Monthly Archives: April 2011

Cauliflower Crѐme Brûlée

Caution: reading this post, or any other tagged ‘Philadelphia cream cheese’ may cause you to catch the highly contagious “Philly Fever”. Symptoms include cream cheese dreams, recipe-itis, and increased appetite for Kraft products. As a victim myself, I feel it is only fair to warn you.

By now, many of you have probably heard the buzz about Kraft’s “Real Women of Philadelphia” casting competition. For those of you who are somehow out of the loop, I’ll fill you in. It’s not too late to enter!

Kraft and Anna Olson have teamed up to host a cooking contest starring Philadelphia cream cheese. Entrants are asked to create recipes using the featured ingredient and submit how to videos explaining their concoctions. Last week, we had to come up with creative side dishes using our favourite Philly flavours. Here’s what I created.

Breaking away from boring side dishes can be a challenge, but with this simple spin on a favourite dessert in your recipe arsenal, vegetables will soon be taking centre stage at your dinner table. This recipe will only take about 12 minutes, and makes 4 servings.
  • 1/2 to whole head cauliflower
  • 1 tsp. of butter
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tbsp. of brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. of raw brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. of parmesan
  • 1/2 cup(s) of Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1/8 tsp. of cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. of pepper
Watch my video for instructions, or simply follow the step by step instructions below.
  1. Preheat your broiler. (500 degrees)
  2. Depending on the size of your cauliflower, you will need to use between 1/2 and a whole head. Remove the leaves and core, and chop the florets and stalks into small pieces until you have roughly 4 cups. Place 1 tbsp of water and a pinch of salt into a casserole dish, add your cauliflower, and steam in the microwave for 5-6 minutes until tender.
  3. Heat butter in a pan over high heat. Roughly chop onion and add to pan, stirring until covered with melted butter. Reduce heat to med/med-low and add 1 tbsp brown sugar. Stir until combined. Remove onions from heat when they are translucent and lightly browned.
  4. In a small bowl, combine raw brown sugar and parmesan cheese. Stir until completely mixed.
  5. In a food processor, combine steamed cauliflower, quick carmelized onions, Philadelphia cream cheese, cayenne, salt and pepper. Blend for a few minutes, scraping sides, until mixture becomes a smooth purée.
  6. Divide mixture evenly among 4 ramekins, and smooth the purée to create a flat surface. Sprinkle a generous portion of your sugar/parmesan mixture onto each serving, coating the cauliflower completely. Give the ramekins a little shake to level out the sugar.
  7. Place under the broiler on a baking sheet for 1-2 minutes until the sugar has created a hard, brown candy coating. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. To prepare this side dish in advance, refrigerate your ramekins after filling them with purée. Right before serving, add the sugar topping and broil. Whether you are making it for a simple supper, or an elegant dinner party, you will be stunned by how easy this recipe is to prepare. With veggies this delicious, who needs dessert?
I hope you’ll give this recipe a  try, and while you’re at it, create your own and submit it to http://www.realwomenofphiladelphia.ca/.
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Filed under new flavours, pop culture, savory, super simple

Mares eat oats, and does eat oats

And little lambs eat ivy. A kid’ll eat ivy too, wouldn’t you?

Perhaps, but you would probably rather eat these delicious sheep cookies that I made over Easter weekend. Their adorable fur is just a sprinkling of sweetened coconut. Yum! Precious, and tasty.

They were inspired by a trip to visit my friend’s sheep farm to see his 3 week old lambs. I was dying of cuteness overload.

I also made some tulip cookies. They were cute too…I guess.

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Filed under cookies, holidays, useless information

Chicks on Sticks

In anticipation of the upcoming Easter holiday, I created these cute little creatures as table favours. They are essentially popcorn balls on sticks, adorned with a few little avian accessories. They are gooey, chewy, and lots of fun to make. This recipe makes 10 chicks. You’ll need:

  • 12 cups popped popcorn
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 cups mini marshmallows
  • 2  1/2 cups yellow candy melts
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • yellow food colouring
  • cooking spray
  • 10 lollipop sticks
  • 10 yellow “citrus slices”
  • 20 green, or blue candy coated sunflower seeds
  • 20 orange “Mike and Ike” candies

Start by melting your butter in a large pot. Once melted, add your marshmallows and stir until they are gooey and mostly melted. Then 2 cups of your candy melts (you can use plain white chocolate, and just add more food colouring), your corn syrup, and enough food colouring to achieve your desired yellow. Continue stirring until the mixture becomes sticky, and a bit stringy.

Pour your popcorn into the largest bowl you can possibly find, and cover it with the marshmallow mixture. Combine the two until all of the popcorn is coated.

Spray your hands with cooking spray and grab a large handful (about 1 cup) of coated popcorn. Squeeze and roll it in your hands until it forms a fairly dense ball. Set aside on a parchment lined baking tray and repeat this process until your popcorn is gone.

Melt the remaining candy melts in the microwave by zapping them for 20 second increments, and stirring in between. Dip the end of a lollipop stick into the melted candy and then force it into a popcorn ball (about 1 1/2 inches deep). The candy will prevent the stick from sliding around in your popcorn ball. Repeat this process with the remaining popcorn balls.

To decorate, cut your citrus slices in half, dip the raw edge of each half in the melted candy, and adhere it to the side of your chick like wings. Dip your Mike and Ike candies, and stick them onto the front of your chick like a beak. Carefully dip your little sunflower seeds, and stick them on for eyes.

You can package these up in cellophane and give them as Easter gifts, or hide them in your yard as a special treat during an egg hunt. Kids and kids at heart will get a kick out of their chubby little faces. Happy Easter everyone!

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Filed under a party, food on a stick, holidays

Tiny Taco Salads

So, I am currently participating in Philadelphia cream cheese’s “Real Women of Philadelphia” competition, hosted by Anna Olson. So far, it’s been a blast. I have had so much fun creating and filming my cream cheesy concoctions. Here is a quick look at my first submission.

These miniature versions of restaurant style taco salad are the perfect party appetizer. Philidelphia cream cheese makes them extra delicious, and you can even eat the tiny little bowl! They only take about 30 minutes from start to finish and serve 8 guests. Get cooking! You’ll need:
  • 8 6-inch flour tortillas
  • 1 can cooking spray
  • 1 pound(s) of lean ground beef
  • 2/3 cup(s) of taco seasoning (1 packet)
  • 1/2 cup(s) of Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 2 cup(s) of shredded lettuce
  • 2/3 cup(s) of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup(s) of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2/3 cup(s) of sour cream
  • 2/3 cup(s) of salsa
Take a look at my helpful how-to video to get started with this recipe, or simply follow the instructions below.
Steps
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Begin by browning your ground beef in a large skillet over high heat. Break the beef up with your spoon as it cooks. When there are no pink bits left, drain off any excess fat.
  3. Add your taco seasoning and 1 cup of water. Stirring occasionally, cook on high until the excess liquid has cooked off.
  4. While your taco meat is cooking, prepare your taco bowls for the oven by spraying both sides of each tortilla with cooking spray. Using a muffin pan to form your bowls, fold the tortillas into cup shapes by creating four double folds around their edges. Gently, but firmly press the bowl shape down into your muffin pan, making sure that the bottom of your bowl is nice and flat. Watching the video will help you to master this part of the recipe.
  5. When all 8 of your bowls are ready to go, bake them for 7-10 minutes until they are nice and golden brown.
  6. Now, cut your cream cheese into small chunks and add it to your taco meat while your shells are baking. Reduce the heat to medium, and stir until all of the cheese has melted and your taco meat is nice and creamy.
  7. Remove your taco bowls from the oven, and press a large scoop of taco meat into the bottom of each one. Layer the rest of your toppings evenly amongst your eight bowls, and serve immediately.
  8. You can serve these in muffin liners for handheld appetizers at a cocktail party, plate them up for a sit down dinner, or, serve the empty taco bowls, and let your guests fill them with their favourite toppings. This super simple recipe will soon become a fiesta favourite!

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Filed under a party, savory, super simple

Bejewelled Cheesecake Bars

These cheesecake bars are so easy, even my dog could make them. And she’s not the smartest dog in the park.  The bright fruit gummies make them look impressive, so your friends will think that you are a kitchen genius, even if you can barely scramble an egg. With only a few simple ingredients, they will become a go-to on your list of bake sale worthy recipes. One batch yields about 36 small squares with spare edges for tasting. You’ll need:

  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 500 g (2 packages) cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 small can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 package vanilla pudding mix (low cal is okay)
  • 1 cup chopped swedish berries (you can also use jujubes, or small baking gums to save yourself the chopping)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×9 inch pan with aluminum foil, and spray it with non-stick spray. Mix together your melted butter and crumbs, and press the mixture evenly over the bottom of your pan.

Bake for 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of your recipe. In a medium bowl, mix together your cream cheese, condensed milk, egg and pudding mix on high until well blended. Remove your crust from the oven, and cover it evenly with half of your cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with half of your gummies, and cover those with the remaining cream cheese mixture. Spread the remaining gummies evenly over the top of your squares and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and let cool. To cut your squares, lift them out of the pan with the foil. Peel the foil away from the edges and slice lengthways, then crossways. Avoid cutting through too many gummies, because they can be tough to divide.

Refrigerate your squares in an airtight container, and serve them chilled. Your recipients are in for a sweet surprise when they bite into a square and find a chewy candy jewel!

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Filed under squares, super simple

Giant Macaroon Cookies

These are not your average macaroons. They are bigger, sweeter, and crisper than their ordinary friends. So big in fact, that I have been using them as breakfast substitutes all week. Coconut is a fruit right?

Anyway, this recipe will only yield about 10-12 cookies, but can easily be doubled. Or tripled for that matter. If you have made macaroons in the past, you may be surprised with the consistency of these bad boys, but not to worry, they are different in the best possible way. They spread out during baking for a more traditional cookie shape, which means more chewy edges to enjoy. Careful not to eat all the batter, it is deathly sweet, but oh so delicious. Let’s begin. You’ll need:

  • 3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup golden corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)

In a medium-sized bowl, toss together your coconut and flour until mixed. Whisk together your egg whites and sugar until combined, and heat them over a double boiler until warm, but not too hot. Pour this mixture over your coconut, and stir until coated. Add the corn syrup and vanilla, and continue mixing until your wet and dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Now cover your mixing bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour so your batter firms up.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spray the paper with non-stick spray (trust me, all of these measures are necessary; these cookies are extremely sticky) and spoon out mounds of batter (about 3 tbsp) 3-4 inches apart. Give your cookies lots of room to spread out, because trust me, they will.

Bake for 20-25 minutes in the middle rack of the oven until the edges are nice and golden brown. Remove your cookies and let them cool slightly before removing them from the parchment. Enjoy them warm, or cold with a nice refreshing drink. And repeat after me: one is enough.

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