Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spring Risotto

I know that it is supposed to be spring, but the weather in the Northeast isn't cooperating. The weatherman tells us lies that it will be in the 60's by the weekend. When the weekend comes, the temperatures barely rise above 40.

I'm trying to bring a little bit of that warm weather feeling into my life by wearing bright colors and florals, taking bundled-up evening walks and sourcing spring vegetables for dinner.


If you are still waiting for the warm spring days to visit your part of the world, try making something light and fresh for dinner. You can start with this spring risotto and hope that the temperatures rise soon!

Two Years Ago: Coconut Key Lime Bars
Three Years Ago: Lemon and Honey Chicken
Four Years Ago: Sponge Cupcakes with Swiss meringue chocolate frosting

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Honey Marshmallow Peeps

I was supposed to be bringing you jelly beans for Easter this week. Unfortunately the jelly bean molds that I ordered a month ago haven't yet arrived. I thought giving Amazon a full month to deliver my order would be enough. Apparently I was wrong...

In order to keep up the holiday cheer and bring you all something sweet and Easter related, I picked up another mold at my local craft store. Instead of jelly beans, today we are making Peeps!!!


I've seen several recipes for homemade peeps around the internet. A bunch of people even being patient enough to hand pipe their peeps (just like how they were made at the Just Born factory in the beginning!). I gave hand piping a try...


It didn't work out. I fairly certain that the marshmallow recipe I used wasn't the right one for this particular method. The high amount of corn syrup in the marshmallow syrup lead to a softer final product. While the marshmallow batter wasn't appropriate for hand piping, it was perfect for filling molds!



Two molds, three jars of sprinkles, a box of sugar eyes and a few hours later, my own peeps were born.


And they are so adorable!


The honey flavor in this recipe is fairly mild and is seems to mellow as the peeps age.

Two Years Ago: Momofuku Confetti Cookies
Three Years Ago: Tarragon Chicken and Pesto Potatoes
Four Years Ago: Mango Lime Muffins

Vanilla-Honey Marshmallow Peeps
From Chocolates and Confections

I chose to go with the classic pink, yellow and blue colors, rather than going too crazy with orange or silver. I also used black sugar pearls instead of piping on chocolate eyes. The store bought peeps actually have eyes that are made out of carnuba, an edible wax. Rather than locating some wax and ruining my pans, I thought the sugar pearls were a good alternative!

3 tablespoons powdered gelatin (3 Knox envelopes)
1/2 cup cold water

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup (light not lite)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Variety of colored sprinkles
Small black sugar beads

Lightly spray 2 Wilton Peep molds with cooking spray. Wipe out some of the oil with a paper towel.

Whisk gelatin into cold water and set aside while you prepare the sugar syrup.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, honey and water in a 2-quart pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and clip on a candy thermometer. Allow the sugar syrup to boil undisturbed until it reaches 250 °F.

When syrup reaches 250 °F, pour into the bowl of a stand mixer and let sit until the temperature drops to 210 °F.  While the sugar cools, melt the gelatin in a hot water bath (or the microwave). Pour melted gelatin into the sugar syrup and start whipping on high with the whisk attachment.  Whip marshmallow batter for about 6 minutes, until white and fluffy. Add vanilla and whip to incorporate.

Transfer half of the mixture to a large piping bag, fit with a 1-cm round tip. Fill the peep and bunny molds to the top with marshmallow batter. Sprinkle the exposed bottoms of the marshmallows with different colors of sprinkles. Allow marshmallow to set for 3 hours.

Pop marshmallows out of the molds. Add sugar eyes. Coat marshmallows in colored sprinkles and let set for 1-2 hours before serving.

** Alternatively to using the peep molds, you can pour the marshmallow batter into a greased 9x13-inch pan. Stamp out marshmallows with these peep cookie cutters.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Swiss Chard, Pear & Gruyere Tart

Sorry I skipped out on posting a St Patrick's day recipe yesterday. It's actually one of those holidays that just pass me by. I don't go for green beer and I'm not particularly fond of corned beef. The boyfriend and I went to the local diner last night and had eggs and toast. Nothing was green and it was terribly un-festive! If you feel like I really dropped the ball, here is a recipe I made a few years ago for March 17th...

Moving on to something that I am a huge fan of... Tarts! 


I love how you can throw just about anything into a tart and call it dinner. This one takes advantage of those delicious pears that are out in the markets right now. The filling is full of vegetables, making this the perfect option for a "Meatless Monday" dinner. Or an everyday meal in my world!


You'll notice that only half of my tart is topped with pears. That's because the boyfriend hates pears. I know, he's insane. In order to ensure that he ate dinner, I just ate the rest of the raw pear myself. No complaining from either side!


The flavors of this tart were amazing. It might have something to do with the copious amounts of gruyere and parmesan cheese that have been shredded over the top! Whatever the reason, I wound up eating a full quarter of the tart for dinner, then another large slice for lunch the next day.

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