Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fruit Filled Meringue Shells

This weeks appetizer is a light and airy meringue shell filled with strawberries and blueberries. These shells are the perfect beginning to a family meal or a dinner party. I made these shells with a rustic edge, but they can be made fancier if you need them to be. I will get a fancier version of these made by the weekend.
Meringue Shells
3 Egg Whites
1/4 teaspoon Cream Of Tartar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3/4 cup Sugar
Pour the 3 egg whites in a bowl. When you separate
the eggs, be careful not to touch the whites with your hands.
The oil from your hands can make the whites very hard to beat.
Make sure the eggs are at room temperature. Beat the whites
on low speed until they become foamy. Add the cream of 
tartar and the vanilla extract. Beat until the whites begin to thicken,
then beat at medium speed, while adding the sugar in a steady stream.
                                           Beat until the whites begin to thicken, then beat at 
                                         medium speed, while adding the sugar in a steady stream.
 Continue until the whites are thicker and the whites
form stiff peaks.
This is how stiff the peaks should be.
Place a parchment paper on the cookie sheet.
We are going to make 3 1/2" circles on the paper.
Using a cookie cutter like the one above, draw
circles with a food marker. 
Each circle needs about 1/3 cup of meringue.
Place the meringue in the circle, then....
spread the meringue around to fit the circle, then....
start to form the sides and the center of the circle.
Keep forming the bowl area of the meringue.
Continue until the bowl is formed.
This recipe made 6 bowls.
Bake meringue bowls in the oven at 275 degrees for 
1 hour. 
Turn off the oven then, leave the meringue bowls 
in the oven, door closed, for 1 1/2 hours.
Let the meringues sit for 15 minutes. Then loosen them 
with a spatula.
Cut strawberries. Sweeten them a little with a bit of sugar.
Fill the bowls with strawberries and blueberries.
Top with whipped cream.


Thank you for joining me today!

I will see you tomorrow when we will be making
a green salad with champagne vinaigrette.

See you then!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ready to Shop!

This weeks menu is designed to use as little oven heat as possible. It does use it some. But the majority of the menu is cool food. We are in monsoon season here in Las Vegas. What that means is that we have humidity every day. We also get storms in some part of the valley almost everyday. We are not used to humidity here. So the thought of turning on an oven to cook a meal is not very appealing.
The Menu
Appetizer~Fruit Cup in Meringue Shells
Salad/Soup~ Green Salad w/Champagne Vinaigrette
Entree~Trio Salad
Side Dish~Summer Salsa w/ Pita Chips
Dessert~Angel Fruit Trifle

Grocery List
Egg Whites
Cream of Tartar 
Vanilla Extract
Almond Extract
Your Favorite Fruits

Cherry Tomatoes
1 Mango 
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Champagne Vinegar
Salt & Pepper
Dijon Mustard
Vegetable Oil
Olive Oil

Trio Salad
Salt & Pepper
Chicken Breast
Tuna Fish

Summer Salsa 
Sweet Onion
1 Orange-Med to Large
3 med Tomatoes
Olive Oil
Rice Wine Vinegar
Fresh Garlic
Salt & Pepper
Pita Bites

Angel Fruit Trifle
Cake Flour
9 Egg Whites
Cream of Tartar
Vanilla Extract
Almond Extract 
(Ignore the above list if you want to buy
an angel food cake)
Mangoes(or favorite fruit)
3 1/2 cups Milk
3 Eggs
Vanilla Bean or Extract

Thanks for joining me today! 
I will see you tomorrow when we make our appetizer;
Fruit Cups in a Meringue Shell!
See you then!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Culinary Word of the Week- Compound Butter

What is compound butter? It is butter that is softened, and then mixed with either sweet or savory ingredients. Compound butters are delicious when left as a spread, to use on toasts or refrigerated and then sliced to put on a steak. You can mix the butter with honey, or syrup, fresh herbs, or dried herbs, and even fruit juice. The only limit is your imagination. The compound butter we are making today will be perfect served on grilled chicken, grilled corn or cornbread.
Herb Butter
(adapted from Land O Lakes)
1/2 cup Butter, softened
2 tablespoons Finely chopped Red Pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried Oregano Leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried Basil Leaves
Pinch of dried rubbed Sage
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
Cut about 1/3 of a large red pepper into strips.
Place in a food processor and chop. If you do not have 
a food processor, chop the pepper strips to a very fine size. 
It should look about this size.
Add the chopped red pepper, and the spices to the butter,
and mix thoroughly with a spoon or spatula.
Cover the mix and set it aside for 1 hour to let the 
butter absorb the herbs.
After the hour is up, place the butter on a piece of plastic.
Use the plastic to form the butter into a log.
Cover the log with the plastic.
Refrigerate the log until it has hardened
After it has hardened, unwrap.
Slice into small pieces and place on corn or grilled chicken 
as they come off the grill! Delicious!
Thanks for joining me today!
Later today I will be posting the menu and grocery list
for this week. It's hot outside here in Las Vegas, and it's muggy too!
We are spoiled and not used to that!! So our menu this week
is a cool one. Very little heat!
See you then!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Key Lime Mousse Shooters

This weeks dessert is one I have made several times. At one time I was a pastry chef for a catering company. This was a dessert we made for several special occasions. It is a great recipe for a large gathering. There are not many ingredients, it looks like you went to a lot of work, and it tastes wonderful and refreshing. It is a dessert meant to impress. So give it a try!
Key Lime Mousse Shooters 
Makes about 17
(adapted from Taste of Home website)
4 ounces Cream Cheese, very soft
2/3 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
15 Key Limes
1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
plastic shot glasses
mini spoons
Place soft cream cheese and sweetened condensed
milk in mixing bowl.
Remember the post I did about hand juicers? 
That is what I used here.
Juice your key limes until you fill the 1/4 cup. 
It took 11 key limes to make a 1/4 cup. I double checked 
this by pouring into a glass measuring cup. It 
measured a bit more in the glass cup, but I left it in. Because
I have made this recipe before, I knew it would be ok.
(This just solidifies what I was saying with Mondays 
appetizer fiasco!)
Pour the juice into the bowl and mix.
Now we need to make the whipped cream. This means we
need to put our key lime batter in another bowl for a few minutes.
You could make the whip cream before the key lime mix,
but there are two reasons that I didn't. First, once I mix
whipped cream, I don't usually like to move it a lot.
I worry about it falling when it is getting jostled around,
plus this recipe calls for the whipped creme to be folded in
with the key lime mixture. That presents another opportunity
for the whipped creme to fall flat.
Whip your whipped cream until stiff peaks appear.
Fold the whipped cream into the key lime mix.
Do this by gently putting your spatula under the mix
and then turning it over. Do this several times.
Place the mix in a pastry bag.
Line up your shot glasses.
 Pipe the mix into the shot glasses.
I did not use a decorating tip. I only used the coupler
that I inserted in the bag.

As you fill the shot glasses, leave a little room at the top.
Make some more whipped cream. Use about 1/2
cup of heavy whipping cream, and 2 tablespoons
of confectioners sugar. Whip until stiff peaks appear.
Add more sugar if you think it needs it.
Then pipe the whipped cream on top of the
mousse filling. Use the coupler with no tip.
Thinly slice the key lime, and then cut the slices in half.
Garnish each cup with the key lime slice.
  Don't they look great?
They are a treat you will be proud to serve.

Thanks for joining me this week for
our mini's menu.

Join me tomorrow for the culinary word of the week!
Remember~Any questions or you are not sure about a recipe,
please comment here, or email me at thefreshmancook@hotmail.com! 

See you tomorrow!

Mini Re-Bakes

This weeks side dish is mini re-bakes. There is something great about making re-bakes. They can be made fancy or simple. It all depends on what you put in them. When you think about it, almost anything will work. You can stuff your potatoes with bacon, mushrooms, onions, or even cilantro, sun dried tomatoes, asparagus, chicken, or smoked salmon. The sky is the limit. When I made these mini re-bakes, I put the mashed potato and the ingredients into the potato with a spoon. If you are looking for a little fancier result, you can pipe your potato with a pastry bag and a decorating tip. Anyway you make them, they will be great!
Wash your potatoes, then prick the skin with a fork
to help the steam release when they are cooked, 
and they won't explode. (It happens)
Microwave your potatoes. I know some people don't
like to microwave potatoes. I have heard comments that
the potatoes don't taste the same. I kind of agree. 
They do taste a little different, just not enough to
make any difference to me. So, go ahead and
bake them in the oven if you want to. Your 
potatoes are small, so it shouldn't take longer than about
5-6 minutes to cook. After they are cooked, let them cool
for about 15 minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking, fry your bacon.
You want it crisp so you can chop it up for the potato.
Drain the bacon on a paper towel.
While your bacon is cooling, cut your potatoes in half.
Then, scoop out the pulp in your potato. Leave a 
little around the diameter of the potato to keep 
some stability. 
Put the pulp in a bowl.
Add milk.
Mix together until creamy.
Put the mixed potatoes back in the potato shells.
Top the potatoes with chopped bacon and cheddar.
Put in the microwave to melt the cheese.
If you want to put them in the oven, cook at 
325 degrees for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them.
Enjoy your mini re-bakes.

Thanks for joining me for this weeks side dish.
I hope you enjoy the potatoes, and make them often.

Tomorrow we will be making this weeks dessert,
Key Lime Mousse Shooters.
They are delicious and habit forming.

See you then!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Chicken Fried Chicken Sliders

This weeks entree is a cute little sandwich. Sliders. I just love the name! But, let's not waste time talking. We need to get cooking, 'cause these are good!!
Chicken Breasts
Bread Crumbs
Vegetable Oil
Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper
Hawaiian Rolls
Trim the fat off of your chicken, and then cut your
chicken pieces to a size that will fit your bun.
Just eyeball the size.
 Heat the oil in a pan to cook your chicken.
Let's get our assembly line going so we can bread our 
chicken. Whisk together the egg and 2 tablespoons of milk.
Dip your chicken in. Make sure both sides are coated.
Put flour in the next bowl. Dip your chicken in this
bowl next.
After the flour, dip your chicken back in the egg mixture.
 Next, dip the chicken in the bread crumbs.
Make sure both sides are completely covered.
Here are the chicken pieces ready to be fried.
The top two are breaded with Italian  bread crumbs.
The bottom two are breaded with crushed ritz crackers.
Fry the chicken in the pan. It should take about
6-7 minutes per side.
Let your chicken pieces rest on a paper towel
for a few minutes. (a napkin works too :)!
Build your sliders. Add mayo, tomato, lettuce.
They also taste good with very little on them.

Thanks for joining me today! I hope you will try 
these sliders. You can put the chicken on any type of bread,
but the Hawaiian rolls are really good!

Please join me tomorrow when we will be making this
weeks side dish~mini restuffed baked potatoes.

See you then!!