Friday, March 25, 2011

Lemon Yogurt Mousse

If you love lemon this is going to be one of your most favorite desserts. 


It is from http://www.americastestkitchen.com/ / Light & Healthy issue.


It took me three attempts to get this right, but it was worth every bowl, spoon and kitchen appliance I had to wash after. This post is going to be a bit lengthy but mostly photos of the ways I found worked best for me.


I hope you try it.







YOU WILL NEED:


Blueberry Sauce:


3/4 cup fresh blueberries
(note * recipe says you can substitute 1 cup of frozen blueberries)
(note again * most the little containers of berries I find are 6 ounces - so i just throw the entire package in - leave all other ingredients as is)
2 tablespoons sugar
(except here - maybe just a little extra sprinkling of sugar)
2 tablespoons water
pinch of salt




Mousse:


3 tablespoons water
3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash of salt
3 large egg whites
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar




For the Blueberry Sauce - Put blueberries, sugar, water and the pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat  - stirring occasionally. Cook about 5 minutes then transfer the entire mixture to a blender or food processor (recipe says use a blender but I hate my blender so I used my food processor - worked great) Pulse/Puree until smooth.



Then strain the mixture into a small bowl - pressing on the liquid to extract as much puree as possible.





Spoon the sauce evenly into 6 small ramekins - I found the best way to try and get the servings even was to use a tablespoon measuring spoon - then when i started running low i changed to a 1/2 size measuring spoon until all the puree was gone (I know this seems like a lot of little spoons running around - but my touch of OCD requires me to do some things this way)





Put the ramekins in the refrigerator for at least a half hour.


For the Mousse:


Pour the 3 tablespoons of water into a small bowl then sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the top. This is the one I used.


Set aside until ready to use.


In another bowl - whisk the heavy cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, salt and yogurt together.



I recommend the following yogurt. It is delicious and I don't know why I haven't had it before.



Now - This is where I made a giant mistake. I'm not sure why i grabbed a stainless steel bowl to whisk the egg whites but I did. And they NEVER came anywhere near fluffed. And then I thought the mixer would fix it and I was very, very wrong. Thirty minutes later I still had a bowl of oddly colored liquid - no mousse in sight and a smoking standing mixer. Needless to say, that batch went down the drain and I started over.

Use a GLASS bowl for this next step - unless you have another bowl that you know will work.
Make sure also that you have a bowl that will lay comfortably on top of a saucepan so you can whisk the egg whites.

Back to the task at hand - whisk the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a large bowl.


Set this bowl over a saucepan of simmering water - making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl. Heat this mixture - whisking constantly - until it has tripled in size and registers about 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer. I also skipped using the thermometer (just too lazy to get it) I whisk for 10 minutes until the egg whites are big and shiny and look like mousse - and by the way - what is in the bowl should already look like finished mousse product at this point (it's not done - but it should almost look like it is)


Off the heat whisk in the gelatin/water mixture then mix all of that with an electric mixer until you get stiff shiny peaks - almost another 10 minutes. (Another note here - I just used my little hand held mixer because I did not want to have another thing to wash and because I didn't want to waste any of the egg white mix in transferring to another bowl)
Now add the yogurt mixture and continue to mix just until combined - maybe a minute.

Finally - it's time to fill the ramekins. Again, I used a tablespoon measuring spoon to help me with the whole 'keeping quantities even' within each ramekin. Then switched to a smaller measuring spoon as i started running out (I know - again with all the little spoons)


Once all the dishes are filled and you are out of mousse mix - cover and chill overnight. (recipe says 6 - 8 hours - I figure a good nights sleep won't hurt anybody)


Serve garnished with a few fresh blueberries (just because it was pretty)


Eat them all.






Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lemon Yogurt Decadence

Another Lemon something recipe! I really am almost done (I think)


I purchased this Greek yogurt for a recipe that I made and will post soon. In the meantime I wanted a little snack and had some lemon curd in the fridge so I threw it together and WOW. This is my new favorite yogurt.


The Greek Gods - Traditional Plain Greek Yogurt - YUM

Mixed with the Lemon Curd - great snack or even dessert.


Here's the Lemon Curd recipe I used for this little dish:

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar (again - the regular is fine as well)
1 stick of butter (at room temperature)
4 large eggs (at room temperature)
1 tablespoon lemon zest

TO DO:
Cream the butter and sugar - then slowly drizzle in the lemon juice. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix all of this just until combined. Pour all of it into a saucepan and cook about 10 minutes - stirring constantly. Mixture will thicken and get glossy. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

note: this is not the same lemon curd recipe I use for cookies and bars. that recipe link follows here   http://www.tateskitchen.com/2011_02_01_archive.html 

I did not pay attention to the exact ratio of yogurt to lemon curd. I think it was two spoonfuls of yogurt to maybe a spoonful and a half of curd. mix this however you like it best. But do give it a try. It's delicious.





Monday, March 21, 2011

Beef and Bean Chili

Have you ever googled "Chili Recipes"? There are over a million of them floating around on the internet! And now I'm going to add one more to the mix. Why not right?


This whole thing started because my husband came home the other day saying he had this fantastic fund raising idea for our sons basketball team - "Let's do chili dogs at the next game!" I agree this is a good idea (although more appropriate for Baseball?) so I listen. Then about half way through the "idea"  I realize I am in charge of the chili portion of chili dogs (???) - to be sold by the bowl and thus raising money for the team. Husband is not sure why it took so long for me to come to this realization.


okay.


Tore the kitchen apart looking for an old recipe from my mother. No luck. Therefore put this together from memory - and it turned out pretty tasty. Nothing fancy about this chili. Just delicious and definitely filling.







Keep in mind this recipe was to feed the parents of an entire basketball team. I imagine there would need to be some adjustments made for most families.




YOU WILL NEED:


1/2 package bacon
2 pounds ground beef
1 large sweet onion
5 cloves garlic - chopped fine
4 14.5oz cans of whole peeled tomatoes
1 can diced seasoned tomatoes 
2 cans red kidney beans
2 cans white kidney beans - or Pinto beans
1 6oz. can tomato paste
4 tablespoons garlic powder
6 tablespoons chili powder
4 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons brown sugar
olive oil
salt
pepper


TO DO:


Crisp the bacon in a very large pot. Remove and drain most of the bacon grease. Brown the ground beef in the same pot that still has a little of the bacon grease in it. Then drain and set aside for a minute. In the same pot - saute the onions in a tablespoon of olive oil until softened. Add garlic. Cook about three minutes then add beef and bacon back to pot. Give everything a good stir - add the tomato paste and give everything another good stir to coat. Add all the cans of tomatoes. Stir really well then add all the beans. Finally, add the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, brown sugar and salt/pepper. Taste and check for seasoning.  
I could not make this too spicy for this event - you might want to add more of the chili powder and cumin.






Serve with grated cheese and chopped onions for garnish. Enjoy.


(and by the way - it was quite a hit at the basketball game)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lemon Meringue Phyllo plates

My lemon induced cooking spree continues. But am almost out of this last batch of curd so there will be a break soon.

Honestly, Phyllo dough is one of my least favorite things to work with in the kitchen. Phyllo sheets everywhere - butter drippings everywhere - a fine layer of sugar dust everywhere. It's all a bit bothersome. 

But these little plates get such rave reviews I have to occasionally suck it up and make them for my guests. And then of course, all memory of my earlier angst is gone as everyone is gobbling up dessert and smiling so lovingly at me for providing such a wonderful little treat.


Anyway, try these. They are lovely to look at and even lovelier on the tongue.












































































I think I originally saw this in a magazine somewhere. I cannot remember which one or how long ago. But this is my variation of what I do remember.


YOU WILL NEED:
3 sheets phyllo dough
1 or 2 sticks of butter - melted
a brush for brushing the sheets with the melted butter
about 1/2 cup of sugar
1 jar lemon curd (recipe to follow)


For the Meringue:
3 egg whites - at room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of cream of tartar


LEMON CURD:
zest from 3 lemons
juice from 4 lemons (should have almost 1 cup)
2 sticks butter 

1 1/2 cups sugar (i prefer superfine sugar but the regular works also)
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons cornstarch


MAKE THE CURD FIRST.
Preferably a day ahead to ensure it sets and firms up.
note: you can also use a store bought curd. It will be just fine.


TO DO:
Combine butter, lemon juice and the cornstarch in a pan. Cook on medium heat until the butter is melted - occasionally whisk the mixture to make sure the cornstarch gets cooked in. In a separate bowl blend the eggs and sugar thoroughly. Temper the egg mixture with about a cup of the butter mixture. Then slowly pour in the rest of the butter mixture while whisking the entire time (check out my posting on Lemon Curd filled cookies - better explanation there)
Return the entire mixture to the pan and cook on medium low heat about 10 minutes - stirring almost constantly. Mixture will thicken.
Strain into an airtight bowl and store in the refrigerator until needed.


THE PHYLLO SHEET PLATES:


oven to 375


On a large work surface lay your first sheet of Phyllo. Brush with butter working from the center out to the edges - this seems to be the best way for me to NOT rip the thing to shreds! Lay a second sheet of Phyllo on top of the first and repeat with the butter brushing but then sprinkle a fine layer of sugar all over the top. Then lay your third sheet on top of these and repeat with the butter and sugar. 












































































Carefully slice the sheets into squares - about 3 inches wide/square. Then carefully arrange these little squares onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake about 6 minutes at 375 or until tops are golden brown. Let cool completely.












































































note: make sure to trim your parchment paper so it lays completely flat in the tray - otherwise the phyllo pieces around the edges get a little crazy curve on them which I found to be most annoying. (example above)


MERINGUE:
Egg whites into the bowl of a standing mixer. Mix until foamy and starting to turn white - add the pinch of cream of tartar - mix another minute or so - then slowly pour in the sugar. Mix until firm peaks.


Set your oven to broil.

Carefully spread about a tablespoon of lemon curd on top of each phyllo square - then add about a tablespoon of the meringue to the tops of this. Every square on your sheet should have lemon curd and meringue. Back into the oven under the broiler just until the tops of your meringue are browned. Once out make little stacks of two then serve.