Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mexican Horchata!

"In December drinking Horchata, I'd look psychotic in a balaclava..." Okay, so it's no longer winter and I am definitely not about to put on a full ski mask, but every time I drink Horchata, I get this song from Vampire Weekend stuck in my head! I just cannot get it out!!! I love Horchata so much though that it is worth repeating the song over and over until I grow bored with it.. :)


 I remember the first time that I sipped on a large, cold, glass of Mexican Horchata.  I was in Florida (not Mexico, ironically) and I fell in love! At first I was hesitant to try it since my cousin described it to me as being some "milky, white thing that tastes good."  Now, with that type of description I was definitely not thrilled about having some "milky, white thing" as an accompaniment to my dinner, but you know me, I'll pretty much give anything a try! And that's when it happened... I discovered my love for Horchata, and my love has been growing stronger ever since.  Unfortunately, Horchata is extremely difficult to find in Massachusetts.  There are some fast food Mexican places that sell it, but not many.  Since I was getting so sick of trying to find a place that makes it, and driving 45 minutes just to get some, I decided it was time to make my own! And oh my god... I am so glad that I did!



There are different types of Horchata, but this is more along the lines of a Mexican Horchata, which uses rice.  Some other recipes will call for almonds, barley, sesame seeds etc.

Horchata

Ingredients:
-1 cup white long-grain rice, uncooked
-5 cups water
-2-3 cinnamon sticks
-About 1 cup sugar
-Ground cinnamon for sprinkling (optional)

Directions:
In a blender or food processor, blend the 1 cup of rice with 5 cups of water for just about a minute, or until the rice just begins to break apart (you do not want to ground it up completely otherwise it will be difficult to strain later on in the process).  Once blended, place 2 to 3 cinnamon sticks in with the rice and water mixture, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, remove the cinnamon sticks and blend the rice and water mixture up again just to give it a little stir.  Blend in the sugar a little at a time until it is at the sweetness you prefer.  I used the whole cup but not everyone may want as much sugar.  Once the sugar has been mixed in, strain the entire mixture so that the piece of rice are removed and you are left with a milky white, water mixture (I know, sounds appetizing huh??). Sprinkle a little ground cinnamon on top if you want a little more cinnamon flavor, but it is not necessary.

Pour the Horchata into a glass and serve cold with some ice.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do!




"In December drinking Horchata, I'd look psychotic in a balaclava.  Winter's cold is too much to handle, pincher crabs that pinch at your sandals..."

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Easy, Healthy, Coffee Cream

As most of you know, I have been doing the Dukan Diet for just over a month now.  I have lost close to 20 pounds and feel great! My 6 pack abs are actually starting to be visible again, thank god! I had never done a diet before this one because I just never saw the need nor had the motivation.  However, once I put on 20 pounds this past year and started to lose my skinny girl figure, I got desperate! No matter how much I ran or worked out, my weight just seemed to stay the same.  My normal diet prior to this one was also already pretty healthy.  I mean, I of course would indulge in my chocolate a bit, but it's not like I ate fried foods, loads of carbs, and tons of ice cream every day either.  Since I was stumped, I turned to the Dukan Diet.  Within the first 4 days I had lost 5 pounds!! Although it is hard at first, this diet is amazing! It gets your weight loss moving, but also helps you progress back into eating more normally again while maintaining the weight loss!  To learn about the diet and the attack phase, click here.  For more information on my time during the cruise phase and what I ate, click here.


Now, with that being said, I am getting ready to move on in my diet and slowly start adding in carbs again. However, this diet has taught me many useful and healthy tips that I will continue to live by, including how to have a healthy dessert! This coffee cream has gotten me through all of my dessert cravings!  It is so yummy that I was shocked to realize how simple and healthy it was.  My sweet tooth was definitely pleased the first time I ate this.

 Coffee Cream
Ingredients:
-3 egg yolks
-1/8 teaspoon cornstarch
-1 cup non-fat milk
-1 teaspoon instant coffee (or cocoa powder if you prefer a chocolate cream)
-Splenda or other sweetener to taste

Directions:
Pour the milk and coffee flavoring into a small saucepan and scald, do not boil. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and cornstarch together.  I like to reserve the unused egg whites and use them later on to make omelets, meringues, macarons, etc... Whatever you desire!

Once the milk and coffee mixture is ready, slowly pour it into the egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly so as to make sure the egg yolks do not cook.  Once all of the ingredients are combined, return the mixture back to the saucepan, and stir continuously over low heat for 4-5 minutes (or until it thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon).

Once the mixture has thickened, remove from heat immediately and pour into cups or ramekins.  Stir in sweetener to desired taste.  Let the coffee cream sit out for a few minutes to cool, but then wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bridal Shower Cakes

Good morning everyone! I just wanted to share a couple of recent bridal shower cakes that I made. I hope you enjoy!



This was a two-tiered bridal shower cake with vanilla and chocolate cake in a checkerboard pattern.  Unfortunately I could not get any photos of the checkerboard pattern since I had to drop off the cake.  The bottom tier was filled with chocolate ganache and the top tier was filled with buttercream. The whole cake was covered and decorated in fondant. 

I also made Lemon Drop Cookies and Raspberry Ribbons for the event. 

Bridal Shower Cake #2


This was a vanilla cake with raspberry sauce and chocolate ganache.  To make a simple chocolate ganache, just boil one cup of heavy cream and pour over 12 ounces of chocolate chips.  Add one tablespoon of butter and stir until the chocolate chips have melted and the ingredients are completely combined. 

If you want to check out more cake photos, you can become a fan of my page on Facebook. Thank you and enjoy! 

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Broiled Salmon with Asparagus and Lemon Risotto

First off, I want to apologize because I know it has been quite some time since I have posted anything new.  I promise I will be catching up on all of my commenting and messages from other sites.  I also want to take a moment to thank Manu from Manu's Menu for awarding me with the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.  Thank you so much Manu!  Manu has a beautiful blog with delicious, mouth-watering recipes, so be sure to check her out! Furthermore, to see who I have passed the award along on to, please click here.


Now, like I said before, I know that I have been away for a little bit, but I promise I have several recipes that I have been working on that will be coming up this month! To start things off, I have decided to share this tasty, yet very easy to make, broiled salmon with roasted asparagus and lemon risotto.


Broiled Salmon with Asparagus and Lemon Risotto 
Ingredients:
-1 to 1 1/2 pounds salmon, skinned
-1 tablespoon coriander
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-2 teaspoons onion powder
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-2 lemons (1 juiced and 1 sliced)
-Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Preheat your broiler on high and position your oven rack to the middle/lower half of the oven.  

Combine all of the spices in one bowl.  Add the juice of one lemon and stir together until all of the spices start to clump together.  Keep adding as much or as little lemon juice as you wish to the spices.  Using a pastry brush or your hands, rub the spice mixture all over the salmon.  Sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper to taste.  Finally, slice the other lemon into several round pieces and lay them over the salmon.

Once ready, take a baking dish and line it with tin foil.  Place the salmon on the tin foil and cook in the broiler for about 15 to 20 minutes.  My broiler takes a little longer so just be sure to keep an eye on your salmon. 

When done, leaving the lemon slices on, remove the salmon from the oven and serve over a bed of lemon risotto and roasted asparagus.

Enjoy!! 


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