Friday, April 29, 2011

Berry Pancakes with Riccota and Boysenberry Syrup

I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs and have been dying to try it ever since. In fact, we tried them last night for brinner. They were delicious!

Berry Pancakes with Riccota and Boysenberry Syrup
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 pint fresh or thawed frozen raspberries
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 11/4 cup milk
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • Maple syrup, for serving (I used boysenberry)
1. Working over a bowl, use a grater to zest the lemon, being careful not to remove any of the bitter white pith. Cut the zested lemon into wedges, and set them aside.
2. Add the raspberries to the bowl containing the lemon zest. Stir in 1/3 cup sugar, gently crushing the raspberries with a wooden spoon. Set aside while making the pancake batter.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, 1 tbsp. sugar and baking powder. In another bowl, beat the ricotta cheese with milk and egg yolks. Add the flour mixture to the ricotta mixture, and stir until just combined. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes.
4. Beat egg whites with a handheld mixer until they hold soft peaks. Next, gently fold the raspberries with their juices into the batter, and then fold in the egg whites. (You want little clumps of whites in the batter. The important thing is not to overmix it.)
5. Heat a large nonstick skillet over moderately low heat. Melt 1/2 tbsp. butter at the center of the skillet, where you will spoon the batter.
6. Spoon batter into the hot skillet, directly onto the melted butter.
7. Cook each pancake until the bottom is golden brown and the bubbles on the surface begin to break, about 2 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the pancake quickly. Cook until golden brown, about 1 minute longer.
8. Serve finished pancakes with maple syrup and lemon wedges. (or substitute bacon for the lemon wedges. That's what I did.)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Strawberry Cake

Strawberries were super cheap at the Berkeley Bowl last week so I decided to make a yummy strawberry cake. Then I couldn't find my mom's recipe. So after many hours of blog surfing I found one that I was sure would be delicious (you can't go wrong with a Paula Deen inspired recipe, right?). It was the perfect addition to our Easter celebration.

Homemade Strawberry Cake

Adapted from Paula Deen’s Hummingbird Cake

Nonstick vegetable spray
All-purpose flour, for pans
3 cups self-rising flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup pureed strawberries, strained* (I didn't strain the strawberries and the cake turned out great.)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 large eggs, beaten
red food coloring**


- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray and flour three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans, tapping out excess flour; set aside.
- Prepare the cake batter; in a large bowl, stir to combine self-rising flour, sugar, oil, pureed strawberries, vanilla, lemon zest, and eggs.
- Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, smoothing with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the tops spring back when gently pressed with your fingertips, 26 to 28 minutes. I used one large bundt pan and baked it for around 50 minutes. I didn't get an exact time but keep checking to make sure it is cooked all the way. A knife test works fantastic.
- Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto wire rack. Re-invert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.
- Prepare the cream cheese frosting (recipe below); frost as desired and refrigerate until ready to serve.

* You can use fresh or frozen strawberries. If you use frozen, let them defrost on a cookie sheet. Then place in a food processor and pulse until pureed. Run through a medium-sized strainer to remove the seeds. If you have some extra strawberries, try whipping up a quick batch of strawberry scones!

** While I did manage to avoid using red colored gelatin, I did add some food coloring to achieve that perfectly pink color. If you don’t care about getting the pink color, feel free to leave it out. I used about 5 drops, but you should add them one at a time until you achieve the color you are looking for.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
~ 3 cups (approx. 1 box) confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
1 TBL milk (if needed)


- Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
- Slowly add the sugar in 1 cup batches until desired sweetness is achieved. You may need less than 3 cups if you like your frosting less sweet.
- Stir in vanilla. Add milk slowly if you need a looser consistency.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Baked Manicotti With Meat Sauce

Wow, 6 months huh? I'm a slacker! And to be honest, I haven't really been trying a lot of new recipes. But I have just gone through all my cooking magazines and I have pulled out the recipes that I want to try and so my goal is to try a new recipe a week. Probably won't happen that smoothly, but it is worth trying! So for the first one, from Cooks Country, 2009 {I have been holding onto these for a LONG time!}

This is the picture from the magazine, looks yummy huh?
Meat Sauce: I will put this up there, but I actually just used some of my homemade spaghetti sauce and it was great with that. But here is their recipe:

1 onion
6 oz sliced deli pepperoni
1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
1 tablespoon tomato paste
5 garlic cloves minced {precut ones fine}
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cans crushed tomatoes

pulse onion and pepperoni in food processor until coarsely ground, add beef. Cook over medium heat until no longer pink. add tomato paste, garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3 cups ricotta cheese
2 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cup shredded provolone
1 large egg-beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped basil
16 no boil lasagna noodles

I wanted to keep it as simple as I can, so like I said before, it worked great with my own sauce. Unless you are feeling ambitious, I would just use your favorite marinara or spaghetti sauce and add some ground turkey or something. The rest of it is so simple!
Combine ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella, 1 cup provolone, egg, salt, pepper, and basil in a bowl. Pour 2 quarts boiling water into a 9x13 pan, soak noodles until pliable, about 5 minutes. Drain noodles on a towel, pour off water and dry baking dish.

Spread half the meat sauce on the bottom of the dish, then top each of the soft noodles with 1/4 cup cheese filling, roll it up into a nice "manicotti" looking roll, then place seam-side down over sauce. Spread remaining sauce over the top, cover with foil and bake at 375 for about 40 minutes. Remove foil and add remaining mozzarella and provolone. Bake until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes then serve.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Cafe Rio House Dressing

Cafe Rio House Cilantro dressing

1 pack Hidden Valley Ranch (not buttermilk kind)
1 cup mayo
1 cup buttermilk
2 tomatillos
1/2 bunch cilantro
clove of garlic or garlic powder
Juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno

Put in blender and mix for delicious dressing.  So good, especially with the Cafe Rio pork recipe of Maren's.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

BBQ Chicken Pizza

I love this recipe from here. Of course I changed things up a bit for my liking. I hope you enjoy!

BBQ Chicken Pizza
  • 1 whole Recipe For Pizza Crust (mine Makes Two Crusts) I bought a store pizza crust as I didn't have time to make one from was a really good whole wheat crust. In so doing you only need about 1/2 of everything listed here.
  • 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • ½ cups Barbecue Sauce
  • Olive Oil, For Drizzling
  • Salt For Sprinkling
  • 16 ounces, weight Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, Sliced Thinly
  • ½ whole Red Onion, Cut In Half And Sliced Very Thin
  • Chopped Cilantro, to taste I don't like cilantro unless it is a little bit so you could add a little to the top or you could just forget about it like I did. The pizza is good either way.
Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Salt chicken breasts on both sides, then place in an ovenproof dish. Pour BBQ sauce over the breasts and turn them over to coat. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Remove from oven and cut into a fine dice. Set aside.

Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees.

Roll/stretch out one pizza crust. Lay it on a sheet pan drizzled with olive oil. Drizzle a little olive oil on the crust, then sprinkle on a little salt.

Spoon a couple of tablespoons of extra BBQ sauce on the crust and spread it evenly. Top sauce with half the sliced mozzarella. Sprinkle on half the diced chicken and thinly sliced red onion.

Sprinkle again with a little salt, then bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and toppings are bubbly.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle on plenty of chopped cilantro. Cut into squares and serve immediately. Repeat with other crust and other ingredients, or save for another time.

Here is how I changed it. I didn't buy my own crust as

Basic Pizza Crust

  • 1 teaspoon Instant Or Active Dry Yeast
  • 1-½ cup Warm Water
  • 4 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ⅓ cups Olive Oil
Preparation Instructions

Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water. Let stand for a few minutes.

In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined, and the dough comes together in a sticky mass.

Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set it aside for 1 to 2 hours, or store in the fridge until you need it.

Note: it’s best to make the dough at least 24 hours in advance, and 3 or 4 days is even better.

When you are ready to make the pizza, grab HALF the pizza dough (recipe makes 2 crusts) and squeeze the dough toward the bottom to form a nice, tight, pulled ball. You can roll out the pizza with a rolling pin if you’d like, but sometimes it’s just as easy to throw it around and pull and stretch till it feels right. And when the crust is nice and thin, lay it on an oiled baking sheet or pizza pan. Drizzle a little olive oil on the dough and spread it with your fingers. Very lightly sprinkle some salt on the crust.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Top your crust with your toppings of choice. Then bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and toppings are bubbly.

Monday, March 29, 2010


This Snickerdoodle recipe is dynamite. If you don't believe me, let me know and I will send you a dozen or so. You'll love them.

1 cup margarine, room temperature
1-1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt

Cinnamon sugar coating:
2 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

prepare cinnamon sugar coating; set aside. Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, beat together margarine, sugar, and eggs until fluffy. Add flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt, beating until blended. Shape into 1-1/2 inch balls. Roll balls in cinnamon sugar coating. Place on cookie sheets. Bake 8 minutes or until golden. Don't overcook these suckers or they'll be hard and crunchy and no good. Remove from cookie sheets; cool on rack. Enjoy with a cold glass of milk.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cat Head Biscuits

I know weird name, but they are called this because they are as big as a cat head. One of my favorite restaurants here, Hash House a Go Go, has these killer buttermilk biscuits that they bring out before your meal. They are huge, warm, and drizzled with melted butter and honey. Honestly, they are divine! So imagine my excitement when I opened this month's Cook's Country {fabulous magazine} and saw this recipe for Cat Head Biscuits. And they were crazy good, I may even say just as good as the Hash House ones! So rearrange your menu and make these suckers soon!

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup cake flour {they have a very long explanation why, just make sure you use both!}
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces and softened
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/4 cup buttermilk

Adjust the oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease 9 inch cake pan.

Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Rub butter and shortening into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in buttermilk until combined.
Use a 1/2 cup measure or a large spring loaded ice cream scoop to transfer 6 heaping portions of dough into the prepared pan. 5 on the outside and 1 in the middle.
Bake until puffed and golden brown 20-25 minutes. Cook in pan for 10 minutes then transfer to wire rack.

**I hate to buy buttermilk, you have to buy the huge thing of it and only use about 1 cup. So I have been using the SACO cultured buttermilk blend that you can find in the baking isle and it works wonderfully! I really can't tell the difference and it is really easy to use.