Lazy Sunday Skewers

salmonskewers

You work all week looking forward to the two long lazy days off, but how often do you just get to relax and do absolutely nothing on Saturday and Sunday?  If you’re like most people, there’s errands to run, kids to shuttle to one sporting or social event or another, family gatherings, and maybe even date night on one or both nights so that by Sunday you’re exhausted.

The last thing you want to do on your one day off is spend it in the kitchen.  Skewers are the perfect solution to that cooking dilemma.  Skewers are also great for grilling at picnics, parties, & tailgates.

No matter which recipe you are making there are some simple kebab tips:

  1. Cut the ingredients into similar-size pieces and prepare as the recipe directs.
  2. If marinating, refrigerate 1 hour for fish and up to overnight for meat and poultry.
  3. Preheat a grill to high.
  4. If using wood skewers, soak skewers in water for at least 20 minutes.
  5. Thread the ingredients onto skewers.
  6. Use 2 skewers per kebab, side-by-side, to keep the food from spinning and make flipping on the grill easier.
  7. Grill the kebabs, turning, until the ingredients are charred and cooked to desired doneness, 3 to 15 minutes.

Rosemary Lamb: rosemarylambskewers

  • Marinate 1 pound cubed lamb leg in 1/2 cup olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, 4-6 stems fresh rosemary (leaves stripped), 3 smashed garlic cloves, and salt & pepper.
  • Skewer with 1 to 1+1/2  inch chunks of zucchini & grill.

Garlic-Dijon Salmon:

  • Marinate 1 to 1+1/2 pounds de-boned, skinned, chunks wild-caught salmon in 1/4 cup olive oil, the juice of 1/2 a lemon, 3 minced garlic cloves, 2 TBLS chopped fresh parsley, freshly ground sea salt and pepper.
  • Skewer with slices of lemon between the salmon. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  • Serve on top of grilled asparagus spears.

caesarskewer

Chicken Caesar:

  • Mix 1 pound ground chicken2 tablespoons Caesar dressing1/2 cup Parmesan1/4 cup breadcrumbs and 1 teaspoon lemon zest.
  • Form into mini burgers, skewer and grill.
  • Serve on whole romaine leaves with grilled crusty garlic bread and more dressing.

bucaneerporkskewerBuccaneer Pork:

Boil 1 cup water, 3 TBLS each salt and brown sugar, 2 tsp pickling spices & 4 garlic cloves. Add 1 cup rum, then cool. Add 1 pound cubed pork tenderloin and marinate. Skewer with pineapple chunks. Grill, basting with bottled jerk sauce.  Serve over steamed white rice#ThisGirlLovesToEat

Oreo Red Wine Nutella Cupcakes

red-wine-nutella-cupcakes-with-oreo-nutella-filling-and-red-wine-frosting-767x1024I was sourcing articles related to wine and the picture, almost as much as the title convinced me, although I am seriously deficient in the cupcake decorating department, to give these a try.

I’m not sure what appealed to me more, the wine or the chocolate, but I figured I could manage combining them without staining everything in my kitchen.  I might even be able to pipe on the frosting without too much problem, so I’m off to the store to make these grown up delights!

I found this little bit of deliciousness at a blog I saw on Pinterest: www.yummyaddiction.com.

One thing: I noticed the blogger didn’t specify what type of wine she used or recommend a type.  For my own personal taste, with the cocoa, cinnamon and brown sugar in the cake, I am going to go with a red wine with a similar flavor profile like a Zinfandel, Petite Syrah or maybe a Pinot Noir or Malbec.

Oreo Red Wine Nutella Cupcakes

Makes: 10 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup red wine, any kind you like
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup Nutella
  • 10 Oreos
For the filling:
  • ½ cup Nutella
  • 5 Oreos
For the frosting:
  • 1 cup red wine, any kind you like
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 10 muffin cups with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. The cupcakes. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add the egg and beat to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Stir in Nutella and red wine until evenly combined. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Place an Oreo cookie on the bottom of each cupcake liner. Pour batter over each Oreo cookie and fill each cupcake liner about ¾ of the way full. Bake the cupcakes for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. The filling. In a ziplock bag, place the Oreos and use a mallet to crush the cookies into small pieces. In a small bowl, combine Nutella with crushed Oreos. Set aside.
  4. The frosting. In a small saucepan, combine red wine and sugar. Cook over mediumoreo-red-wine-nutella-cupcakes-center heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves and wine comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes (until the liquid is reduced to about ¼ cup or a light syrup texture). Let cool.
  5. Beat the butter until until smooth and creamy. Slowly add in powdered sugar (1/2 cup at a time), vanilla, and ¼ cup of prepared wine syrup. Beat until no lumps remain. Taste the frosting and add salt to cut the sweetness, if you prefer.
  6. Assembling the cupcakes. Cut out the center of each cupcake with a sharp knife. Fill the cupcakes with Nutella & Oreo filling. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a decorative tip. Pipe frosting into a swirl on each cupcake. Enjoy!

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too:https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Darkest Chocolate Cake With Red Wine Glaze

chocolate-red-wine-cake-101916

I keep old copies of Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Cooking Light, Food and Wine, and other cooking magazines for when I want to break out of a recipe rut.  Lately I have been experimenting with wine more in my cooking and baking, but wasn’t happy with the texture of the last couple of cakes I’d made, so I thumbed through in search of professional guidance so I’d be able to share something decadent at an upcoming dinner party.

I found exactly what I was after in the February 2014 edition of Bon Appétit.  

**Tip:  I always read the reviews of those who have made the recipes, paying particular attention to those who have made them more than once.  Those changes have been included in the recipe below.

Darkest Chocolate Cake With Red Wine Glaze

  1. Cake:
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
    • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
    • 8 ounces unsweetened cocoa or 100% cacoa baking chocolate chopped
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 6 large eggs
    • 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  2. Glaze and assembly:
    • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao), finely chopped
    • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/2 cup red wine (such as Pinot Noir)
    • Blackberries, Raspberries and/or Strawberries (1-2 baskets total) washed, stemmed (if necessary) and laid on paper towels to dry
    • Special equipment: A 9″ Springform pan
  1. For cake:
    1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly butter and (powdered) sugar the pan.
    2. Melt the chocolate and the butter.
    3. Separate the 6 eggs.
    4. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until the eggs are thick and pale in appearance.
    5. Pour a little of the chocolate mixture into eggs to temper it and then add the egg mixture to the chocolate and mix well.
    6. Add the flour and the salt and mix til combined.
    7. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
    8. Add a bit to the batter and gently mix in.
    9. Add the rest of the egg whites to the batter and gently fold until completely incorporated into the batter.
    10. Pour batter into pan, it should go almost all the way to the top.
    11. Bake for 43-45 minutes, check with toothpick for doneness, if it comes out clean–it’s done.
    12. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool completely in pan before turning out.
    13. Cool completely before releasing pan.
    14. Glaze as directed and pair with some of the berries to balance out the chocolate.
  2. For glaze and assembly:
    1. Heat chocolate, butter, and salt in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring, until chocolate and butter are melted, about 5 minutes. Whisk in powdered sugar.
    2. Meanwhile, bring wine just to a boil in a small saucepan.
    3. Remove chocolate mixture from heat and whisk in wine; let cool until slightly thickened and a rubber spatula leaves a trail in mixture when stirring, 8–10 minutes.
    4. Set cake on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour glaze over cake and spread it across the top and over the edges with an offset spatula. Let cake stand at room temperature until glaze is set, 2–3 hours.
    5. DO AHEAD: Cake can be made and glazed 2 days ahead. Chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Alternative Preparation:  You an substitute an equal amount of Chambord Liqueur for the wine and you will get a sweeter dark raspberry taste to the chocolate glaze.

The cake is very rich.  Slice into very narrow pieces – you can easily serve 12-16 with this decadent cake!

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too:https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms & Wine

New-turkeysWe all know that the turkey and sides are the stars of Thanksgiving, but there needs to be a little something to nibble on before the feast so people don’t knock each other over like ravenous fiends when the buffet is ready.

Inevitably I end up making too many snacks, but my excuse is that I never know if I’ll have a few people “helping out in the kitchen” for the hours leading up to dinner, or if the entire crowd will be at the house hanging out for drinks and watching football.

I like to assign Thanksgiving appetizers to someone else when I can and ask them to keepturkey-cheese-ball-8 them fairly simple: some type of tray with fruit, veggies, crackers and sliced cheese or a cheese ball.  This year I am not hosting, we get to be the guests, but I’ll be taking a few dishes to add to the spread.

My main goal was to find something that wouldn’t appeal to the kids so they’d be less likely to eat so much that they ruin their dinner.  I’d rather they eat fruit, if that’s there to snack on.  An added bonus: just by saying the word mushroom the kids will come nowhere near them, so their grubby little hands won’t be picking them up and down!

Crab Stuffed Mushroom Caps

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 – 8oz package softened cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 24 – 30 fresh whole white mushrooms
  • 1/8 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 can lump crab meat
  • fresh arugula (if desired)
  • fresh rosemary (if desired)

Preheat oven to 375°F

  • Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper
  • Using a fine mesh colander or a regular colander lined with cheesecloth, break up the crab to make sure no shell remains and leave it to drain
  • Clean and dry mushrooms
  • Remove stems, trim rough edges, then chop stems and set aside
  • Place caps (empty cavity up) on the baking sheet
  • Heat oil in a small pan.  Stir in chopped stems, celery, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook until moisture disappears.  Remove from heat
  • Stir in crab, cayenne pepper, onion powder, black pepper, parmesan cheese, and cream cheese.
  • Use a spoon to fill each of the mushroom caps and return them to baking sheet
  • Bake in pre-heated oven 20 minutes

crabstuffedmushroomsServe immediately on a platter lined with fresh arugula and sprigs of rosemary if desired.

Another great thing about this crab stuffed mushroom recipe is that it is easily matched with the wines you are already likely to be serving with your Thanksgiving feast:

  • Pinot Grigio
  • Champagne
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Soave
  • Pinot Noir

If you are on Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to, recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a page on Facebook you can visit too:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood