June 29, 2011

Kale and Feta Phyllo Pie

Kale & Feta Phyllo Pie

My hubby reminded me we had kale outside that was harvest ready. I usually just steam the kale to use as a side dish or chop some up and place it into stir-fries or curries. However, when I went outside, I realized that a leaf or two into a stir-fry would not suffice. I knew I had to do something different after I saw just HOW MUCH kale there was to harvest. I had giant leaves to tend to.

After harvesting a giant armful of kale leaves, I took them in to wash. I rinsed off the leaves and removed all of the large stems, leaving just the leaf contents. In batches, I steamed the mass amounts of kale in a large pot, into almost nothing. I then RUNG out the steamed kale, removing them of as much excessive moisture as I could. I then chopped it into small pieces and got out the ingredients I needed, as I was going to make a kale and feta phyllo pie!

Usually, I use spinach as the green in this pie but I was very intrigued as to how well it would turn out with kale. I assumed that it would be bitter but I was so very pleasantly surprised that it was not. It was a perfect compliment with the feta and mint and I will be making it again. Especially since the second large batch of kale will be ready soon :)

PS: I used my MAD drawing skillz and made a how-to make a phyllo pie diagram. You'll find it below in the recipe section. Mad, MAD skillz, peeps. As my son says, don't quit your day job :)

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Kale and Feta Phyllo Pie
makes one 9 or 10 inch pie

3 eggs, beaten
1/2 sour cream
2 cups chopped, steamed kale (fully rung free of excess water)
4 spring green onions, finely chopped
2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
5-6 sheets phyllo pastry
1/4 cup butter, melted

In a bowl, mix 3 eggs. Add sour cream and mix well. Add the chopped kale, green onions, feta and dill. Mix until well incorporated.

Spray a 9 or 10 inch springform pan with oil.

Take a phyllo sheet, fold it in half and butter the top side. Place the sheet into the pan, having the end of the phyllo sheet coming out over the top of the springform pan.

Continue with the folded, buttered phyllo sheets, placing it, butter side up, into the springform, creating a circular pattern of overhanging sheets. Use up 5-6 sheets, leaving one sheet aside.

Making phyllo pie

Spread out the filling into the phyllo-overlapped springform pan. Now, overlap the overhanging phyllo sheets onto the filling, one at a time, until all closed up.

Take the last phyllo sheet and cut it into squares. Butter and place on top of the pie, to cover any spots that are may not have been covered by the overlapping phyllo sheets.

Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes at 375F.

Remove foil and continue to bake for an additional 20 minutes. The top phyllo sheets should be golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes on a rack. Release the springform pan and move pie onto serving plate.

June 24, 2011

Photo Friday: Birthday & Father's Day

Rundle Park

Father's Day took us to Rundle Park. We paddled out and for those precious moments, it almost felt as though we were somewhere else. Faraway from the hustle bustle and the lifetime long list of to-do's. Peaceful and quiet... at least until the kids started bickering.

Birthday Cake

We also celebrated the hubby's birthday. It's a fondant computer mouse on the cake, if you are wondering.
I thought it would be obvious but I had one too people ask. sheesh :) Apparently, everyone is a comedian ;)

June 21, 2011

Pavlovas: sugar free, gluten free

Pavlovas Diptych

I have always been nervous with egg whites. What if I don't beat enough? What if I beat too much? 8 minutes? 10 minutes? Is 12 too much??? But then I realized that I'm fussing too much. Don't get stuck in the "shades of grey" business. Trust your initial instinct and then move on.

Pavlovas1

Several weeks ago, I was in the mood for something light and sugar free. Never having tried to substitute Splenda for sugar in a pavlova, I thought I'd give it a whirl.

But, I made a boo-boo with this recipe. I forgot to reduce the temperature when I put the pavlovas in the oven. Then, I walked away and when I returned, peeps, I tell you, it broke my heart to have baked browned and dry pavlovas. Especially after all the egg white nervousness.

Pavlovas2

However, even being browned and dried, they were still good. I'll have to try it again real soon.

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Pavlovas
makes 4 individual or one large pavlova

4 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 cup granulated splenda
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon or vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Place the egg white and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk on medium-high for 10 minutes. Continue to beat and slowly add splenda for 2-4 minutes or until stiff peaks form.

Sprinkle in the cornstarch, lemon juice and extract. Whisk until just combined.

Spread the meringue onto a parchment covered baking sheet. Either make one large circular pavlova or 4 individual sized ones.

Place into the center of the oven. Reduce temperature to 250F and bake for approximately 1 hour or until the exterior looks dry.

Turn off the oven and allow the pavlovas to cool in the oven for 1-2 hours.

Serve with your favorite toppings.

June 17, 2011

Chocolate layer cake: Photo Friday

Chocolate layer cake

I'm in the mood for chocolate.

Well, I'm ALWAYS in the mood for chocolate :)

Happy weekend!

June 14, 2011

BBQ Feast: Pork Tenderloin

BBQ-Feast

Peeps, I'm tired. Yes, it's all my own doing, but gosh darn it, I'm hurting.

With all the great weather, I made a long to-do list of all the outdoor projects that need attention. I don't really like outdoor activities such as gardening and general outdoor upkeep but I've had to step up to the plate since the hubby has been to busy with work. Alright, let's be frank here, it basically has fallen onto my lap and now I'm doing it grudgingly.

Though I fully admit, I've taken on more than the hubby would do, so I can only blame myself. He's got the more easy-laid back way of things where as I prefer more organized and neat. He spends a lot less time with flower beds, since he doesn't mind some weeds and overgrown plants. I, on the other-hand, no likey-likey mess and disorder and I'm ruthless with the gardening shears. I think I heard my hubby gasp twice when he came home seeing all that I have chopped away. If it's in my visual way, it's gone. Pack your leaves and go....

BBQ-Pork-Tenderloin

Since I've been outdoors, making dinner has shifted to that direction too. Hello barbecue season, how I love thee! Less fuss, less messy dishes and pans to wash and no extra heat in the kitchen! And let's not forget, meat just tastes so much better when it's barbecued. I'm salivating just thinking about the smoky goodness.

These beautiful pork tenderloins were slathered with zesty barbecue sauce and the other side of the bbq was used for balsamic-marinated vegetables. Unfortunately, no room on the bbq so I boiled the corn on the side burner (I know, I know, barbecued corn is SO good! What a pity, next time, next time, I promise)

So, if I'm not posting as much this summer, it's because the yard has formed an alliance to overtake me. But don't fear for me or pity my self-imposed punishment for neat and tidy because at least I'm eating well. Unless the garden gets to the BBQ before me. Quick, pass me my garden sheers!!!

:)

June 9, 2011

Toasted Almond Covered Goat Cheese Balls

Mixed Salad Greens

Something interesting happened to me. I lost a year of my life. No, not like a cat's 9-lives type of thing but more like a 'getting old and dementia has set in' kind of way. Or maybe it's just not that important enough to remember?

Apparently, I can't keep track of my age and I thought I was one year younger than I really was. I knew the ballpark number but my mother corrected me, even doing the math for me. I was truly flustered. How could that have happened? When did my age become something not worth remembering?

The truth is, I've never been good at remembering those type of things. My hubby teases me every year, asking me "what day were we married on?". I'm not totally certain actually, it's usually a 50/50 chance I get it correct. So, I suppose it is not a 'dementia setting in' issue since I've been doing it for the last decade and a half.

It seems that the last bunch of years have gone by rather quickly but I actually feel a good 5 years younger than I really am. I think that's a good thing. Not that I'm embarrassed about my age or one of those women who lies about it (not purposely at least). But, I hope to never feel my true age, but continue to feel younger than I really am. Like to think it keeps me on my toes.

So, I'm 35. No 36. I think. I feel like I'm 31.

Well, who really gives a damn.

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Toasted Almond Goat Cheese Balls

I love entertaining but I'm usually not a fussy hostess. I like to take simple foods and then step it up without too much effort. Like transforming an every day mixed greens salad by adding some goat cheese balls first rolled in toasted almonds. People usually ohh and ahh but it truly isn't that much more of an undertaking.

Place slivered almonds onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until browned, at 350F. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Crush them into smaller pieces. Spoon out goat cheese and using your hands, roll into little ball shapes and then coat with the almond mixture.

Want to make it one step easier? Make the goat cheese balls in advance. A day or two before you entertain, prepare all the little almond covered cheese balls, place them into a covered container and pop it into the fridge. When it's time to dress the salad, they are ready to go. Easy entertaining!


June 2, 2011

Fondant Covered Sugar Cookies & Chocolate Lollipops

Colored Chocolate Lollipops

I'm fully aware that making a 3 tier fondant covered cake for my niece's baby shower is more than enough dessert, however, I was wanting to have a few extras to fill out the dessert table.

I had extra marshmallow fondant so I thought I would dress up my batch of roll out cookies.Since my niece's name starts with the letter E, I pulled out my small and large letter cookie cutters. I've added the sugar cookie recipe below.

I used the same cutters to cut out the marshmallow fondant too. Use a little buttercream to adhere the fondant to the cookie and you are all set. It's an easy and really pretty way to dress up a simple sugar cookie.

Fondant covered rollout cookies

I'm also a big fan of themed chocolate lollipops. I think they are so cute. I've made princess themed chocolate lollipops for my daughter's birthday before as well as some valentine chocolate lollipops. I found the baby themed chocolate mold for under $4 at my local craft store and used my theme colors of white and pink to make them. A great, inexpensive way to customize and personalize your event.

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Roll Out Cookies
makes 36-42 average size cookies

1-1/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
5 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and light. Add eggs until all well incorporated.

Sift dry ingredients together. Add half to the above butter mixture. Add the milk and mix. Add remaining flour mixture until all is well mixed together.

If mixture is too sticky, add a little more flour. Roll dough out 1/8 inch thick and cut into desired shapes.

Bake for 6-7 minutes at 400 F.

Recipe from: Roll-Out Cookies, Wilton Cake Decorating Yearbook

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