My latest creation … please go over to my blog’s new “home” www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com for the recipe!
I have blogged this delicious spread before, but I have decided it deserves its own post. After all, I’ve made it three times now, and everyone that has tasted it has raved about it … and I keep missing it when it’s gone and having to make more.
I hope you will zip over to my new site for the recipe … and while you are there, make sure to enter your email address in the right sidebar and click the “Get Recipes by Email” button. Eventually I won’t be posting over here anymore and I would really really hate to lose you …
I have some exciting news for you! Well, it’s exciting to me, anyway, and I hope you find it exciting too … Sumptuous Spoonfuls is teaming up with Swiss Diamond International. I will be crafting some recipes for Swiss Diamond International using their cookware. They are not paying me to do this, but they are giving me samples of their cookware to use in developing their recipes.
I was really excited when Swiss Diamond International contacted me, and even more excited after I read about their cookware. I was intrigued by the use of diamonds in cookware. This is from Swiss Diamond’s web site:
- Diamonds are durable – As the hardest material known to man, diamonds give the coating additional strength and resilience.
- Diamonds are a better heat conductor than metal – Four times more conductive than copper, diamonds create even heat distribution across the pan’s surface. Diamonds also allow the pan to brown food like stainless steel, creating a “fond” that can be used for gravy – or easily washed away with warm soapy water.
- Diamonds are naturally nonstick – One of the most valuable properties of diamonds in a nonstick coating is that very little sticks to them. Coupled with their durability, this creates a lifetime of superior performance.
So I was curious to see if it really works … and I have to say I absolutely love these pans! They cook like a dream … the heat distributes across the pan so well. The food cooks faster and so evenly. And nothing sticks to the pan … with no cooking spray or butter. I tried some of the stickiest, most difficult things (like fried rice) and nothing stuck. And they’re so easy to clean too. (By the way, while Swiss Diamond did give me the pans, they did not pay me to say that … this is my honest experience.) I’m curious to see how well they retain that magic nonstick surface … I guess time will tell.
For this recipe, I used the crepe/omelet pan. This little pan is by far my favorite so far. It has a low lip so that it’s easy to flip crepes, omelets, and pancakes. (Even the IHOP-style pancakes that have always been a struggle for me to flip … I found I can even make giant pancakes – bigger than IHOP’s! – in this pan and they cook and flip SO nicely.) Anyway, I was craving a quesadilla the other day and thought this pan would be perfect for that. I wanted to try making it without any oil or cooking spray and see if the tortilla got properly crisped and browned on both sides. And you know what? It did.
You don’t have to have a crepe / omelet pan to make these quesadillas … any frying pan will do. But it sure makes cooking a pleasure.
Chipotle Black Bean Quesadilla with Avocado Cream
For each quesadilla:
- 1/2 of a ripe avocado
- 1 oz. light cream cheese
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped onion
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
- juice from 1/4 – 1/2 of a fresh lime
- 1 – 2 teaspoons plain nonfat yogurt (optional)
- 2 tortillas that fit the size of your pan. I used some whole wheat “wraps” that were a little smaller than my crepe pan.
- Refried black beans (homemade or canned)
- About a Tablespoon of finely chopped onion
- About a Tablespoon of finely chopped chipotle pepper (a jalapeno roasted on the grill would also work)
- About 1/2 oz. of finely shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
- For serving: your favorite salsa. A fire-roasted salsa is especially nice with this quesadilla!
- First, make the Avocado cream by mashing the avocado in a bowl, then mash in the cream cheese, onion, garlic and lime juice and stir until everything is mixed well and the mixture is fairly smooth. Add a teaspoon or two of plain nonfat yogurt if you like to get it to a nice spreadable consistency.
- Take one tortilla and spread it with a layer of refried black beans, then spread on a layer of avocado cream. Sprinkle the onion and chipotle pepper over, then sprinkle evenly with the shredded cheddar and top it all off with the 2nd tortilla.
- Heat your pan over medium heat. If your pan needs it, spray the pan with cooking spray, then slide the quesadilla into the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, then check to see if the bottom is nicely browned and crisp. Once it’s brown, flip the quesadilla over with a spatula and cook until it’s brown on the other side and the cheese is melted. (The bottom half is crisp by now so the quesadilla is fairly easy to flip, but if you are making a large quesadilla, you may need to slide the quesadilla onto a cutting board and then flip it over back into the pan.)
- Slide the quesadilla onto a cutting board, cut into wedges, and serve with the salsa.
If you would like to purchase Swiss Diamond cookware, visit http://www.swissdiamond.us/.
My daughter, her friend and I went up to my friend’s lake house this weekend for a “girls” weekend. I wanted to bring along some fun “girly” things to eat, so I made up some chocolate mascarpone spread so we could make chocolate strawberry bruschetta, and while I was at it, I made a pumpkin maple spread too. But then I needed something to put the pumpkin spread on, so, despite the fact that it was a crazy busy day, on a total whim I started up some dough in my bread machine to make pumpkin cinnamon swirl bread. I wasn’t really sure that I would be home long enough on Saturday to bake it before we left, but somehow I managed it. And I was SO glad I did. This bread, with the pumpkin mascarpone spread is pure bliss to eat. You can just close your eyes and lose yourself in the lovely taste of it. My friend said she felt like she could just keep eating it till she exploded. I told her I wasn’t going to share that on my blog, but now here I am sharing it LOL. The young teenage girls loved it too.
We had such a fun weekend. We went for a LONG walk along the lake, then we had tea and hot chocolate and a lovely dinner … I made the salad, my daughter’s friend made cajun chicken pasta, my friend made green beans and we had rotisserie chicken and chicken sausages too, then we listened to funky music and my friend and I had wine and chatted while the girls danced their hearts out in the living room.
My friend who has three boys and has rarely (if ever?) had a girls weekend, wanted to take some of the bread home to her boys. I couldn’t let her have it ALL (my daughter wanted some!), but I did give her the smaller loaf to take home … so the boys could try it too. I think she loved the girls weekend, but I could also tell she felt a little lost without her boys. I was craving some male energy too. Girls’ weekends are great, but … well, we need our boys, too. However, I do have to tell you my daughter and I were awfully tempted to buy this lakefront house we saw, move to the lake and leave our “city” life behind.
Yeah, that’s not going to happen. It is tempting, though …
Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread
- 1 package (1 tablespoon) active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup puréed pumpkin
- 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 1/4 cups bread flour
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached white whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- To make the swirl: Cooking spray (or melted butter) + cinnamon sugar
- Dump all the ingredients except for the “Swirl” ingredients into your bread machine and set it on the dough setting.
- When the dough is ready, roll it out into a rectangle, spray with cooking spray, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and roll it up. (I rolled it up lengthwise, and the dough was long enough to make one loaf pan plus a smaller loaf.)
- Spray your loaf pans with cooking spray and carefully transfer the dough into them, tucking under the ends to form a nice loaf shape. Spray the loaves with cooking spray, cover with a clean towel and set in a warm place to rise.
- When the dough has risen to a big, puffy state (roughly double the size), bake at 375 F. for about 30 minutes or until the loaves are a deep golden brown on top and the loaves sound hollow inside when you thump them.
- Let the bread sit for about 5 – 10 minutes, then slice and serve with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream.
Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream
- 3 oz. light cream cheese
- 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 3/4 – 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (if you don’t have any on hand, here’s a quick recipe to make your own)
- 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
Let the cream cheese warm up a bit at room temperature, then in a small mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese with the rest of the ingredients until it’s all smooth and very well mixed. You can use a spoon or a mixer does the job quickly and gets the spread all nice and fluffy. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
This recipe was shared at Scrumptious Sunday, Melt in your Mouth Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Talent Show, Tasty Tuesday, Wonderful Food Wednesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Show & Share Wednesday, Cast Party Wednesday , Full Plate Thursday and All my Bloggy Friends.
I had a big beautiful purple eggplant that was starting to fade, so I had to find a good use for it fast. I decided to make it into a dip … at first I was going to make some more baba ghanoush, but then I thought perhaps I could make something different with it … perhaps something with the flavors of Eggplant Parmesan … except creamier. Something you could spread on little toasts and munch on with a good glass of wine.
We finished the A-Z Health Challenge on facebook on Saturday … I still need to make my way through all the Zucchini recipes everyone shared, but I was busy with my Mom and Dad’s Anniversary party this weekend. The party turned out well, but I’m exhausted. I need a day off. How nice that we have a holiday today so I have a day just to rest. Although I won’t really be resting. We’ll be harvesting tomatoes and other garden bounty, packing and driving and unpacking, assembling my new chairs that my aunt and uncle brought up for me.
Eggplant Parmesan Layer Dip
- 2 1/2 cups roasted eggplant (I used 1 large globe + 1 small Japanese eggplant)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
- 6 oz cream cheese
- 1/4 cup fat free greek yogurt
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Your favorite marinara or pasta sauce (I used my crock pot garden marinara sauce)
- Shredded asiago (or parmesan) and mozzarella cheese (maybe a cup of the two cheeses, mixed? I didn’t measure the cheese … use enough to cover the sauce)
- Fresh garden tomato, chopped fine
- Fresh herbs for garnish
- Thin slices of toasted ciabatta or french bread
- To roast the eggplant on the grill, poke the pretty purple fruit all around with a fork, then grill on a hot grill until the outside is black and charred and the eggplant is sagging a LOT … that means it’s fully cooked.
- Pull off the peel and discard, then chop the pulp roughly and measure it. You will need about 2 1/2 cups for this dip (or you can scale down the other ingredients to match the amount of eggplant you have). Put the eggplant, garlic, herbs, and cream cheese in a food processor or handi chopper and blend till smooth. I had to do this in batches because my handi chopper wasn’t big enough to hold it all! Pour the creamy mixture into a bowl and stir in the greek yogurt, then add salt to taste.
- You can serve the dip in individual ramekins or in a larger pie or tart pan. Smear a good thick layer of the creamy eggplant mixture on the bottom of the dish, cover with a layer of marinara or pasta sauce, then top with shredded cheese and some chopped tomato on top. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with thinly sliced toasted ciabatta or french bread.
This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck, Melt in your Mouth Monday, Manic Monday, Talent Show Tuesday. Trick or Treat Tuesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Cast Party Wednesday, Thursday’s Treasures and Fit & Fabulous Friday.
and a Mushroom Cherry Tomato Quinoa Pilaf
Ever since I made Baba Ghanoush, I’ve been wondering: what else could you do with eggplant puree? And then I picked up these HUGE chicken breasts at the store and was marinading them in buttermilk for my daughter and I for dinner … and it occurred to me that these babies would be really good stuffed with something wonderful and creamy. Eggplant puree, with cream cheese! and fresh tarragon and basil! Ah yes! How wonderful would THAT be?
Um yeah, completely wonderful … especially when you serve it over a pilaf of nutty quinoa with garlicky sauteed mushrooms and fresh garden cherry tomatoes.
Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Marinade: buttermilk + seasonings
Eggplant Tarragon Cream Filling:
- 3/4 cup chopped roasted (or grilled) eggplant
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 oz light cream cheese
- About 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped mixed basil & tarragon leaves
- Put the chicken breasts in a bowl and add enough buttermilk to cover them completely. Add seasonings as you like: I added a couple teaspoons of Mrs. Dash and a couple teaspoons of a basic rub seasoning I like to use. Let the chicken marinade in the buttermilk for at least an hour … I left mine in there overnight.
- To cook the eggplant, I took a couple of the little purple tender eggplant from mom’s garden, sliced them lengthwise, sprayed them with cooking spray and set on a baking sheet that I’d sprayed with cooking spray. (If you’re using a larger eggplant, you probably want to peel it and slice into 1/4 inch slices.) Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant is soft and tender. Chop the eggplant roughly and toss them into a handi chopper with a couple cloves of garlic, the cream cheese and some fresh tarragon and basil leaves. Pulse to mix it all well and make a good creamy filling.
- Now, take the chicken breasts and slice into them horizontally with a small knife, not cutting all the way through so you make a little pocket in each chicken breast. Fill each pocket with half the filling, then close the open end with a toothpick.
- Heat up your grill and sear both sides of the chicken breasts on the hot part of the grill, then move them to the cooler part of the grill to cook until they are cooked through.
- Serve over a bed of the mushroom cherry tomato quinoa pilaf (recipe below), garnished with a few fresh basil or tarragon leaves.
Mushroom Cherry Tomato Quinoa Pilaf
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup of mushrooms sauteed with red wine, garlic, and bruschetta seasoning (see my Chardonnay Mushrooms recipe for instructions)
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
- Roasted sunflower seeds
Sautee the mushrooms with a couple cloves of garlic and a splash of red wine like I did with my Chardonnay Mushrooms. Add the hot, cooked quinoa, then the cherry tomatoes and stir gently to mix. Cook for just a few minutes to let the cherry tomatoes heat up. Serve the pilaf sprinkled with a couple tablespoons of sunflower seeds for a nice salty crunch.
One of my girlfriends, when she tasted these truffles, told me (in a quiet voice so the “boys” wouldn’t hear) that these truffles are almost better than sex. I laughed, and she said, “I’m serious!” … since then, a couple of my other girlfriends have confirmed her opinion … and I’m quite curious to see what my male friend says about them. He better hurry though, or he is totally going to miss these truffles!
There is a story behind this recipe … I started out to make brownie bites for the party, baking them in my mini-muffin tin. The first batch I put raspberries in the middle of the brownies and I undercooked them. They tasted really good, but they were just too gooey to eat. I didn’t want to throw them out … what a waste of good chocolate that would be!
So I decided to make my brownies into truffles. And while I was thinking about how to do this, I was chatting with my friend online … he had just gone to the vending machine to find something to eat:
Me: so what did you find to eat?
Him: Peanuts and Coke.
Me: lol peanuts are good
Him: I needed some fluids and sugar. I was getting the shakes really bad.
Me: Shakes are not good …
… unless they’re chocolate
Him: Chocolate and raspberry
Something about him saying “chocolate and raspberry” in the context of a milkshake while I was in the midst of figuring out how I was going to make my chocolate/raspberry truffles made me think “raspberry cream” … and that’s how they got the raspberry cream center.
Raspberry Cream Brownie Truffles
- 1/3 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen … if you are using fresh, pack them into the cup a bit … thaw out the frozen ones before adding them)
- 8 oz light cream cheese
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon rose vodka or Chambord (raspberry liqueur) … (optional)
- 2/3 cup good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
- 1 2/3 cups brownie “crumbs” (about 10 brownie bites) … mine wouldn’t exactly make crumbs. I just broke them into small pieces as best I could. I do recommend you undercook your brownies just a bit so they are a little soft and gooey for the truffles. Here’s the brownie recipe I used.
- 1 1/3 cups crushed chocolate graham cracker crumbs, ground into a fine powder in a handi chopper or food processor (if you can’t find chocolate graham crackers, just crush up some chocolate cookies)
- For dipping: 2 high quality chocolate bars (4-oz. each) … (I used Ghirardelli)
- First, make the raspberry cream: mix the raspberries with the cream cheese, honey, vanilla and liquor. Divide this creamy berry mixture in half, putting half of it in a container in the fridge for later.
- In a small microwave-safe bowl or double boiler, melt the chocolate chips. (Microwave on high for one minute, stir, then microwave 30 seconds, stir … repeat until you can stir out all the lumps of chocolate.)
- Mix the rest of the cream mixture with the melted chocolate chips, the brownie “crumbs”, and the chocolate graham cracker crumbs. Cover the bowl and set in the freezer for an hour or so to chill or in the fridge for several hours.
- When the chocolate “dough” is good and cold, it’s time to form the truffles! Choose a cookie sheet or other flat pan that will fit in your freezer. Take a small spoonful of the dough and shape it into a little cup in your hands. Put about 1/2 teaspoon of the raspberry cream mixture into the cup, then add a little more chocolate “dough” on top to cover the cream and form it into a ball shape. Set the ball on the pan and repeat until you’ve used up all the dough. Somehow I came out just about right … there was enough cream and chocolate to make a bunch of truffles (I’m not quite sure how many there were, though.) Don’t worry if the cream isn’t covered all the way or if some of the balls are bumpy. We’re going to dip these in chocolate anyway.
- Put the balls into the freezer and let them chill for several hours or overnight.
- When you are ready to dip your truffles, prepare an area to set them by laying out some waxed paper. I like to put them on a cookie sheet so it is easy to move them or stick them in the fridge if I need to (which is sometimes necessary on a hot day like it was the day I was making these!).
- Break the chocolate bars into pieces and melt in the microwave or over a double boiler, taking care to melt just till the chocolate is smooth and no longer. Dip each ball in the chocolate, rolling it around with a spoon to cover all the sides. I then stuck a toothpick in the ball and shook it a little (so there’s some chocolate left for the rest of the truffles!) and then put it on the waxed paper, sliding the toothpick out when quickly before the chocolate sets up. You can use the spoon to remove it too, or your fingers … no matter how you do it, it’s going to be a little messy (but hey, who doesn’t like to be covered in chocolate?).
- Once you’ve dipped all the truffles, let them sit until the chocolate is set. You may need to put them in the fridge to get the chocolate to set up … once it is set, transfer the truffles into a covered container to store in the fridge.