Sunday, August 29, 2010

Strawberry Lemonade Recipe

The summer is almost over :( 

My boy is headed back to school on Tuesday so for me tomorrow is the last day of summer even though I know that summer is not actually over for a few weeks.

I really love the fall but it is hard to deal with the end of a relaxing three month vacation from getting up early and all that sun and fun. 

In honor of the end of summer, I decided to post this very summery drink recipe.   I found in in Woman's Day Magazine.  The picture was so pretty and it looked so refreshing.  I am a huge fan of lemonade but I usually don't order lemonade or tea with other fruits mixed in.  This lemonade is an exception.  It is very tasty.  I will make it again and perhaps add a bit of vodka for some kick?

Strawberry Lemonade Recipe


3 cups water
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 cups lemon juice (about 8 to 10 lemons)
1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved
1 liter seltzer or sparkling water

Garnish:  lemon slices and mint (optional)

Recipe Preparation:

1.  In a 2-quart saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice.  Let cool completely.

2.  Place strawberries in blender with 1/2 cup lemonade mixture.  Blend until pureed.  Strain puree through a fine sieve to remove seeds.  Add puree to remaining lemonade mixture, stir well to combine.  Refrigerate until serving.

3.  To serve:  Stir in seltzer.  Pour over ice.  Garnish with lemon and mint, if using.


The Creative Cook

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Moroccan Orange Cake

I may have mentioned before that D took a cooking camp this summer at a wonderful cooking school in Frederick, Maryland called The Cooking Studio Frederick.  The camp was called Culinary World Tour. The kids were introduced to Moroccan food as well as several other yummy cusines.  D loved the Moroccan Orange Cake.   The camp instructor put on a simple orange glaze on the cake which is probably what he really loved most.  I don't have the recipe for it but it is just powdered sugar and orange juice.  This cake is quick and easy to make and very delicious.   I squeezed my own juice but I'm sure you could also use orange juice from the grocery store.  If you are using store-bought o.j., you can also sometimes find orange zest in the baking aisle of your grocery store with the spices. 

Moroccan Orange Cake

Prep Time:  10 mins.
Cook Time: 40 mins.


4 eggs
1-1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder (WOW)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
zest from 1 or 2 oranges
1 teaspoon vanilla


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a tube pan.  If using fresh oranges, zest and juice them.
  • With an electric mixer or by hand, beat together the eggs and sugar until thick.  Gradually beat in the oil.
  • Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt, and then the orange juice.  Beat until smooth, and then mix in the zest and vanilla.
  • Pour the batter into your prepared pan, and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the cake tests done.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 7 to 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.


The Creative Cook

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chocolate Ice Cream Duo

I tried another chocolate ice cream recipe.  This time it comes from Laurent Schott's Seven Sins of Chocolate cookbook.  I tried the Dark Chocolate Ice Cream.  I'm sure the Milk Chocolate Ice Cream is great, too.  The only thing I'll mention here is that this recipe does not include any "cognac" or vanilla.  Because of that, the ice cream gets hard pretty fast.  The alcohol content of the cognac or vanilla keeps the ice cream from freezing too hard.  Just keep that in mind.  His comments in the book say that the ice cream is best eaten just after churning and I bet that is why.  Each recipe makes about 1-1/2 pints of ice cream. 

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

5 oz. bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped
2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup granulated sugar
5 large egg yolks
Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

3/4 cup milk chocolate, chopped
2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 large egg yolks

For Each Flavor:

  • Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
  • Bring the milk, cream, and half the sugar to a boil in a saucepan
  • Whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl with the remaining sugar until the mixture lightens in color, then whisk in the boiling milk.
  • Return the mixture to the saucepan and stir over low heat until it thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Strain through a wire sieve over the chopped chocolate and whisk until all the chocolate has melted.
  • Refrigerate, stirring from time to time until chilled.  Churn each custard individually in an ice-cream maker.
  • Transfer to airtight containers and freeze for up to 3 days.


The Creative Cook

Monday, August 23, 2010

Peach Muffins

This recipe is from Tate's Bake Shop.  I was introduced to Tate's when I bought some of their chocolate chip cookies at a local organic market.  They were great.  I went on their website and signed up for emails.  Each month I get a newsletter with a recipe.  This is the first time I actually made one of their recipes. 

I made quite a few more than 15 muffins from this batter.  I also had to bake it a bit longer than 25 minutes.  I think it was more like 30 - 35 minutes for baking these.  I added the struesel that was suggested.  The recipe I used from made way too much streusel but it was still pretty darn yummy.  You could halve the recipe for the streusel. 


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup sugar
1-¼ cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 large eggs
¾ cup melted butter
2 cups peeled, pitted, chopped peaches


(1)  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease fifteen 3 x 1 ½ inch muffin cups.

(2)  In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and sugar.

(3) In a medium bowl, combine buttermilk, vanilla and eggs. Whisk mix to combine eggs. Add melted butter.

(4) Fold liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Fold in peaches.

(5) Bake muffins for 25 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Optional: add your favorite streusel top before placing in the oven if you prefer a sweeter muffin.

Yield: 15 muffins

Streusel Topping

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy;
Gradually add granulated sugar and brown sugar, beating well;
Add flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg;
Beat just until blended.


The Creative Cook

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

I love ice cream.  Every summer I make at least one or two batches of ice cream at home.  This summer I decided to go with the traditional and I made Milk Chocolate Ice Cream by David Lebovitz.  David Lebovitz published this recipe in his Perfect Scoop cookbook.  I used my Big Chill by Salton Ice Cream machine that I bought for $2.00 at a church sale.  It works great.  I didn't feel the need to spend $50 plus on a machine that would only be used once or twice a year.  Besides, my Big Chill is not electric.  I simply put the insert into the freezer for a few hours and take it out to churn the ice cream.  It couldn't be easier. 

Milk Chocolate Ice Cream 
adapted by from the Perfect Scoop

8 ounces milk chocolate with at least 30% cocoa solids, finely chopped
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1-1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
Big pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla (the original calls for Cognac)
3/4 cup cocoa nibs or semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

Combine the milk chocolate and cream in a large, heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.  Stir until the chocolate is melted, then remove the bowl from the saucepan.  Set it aside with a mesh strainer over the top.

Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over the medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.  Pour the custard through the strainer into the milk chocolate mixture, add the vanilla (cognac), and mix together.  Stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.  During the last few minutes of churning, add the cocoa nibs or chips, if using.


The Creative Cook

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Crunchy Lemonade Chicken

Yum!  This chicken is really good.  It is the first time I have actually used Panko or Japanese breadcrumbs. I can finally find them in my local grocery stores.  It is so much different tasting than regular old store-bought breadcrumbs and even different from the ones you make yourself.  I read that the only actual difference is that Panko breadcrumbs are made from bread without the crust.  It is hard to imagine that just cutting off the crust before making breadcrumbs would make such a difference.   The Panko breadcrumbs are really more like "flakes" than crumbs. 

Hey, wait a minute, this post is about Crunchy Lemonade Chicken not Panko breadcrumbs so here goes:  the recipe calls for using drumsticks but my family doesn't care for drumsticks.  Nextime I make this recipe I'll substitute boneless skinless chicken breasts or even a whole chicken cut up into parts.  Other than that, I used the recipe "as is".  This is a recipe that both kids and adults will enjoy.  I served it with the Baked Beans with Maple Glazed Bacon that I made and posted about back in early July. 

Crunchy Lemonade Drumsticks

Recipe Courtesy of Food Network Magazine

Cook Time: 1 hr 10 min
Serves: 6


2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk
12 skin-on chicken drumsticks (3 1/2 to 4 1/4 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Olive-oil cooking spray


Mix 1 tablespoon lemon zest and the lemon juice in a large bowl. Add 1 cup water and the sugar and whisk to dissolve, then whisk in the buttermilk. Pierce the drumsticks several times with a fork and season with salt and pepper. Toss in the marinade, cover and refrigerate 4 hours, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring the chicken to room temperature. Put the panko, thyme, the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon zest, the cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste in a large resealable plastic bag and shake to mix. Put the mayonnaise in a bowl. Set a rack on a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray.

Remove the drumsticks from the marinade, dip in the mayonnaise, then drop into the bag and shake to coat; transfer to the rack.

Mist the chicken with cooking spray. Bake until golden, about 35 minutes; flip and bake until browned and crisp, 35 to 40 more minutes. Cool completely, then pack in an airtight container.


The Creative Cook

Thursday, August 12, 2010

White-Chocolate Blondies with Raspberries by Laurent Schott

In the oven.

All done!

Thank you so much to Laurent Schott for this great recipe!  It is wonderful.  I have seen bunches of blondie recipes that use both white chocolate and raspberries but not the almonds in this recipe.  I think the almonds give it a wonderful taste and texture.  They are not so overpowering as other nuts might be.  This is definitely not the easiest blondie recipe you'll make but it could quite simply be the best.  My other favorite type of blondies are the ones that replicate chocolate chip cookies.  They are very yummy but very different from this blondie recipe.  This one comes from Laurent Schott's Seven Sins of Chocolate cookbook.  I have had this cookbook sitting on my coffee table for a few years now.  I have made and posted about Laurent Schott's Marble Cake probably two years ago.  I am also interested in making the chocolate Madeleines and a few other recipes in the book.  Some of the desserts look wonderful but are way over my head as far as techniques, ingredients and cooking tools.  For instance, I do not own the proper pan to use when making brioche. I had intentions of buying a brioche pan at one time or another but I never did buy it.  Oh well, maybe some day in the future I will own a brioche pan.  Anyway, I finally made this blondie recipe and it was delicious.  Try it for the "yum" factor.  I had to bake the blondies for about 40 minutes so watch them carefully!

White-Chocolate Blondies with Raspberries
by Laurent Schott

Makes 20 Blondies

6 oz white chocolate, chopped
1 cup plus 6 tablespoons (2-3/4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
5 large eggs
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup chopped natural almonds
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (the bowl must not touch the water).  {I used a double boiler} With the bowl still over the water, add the butter and whisk until smooth.  Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and then the sugar.  Remove the bowl from the saucepan.  Stir in the flour until combined.  Mix in the almonds.

Butter the sides of a rectangular pan -- 13 inches long by 9 inches wide and 1 inch deep -- and line the bottom with baking parchment.  Spread the batter in the pan and sprinkle with the raspberries.  (You can vary the shape of the blondies by using differently shaped cake pans and molds.  For round blondies, spoon batter into unlined, globe-shaped silicone molds with 3-1/4 inch diameters.)

Bake until golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes (less if making the round blondies).  Cool in the pan on a wire cake rack.  Invert to unmold the entire blondie, peel off the paper, and cut into 20 pieces.  Garnish with a light sprinkling of confectioners' sugar.


The Creative Cook

Friday, August 6, 2010

Zucchini Sausage Squares

I am not sure where I found this recipe but it was a lifesaver.  I had a pound of bulk sausage in my freezer and a zucchini in my refrigerator.  I just didn't know what to do with them until I found this recipe.  Believe me, the ingredients were a total surprise to me.  I would never have thought to put zucchini together with sausage and mozzarella cheese.  The most unusual aspect of this recipe to me is the prepared mustard on top of the crescent rolls.  Initially, when I read the recipe I thought they were referring to the powdered mustard but when I went back and reread it and it said "prepared" mustard I was completely taken aback. I think the recipe calls for way too much butter.  There is really no need to  use half a cup of butter!  Just reduce it to a few tablespoons or better yet use a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  I had to cook this casserole for at least 35 minutes.  It was just not browned by 20 minutes of cooking.  Personally, I don't like black pepper so I substituted white pepper.  To be honest, I didn't think the prepared mustard was necessary but my husband said he enjoyed the mustard taste.  I was really surprised to hear him say that since he never uses mustard.  You will have to try the recipe and decide for yourself. I used yellow mustard but I suppose spicy brown mustard would work just as well with the flavors.  Maybe even better. 

Zucchini Sausage Squares

5 small zucchini - cut into 1/4 slices
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup butter
1 pound bulk Italian sausage, cooked and drained
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 eggs
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella
1 tube (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls
2 Tablespoons prepared mustard

In a large skillet, sauté the zucchini and onions with the butter. Stir in the sausage, parsley and seasonings. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cheese and sausage mixture.

Unroll crescent rolls in a greased 13 x 9 baking dish. Press onto the bottom and sides to form a crust, seal seams and perforations. Brush with mustard. Spoon sausage mixture on top. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Enjoy!

Serves 6-8.


The Creative Cook

Monday, August 2, 2010

Red Sweet Corn

I made another interesting produce discovery last week at Safeway.  I found Sweet Red Corn!  It is beautiful.  The only time I had seen red corn before was hanging on someones front door during Thanksgiving.  Not only is this corn beautiful but it is delicious and super healthy. The red sweet corn is higher in protein than other types of corn.  The main producer of Red Sweet Corn is Colorful Harvest, Inc. They are located in Merced, California.  Colorful Harvest is now also growing this corn in Southern California and Florida because it is becoming so popular.  I am somewhat am surprised that this corn has made its way across the country to our little corner of Maryland.  Since Safeway is a large grocery chain that can be found all across the country, you may find red sweet corn at your local Safeway, too. 

I found lots of recipes for Red Sweet Corn on California based food blogs.  The easiest and simplest "recipe" was for roasting the corn and then rubbing it with a lime coated in Ancho Chili powder.  So simple but so delicious.  Check out Colorful Harvest's website for more great recipes for red sweet corn.


The Creative Cook