Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Deviled Eggs: Three Ways


One of my favorite Easter-time foods has always been deviled eggs - my grandma's recipe, of course. (It's normal to eat 10-15 in one sitting, right?)

However, with the help of Pinterest, other peoples' creative ideas, and binging on Chopped episodes, I have discovered a whole new world of deviled eggs. Apparently, deviled eggs can be whatever you want them to be. 


I was a little nervous to venture outside of my comfort zone, but these following recipes were a good different (much like Elsa). Enjoy these glamorized deviled egg recipes - though I can't promise they will be able to create beautiful ice castles and adorable snowmen (sorry, I can find a way to connect anything to Frozen).

Oh, and in case you're needing an easy way to get perfectly hard-boiled eggs, check this out.


Buffalo Chicken Deviled Eggs
(find original recipe here)
12 eggs, hard boiled
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1/4 c Frank's hot sauce
1/2 c shredded chicken
1/4 c carrot, finely diced
1/4 c celery, finely diced
2 tbsp onion, diced
1/4 c bleu cheese, crumbled
Salt & pepper, to taste

Cut each egg in half, and set aside whites. Mix together yolks, mayonnaise, hot sauce, chicken, carrots, celery, and onions. Scoop a heaping spoonful of the filling into each egg half. Sprinkle each egg half with bleu cheese & drizzle with extra hot sauce.



Bacon Cheddar Deviled Eggs
12 eggs, hard boiled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp mustard
1/4 c sharp cheddar
6 slices bacon, chopped
Salt & pepper, to taste

Start by frying the bacon until it's crispy (save the bacon drippings). Cut each egg in half, and set aside the whites. Leaving a handful of the bacon out to sprinkle over the top, mix together egg yolks, mayonnaise, mustard, cheese, bacon, and some of the bacon drippings. Mix in some of the bacon drippings to the filling.  Scoop a heaping spoonful of the filling into each egg half, and then sprinkle bacon over the top. 



Red Curry Deviled Eggs
(find original recipe here*)
12 eggs, hard boiled
1/2 c mayonnaise
1 tsp champagne or white wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp red curry paste
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 c fresh parsley or chives, chopped
Paprika

Cut each egg in half and set aside whites. Mix together the rest of the ingredients until throughly combined and smooth. Scoop into a pastry bag or large Ziploc bag, and pipe filling into each egg half. Sprinkle with paprika for extra color.

*This recipe was discovered during a Chopped-watching marathon. In Season 6, Episode 6, Lisa Garza spends all her time on a perfect deviled egg recipe. She literally gets no other basket ingredients on the plate, but the judges are so impressed by her deviled egg that she almost moves on. I thought, "That's a deviled egg recipe I'm gonna need to try."


Perfectly Hard-Boiled Eggs [the EASY way]


I've searched the Internet so many times for a simple way to get perfect hard-boiled eggs. I've read a lot of articles that included several complicated steps and dishes, and I thought, "Surely, there's a better way."

I'm not going to lie, I never attempted any of the complicated methods. My grandma taught me how to boil eggs, so I do it her way. Three simple steps, one dish.

1. Place eggs in a pot and cover with water (make sure no part of any egg is out of the water).

2. Bring water to a boil, and let boil for 10 minutes.

3. Cool the eggs (THIS is the most important step). I've found that the best way is to cool it down with water first (pour out hot water & fill pot with cold water & ice). Transport the eggs to the fridge & let sit in fridge for at least half an hour.

If your eggs are cooled enough, the shells will come off easily without damaging the egg white at all. To crack the shell (another trick my grandma taught me) - wrap the egg in a paper bowl or napkin, roll on a hard countertop until the egg is softly cracked all over, then peel - the shell will come off easily.




Saturday, April 12, 2014

Whole Grain Peach-Banana Muffins


It's about time this special ingredient debuted on my blog. 

That's right.

It's banana time.



In order to honor my blog's title, as well as my lifelong compulsory epithet, I'm going to be doing more banana recipes. After all, bananas are the fruit of life. (That statement may or may not be true, but it sounds cool.)

Whole Grain Peach-Banana Muffins
(adapted from recipe)

Muffins
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c real maple syrup
3/4 c peach yogurt 
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 c melted butter
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c steel cut oats
1 c flour
3/4 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 c ripe peach, chopped 

Topping
1/2 c chopped pecans
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c butter, melted
1 pinch ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat muffin pan with non-stick baking spray, or use muffin liners. 

2. Mix together brown sugar, maple syrup, peach yogurt, bananas, butter, eggs, & oats until well blended. Allow mixture to sit so that the oats will soften - about 10-20 minutes. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to banana mixture, along with the peaches, until just combined. Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 of the way full. 

3. Mix together topping ingredients. Sprinkle over the top of each muffin until it is used up (you can be generous). Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 




Friday, April 11, 2014

[DQ Copycat] Ice Cream Cake



I've never been a fan of the out-of-the-box-mix cake with the store-bought frosting. When I was little and my mom would ask me what kind of cake I wanted for my birthday, I would always want an ice cream cake. And the best was when she would get me my very own custom-designed cake from Dairy Queen. Well, when I asked my brother what kind of cake he wanted this year, I recognized the look in his eye - he didn't want just any old birthday cake. "Ice cream cake?" I asked him. He didn't have to answer - I knew I was on the path to "favorite sister" status. Hence, my first experience making an ice cream cake began. Though it had its challenges, I hope my tips below will help you (or me next time) successfully execute a delicious and beautiful ice cream cake - DQ style.

[DQ Copycat] Ice Cream Cake
2 1&1/2 quart containers of ice cream, softened at room temperature (Vanilla & chocolate are the default, but you can use your favorite - you will do one layer of one flavor, and two of the other. You can even use three different flavors like I did, but you will have some left over. Darn.)
1 pkg Oreo cookies (I used the birthday cake flavor)
1 bottle chocolate shell ice cream topping
2 pints whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
4 tsp vanilla
Sprinkles for topping

YOU WILL ALSO NEED: one 9-inch springform pan, one very cold freezer, and at least 5 hours.

1. Put springform pan in the freezer for 15 minutes. The ice cream should be soft, but not melted. Pull the pan out of the freezer, and spread your first layer of ice cream on the bottom of the pan and up the sides of the pan (each layer should be about 1/2 inch thick). Put back in freezer for 45 minutes.

2. In the meantime, crush the Oreos. I did not use a food processor, as I wanted them to still be crunchy. I just put them in a Ziploc bag & used my hands to crush the cookies. Mix in the chocolate shell topping until cookie crumbs are moistened. Remove pan from freezer, and spread the next layer of the cake on top of the hardened ice cream. Crumble the Oreo cookie mixture over the second layer, and put back in freezer for about 1 hour.

3. After an hour, remove the pan and spread the last layer over the top. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula, and put back in the freezer for about 2 hours (or overnight).

4. Before taking the cake out of the mold, you will need to get the whipped cream ready. Whip together whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until the cream forms stiff peaks. Remove the cake from the freezer, and wipe the outside of the pan with a hot cloth. Run a knife around the inside of the pan, then remove the pan. If it is not frozen enough, stick it back in the freezer for 30-60 minutes. (Trust me, you do NOT want to try and frost a melting cake.)

5. Use a rubber spatula to quickly frost the outside of the cake. Do not waste time on this step - the cake will begin to melt if you take too long. Return to freezer for at least 20 minutes after frosting. Add your decorations. (If you need to cover up a messy frosting job on the sides, feel free to get creative. Oreos saved my cake.) Leave the cake in the freezer until ready to serve - then remove 15 minutes before serving.

Monday, March 31, 2014

[Grandma's] Deviled Eggs


This is Part I of my Deviled Eggs series… stay tuned for some serious fun (think bacon, curry, hot sauce).

However, before I share any non-traditional recipes, I have to share the recipe that is near and dear to my heart. Some people like pickles in their deviled eggs. Some like olives. In my family, we like sugar. My grandma is notorious for this - she used to add sugar to the sugar-free Kool-Aid mixes (and let me tell you, that's a real rush).

Grandma's Deviled Eggs

8 eggs, hard boiled*
1/2 cup Miracle Whip (if you're doing it Grandma's way, you won't use mayo)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp mustard
1/8 tsp pepper
Paprika

Peel eggs & cut in half. Scoop yolks into a bowl and mash with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients, and mix until smooth. Scoop or pipe into eggs, and sprinkle with paprika.

*There are a lot of articles with very specific and complicated ways to boil eggs, but I just do it my mom's way: put eggs in cold water, bring to a boil, boil for 10 minutes, take off heat & submerge in cold water. Once cool, you can peel them (you can put them in the fridge to help with the cooling process).

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Tzatziki



Greek food and I are really great friends. I remember the first time I tried tzatziki; despite my inability to pronounce it, I found it extremely delightful. And because I've since learned to speak its name with confidence, I decided it was about time to learn how to make it.

This fresh, cucumber-y spread is good on everything - crackers, pitas, sandwiches, vegetables, your fingers, etc. - and is healthier than its counterparts.

Tzatziki (adapted from recipe)

Ingredients:
-1 (32-oz) container plain Greek yogurt
-1 cucumber
-1/2 clove garlic, diced
-1 1/4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
-1 tbsp. olive oil
-1/2 tbsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. pepper
-2 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped


1. Start by straining the yogurt. Use a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth, and place it over a bowl. Scoop yogurt on top, and allow to sit for about an hour to drain all the liquid into the bowl (the warmer the yogurt is, the faster it will strain).

NOTE: I have made this without straining the yogurt & it tastes fine - it just gets really watery after sitting.

2. While yogurt is straining, wash cucumber & chop off both ends. Use a cheese grater to grate the cucumber, and place on a paper towel. Using your hands, squeeze the excess water out of the grated cucumber while holding over the sink. Throw a bit of salt on top & wrap in a paper towel until ready to mix into the yogurt.

3. Once yogurt is done straining, put in a bowl & whisk until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, including the cucumber, and mix thoroughly. Eat immediately, or refrigerate. It's delicious right away, but gets even better as it sits.


Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Mint Oreo Truffles


I don't feel that these bad boys need much of an introduction. If you've had Oreo truffles before, you know two things:

ONE - they are deceptively easy
TWO - they are ridiculously addicting

The mint version is no exception. In fact, I thought they were more delicious than the original. (Didn't think it was possible? Try them.)

Oh, and they can be green without being unappetizing. This will be my new go-to easy-to-make-and-impress-people-with St. Patrick's Day treat.


Mint Oreo Truffles

Ingredients:
1 box Mint Creme Oreos
1 pkg cream cheese (8 oz.), room temperature
1 bag green-colored melting candies (I used Wilton candy melts)
1 bag white chocolate chips

1. Blend the Oreos together in a food processor. Put in a bowl & mix thoroughly with the cream cheese. 

2. Roll into little balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Place in freezer & let freeze for at least an hour. (They will need to be hard to dip in the chocolate - otherwise it's just a mess.)

3. Melt the chocolate (do this one color at a time) using a double boiler, if you have one. If not, you can do it they way I do - bring a pot of water to boil, then remove from heat. Place chocolate in a glass/metal bowl on top of the pot, and allow to melt slowly, while mixing. If the chocolate is not smooth enough (can be caused by overheating or water getting in it), add vegetable oil (about 1/4 tsp at a time).

4. Roll the balls in the chocolate, and place on a non-stick surface (I found that silicon baking sheets work really well). Allow to cool, then use a spoon to drizzle the alternate color on top. Or just sprinkles some cute sprinkles on top before chocolate dries. Enjoy!