Baked Polenta Fries with White Truffle Aioli

As a kid, when I learned that the French dipped their fries in mayonnaise, I thought it was disgusting. Until later in adulthood, when I actually tried it. Fresh homemade fries enveloped in a tangy-creamy aioli leaves little to be desired, especially as a quick, indulgent snack. And just to be clear, aioli isn’t technically mayonnaise, so I don’t know why we Americans grimace at the mere thought of dipping fries in anything other than ketchup. Sorry, but I side with the French on this one.

In any case, this week I thought I’d try my hand at making a white truffle aioli from scratch. And to take things to the next level, I used polenta for the fries. Their grainy texture contrasts nicely, and they’re so delicious!

Baked Polenta Fries with Truffle Aioli on the side!

Baked Polenta Fries with Truffle Aioli on the side!

It took me a few attempts to execute a perfect aioli. They’re a bit finicky to make, but here are a few tips to help you on your way:

  • Plan to make the aioli ahead of time. At least a day in advance. They store nicely in the fridge for about a week, and they taste better when the flavors have had a chance to sit for a little bit.
  • Use eggs from a reliable source. What I mean is, this recipe incorporates raw eggs, and you should use quality eggs from hens that were raised in suitable conditions. Salmonella is one hell of a disease.
  • Make sure your egg yolks are at room temperature. Although egg yolks are easier to separate from egg whites when they’re cold, mixing them is easier when they’re warm. So separate the yolks first and then allow them to sit for a little bit.
  • Add the oil to the yolk mixture s-l-o-w-l-y. Dumping oil into the yolks too quickly will result in a runny aioli. I should know, as this is what happened to me. If your aioli turns out runny, then add another egg yolk to increase thickness.

Anyway, let me know in the comments below what you thought of this recipe, or if you made any modifications to it! Cheers!

Baked Polenta Fries with White Truffle Aioli

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • For the truffle aioli:
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Juice from 1 lemon, about 1/4 cup
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white truffle oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, for seasoning


  • For the polenta fries:
  • Olive oil, for greasing
  • 2 tubes polenta
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, for seasoning
  • Oregano, for seasoning

Instructions

  1. Beginning with the truffle aioli, add the eggs, lemon juice, and minced garlic to a food processor. Pulse and then mix thoroughly.
  2. Gradually add the vegetable and olive oil to the yolk mixture slowly and steadily, while the food processor continues mixing. If your food processor doesn't have this function, then add one tablespoon at a time, mixing thoroughly between tablespoons. Do not rush through this step.
  3. Finally, add the white truffle oil and mix. Top with a pinch of salt and a generous amount of ground pepper. Pour it into a storage container and place it in the refrigerator to set.
  4. Moving on to the polenta fries, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil.
  5. Slice up the polenta tubes into thick wedges. Do not slice them up too thinly, otherwise they will burn. Place wedges in the baking sheet, and turn them lightly to coat with oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the wedges.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes, tossing once halfway to allow them to cook evenly. Drain them on a paper towel plate, sprinkle with oregano and serve immediately.
http://www.properliving.net/baked-polenta-fries-with-white-truffle-aioli/

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6 Quizzes To Find Your Interior Design Style

Are you a mid-century modern maven? Or a lover of transitional? For someone unfamiliar with design terminology, finding your style might seem daunting. Fear not. There are a multitude of design websites that offer questionnaires to help the aesthetically-challenged find direction and guidance. Here is a list of quizzes that will help you on your way to finding your own style.

1. Tastemaker

Tastemaker

Tastemaker’s quiz is an excellent start to finding a style that appeals to your aesthetic. First, it allows the user to select the room on which they want to focus, and then prompts them to select images of furniture and accessories they find agreeable. What I love most about this quiz is when they give you your results, they also offer up names of designers you might like, styling tips, and a link to a customized shopping search engine that finds products matching your quiz results. Quite handy.

2. Stylescope by HomeGoods

Stylescope

HomeGoods’ Stylescope is another pretty nifty tool when it comes to deciding style. The user selects five images from the grid that resonate with their . This quiz took the least amount of time, and the results are similar to Tastemaker in that they offer design tips as well as products available at their stores.

3. Sproost

S

Probably my favorite of the group, Sproost is a quiz that I found to be the most thorough. Unfortunately, it also takes the longest time to finish. The user rates images on a semantic scale, and the algorithm then calculates the top three styles that match the user’s selections. The results also provide very detailed descriptions to give an idea of what each style entails.

4. What’s Your Decorating Style? by Houzz

Houzz Quiz: What's Your Decorating Style?This tool on Houzz has a really short and sweet survey (more of an article, in my opinion). Also, the questions are based off of lifestyle choices, such as personal preferences for living in a city, or in the country, etc. Not my favorite, but it works.

5. Style Maker by Stylish Home

Style Maker

Another quiz similar to Tastemaker and Sproost, I also really liked the Style Maker tool at Stylish Home. Eight questions and you’re pretty much finished, so it shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes to complete. But the outcomes don’t offer up much in terms of advice, so I’m on the fence with this one.

6. Decorating Style by Better Homes and Gardens

Decorating Personality Quiz

Last but not least, Better Homes and Gardens offers their own design style quiz. This tool seems more geared to the ladies, but it’s a pretty simple, straightforward survey. I also didn’t like that they require you to sign up for an account in order to get your results.

Anyway, if you’re unsure about where to go for style advice, I’d recommend checking those websites first. It really helps to find your aesthetic sense before delving into any design project. Let me know in the comments below which of these you’ve tried and whether you enjoyed them or not. Cheers!

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Level Up Your Margaritas With Li Hing!

So apparently Mother Nature decided to leave the Pacific Northwest out of the winter fray, and I’m actually pretty mad about that. Winter is my favorite season. You’ll probably think I’m ridiculous for saying this, but after growing up in paradise for so long, I’ve learned to appreciate the cold! Oh well, rant over.

In any case, lately Oregon has had an unusually warm February. Yesterday my thermostat read 72 degrees. In response to the heat we’ve been having, I say– bring on the margaritas! Hence, this week’s blog topic.

Now, when it comes to margaritas, I like to take them to the next level with a special ingredient, Li Hing Mui (Lee Hing Moo-ee). My Hawai’i readers know what Li Hing Mui is, but for you Mainland Americans, it’s basically a salty dried plum. It is sold in both whole and powder forms, and people use it on candy (gummi bears) and fruit (pineapple, mango). It’s said to be an acquired taste, but Kevin and many of my other friends from the continental US loved it straight away. The flavor is tangy-sweet which compliments margaritas perfectly!

Li Hing Margarita

Li Hing Margarita! A tangy-sweet concoction!

Li Hing powder, when added to a margarita is amazing! You can usually find Li Hing powder at any Asian grocery (Uwajimaya) or online via Amazon (here). I love mixing it with a little lemon juice and Apple slices, for a quick snack.

For my readers who are anti-aspartame and artificial food dye, Li Hing might not be for you. I love this stuff, but I don’t overdo it. Everything in moderation I suppose.

Anyway, let me know in the comments below what you thought about this drink! Cheers!

Li Hing Margarita

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Serving Size: 1 drink

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces Tequila
  • 3 ounces Sweet & Sour Mix
  • 1 ounce Triple Sec
  • 2 ounces Fresh Lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon Li Hing powder
  • Ice Cubes (about 9-10 pieces)
  • Lime wedges and additional Li Hing powder for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a blender, add all ingredients, starting with the liquids. (When working with a blender, you should always add liquids before solids so that the blender can mix everything well.) Pulse the mixture at first, then increase to high speed. The liquid will turn a bright red color and gradually turn deep red over time.
  2. Rim glasses with li hing or salt. (I mixed my li hing with a little bit of corn syrup to help it stick.) Pour mixture into glasses, garnish with a lime wedge, and serve.
http://www.properliving.net/level-up-your-margaritas-with-li-hing/

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Recipe Review: Dorie Greenspan’s Limoncello Cupcakes

I have to admit, I’m a bit of a cheapskate when it comes to buying cookbooks (sorry not sorry). Whenever a new and exciting cookbook gets published, I make my way over to the library to request a hold on said book. I do this as a way of taking it out for a test drive before buying, so I don’t end up with another dust-collecting “coffee table book”. And for Dorie Greenspan’s critically-acclaimed “Baking Chez Moi” cookbook, I made no exception. I requested the book soon after it was published. Unfortunately though, I had to wait three months to finally get my hands on one.

Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan

Baking Chez Moi, my newest favorite baking cookbook!

Fast-forward three months later, and I receive a text from the library: “Your requested item has arrived.” Looking through the book for the first time, I noticed that the pictures were so enticing! I felt so overwhelmed by all the delicious sweets depicted, that I found it hard to decide on what I wanted to make first. Randomly, I decided on Limoncello cupcakes.

Limoncello Cupcakes

Limoncello cupcakes from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking Chez Moi”!

My take: These Limoncello cupcakes were the bomb! I was a little hesitant since I’d never had Limoncello before (if you don’t know, it’s a lemon liqueur from Italy), but they turned out amazing. They have a moist, spongy texture with a tangy-sweetness that’s so characteristic of citrus-flavored desserts. And topped with a thick coat of lemon icing– truly decadent.

What I love about Dorie’s cookbooks is that she’s so descriptive. You almost feel as if you’re in her kitchen cooking right alongside her. Her instructions are also quite thorough, so many of her recipes are easy to follow along. I won’t repost the Limoncello Cupcake recipe here, so you’ll have to get your hands on a copy to try it out. But if you do, I recommend checking out this recipe!

Oh, and in case you wanted to know: Yes, I will be buying this book. Let me know in the comments if you have tried any of her recipes from her latest book, and whether or not you liked them! Cheers!

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10-Minute Banana Flambé

When it comes to entertaining and hosting guests, I’m always looking to turn it out.

Like. A. Motherf*****.

And this dish is one that will be sure to turn things out for you and your guests! I was inspired to create this dish after watching Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, when the candle dude is singing “Be Our Guest” to Belle (yes, I’m six years old and watch Disney movies from time to time, suck it.) In the song, he briefly mentions a flambé, and that’s when I thought of recreating a classic dessert: Banana Flambé!

Taste-wise, if you aren’t a drinker, then this might not be the dish for you. After all, the alcohol is somewhat necessary for fire ignition. But if you’re like me— a bit of a pyromaniac who also likes booze, then rejoice! I’m sure you will love it. The taste of the caramelized brown sugar alongside the bananas makes it really sweet. The sharp kick of rum and banana liqueur adds a bit of a punch. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream with some chocolate syrup on top, and you’ll be golden.

A few things to be wary of when making this:

  1. We’re dealing with fire here, so please be careful! Have a fire extinguisher or some baking soda ready in the kitchen, just in case things get out of hand.
  2. This one should be common sense, but… Alcohol is flammable. So do not–I repeat–DO NOT pour alcohol into the frying pan straight out of the bottle. If you do, the whole bottle will ignite like a molotov cocktail. Measure out what you need and put it in a separate container.
  3. If you choose to light it at the table, put it down first. Do not walk around carrying it while it’s lit, otherwise it might splash causing the fire to spread. Also, stand back when lighting at the table. I find it’s best to use those BBQ lighters as they have a longer nose.
  4. Have all of your ingredients ready and measured out before beginning. (This should be done when cooking anything really). You have to be swift about making this, otherwise it will fall flat.
Banana Flambe

Banana Flambe

All danger aside, I had a lot of fun with this, and so should you! It can be a little tricky, but that’s what makes it exciting! Anyway, let me know what you think in the comments below, or if you have any questions about it! Cheers!

10-Minute Banana Flambé

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 bananas, peeled
  • A pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup rum (dark or light, I prefer dark)
  • 2-3 tablespoons banana liqueur

  • Brown sugar (to help the dish ignite)
  • Vanilla ice cream (optional)
  • Chocolate syrup (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet over high heat, add butter and brown sugar. Stir constantly to caramelize, being careful not to let it burn. When it starts to look like caramel, cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add bananas, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and mix together discreetly. Cook for another 3 minutes, coating the bananas with the caramelized sugar.
  3. Remove from heat, stand back with the pan away from you, and add the rum and liqueur. Return to heat, and the alcohol will light. Serve immediately with ice cream and syrup topping.

Notes

Adapted from Chef John Besh's recipe.

Alternatively, you can light the dish at the table. Do this instead of step three: Place banana mixture into serving dish. Top with more brown sugar to help it ignite. Heat your alcohol in a microwave for 10 seconds, and then pour it on top. Bring it to the table quickly, then light the fumes about a 1/8 inch above the surface of the mixture (not the mixture itself).

http://www.properliving.net/10-minute-banana-flambe/

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Spicy Korean Fried Cauliflower

I love KFC. No, I’m not talking about Colonel Sanders… I’m talking about Korean Fried Chicken.

If you know me personally, you know that this post was a long time coming. It is my absolute favorite! Also known as Yangnyeom Tongdak (양념 치킨), KFC is a popular dish that’s much crunchier than its American counterpart. What sets them apart is the method of preparation. American, you fry once; Korean, you fry twice.

I grew up eating this stuff on the regular, and I just had to create a vegetarian rendition so Kevin could enjoy it too! This vegetarian version is adapted from Maangchi’s Korean Fried Chicken recipe on YouTube. Basically, replace the chicken with cauliflower and reduce the frying time.

Vegetarian Korean Fried Cauliflower

Korean Fried Cauliflower topped with sesame seeds! Sure to be a hit at any tailgate party and outdoor potluck!

The hardest ingredient to procure will be the mochiko (sweet rice flour) and gochujang (hot pepper paste), but if you don’t live next to an Asian grocery, you can order them on Amazon (mochiko, gochujang). (Side note: I put gochujang on most stir-fry dishes too, it’s a great ingredient to have in your pantry for Asian cooking.) The other ingredients are easily obtainable.

A note on deep-frying: Guys, please be careful. You don’t want your kitchen going up in flames like the Hindenburg. If you don’t have experience with deep-frying at home, I highly recommend you watch PopSugar’s informative video! Especially the part about water and oil not mixing well at 1:07, and using the batter to test the oil at 3:40. (But watch the whole thing, seriously.)

You can also test the oil by dipping a wooden chopstick into the pot, and if you see little bubbles rising around it, then you’re ready to deep-fry!

Anyway, all danger aside, this dish is amazing. You will love it. Promise. Let me know in the comments below what you think of this recipe and whether or not you enjoyed it!

Korean Fried Cauliflower

Yield: 3-4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cauliflower heads (or 3 pounds of cauliflower total)
  • 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 6 cups vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 1/2 cup potato starch (corn starch works too)
  • 1/4 cup mochiko sweet rice flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg

  • For the sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup rice syrup (or corn syrup)
  • 1/4 cup gochujang
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Sesame seeds, for seasoning

Instructions

  1. Cut cauliflower heads into large florets. Then rinse and strain out any excess liquid, and place them in a mixing bowl. Season with pepper and salt, and mix together. Allow it to sit for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare your deep fryer. Pour vegetable oil into a large wok or pan, and turn the heat to medium-high. Temperature should be roughly 320 degrees F. You can also dip a wooden chopstick and see small bubbles rising around it to know if the oil is ready for deep frying.
  3. In the cauliflower bowl, add your dry ingredients, including the potato starch, mochiko, all-purpose flour, and baking soda. Then, add the egg and toss to coat. Doesn't have to be perfect. If the cauliflower isn't coated with enough egg, then add one more.
  4. Deep-fry your cauliflower florets for 5-10 minutes, and place them on a paper towel covered plate to catch some of the excess oil.
  5. While your cauliflower is frying, make your sauce. Add vegetable oil to a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and allow it a few minutes to soften. Then, add the ketchup, rice syrup, gochujang, and apple cider vinegar, mix together, and lower the heat. Be careful not to burn the sauce!
  6. Deep-fry your cauliflower a second time for extra crunch, about 2-5 minutes this time. (Do not skip this step!) After deep-frying, strain or wipe off any excess oil. You don't want all that oil in your sauce.
  7. Place your fried cauliflower in the frying pan with all the sauce in it and mix them well.
  8. Garnish with sesame seeds, and serve.
http://www.properliving.net/spicy-korean-fried-cauliflower/

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Cayenne Chocolate Pots de Crème

The holidays have come and gone, and I’ll admit I’m a bit relieved. Our December consisted of a whirlwind of holiday parties and get togethers with friends and family. Most of my weekends were spent concocting different recipes to bring to those events, and on one such weekend, I happily stumbled upon this little treasure: Spicy cayenne chocolate pots de crème!

In my search for a dessert, I emphasized finding something that I could prepare ahead of time and store in the refrigerator until the day of the event. My search led me to custard, as it’s pretty easy and can be stored for up to three days. Eventually enough, I decided to do a chocolate pot de crème with a little bit of cayenne for some spicy flair.

Cayenne Pots de Crème

Decadent chocolate pots de crème with a spicy kick of cayenne!

Pot de crème is traditionally served in these little teapots with a lid, but I opted for ramekins instead. (If you don’t own ramekins, a coffee mug will suffice!) You’ll want to make these ahead of time, as it takes about three to four hours for the custard to set properly.

Taste-wise, we really enjoyed this dish. My partner and I have a thing for spicy food, and the cayenne complements the chocolate flavoring! I’ve stowed this recipe away as a no-fuss, easy-to-impress recipe for friends coming over for a dinner party.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Let me know in the comments below if you tried making this recipe and how it went! Cheers!

 

Cayenne Chocolate Pots de Crème

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 5 ounces quality semisweet chocolate for baking
  • 5 egg yolks (separated from whites)
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • Whipped cream for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Add cream and milk to a medium saucepan, and gently bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. (Do not allow the milk to overheat or boil, or else it will curdle.)
  3. Turn off the heat, and place the chocolate in the saucepan. Whisk together until it looks a little bit like chocolate milk. Allow to cool slightly.
  4. In a separate, larger bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, cayenne, and salt. Then slowly pour chocolate mixture into the bowl little by little, whisking constantly. You'll want to pour slowly, yet be swift about mixing, or else the warm chocolate will cook the eggs and you'll have a scrambled mess.
  5. Once fully mixed, strain your ingredients by placing a sieve over another bowl. This will remove any unmelted chocolate bits or cooked eggs, and create a smooth consistency for the custard.
  6. Pour the custard into each ramekin. Now create a bain marie. Take a large baking pan or casserole dish, and place the ramekins inside. Then place the pan into the oven. Pour hot water around the ramekins inside the pan, filling to about halfway up. This water bath will make sure your custards cook evenly.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes. When finished, pull them out carefully as they will still be a bit wobbly.
  8. Put your ramekins in the refrigerator to set the custard, for about 3 to 4 hours before serving.
  9. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings and enjoy!
http://www.properliving.net/cayenne-chocolate-pots-de-creme/

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Strawberry and Banana Cream Puffs

Cream puffs always take me back to my childhood days in Honolulu, when my aunt would pick up a box of Liliha Bakery coco puffs for me to snack on after-school. Their iconic cream puffs, filled with chocolate and topped with chantilly cake frosting are a classic favorite among longtime Honolulu residents.

Liliha Bakery

The infamous Liliha Bakery in Honolulu. Photo courtesy of meleana.

Since I was feeling a little homesick, I thought that for this week’s post I’d give cream puffs a try. I’d never made them before, so I went for a simpler version just to get my feet wet. The basic foundation for a cream puff is choux pastry. I went with Gemma Stafford’s recipe on YouTube, as she does an excellent job explaining the best and easiest way to make them. Toppings are up to you, the options are limitless. I decided on strawberries and whipped cream, and banana and chocolate ganache, topped with powdered sugar, more whipped cream, or chopped almonds (pictured below).

Cream Puffs

Strawberry cream puffs with whipped cream, and a banana cream puff with chocolate ganache.

Best of all, you don’t have to go to baking school to achieve professional results. The cream puffs pictured above I made on my first try! So you can do it, with careful preparation, patience, and a little elbow grease. The hardest part was mixing the dough, but other than that, baking cream puffs are pretty simple and straightforward.

The end result is a chic dessert that will be sure to impress your friends! You could also let them do a little bit of the work by making a cream puff bar for them to make their own! Let me know what you think of this recipe in the comments below!

Strawberry and Banana Cream Puffs

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • For the Choux Pastry (Gemma Stafford's recipe):
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, whisked together

  • For the whipped cream:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons of white sugar

  • For the chocolate ganache:
  • 8 ounces of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (chips or you can chop up a bar of chocolate)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Pinch of salt

  • Garnish:
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Chopped Almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Use the center rack in the oven for optimal results. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  2. Pour water, butter, and salt into a medium-sized saucepan, and heat gently until butter just melts. Continue to heat it up slowly until it begins to boil, so as not to burn the butter.
  3. When it starts to boil, add flour, and whisk immediately. Continue to whisk until mixed thoroughly.
  4. Switch to a wooden spoon, and on low-medium heat, fold the dough until it forms a ball in the middle and pulls away from the sides (roughly 2-3 minutes).
  5. Remove from heat. In a separate bowl, crack and beat your eggs.
  6. Now the hard part. Pour eggs into the dough mix a little at a time. Swiftly mix with the wooden spoon so that the eggs don't cook on top of the dough, otherwise you'll have scrambled eggs. Keep adding in eggs a little at a time, mixing thoroughly, then adding. It will be a little slimy at first, but soon it'll turn into a gluey dough paste.
  7. When that's all done, put your mixture in a piping bag. If you don't have one you can also use a spoon, or a ziploc bag with the corner clipped off.
  8. Now get your baking sheet. Gemma recommends sticking the parchment paper down to the pan with a dot of pastry dough on the four corners. If you don't, your puffs will fly away! Pipe your dough onto the parchment paper, leaving room for them to expand and grow. After you're done, wet your finger and push down any peaks or little bits sticking out so that they don't burn. Then, wet your hands and sprinkle water droplets onto the parchment paper. The added moisture will help the puffs to grow!
  9. Bake them for 15 minutes at 425 degrees F. Do not open the oven door!
  10. Keeping the oven door closed, lower the temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake for another 10 minutes.
  11. When finished check your cream puffs! Make sure they're nice and brown, and hollow in the middle. If they're still a bit gluey in the middle, cook longer, or they'll flatten out and lose their volume.
  12. For the homemade whipped cream, use an electric mixer to beat the cream on low speed. Add sugar and gradually increase the speed, until you reach your desired consistency.
  13. For the chocolate ganache, heat cream in a medium saucepan to a nice simmer. Do not boil. Place chocolate pieces in a bowl and add heated cream. Let it sit for a few minutes, then whisk together. Add butter for a nice shine, and salt to bring out the flavor.
  14. Cut your puffs with a bread knife and add whipped cream, strawberries, bananas, and top with more whipped cream, powdered sugar, or chopped almonds.
  15. Serve immediately, or refrigerate up to 6 hours.
http://www.properliving.net/strawberry-and-banana-cream-puffs/

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Cranberry Almond Gratin

So while everybody else is obsessing over pumpkin-this and pumpkin-that, I decided to opt for something different this week: cranberries!

Now because peak cranberry season occurs during the late fall, I managed to pick up loads of them at the supermarket for dirt cheap. And, almond meal also happened to be on sale in the bulk section that week, so I thought: “Why not make Cranberry Almond Gratin?”

Gratin–for those who don’t know–is a technique of French origin that covers an ingredient with a browned crust in a shallow dish. The crust usually contains bread crumbs, cheese, and/or eggs.

Cranberry Almond Gratin Dessert

Cranberry Gratin! Best served with heavy whipping cream!

My favorite thing about this dish is topping it with heavy whipping cream. The sharp, tart flavor of the cranberries and lime zest mingles delightfully with the milky texture of the heavy whipping cream and almond meal. A dangerously decadent dessert one will surely love. Best of all, this dessert is super easy to make! One of my favorite desserts featured on PL so far. You could even take it a step further and mix other berries, or use different nutty flavors in this dish.

Anyway, let me know in the comments below what you thought or which ingredients you tried in your version! Enjoy!

Cranberry Almond Gratin

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 cups of fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups of white sugar
  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • Lime zest
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix cranberries and sugar into a large bowl. Spread mixture in an even layer in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  3. In a food processor, add the remaining ingredients and pulse until mixed thoroughly.
  4. Smooth almond meal mixture over cranberries in an even layer.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes, when crust has browned and cranberries are bubbly.
  6. Allow time to cool, about 5-10 minutes. Top servings with heavy whipping cream.
http://www.properliving.net/cranberry-almond-gratin/

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Sriracha Macaroni and Cheese

I’ve been on a carb kick lately, and so for dinner this week I thought I’d make some macaroni and cheese. Usually when I make M&C from scratch, the flavor turns out a little bit bland. Anything should taste delicious with that much cheese, but for some reason the version I normally cooked always fell flat. Kevin would always dump Sriracha sauce on his serving. This week, I thought: “Why not just mix the Sriracha into the roux?” The end result– this week’s recipe!

Spicy Sriracha Macaroni and Cheese

Spicy Sriracha Macaroni and Cheese!

The sriracha sauce adds that extra edge, and I love how the breadcrumbs adds a crunchy texture to the pillowy layers of cheese and elbow macaroni. Most of the ingredients can be found at any local grocery store, except maybe sriracha, which could be more difficult to procure if you live in a more rural area. Not to worry though, sriracha can easily be bought on Amazon.

The amount of sriracha to add is flexible. I added about one cup, (yes we like our food spicy) but this recipe calls for half that amount. That amount is open to suit your tastes.

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Sriracha Macaroni and Cheese

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 16 ounce package of elbow macaroni
  • Salt, for boiling the macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup of Sriracha
  • 2 cups of cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (for the topping)
  • 1 cup of bread crumbs
  • Paprika for seasoning

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Fill a large pot with water, add a touch of salt, and bring to a boil. Cook the elbow macaroni according to package instructions and stir occasionally until tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, add butter. When it melts, add flour to make the roux. Stir in milk slowly, and then add the sriracha sauce. Keep stirring!
  3. Next add cheddar and parmesan cheeses, and lower heat. Keep stirring! Allow the ingredients to combine and settle, for about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Place cooked macaroni in a 9x13 inch baking dish, and pour sauce over macaroni.
  5. In a saucepan over medium heat, mix butter and bread crumbs for about 3 minutes. Add some paprika and mix well.
  6. Top macaroni and cheese mixture with breadcrumbs.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and bread crumbs are browned.

Notes

When I cook pasta, I follow the "Italian method" of seasoning the water with salt until it "tastes like the sea". This is an optional step though, if you're watching sodium intake.

http://www.properliving.net/sriracha-macaroni-and-cheese/

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