Wednesday, August 3, 2011

In line at the buffet

This will be a buffet style blog post, mainly for the fact that the last week has been crazy busy!  So that being said...I'm gonna break tradition and skip right to DESSERT!!!!  It's always a good thing, right?!

Note: I do NOT need anyone lecturing me on the fact that I cook w/ beer, wine, liquor, or liqueurs.  I know some prefer to abstain from doing so, and that's your right...however I'm not you, and you're not me - that being said if you're going to be THAT stringent, I highly recommend that you never eat out EVER again as most restaurants DO use wine in their recipes. 

Dessert:  Diana's Guinness chocolate cake w/ guinness chocolate icing

Oh come to momma!  Chocolate: Check, Beer: Check, Frosting: Check, Beer: Double Check!   Hello love and oh mama mia if you try this recipe, you are going to LOVE it!!! I cheated a bit and I made cupcakes :)  Cupcakes are a good thing, b/c you actually get to control the portion size - and share, and sharing is always a nice thing to do!

Thoughts:  The recipe originally was converted from a UK recipe, not that it should matter, but the frosting    -I'm convinced- hated me from the start it was way to thin to hold up to piping, even after I added MORE confectioner sugar, and another brick of cream cheese, but that's okay b/c I morphed the frosting into a filling!  I then made a new frosting to top off the freshly filled cupcakes.  I ended up w/ a total of 24 cupcakes, and shared 8 of them - one of my friends said that 4 days later they were still moist.

Onto dinner:  Pecan Crusted Orange Roughy,  Creamy corn couscous and brittany blend of mixed veggies

The beauty of fried fish is simply that you really do NOT have to use measurements for the breading - you just sorta eye ball it. 

Orange roughy
Breadcrumbs (plain)
Pecans - finely chopped (I pulsed mine in my blender)
Granulated Garlic
Seasoning Salt

Assembly line
Shallow bowl 1 contains: flour
Shallow bowl 2 contains:  1 egg, beaten w/ 1 Tbsp milk (eyeball it)
Shallow bowl 3 contains: Mixture of regular breadcrumbs and panko, pecans, garlic powder, seasoning salt and thyme. 

I dipped the fillets in flour, then in a mixture of egg & milk, followed by the panko pecan breading, I did a quick fry, and followed w/ broiling it.  Perfect QUICK dinner!

That recipe really lived up to the name! The only thing I wasn't crazy about was the instruction for cooking the couscous. I knew that it would also need some more flavour - so I added 1/2 tsp dried thyme, and 1/4 tsp granulated garlic. I will definately use this recipe again, but plan on adding some roasted red bell pepper for a pop of colour. I used a ring mold for the presentation. This is restaurant worthy w/ the right seasonings!


Onto a quick dessert:  Chocolate chip ice cream cookie-wiches yum yum! 

These are SO simple to make too!  Feel free to cheat like I did.  A package of store bought chocolate chip cookies (from the bakery of your fav grocer) and a container of vanilla ice cream, plus mini chocolate chips.

Simply take a scoop of ice cream, sandwich it between the two cookies, and roll in the mini choclate chips...simple right?!  Oh and tasty too!!!

Dinner 2:
Hazelnut chicken, wild rice, and mixed veggies
OMG can I say gourmet!!!  A more appropriate name would be Hazelnut crusted chicken w/ a Frangelico Brandy Sauce!  As per my Allrecipes review of this recipe, there was no way that I would be able to fry the chicken breasts in so little butter, so I did a mix of 1/2 butter and 1/2 grapeseed oil. I used panko breadcrumbs instead of regular breadcrumbs and also ran the filberts (hazelnuts) throught the blender. I added 1/4 tsp EACH thyme, oregano, and garlic powder to the panko breading. I butterflied the chicken breast and lightly pounded them thinner. This is a great recipe for special dinners or for company.
Oh and the Frangelico Brandy Sauce was amazing!!! It gave the crusting a hint of buttery sweetness it was SO delicious!!!  Simply serve w/ a side of wild rice, and mixed veggies (I'm a sucker for the Green Giant Steamer mixed veggies)
Dinner 3: Seared Lemon-Pepper Tilapia with Creamy Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette Salad topped with Pomegranate Seeds w/ pearled barley, snow peas and carrots, served w/ a couple slices of 5 grain bread
This was a unique twist combining some amazing flavours!!!   I didn't make any changes to this dish. I was able to find the pumpkin seeds already toasted which cut down on my prep time. Word of warning give yourself some wiggle room on the price of pumpkin seed oil, especially if you're on a budget! It's something you will want to use - but it's NOT cheap! The pearled barley "cake" is actually another freezer pleaser from Green Giant, it's one of their steamer things, and I smooshed it to where it became a fancy little cake :)  A side of toasted bread, and dinner was complete in under 20 minutes!
Dinner 4:
Oh yay!!  Dessert is back on the menu!!!  Now don't wrinkle up your nose when you hear Southern possum pie
I'm gonna show it step by step - handy tip, make it personal by making the pie miniature :)  I used a disposable pastry bag and piped the cream cheese mixture into the graham cracker pie crusts.
Getting a little nutty...
time for CHOCOLATE!!! ....

All dolled up...and hey it said possum pie, so I added a special touch ;)

Looks like a bloody mess huh?! Well not quite...oh and let me say that from start to finish I finished mine in about 3 minutes.  It was good but I'm thinking the vanilla pudding gets drowned out by the chocolate, so unless you're going for a layered look (which isn't instructed) it's pointless to use two different puddings. I cheated and used Reddi whip, instead of making my own whipped cream.  I think next time I drizzle some chocolate and caramel sauce on it and will make it messier :D

Oooh and I nearly forgot Dinner...Pepper steak packet  w/ Jasmine rice

So I cheated and used a 90 second package of Jasmine rice by Uncle Ben...but hey on hump day, I need all the free time I can get!  For something SO simple this has amazing flavour! I love that you can easily change up the veggies. I added in some broccoli, and baby carrots. I chose to cook this in the oven at 450° for 40 minutes. before doing so I seared the sirloin steak strips in a mixture of grapeseed oil seasoned w/ granulated garlic, and black pepper. I served this w/ jasmine rice b/c it made me think of being a stir fry.

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