Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cheese and Olive Plate

Last weekend Alex and I had a few friends over for a quick afternoon get together, and since we had very little time to prepare anything extravagant, we decided on a simple cheese plate for snacking. Cheese plates are easy to put together, look fantastic, and are very frugal - this one cost us less than 10 bucks.

We purchased one of those mozzarella and pepperoni roll ups (they also come with prosciutto if you prefer) that they sell in the cheese case near the cold cuts in the grocery store, along with a handful of fresh green olives from the olive bar, and some plain water crackers to tie everything together. We like water crackers the most because they provide some crunch but not much flavor otherwise, allowing you to better taste the cheese. All you need to do is pick these ingredients up, put them on a plate, and voila - done!

Comments are always appreciated :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Philly Cheese Steak Egg Rolls

When we think egg rolls, we usually think Chinese takeout or spring rolls from the local Thai restaurant. Today though, we bring you into a new era of egg rolls with this great recipe for Philly Cheese Steak Egg Rolls. Food Network’s Guy Fieri recently made these on Guy's Big Bite and we knew we we’d be needing to try these sooner or later. These egg rolls are great for appetizers or a fun side to go alone with any sort of dinner entree. They are salty, crunchy, cheesy… just incredibly delicious.

One important tip we learned while making the filling is to really let the juices drain out. If you don't, rolling up your egg rolls will become difficult as the excess liquid may cause the egg roll wrappers to tear. Also, the recipe says this dish only makes 8 egg rolls but we found that we were able to make double that and save some in the freezer if we need a quick snack for impromptu guests.

Happy rolling!

Tres Leches Cake

We are back (and hopefully for good)! Alex and I started dieting 3 months ago, and while we are making fabulous progress on our diets, eating out has become a much less frequent activity than in the past. Since we haven’t been able to venture out to many new restaurants, we’ve resorted to more home cooking that is both delicious (for the most part) and figure friendly. The recipe to follow is anything but… but since we’ve been m.i.a. so long we figured we had to come back with a bang.

When summertime rolls around and it gets hot and muggy we usually lean towards simple things like ice cream sundaes and fruit salads for dessert. And while both of these options are totally fulfilling, this recipe for a Tres Leches Cake with Summer Fruit that we found in Cuisine really puts a simple fruit salad to shame. The cake is super moist, (surprisingly) light, and served ice cold, which makes it refreshing and delectable on a warm summer night. Preparing the cake the night before your guests arrive is best, as it allows all of the flavors to develop and the cake to absorb all of the milk.


For the Cake-

6 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 t. vanilla extract

Sift Together; Fold in:

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ t. table salt

Combine, Fold into Batter;
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup cake batter

For the Soaking Syrup-
Combine; Reduce:

1 can 14 oz evaporated milk
1 can 12 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 cup whole milk
½ cup light rum

For the Topping-
Any variation of berries, we used raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries
¼ cup of sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 x 3” spring form pan with nonstick spray.

Beat eggs and sugar with a hand mixer at high speed in a large bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water. Beat until the eggs are pale, thick and tripled in volume, about 10 minutes.

Add vanilla; remove bowl from the heat and continue to beat until cool, about 5 more minutes.

Sift flour and salt. Sprinkle 1/3 of the flour into the egg mixture; fold gently. Fold in remaining flour in two additions.

Combine melted butter (cooled) and 1 cup batter in a small bowl. When blended, add the mixture back to the remaining batter and gently fold to blend.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Combine all milks and run in a measuring cup with a pour spout while the cake bakes. Transfer half of the milk mixture (2 cups) to a saucepan, bring to a simmer, and cook until reduces to 1 cup, about 15 minutes. Stir mixture constantly to prevent scorching.

Stir reduced milk into remaining 2 cups milk mixture (for a total of 3 cups). Set milk syrup aside.

After cooling the cake 10 minutes, place it on a baking sheet (to catch drips from the milk), then poke holes in it with a skewer.

Rewarm the milk mixture, if necessary, then pour it over the cake, allowing it to soak in before adding more. Use all the milk, even though it won’t seem like the cake will absorb it. Drape wax paper over the cake (plastic wrap causes condensation) and chill overnight.

For the topping:

Combine fruit and ¼ cup sugar; macerate for about 30 minutes.

When ready to serve cake, remove sides of pan, then top with fruit. Slice cake and serve with whipped cream on the side.