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©Life of a Foodie and Her Family 2008-2013, Lynn Tabor

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7/30/2010

Roasted baby Purple Potatoes with Garlic and Thyme


The other day when Miss V and I were shopping at the new Publix, she spotted a bag of purple potatoes. She had to have them!!

So tonight I cooked them up with the recipe that came on the bag.

1 1/2 pounds baby purple potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 cloves of garlic, chopped
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, minced

Preheat oven to 425.

Combine all the ingredients in a baking dish and mix well. Bake uncovered for about 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender and browned. Gently stir once or twice during cooking.

Remove from oven and serve warm.

The brand is Melissa's, go and check them out. It looks like they have some really neat produce.

Traditional Beignets

Miss V has been asking for beignets for weeks, ok well months. Last night I made the dough and put it in the fridge for a slow rise over night. I also made the dough in my bread machine.

2 1/4 tsp bread machine yeast
3/4 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Beaten Egg
1/2 Cup Evaporated Milk
3 1/2 - 3 3/4 Cups A.P. Flour (during the mixing, check to see if you need more)
2 tbs Shortening
Vegetable Oil for Frying
Powdered Sugar

Put the liquid ingredients into your bread machine including the egg and shortening. Next the dry ingredients and the yeast on top.

Set to dough cycle.

When the dough is done, place in a lightly oiled (vegetable or Pam spray) bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.

Punch dough down and turn out onto a floured surface.

Roll dough out until it is 1/2 inch thick.

Cut into 2 inch wide slices and cut into rectangles or squares.

Place them on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and place in a warm place. I warmed up my oven at 170 for 2 or 3 minutes then turned it off and place the cookie sheets in the oven.

Let rise for about 4o to 45 minutes.

I set up a cookie sheet lined with a few layers of paper towel and placed a cooling rack on top.

When the beignets have risen, place two or three inches of vegetable oil in a large pan and heat until it reaches 350 - 360.

Place two or three beignets in the hot oil. When golden brown flip them over. They cook pretty quickly, so keep an eye on them.

Remove from oil and place on the cooling rack.

Serve HOT with plenty of powdered sugar sifted over them.

ENJOY!!!!

These were sooooo good!!!! They definitely reminded Miss V and me of the beignets at Port Orleans French Quarter. We had a good laugh at each others sugar lips.

Apple Turnovers

I just made a batch of Apple Turnovers for dessert last night along with blueberry turnovers. I haven't typed that recipe up yet..

Ingredients:
1 puff pastry sheet
2 large Granny Smith Apples
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

Peel, core and slice apples. In medium saucepan over low heat, cook apples with sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and cinnamon, stirring frequently, until apples are tender. Refrigerate until cool.

Thaw pastry sheet at room temperature 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll each sheet into a 12-inch square and cut into four 6-inch squares. Place 1/4 cup apple mixture in center of each square. Brush edges with water. Fold to form triangles, seal edges firmly with a fork. Place on a baking sheet. Bake 25 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire rack.

Sugar drizzle: In small bowl, mix together 1/4/2 cup confectioners sugar and 1 tablespoon water. With spoon, drizzle on turnover, allow to set before serving


I didn't bother putting the glaze on it.

7/29/2010

Emeril's Talk About A Taco Salad

I turned dinner over to Miss V and she chose this from Emeril's There is a chef in my kitchen cookbook.

4 large burrito-size flour tortillas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onions
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon Baby Bam
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chicken stock or canned low sodium broth
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
1 1/3 cups chopped plum tomatoes
1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar or Monterey Jack
1/4 cup sour cream
Salsa, optional
Guacamole, optional

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

To make the tortilla bowls, cut a 3-inch wedge from each tortilla and discard. Take a baking sheet and place a stainless steel mixing bowl upside down on the baking sheet. Brush 1 tortilla with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Drape tortilla over the bowl, pressing to form into a bowl shape. Bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and repeat with the remaining tortillas.

In a large skillet, cook the beef over medium heat, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Strain the beef in a colander set over a bowl and discard the drained fat. Return the beef to the pan and add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the chili powder, Baby Bam, and salt, stir, and add the chicken stock. When the broth is reduced by half, remove from the heat, about 1 minute. Let cool.

To assemble the salads, place 1 bowl, cup side up, on each of 4 plates. Spoon 1/2 cup of the ground beef mixture into the center of each bowl. Top with 1/2 cup of the shredded lettuce, 1/3 cup of the tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of the cheese, and the sour cream. Add salsa and guacamole, if desired, and serve.

Baby Bam

This comes from Emeril's cookbook, There is a Chef in my Family. Miss V needs to make this to go into dinner tonight.

3 tbs paprika
2 tbs salt
2 tbs dried parsley
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 celery salt

Place all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir well to combine, using a wooden spoon. Then store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

7/26/2010

Grilled Chicken Salad with Parmesean Breadcrumbs

I made this yummy for dinner on Friday night. It also is in the current issue of the Food Network Magazine.

plum tomato, halved
4 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, plus 2 tablespoons oil from the jar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bunch fresh basil, torn
1/3 cup grated parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
8 cups Italian-blend salad greens or baby arugula
8 ounces bocconcini (small mozzarella balls), quartered (I used a block of fresh and cubed it)

Preheat a grill to high. Puree the plum tomato, sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, garlic, oregano, a few basil leaves and 2 tablespoons parmesan in a blender, drizzling in the sun-dried tomato oil until smooth. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons water, if needed; season with salt and pepper.

Halve the chicken breasts horizontally to make four 1/4-inch-thick cutlets. Brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken until marked on the bottom, about 4 minutes, then turn and grill until cooked through, about 3 more minutes. Transfer to a cutting board.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the breadcrumbs, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon parmesan and the parsley and cook until toasted, about 1 more minute.

Toss the salad greens and remaining basil in a large bowl. Cut the chicken into pieces and add to the greens along with the mozzarella. Toss with the dressing, then sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture.



I served it with a piece of foccacia.

7/21/2010

Cucumber Melon Martini

A neighbor and fellow foodie had me be a guinea pig recently. We were talking about light and refreshing drinks and the ingredient cucumber came up a couple times. Well after that night I kept thinking about my absolutely favorite scent at Bath and Body works, Cucumber Melon. Just the smell of it brings me mentally back to my second honeymoon in Key West.

Anyway I went searching high and low for a cucumber melon beverage and didn't really find one so I kind of used a couple. So here is what I came up with.

2 oz Smirnoff Melon Vodka
1/2 oz simple syrup
2 or 3 cucumber slices (peeled and seeded)
Club soda

Muddle the cucumber in a cocktail shaker.
Add a cup of ice.
Add the vodka and simple syrup.
Shake vigorously.
Strain into a martini glass and top with a splash of club soda.

You also garnish with a chunk of cantaloupe.


Asian Rice Salad with Shrimp

I saw this in the Food Network magazine and made it with chicken.

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Pinch of sugar
3/4 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined and halved lengthwise
1 large carrot, shredded
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 cups snow peas, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups cooked white or brown rice
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 head iceberg lettuce, shredded (used Romaine)
1 cup mung bean sprouts (didn't have any)
1/2 cup chow mein noodles and/or chopped peanuts

Directions

Whisk the garlic, ginger, sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce and sugar in a large bowl. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the dressing to a medium bowl, add the shrimp and toss. Add the carrot, celery and snow peas to the remaining dressing and toss.

Heat a large skillet over high heat and add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil. Add the shrimp and stir-fry until they turn pink, 3 to 4 minutes, then transfer to the bowl with the vegetables. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons water to the skillet and scrape up the browned bits with a wooden spoon, then add the liquid to the bowl with the shrimp. Let the skillet reheat, then add the remaining 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and stir-fry the rice until toasted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Add the rice and scallions to the shrimp-vegetable mixture and toss. Divide among bowls and top with the lettuce, sprouts, chow mein noodles and/or peanuts.



7/20/2010

Roasted Pepper Pasta Salad

When I saw this on the cover of Food Network Magazine, I knew I had to try it.

I made it a little while ago and it is chilling in the fridge. I took a quick taste and it is yummy. I cannot wait for dinner. I grilling up a couple chicken breasts to go with it.

Kosher salt
12 ounces mezzi rigatoni or other short tube-shaped pasta
2 bell peppers (red and/or yellow), halved, stemmed and seeded (I used a red and orange)
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1/4 cup almonds
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon
8 ounces bocconcini (small mozzarella balls) I couldn't find any so I used a block of fresh mozzarella and cut it into cubes.
1 bunch fresh basil, leaves torn
Freshly ground pepper

Directions

Preheat the broiler. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Shake off the excess water.

Meanwhile, place the bell peppers cut-side down on a foil-lined broiler pan, add the garlic and broil until charred, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover and set aside about 5 minutes.

Heat a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Add the almonds and toast, shaking the pan, 4 to 5 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

Squeeze the garlic from its skin onto a cutting board. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt; mince and mash the garlic into a paste with a large knife. Peel the roasted peppers and slice into strips; transfer to a large bowl. Add the garlic paste and drizzle with the olive oil. Finely grate about 1 teaspoon lemon zest into the bowl and squeeze in all of the lemon juice. Add the bocconcini, basil, almonds, pasta, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; toss.

Per serving: Calories 731; Fat 37 g (Saturated 11 g); Cholesterol 41 mg; Sodium 845 mg; Carbohydrate 73 g; Fiber 6 g; Protein 26 g



7/13/2010

Granola Bars

I felt like making some sort of snacky item, but not cookies. I didn't have any wheat germ and finally found this recipe on the Family Fun Site.

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups crisp rice cereal
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup dried fruit bits (we used cherry flavored Craisins)
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Heat the oven to 350º F. Coat a 9- by 13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Melt the butter or margarine in a large pot over low heat. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the sugar, honey, flour, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Transfer the mixture to the baking pan. Using a sheet or waxed paper and the palms of your hands, press the granola firmly into the pan, packing it to a flat and even thickness.

Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Allow the granola to cool 1 hour in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before cutting into bars. Makes 16 to 24 rectangular bars.

They are pretty good! I didn't pack them down enough so they are kind of crumbly and I think would be perfect on yogurt.

7/09/2010

Grilled Greek Chicken Salad

I have the chicken marinating right now for dinner tonight.

2 chicken, breast, skinless, boneless halves
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon oregano, fresh, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon Greek seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon pepper, black ground
1 to 2 medium cucumbers, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup red onion, sliced thinly
lettuce, mixed greens
1/3 cup Kraft Greek Vinaigrette dressing
1/2 cup cheese, feta, crumbled
1/4 cup olives, Kalamata, pitted
5 or 6 pepperoncini
Pita bread

Place chicken in a resealable plastic bag set in a shallow dish. For marinade, in a small bowl, combine lemon juice, oil, oregano, Greek seasoning, garlic, and pepper. Pour over chicken. Seal bag; turn to coat chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours, turning bag occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss together cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onion.

Drain chicken, discarding marinade. Place chicken on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill for 12 to 15 minutes or until tender and no longer pink (170°F), turning once.
Transfer chicken to a cutting board; cut into bite-size pieces. Toss with cucumber mixture. If desired, serve on salad greens.

Drizzle salad dressing over. Sprinkle with feta cheese, olives, and pepperoncini. Serve with wedges of pita bread.

Kid Cuisine Deep Sea Adventures

Product review time! Today's review is Kid Cuisine Deep Sea Adventure.

In the past I would have normally skipped over frozen meals for Miss V. Well about a year ago we were concerned about her weight and the doctor suggested that we add a little extra calories to her diet. So I had Miss V pick out a couple meals. Some were a hit and some were definitely misses.

This summer we were shopping and Miss V asked for more meals. Her absolutely favorite meal is the Deep Sea Adventure.

Now before freaking out that the meal contains no fruit or veggies, she will snack on apples, carrots, celery or a mix of other fruits/veggies.





I totally understand parents that are watching their child's weight because childhood obesity is a big problem. BUT....please remember that there are children on the other side of the scale. For instance, last summer when we first bought some meals. There was another woman in the aisle with her two daughters and the girls were begging and pleading with the mom to for some Kid Cuisine meals. The mom clearly said that if the father found out that she was buying them crap like that then he would be very mad at them. They grabbed a box and started reading the nutritional label and the mom told them to put them back.

Meanwhile Miss V and I were waiting patiently and they walked further down the aisle to buy "adult" frozen meals. Miss V chose what meals she wanted and put them in the cart. I then heard one of the girls say to her mom, "why is that lady buying her kid them?" and the Mom responded "well maybe she doesn't care about what her daughter eats." Oh that made me so mad!

I gave her one of my infamous smirks and went on our way.

So again....don't judge what other people have in their carts, you just don't know their situations.

7/06/2010

Surprise gift!

One guest that came to Desserts & Fireworks surprised me with a little gift. It was a Lemon Cheesecake mix and this adorable set of mini measuring spoons. Aren't they the CUTEST!!!!

It includes a Dash spoon, a Pinch spoon and a Smidgen. A little tag that came with it gave the measurements as;

A Dash is equal to 1/8 tsp.
A Pinch is equal to 1/16 tsp.
A Smidgen is equal to 1/32 tsp.


I just love them!! I am going to hang them on the door of my sprinkle cabinet.

Desserts & Fireworks

We had another fun filled Desserts & Fireworks party this July 4th. The rain finally stopped and were able to enjoy time spent with good friends, good food and good fireworks!

Lets see if I can remember everything that I made and will link the recipes below:

Chocolate Trifle
Tiramisu Cheesecake Bars
Victoria's Blueberry Tartlets
Victoria's favorite butter cookies
Cheese filled Shortbread Tarts
Grasshopper Fudge Cake
Raspberry Lemonade Cake
Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies
Double Chocolate Cookies
White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Lemon Bars
Outrageous Brownies
Disney Hollywood Studio/Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake
Red White and Blue Cupcakes

I think that is it?????

Barefoot Contessa's Outrageous Brownies

No dessert table would be complete without a plate of yummy brownies. I first saw these outrageous brownies on an episode of the Barefoot Contessa. Now let me tell you, they are a lot of work but ohhhhh sooooo worth it!!! Just make sure you follow the directions and use the best ingredients.

1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour a 12 x 18 x 1-inch baking sheet.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into 20 large squares


Double Chocolate Cookies

I also made these yummy cookies for Desserts & Fireworks and again the recipe came from a Taste of Home magazine.

1-1/4 cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.



Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

I also made these cookies for Desserts & Fireworks. I found them in one of my Taste of Home magazines.

1 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/3 cup hot water
6 tablespoons shortening
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 teaspoons grated orange peel
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

In a small bowl, soak cherries in hot water for at least 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, cream the shortening, butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, orange peel and vanilla. Combine the oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chip and cherries with liquid.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool for 1 minute before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: about 3-1/2 dozen.

Red, White and Blue Layered cupcakes

Of course being July 4th, we needed to have a Patriotic cupcakes. These are really simple. It is just a box of white cake mix. Make according to package directions and split the batter into 3 bowls. Color one with red gel food color, color another bowl with royal blue gel and leave one bowl white.

Add about 1 tbs of the blue batter to each muffin cup, followed by a layer of white then red.

It is really best if you use two boxes of cake mix if you want big puffy cupcakes.

These were frosted with Betty Crocker whipped vanilla frosting and then I let Victoria go crazy with the sprinkles.

We also found some cute and fun decorations from Wilton at Michaels.




Cute little red and blue pinwheels for the cupcakes.


And little foil pix.


Not the greatest, but I want to snap a quick picture before everyone came.

Disney Hollywood Studios Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake

One of the cakes that I made for Desserts & Fireworks was from Disney Hollywood Studio's Brown Derby. It is the Grapefruit Cake. A little bit of info from the the Disney Food Blog.

The heyday of the original Brown Derby restaurants was the golden age of Hollywood, when Mary Pickford, Clarke Gable, Spencer Tracy, and the young starlet, Lucille Ball, among others, frequented the lush booths in the hat-shaped buildings. Disney World’s Hollywood Brown Derby is fashioned after the Hollywood Brown Derby on Vine Street (there were three other Brown Derby restaurants as well), and bears an incredible resemblance inside and out. But what I find truly fascinating about the restaurant are the stories it’s keeping alive.

One of my favorites is about Louella Parsons, who worked for William Randolph Hearst and was considered one of the most powerful gossip columnists in Hollywood for many years (to the dismay of her colleague and rival, Hedda Hopper, who often held court on the opposite side of the Derby from Parsons).

One day, Parsons complained to Derby owner Robert Cobb that all of his desserts were too fattening and requested something healthier. Cobb quickly told the chef “to put grapefruit on something, because everyone knows it’s slimming.”

So the chef invented his Grapefruit Cake, a dessert with multiple layers of cream cheese frosting that are anything but slimming, and it’s gone down in the history books along with several other Derby-invented classic recipes.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs (separated)
3 tablespoons grapefruit juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350º F. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into mixing bowl. Make a well in center of dry ingredients.

Add water, oil, egg yolks, grapefruit juice, and lemon rind. Beat until smooth.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar separately, until whites are stiff but not dry.

Gradually fold egg whites into the cake batter, folding gently with a rubber spatula until just blended. Do not stir the mixture.

Pour into an ungreased 10-inch cake pan. Bake at 350º degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched with a finger. Invert pan on cake rack until cool. Run spatula around edge of cake. Carefully remove from pan. With a serrated knife, gently cut layer in half.

Grapefruit Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

2 six-ounce packages of cream cheese
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
3/4 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
6 to 8 drops yellow food coloring
1 one-pound can grapefruit sections (well-drained), reserving 2 tablespoons of juice OR 3 fresh grapefruits, peeled, sectioned, and drained, reserving 2 tablespoons of juice.

Method:

Let cream cheese soften at room temperature. Beat cheese until fluffy.

Add lemon juice and rind.

Gradually blend in sugar. Beat until well blended. Add food coloring.

Add reserved grapefruit and blend into frosting.

Divide the frosting evenly into two bowls. Roughly chop 2/3 of the grapefruit sections and add them to half the frosting. Spread this mixture on the bottom half of cake. Top with several grapefruit sections. Cover with second layer of cake. Frost top and sides. Garnish with remaining grapefruit sections.


As much as I love this cake, I did have some issues with it. First I had to borrow a 10 inch cake pan which is when I am glad I have friends that bake too. Second I really was second guessing myself when it said ungreased pan.....Next time I will listen to my gut and just spray the bottom of the cake pan. Next issue with the size of the pan. It was a bit of a pain to slice it to make two layers. If I make this again, I will certainly make it in a smaller pan like an 8 or 9 inch round.

Barefoot Contessa's Lemon Bars

One of the other goodies I made for the Desserts & Fireworks party was the Barefoot Contessa's Lemon Bars. I was a bit nervous about this because the only other one I tried was from a box and they were awful! I could NOT get them out of the pan.

Ingredients

For the crust:
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners' sugar.



Anyway, these turned out fantastic!!!! Fresh and lemony and came right out of the pan.

White Chocolate Chip Macadmia Cookies

I also made Marcel's favorite cookies for our Dessets & Fireworks party.

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chips
6 ounces macadamia nuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two baking sheets

Cream together the butter, sugars, and salt. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth and light.

Stir the flour and baking soda together in another bowl. Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and beat until combined.

Add the white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. Place rounded mounds of dough about the size of walnuts on the prepared pans. Bake for ten minutes or until the edges of the cookies just begin to brown. Remove them to a wire rack to cool. Makes about four dozen cookies.

Cheese filled Shortbread Tarts

I made these Cheese Filled Shortbread Tarts again this year and actually got picture of them!

This year the store had plenty of fresh berries to pick from so I did put strawberries, blueberries and raspberries on them. The original recipe makes a ton of filling but not enough tarts. You could also use the filling in premade phylo cups.

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