Friday, July 30, 2010

Blue Cheese Dressing

Another new love of mine is blue cheese dressing. Not store bought, mind you, but homemade blue cheese dressing. I've never had store bought actually, if you can believe that.

My first experience with blue cheese dressing was at a restaurant I used to work at. They had a most wonderful blue cheese vinaigrette which I loved and indulged in often!

Most recently I was charged with bringing an appetizer or salad to a July 4th dinner. I rummaged through my recipe books, starting with my latest favorite (you guessed it) Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood. Lo and behold she had a wonderful recipe there for Lettuce Wedge with Blue Cheese Dressing. I had to try it, I said to myself!! And I did and again, it did not disappoint. You will love it as well!

Lettuce Wedge with Blue Cheese Dressing

juice of one large lemon
1 C. mayonnaise
1 C. buttermilk
1/2 C. sour cream
1 1/2 t. garlic powder
1 1/2 t. onion powder
6 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1 head iceberg lettuce
10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 medium tomato, finely diced

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice, mayonnaise, buttermilk, sour cream, garlic powder, and onion powder. Whisk the mixture together until smooth. Add the cheese and mix just until blended. Chill in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving (makes 2 1/2 cups).

Core and quarter head of lettuce and divide among 4 salad plates. Serve a generous dollop over each lettuce wedge and top with bacon and tomato. Pin It

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stuffed Jalapenos

The latest treat to take to the office didn't involve any sugar at all which is very unusual for me. It does seem that I'm the one to make the cakes, cupcakes, cookies, pies, etc. (I do think I missed my calling as a pastry chef because I love baking so much) but this time the theme was Mexican, for some odd reason so I had to come up with something befitting for such a celebration. What we were celebrating no one really knows but we usually connect our little "feasts" at work with some odd holiday or happening at the office. This week, I think it was just for plain fun as we have all been so terribly busy in our respective projects and have been working really hard. So I think this little celebration was simply a stress reliever for everyone involved, one which was desperately needed and appreciated.

I decided to bring Stuffed Jalapenos to our little fiesta. Yum, yum!! I hadn't made these in some time but they are very delicious and really very easy to make as well. Here's the recipe:

Stuffed Jalapenos

25 medium fresh jalapeno peppers
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, room temperature
3 C. (12 ounces) finely shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

Cut jalapenos in half lenghwise, removing seeds and membranes. In a large saucepan, boil peppers in water for 5-10 minutes (the longer you boil the peppers, the milder they become). Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and Worcestershire sauce. Spoon 2 teaspoonfuls into each jalapeno half; sprinkle with bacon. Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve warm. Makes about 4 dozen.

Note: When cutting or seeding hot peppers, use rubber or plastic gloves to protect your hands. Avoid touching your face or eyes. It will burn, believe me!!

Definitely, don't boil for very long and to bring on a little more heat for the peppers, when taking out the seeds and the membranes, leave a little membrane on the inside of the pepper. This will most assuredly add the heat your fiesta participants will love!! Pin It

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Key Lime Cake

I recently baked another cake from Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood. This time it was the Key Lime Cake and what better time of year to do this - in the dead heat of July!

I had always wanted to make one of these but never found the recipe that I wanted to try. Most start with a white cake mix which I refuse to use! No need in that when baking from scratch is so much better.

So, lo and behold, while thumbing through Trisha's (yes, we are now on a first name basis) recipe book, I came across this recipe.

And as all her recipes thus far, this one did not disappoint. My work mates loved it as much as I did. It's definitely a "keeper" recipe and one which I'll have to bake again - very soon!! It's cool and refreshing - perfect to enjoy during these hot summer days!

Key Lime Cake

1 3-oz package lime-flavored gelatin
1 1/2 C. sugar
2 C. sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
5 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 C. vegetable oil
3/4 C. orange juice
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 C. key lime juice (I used Nellie & Joe's Key West Lime Juice), from about 25 small Key limes or 4 regular limes
1/2 C. confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the gelatin, sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir to mix well. Add the eggs, oil, orange juice, lemon juice, and vanilla. Divide the batter evenly among the 3 pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Test for doneness by lightly touching the tops of the layers or inserting a toothpick. Cool the layers in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn them out onto racks.

3. While the layers are still hot, mix the lime juice and confectioners' sugar and pour it over the layers on the racks. You can pierce the layers with a fork to allow the glaze to soak in better. Allow the layers to cool completely as you prepare the icing.

Cream Cheese Icing

1/2 C. butter, room temperature
1 8-oz package cream cheese, room temperature
1 1-lb box confectioners' sugar

Cream the butter and cream cheese. Beat in the confectioners' sugar until the mixture is smooth and easy to spread. I added a bit of Nellie and Joe's Key West Lime Juice, perhaps a 1/4 C. Spread the icing between the layers and on the top and sides of the cake.

I also sprinkled some lime zest over the top! Enjoy!
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