summer zucchini, and start thinking cinnamon, apples, and cool mornings. A slight variation on a popular dessert, this zucchini cake brings more cinnamon and just a touch of brandy for subdued sweetness.

Ingredients: 3 eggs, 2 1/2 cups finely chopped zucchini, 2 cups flour, 1 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup oil, 1/3 cup water, 2-3 tbsp brandy, 3 tsp cinnamon, 1 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp vanilla, powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Grease and flour 13x9x2 baking pan.

Boil water and pour over chopped zucchini in large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients to zucchini and beat on low speed, scraping bowl constantly, 1 min. Beat on medium speed for 2 min, scraping bowl occasionally.

Pour batter into pan and bake for 40-50 min, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Entrée: Marinated Italian Chicken over Orzo and Corn with Sautéed Tomatoes, Olives, and Feta

Difficulty: Medium

Prep Time: 10 min

Marinade Time: 30 min

Cook Time 15-20 min

Serves (2)

Many orzo chicken dishes have great flavors, but are over spiced and over salted. This dish builds off the delicacy of orzo, and gives each ingredient room to breathe. With nothing heavy, and nothing too light, there's a great balance between the crunch of corn, the sweet tomatoes and the salty feta.

Ingredients: 1 large skinless chicken breast, 2/3 cup orzo, 1 ear of corn, 1 medium tomato, 1/2 cup sliced olives, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1-2 tsp Italian seasonings, salt, pepper, Italian dressing, feta cheese

Place chicken breast in quart sized ziploc bag. Pour your favorite Italian dressing over chicken--about 3/4 cup (my family has always used Good Seasons). Remove air from bag, zip tightly, and marinate for 30 min.

Bring water to boil in 2 qt. pot for orzo and corn. Shuck ear of corn. Holding corn vertically, carefully slice downward to remove kernels. Place corn kernels and orzo in boiling water and cook until orzo is al dente (8-10 min). The corn will cook at the same rate as the pasta.

While orzo is cooking, remove chicken from bag and slice into even sized strips. Cook chicken strips in oiled pan over medium heat--about 3 min each side. Remove from pan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add a little more olive oil. Dice tomato into cubes and saute in the same pan with olive oil until tomatoes begin to break down. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Drain orzo and corn. Mix orzo and corn into pan with tomatoes. Mix in onion powder, Italian Seasonings, and sliced olives. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Plate orzo mixture with chicken strips and crumbled feta cheese.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dessert: Molten Chocolate Cake

Difficulty: Easy

Prep Time: 5 min

Cook Time: 5-10 min

Serves (3)

Whip these cakes up for the ultimate chocolate indulgence. Warm and flowing with velvety goodness, nothing satisfies a chocoholic quite like a molten cake. You're in charge of your chocolate cravings here. Want darker, richer chocolate? Substitute the semisweet chocolate chips for chocolate with 65% cocoa or more.

Ingredients: 2 eggs, 3/4 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup salted butter, 4 oz semisweet mini chocolate chips, 2 tsp flour

Preheat oven to 450. Butter and flour 3 ramekins. Set aside.

Melt butter and chocolate over over double boiler. Beat eggs with whisk in separate bowl. Beat powdered sugar into eggs. Once chocolate is melted, remove from heat. Add egg mixture to chocolate--stirring constantly. Add 2 tsp of flour to egg/chocolate mixture. Pour into ramekins. Bake until edges are set and cake puffs--about 6-8 min. Center will not be firm. Serve warm.