Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Carrie: ICBC Spinach

Once upon a time, I tried to make spinach and feta turnovers-basically, spanakopita. It worked alright that time, but I had a hell of a time trying not to tear my phyllo dough. I tried again for ICBC Spinach and ran into the same problem. My turnovers were also a little bland this time, probably due to my constant issue of underseasoning food. But if you're a fan of spanakopita and you want to make life harder on yourself, this is the way to do it.

Spinach and Feta Turnovers
(Recipe from Pinch My Salt)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon of butter
2 small cloves of garlic, chopped
1 package frozen spinach, drained and squeezed dry
4 ounces crumbled feta
1 egg, slightly beaten
dash of fresh-grated nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper
pinch of salt
20 sheets phyllo dough
1/2 cup of butter, melted

In a small skillet, saute onion in butter over medium heat until soft. Add garlic, cook for 30 more seconds and remove from heat.
In a medium bowl, combine spinach, feta, egg, onion and garlic, nutmeg, pepper and salt. Stir until well combined.
Remove one sheet of phyllo from stack (cover the remaining sheets with a damp cloth to keep from drying out) and lay it on a work surface. Brush entire sheet with a thin layer of melted butter. Place another sheet on top, brush with butter and repeat two more times (you will have four sheets stacked with a layer of butter on the top sheet). Cut this stack in half lenghwise with a knife.
You now have two long rectangles of phyllo in front of you. Place about 2 Tablespoonfuls of filling on the bottom right side of one of the rectangles. Fold the bottom left corner up and over the filling so that the bottom edge is now even with the right side. Continue folding up and over until you end up with a triangle. Brush triangle with melted butter and place on a baking sheet.
Repeat this procedure with the other phyllo rectangle.
Repeat steps again using the rest of the dough.
Bake in preheated oven, 375 degrees, for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Yields: 10 turnovers (in theory)

Becky: ICBC Spinach

Spinach-Stuffed Pork Roast

-1 (2-2 1/2 pound) pork tenderloin
-1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
-1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
-1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
-2 tablespoons canola oil
-1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

-Cut tenderloin horizontally lengthwise about 1/2-inch (1.2 cm) from top to within 3/4-inch (1.8 cm) of opposite end and open flat.
-Turn pork to cut other side, from inside edge to outer edge, and open flat. If one side is thicker that the other side, cover with plastic wrap and pound until both sides are 3/4-inch (1.8 cm) thick.
-Squeeze spinach between paper towels to completely remove excess moisture.
-Combine spinach, breadcrumbs and cheese in bowl and mix well.
-Spread mixture on inside surfaces of pork and press down. Roll pork and tie with kitchen twine.
-Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat and brown pork on all sides.
-Place in oval slow cooker and sprinkle with salt. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. Serves 4 to 6.

I picked this recipe out from this little book that I got from Borders called 365 Easy Slow Cooker Recipes. This was a new experience for me because I had never cooked pork tenderloin before. Usually I only stick to pork chops when it comes to pork, with the exception of cooking a pot roast one day. I had heard though that pork tenderloin is very healthy and delicious, so I decided to give it a try.
My only complaint with this recipe was that even with the kitchen twine, it was still difficult to keep the spinach stuffing in the tenderloin. Also, I replaced the canola oil with coconut oil instead. I had heard that canola oil is pretty much a marketing scam, so now I usually stick to olive oil and coconut oil. All in all, I'd have to say that the recipe was pretty good! As usual, my crockpot cooked the meat so that it was perfectly tender. The stuffing was pretty tasty too. It did have a very strong, robust flavor to it. I do think though that I'll only cook pork tenderloins on occasion though since it was rather expensive. I think it was worth it though! And it did last awhile too...I had leftovers for the next couple of days.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Becky: ICBC Anchovies

This recipe was prepared at the launch of Measure Up – the Government’s latest initiative in the fight against obesity – by Lucio Galleto and Logan Campbell of Lucio's Italian Restaurant.


500g Orecchiette pasta
1/2 head broccoli
120 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic chopped finely
5 anchovy fillets
2 red hot chili finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Grated parmesan (optional)


Prepare the broccoli by removing the flowerets, and discarding any larger woody part of the stems, slice the remaining stems thinly.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, blanch the broccoli flowerets and stems for about 4 minutes, then drain with a slotted spoon and plunge into ice cold water, drain again and set aside.

Throw the orecchiette into the still boiling water and cook for one minute less than the stated cooking time on the packet.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large non stick pan on a low heat. Add the garlic, chili and anchovies, sauté for 3 minutes being very careful not to burn the garlic, then add the broccoli, mixing delicately with a wooden spoon, season to taste. Drain the pasta and add to the pan, reserving a little of the cooking liquid.

Stir well to coat the pasta, adding a little of the pasta cooking water to make a creamy sauce.

Serve immediately – parmesan may be grated on top if preferred.

I found this recipe online at SBS.com. As usual, I did make a change to the recipe...I used elbow macaroni instead of the orechiette, figuring that it wouldn't make much of a difference. I already had some elbow macaroni left over from making mac and cheese for my daughter, and I thought it could come into use for this recipe.

I actually really enjoyed this recipe! I remember for a long time I was pretty turned off by the idea of anchovies. When my older sister was in high school she used to work at a Pizza Hut, and she always used to tell me how much she hated it when customers ordered anchovies on their pizzas because she thought they were gross and slimy. But of course this was way back when I was a picky eater. Now, as an adult, I'll try pretty much anything. I can see what she meant...they were a little slimy to handle being packed in olive oil, but to me they were just another type of fish. They added a very strong, distinctive taste to the pasta that I actually really enjoyed...kind of a salty, garlicky taste. What surprised me was that my 19-month-old daughter actually liked it! Of course she didn't eat any of the chili pepper pieces, but she loved the pasta and the broccoli...Not sure how she'll feel when she'd older though and I tell her that I fed her anchovies when she was a baby! Haha. Definitely a good recipe though!

Becky: ICBC Strawberries

Strawberry Tiramisu

-3/4 lb. (1 1/2 cups) Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
-3 tablespoons powdered sugar
-3 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur, divided
-1/1/2 cups heavy cream
-1 pint strawberries, rinsed and hulled
-1/4 cup granulated sugar
-1/4 cup orange juice
24 sponge ladyfingers

In medium bowl, whisk Mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, and 1 tablespoon of the orange liqueur until well blended. In large chilled bowl with electric mixer at medium speed, beat heavy cream until soft peaks form; gently fold whipped cream into Mascarpone misture until blended. In blender or food processor, blend together remaining liqueur, strawberries, sugar, and orange juice to a smooth puree. Pour strawberry mixture into shallow bowl.
Dip 12 ladyfingers in strawberry mixture to coat; arrange in a 9-inch square glass dish, side-by-side, in 2 rows touching. Spread 1/2 of the strawberry mixture evenly over rows. Spread 1/2 of the cream mixure on top. Repeat with remaining ladyfingers; arrange over cream layer. Spread with remaining strawberry mixture. Spread with remaining cream, smoothing top with spatula. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
To serve, cut into 9 squares. Place on dessert plates and dust each with cocoa powder; top with a sliced fanned strawberry.

Since this was my week to pick an ingredient, I decided to go a little all-out. This recipe was taken from the Best of the Best from Colorado Cookbook, by Gwen Mckee and Barbara Moseley. All in all, this recipe was a little pricey. For instance, the Mascarpone cheese, orange liqueur and the ladyfingers were all over $5, plus I had to go to a specialty Italian market to get the ladyfingers, but it was all well-worth it in the end because it was AMAZING, and it looked beautiful when it was all ensembled.
I did cut the recipe in half though, because I figured that if I didn't it would be way too much for me, my husband and daughter to eat and that too much of it would go to waste. If there was a party that we were going to, however, I would definitely make this to bring along. I also goofed up a little in making this. I realized too late, after I had already ensembled the whole thing, that I had forgotten to add the granulated sugar to the strawberry mixture. I was afraid that it wouldn't taste as good, but I really don't think it made that much of a difference because the whipped cream was already very sweet. Or if it did, it was still delicious. It tasted a lot like the strawberry shortcakes that my mom used to make when I was a kid. All in all, I definitely recommend this recipe to serve at a party if you want to go to a little bit of extra effort in getting all the ingredients. Putting it all together was very easy though. In my cookbook, it noted that this recipe should get rave reviews from guests, and I can definitely see (and taste) why!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Oreo Cupcakes

Oreo Cupcakes
Yield: 24 cupcakes


For the cake:
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature

For the frosting:
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp. whipping cream
3 tbsp. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
6 tbsp. Oreo cookie crumbs

For garnish:
24 Oreo cookie halves

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the brown sugar and continue beating until fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated, being careful not to overmix.

Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.

To prepare the frosting, in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until the whipped cream holds stiff peaks. Gently fold in the cookie crumbs with a spatula.

Scoop the mixture into a pastry bag and pipe frosting decoratively on top of the cupcakes. Garnish with Oreo cookie halves.


Really. There are no words.

Oh. Except I made my own buttermilk. And it is not for the faint of heart.

Recipe from here.

Carne Asada

Carne Asada

2 pounds flank or skirt steak
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño chile pepper, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seed (best to lightly toast the seeds first, then grind them)
1 large handful fresh cilantro, leaves and stems, finely chopped (great flavor in the stems)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup olive oil

Additionally (and missing from the original recipe) 2 Corona beers


1 Lay the flank steak in a large non-reactive bowl or baking dish. Combine marinade ingredients and pour the marinade over the steak. Pour in a beer (take a few sips for ourself). Make sure each piece is well coated. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight at least.

2 Preheat your grill over medium-high flame (you can also use a cast iron grill pan on high heat for stove-top cooking). Brush the grates with a little oil to prevent the meat from sticking. Remove the steak from the marinade. If you are cooking indoors, you may want to brush off excess marinade as the bits may burn and smoke on the hot pan. Season both sides of the steak pieces with salt and pepper. Pour on the 2nd beer throughout the cooking process. Grill the pieces for a few minutes only, on each side, depending on how thin they are, until medium rare to well done, to your preference. You may need to work in batches. Remove the steak pieces to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak across the grain on a diagonal.


Ok, so when I first looked at this recipe I was like "What the what?". EVERYONE that grew up even knowing what Carne Asada was knows that you have to cook it with Corona. Who wrote this recipe out? Someone from Boston? Come on.

Seriously though, it makes a huge difference when you add the beer. It makes the steak taste like it is supposed to; Arizona Summers, backyard BBQs and... well... mexican food. Hah.

I didn't brush of ANY of the cilantro or marinade when I put the steak on the grill and it made it taste, and smell, awesome. While cooking be sure to keep the hood of the grill down so that the meat stays moist. ALSO be sure to cut it THIN across the diagonal (that picture up there... the slices are too thick!). Otherwise, your just eating pieces of steak.

Recipe found here.

Pioneer Woman Red Velvet Cake

For a BBQ Brandon and I had... in May.... I made Pioneer Woman's Red Velvet Cake. I know that the usual me would transcribe the recipe for you all, but I'm not home (working from an office space YAY!) and thus... can't.

Just buy the cookbook, you won't regret it.


I've been living in Denver for a while now... and I haven't let the "Mile High" get me down. I've thought "I don't need high altitude directions! I'M A BAKER! Get out of my face with your extra flour and water!".

Consider me schooled. This cake sunk. HARD. I pulled it out of the oven at 10pm and it was completely concave. And the BBQ was the next day. And I MAY have freaked out for a minute.

Oh Sarah Michelle, how do you fix a problem like this? You pick yourself up by your bootstraps and let gravity do it's job. That's right. I just flipped the cakes over and let them set so that the big gap was on the bottom. Don't judge me. Nobody knew.

I also made the icing on the cakes, which was SUPER fun. Make icing. Do it.

A friend of mine said that the cake was a little salty-er than normal, but he said that he didn't mind it. Neither did I. I had a piece for breakfast EVERY MORNING the next week.

Bikini what?

Also. Doesn't this piece of cake look like a SHARK! YES, yes it does.

ICBC- Anchovies

Green Goddess Dressing

So, do you know what happens when you don't blog about what you cook right away?

You lose the recipe. You can't find it online. And you're only sure of what was in your dish by the color.


Doesn't matter anyway. Everyone thought it was runny guacamole anyway...

I think it was avocado, sour cream, anchovy paste, water, something something....