Thursday, February 28, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Cakes

No, this is not a recipe or a tutorial on how to make a cake that looks like a Buffalo Chicken Wing - Though in all honesty that probably would be cool as anything for a guy or some Hooters waitress reunion party. This is something a tad different. You see, for weeks my husband has been craving Buffalo Wings, and who can blame him. Those things are nifty!

Thing is we are on a weight loss challenge, so needless to say deep fried skin covered chicken pieces drowned in blue cheese probably isn't the best thing to keep that hubba hubba hubby figure. Me personally, I have been craving crab cakes but hey I am cheap and don't want to spend the money on lump crab, as well as trying to keep a girlish figure. ^_~  I don't know why or how or what but some Bar Food God must have shot an arrow and hit me with a foodie epiphany. Buffalo Chicken Cakes!

So here we are. My messed up but, in my opinion, freaking nifty concoction! Shredded chicken, some vegis, buffalo wing sauce and crackers all mushed together and pan fried to give you this kick butt new bar food. (And what I love about it is that each large patty only has like 250 calories but over 30 grams of protein. Not fully diet friendly but hey we are making it work on out little diet. And no, it doesn't taste like diet food. Get ready for foodgasm!)

Buffalo Chicken Cakes

  • 1 Pound Cooked and Shredded Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 1 1/2 Cup Buffalo Wing Sauce (We do 1 1/4 Cup Regular and 1/4 Cup Hot)
  • 1 Cup Crushed Club Crackers
  • 1/2 Cup Diced Celery
  • 1/2 Cup Diced Carrots
  1. Mix everything in a large bowl until nice and mushy. I recommend wearing gloves since you are working with hot sauce. 
  2. Take about 1/3 a cup or 100 grams worth of mix and form into a patty. (Or really just how ever big you want it.)
  3. Rest on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Continue until you use all the mix.
  4. Let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  5. Take a large skillet and warm up on medium heat.
  6. Spray skillet down with non stick spray.
  7. Place patties on skillet, keeping room between each to flip. I normally do 4 at a time.
  8. Cook for 6-7 minutes on each side, flipping once.
  9. Rest on plate to cool. Continue until all patties are done.
  10. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce or just plain.
  11. Enjoy!!!!
Seriously, that is it and they are freaking nifty if I do say so myself. ^_^ 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Lavender And Roses

I must admit that I do love flowers. Granted I am not your usual girl who wants them in vases delivered to my door. I am more the....So, what can I cook with them? Spring is coming up, as well as St. Patricks Day so I wanted to do something weaving those two together. What better than taking a step back in time to when Vanilla and Chocolate wasn't the in thing and people looked more to their flower garden for flavor? With this I decided to take a trip with a classic pairing of flavors, Lavender and Rose. Both have been used for centuries to flavor baked goods and they pair perfectly together in this little duo.

My Shortbread recipe for this is a little different than my traditional Irish Shortbread recipe. It still uses the rich Irish Butter but it a much lighter and delicate cookie. This cookie can be rolled out and cut with a cookie cutter before hand, unlike my other recipe but it still does spread a little. I would recommend basic shapes or ones that you don't mind some rounding to. Don't use this recipe for cutters needing sharp edges and I really don't think you should mail these. They are just far too delicate. Now, onto the recipes!

Lavender Irish Shortbread

  • 195 Grams Unbleached All Purpose Flour. (Roughly 1.5 Cups)
  • 65 Grams Cornstarch (Roughly 1/2 Cup)
  • 226 Grams Salted Irish Butter, room temp. (8 ounces - 2 sticks)
  • 60 Grams Confections Sugar (About 1/2 Cup - Sifted)
  • 2 Grams Lavender Extract (1/2 Teaspoon)
**If you can use weight over volume for this recipe. If you need to substitute Dried Lavender, 2 crushed teaspoons.**

  1. Place butter in your mixer and mix until creamy smooth.
  2. Add in confections sugar, mix until smooth and no lumps.
  3. Add in lavender extract. Mix until incorporated. 
  4. Sift together flour and cornstarch.
  5. Add to bowl, mix until it just comes together.
  6. Place between 2 sheets of wax paper.
  7. Roll out until 1/4 inch thick. 
  8. Place on a cookie sheet and stick in the fridge for 3 hours.
  9. Remove from fridge, cut out shapes you wish.
  10. Place cut out cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Work fast, dough warms quickly.
  11. Place back in fridge for 1 hour. (This will help it keep a shape.) Scarp dough can be rerolled, chilled and cut. I usually repeat this until all dough is cut and chilled and just bake all at once.
  12. Preheat oven to 375F.
  13. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until lightly browned edges, depending on how large a cookie. I bake 2 inch diameter rounds 10 minutes.
  14. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet. Move to wire rack to cool fully. Careful! They are delicate!
  15. Cool fully and enjoy, or decorate. (Dip in dark chocolate or drizzle with rosewater icing - Recipe next!)

Rosewater Icing

  • 150 Grams Confectioners Sugar (About 1 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 - 1 Teaspoon Rosewater (Warning, strong stuff. I use 1/2 and slowly work up by drop if I want it stronger.)
  • 2-4 Tablespoon Milk (Will depend on how thick you want it. I usually use 3-4 depending on humidity for drizzling.)
  1. Sift sugar and place in a bowl.
  2. Whisk in the rosewater and milk until smooth. Add more rosewater for stronger flavor, little goes a loooooooooonnnnnggggg way. Add more milk to thin it out. Add more sugar to stiffen it up if you are wanting to pipe it. 
  3. **Optional Step** Add a smidgen of food coloring if you want it slightly pink.
  4. Drizzle over the top of the cookie and let dry for a few hours to set. 
  5. Enjoy!

And there you have it. Now this recipe does call for some items that people usually don't keep in their kitchen unless they cook constantly. You can find most items on Amazon or from various baking stores online and not for much.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cookies For Lilly

This last week I had the honor and privilege to donate a small gift basket full of cookies to a good cause. You see, in the small town I live in currently there is a little girl who is going through a rough time, she is battling Cancer. Most of us cannot even begin to comprehend what they would be like - as a person first and foremost - if you have not gone through it personally. Imagine if your child was having to endure it? The thought alone breaks me down and makes me run to my kids to hug them. (Something I have done several times over the last week just working on these.)

As many of you know I lost my mother to Cancer just a scad few months ago, so when I was asked by a dear friend in the community if I could whip something up for a silent auction you bet your sweet britches I was all over that like a white on rice.

I sat down and tried to figure out what to do. I knew I wanted to use the Cancer Ribbon Cookie Cutter that I was gifted after my mother passed. It just seemed fitting. What else could I do though to make this set personal? After seeing a picture of the little girl, Lilly, I knew what to do. She was a little princess, what better theme? There was none.

Time to get to work. I wanted to ensure these has special details that I had not done before or very rarely did, so I got to work on getting together elements from some of the best places on the net. I was very lucky to have Karen's Cookies to be able to supply the Disco Dusts, Copper Gifts was the perfect place to get the fancy frame cutter, Fancy Flours for the Dragees and of course I went to Beanilla to get the special Madagascar Vanilla Beans.

Everything came together to create a very special and beautiful set of cookies. I dropped them off and hoped for the best once they were finished. They were sold at a silent auction at the local school that evening, Knolls Vista and I came to find out just today that the winning Bidder did not keep the cookies for themselves but instead turned around and donated them to Lilly herself! How wonderful is that?

I stopped by the Sock Hop/Silent Auction the evening it occurred and was totally blown away! So many people showed up and so many made donations. It was truly moving to see a small community come together like that for one small child. Needless to say it was a huge success!!!

If you would like to help the family, you still can! Thoughts and prayers for Lilly and her family are of course always welcome. You can visit here - Miss Lilly - On facebook to say hello and give support. If you would like to make a donation they will be opening an account at Sterlings Saving under the name of -  Friends of Lilly Hultberg - Or if you are in the Moses Lake area you can drop off donations at Knolls Vista. 

If I get any more information on how to help, I will edit this post and give you all an update!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Family Valentines Day Dessert

I don't know about you but I hate going out on Valentines Day, especially for dinner. Everyone in the stores are rushing around getting last minute cards, flowers, candies, stuffed animals or even lingerie, lol. People rush after work to get ready to go out to dinner, long lines, seated after forever only to be rushed through your meal so they can push the next family or couple into the booth.

Yeah, I got sick of it years ago and probably a good thing as well. When I married a chef I gave up any and all expectations of ever going out to dinner with him on 2 holidays - Mothers Day and of course Valentines Day. It is like asking your girl who works at the local clothing store to go shopping with you on Black Friday...They're working. So even if I wanted to go out, I am not going anywhere. LOL

Each year I make dinner at home. If the kids are with me we do a family thing. If not, we do a couples meal. Why not share that? It is wonderful! So I got together with Cynical Cuisine to come up with 2 menus for this Valentines Day. One for a couple all alone and one for the family. Both simple and delicious. Tonight we tackle the family dinner.

The Menu:
Glazed Meatloaf
Garlic Whipped Potatoes
Peppers of the Heart
Strawberry Fudged Filled Cupcakes

To get the recipes and "how to"s for the main course and sides - Visit Cynical Cuisine here - Dinner With The Kids

The last one is mine. So here we are. A quick and simple recipe.
Now to start off you will need 3 things. Ready?

What You Need:
Boxed Chocolate Cake Mix with a Fudge Filling
Strawberries - FRESH!
Ready Whip

Seriously, that is it. Okay, in the picture is frozen strawberries but I ended up using fresh in the recipe. They held together much better. Now, to make it more Valentiney I would suggest some cute cupcake wrappers and sprinkles that I am sure you can pick up at your local store. I found my sprinkles at Walmart and the wrappers - The Dollar Store. >.>

Now, what to do? Omg, so simple.

What to do:

  1. Cut up the strawberries into small bites. 
  2. Make the fudge filling as directed on the box, using 2/3's the amount of liquid stated.
  3. Fold the strawberries into the fudge filling, set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  5. Mix the cake mix.
  6. Place liners into the cupcake pan.
  7. Fill 1/3 the way full - About a tablespoon.
  8. Add a teaspoon into the center of the fudge and strawberry mix.
  9. Top the filling with another teaspoon of the cake mix.
  10. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  11. Remove form oven, remove from pan right away to cool on a wire rack.
  12. Once fully cooled set aside until time for dessert!
  13. Once it is time to serve, place one in front of everyone, top with ready whip and sprinkles!
  14. Enjoy!
Okay, few things. Reason for less water than the recipe calls for is due to the moisture in the strawberries. Less temperature than your box recipe probably calls for and more time is because if you cook at a lower and longer heat, you get more even baking, less burning and less chance of raw center. Removing it from the pan right out of the oven helps with cooling and keeps the wrappers from pulling away from the sides later on. Lastly, why wait to top? Ready whip deflates fast, lol. Trust me, serve right away or just wait until you do. Otherwise it won't be pretty. >.>  

^_^ Enjoy!