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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Great Egg White Experiement: What kind of bowl is best? (with Video Demo)

A couple of months ago I found myself whipping lots of egg whites in an effort to master the French Macaron. I have read over and over how copper bowls are superior when it comes to whipping egg whites and wanted to put it to the test. Mauviel was kind enough to send me a copper bowl so I could conduct my great egg white experiment.




I decided to test the egg whites in 4 different bowls: copper, stainless steel, glass, and plastic. I kept the egg whites at a consistent temperature and weighed the whites to ensure that each bowl was as equal as possible. I also timed it and ensured that each bowl was whipped at the same speeds for the same amount of time, up until the point that stiff peaks formed. I used a kitchenaid handmixer to mix each batch. 



RESULTS

Time results. How long did it take for stiff peaks to form?

Copper: 3 minutes 30 seconds
Stainless Steel: 3 minutes 50 seconds
Glass: 3 minutes 55 seconds
Plastic: 4 minutes

Here were the results for volume: 




You can see that the copper bowl (lower right) clearly produced more volume. And no I didn't smash it down. I followed the same procedure to transfer the egg whites on each bowl. 

Overall, I was kind of disappointed. I thought the copper bowl would make a much bigger difference than it actually did. Clearly it produced superior results, but it just wasn't mind blowing. A copper bowl obviously isn't necessary to whip egg whites because even the plastic worked. But if you are into luxury kitchen items, or you make a lot of finicky egg white-based stuff (like macarons), then you may want to consider getting yourself a copper bowl. I do highly recommend the Mauviel brand. They are posh. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Grilled Thresher Shark


Every once in a while I announce that we are having shark for dinner. This announcement is always met with a round of applause. My kids love eating shark. I think most of that has to do with the fact that it is a dang shark. I feel pretty good eating it myself. Even though it is just a little thresher shark and not a great white, I feel powerful knowing that I can eat a shark before it eats me. It leaves me feeling brave in the ocean for at least a week. I hope they can somehow sense my presence as being higher on the food chain because I've recently eaten one of their own. I might be a little weird that way.

Now, you need to know that you can't eat shark all the time. It's a predatory fish and has mercury and all that. You have to limit those kinds of fish to once a month. This recipe calls for you to soak it in milk. This has a purpose. It keeps it moist (it can easily dry out because it is such a lean cut) and it also pulls out any strange flavors that are inherent with shark, though I don't really notice much of a difference. I've made shark numerous times without soaking it in milk, so it can be done, but the milk really helps keep it moist. 

I really love eating thresher shark. I never have problems with fishiness. It's just a nice, steaky, meaty fish that makes me feel powerful. I eat shark. I almost need a t-shirt. 



Prep Time: <5 minutes
Ready In: 60 minutes
Yield: Serves a hearty 4


Ingredients

2 lbs. fresh thresher shark
2 cups milk
1 lemon, juiced
2 TB soy sauce
2 TB rice vinegar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder


Instructions

1. In a shallow dish, soak the thresher shark in the milk for 30-60 minutes. 

2. Remove the shark from the milk and rinse it under cold water. 

3. In a new dish, squeeze the lemon juice over the shark steaks and pour soy sauce and vinegar over. Season with ginger, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder, turning so that both sides are coated. Let marinate while the grill preheats.

4. Preheat an outdoor grill over high heat. Oil the grate or put out a piece of aluminum foil to cook the fish on.

5. Grill the fish over high heat for about 7 minutes, flip, and cook the other side for an additional 5 minutes. Actual cooking time will depend on how thick the steak is. 5 minutes per inch of thickness is a good starting point. Fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Perfectly Easy Homemade Waffles


We eat breakfast for dinner at least a couple of times every month. Mostly it is our love affair with syrups. Liquid Cinnamon Roll Syrup (pictured), Coconut Syrup, Caramel Syrup, and Lemon-Poppy Seed Syrup are just a few of our favorites. With such a high syrup need, we have lots of room for delicious breakfast goods to enjoy it with. This waffle mixture is great because it is easy to throw together and you can keep it in the fridge for a week for quick morning breakfasts. During the summer we even get to enjoy them with delicious berries because they are finally on sale and mom can never pass up a deal on berries. 


Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: A few minute per waffle
Yield: 4 belgian-style waffles


Ingredients

2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 TB sugar
1 TB baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Instructions

1. Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add in buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla and whisk until combined.

2. Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir until batter is smooth.

3. Cook in a preheated Belgian Waffle Maker (links to the one I use).

4. Serve with your favorite syrup and other deliciousness like fresh berries and freshly whipped cream!




Thursday, July 24, 2014

Quick Prep Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin



I just got back from summer vacation and let me tell you, it is days like this that I'm grateful for my slow cooker.  I already know I'll hit up the grocery store first thing to replenish milk and fresh fruits and veggies and then I'll spend the day procrastinating the mounds of laundry. A quick prep meal would come in handy, but slow cookers take forever right? Not so. See, I'll grab a tenderloin at the grocery store. They cook in 3 to 4 hours. That means I can still utilize the convenience of the slow cooker while I catch up on tv shows do laundry. If the family is lucky, they'll even get a side salad with it. Time to get back into the swing of things around here with regular life and enjoy the last few fleeting weeks of summer. 


Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 to 4 hours on high

Ingredients

1 pork tenderloin
1/4 cup worcestershire
2 TB. red wine vinegar
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 white onion, halved and sliced


Instructions

1. Place the pork tenderloin in the slow cooker. Pour in worcestershire sauce and red wine vinegar over the tenderloin.

2. Sprinkle the tenderloin with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle the onion slices on top.

3. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours. Or low 4 to 5 hours. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Low-Calorie Sugar-Free Fancy Berry Drink with Cascade Ice


All that sugar last week wore me out. Catering a "Love is Sweet" bridal shower was so much fun and the sugar rush was intense. I knew that people might get sugared out, or need a sugar-free treat to help calm things down. And since liquids go straight to the blood stream I figured I better create a sugar-free drink. Cascade Ice to the rescue! I had tried Cascade Ice on my recent trip to Miami and indulged in quite a few guilt-free zero-calorie bottles. I knew that it would make the perfect party drink. My favorite flavor of Cascade Ice is Huckleberry Blackberry, but they have 20 other flavors of which I've tried most and they are all quite tasty. The bridal shower was in Idaho where huckleberries grow wild so Huckleberry-Blackberry was the perfect fit. My mom has huge raspberry bushes in her backyard in their prime. Triple berry drink? How can you go wrong! Cascade Ice is magically sugar free and is sparkling delicious and they are pretty much everywhere in the United States now so all of my readers should be able to find it quite easily. Don't skip rimming the glasses on this drink. It's such an easy step and makes all the difference. I also can't help but mention that some of my party goers preferred the drink over the whole spread of desserts. Yes, it was that good! They were shocked to learn that it had less than 40 calories in a glass, and that those calories all came from raspberries (something healthy!)




Ingredients

2 cups frozen raspberries or blackberries
2 TB lemon juice
4 bottles Huckleberry Blackberry Cascade Ice
1 lemon wedge
1/4 cup artificial sweetener (such as Splenda)


Instructions

1. In a blender, combine berries and lemon juice. Pour in enough cascade ice to blend into a puree. 

2. Rim the glasses by running a lemon wedge along the rim of the glasses and then dipping into sugar or an artificial sweetener  sugar-like substance. 

3. Pour in some of the berry puree in the bottom of a glass. Fill the rest of the glass with Cascade Ice. 






Look, everyone at the party even got to go home with their own Cascade Ice. Love really is sweet!



***Disclosure: Cascade Ice sent a free case of drinks for me to use when they heard my plans. All thoughts and opinions on the product are my own.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chili-Lime Baked Chicken Tenders



I've had this idea rolling in my head for a few weeks now, and when a huge package of chicken tenders made their way into my Costco shopping cart...well, that's a lot of chicken so it was bound to happen. This was a huge hit with the family. The chicken is nice and crisp and flavorful, and the dipping sauce is fun and healthy made with greek yogurt and all. I love making chicken strips for dinner because the require very little prep. Just coat and toss them in the oven. And no one ever complains about them. Everyone at the table is always a fan. This chili-lime version has a nice zippy flavor that gives a nice twist on your standard strip. Utilizing both lime juice and lime zest is the key here. 


Prep Time: About 10 minutes
Bake Time: 30-40 minutes
Yield: Serves 4 to 6


Ingredients

4 limes
2 lbs chicken tenders
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
3 tsp ancho chili powder, divided
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup greek yogurt


Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 4-sided baking sheet with nonstick spray.

2. Zest the limes and place the zest in a small mixing bowl. Mix in panko bread crumbs, 1/2 tsp salt, and 2 tsp of chili powder. Toss together.

3. Squeeze the juice of 3 of the limes into the butter.

4. Working one at a time, dip the chicken tenders into the butter mixture, and then into the bread crumb mixture. Ensure that each piece of chicken gets a nice coating of bread crumbs.

5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 to 40 minutes.

6. While the chicken tenders are baking, make a dipping sauce by combining greek yogurt, juice of 1 remaining lime, 1 tsp chili powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. Stir together until combined.

7. Serve chicken strips hot with dipping sauce.


Tip: I like to finish off my chicken tenders under the broiler for a coupe of minutes just to ensure that the breading gets nice and crispy.



Monday, July 21, 2014

Sriracha-Honey Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Pineapple



It's been a while since I've done an appetizer. Remember a last week when I made all those desserts for my little sister's "Love is Sweet" bridal shower? Well, we needed at least a couple of savory appetizers to balance things out. I still wanted them to have an element of sweetness to them, yet satisfy that need for balance. Bacon. Bacon is the solution to a lot of things. It's salty, but if you candy it you can make it salty and sweet. Perfect. I snuck through my sister's Pinterest boards and found that she had an interest in bacon and pineapple. Ta-da!  Wrap some pineapple with a little bacon, and throw a little sweet sauce on top to candy it and you've got an easy little appetizer that is sweet, salty, and I've even thrown in some spice. Balance. Balance with bacon. Love it! And it was a huge hit! Turns out people loved it just as much as all the sweets!


Prep Time: < 15 minutes
Bake Time: 25-30 minutes
Yield: About 20 to 25 pieces


Ingredients

1 fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
1 lb thick cut bacon
*Note: you'll want 2 chunks of pineapple for every 1 piece of bacon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 lime, juiced
2-4 tsp sriracha sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1 TB finely chopped cilantro stems
2 TB. chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish


Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 4-sided baking sheet.

2. Cut the bacon in half so you'll have twice as many strips to work with. Wrap each pineapple chunk in a piece of bacon and place seam side down on the prepared baking sheet.

3. In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, honey, lime juice, sriaracha, and soy sauce. Pour over each piece of bacon-wrapped pineapple to glaze. Sprinkle cilantro stems over the top.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until bacon is crispy. 

5. Insert toothpicks into each bite for easy serving. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves. 



Recipe adapted from The Cafe Sucre Farine

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