Frozen Key Lime Pie

Friday, July 30, 2010

Serves 6

One 8-ounce container nondairy whipped topping, thawed slightly
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1⁄2 cup fresh lime juice
One 9-inch prepared graham cracker pie crust
Finely grated lime zest for sprinkling

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the whipped topping, condensed milk, and lime juice until smooth. Spoon the mixture into the graham cracker crust and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula.

2. Set in the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle the lime zest over the top before serving.

Bank a Batch

Once the pie is frozen, cover it with plastic wrap, then aluminum foil. It will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month. Sprinkle the top with lime zest just before serving.

Have It Your Way

For variety, use fresh lemon or orange juice instead of lime juice.

{recipe and image via the nest}

Effortless Spinach Salad

Makes: 4 servings

Salad Ingredients
8 ounces fresh spinach
1/2 cup feta or goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Craisins® Original Sweetened Dried Cranberries
2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds, optional

Dressing Ingredients
1/2 cup bottled balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest, optional

Wash and clean spinach. Tear into bite size pieces and place in a serving bowl. Add half of the feta or goat cheese and onion; toss to combine.

Combine dressing ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Top with sweetened dried cranberries and almonds. Serve immediately.

{recipe and image via the nest}

Kung Pao Chicken

Makes: 4 servings

Chicken Ingredients
3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry or Shaoxing rice wine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Sauce Ingredients
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry or Shaoxing rice wine
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or Chenkiang vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt

Chicken Marinade Ingredients
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 to 10 small dried hot red chilies, or 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns, toasted and crushed (optional)
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1/4 cup coarsely chopped green onion
3/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

To prepare the chicken: Chop it into bite-sized chunks, about 1 inch in diameter. In a medium bowl, combine the soy sauce, sherry, cornstarch, and vegetable oil. Stir to mix everything well, and then add the chicken, tossing to coat it evenly. Set aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

To make the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sherry, vinegar, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir to dissolve the dry ingredients, and mix everything together well.

Prepare the remaining ingredients, and place everything by the stove, along with a serving platter for the finished dish.

To cook the chicken, heat a wok or a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, and then add the vegetable oil. Swirl to coat the pan, and when it is hot but not smoking, add the chilies. Toss well for about 30 seconds, and then add the Szechuan peppercorns if using. Cook for about 1 minute until fragrant and shiny, tossing once or twice.

Scatter in the chicken and let it cook on one side for about a minute. Toss well, and then add the garlic, ginger, and green onion. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, tossing now and then, until the chicken has changed color and is cooked through.

Stir the sauce, and add it to the pan. Cook another minute, tossing often, and then add the peanuts and sesame oil. Toss once more, transfer to a serving platter, and serve hot or warm.

{recipe and image via the nest}

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Fondue

Makes: About 3 cups; 8 to 10 servings

1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped

In a medium saucepan, stir the cream, brown sugar, and salt over medium heat until the sugar has melted and the cream is hot but not boiling. Gradually stir in the peanut butter until melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla.

Transfer to a ceramic fondue pot and set over a low flame. Scatter the chocolate over the top and let stand for about 1 minute to allow it to soften. Using a fondue fork or a skewer, swirl the melted chocolate over the top of the fondue. Regulate the heat, if possible, to keep the fondue warm, not hot.

{recipe and image via the nest}

Light Cream-Cheese Icing

3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1 cup confectioners' sugar

With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. (To make without a mixer, sift sugar before stirring into cream cheese.)

{recipe and image via Martha Stewart}

Frosted Chocolate-Buttermilk Cupcakes

Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Makes 12

3/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
6 tablespoons buttermilk
1 large egg
1 large egg white
Light Cream-Cheese Icing
Candy decorations (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard 12-cup muffin tin (or two 6-cup muffin tins) with paper liners. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

With an electric mixer, combine cocoa and 3 tablespoons hot water until a thick paste forms (this process intensifies the chocolate flavor). Add butter, buttermilk, egg, and egg white; beat until combined. Whisk in flour mixture until smooth.

Scoop (or spoon) batter into prepared tin(s). Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
Use an offset spatula or butter knife to spread icing over tops. Decorate as desired.

{recipe and image via Martha Stewart}

Slow-Cooked Tex-Mex Chicken and Beans

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 8 1/4 hours
Serves 4

1 cup dried pinto beans, rinsed
1 jar (11 ounces) mild or medium salsa (1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed), chopped
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream, for serving
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for serving

In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, stir together beans, salsa, chiles, flour, and 1 cup water. Season chicken with salt and pepper; arrange on top of bean mixture. Scatter onion and bell pepper on top of chicken.

Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours. (Do not open lid or stir.)
Remove chicken from stew; shred into large pieces and return to stew. Serve topped with sour cream and cilantro.

Helpful Hint
Oven method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Follow step 1, using a 5-quart Dutch oven or large pot, substituting 2 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, drained and rinsed, for dried beans, and increasing water to 2 cups. Cover pot and bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Transfer to oven, and cook until chicken is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Proceed with step 3.

{recipe and image via Martha Stewart}

Tomato and Garlic Bruschetta

Makes: 4 servings

4 large very ripe tomatoes
4 thick slice country bread, preferably sourdough
2 garlic cloves, halved
Extra virgin olive oil, for sprinkling
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Roughly chop the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.

To make the bruschetta, grill, toast, or pan-grill the bread on both sides, until lightly browned or toasted. Rub the top side of each slice with cut garlic, then sprinkle with olive oil.

Spoon the tomatoes over the bruschetta and sprinkle with more olive oil. Eat immediately with your fingers!

{recipe and image via the nest}

Blackberry Lemonade

Makes: 1 drink

2 ounces Blackberry-Lemon Syrup (recipe follows)
4 ounces chilled soda water
Lemon wheel for garnishing
Fresh blackberries for garnishing

Fill a tall glass with ice. Measure in the syrup and soda water. Stir. Garnish with a lemon wheel and a few fresh blackberries.

Blackberry-Lemon Syrup Ingredients
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh blackberries, or substitute frozen
1 tablespoon thinly sliced lemon zest (see Note)
1 cup fresh lemon juice

Combine the ingredients in a small heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Strain through a very fine strainer, pressing out as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids and let the syrup cool to room temperature. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate, for up to 7 days, until needed.

Note: With a potato peeler, cut off only the yellow part of the lemon skin. Peel it off in long strips, then cut the strips into thin slivers (julienne).

{recipe and image via the nest}

Lemon Squares

Makes:twenty 2 by 2½-inch bars

1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, plus additional for garnish
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks

Lemon Filling
5 large eggs
1¾ cups sugar
¾ cup fresh lemon juice
¹⁄3 cup cake flour
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

To make the crust: In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, mix the flour and sugar. With the motor running, add the chunks of butter and process just until a dough forms. Remove the dough from the bowl (it will be crumbly) and press into an even layer into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.

To make the filling: While the crust is baking, cream together the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice with an electric mixer. Add the flour, zest, baking powder, and salt and mix until smooth. Pour over the baked crust, return to the oven, and bake until the custard is firm and thick, 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with additional confectioners’ sugar. Let cool on a rack completely, at least 2 to 3 hours, before cutting (4 x 5) into twenty 2 by 2½-inch bars. Or, make this a day or so in advance and refrigerate it uncut, without extra confectioners’ sugar on top. It cuts easier when cold. Finish with confectioners’ sugar after cutting. These freeze well for up to 1 month.

{recipe and image via the nest}


Makes one cocktail.

1 peach wedge
½ ripe peach, peeled and pitted
½ oz peach liqueur Champagne, chilled

Place the peach wedge in a champagne flute. Process the peach in a blender and pour the puree into the glass. Add the peach liqueur, top with some chilled champagne, and stir gently.

{recipe and image via the nest}


Makes: 60 pieces

9 oz (1 cup) Peanut butter
4 oz (8 tbsp) Butter, unsalted, soft
1 tsp Vanilla extract
12 oz (3 cups) Confectioners’ sugar, sifted (see Keys to Success)
1 lb (1 1/2 cups) Dark chocolate, melted, tempered

1. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
2. Cream together the peanut butter, butter, and vanilla extract in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed.
3. Add the confectioners’ sugar slowly until the mixture forms a workable dough. Add up to 1/2 cup more sugar if necessary.
4. Remove the mixture from the machine. Using a #100 scoop or teaspoon, scoop out balls of the buckeye mixture. Place the portions on a prepared sheet pan.
5. Using your hands, roll the portions into round balls 1¼ inches in diameter. Return to a sheet pan.
6. Chill the formed buckeyes for approximately 20 minutes.
7. Impale each buckeye lightly with a toothpick to use as a handle for dipping in chocolate. Holding a buckeye by the protruding toothpick, dip it in the tempered chocolate, leaving a 1/2-inch circle of the center uncoated on top. Place on a prepared sheet pan. Remove the toothpick and smooth the small hole that it left in the top of the candy. Allow the chocolate to set completely.
8. Store at room temperature, tightly sealed.

Keys To Success
The consistency of the peanut butter center is the key to making buckeyes. Add confectioners’ sugar until the mixture will roll up between your hands to a uniform ball that holds its shape and does not crumble. The amount of confectioners’ sugar may vary.

{recipe and image via the nest}

Black Bean Cakes

Prep time: 16 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
Total: 24 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

7 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion (5 to 6 ounces), cut into small dice
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons Emeril’s Original Essence
Two 15.5-ounce cans black beans, drained and quickly rinsed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 egg, lightly beaten
1⁄2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons hot sauce

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. When it is hot, add the onion and cook until soft and lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
2. Place the flour in a shallow bowl or plate, and stir in the Essence. Set aside.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, mash the black beans well with the back of a fork—the mixture should be relatively smooth, with no whole beans remaining. Stir in the cooled onion mixture, cilantro, egg, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, and hot sauce and mix well. Divide the mixture into 8 evenly sized patties (about 1 ⁄3 cup each).
4. Heat the remaining 6 tablespoons olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, dust the patties in the seasoned flour mixture and carefully transfer them to the hot skillet (the cakes will be delicate). Cook the cakes until golden brown on both sides and heated through, about 2 minutes per side.
5. If necessary, season with more salt. Garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve immediately.

{recipe and image via the nest}