Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ricotta Pancakes with Homemade Blueberry Syrup

I'm in Minneapolis this week, working so this post may be shorter than usual.  I wanted to get this recipe out though because these pancakes are sooooo goooood!  They literally melt in your mouth and with the blueberries on top...well you know.  Amazing.  I encourage you try them. 

I've been wanting to make ricotta pancakes for a long time now.  I've seen them made several times but had never tried them.  I just thought they sounded interesting.  I'll be making them often now. 

The key here is to beat the egg whites until stiff and then fold them into the batter. This keeps the batter really light.  Also, if you're cooking up the whole batch, keep them warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve. 

Minneapolis is cold around 40 today. My mom said that LA is supposed to be 90 degrees if you can believe it.  I don't mind it though - it's not like I'm outside much while I'm here.  I've got a great hotel with a little kitchen in it so I can make dinner for myself. Right now these pancakes sound pretty good!

Ricotta Pancakes with Homemade Blueberry Syrup

1 cup ricotta cheese
3 eggs, divided
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt

1.  If your ricotta is soft and wet, place it in a strainer and let it drain for about 30 minutes. If it's dry, omit this step.

2.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk your flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together.

3.  In another bowl, combine your ricotta, egg yolks, vanilla and milk.

4.  Beat the egg whites separately until they form stiff peaks.

5.  Add the flour mixture to the ricotta mixture and still until just combined.

6.  Add half of egg white mixture and stir in gently.  Add the remaining egg whites and gently fold these into the mixture.  Do not over mix. 

7.  Heat a large frying pan or griddle over medium heat.  Add 2 tablespoons butter (I added a bit of coconut oil too just to keep the butter from burning) and when melted, add 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake.  Cook until brown on the bottom and then flip to the other side until brown. You may need to adjust the heat of the pan so they cook through before you flip them.  To keep them warm while you are cooking up the batch, put them in a 200 degree oven.

8.  When serving, add pancakes to a plate, squeeze 1/8 wedge of lemon over pancakes.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve blueberry sauce on the side.

Blueberry Syrup

1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup water
2-4 tablespoons sugar (depending on how sweet you like it_
1 lemon, zested

Add all ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let cook 2-3 minutes until blueberries start to breakdown and the mixtures becomes thicker.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

French Onion Soup

Two True Foodies turned a year old last week. It's hard to believe. If you're a follower or just checking us out, we want to stay thank you.  We love bringing you our favorite recipes in hopes that you'll cook more and share your special creations with family and friends. The best part is when we hear you are cooking or baking one of our recipes.  I can't say I don't hold my breath and cross my fingers that they'll turn out for you and that you'll love them as much as we do. Here's to another year of TTF.   

One of my favorite things are caramelized onions.  Surprisingly, I cook them a lot. I put them on salads all the time. They really make an ordinary salad, really special.  I also love putting them on steak. There are so many things you can do with them. To save time, let them cook away while you're preparing the rest of the meal.  After 15-20 minutes, you'll have golden, sweet onions, full of flavor.  Even if you're not a big fan of onions, you'll love them cooked this way.

One of the most known caramelized onion recipes is French Onion Soup.  It is such a rich, flavorful soup.  You get the sweet onions, the gooey melted cheese and bread, soaked in a rich dark broth.  It's definitely hardy enough to be a meal in itself. Here is a simple recipe for a delicious french onion soup.  Warm your soul and cook for someone special in your life.

French Onion Soup

2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 large red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
1/2 cup dry red wine (the remaining wine goes great with dinner :-)
1 3/4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
2 teaspoons soy sauce
4 slices french bread or baguette, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 teaspoon corn starch
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese

In a large stock pot or dutch oven, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add onions, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir and then partially cover.  Cook 15-20 minutes or until the onions are a golden brown and tender.

Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, water and soy sauce.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Heat a small saute pan and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  When hot, add bread cubes.  Stir them around until toasty and slightly browned.  Remove from heat.

Preheat your broiler.  In a small bowl, stir cornstarch and 1-2 tablespoons of soup liquid from the pot. Mix well and then pour in to soup and simmer 2 minutes.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and taste for salt.  Ladle soup into heat proof bowls.  Add bread cubes on top of soup and top each with 1/2 cup cheese.  Broil 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden brown.  Serve hot.  Serves 4

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Caprese Parmesan Chicken

I have been experimenting with Almond Flour (meal) lately using it in place of breadcrumbs. Just cutting out extra carbs and wheat when I can. The taste is great and you still get that crunchy texture. It's basically just ground up almonds.  The uses seem unending really - I've even made pizza crust out of them.

My mom told me about this recipe.  She had it at a local restaurant and thought it was delicious and wanted to recreate it.  So that's what we did.  As you can see, it is fresh, colorful and basically a one dish meal.  You get it all in this dish.  A nice bright salad as well as flavorful, crunchy chicken in every bite.  These flavors and textures go really nicely together and form a really refreshing dish. 

If you don't want to use almond meal, you can make it the typical way which is with flour.  Just coat the chicken in flour first, then egg and then Parmesan.  Really good.   I recommend you pound the chicken so that it's all the same thickness.  It cooks quicker and you don't have to worry about it not being cooked through which leaves it more tender and juicy. Just cover it with plastic wrap and pound it with a heavy pan or a meat mallet.  

Caprese Parmesan Chicken

3 chicken breasts pounded thin  
2 cups almond meal or fine bread crumbs
1 cup finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons canola oil
3 cups of arugula or 1/2 bag, washed and dried
1/2 cup basil, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons coconut oil
16 cherry tomatoes or 1 large tomato, cut in 1 inch cubes
8 oz fresh mozzarella or 8 bocconcini, cut in cubes
Fresh Parmesan

Season each chicken breast with salt and pepper.  In a large flat bowl, mix Parmesan with almond meal.  Dip each chicken breast first in the egg and then in the parmesan mixture - coating each well.  Set aside.  

Add the arugula and basil to a large bowl. To make the dressing for the arugula, mix lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Wait and add the dressing to the arugula at the last minute so it stays nice and crisp.  

Heat 2 T. coconut oil in a large skillet.  When hot, add chicken breasts. Cook until cooked through and browned on both sides. 

Add just enough dressing to salad to coat leaves. Add salt and pepper and toss. 

Put one chicken breast on a plate. Top with dressed arugula/basil, tomatoes, mozzerella and grate some fresh parmesan on top.  Serves 4-6.