Monday, August 22, 2011

Italian Rice Balls

It's week 5 in the Real Women of Philadelphia Cooking Contest. Congratulations to all the winners so far. Each winning recipe has been awarded $500.00 and a chance to get their winning recipe in the RWoP Cookbook Season2. I am working towards being one of them.

Ok It's INTERNATIONAL Appetizer week. We are challenged to get passports in hand and
create an appetizer inspired by another country. For me this is a no brainer. While I love lots of other countries appetizers my heart belongs to ITALY and this particular recipe has been in my family for forever. I just tweaked it a bit with the addition of Philadelphia Brand cream cheese and dare I say it was even a bit creamier and more delicious then ever. I am hoping its a $500.00 winner; nevertheless it is a winner in my family!

Recipe follows hope you enjoy.

Italian Rice Balls

These delicious little bites have been in my family forever. They are the most requested most loved appetizer. Family and strangers gobble them up. There is never enough no matter how many I make. The addition of the cream cheese in the rice balls as well as the dipping sauce just put them over the top. Yum!

1 cup cooked hot plain white rice
6 oz cream cheese (softened and divided)
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 egg (slightly beaten)
1 handful parmesan cheese
5 basil leaves chopped
Salt pepper to taste
Italian Panko bread crumbs
8oz of your favorite marinara sauce (homemade or store bought)
Vegetable oil for frying

Cook rice according to package directions. Drain, do not rinse.
Place in a large mixing bowl and add 4 oz cream cheese along with the next 6 ingredients. Stir to incorporate & cheeses are melted.
Form into bite size balls. Coat in the bread crumbs. Set aside.
In a 2 quart sauce pot heat ½ cup of oil. You will know it’s ready when you insert a wooden spoon handle side in and the oil bubbles around it.
Fry the rice balls 2 by 2 until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.

For the sauce: in a sauce pot heat your marinara along with the remaining 2 oz of cream cheese until hot and bubbly. Add a dash of pepperoncino if desired for a little kick.

Prep time :30 min
Cook time: 20 min
Total time: 50 min
Yield : 30 rice balls

Until tomorrow Eat well live well

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Working to your best ability

I was commissioned to make a cake for a young woman who is about to start a new chapter in her life. She is off to college and her family and friends are giving her a party to wish her well.

She had a simple request yellow cake with buttercream icing. No fancy flavors no foofy fondant just straight up and down yellow on white.

Ok so its all about the client and off I went to give her what she wants. Easy enough request, my cakes baked nicely and my buttercream has just enough sweetness and vanilla flavor to please this purist.

Now, the decorations. Ok here is where I can really show my stuff and when I began to think
of all the things I could do to decorate, it occured to me keep it simple but elegant. All she requested was Pink soooooooo. I know all the cakes out there that have edible decorations but I am still a novice (I am practing, practing) and sometimes I frustrate myself because I cannot deliver the level I am satisfied with. I am not too proud to take outside help.

I think these silk flowers are a nice touch to this cake. They give the cake just enough so that it has a WOW! factor. I am pleased and proud to present this to my client.

I have stopped beating myself up and go with what I know will work for me. Until I get better at edible flower decorations this is the way to go.

I hope she enjoys. I had a good time making this for her.
Good luck to you Jacquelyn your future is bright

Until tomorrow eat well live well

Monday, August 15, 2011

Impressive Desserts

This week in the Real Women of Philadelphia Contest is most everyone's favorite. DESSERT!

We are now challanged to create an IMPRESSIVE DESSERT. Here is my submission and how it came about. Do you think it's a $500.00 winner? I sure hope so.

Little Black Dressed to Impress Dessert Shells

When challenged with creating an IMPRESSIVE DESSERT I thought about all the fancy desserts I had either eaten, seen or made. Then I thought about going to fancy parties and what makes the best impression.”The Little Black Dress”. It’s simple, elegant, always correct and can be dressed up to wow. From that came these dessert shells. Simple ingredients dressed up to IMPRESS.

6 oz Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese
2 Heaping tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons strawberry jelly
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
2 capfuls vanilla extract (divided)
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 ¾ cups heavy whipping cream
6 store bought ready- made dessert shells

In a 3 quart heavy bottom sauce pot scald heavy cream until sides begin to bubble.
Do not boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips and 1 capful vanilla. Let stand 3-5 minutes.
Then stir until chocolate and cream are incorporated to create a shiny pourable ganache´.
Place in a large measuring cup, set aside to cool.

Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, peanut butter, jelly, sugar and 1capful vanilla until fluffy. Spoon into dessert shells (mound it up); place filled dessert shells on a wire rack over a large baking sheet. Put in the refrigerator for 15 min to set up.

Remove dessert cups from fridge and pour cooled ganache´ over each shell making sure to cover completely. Add any topping you like for garnish (peanuts, strawberries, raspberries…) and a small piece of mint.
Place back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes until ganache´ has hardened. Serve and Enjoy!

Until tomorrow eat well live well!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Baby's 1st Birthday

Aren't Birthdays fun? I don't care what your age or how much we protest, we all like to celebrate the day that is ours alone.

The most precious to any parent next to the day their child oficially came into this world I think is the childs first birthday.There is always a big celebration. Lots of people, children, jumpy games, pony rides you name it. Every 1st birthday party is filled with whatever the parent thinks might be fun. Most of the time the child doesnt realize what the heck is happening but they know it is something big and it involves them as the star of the show.

The cake is also one of the highlights. That is when we see how much of a mess one little child can make eating a piece of cake. Normally when the baby makes a mess we clean it right away, but somehow the more the mess the more we laugh, ooh and ahh and take pictures. Life is good.

So this is a cake I was commissioned to make for a friend who's child is turning ONE tomorrow.

Hope he enjoys, I had fun making it for him.

Vanilla cake with chocolate fudge inside and out. That ought to be messy enough. The clowns are already smiling in anticipation.

"HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY ANDREW" Bless you and many more. Let's eat cake!

Until tomorrow eat well live well.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Breakfast for Dinner

Week 3 for the Real Women of Philadelphia contest has begun and its entree week. The challange create your best Breakfast for dinner entree dish including of course Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese.
This was so easy for me. I have been making this recipe for years now and it never fails me. It is always always a winner with my family. A sinch to put together then bake it up. It is also versitile eaten hot, cold or room temp. Served with a side salad or fresh fruit its a hearty meal.Cut into small squares it makes a great appetizer. LOVE IT!

So now I share my latest submission. Enjoy!

Sausage Egg Pie

This has been a favorite Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch or Dinner meal with my family from the day I whipped it up. It came out of the need to feed everyone at different times. It is so versatile, can be eaten hot, cold or room temp; served with a side salad or fresh fruit. Cut it in small squares for a great appetizer. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser.

1 lb Italian sausage removed from casing (you can use turkey sausage)
1 cup biscuit mix
6 oz Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese
8 oz mix cheddar and Swiss cheese
2 cups milk
1 tsp spicy brown mustard
½ tsp dried sage
½ tsp garlic powder
6 eggs, slightly beaten
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven 350°.
Grease 2 qt casserole dish
Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium high heat until no longer pink. Drain.
In large bowl mix sausage & remaining ingredients.
Pour into casserole dish.
Bake uncovered for 45-50 min

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time 50 min
Total time 60 min
Serves : 9

Until tomorrow eat well, live well

Monday, August 1, 2011

Philled Zucchini Boats

And the competition continues. This is week 2 of the RWoP cooking contest where you have a chance to submit your winning recipe that might be worth $500.00 and a page in the RWoP Season 2 cookbook.
This week its all about the side dish so I stepped outside and gazed around my garden for some inspiration. The zucchini looked really good this morning so i put my thinking cap on and here is what I came up with. Wish me luck.

Philled Zucchini Boats

The inspiration for this dish came from what was available in my garden this morning. It was delicious with my sage roasted chicken.

5 oz Philadelphia Italian Cheese & Herb cooking cream
2 Medium zucchini sliced vertically in half pulp scooped out
1 medium shallot minced
1 clove garlic minced
6 baby Portobello mushrooms diced (or your favorite)
1 roasted red pepper diced
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp fresh basil leaves chopped
2 tsp plain bread crumbs
1 tsp grated Romano cheese

Preheat oven 350°
Slice zucchini vertically in half and scoop out pulp. Set aside.
Chop zucchini pulp. Set aside.
Sauté shallots and garlic in oil until translucent in a sauce pan over medium heat.
Add mushrooms, roasted red pepper (minus 2 tsp for garnish) and zucchini pulp. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté a few minutes more.
Add cooking cream and chopped basil, stir to incorporate and cook 1-2 minutes to blend all flavors together.
Fill zucchini boats with equal amounts of zucchini mushroom pepper mixture. Top each “boat” with breadcrumbs and Romano cheese.
Bake 18-20 minutes. Zucchini boat should be soft yet still have a crunch
Garnish with reserved roasted red pepper

Prep time 15 min
Cook time 20 min
Total time 35 min
Serves 2 (or 4)

Until Tomorrow eat well live well.
// 10