Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fine Cooking Make it Mini Challenge - Mini Fastest Cinnamon Buns with Rum Raisins

I've been racking my brain for a few more Make it Mini creations and the cold, gloomy weather inspired me to play in the kitchen this morning. Warm and gooey cinnamon buns...definitely an indulgence and perfect for a lazy Sunday morning. I knew Fine Cooking would have a recipe and I was able to find the Fastest Cinnamon Buns recipe. I made a few substitutions, based on available ingredients in the house, and a few modifications to make these Minis.

In the dough, I substituted ricotta cheese for the cottage cheese. In the filling, I substituted rum raisins for the pecans (John had some leftover rum raisins from making our St. Patrick's Day Irish Soda Bread - raisins marinated in dark rum). I divided the dough and filling in half so I could make two, smaller and longer jelly rolls. I was able to cut 12 rounds from each jelly roll and and then used a 24-muffin tin to bake the buns. The cinnamon buns puffed up nicely, but retained their mini shapes within the muffin tins. I also added a little dark rum to the glaze. These two-bite cinnamon buns were delicious. Before I was tempted to eat more than two, I passed most of them out to my neighbors and made John eat the remaining six!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Bobby Flay's Sour Orange BBQ'd Salmon Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw and Smoked Chile Sauce

San Diego is big on fish tacos...and we indulge at our local Brigantine Restaurant a little too often! The Brig serves full-size tacos with deep-fried cod, mayonnaise-based sauce, cabbage, salsa, cheese, chile sauce, and a squeeze of lime. You can't eat just one, especially at the happy-hour price.

These Sour Orange BBQ'd Salmon Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw and Smoked Chile Sauce, courtesy of Bobby Flay, are incredible, amazing, totally gourmet and much healthier. As minis, they are perfect for a crowd. If you can't find mini tortillas, you can use a cookie cutter and cut your own out of regular sized corn tortillas.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Mario Batali's Mini Chocolate Chip-Orange Cannoli (Cannoli Di Ricotta)

An extraordinary Italian dessert composed of delicate, crispy, tube-shaped chocolate pastry shells, embracing sweet, creamy ricotta cheese, infused with Grand Marnier liqueur, miniature chocolate morsels, and candied orange peel, dusted ever so softly with powdered sugar. Close your eyes, envision yourself at a picturesque Venetian café, and indulge your craving...

We made these for Jim & Carmen's Daylight Savings Party and used recipes from two of my favorite Italian Chefs, Mario Batali and Giada De Laurentiis.

Mario suggests buying candied orange peel or substituting orange zest, so I made Giada's candied orange peel to use in the recipe. I've seen cannoli at one of our Little Italy area bakeries, but they are pretty large in size. I've always wanted to try making them and was able to find the cannoli forms at a gourmet kitchen store in town. I knew they would be cute as minis. Mario's recipe makes 12, but I was able to get 18 using a 3" round cookie cutter. I would like to try to roll the shells a little thinner next time, but they were still very flaky and retained their crispiness. You must drain the ricotta for at least an hour before adding the mini chocolate chips, orange zest, and remaining ingredients, but I drained it overnight in the refrigerator. The cannoli dough has Grand Marnier liqueur (8 tbsp!), cocoa powder and cinnamon. The candied orange peel was a little burst of sunshine, keeping in theme with the party.

Everyone loved these!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Shrimp-Andouille Gumbo - Get Your Gumbo On!

After Cooking the Issue, we've had more time to become familiar with the Fine Cooking web site, currently featuring a short video on how to make authentic gumbo. We were inspired and read a few different recipies, including Poppy Tooker's Seafood Gumbo and Chicken-Andouille File Gumbo, from FC's January 2008 issue #90, Get Your Gumbo On.

John took the lead chef role and I was happy to be his sous chef for the day. He combined a few different methods and ingredients, using shrimp, andouille sausage and okra in our gumbo. John's roux was beautiful and the final dish turned out delicious.