Delicious Distractions to get us through the days.

Simple recipes for those with simple chef skills.

Fruit Tray Skewers Cut with Cookie Cutters March 1, 2011

This was one of the simplest dishes, but most importantly the cutest, I have ever made for a potluck. I am sure it would have only taken less than 30 minutes if my 2-year-old didn’t want to cut every piece or steal all of my grapes. I accented this dish with a chocolate ganache fondue. This combination was giving many raves!

Ingredients:

  • 1 vine of circular shaped grapes
  • 1 thick in diameter and long cucumber
  • 2 large red apples
  • 4 large kiwis
  • 16 skewers

Directions:

Rinse and wash your fruit as you normally would. Start by threading one grape almost half way down the skewer. The final distance will truly depend on the size of each item.

Due to the soft nature of the centers of the kiwi, using a cookie cutter shape did not work well. Therefore, I cut the skins off and shaping them in to hexagons or heptagons for a geometric shape. Slice  the kiwis about  ¼- ½ inch thick.  Thread the kiwis just off center, this will help them to not split or become damaged (see 2nd kiwi from the right above).

Using the red skins of the apples for accent colored flowers, cut 4 to 5 slices ½ inch in diameter at the thickest part in each apple.  Using a small flower cutter (or the small gum paste blossom cutter as I used) cut as many flowers per piece as possible.

Slicing the cucumber ½ inch in diameter. Use a small star cookie cutter to shape the cucumber slices. Be careful to not cut through the cucumber skins, this will allow you to reuse the leftovers later with a small apple flower threaded inside (see picture below).

Now your fruits are ready for threading. The grapes will be placed as spacers in between each fruit piece and make for a nice jewel like feature.

Enjoy!

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Bunch Worthy Lasagna December 18, 2010

Filed under: Dinner,Holiday,Pork,Summer,Themed Post — christinedel @ 7:20 pm
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As much as I like to experiment with cooking and learn new dishes, I am not a fan of watching cooking shows. So for me to actually watch a cooking show there must be something to the dish that completely intrigues me.  Normally, when I think of lasagna I picture a lump of food sitting my my belly. But this version of lasagna is light enough to serve at a brunch or luncheon with your friends. I figure, if my Japanese hosts liked this version of lasagna, then there must be something to it. I made a few changes because, well, I live in Japan and I don’t like their tomatoes (sorry Japanese tomatoes, I’m from California).  And the salsa is good enough to stand on its own and eat with chips.


Here it is Sunny’s Latin Lasagna from Food Network:

Ingredients

  • 1 (16-ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove excess moisture 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (I used less because I think it smells and tastes horrible)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Tomato Salsa, recipe follows
  • 18 “oven ready” lasagna noodles, about 1 (16-ounce) package (I used only 12)
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl stir together ricotta, spinach, egg, cumin, salt and set aside. In a large saute pan over medium-high heat add 3 tablespoons of oil and 3 tablespoons of butter and saute ground pork and cayenne pepper until meat is brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove meat from the pan to a bowl and add mushrooms to the pan. Cook until tender, another 5 minutes. Add meat back to the pan, stir in 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, season with salt and pepper, to taste, then transfer mixture to a bowl and set aside.

To assemble, layer bottom of 12 by 9-inch casserole dish with 1/3 of the salsa, then 6 noodles, overlapping to cover the entire bottom surface of the dish. Next add and evenly spread half the ricotta spinach mixture, half the pork mushroom mixture, and a layer of mozzarella. Layer another 1/3 of the salsa, 6 noodles, the remaining ricotta spinach mixture, and the remaining pork mushroom mixture. To finish add the last 6 noodles, top with the remaining salsa. Place the remaining mozzarella slices on top along with the remaining Parmesan. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and pepper, to taste. Bake covered for 45 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F, uncover, and bake for 15 more minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Tomato Salsa:

  • 1 poblano pepper, stem removed, seeded and roughly chopped (didn’t use because the store didn’t have any)
  • 1/2 small red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, stem removed, seeded and roughly chopped (didn’t use because the store didn’t have any)and ta
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 pounds plum tomatoes, cored, seeded and roughly chopped (I used the large can of pureed tomatoes with basil)
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves only
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree until almost smooth. Adjust seasoning, to taste.

 

Colorful Kabobs May 27, 2010

Filed under: Dinner,Holiday,Steak,Summer,Themed Post,Uncategorized — christinedel @ 12:29 am

This dish is as colorful as it is tasty and tender. And a great color addition to the table.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Rib Eye Steaks, cubed
  • 1 White Onion
  • 1 Red bell pepper
  • 1 Green bell pepper
  • 1 Yellow bell pepper
  • 1 Cherry tomato container
  • 1 zucchini, sliced

Alternative choices:

  • Shrimp
  • Limes, quartered

Directions:

Soak the skews while you are prepping the food.

For larger slices of onions, slice the onion in half then peel off the outer layers.  Slice the outer ring to desired size, about one inch wide.

For the red, green, yellow bell peppers quarter then gut the insides. Cut about one inch wide pieces.

Once all items are cut, start screwing them in desired order making a colorful rainbow across the skewer.

Cook on the BBQ until meat is tender and desired wellness is achieved.