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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Vegetarian Tomato Sauce with Black Eyed Pea Melange

Occasionally I enjoy meatless recipes. This doesn't always go over well with me family. However, I created a great meat substitute using black eyed peas. I originally came up with the black eyed pea mixture to fill some homemade ravioli's made with wonton skins. This recipe is great over any pasta.

Black Eyed Pea Melange

½ C yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ C olive oil
2 T butter
1 large can black eyed peas, rinsed
1 T creole seasoning (Tony Cachere’s or Zatarains or whatever is available in your area)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 t granulated garlic
Fresh grated parmigiano reggiano

Add olive oil and butter to skillet. Add chopped garlic and onions in hot oil. Saute until translucent. Add balck eyed peas and simmer for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and add to food processor. Add a ½ C parmigiano reggiano. Pulse to a coarse chop. Set aside.

Quick Tomato Sauce

One can diced Italian style tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ C olive oil
¼ C heavy cream
1 t creole seasoning

In a large sauce pan open and begin simmering the tomatoes. Place a skillet over med heat and add olive oil. Add chopped garlic to hot oil and cook until garlicis golden. When garlic is done, add garlic and oil to the simmering tomatoes. Cook until sauce reduces by a quarter. Add cream to sauce and stir incorporating completely. Remove from heat and add black eyed pea mélange to the mixture.

Recipe courtesy of Demetria Dixon ©2006

Turkey Frittata with Spinach and Broccoli

Eating healthy is on everyone's mind these days. Two of the veggies that make it on all the "eat healthy" lists is broccoli and spinach. I discovered frittatas because I was looking for a way to incorporate healthier items into all of my meals, but the thought of having steamed broccoli for breakfast was not appealing. I enjoy the fritatta becaue I'm one of those people who can't really eat eggs by themselves and omelettes never seem done enough for me. I created this recipe because I had these odds and ends in my fridge and to keep them from giving up the ghost. If your doctor has warned you off eggs, this works equally well with egg beaters.

2 tbsp olive oil
2 C baby spinach washed and dried
2 C broccoli tops chopped
1 tsp butter
2 cloves garlic chopped
½ C red onion sliced
½ C red bell pepper sliced
½ lb ground turkey
1 tsp Dry Italian herbs
1 tsp Creole seasoning blend
1 tsp Black pepper
5 eggs
2 tbsp Italian bread crumbs
1 C Gruyere cheese grated

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Add olive oil and butter in a large saut̩ skillet with an oven safe handle*. Add ground turkey and cook until brown. Saute garlic, onion, broccoli and bell pepper for about 5 Р6 minutes. Add spinach and stir to wilt the spinach. Put in herbs, seasoning, pepper and bread crumbs. Beat eggs thoroughly before adding to the skillet. Add the eggs and incorporate everything. Add half the cheese and stir to distribute through the egg mixture. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top of the frittata and place in the oven. Bake until golden and cheese is melted

Recipe courtesy of Demetria Dixon ©2005

*Tramontina makes a wonderful line that has removable handles so they work equally well in the oven or on top of the stove.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Red, White and Blue Velvet Cake

Just in time for July 4th I'm back with a great recipe, I created. I promise; scout's honor. I know there's another one on the internet, but I'd created the recipe before I saw that one. I use a traditional Southern Red Velvet Cake recipe. I've made some modifications. If you've never made a red velvet cake then you can find great recipes for them all over the internet. I make one red velvet and then I substitute blue food coloring and make a blue velvet cake. White sour cream icing is spread between alternating color layers to create a 4th of July confection that is delicious. I used traditional food coloring from McCormick, however if you are looking for a natural alternative, try all natural food coloring from Dancing Deer. Here in Houston, it is available at HEB Central Market or Whole Foods. If you live in the DC/Virginia area you can probably pick it up at Fresh Fields.

Cake recipe

Vegetable oil for the pans
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine salt
3 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring, substitute blue food coloring for the Blue velvet cake
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Flour and Oil 6 (9 by 1 1/2 in round) cake pans (3 for each cake)

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, cream, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.

Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.

Divide the cake batter evenly among the floured and oiled cake pans. Place the pans in the oven evenly spacing them. Bake 30 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through the cooking, Baking time should be about 30 minutes. When you notice the cake begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, Stick a knife or toothpick in the middle. If it comes out clean then the cakes are ready.

Take the cakes out of the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake completely from the sides of the pans. One at a time, turn the cakes onto a plate and then turn them round side up and place on a cooling rack or if you don't have a cooling rack you can sit then on a rack out of the oven. Let cool completely. While the cakes are cooling go ahead and make your frosting. If the frosting starts to get too warm slide it into the refrigerator for a few minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, softened
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup), softened
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Using a hand-held electric mixer with a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, cream, sugar(add a little at a time), and butter on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Have a spatula handy as you will probably need to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Be sure and turn the mixer off before doing ths. This batch of frosting is usually enough for just one cake but in this case we aren't going to be covering the sides so it will be enough to for our purposes.


On a 10 inch cardboard cake round. place a blue cake rounded side down. Ensure that the layer is level. Add frosting just to othe edge of the cake. It's okay if some slides over but the goal is to have the red white and blue of the cake on display. After frosting and a red layer, again ensuring the layer is level. Add more frosting. Repeat the procedure until the cake is completely assembled. Garnish with Red and Blue candy sprinkles.

Because of the butter, the frosting is very sensitive to heat. Store it in the refrigerator or somewhere cool until you are ready to serve.

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla, raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using.