Showing posts with label fruit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fruit. Show all posts

7/10/14

Fruit-Filled Virgin Sangria




A few months ago, I attended a food blogger event at the City Creek Harmons. They served a delicious non-alcoholic basil sangria. I loved the drink and thought it would be fun to recreate my own version at home when fresh fruits were in season!

Sangria is traditionally served in Spain and Portugal and made with wine, sweetener, fruit and a bit of brandy. I'm not a drinker, but love drinks made with fresh fruit.






Last week, we watched the fireworks, soaked up the sunset and enjoyed a pitcher of this colorful drink from our patio. The kids and adults loved the fruit-filled pitcher. When it was empty, we just added more of the liquid base, mixed and enjoyed. This is a perfect addition to any summer party. It travels well- just take the cut up fruits, canned juice, soda and ice in a cooler and mix when the party starts.
Hope you're keeping cool this summer!




Fruit Filled Virgin Sangria
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1 frozen can of Welch's (or other brand) White Grape and Peach concentrate (not mixed up), thawed a bit*
one 2 liter bottle Ginger Ale or Sprite, sugarless is fine as well
ice, about 2-3 cups
a cup of water, if desired
Approximate fruit (for one pitcher)
2 limes, washed, sliced
1 orange, washed, peel on, sliced
1-2 cups strawberries, washed, a few sliced, a few left whole
handful of cherries
1 peach, peeled and sliced
mint leaves

Using a large glass pitcher, pour in half of the can of concentrate. Add half of a 2 liter bottle of Ginger Ale or Sprite. Add ice, about 2-3 cups. Mix a bit. Add chopped fruits and mint and stir lightly with large wood spoon.  If needed add a bit of water. You may leave the spoon in the pitcher if you wish to help scoop out the fruit while serving.
When the liquid is empty from the pitcher, simply add the remaining juice concentrate, ginger ale and more ice to the remaining fruit in pitcher. Stir and enjoy. You may also add more fruit if needed.
Serves 8

Tips:
-I used a white grape and peach blend but you can use any type of juice. I suggest white grape, pineapple, apple, grape, cranberry, peach, mango. The possibilities are endless.
-Most instructions for Sangria will advise to let the mixture to sit in the fridge for at least two hours before serving. Since I was using a carbonated liquid (and I was short on time), I made it right before serving. Either way works fine.
-If you would like the fruit to sit at the bottom of the pitcher, place the fruit in first, then the ice and the juice and carbonated beverage last. The weight of the ice will help the fruit to sit at the bottom instead of float on the top.
-You may use any combo of fresh fruit in season. I liked the look of the orange and green and red together with a splash of dark green.
-This recipe would also work well in a punch bowl.


6/27/14

Red, White and Blueberry Tart







Are you planning a 4th of July bash?
This is one of my favorite desserts, reinvented. Remember when fruit pizza was all the rage years ago? Sweet cookie crust, with cream cheese and powdered sugar icing, topped with fruit and glaze. Sometimes the fruit was arranged beautifully, other times it was dumped on top of the crust and cream cheese layer.
That was the 80's. Time to update this classic dessert.




First, I headed to Harmons to buy the sweetest, most plump, fresh berries. If you live in Utah, you're in business!  Harmons consistently has the best produce in the state. With the exception of picking berries yourself, Harmons is as fresh as it gets.




How do you update a classic? I decided switching from a pizza pan to tart pans made a big difference in presentation. Other subtle, but game changing differences- a little lemon flavoring, fresh fruit only (nothing canned) and no sugary glaze.
When you break this dessert down, it's a sugar cookie crust, lemon-cream cheese icing, topped with fresh fruit. So simple, a kid can make it.
I know you're going to love this for your summer gatherings!
Happy Fourth, and happy baking :)





Red, White and Blueberry Tart
A Bountiful Kitchen

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons lemon flavoring or lemon emulsion*
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
Individual tart pans or 9-10 inch tart pans

Cream together butter and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Add the lemon flavoring or emulsion and egg, beat until combined and smooth, about 1 minute.
Add the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar all at once. Mix just until flour disappears and wet and dry ingredients are combined,
Using individual tart pans (14-16  4-inch pans), or
2-3  9-10 inch or equivalent tart pans, lightly grease the pans with cooking spray.
Scoop the dough into the pans, and press into the pans lightly with hands.
If the dough gets too soft, place the dough in the refrigerator for a few minutes to help the dough firm up.
After all of the tart pans are filled, pre-heat oven to 375 and set the racks in the middle of oven.
When oven is pre heated, bake the tarts for about 10-12 minutes or until tarts are golden brown. For a
9-inch tart pan, bake about 15 minutes. Remove and set on rack to cool. Let cool completely. This step may be done up to two days ahead if kept covered after baked and cooled.

Lemon Cream Cheese Filling:
12 oz cream cheese, room temperature (1 1/2  8 oz blocks cream cheese)
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
dash of salt
splash of milk (if needed to thin)

Beat all of the filling ingredients together in a large bowl until smooth and blended well. The filling should be the consistency of  frosting.
Set aside in refrigerator until ready to use. If making ahead, refrigerate and cover.  Remove from refrigerator  about 30 minutes before ready to use.

Fruit topping:
fresh blueberries
fresh strawberries
fresh raspberries

Wash and drain the fruit thoroughly before using on the tarts. If the fruit is still wet from washing, it may bleed onto the cream cheese filling. I usually wash the fruit, let sit in a colander, then place on paper towels and pat lightly.

When ready to assemble:
Spread the cream cheese filling onto the tarts using a small spatula. Spread the filling almost to the edge of the tart. Arrange the fruit on top of the filling. Place tarts in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
May be prepared early in the day and covered until ready to serve.

Tips:
-Lemon emulsion and lemon extract are found in  most bakery supply stores or stores that sell cake decorating supplies.  Do not use lemon juice as a substitute in the tart shell. Fresh lemon juice is called for in the lemon cream cheese filling only.



6/23/14

Panera's Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad




Have you tried Panera's most popular salad? According to the girl who helped me last time I was there, it's the Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad. She promised I'd love it. She was right.
I loved all of the fruit in this salad: fresh pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges. As I was eating the salad, I knew it was going to end up on ABK...




If you're a Panera purist, you're probably wondering if a homemade salad is really going to taste like Panera's Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad. This recipe comes via  Panera's website. They demonstrate the recipe online through video (as far as I could find, only the dressing is in print).  I followed the recipe for their dressing (tweaked it just a bit reducing the Stevia and Dijon mustard) and made a note of the salad ingredients. They didn't disclose the recipe for their chicken, but it seems to have an herb/citrus type flavor. I came up with a version that has a nice herb crust that is flavorful, moist and easy to prepare in a home kitchen.

Herb-Crusted Chicken
I made this for dinner last week- twice, and guess what?
Don't tell our friends at Panera Bread, but it tasted  even better at home.
Every thing is better homemade.
Promise.


Panera's Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

Chicken:
3 chicken breast halves, about 1 1/2 lb total skinless, boneless
salt
*Mrs. Dash seasoning
olive oil
Lay the chicken on a plate. Generously salt and season one side of the chicken breast with Mrs. Dash seasoning.
Heat a heavy pan over medium to medium-high heat. Pour the olive oil in the pan while it's heating up and place the chicken, seasoned side down in the pan and cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, season the side facing upward. If needed, add a little more oil to the pan when turning chicken. After the chicken has cooked for a total of ten minutes ( 5 minutes on each side), remove the pan from heat and cover loosely with foil. Let sit for an additional 5-7 minutes in pan. Remove the chicken from the pan and let cool completely on a cutting board.
Slice thin and set aside for salad. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Poppyseed Dressing:
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon stevia sweetener (or two additional tablespoons sugar)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced onion
1 cup vegetable oil or canola oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

In a blender or food processor, combine the sugar, stevia, vinegar, orange juice, salt, mustard, and onion, and process for 20 seconds. With the blender on high, gradually add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Remove from the blender and stir in the poppy seeds. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use. Shake well before using on salad.

Salad:
1 large head romaine lettuce, washed, chopped
1- 6 oz bag spinach or spring mix
(greens combined should equal about 15 cups total)
1 can mandarin oranges, drained well
1/2 lb strawberries, washed and sliced
1 pint blueberries, washed and patted dry
1 cup pineapple, sliced into chunks, then thinly sliced (about 1/2 of a medium size pineapple)
1 cup pecans, toasted and cut in half 

To prepare salad:
Using a large bowl or platter, arrange the greens on the platter. Sprinkle with a few pieces of fruit. Layer additional greens. Place the remaining fruits and chopped pecans on the greens. Top with sliced chicken. Drizzle about half of the dressing on the salad. Toss before serving. you may also plate the salad individually. In this case, toss the greens with the dressing and place on plates. Top each plate with fruit, nuts and chicken. Serve immediately. 
Yields about 15 generous side servings. 


Tips:
-*Mrs. Dash is found in most grocery stores near the spices.



5/8/14

Strawberries and Cream Sheet Cake






Strawberry Shortcake is one of my all time favorite desserts. I mean, what mom doesn't love Strawberry Shortcake? This cake takes the dessert to a new level. Fresh strawberries, cream, cream cheese...it doesn't get much better than this. And it's easy to mix up. Make the cake on Saturday, and the frosting on Sunday.
Trust me.
Mom's going to love this.





Strawberries and Cream Sheet Cake
adapted from Southern Living Magazine
print recipe

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 tablespoons strawberry-flavored gelatin (powder)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup chopped fresh strawberries
Shortening
Parchment paper
Vegetable cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla.
Stir together flour and next 3 ingredients; add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended. Stir in strawberries.
Line a 9x13 with parchment paper. Grease and flour the paper before spreading the batter onto the paper, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over long sides.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 30 minutes. Lift cake from pan, using parchment paper sides as handles. Invert cake onto wire rack; gently remove parchment paper. Or just lift cake from pan and frost after cooled.  Cool completely (about 1 hour). Spread Strawberry Frosting on top and  sides (optional) of cake.
Fresh Strawberry Cream Frosting

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 -2  cups powdered sugar
dash of salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries

In a deep bowl, beat cream until stiff, add 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Scrape out of bowl and set aside in another small bowl. 
Using  the same large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar a little at a time. Add a dash of salt.  Beat again until smooth. Add 1/2 cup fresh chopped strawberries. Mix just until fruit is incorporated.  Fold the whipped cream mixture and the cream cheese mixtures together. Frost the cake immediately. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Tips:
-I altered the ingredients in the frosting to create a more stable frosting. The Southern Living version calls for granulated sugar and fresh lemon juice, which produces a delicious frosting, but does not hold its shape well. This frosting is delicate and should be served within two hours of frosting. 
-My Sister in Law, Sheri made this and followed the SL directions exactly, except she baked the cake in a jelly roll pan. The recipe calls for baking in a 9x13. After trying the cakes baked in a 9x13 and a jelly roll pan, I liked the cake baked in the jelly roll pan a bit better. 

-Be careful to not over bake. The cake is done when a few moist crumbs are attached to a toothpick when testing.

4/11/14

Blueberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast



Easter is just around the corner. In our home, we love to celebrate with a family gathering. No matter the time of day when the meal is served, we make brunch dishes, along with the traditional ham, rolls, salads and of course, desserts. 
I love this recipe for Blueberry Stuffed French Toast.  It can be made for two, or twenty. Most stuffed french toast recipes are made the night before, layered in a dish,  set in the fridge, and baked the following morning.  I wanted to create a dish that mimics an overnight french toast, but takes only a few minutes to create before serving. Most of the overnight stuffed french toast dishes serve 8-10, this one is perfect if it's just you and your sweetie, or great for a crowd as well. Everyone can join in and help assemble, and the bread can be cooked to order. I used blueberries, but strawberries, blackberries and/or raspberries would be delicious as well. 
Come back soon, I'll be posting dishes for Easter for the next several days! 





Blueberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

6 Thick Slices bread, preferably Texas Toast or French Bread about ¾ inch thick
4 large eggs
⅓ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

for filling:
4 oz cream cheese, softened (room temperature)
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons butter, for cooking

Mix the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl with whisk until smooth.

Beat the eggs, milk and vanilla in a bowl until mixed well. Pour into a shallow dish that will allow for dipping of bread completely ( a square pan works well).

Spread about 1 tablespoon of cream cheese mixture on one side of each piece of bread. Make sure to spread evenly and all the way to the edge of the bread. Sprinkle a few blueberries on top of the cream cheese mixture on three of the slices of bread. Make a sandwich with the bread slices. The “sandwich” should have the following:

one slice of bread with cream cheese mixture
one slice of bread with cream cheese mixture and a few blueberries sprinkled on top
Melt some butter in a pan, preferably a non-stick pan over medium high heat.
Dip the sandwich into the egg mixture.

Place the sandwich into the pan with the melted butter and fry for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden browned. Flip and repeat on the other side. Remove and serve immediately or keep on plate in oven until all pieces are cooked and ready to serve.

Place on plates and sprinkle with additional remaining berries. Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar and serve with jam or syrup. Serves 2-3

4/2/14

Pineapple Mango Breakfast Muffins



I've been making this recipe forever. With twist here and there. Sometimes I use pineapple and mashed banana, other times pineapple and applesauce. Last week, I had a few mangoes sitting on my counter, getting close to the too-ripe stage.
The ripe mangoes were perfect for baking, and for my newest combo- Pineapple-Mango Breakfast Muffins. A great fit for breakfast because of the fruit and yogurt, and not too much sugar... so you can eat a muffin without the guilt.
Because none of us need a helping of guilt to start the day, do we?
Have a great day :)



Pineapple Mango Breakfast Muffins
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1 cup white flour
3/4 cup wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar ( if you like your muffins sweeter, increase this to 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1-8 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
1 large ripe mango (important that it is ripe and sweet), pitted, peeled and diced
7-8 oz plain or vanilla yogurt ( I used Greek yogurt)
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil

additional sugar (about one tablespoon) for top of muffin, if desired

Preheat oven to 400 with rack in center of oven.
Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, place drained pineapple, diced mango, yogurt, eggs and oil in the well. Or just mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, then pour all at once into the dry ingredients. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, just until the flour disappears. Do not over mix.
Scoop the batter into a muffin tin that has been greased or lined with cupcake liners. Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full. Sprinkle with sugar if desired.
Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until tops are golden and muffin springs back when touched lightly.
Makes approximately 10-12 muffins.


3/14/14

Springtime Salad with White Chocolate Pecan Croutons and Harmon's $250 Gift Card Giveaway!




I'm in love.
With a grocery store.


Last week, I was invited to a blogger event at Harmon's City Creek in downtown Salt Lake City. We were treated to a cooking class taught by Aaron, chef and director of the cooking school in the Harmon's City Creek location.



Aaron taught us how to make a creamy asparagus risotto with topped with duck bacon.  Oh my. We were also served a pork tenderloin, cooked using the Sous Vide method.  The tenderloin was served with a balsamic reduction, wilted baby kale, shaved white asparagus and a piece of french cut purple potato.  Absolutely delicious.
Harmon's cooking school  offers a variety of cooking classes at three locations, covering a wide range of classes, individual tailored small group classes and even private parties.



Harmon's is a home grown business, started by Jake and Irene Harmon on the corner of 330 South and Main in SLC.  Harmon's humble beginning in 1932 has grown to 16 stores and over 3,000 associates. Their focus on customer service and fresh, quality products has made Harmon's, in my opinion, the best of the best in Utah.


Original Harmons Market Spot








What started at The Market Spot over 80 years ago has flourished under family ownership. Do you wonder why some businesses fold overnight, while others have long term staying power? After spending the afternoon at Harmon's I can tell you why they have not only survived, but thrived.  Customers are #1 at Harmon's.
Bob Harmon (grandson of Jake and Irene) spent over three hours with us, in the cooking class, and then gave us a department-by-department tour of his store. Bob shared his enthusiasm for everything in the store from the house-made guac to the cookies in the bakery.




It tastes as good as it looks.
















I knew Harmon's had the best in-store bakery in the state, but didn't know each and every one of their cookie, cakes and pastries are baked in house.  Everything, right down to the frosting on the cookies are made in-store, with fresh ingredients. That sugar cookie pictured above was one buttery piece of heaven. I may have eaten two of the four I brought home.


Man can live by bread alone. 

The artisan breads are phenomenal. If you love bread like I do, Harmon's is the grocery store for you. Not only do they sell whole loaves, but half loaves and single slices of bread. Oh, happy day!
Sometimes, I sneak in and get a couple of slices of my favorite breads, including sugared challah and a bowl of soup to take home for lunch.  This is the White Chocolate Pecan artisan bread, it's making a guest appearance in my salad today :)

Harmon's famous White Chocolate Pecan Bread












The produce is local when available, and always the highest quality. I recently purchased a 4 lb bag of Harmon's oranges from Brandt Farms in Reedley, CA. The oranges are packed for Harmon's and shipped immediately, which guarantees the freshest product for Harmon's customers.



  I compared a Harmon's orange to one from a warehouse store I had at home, and the Harmon's orange won the sweetness and juiciness test hands down.



Bob's Kabobs


Are you tired of reading about my love affair with Harmon's?  Don't answer that question.
Last chapter.
Meat.
Harmon's is the only grocery in the state to offer only Prime and Choice beef, the two highes grades on the USDA grading scale. Hormones? You won't find them in any of the meats or poultry sold in Harmon's meat cases. A while back I was looking for Italian sausage without additives. Could not find it.
Anywhere.
Except Harmon's.
I purchase a few kabobs for a quick dinner last week. Threw them under the broiler, (because I was too much of a sissy to go outside and grill in the snow). Outstanding.  Even the leftovers were tender, juicy and full of flavor. The quality? = to that of a high end steak house, with a much smaller price tag, $4 for a 8 oz kabob.




Have you worked up an appetite after reading my epistle on Harmon's??
I've got a special dish for you. With Spring approaching I decided to use a few fresh ingredients I found on my most recent trip to  (you guessed it)  Harmon's.  One vegetable in particular, white asparagus, was especially interesting to me. Chef Aaron served it raw and thinly sliced with our lunch.  You can steam it, or serve it raw.  I love it both ways.  It adds a nice white healthy splash to the salad instead of somewhat predictable white grated cheese.


The frosting on the cake (or salad) in this case, are the sugared croutons. They are made from the White Chocolate Pecan Artisan bread found at Harmon's bakery.  They take the place of the commonly used sugared nuts in a sweet and savory salad. I know they're going to be your new favorite. Try this out for your next gathering. It's the perfect salad for your upcoming Easter brunch or the wedding shower you're hosting. Fresh, simple and unique.





If you've been thinking about checking out Harmon's enter this giveaway using the rafflecopter code below. You could win $250 to spend on your next visit to Harmon's!
Good luck :)





you may want to slurp up any leftovers...



Springtime Salad with White Chocolate Pecan Croutons and Fresh Strawberry Dressing
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

croutons:
3 thick slices (3/4 inch thick) White Chocolate Pecan Bread (about 4 cups)*
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar, divided
coarse salt

dressing:
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 canola oil
1 cup fresh strawberries, washed and cut in half
3-4 tablespoons honey or sugar, to taste
dash salt
pepper to taste

salad:
8-12 oz mixed greens, spinach, baby kale, etc.
3 green onions, sliced
4-5 asparagus spears, tough ends snapped off, sliced thin* (optional) or green asparagus may be used
16 oz sliced strawberries (1 cup to be used for dressing)
2 cups fresh blackberries or blueberries

prepare croutons:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place rack on top third of oven . Cut bread into cubes. Use all parts of bread, do not remove crust. Place bread cubes on cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with one tablespoon of sugar. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden browned. Remove from oven and let cool.

Prepare salad dressing:
Place all ingredients in blender, blend until smooth. Set in refrigerator until ready to serve salad.
May be made a day ahead. Stir before serving.

Prepare salad:
Place all greens on a platter or in a salad bowl. Arrange fruits and vegetables on top of the greens.  Refrigerate until ready to serve. Place the croutons on the salad just before serving.  Serve with fresh strawberry dressing.
Serves 8-10 as a side salad

Tips:
-If this bread is not available, you may substitute any type of bread to make the sweet croutons. i suggest using  raisin bread or other artisan bread.
-The white asparagus may be steamed lightly, then cooled quickly in a ice water bath. Place the asparagus in between paper towels to remove excess water and sprinkle lightly with salt. The asparagus
may also be served raw. Wash well and drain, slice thin on an angle.




1/16/14

Spinach, Chicken and Bowtie Pasta Salad for 100





Salad for 100, anyone?
Last summer, I made this salad three times, in two months, for groups of 100 or more.
Spinach, Chicken and Bowtie Pasta Salad is one of my all-time favorite pasta salad recipes. Here's why:  It sits well at a gathering (no mayo in the dressing). Perfect for weddings, funerals, missionary farewells and homecomings, Girl's Camp, family reunions, church parties and school events.  It's easy to make in large quantities.  Even though it looks summery it can be made year-round. AND last, but not least, everyone loves it.
The original 12-15 serving recipe is posted here . I've had oodles of requests over the years for a large quantity recipe, so I decided it would be best to re-post the recipe with directions to feed 100.
Make sure to read my tips short story (below the recipe) for all of the info you'll ever need (or want) to make pasta salad for the masses.
Happy salad making, my friends.



Got Chicken?

First three layers. 

Starting to look like something I'm interested in eating...

This was taken at Girl's Camp. I think we served 300 with these salads.
It was like the loaves and fishes. Kind of. 




Spinach, Chicken and Bowtie Pasta Salad for 100
A Bountiful Kitchen, adapted from Favorites cookbook
print recipe

Pasta:
5 lbs Bowtie pasta

Salad dressing:
2 2/3 cups vegetable or canola oil
1 1/3 cups Veri Veri Teriyaki Sauce, shaken
2 2/3 cups cider vinegar
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper

Salad ingredients (veggies and fruit) :
4 Costco tubs of Spinach ( 1 lb each)
8- 8 oz cans water chestnuts, drained and chopped into matchstick pieces
6 bunches green onions, chopped
48 oz - (1 large bag) Craisins 
12 cans mandarin oranges, drained well
2 cups sesame seeds, toasted
48 oz honey roasted peanuts or cashews

15 lbs chicken breasts, marinated (ingredients below), cooked, cooled and sliced

Teriyaki marinade for chicken:
6 cups soy sauce
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon or about 4 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
1 Tablespoon pepper

Mix teriyaki marinade for chicken. 
Marinate chicken overnight, or at least 6 hours. Place the chicken in Ziplock bags and mix the marinade in a bowl, then pour into the bags over the chicken. The chicken may be taken directly from the freezer and set in the refrigerator in marinade for up to two days before cooking. 
After the chicken is marinated, place the drained chicken on baking sheets and broil the chicken for about 7-10 minutes (about 2-3 inches from element), or bake at 350 for about 45  minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.  Cool completely, trim off any fat and cut into slices. Set in refrigerator until ready to assemble salad. The chicken may be cooked up to three days before serving salad.
Discard any leftover marinade, DO NOT use the marinade in the salad dressing. 

Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions. Drain, rinse quickly with cold water and toss with a tablespoon olive or canola oil  or a little of the Veri Teriyaki sauce and place in refrigerator in covered containers (I use gallon Ziplock bags) until ready to assemble salad. May be cooked up to three days before serving.

Blend the salad dressing ingredients together using large bowl or blender. Mix well. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Assembly:
May be done early in the day, or the day before serving.
Using two large containers, layer the ingredients to the salad in the following order (see photos)
Pasta, chicken, spinach, chopped water chestnuts, chopped green onions and Craisins. Make sure the water chestnuts are drained well.
Cover and refrigerate.
When ready to serve, add the following to the top of salad:
Drained mandarin oranges, toasted sesame seeds, honey roasted peanuts.
Mix the prepared salad dressing well, pour about 2 cups onto each container of salad, tossing gently so the mandarin oranges do not break apart. Add more salad dressing, sparingly, as needed.
Serve individually onto plates, or in a salad bowl.
Sprinkle with additional sesame seeds and nuts if desired.

Tips:
-This salad may be prepared in advance. When I'm making salads in large quantities, I usually start the day (or two) ahead with any of the steps that can be done early. Read this recipe carefully for instruction on make ahead.
-If you are serving this with a main dish, say at a barbecue, you may leave out the chicken. Or half the chicken (and marinade).
-This salad is a hearty serving of a main dish salad. It will yield 100 generous lunch size portions of salad. If served with a roll and dessert, it should satisfy most appetites. If you are serving the salad on a buffet, with other salads or sides, this should serve up to 150 as a side dish. 
-For the chicken, I buy Costco 10 lb bags of frozen- boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Usually the Tyson or Foster Farms brands. They are generally trimmed of most fat so the prep work is minimal regarding trimming the chicken. I use the chicken right out of the freezer, no thawing needed.
If you are trying to cut costs, use less chicken. This recipe may be adjusted to serve 100 with 10 lbs of chicken (instead of 15). Cut the teriyaki marinade for the chicken in half as well.
-Teriyaki Sauce for dressing on the salad- I like  Soy-Vay "Veri Veri Teriyaki"  for this recipe. It is highly concentrated, so you will use less than when using another brand. It can usually be purchased at most grocery stores and Walmart or Costco. I've also seen it online at Amazon.  Make sure to shake the bottle before using.
- Purchase Honey Roasted Planters Peanuts at Walmart in large size containers compared to the containers sold at the grocery, they are quite a bit less expensive. I love this recipe made with honey roasted cashews, but they cost quite a bit more than peanuts, so I usually stick with peanuts when making a large quantity.
-Less is more with regard to salad dressing. Use less dressing than you think you need initially. Let it sit for a few minutes and see how much has soaked into the pasta, and how much has settled to the bottom of the serving bowl. Add more dressing if needed. I rarely use all of the dressing.
-Purchase sesame seeds in bulk at the grocery in the health food aisle or in the Asian section of the grocery. The cost is significantly less than if purchased in the spice section.
-Toss the peanuts and the sesame seeds last onto the salad to preserve the crunch of the nuts.

11/25/13

Perfect Apple Pie & Step-by-Step Tutorial


Are you ready for this week? The week of thanks, family, friends, food, football, and P I E .
If you've never tackled pie, but want to try, I have a little tutorial for you. A step-by-step with photos to help you along (printable recipe at bottom of photos). I taught two pie classes in the last couple of weeks and have had people who have never made a pie in their lives report back and tell me they went home and baked a pie that their family LOVED. Two teenage girls in my neighborhood came to a class, and then had their mother take them to the store to buy apples so they could bake a pie. Yes, two teenage girls baked an apple pie. Successfully. Without using store bought crust. Hooray for home cooking!
You can do this.
The best apple pie in the world.
You know you want it.
 Let's get started.


Not my oven, but don't you just love a  turquoise oven?

Step one.
Get your oven ready:
Move the rack to the bottom third of the oven (usually the second to bottom shelf) and turn the oven on to 375 degrees.  I have been baking pies on the bottom shelf, or close to it, for years now. It insures the bottom crust is nicely browned and the top crust does not get over browned. The exception to this is if you have an oven like I now have (Wolf)  that has a special setting just for baking pies. In this case, leave the rack in the middle and use the convection bake (not convection, convection bake) setting, made especially for pie baking. Don't be jelly. I'm not all that impressed with this oven. I'd trade my old GE's for these in a heartbeat. That's a story for another post.
OK, back to our happy pie making toots.
Oh, and thanks in advance to Robilyn and Angie, who allowed me to photograph their pie making experience :) You'll see their pies and lovely hands in the photos to follow...




First, get yourself an apple-peeler-corer-slicer . Sold at most hardware stores. Also sold at kitchen stores. I've owned a couple. I like the type that suction to your counter top the best. Wet the counter a bit with a slightly damp cloth, then attach the peeler. If you can't get your hands on one of these, peel and core with a paring knife, slice the apples into about 1/4 inch thick slices.  Believe me, if you can spare the $25 it's the best money you'll ever spend. OK, maybe not the best money, but it will make you love me every time you make an apple pie. Oh, and buy apples that are uniform in size, it will make the peeling experience quick and easy. And refrigerate your apples. That helps them hold their shape while peeling. Take the peeled, sliced cored apple and cut it in half. Trim off any bits of seed or core that may be left inside of the apple.




Place the apples into a large bowl. Pour all of the dry filling ingredients for the pies on top of the apples but do not mix up yet. If you mix the sugar with the apples and are not immediately ready to pour the filling into the pie crust, the sugar will bring out the juices in the apples and cause the apples to  macerate and produce more juice than you may want sitting in your crust. If you are making an apple cranberry pie, add the raw cranberries and make the necessary adjustments in the recipe as well.
For our tutorial, we are making apple cranberry pies.




For the fat, I prefer shortening. I use Crisco, half regular and half butter flavor. I've experimented with butter but not had the result that I'm looking for, which is a light flaky crust. Trust me on this. I like to use the sticks because they are so convenient, and no messy measuring shortening into cups. I do not refrigerate my shortening, but if you feel inclined, chill away.




Measure the flour into a large bowl, plop the shortening in, along with the salt. 




Cut the shortening into the flour and salt. I usually use a pastry cutter, but two knives will work just as well. Cut the shortening by placing a table knife in each hand, blades down. Now, place your fists together and pull the knives across the bowl in a cutting motion. This is way more difficult to explain than it is to execute. This step takes about one minute, or less.  When you are out buying the apple-peeler-corer-slicer,  get yourself  a pastry cutter. Look it up. Very inexpensive. I'm sure you can get one at the $1 store.





After you take twenty minutes to figure out what I was trying to tell you in the last paragraph, your dough should look like this.  Go back and re-read that last sentence. I didn't say it should take 20 minutes to cut the shortening and flour together, just that figuring out my directions might take that long. Isn't this helpful?
You want to have little pea-like size pieces of dough. The little pieces of shortening in the dough are  what creates the air pockets in the crust, therefore producing a flaky crust. Pour the cold water into the dough all at once. Then mix the dough gently with a fork. I fold more than mix. Do not over mix. This should take about 10 seconds. The dough should come together with a few loose bits of flour and dough in the bowl. When you gather all of the dough together, the pieces should stick together. If not, add a tablespoon or so more of cold water. Do not knead. Do not mix. just pat together.




Flour the surface you are using generously. I use about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of flour to prepare the surface.





Divide the dough in half if you are making a two crust fruit filled pie. I place a little more dough in the half that is covering the bottom of the pie plate. Gently shape the dough into a round disc. Start to roll out the dough evenly, not pressing down too hard on the rolling pin. Roll the dough into a circular shape. No worry if the circle is not perfect. Lift the dough occasionally and add more flour to the surface if the dough starts to stick. Also flour the rolling pin if needed. I do not advise flipping the dough,  less is more when handling the dough for pie crust. Think tender, flaky. What? You were thinking other words? Shame on you.




Now, take the pie plate you are using and place it upside down on the rolled out dough. You want to have about a two to three inch overhang, so when you place the dough in the plate, there is plenty of dough to fill the plate and hang over to make sure the pie seals properly.  Set the plate aside.




Take half of the dough and fold it over onto the other half like this. Some people like to then fold it again in quarters, but I usually just do halfsies.




Gently lift the dough onto the pie plate, so the dough covers half of the plate.




Take the folded portion of the dough and unfold it onto the plate. Don't stress if it tears, just pat it back together.




Ta dah!





Now, remember the apples we prepared earlier? Mix the dry ingredients into the apples and dump the apple filling into the pie plate.  See how the crust is not perfectly arranged on the plate, no big deal. We will take care of that when we seal and crimp. See the bits of peel on the apples? Also not a big deal. If this stresses you out, take a paring knife and remove every single last bit of peel. Now, that's better.




The fruit will settle when you bake the pie, so pile the fruit up high.





Dot the fruit with butter, and sprinkle the vanilla and/or almond extract on because everything is better with butter, right?




Roll out the dough for the top crust, same as you did for the bottom layer. 




Fold it in half and transfer onto the filled pie, then unfold so the whole top of the pie is covered.  Say goodbye to the filling. Go ahead say it. "Bye-bye see you after baking!" I always do this. not really.
If for some reason, your dough tears, don't worry, just gently pinch it back together, or wait until we make slits in the pie and strategically place your slits by the tear. Or cover them with dough cutouts. I have yet to make a pie with an imperfect crust and have some one point at the pie and say "Sheesh, your crust is imperfect, I don't think I want a piece of this pie.".




Gather the edges (didn't get a good photo of this step). I like to fold the layer of dough underneath upward, so it gathers and folds over onto the top layer of dough. If you are short on dough to fold over, take some dough from another area where there is extra and press it together where you have a shortage. Start to crimp and seal the edge. You can use a fork to press the dough down and make a little crimped edge with the end of the fork tines, or get a little more fancy and pinch the dough between your thumb and forefinger on one hand and forefinger on the other hand to make a nice little pointy edge. I believe this is Robilyn, who btw, was making her first apple pie. She's an expert crimper now.




I like to beat an egg and wash the top of the crust. You may use cream, or milk, or just a beaten egg white. Brush the whole top of the crust with the wash.




Sprinkle with granulated sugar. 





Make a few slits in the top crust for steam to escape. Any design will do. 





Place the pie on a sheet of foil or a thin cookie sheet. I like to use foil so it catches any excess juices from the pie, then I can simply throw away the foil after baking.  Place the pie in the hot oven and bake as directed on the recipe. After the pie is about half way through baking place a sheet of foil loosely on top of the pie to prevent over browning. How do you know it's done? People laugh when I say this, but you can smell it. It has a certain aroma when the apples and crust are done. Or just set the timer, It should be done in 1 hour and ten minutes, give or take a few.




In a short while, you'll be pulling this out of your oven. The crust on the bottom should be golden as well as the crust on top. After removing from oven, make sure to allow enough time to let the pie cool properly. It took years of baking to realize I wasn't allowing enough cooling time.  If you don't allow at least two and even better three to four hours for the juices to set up in the pie, your pie will be runny when you cut into it. After three hours, it will usually still be warm. This pie was cut about four hours after coming out of the oven...



There you have it. Everything you ever wanted to know about making an apple pie. And then some. Hope this inspires you to bake one this holiday season.
Happy baking!
loves,
Si




Print all three recipes here


Best Basic Flaky Pie Crust
A Bountiful Kitchen

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
½ cup very cold water

Mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening with pastry blender or knives. Add water.
Fold with fork until flour is absorbed and dough comes together. Flour surface and rolling pin well. Flatten dough gently with hand to make round shape. Roll out from center to about 1/8” thickness. Fold in half, lift onto pie plate. Open and shape to pan.

Tips:
-Dough may be easier to handle if chilled for an hour or so.
-Try rolling the dough around the rolling pin and then unrolling right onto the plate.
-Try ½ regular and ½ butter flavor Crisco.
-Some people like to “cut” the flour in with their fingers.
-Don’t cut the flour and shortening too much, the pieces of shortening are what make the crust flaky, you want to have pebble size pieces of dough before adding the water.
-If your pie is getting too brown on the edges, but not on top, take a piece of foil, fold in half to make a square then cut a half circle out of the middle. Unfold and put over your pie.
-Brush beaten egg white over your pie dough before filling with pumpkin to avoid soggy bottom crust.
-If baking for a single cooked crust, prick the entire bottom crust with a fork (to allow steam to escape). Set the oven to 500 and bake for about 6-10 minutes on the middle rack, watching carefully to insure the crust doesn't burn. Remove the crust when done and let cool, then fill with custard or other filling.
This is for a single cooked crust only. Do not prick the bottom of the crust when baking a filled single crust pie (such as pumpkin or pecan).

Fresh Apple Cranberry Pie
A Bountiful Kitchen

6-7 apples any type, peeled, cored and sliced ( I like Granny Smith)
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, washed
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 teaspoons almond extract
juice from 1/2 of a lemon (about 2 tablespoons) not necessary if using Granny Smith Apples
dash salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place rack on bottom third of oven.
Prepare crust. Roll out bottom crust, place in pie plate.
Place apples in large bowl and mix with cranberries. Add rest of filling ingredients.
Fill bottom crust with apple cranberry mixture. Place other half of rolled out dough on top of filling in pie plate. Crimp edges. Make slits on top of pie for steam to escape. Brush with egg wash if desired, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar.
Place pie onto foil lined cookie sheet or sheet of foil (important, this usually bubbles over a bit).
Bake for about 60 minutes. Cover loosely with foil if pie is getting too brown.
Continue baking for about 10-15 minutes or until pie is bubbly and golden. Total baking time is usually 1 hour and 10 minutes, but may vary in your oven.

Mom's Favorite Apple Pie

6-8 large apples -I like a mixture of Granny Smith and Jonathan's
¾ cup sugar
1-2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter
Egg, sugar, cream for top crust

Peel, core and slice apples. Set in large bowl. Mix in sugar, spices, flour, and lemon juice. Place pastry in a 9 inch pie plate. Sprinkle with vanilla . Dot with butter. Top with crust. Crimp edges. Cut steam vents. Brush either beaten egg or egg white, sprinkle with sugar or brush with cream or milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375 for about 50-60 minutes. May need to cover with foil for half of baking time.