Sunday, February 27, 2011

Eggplant Cannelloni

Do you ever just feel like you need something filling, maybe Italian and maybe meatless? Well, lucky you! I have just the recipe, and is it ever delish. I was perusing the Self website and came across this little hottie recipe that I simply could not pass up. It was extremely easy to make and even kept well for leftovers at work!

I think the kicker that really sets this apart is the homemade sauce. It has this rich, smoky but sweet flavor that sticks with you...just not on your things, which is always a plus ;)

Ingredients: Serves 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 large shallots, sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 jars (12 oz each) roasted red peppers, drained
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (juice of 1 orange)

2 medium eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices
olive oil cooking spray

4 oz goat cheese
kalamata olives, pitted and minced (use as many as you like, I did about 8)
1 teaspoon capers, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

For the sauce
1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook shallots and garlic until soft, about 1 minute. Reduce heat. Cook until golden, 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Add peppers and juice; bring to a boil.
3. Lower heat; simmer until peppers are soft, about 5 minutes. Cool.
4. Puree in a blender. Pour into a 9" x 13" baking dish.

For the eggplant
1. Coat eggpants with cooking spray and broil on a baking sheet until golden on both sides, about 15 minutes.
2. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

For the filling
1. Mash cheese, olives, capers and 1 tsp of the parsley into a bowl.
2. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling a the end of each eggplant slice; roll up. Lay seem side down in dish.
3. Bake 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Top with remaining parsley

Enjoy and feel good about it!!

Lola in Seattle

The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Truly one of my favorite shows on the Food Network. I watch episodes, DVR them if I won't be home, write down the places I HAVE TO VISIT and luckily, since I travel so much with my job, I was able to visit one on my list while I was in Seattle. Lola. The made-to-order doughnuts are the only thing you need to remember and even think about ordering. Giada de Laurentiis really knew what she was talking about when she brought these little pillows of Heaven into my life. They are served with seasonal jam and vanilla mascarpone that are swoon-worthy on their own, but then, when lightly smeared onto one of the doughnuts...oh em gee I just got a little hot and tingly.

So excited to get down to doughnut business.

I'm being so serious right now. If you are in Seattle, visit Lola. You will not regret it.

Cappuccino Parfaits

Holy great after-dinner treat, or let's face it...Sunday afternoon snack?? This cappuccino parfait is so creamy and delicious, it will literally melt on your tongue in espresso caffeine jolting goodness :) I had to try these out first for myself, but are going to be so fun to serve to my girlfriends for brunch or my fabulous neighbor girls for one of our tea parties. After all, at these tea parties, we only wear tutus, tiaras and eat and drink fabulous things. Seriously, these girls are the most wonderful pint-size treats in my life, love every minute with them.

Have fun and serve these parfaits in different juice glasses to add some whimsy to your party. One of my favorite things is to explore antique shops and thrift stores in search of fun juice glasses. My dear mother started me on this and neither one of us ever passes up a fun and unique addition for my collection!

Recipe courtesy of Everyday Cookbook of Martha Stewart Living.

1 container part-skim ricotta (15 oz)
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

1. Puree ricotta, sugar and espresso powder until very smooth
2. Divide evenly in glasses
3. Add a little something special by sprinkling espresso powder on top and maybe a coffee beans or chocolate chips for good measure ;)


Golden Granola

I am a big granola fan. I kind of wish I still had my pom pons from high school (dance team, specifically...I didn't quite have the enthusiasm for cheerleading) so that I could adequately celebrate my enthusiasm for granola. Think of all the ways you can use this stuff. Granola pancakes, yogurt topping, granola muffins, granola break, breakfast parfaits, frozen yogurt topping...endless, right? Well, it's even better when you make your own granola. It's a huge money-saver and you can tailor it to add anything you want!

I was first inspired to make granola from my best friend, and chef/baker/domestic goddess/blogger extraordinaire, Courtney of The Granola Chronicles. Check this girl out, she's amazing.

3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup flax seed
1 cup California golden raisins
6 tablespoons agave
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.
2. Stir until all the oats, pecans and walnuts have been coated.
3. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and pour the mixture onto the pan.
4. Place in the oven, then set it to 300 degrees. No need to pre-heat!
5. Stir the granola ever 10 minutes or so until it is browned. Timing depends on your oven, mine was done in about 25 minutes.

Go Granola Cazy!! Enjoy!

Red Velvet Ruffle Cake

Ok friends, seriously now, how good does this cake look? I have been dying to try this frosting technique after a friend sent me this to-die-for picture of a pink ruffle cake made for a 5 year-old's princess birthday party. If I were that little girl, I think I would have squealed, screamed and jumped up and down, as I'm sure this special little princess did.

Instead of making my ruffle cake for a delightful little darling, I made mine for my wonderful coworkers. Really, I just like to give them sugar to keep everyone on a high throughout the day ;)

This cake is so fun and elegant and red velvet, can do no wrong with that choice, use this frosting technique for any occasion and wow everyone. I have also included an easy how-to video,  courtesy of sweetandsaucyshop to help you get started!

2 1/2 cups AP flour
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
2 oz red food coloring

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Butter and flour two 8 inch cake pans
3. Lightly whisk eggs in a bowl. Add remaining liquid ingredients and stir with whisk until mixed well.
4. Place all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and combine really well.
5. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on medium-high for about a minute, or until completely combined.
6. Pour cake mix into both pans and drop the pans on the counter a few times to release air bubbles.
7. Bake for approx. 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
8. Let cakes slightly cool, then, remove them from the pans, cover in plastic wrap and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

I used store-bought cream cheese frosting for this cake, and honestly, no one even knew!

Have so much fun making this cake!! Enjoy!