Yum Peaceful Cooking: June 2014

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mushroom and Gruyere Cheesecake #SundaySupper

Summer is in full swing! We have bbq's and picnics to plan and attend, with the promise of great food and good times ahead, and memories to be made.

Some of our best memories have been made during the summer months when we gather with our closest friends and family, spending hours around the pool, eating, drinking, playing games and then finishing the night off gathered around the fire pit as things wind down.

One of my dearest friends gave me wonderful cookbook several years ago called What Can I Bring by Anne Byrn. This book is a great resource for bbq's and picnics. Some time ago (as in a few years ago) this savory cheesecake recipe really caught my eye. I've been wanting to make it but was having a difficult time wrapping my head around a cheesecake that wasn't dessert.

Silly me!!

Think of it as a cheese frittata of sorts. The crust is made with bread crumbs, although I think crackers would work wonderfully. Of course there's no sugar involved. It's just creamy cheesy deliciousness that seriously makes you wish that it wasn't so high in calories cuz you really want another slice. 

Mushroom and Gruyere Cheesecake
recipe from What Can I Bring by Anne Byrn
Printable Recipe

The Crust
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups fine bread crumbs (I used plain)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)

The Filling
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 oz mushrooms, finely chopped (about 2 cups). I used cremini
3 8oz packagers of cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 to 1 tsp powdered garlic (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 large eggs
4 oz shredded Gruyere cheese (about 1 cup)
1 10oz package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
Ground Pepper

The Crust Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350'F. Prepare a 9" springform pan by rubbing the tablespoon of butter on the bottom and around the side. Set aside.

Spread the bread crumbs on a baking sheet and allow them to toast in the oven for about 8-10 minutes. Place toasted crumbs in a small bowl. Add the melted butter and optional 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon (depending on taste) and stir to combine.

Transfer the buttered bread crumbs to the springform pan and press firmly along the bottom and about 1/2 way up the sides.

Place the springform pan back into the over for an additional 8-10 minutes or until the crust is a nice golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

The Filling Instructions
Reduce the oven temperature down to 325' F

In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter over medium-high heat. Add the chopped mushrooms and saute, stirring often until the mushrooms release their liquid. This should take about 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl cream the cream cheese, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the option 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of garlic (depending on taste), the nutmeg and cayenne pepper and mix until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, mixture until just combined before adding the next egg. 

Divide the cream cheese mixture evenly between two bowls. In one bowl, add the spinach and green onions, stirring to combine. Spoon into the bottom of the crust.

Spoon the sauteed mushrooms over the spinach filling.

In the second bowl cream cheese mixture, stir in the Gruyere cheese and carefully spoon over the mushrooms.

Place the springform pan onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 1 hr and 15 minutes, or until just set.

Turn the oven off and open the oven door slightly (you can use a kitchen towel to keep the oven door slightly ajar) and let the cheesecake sit in there to rest for an hour. Then place it on a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature before serving (about 30 - 40 minutes).

If you're making this ahead of time, by all means store it in the fridge over night.

Here's the beauty of this magnificent beast....it tastes best at room temperature. It's good cold too. Warmed up? It loses something. The texture is altered and the flavors aren't as predominant. This is what makes it such a great picnic food! No worries about keeping it hot or cold....its best as is!!

For more wonderful picnic food ideas, take a look at what some of the others have made:
Sandwiches and Wraps
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Elote #PicnicGame

Today we are celebrating International Picnic Day by bringing you a basket packed with goodies from A to Z, in the style of the picnic game

Drop by the Sunday Supper Movement to see the whole picnic spread out on our virtual blanket.

I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing... 
Asian Chicken Salad from Try Anything Once Culinary 
Beautiful Beet Salad from Small Wallet, Big Appetite 
Chicken Muffuletta from Marlene Baird
Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups from The Dinner-Mom 


Wait...what?! Elote?

Yes, Elote...as in Mexican Street Corn. Totally yummy grilled corn on the cob with seasonings and cheese and stuff.

The first time I tried (or even heard of) Elote was not that long ago, at a Dodger game. And I fell in love!

Its super easy. way delicious, and perfect for picnics.

Simply get your grill on

And get your cleaned corn on the grill

I grilled them on a lower heat at first, turning often until they were just about cooked, then added more coals to get a good char going.

I knew they were done when I could smell them. Oh the smell of sweet, sweet corn.

Then for the good stuff (this is enough for 4 - 6 ears of corn)

inspired by The Kitchn

4 -6 grilled corn ears
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt to taste
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Cotija cheese, finely crumbled
2 limes sliced into wedges

Combine the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, cinnamon and desired amount of salt.

Slather a good amount of mayonnaise all over the corn. Don't be shy. Don't be weirded out. Trust me. It's amazing.

Sprinkle (or shower, depending on how much seasoning you like) the chili powder mixture all over the the place. 

Then sprinkle on the cheese and drizzle with some lime juice. 

Grab that cobber and dig in.....

And be ready for your taste buds to be wowed! All those flavors coming together is absolutely delicious. The sweet corn, slightly spicy chili powder, smokey cumin and then the slightest hint of cinnamon all accented by the tangy Cojita cheese and lime juice. This very well could be my favorite corn. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Grilled Chipotle Chicken Pizza #SundaySupper

I'm excited to say that I have joined the #SundaySupper Movement! And this is my first participating post. Wouldn't you know it....it's all about Man Food! Is there much out there that men won't eat?

I think not.

At the bottom, you will find a list of other #SundaySupper blogger's Man Food recipes and links. You can check them all out and see what you find that'll make your man happy.

What man doesn't like pizza? There might be a few out there but I've never met one. This Father's Day, to celebrate the man in your life, rather than turning on the oven to bake your pizza (and getting the house all hot and uncomfortable), why not take a shot at it on the grill? The flavor that's imparted is wonderful, just like anything else that's BBQ'd. You know that tell-tale smokey flavor that announces 'summer' loud and clear. Grilled pizza is fun, quick, and so darned good!

As with all pizzas, there are 3 components: the dough/crust, the sauce, and the toppings. Most of which can be partially prepared ahead of time. Even a day beforehand. 

First I'm going to share a beautiful pizza dough recipe. I've used it several times over the past few years and for the life of me, I cannot remember where I originally got the recipe (which is really bugging me now cuz I really would love to give them credit). 

Pizza Dough:
1 package of active dry yeast (comes out to 2 1/2 tsp)
3 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 TBS honey 
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup warm water (about 110 - 115 degrees)

Mix the honey and the water together. Add the yeast. Let sit for about 10 minutes, until it foams. Add salt and oil and give it a quick stir. Add the flour and mix well. Mix together with a wooden spoon or by hand. If it's too wet, add a bit of flour (1 TBS at a time) until its dry enough. If it's too dry, add a bit of water (1 TBS at a time) until its right. Turn out onto a well floured surface and knead until its nice and smooth. You might want to step away for a few minutes during kneading to let the dough rest. When you come back, it will knead so nicely and get all smooth and beautiful for you. 

Form the dough into a ball and put into a large oiled bowl. Cover with a clean cloth and let it rise in a warm area until it has doubled in size (about 35 - 45 minutes or more). Punch down and let it rise again until it has doubled in size (about 1 - 1.5 hrs). Punch it down. 

At this point, you can store it in the refrigerator in a lightly covered container, for a few days. Do not seal the container tight as the dough will still rise (albeit slowly) in the fridge and you do not want the gases to build up and cause an explosion. When ready to use, remove from the fridge and let it sit at room temp a bit before working with it. 

Turn it onto a well floured surface and prepare your dough for pizza. I divided it up into 4 balls and made individual sized pizzas. The number of pizza you get out of this dough will depend on how think you want your crust and how big you want them. 

Chipotle Pizza Sauce:
Inspired by The Neely's Chipotle Sauce

1 cup sour cream (if you can get Mexican sour cream, all the better)
2 chipotle peppers, seeded
2 green onions, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Juice from 1 lime

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth and creamy. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. At least an hour or 2 would be good in order for the flavors to mesh together and get all warm and fuzzy.

Note: If you are sensitive to heat, then use 1 chipotle. If you like it really hot, then leave the seeds in.

Shredded Smokey Chicken:
Preheat the oven to 425' F if using the oven to bake the chicken, otherwise prepare your grill accordingly.

3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
juice from 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse and pat dry the chicken.

In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, garlic powder and cumin.

Drizzle the chicken with lemon juice on both sides and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub the chili powder combo on the chicken, on both sides.

Bake in a hot oven on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray, for about 30 minutes, or until done. Or grill over medium-hot coals until the juices inside run clear.

Let cool first, then shred.

Shredded cheddar cheese
Shredded jack cheese
Grilled onions
Grilled bell peppers
Sliced avocado
Chopped cilantro
Lime wedges

Grilling and assembling the pizza:
Heat up your grill and make it hot. You want a even heat. If you are using charcoal, spread those hot coals evenly around, under your grate.

On a lightly floured surface, shape your dough as desired. Place it on a pizza peel that is lightly dusted with flour or cornmeal, if you have one. If you don't have a pizza peel, dust the bottom side of a cookie sheet and use that.

Slide the dough off the peel and onto the middle of your grill (this should be done in one full sweep). Cover and let cook for maybe 3 - 5 minutes? Check it and see what's going on. It all depends on how charred you want it.

It will bubble up and get all cool looking

When it's lightly browned, remove it using a couple of spatulas, flipping it over onto your peel.

The cooked side will now be the top of your pizza. Spread the Chipotle sauce over the crust

Add the cheese, shredded chicken, grilled onions and more cheese and then slide it back onto the grill.

Cover and grill for another few minutes, until the top is melted and bubbly and the bottom is a deep golden brown or even a bit charred, should you so desire.

Remove. Add the avocados, cilantro and drizzle with lime juice.

Slice and serve!

The cool cream in the sauce keeps the chipotle peppers under control. To a point. It's a bit spicy but that's what's so darned good about it. That smokey chipotle heat, which is also enhanced by the grill. The chicken is just plain good, especially with all that melted cheese everywhere. All in all, this is just a great combo of flavors that naturally go well together. Put it all on a deliciously homemade pizza crust and you can't go wrong.

Manly Starters:
Manly Mains:
Manly Desserts:
Wine Pairings for Man Food #SundaySupper byENOFYLZ Wine Blog

Sunday Supper Movement

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our#SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.
« Last Edit: Today at 08:05:48 AM by Susan @ LittleRedKitchen »

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Wicked Tidal Wave Frozen Cocktail

This cocktail probably has one of the silliest inspirations. Have you ever seen those dorky games that use, for example, the number of letters in your last name, and you're given a word. Then based on the 3rd letter of your first name, you're given another word. Put the words together and it's your "porn star name". Silly, and probably tasteless I know. But some combinations are pretty funny.

Well....this drink came from a similar game called "What's Your Tropical Drink Name?"  My word combination was 'Wicked Tidal Wave'. I never get cool combos like that! So of course I had to make "my" tropical drink!

Since I'm going for a tidal wave color, Kinky Blue is no brainer. With its tropical fruit and wild berry flavors, coconut rum also fit the bill.  Of course the addition of vodka to add the "wicked" aspect. A splash of sprite to to keep them all under control...and that's the basics.

But I didn't stop there, I have to add some blue colored water flavoring stuff....just to deepen the blue. Then there's the whipped cream topping, Yes, there has to be a whipped cream on a tidal wave. A couple of squirts of  cream of coconut as the whipping cream is coming together......talk about YUM! Coconut flavored whipped cream? Umm...YA!!!

Wicked Tidal Wave

4 oz Kinky Blue
4 oz coconut rum
2 oz vodka
2 oz sprite
A couple squirts of Mio Fit Berry Blast or some other blue water flavoring (optional)
Garnish with coconut whipped cream

In a small pitcher, combine the Kinky Blue, rum, vodka and sprite.

Working in 2 batches, fill the blender halfway with ice. Pour in half of the mixture and blend until slushy. If you want a deeper blue color, squirt in a bit of the water flavoring. Blend briefly.

To make the whipped cream, pour 1 cup or so of heavy whipping cream into a mixing bowl (to be honest, I didn't measure). Beat on high until medium-soft. Squirt in a couple teaspoons or so of cream of coconut and continue beating until medium-firm.

Pour drink into a tall cocktail glass and top with coconut whipped cream

Note: If the drink is too sweet, add a bit more sprite or club soda. If you want it to be stronger, add a bit more vodka.

Enjoy the tropical fruit and berry flavors along with the coconut. But remember...don't drink it too fast. A brain freeze is never fun.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Chicken Thighs, Stirred Up and Fried Hard #50ShadesOfChicken

Are you ready for another tantalizing recipe from Fifty Shades of Chicken?

This is one of my favorites. It was so good! There was just a bit leftover and I had placed it in the fridge, all ready to take to work with me the next day and have it for lunch.

Someone ate it. All. I was pissed! Well, mostly thoroughly disappointed because I really was looking forward to enjoying it. Again. And if I had even more, I would've enjoyed it...twice in one day. Or more.

The way it's described in the cookbook (in a round about way) is perfect: "I lie exhausted on a bed of rice. He leans over me, tasting me and savoring the juices that are still dripping from me...."Satisfied, Miss Hen?"" This sentence, of course, is written from the chicken's point of view.

You will want to clean your plate and go in for round two with these juicy, tender thighs.

Chicken Thighs, Stirred Up and Fried Hard
aka (for the children's sake) Stir-Fried Chicken with Spinach and Peanuts
Printable Version

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, patted dry
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon honey
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (or peanut oil if you happen to have some)
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 bunch of green onions, white and green parts separated
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts (optional. I didn't have any on hand this time)
Cooked rice

Cut the chicken into sizes that are easily nibbled. Season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl mix together the broth, soy sauce, cornstarch and honey, using a whisk. Set aside.

Heat a wok or a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and sesame oil and allow to heat for a few seconds.

Add the chicken and stir-fry "hard, fast, and furiously" until its golden brown, yet not quite cooked through. This should take about 5 - 7 minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet and place it on a plate and "make it beg you to finish if off."

To the skillet, add the onion whites, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Cook until for about 30 seconds, bringing out the fragrance. Add the spinach and stir-fry for another minute.

Add the broth mixture to the pan and heat to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits which will add to the flavor of your sauce. Let the sauce simmer "until it is thick and velvety", about a minute or two.

If you're using the peanuts, now is the time to add them, along with the begging chicken, and the onion greens.

Stir it around in the sauce until it is good and tousled, the sauce is the desired thickness, and the chicken is done, about 2 minutes or so.

Serve over a bed or rice.

If you have the patience to savor the incredible flavors, I recommend enjoying these thighs with a pair of chop sticks.

Note: quotes and recipe are from Fifty Shades of Chicken by FL Fowler

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake @Driscollsberry #Strawshortcake

Fresh berries are everywhere. I love them all. But I have to say, strawberries are my favorite.

Every since I was a young child, I knew this to be a fact.

And not just anything strawberry. I mean..none of that strawberry 'flavored' stuff. I need the real thing. Fresh, ripe red, sweet strawberries.

I found a recipe for Old-fashioned Strawberry Shortcake in a really super old cookbook called The American Woman Cookbook. Its a wonderful book, and fun to have around. I did make a few revisions, but kept the basics as they have been for over 70 yrs.

Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

2 cups sifted flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoon dutch cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup shortening
6 oz chocolate chips
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 cups sliced strawberries
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
Whipped Cream
powdered sugar to garnish

Preheat oven to 450' F

Warm the milk just enough to dissolve the instant coffee in. Place in the fridge to cool. 

Sift the flour. Then sift the flour with the baking powder, salt, sugar and cocoa powder. With a fork or pastry blender, cut the shortening into the dough to form crumbles. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour the chilled coffee and milk mixture gradually into the flour crumbles to form a soft dough. 

On a lightly floured surface, form dough into a ball. Roll out to about 1/2 thick and cut into desired sized circles. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Brush the tops with some of the melted butter (reserve the rest for serving). 

Bake for 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, wash, hull and slice your fresh strawberries. Mix with the vanilla extract and set aside until ready to serve. 

Once the "muffins" are ready, let cool just long enough to handle without burning your hand. With a fork, split the muffins in half. Generously brush each side with melted butter.

Fill with whipped cream, strawberries, and dust with powdered sugar.

What's so timeless about this dessert isn't because it's been around for a long time. Not because there are cartoon characters named after it. Nor is it because it's quick and easy to make.

It's because the muffin, even though in this case is loaded with chocolate, remains a supporting character. It's not sweet and it's not over bearing. It allows the strawberry do with it does best. Shine. With it's natural beauty and sweetness that confirms to all that spring and summer are among us.