Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cream Soup

This is a delicious cream soup recipe with included variations to make it your choice vegetable. This soup is a big hit with kids and great for light meals or cold days. I made broccoli and used fresh broccoli from my garden. It was fantastic!

Cream Soup
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup margarine or butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
In medium saucepan, saute onion and celery in margarine until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly until smooth and bubbly. Gradually stir in chicken broth and milk; cook until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Do not boil. Continue as directed with one of the recipe variations below. Top with Parmesan cheese and croutons.


Carrot Cream Soup: Stir in 2 cups sliced carrots, cooked and drained, 1/2 tsp grated orange peel, and 1/8 tspn nutmeg.

Potato Cream Soup: Stir in 2 cups diced, cooked peeled potatoes, 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce and 1/4 tspn dry mustard.

Cauliflower Cream Soup: Stir in 2 cups cooked cute-up cauliflower and 1/2 tsp dill weed.

Broccoli Cream Soup: Stir in 2 cups cooked cut-up broccoli, 2 tsp lemon juice and 1/4 tsp garlic powder.

Celebration Cake

I made this cake for my daughters 2nd birthday party. It was an ice cream theme.

I tried making homemade marshmallow fondant for the first time and it was delicious and just like working with play dough. My sister lent me the recipe. I flavored it with almond flavoring and the guests swore it was marzipan. I made a simple vanilla cream filling (that I sometimes use as a frosting as well) for the center of each cake and let me tell you this cake tasted like an elaborate wedding cake. The ingredients costs about $8.00 to make and it tasted like a $250 cake. I just used a strawberry and yellow cake mix to match the yellows and pinks in the fondant. I posted the recipes below for the marshmallow fondant and the vanilla cream filling. A little tip I used when dividing my cakes for filling. My mother in law taught me years ago to use a string to slice cakes rather than a knife. You get a cleaner and more accurate cut. I also use the string to slice of the tops of my cakes to make them flat. Give this cake a try.

Easy Marshmallow Fondant

  • 16 oz mini white marshmallows
  • 2-5 Tbsp of water
  • 2 lbs powder sugar
  • 1/2 cup Crisco shortening

In a large glass bowl melt the marshmallows and 2 Tbsp of water in the microwave for about 2 1/2 minutes. If you are going to flavor replace some of the water with your extract. Almond extract is my favorite! Take out of microwave and place 3/3 of powdered sugar on top of melted marshmallow mixture. Grease your hands and counter top with Crisco. Dump bowl onto counter top and begin kneading. Add the rest of powder sugar and continue kneading.

When fondant begins to stick to you or counter top, re-grease with Crisco. If mix tears easily then it's too dry and you need to add 1/2 Tbsp of water. It takes about 8 minutes of kneading to become a firm, smooth, elastic ball like play dough. This is when you want to add your food coloring.

Divide the dough into large balls until you have enough balls for each color you will be using. Add drops of food coloring at a time and knead in until it turns the desired shade you want. I combined colors to make purple and teal. It is messy and your fingers will get dyed. You need to work quickly because fondant will begin to dry. It's a good idea to grease the outside of your balls with Crisco and wrap tightly with plastic wrap until you are ready to dye them.

Once you are finished you can store in the fridge for weeks at a time. When you are ready to use, place the fondant ball in microwave for 10 seconds to soften. Then grease your counter and use rolling pin to smooth into a blanket in which you can wrap your cakes and use to decorate.

Vanilla Cream Filling

  • 1 pkg of instant vanilla pudding
  • 16 oz cool whip
Mix ingredients together and spread over cake. Depending on the cake you are making you can use different flavors of pudding or replace the pudding with jello to get the flavor you want. It stiffens, so you need to use mixture quickly while it is smooth. Place in fridge when finished. This filling tastes great chilled.

If making a 3 tiered cake you'll need to double this recipe.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Creamy Desert Topping

This delicious topping can be made in different variations and is always a hit. It's delicious on cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, pumpkin bread and your favorite soft sugar cookies. Whatever is left over you can always freeze in a zip lock bag and it stays soft when frozen. Here are the two variations I created.

Lemon Cream Cheese Whip
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Candy Lemon Drizzle

  • 1 cup fine sugar/caster sugar
  • Lemon juice, just enough to dissolve the cup of sugar, freshly squeezed
Pour the lemon juice into the sugar in a mixing bowl. Mix together until the sugar is dissolved in the lemon juice.Pour the mixture into a heavy-based saucepan. Bring to the boil.Pour the mixture into a heavy-based saucepan. Bring to the boil.Remove from the heat. Drizzle with a fork over your cookies or desert. The syrup will harden into a candy form. Very delicious!

Almond Cream Cheese Whip

Use same recipe as above however replace lemon extract with almond extract. Crumble graham crackers over top, brown sugar and almonds. Very addicting!!

Tip: For pumpkin bread and chocolate cake you can use vanilla extract. This topping delicious with so many extracts. Take a visit to the bakery isle and try orange, cherry and so many others.

Spiced Vanilla & Toffee Silk

Here is a yummy ice cream creation I created to take to an ice cream social. if you love homemade ice cream and toffee, you'll really love this.

Spiced Vanilla & Toffee Silk

1/2 pint (250ml) whipping cream
1/2 pint (250ml) milk
4 egg yolks
4oz (100g) brown sugar
8 oz bag toffee bits
2 oz crushed pecans
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla

Put the milk into a saucepan and scald it (bring slowly to boiling point). In a separate bowl, beat and mix the egg yolks and sugar together until thick and then stir in the toffee bits, cinnamon, pecans and vanilla. Pour into this bowl the hot milk and stir well until smooth, then pour the mixture back into the saucepan and gently heat it, keeping stirring until the custard thickens.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT BRING TO THE BOIL OR IT WILL PROBABLY CURDLE. When you test the mixture over the back of your spoon and it forms a film then it's time to remove the saucepan from the heat and let the mixture cool thoroughly.

Transfer the cooled mixture into to your ice cream maker and follow machine instructions. Freeze for a couple hours before serving.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tried Something New!

In my Bountiful Basket a couple weeks ago I received what I thought was rhubarb and bananas. I thought, "Oh goody, I'll make a strawberry rhubarb pie". It wasn't until a few days later I learned that I had Swiss Chard and Plantains.

I have seen plantains at the store and these really looked more like bananas. They were smaller and not so long at the ends. When they stayed green for two weeks, were very tough to peel, and tasted nothing like an unripe banana I knew they were plantains. I found a yummy way to prepare them and the kids gobbled them up. What I love about them is they taste similar to potatoes and are very starchy. If you slice them thin enough they get crispy just like a potato chip but cook so much faster. The slight hint of sweetness creates a delicious caramelization with the sugars just like onions. They are crispy, crunchy and a delight to the taste buds.

Sadly to say that I have never had the opportunity to taste Swiss Chard. It appeared to be hot pink, bright yellow and orange stalks of celery. I was very curious at this colorful new vegetable. We enjoyed it as a side with our dinner and here is how we fixed it.

Sauteed Swiss Chard

  • 1 large bunch of fresh Swiss chard
  • 1 small clove garlic, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • Pinch of fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • Salt
Chop Swiss chard leaves and stalks. Heat a saucepan on a medium heat setting, add olive oil, a few small slices of garlic and pepper. Sauté for about a minute. Add the chopped Swiss chard leaves. Cover. Check after about 5 minutes. If it looks dry, add a couple tablespoons of water. Flip the leaves over in the pan, so that what was on the bottom, is now on the top. Cover again. Check after another 5 minutes (remove a piece and taste it). Add salt, butter and lemon juice. Stir and serve.

Plantain Bites

  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • dash of ground pepper
Slice plantains into circle sized bites. Heat pan to medium high and add oil. When oil is hot add plantain slices. Add salt, garlic, and pepper. Fry until golden brown. Sprinkle on cheese and toss until cheese is melted. Serve with fry sauce or ketchup.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July

There's nothing like a cupcake tower with fire!

Happy 4th!!