Thursday, February 28, 2013

Grapefruit-Avocado Slaw

I needed a fresh side dish to serve with the salmon we were having for dinner. Because it’s the end of the month, there wasn’t much to chose from. So I used cabbage, avocado, and grapefruit to make a new variation of coleslaw. We really love this recipe, which served as my inspiration. The dressing couldn’t be simpler; I substituted grapefruit juice for the orange juice. If you don’t like the bitterness of grapefruit, orange sections would be a delicious.

Grapefruit-Avocado Slaw
1/2 head cabbage, thinly sliced
1 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
1 avocado, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
Orange Vinaigrette

1. Combine cabbage, grapefruit, and avocado in a bowl; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture; toss to coat.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Carrot Cake Trifle

Our friend David requested carrot cake cupcakes for his dessert of the month for February. The recipe I used is from the Junior League of Morgan County, Alabama’s Cotton Country Cooking. This gem of a cookbook was given to me as a wedding gift 17 years ago by a friend of my mother-in-law. This sweet lady had made a carrot cake for my bridal tea and I had raved about it—and she gave me the book so I could make it myself. I’ve made this cake many times over the years, but for some reason it stuck to my muffin pans. As a result, I had a ton of crumbly carrot cake on my hands. My solution: Layer the cake with cream cheese frosting in a glass bowl to make a trifle.

Carrot Cake
1 1/2 cups canola or vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
4 carrots, finely grated (3 cups)

1. Beat oil and sugars with a mixer until combined. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until blended after each addition. Add in vanilla.
2. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients. Gradually beat into oil mixture until blended. Stir in carrots. Scoop batter in to lightly greased cake pans.
3. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until done. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans, cool completely on wire racks.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 (8-oz.) blocks cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (16-oz.) box powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla paste or extract

1. Beat cream cheese and butter with a mixer. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until mixture achieves spreading consistency. Stir in vanilla.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Homemade Croutons

These are great on salads, soups, or as a snack.
1/4 cup butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Crusty bread, cut into cubes
Salt and pepper

1. Melt butter in oil in a large skillet. Stir bread cubes into butter mixture; season with salt and pepper. Cook bread cubes over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until golden and crisp.

Recipe Rewind: Beer-Cheese Soup

This hearty soup hit the spot for dinner tonight, because it’s been dreary and cool and drizzly for days! I first posted the recipe more than two years ago and decided to revisit it. It is absolutely delicious, and the leftovers freeze well. The croutons take it over the top. Definitely make this soup!

Beer-Cheese Soup
4 bacon slices, cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 celery ribs, thinkly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 (12-oz.) bottle beer (I used Blue Moon.)
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 cups milk
2 cups chicken broth
1 lb. Cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
Homemade Croutons

1. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven until done; drain on paper towels. Reserve 1 Tbsp. bacon drippings in Dutch oven, and add in butter. Once butter melts, sauté onion and next 2 ingredients for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add in garlic, and cook 1 more minute. Stir in flour, and cook, stirring often, 1 more minute. Gradually add in ale and next 3 ingredients; cook until mixture begins to thicken. Use an immersion blender to puree mixture until smooth. Stir in cheese, and cook until melted and combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with bacon and croutons just before serving.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Blueberry Cobbler

This is the easiest dessert recipe ever! Substitute any type of frozen fruit you like—cherries, mixed berries, peaches. Fresh fruit would probably work well in season, but during this gray time of year, frozen works beautifully. (To serve a crowd, double the recipe and bake it in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.) Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream would be a tasty partner. Enjoy!

Blueberry Cobbler
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla
Zest of 1 lemon
2 cups frozen blueberries

1. Combine flour and next 6 ingredients. Pour into a lightly greased pie plate. Sprinkle frozen blueberries on top of batter.
2. Bake at 350° for 1 hour.