April 27, 2011

Orange Ricotta Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce.

I don't have a picture of the final product because, um, well, we ate it too quickly. These were so, so good.

Sometimes my favorite recipes come out of necessity - I will have a certain ingredient in my refrigerator or pantry that I used for one recipe, but it isn't something that I use in my everyday cooking, so I go searching.

In this case it was ricotta cheese, that I used to make a lime tart for Easter. I have pasta recipes that use ricotta, but I wasn't in a pasta mood yesterday. So I hunted. I remember seeing recipes for lemon ricotta pancakes and thought that sounded like a good place to start. So I Googled around and found one from Two Peas and Their Pod with a blueberry sauce that looked great.

However, I had a bunch of oranges from my in-laws' tree and fresh strawberries that needed to be used, too. So I improvised and made a couple changes. And now this will be a recipe we make over & over again, for breakfasts on the weekend or breakfast-for-dinner, like we had last night.

Orange Ricotta Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

For the sauce:
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
2 C fresh strawberries
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp water
Splash (3 Tbsp or so) fresh orange juice.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and cornstarch and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the strawberries, sugar, water, and orange juice. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and stir in lemon juice and cornstarch mixture. Stir until the sauce thickens slightly. Cover to keep warm and set aside.

For the pancakes:
1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 C ricotta cheese
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1/2 C fresh orange juice
2 tsp grated orange zest
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp milk

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda & salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together ricotta cheese, egg, egg whites, orange juice, orange zest, canola oil, & milk. Gently fold this mixture into the dry ingredients until flour disappears. Don’t over mix; the batter will be quite thick.

Heat a griddle or a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. Drop about 1/3 cup of batter onto the hot griddle or skillet. Cook the pancakes until browned on the underside and beginning to set, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook the pancakes on the other side, about two minutes longer. Continue making pancakes until batter is gone. Serve warm with strawberry sauce.

April 22, 2011

Curried Chicken Salad.

I often get in a lunch rut - skipping it altogether, grazing, or eating a simple salad. For Christmas, my mother-in-law gave me a cookbook from Alice's Tea Cup in NYC, featuring many of their popular recipes. I bookmarked their curried chicken sandwich, thinking it was a fun twist on a classic & would add some pizazz to my otherwise boring weekday lunches.

It is one of those recipes that is perfect on a day where you want something different, but don't have the time or energy to go to the store; chances are you have all the ingredients in your refrigerator/pantry right now (& if not, simple substitutions can be made). The recipe makes enough for 4-6 sandwich servings, but can easily be scaled up or down.

The chicken was perfectly moist from being roasted and the salad was a perfect combination of tangy & sweet. This was a wonderful addition to my lunches this week and will be a recipe I make again.

Curried Chicken Salad
Alice's Tea Cup

4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp curry powder
1/4 C apricot jam
1/4 C sour cream
1/4 C mayonnaise
1/4 C finely chopped celery
1/4 C finely chopped red onion

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Rub the chicken breasts with 1 Tbsp of the curry powder, place them on a baking sheet, and roast until a meat thermometer registers 160° F, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1 Tbsp curry powder with the apricot jam, sour cream, and mayonnaise.

When the chicken is cool, cut it into 1/2-inch cubes. Add the chicken, celery, and onion to the bowl and stir well. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Serve on sliced bread, in a wrap, or over a bed of greens.

April 6, 2011

Easy Granola.

Greek yogurt + granola + a drizzle of honey is one of my favorite breakfasts. I'm not quite sure why, but I have always bought my granola - in the form of a cereal or in the bulk section of my local market.

I had pulled a granola recipe from Real Simple a while back & finally decided to make it. It was easy, easy - although I wish I would have stirred a little more carefully midbaking, as I got oats all over the inside of my oven. And it was good too - not too sweet (maple syrup is the only sweetener), good crunch, and yummy chewy bits of dried fruit.

Stored in an airtight container, the granola will keep for 3 weeks.

Easy Granola
Real Simple, April 2010

4 C old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1 C sliced almonds
1/2 C shredded coconut
1/4 C unsalted pepitas or shelled sunflower seeds
1/2 C pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 C dried fruit (I used a berry blend)

Heat oven to 350° F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the oats, almonds, coconut, and pepitas with the maple syrup, oil, and salt.

Bake, tossing once, until golden and crisp, 25-30 minutes.

Add the dried fruit and toss to combine. Let cool.

April 1, 2011

March wrap up.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the challenge for March!!

Let's recap the recipes...

Looking for a great appetizer or snack? Try Brooke's 7 Layer Dip or Unflame's Pretzels.

Stumped when it comes to side dishes? Try Carol's Cuban Sweet Potato Salad or Uniflame's Squash Risotto.

Main dishes this month: Michelle made Creamy Chicken Taquitos, Bev made Pulled Pork with Root Beer, JoAnn gave Sloppy Joe's a vegetarian spin with lentils & seitan, Uniflame made Spanikopita, Trish made Chicken Pot Pie, & Kristina made Chicken Penne.

Need something for your sweet tooth? Try my Lemon Blueberry Crumb Bars, Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies, or Strawberry Shortcakes, or Margot's Hot Date Bars.

And for the two most unique (to me) recipes this month that had me quite interested? Judith's Soy Sauce Eggs & Uniflame's Danish Stamppot (Lettuce Mash Pot).

Lots of fun recipes that I can't wait to try!

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Michelle is hosting for April, so be sure to head over to post your new recipes!

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And now, for the random winners of this month's giveaway...
Number 3: Michelle & Number 7: Judith!!

I have two cookbooks to giveaway: Four Ingredient Cooking or Salads: delicious, fresh & healthy

Whoever responds first can have their choice and I will send the other book off to the second winner. Both cookbooks are brand new, never used.

Email me at elise (dot) hope (at) gmail (dot) com with your shipping information so I can get your prizes off to you!