Friday, September 22, 2006

Several Guest Recipes from Christina (Sim) Keddie

This flog is proud to present the very first guest recipe(s) submission, from Christina (Sim) Keddie. The dishes consist of Florentine Meatballs, a special Keddie family traditional Pavlova, and lastly, a cookies and cream trifle.

Florentine Meatballs (from a Rachel Ray cookbook)

for the meatballs:
- 1 10-oz. box frozen spinach, defrosted
- 2 packages (2 to 2-2/3 pounds total) ground turkey breast
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 large egg
- 1-3/4 cups milk
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2-3 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil

for the sauce:
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsps unsalted butter
- 2 tbsps all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 10-oz. bag shredded provolone cheese (or Italian blend)
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg

optional garnish: 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 1-2 tbsps dried parsley flakes)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Completely drain defrosted spinach (Rachael Ray recommends wringing it dry in a clean kitchen towel, but I don't like the mess, so I just drained it really well in a metal colander).
  3. Place ground turkey in a large bowl and make a well in the center.
  4. Add the spinach, all but 3 tbsps of the onion, all of the garlic, the egg, about 1/4 cup of the milk, the bread crumbs, grated parm, salt and pepper. Mix it all in.
  5. Form into 12 large balls (a good handful each) and drizzle with olive oil.
  6. Arrange on a nonstick cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. (Side note: make sure your cookie sheet has a lip going all the way around -- I learned the hard way that olive oil drizzled on meatballs on a lidless cookie sheet = smoking oil on the bottom of the oven and fire alarms going off.)
  7. While the meatballs are in the oven, heat a small sauce pot over medium heat.
  8. Add a drizzle (about 1 tbsp) of olive oil and the butter. When the butter is melted, add the reserved 3 tbsps of chopped onions and cook for 2 minutes.
  9. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the remaining 1-1/2 cups milk and the cup of stock.
  10. Bring to a boil, then stir in the shredded cheese.
  11. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and nutmeg; turn the heat to the lowest setting and stir until the cheese melts.
  12. Keep warm. (Another side note: this is a LOT of sauce. Unless you like drenching your meatballs and serving them in a pool of sauce, I'd recommend doing just a half or a third of the sauce recipe.)
  13. Place 3 meatballs on each dinner plate and top with sauce, then garnish with parsley.

Pavlova Topped with Fresh Fruit (from David's mom)

For the meringue:
- 4 egg whites
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp vinegar

For the topping:
- 1/2 pint whipping cream
- fresh fruit, thinly sliced (I recommend strawberries and kiwis)

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. (Note: do NOT use a plastic mixing bowl, as plastic tends to have trace elements of grease, which will prevent the whipping from being effective. I highly recommend using a Kitchenaid stand mixer -- the egg whites will be properly stiff after just a few minutes of medium-speed whipping.)
  3. Gradually add 2/3 cup of sugar -- whip the mixture after each addition, again until stiff peaks form. Add the cornstarch to the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar, and gradually add this into the egg white mixture, whipping after each addition. Add the vinegar while adding the sugar/cornstarch mixture (I added a heaping spoonful of the cornstarch mixture and 1/2 tsp of vinegar, then whipped the mixture, then repeated until I had added all the cornstarch mixture and all the vinegar). Whip the mixture well, until stiff peaks form.
  4. Grease a 10" round tray or a cookie sheet. Place ungreased wax paper onto the sheet. Put egg white mixture in a heap on the waxed paper. Using a wet table knife or rubber spatula, spread the mixture into a circle about 8" in diameter.
  5. Bake for 1 hour -- do not open the oven door during the baking process, in order to ensure the fluffiest possible meringue.
  6. Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Then, holding the waxed paper firmly against the cookie sheet, flip it all over onto a serving tray -- you want the top of the meringue to serve as the bottom of the pavlova, and you don't want to crush the meringue during the flipping process. Gently peel off the wax paper. Leave overnight, covered by a dish towel, unrefrigerated, to dry further. (Note: the pavlova will still be good if you have to serve it sooner than this -- the one I made for dinner the other night was baked just hours before we served it.)
  7. Whip 1/2 pint whipping cream -- again, I recommend the Kitchenaid stand mixer, starting out at a low speed and whipping at medium until thick. Spread on top of the meringue. Cover with sliced fruit.

The meringue base;

Decorating with fruits;

A slice of tasty Pavlova goodness;

Cookies and Cream Trifle

- 2 (3.9-oz.) packages "instant" devil's food chocolate pudding mix
- 4 cups milk, divided
- 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese (or Neufchatel), at room temperature
- 24 ladyfingers
- 32 Oreo cookies, plus more for garnish
- 1 (12-oz.) carton whipped topping

  1. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine pudding, cream cheese and 3 cups milk. Mix on low speed until well-blended. (It's okay if small pieces of cream cheese remain.) Set aside.
  2. Split ladyfingers in half lengthwise, and line the bottom of a (16-cup) trifle bowl or glass bowl with half a package of them (or 6 whole ladyfingers), overlapping if necessary.
  3. Drizzle 1/4 cup milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, over ladyfingers, thoroughly moistening them. Spread 1/4 of the pudding mixture over the ladyfingers. Spread 1/4 of the whipped topping over the pudding. Coarsely chop 8 of the Oreo cookies, and sprinkle them over the topping.
  4. Repeat these layers 3 more times, ending with cookie pieces.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 6 hours (or up to 24 hours) to let the flavors blend. Serve in dessert bowls. Garnish with additional cookies if desired.

    Makes 16 servings.

    NOTE 1: Be sure to use "instant" pudding (the no-cook variety). If you can't find devil's food chocolate pudding, plain chocolate makes a fine subsitute, but is milder tasting. If you can't find ladyfingers, you can substitute thin slices of angel food cake.

    NOTE 2: This is a recipe that is infinitely divisible or multipliable. I've made a full (16-serving) version, a half (8-serving) version, and several mini-versions (a half version split into 8 little glass dishes). It just requires having the right sized bowl, and being able to do the math. :)

The finished product;

Sunday, September 10, 2006

NY Style Cheesecake and fresh fruit

Just working on the old cheesecake recipe again....

and some miniature ones: