Archive for July, 2008

Almond Gateau with Praline Buttercream

July 30, 2008

It’s that time again! Daring Bakers time! And ok I will just admit it. This, my second Daring Bakers challenge, scared the living beejeezus out of me. That’s what happens when I print out a recipe to “study” it and it is FOUR PAGES LONG!! What the….?!? I had a few moments of thinking perhaps I made a mistake joining this group before I decided to suck it up and get to work.

In case you are looking at the word “Gateau” like it is a dog with 10 heads (like I was) I will give you a definition. (Can I just say that it is a definite sign that I am being “Daring” if I have to google multiple words in the recipe itself to figure out what they are!) According to, “a gateau (pronounced ga-toe) is a French cake, often specifically a sponge cake that may be made from almond flour instead of wheat flour.”

The original recipe was for a “Filbert Gateau”…..*staring blankly at the word Filbert*. So after yet another Google use I realized that a Filbert was just another fancy-schmancy name for a hazelnut. Well, I wasn’t able to find any hazelnuts at my grocery store so I decided to switch the recipe to an Almond Gateau (which was an allowed substitution).

The original recipe also called for a Swiss Buttercream, which I had never heard of. Upon further reading I started to break out in hives just thinking about attempting a buttercream that involved cooking egg whites in a double broiler. I thought about it and decided this recipe was going to be PLENTY difficult for me even without the Swiss Buttercream so I just went with a “normal” buttercream recipe where all you have to do is beat butter, confectioner’s sugar, and a little water and vanilla extract together.

Overall the “Gateau Experience” was extremely frightening and somewhat frustrating. I ended up with crumbly cakes that fell apart (but I managed to salvage them), one burnt batch of Praline Paste, one semi-burnt batch of Praline Paste (which I used anyway), one burnt batch of Chocolate Ganache, and one just OK end result. I mean it was a very tasty end result, but just entirely not worth all the work in my modest opinion. There are plenty of cake recipes that are a quarter of the work but just as tasty. It was very pretty though with the shiny ganache coating and the buttercream piping.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the inside of the cake because I served it at a dinner party and forgot to take a picture when I cut into it. Grrrr…after all that work I didn’t even get a decent picture to do it justice!!! Oh well!

Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream
From Great Cakes by Carol Walter

1 Filbert Genoise (Mine was Almond)
1 recipe sugar syrup, flavored with dark rum
1 recipe Praline Buttercream
½ cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks (I omitted)
1 recipe Apricot Glaze (Mine was Raspberry Glaze)
1 recipe Ganache Glaze, prepared just before using
3 tablespoons filberts, toasted and coarsely chopped (I omitted)

Filbert Genoise

Because of the amount of nuts in the recipe, this preparation is different from a classic genoise.

1 ½ cups hazelnuts, toasted/skinned (I used almond meal)
2/3 cup cake flour, unsifted
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
7 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar, divided ¼ & ¾ cups
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. grated lemon rind
5 lg. egg whites
¼ cup warm, clarified butter (100 – 110 degrees) (I just used regular melted butter)

Position rack in the lower 3rd of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 10” X 2” inch round cake pan (I used two 9-inch cake pans).

Using a food processor, process nuts, cake flour, and cornstarch for about 30 seconds.  Then, pulse the mixture about 10 times to get a fine, powdery mixture.  You’ll know the nuts are ready when they begin to gather together around the sides of the bowl. While you want to make sure there aren’t any large pieces, don’t over-process.  Set aside.

Put the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, and beat until thick and light in color, about 3-4 minutes on med-high speed. Slowly, add ¾ cup of sugar.  It is best to do so by adding a tablespoon at a time, taking about 3 minutes for this step.  When finished, the mixture should be ribbony.  Blend in the vanilla and grated lemon rind.  Remove and set aside.

Place egg whites in a large, clean bowl of the electric mixer with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed, until soft peaks. Increase to med-high speed and slowly add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar, over 15-20 seconds or so.  Continue to beat for another ½ minute.
Add the yolk mixture to the whites and whisk for 1 minute.

Pour the warm butter in a liquid measure cup (or a spouted container). * It must be a deep bottom bowl and work must be fast.*  Put the nut meal in a mesh strainer (or use your hand – working quickly) and sprinkle it in about 2 tablespoons at a time – folding it carefully for about 40 folds.   Be sure to exclude any large chunks/pieces of nuts. Again, work quickly and carefully as to not deflate the mixture. When all but about 2 Tbsp. of nut meal remain, quickly and steadily pour the warm butter over the batter.  Then, with the remaining nut meal, fold the batter to incorporate, about 13 or so folds.

With a rubber spatula, transfer the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with the spatula or back of a spoon.  **If collected butter remains at the bottom of the bowl, do not add it to the batter!  It will impede the cake rising while baking.

Tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. You’ll know the cake is done when it is springy to the touch and it separates itself from the side of the pan.  Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes.  Invert onto a cake rack sprayed with nonstick coating, removing the pan.  Cool the cake completely.

*If not using the cake right away, wrap thoroughly in plastic wrap, then in a plastic bag, then in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If freezing, wrap in foil, then the bag and use within 2-3 months.

Sugar Syrup
Makes 1 cup, good for one 10-inch cake – split into 3 layers

1 cup water
¼ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. dark rum or orange flavored liqueur

In a small, yet heavy saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the liqueur. Cool slightly before using on the cake.  *Can be made in advance.

Praline Buttercream
1 recipe Swiss Buttercream (I used a standard buttercream recipe)
1/3 cup praline paste
1 ½ – 2 Tbsp. Jamaican rum (optional)

Blend ½ cup buttercream into the paste, then add to the remaining buttercream.  Whip briefly on med-low speed to combine.  Blend in rum.

Swiss Buttercream (I subbed a standard buttercream recipe)
4 lg. egg whites
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
1 ½ -2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier or liqueur of your choice
1 tsp. vanilla

Place the egg whites in a lg/ bowl of a elevtric mixer and beat with the whisk attachment until the whites are foamy and they begin to thicken (just before the soft peak stage). Set the bowl over a saucepan filled with about 2 inches of simmering water, making sure the bowl is not touching the water. Then, whisk in the sugar by adding 1-2 tablespoon of sugar at a time over a minutes time. Continue beating 2-3 minutes or until the whites are warm (about 120 degrees) and the sugar is dissolved.  The mixture should look thick and like whipped marshmallows.
Remove from pan and with either the paddle or whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and sugar on med-high until its a thick, cool meringue – about 5-7 minutes. *Do not overbeat*. Set aside.

Place the butter in a separate clean mixing bowl and, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium speed for 40-60 seconds, or until smooth and creamy. *Do not overbeat or the butter will become toooooo soft.*

On med-low speed, blend the meringue into the butter, about 1-2 Tbsp. at a time, over 1 minute.  Add the liqueur and vanilla and mix for 30-45 seconds longer, until thick and creamy.

Refrigerate 10-15 minutes before using.

Wait! My  buttercream won’t come together! Reheat the buttercream briefly over simmering water for about 5 seconds, stirring with a wooden spoon. Be careful and do not overbeat. The mixture will look broken with some liquid at the bottom of the bowl. Return the bowl to the mixer and whip on medium speed just until the cream comes back together.

Wait! My buttercream is too soft! Chill the buttercream in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes and rewhip. If that doesn’t work, cream an additional 2-4 Tbsp. of butter in a small bowl– making sure the butter is not as soft as the original amount, so make sure is cool and smooth. On low speed, quickly add the creamed  butter to the buttercream, 1 Tbsp. at a time.

Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or can be frozen for up to 6 months. If freezing, store in 2 16-oz. plastic containers and thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for several hours.

Praline Paste
1 cup (4 ½ oz.) Hazelnuts, toasted/skinless (Or blanched almonds)
2/3 cup Sugar
Line a jelly roll pan with parchment and lightly butter.

Put the sugar in a heavy 10-inch skillet.  Heat on low flame for about 10-20 min until the sugar melts around the edges. Do not stir the sugar. Swirl the pan if necessary to prevent the melted sugar from burning. Brush the sides of the pan with water to remove sugar crystals.  If the sugar in the center does not melt, stir briefly. When the sugar is completely melted and caramel in color, remove from heat. Stir in the nuts with a wooden spoon and separate the clusters. Return to low heat and stir to coat the nuts on all sides.  Cook until the mixture starts to bubble.  **Remember – extremely hot mixture.** Then onto the parchment lined sheet and spread as evenly as possible. As it cools, it will harden into brittle. Break the candied nuts into pieces and place them in the food processor.  Pulse into a medium-fine crunch or process until the brittle turns into a powder. To make paste, process for several minutes. Store in an airtight container and store in a cook dry place.  Do not refrigerate.

Apricot (or Raspberry) Glaze
Good for one 10-inch cake

2/3 cup thick apricot (or raspberry) preserves
1 Tbsp. water

In a small, yet heavy saucepan, bring the water and preserves to a slow boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. If the mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the saucepan, add water as needed.

Remove from heat and, using a strainer, press the mixture through the mesh and discard any remnants. With a pastry brush, apply the glaze onto the cake while the cake is still warm.  If the glaze is too thick, thin to a preferred consistency with drops of water.

Ganache Glaze
Makes about 1 cup, enough to cover the top and sides of a 9 or 10 inch layer or tube cake

**Ganache can take on many forms.  While warm – great fudge sauce.  While cool or lukewarm – semisweet glaze. Slightly chilled – can be whipped into a filling/frosting. Cold & solid – the base of candied chocolate truffles.

6 oz. (good) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, like Lindt
6 oz. (¾ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier, Cointreay, or dark Jamaican rum (optional)
¾ tsp. vanilla
½ – 1 tsp. hot water, if needed

Blend vanilla and liqueur/rum together and set aside.

Break the chocolate into 1-inch pieces and place in the basket of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Transfer into a medium sized bowl and set aside.

Heat the cream and corn syrup in a saucepan, on low, until it reached a gentle boil.  Once to the gently boil, immediately and carefully pour over the chocolate.  Leave it alone for one minute, then slowly stir and mix the chocolate and cream together until the chocolate is melted and incorporated into the cream. Carefully blend in vanilla mixture. If the surface seems oily, add ½ – 1 tsp hot water. The glaze will thicken, but should still be pourable. If it doesn’t thicken, refrigerate for about 5 minutes, but make sure it doesn’t get too cold!

Assembling Cake

Cut a cardboard disk slightly smaller than the cake.  Divide the cake into 3 layers and place the first layer top-side down on the disk. Using a pastry brush, moisten the layer with 3-4 Tbsp. of warm sugar syrup. Measure out 1 cup of praline buttercream and set aside.

Spread the bottom layer with a ¼-inch thickness of the remaining buttercream.  Cover with ½ of the whipped cream, leaving ¼-inch border around the edge of the cake.  Place the middle layer over the first, brush with sugar syrup, spreading with buttercream. Cover with the remaining whipped cream.

Moisten the cut side of the third layer with additional sugar syrup and place cut side down on the cake.  Gently, press the sides of the cake to align the layers. Refrigerate to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Lift the cake by sliding your palm under the cardboard. Holding a serrated or very sharp night with an 8-ich blade held parallel to the sides of the cake, trim the sides so that they are perfectly straight. Cut a slight bevel at the top to help the glaze drip over the edge. Brush the top and sides of the cake with warm apricot glaze, sealing the cut areas completely.  Chill while you prepare the ganache.

Place a rack over a large shallow pan to catch the ganache drippings.  Remove the gateau from the refrigerator and put it the rack. With a metal spatula in hand, and holding the saucepan about 10 inches above the cake, pour the ganache onto the cake’s center.  Move the spatula over the top of the ganache about 4 times to get a smooth and mirror-like appearance.  The ganache should cover the top and run down the sides of the cake. When the ganache has been poured and is coating the cake, lift one side of the rack and bang it once on the counter to help spread the ganache evenly and break any air bubbles. (Work fast before setting starts.) Patch any bare spots on the sides with a smaller spatula, but do not touch the top after the “bang”.  Let the cake stand at least 15 minutes to set after glazing.

To garnish the cake, fit a 12 – 14-inch pastry bag with a #114 large leaf tip. Fill the bag with the reserved praline cream.  Stating ½ inch from the outer edge of the cake, position the pastry tube at a 90 degree angle with the top almost touching the top of the cake. Apply pressure to the pastry bag, moving it slightly toward the center of the cake.  As the buttercream flows on the cake, reverse the movement backward toward the edge of the cake and finish by pulling the bag again to the center. Stop applying pressure and press the bag downward, then quickly pull the tip up to break the flow of frosting.  Repeat, making 12 leaves evenly spaced around the surface of the cake.

Make a second row of leaves on the top of the first row, moving the pastry bag about ¾ inch closer to the center.  The leaves should overlap.  Make a 3rd row, moving closer and closer to the center. Add a 4th row if you have the room. But, leave a 2-inch space in the center for a chopped filbert garnish. Refrigerate uncovered for 3-4 hours to allow the cake to set. Remove the cake from the refrigerator at least 3 hours before serving.

Leftover cake can be covered with foil and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Here it is! Smoked Salmon Spread

July 24, 2008

Well, my day trip got pushed back to tomorrow so I was able to make it to the grocery store after all! Yay!

I picked the Smoked Salmon Spread for the Barefoot Bloggers for a specific reason. You see, I used to think smoked salmon was the most disgusting thing in the world even though I had never tried it. I just assumed since in general I don’t like fish, I wouldn’t like smoked salmon. Well, one day someone ordered a Bagel and Lox and forced me to try a bite. I couldn’t believe what I had been missing out on all these years! I loved it and ever since then I always order Bagels and Lox whenever possible.

So, my goal in choosing this recipe was to get somebody out there who thinks they don’t like smoked salmon to give it a shot and maybe discover that they actually like it…like I did! I knew that this recipe wouldn’t please everyone but I was ok with that. Being a part of a blogging group like this is partially about being coerced into trying things that you would maybe never try otherwise. I hope that this recipe provided that push for someone out there, whether they ended up liking it or not!

And ok, ok….I guess I should admit that choosing this recipe was also partially out of pure selfishness because I just looooovvveeee smoked salmon (as mentioned above) but I had never used it in my home. Normally I just order it at restaurants and cafes so I wanted to try using it in a recipe.

I must say, this spread was soooooooooo good! I am definitely going to have to make this many times in the future. This was my favorite way to eat it:

See that? It’s like a mini bagels and lox! A couple of capers and a tiny piece of onion. Yum! Wouldn’t that be so cute to serve at a brunch too??

To learn more about the Barefoot Bloggers go here.

For the recipe go here.

Where’s my spread?

July 24, 2008

I am the host for this week’s Barefoot Bloggers event but sadly I will be posting it a day or two late. I chose Smoked Salmon Spread and I can’t wait to make it. This has been a busier week than expected and I haven’t had time to make it to the grocery store yet (you know how that goes). I am leaving town for the day in an hour or so and I’ll be back tonight. Hopefully I’ll make it to the grocery store tomorrow and have my recipe up by tomorrow night! Thanks for understanding and happy blogging!

Summer Dinner Party Menu

July 23, 2008

I’ve recently come across a new-found love of entertaining. I really enjoy it and so far my guests have seemed to enjoy it as well. One thing that has helped me through learning how to entertain is when people share their ideas for entertaining menus. It’s easy to think of one or two things to make for guests but making an entire menu that goes together well or doesn’t involve too much time in the kitchen while my guests are in my home is tougher for me. So I’ve decided to start featuring the menus I use when I entertain to hopefully help some of you who need help rounding out a nice meal for a party.

The first entertaining menu was just a small dinner party that we had in our home to welcome our friends who had just moved to the area. It was just four of us but this menu could easily be adjusted to serve more.

Summer Dinner Party Menu

Drink: Summer Sangria ( I didn’t get a picture but this is the recipe I used. If making ahead, just put everything but the club soda in the pitcher and chill until your guests arrive. Then add the club soda, stir, and serve.)

Appetizer: Roasted Garlic Bruschetta with Crostini

Entree: Grilled Chicken (nothing special so I’m not sharing a recipe)

Side Dish: Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad (Again, I didn’t get a picture but here’s the recipe I used. This is a great side dish for a party because you can serve it warm, at room temperature, or cold.)

Dessert: Blueberry and Buttermilk Tart

Roasted Garlic Bruschetta with Crostini

July 23, 2008

This is an excellent appetizer to serve when you are doing your summer entertaining. Especially since it utilizes so many fresh herbs which many of us have growing in our gardens. Plus, you can make it ahead of time and chill it in the fridge until your guests come over. I actually recommend doing this because it lets the flavors combine better. If you don’t have the time to roast the garlic you could just sub regular minced garlic but the roasted adds such a nice depth of flavor.

Roasted Garlic Bruschetta with Crostini

Adapted from this recipe on Martha Stewart Living

  • 1 loaf baguette or French bread, cut on the diagonal
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves Roasted Garlic (see this recipe for method)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped oregano
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 large beefsteak tomatoes (each about 9 ounces), seeded and coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bread slices flat on a baking sheet and drizzle (or brush) with olive oil. Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes until golden brown. If making ahead of time, place crostini in a plastic zip-top bag until ready to use.

2. Place roasted garlic in a small bowl and mash with a fork. Then add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and mix well. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator until ready to use. Serve with the crostini

Roasted Garlic

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 375°.

2. Cut the top third of garlic heads off so tops of cloves are exposed. Place heads, unpeeled, in small ovenproof dish and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Cover with aluminum foil; bake 30 minutes.

3. Uncover and bake until the garlic cloves are soft and golden brown, another 30–40 minutes. (Make ahead and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.)

4. Once cooled, gently squeeze the cloves out of the peel.

Blueberry and Buttermilk Tart

July 15, 2008

A few months ago I participated in a gift swap with other people who love to cook via an online community. My secret gift giver was sweet enough to send me these adorable little yellow ice cream bowls, yellow spatulas, and a tart pan. I was so looking forward to using the tart pan but I wanted to make sure it was the perfect recipe. When I saw this recipe for a Blueberry Tart on Martha Stewart’s website I knew it would be a great choice since berries are in season right now. It’s also the perfect choice for a summer dinner party because you have to chill it for at least 2 hours before serving so you can assemble it ahead of time and forget about it until it’s time to pull it out for dessert. Oh and the shortbread crust was DELICIOUS! I am tempted just to use the crust recipe for my go-to shortbread cookie recipe! All in all it was just wonderful with the buttery shortbread crust, tangy lemon buttermilk custard, and fresh blueberries.

Blueberry and Buttermilk Tart

Source: Everyday Food


Serves 8

* 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
* 1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
* 1/3 cup blanched whole almonds
* 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
* 1 tablespoon cold water
* 1/2 cup heavy cream
* 3 tablespoons sugar
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
* 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
* 3 cups fresh blueberries (about 1 1/2 pints)


1. Make the crust: With an electric mixer on low speed, beat butter and 1/4 cup sugar until just combined, about 15 seconds. Add flour and salt, and beat until dough comes together, about 3 minutes. Shape into a disk.
2. Pulse remaining 1/3 cup sugar and the almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Scatter half of the almond mixture onto a clean work surface, and place dough on top. Scatter the remaining almond mixture on top, and roll out dough, resprinkling with almond mixture and incorporating into dough, until dough measures an 11-inch square. (I didn’t have any luck rolling out the dough because it was way too crumbly so I just incorporated all of the almond mixture in by kneading and then just pressed the dough into the pan with my hands until it covered the bottom and sides of the tart pan. )
3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Fit dough into a 9-inch square tart pan with removable bottom, pressing into bottom and up sides. Trim dough flush with rim. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes (or up to 1 day).
4. Bake tart shell, occasionally pressing bottom to flatten using the bottom of a glass, until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool.
5. Make the filling: Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a small bowl; let stand until softened, about 5 minutes.
6. Heat cream, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Add gelatin mixture, and stir until it has dissolved. Remove from heat; let cool. Stir in buttermilk and lemon juice.
7. Remove tart from pan. Spread custard into crust. Refrigerate until custard is slightly set, about 15 minutes. Scatter blueberries evenly over top. Refrigerate until custard is firm, about 2 hours (or up to 1 day). Cut into squares to serve.

Creamy Corn

July 15, 2008

Yet another success thanks to Everyday Food. This was the side dish suggested to go with the pork chops on the episode of Martha that I saw and I thought it looked so easy and so delicious. It did not disappoint! I love to have another idea for a starch side dish besides potatoes in my recipe box. I especially like that it uses frozen corn that you take straight out of the freezer and put it in to cook. Who has the time or money to buy corn on the cob, roast the corn cobs, cut the corn off the cobs, etc. This will be one of my go-to side dishes from now on. Creamy, easy, tasty, and cheap! What’s not to love??

Creamy Corn

Source: Everyday Food


Serves 4

* 1 box (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels
* 1/4 to 1/2 cup whole milk
* 3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, cut into pieces
* 2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
* Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


1. In a medium saucepan, simmer corn and 1/4 cup milk over medium heat until corn is tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cream cheese and chives. Season with salt and pepper. If desired, adjust consistency with a little more milk.

Crispy Breaded Pork Cutlets

July 15, 2008

These were AMAZING!! I’ve finally found the trick to perfectly crisp oven-baked meats. I saw this recipe on an episode of The Martha Stewart Show and thought the whole meal sounded delicious. I loved the idea of browning off the Panko bread crumbs in the oven before coating the meat. It gave them a richer golden-brown color and added tons of crispness. I also loved the way you coat the chops in dijon mustard instead of dipping in egg. It added a great flavor and saved calories! I was just thrilled with how these turned out! I will use this same coating strategy with chicken and maybe even fish.

If you’ve never used Panko bread crumbs, TRY THEM! I found them in my normal grocery store in the International Aisle way down on the bottom shelf.

I served the pork chops with the suggested sides: Creamy Corn and Saute of Peppers.

Crispy Breaded Pork Cutlets

Source: Everyday Food


Serves 4

* 1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) (I also added some spices to my breadcrumbs…garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt)
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
* 4 boneless pork loin chops (6 to 8 ounces each)
* 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
* Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss panko with oil. Bake, tossing once, until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees.
2. Meanwhile, one at a time, place chops between two large pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or the bottom of a small heavy pan, pound to make 1/4-inch-thick cutlets.
3. Dividing evenly, coat pork with mustard; season with salt and pepper. One at a time, dip cutlets into panko, pressing firmly to adhere.
4. Place a rack on a rimmed baking sheet; place pork on rack, and bake, without turning, until opaque throughout, 10 to 15 minutes.

Turkey Pot Stickers

July 15, 2008

One thing that I ALWAYS order when we go out for Asian food is pot stickers. I had never considered making them myself until I saw this easy looking recipe in a Cooking Light special edition magazine that I had in my archives. I was a little intimidated by them but they turned out to be way easier than expected and SO delicious. They tasted just like pot stickers you get at an Asian restaurant….maybe even better!

I found the wonton wrappers in my grocery store’s frozen food section and they worked AWESOME. I am looking forward to using them more often!

Turkey Pot Stickers

Source: Make It Simple: Best of Cooking Light

You can assemble these bite-sized dumplings ahead and cook them just before serving. The food processor quickly chops the filling ingredients. Wonton wrappers can be substituted for gyoza skins.

Dipping sauce:
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup sliced shiitake mushroom caps
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup sliced carrot
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 large egg whites, lightly beaten (I just used one whole beaten egg)
2 cups chopped skinned cooked turkey (I used ground turkey that I browned off in a pan and it worked beautifully)
24 (4-inch) gyoza skins (I used wonton wrappers)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided (I needed more oil than this)
1/2 cup water, divided

To prepare dipping sauce, combine first 5 ingredients, stirring well with a whisk.To prepare dumplings, place mushrooms, onions, carrot, ginger, and vinegar in a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped, scraping sides. Combine mushroom mixture and egg whites in a large bowl; add turkey, stirring until combined.

Working with 1 gyoza skin at a time (cover remaining skins to keep from drying), spoon about 1 tablespoon turkey mixture into center of each skin. Moisten edges of skin with water. Fold in half, pinching edges together to seal. Place dumpling on a baking sheet (cover loosely with a towel to keep from drying). Repeat procedure with remaining skins and turkey mixture.

Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange half of dumplings in pan; cover and cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn dumplings; add 1/4 cup water. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from pan; keep warm.

Wipe pan dry with a paper towel. Repeat procedure with remaining vegetable oil, dumplings, and water. Serve warm with dipping sauce.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 3 pot stickers and about 2 teaspoons dipping sauce)

CALORIES 144 (16% from fat); FAT 2.5g (sat 0.5g,mono 0.5g,poly 1g); IRON 1.6mg; CHOLESTEROL 30mg; CALCIUM 25mg; CARBOHYDRATE 16.5g; SODIUM 332mg; PROTEIN 12.7g; FIBER 0.9g

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2002

Shredded Pork Tacos

July 15, 2008

These pork tacos were a great weeknight meal. They would be perfect for a busy day when you are out all day because you just pop everything into the slow-cooker and leave it. The recipe is from Make It Simple: The Best of Cooking Light. Now that I’ve tried pork tacos this way, I am eager to try other methods too. I served the tacos with fruit salad.

Shredded Pork Tacos

Source: Make It Simple: The Best of Cooking LIght

Since pork tenderloin is already a lean cut of meat, it literally falls apart after eight hours. Use two forks to shred the meat while the mixture is still in the slow cooker. You can also serve the pork mixture on sandwich buns.

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup beer or water

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 (1.25 ounce) package 40%-less-sodium taco seasoning (I made my own taco seasoning)

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas

2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in an electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. Stir in cilantro.

2. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon 1/4 cup pork mixture onto each tortilla, and top each tortilla with 1/4 cup lettuce, 1 tablespoon cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped onion, and 1 1/2 teaspoons sour cream. Fold tacos in half. Yield 4 servings (serving size: 2 tacos).

Calories 379 (28% from fat); Fat 11.6g (sat 4.8mg, mono 2.9g, poly 1.2g); Protein 42g; Carb 28.1g; Fiber 3.2 g; Chol 119mg; Iron 2.1mg; Sodium 343mg; Calc 142mg