Tuesday, July 16, 2013

We've Moved!

We've Moved!!!!!!


Check out my new location for a more updated look and more personalized style.  It allows for a more in depth search aspect and is just plain fun.  I'll keep this blog current and reply to posts here as well, but check out the site above for more current recipes.

The Cooking Bug

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Coconut Souffle

Soufflés are temperamental and extremely difficult in their own way.  The outcome is all in the egg whites.  They have to be whipped to perfection in order to master the soufflé.  Eggs are the key ingredient for the lightness and airiness of a soufflé.  Improperly beaten egg whites (both under- and over-beaten) aren’t aerated adequately, and as a result, the final product is dense, flat, and a disappointment.  However, the taste is still there, so don’t be too dishearten by this
coconut soufflé.

Many times, making a soufflé takes many attempts to gain perfection.  Keep in mind that the fresher the eggs the better they are at being whipped; keep the egg whites and yellows as separate as possible; keep beating until you have stiff, shiny peaks.  Increase the speed of the beaters slowly.  Signs that you have overbeaten your eggs are a dry and curdled look with liquid weeping from the sides.  While the eggs can still be used, they will affect the overall look of your soufflé making it denser.

Some other tips to keep in mind:
1.     I would add the coconut extract to the batter to keep it from making your dry ingredients stick in clumps.
2.     I would add more of the coconut extract than required for a more coconut flavor.
3.     I used Stevia; however, its 
      light texture does not work well in this recipe and it has a diet aftertaste.  You’re already breaking the calorie count with this recipe so 
      go for the real stuff.  If you are concerned, use ½ the amount of 
      sugar with Truvia.  Truvia is sweeter and zero calorie than regular sugar.
4.     The third rack in the oven is important.  It allows the tops to 
      puff and brown along with the dessert to be cook all the 
      way through.
5.     When mixing in the egg whites to the batter, do so gently.  Again you don’t want to overbeat your egg whites and mush them into nothing.
6.     You can toast coconut in the oven to dust on top of the finished soufflé.
7.     I would suggest adding whipped topping to give the dessert a 
      yummy creaminess.
8.     You can use other sized ramekins, just remember to adjust the cooking times.  I used 7oz ramekins and it took about 20 minutes to 
      cook thoroughly.
9.     The soufflés are finished when you have a puffed top and golden crust.

Challenge yourself with making a soufflé of your own.  There are many types of flavors that can be added to please any taste buds.  Remember that white soufflés are not as sweet as darker, chocolate soufflés.  Check back soon to hear about my chocolate soufflé tips for those once a month cravings.

Leave a comment below with how your egg whites work.  Be sure to follow my Pinterest.  Check back again next Wednesday for more tips from the cooking bug.  We are going to make a slow transition over to another blog site, so be ready to check it out in the future.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Cauliflower Pizza

When it comes to pizza, cauliflower is the last thing from my mind.  I picture a large pepper, onion, and pepperoni pizza oozing of cheese and a crisp, chewy, garlic bread crust.  However, once you go cauliflower you'll never go back.  A few weeks back, I had tried cauliflower as a substitution to tortillas.  This cheesy, cauliflower pizza seems to follow in
those steps.

While it can't replace your greasy, heart attack pizza, it can get you a healthier meal and delicious flavors.  Keep in mind that like many dishes with cauliflower, it can have a more grainy texture that might take some getting used to.  However, with a layer of sauce and a sprinkle of cheese you can get your pizza fix in a healthier setting.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1.     Remember that ricing the cauliflower means using as little of the stems as possible and making it in a more moldable form.  Be sure to wipe down the sides a few times during this process.
2.     Once riced microwave it in order to get more of the liquid strained from
the cauliflower.
3.     I used a paper towel and drained the liquid in batches.  Let the cauliflower cool before handling or your hands will get burned.
4.     I sprayed the parchment paper with pam instead of olive oil to cut the calories and make it healthier.
5.     Using a pizza stone works well because it will not burn as easily, but a cookie sheet works just as well.
6.     Use your hand to pat out the crust and make sure that it is evenly spread around in the shape you want.  It should be easily moldable like Moonsand but not goopy like putty.
7.     I cooked the crust for 15-20 minutes adding more time for a crispier center.
8.     We used a Boboli sauce because it has a sweetness to it and NO other sauce can beat it. 
9.     I used a mixture of 3 types of cheese on top: Manchego, Gruyere, and Fontina. They compliment each other very well and are mild yet tasty.  We used 2 oz of each, but I recommend next time using 1 oz. 
10. Because we are using so many cheeses there was a thin layer of grease.  If you don't want the grease, just dab it lightly with a napkin.
11. I recommend not using peppers and tomatoes because these vegetables release water in the cooking process making the crust soggy.

I split the pizza into 8 slices raining in about 230 calories per slice.  With that count and a veggie bottom, I am in heaven.  Now you can enjoy a healthier, tasty version of pizza.  The recipe allows for gluten free, Paleo (using their own toppings), and vegetarians to dig in and enjoy.  This pizza recipe allows for me to indulge in my pizza cravings without killing my calories.  Once piece of a regular pizza is ranging in 300-400 calories, while this once kicks that in half.

Leave a comment with your thoughts on cauliflower.  Be sure to follow my Pinterest.  Check back next Wednesday for more treats and tips from The Cooking Bug.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Oreo Truffles

Truffles are a delicacy to many candy stores.  They sit in the storefront taunting us and willing us to eat them.  Many people think they are tricky little devils that take time and precision.  But, these Oreo truffles are simple, sweet and decadent all in one.  Did I mention that they only have 3 ingredients?  They can be a great addition to those Fourth of July parties you are planning for friends and family.

The "American truffle" is a half-egg shaped chocolate-coated truffle, a mixture of dark or milk chocolates with butterfat and, in some cases, hardened coconut oil.  The "European truffle" is made with syrup and a base made up of cocoa powder, milk powder, fats, and other such ingredients to create an oil-in-water type emulsion.  The "French truffle" is made with fresh cream and chocolate and then rolled into cocoa or nut powder.  The "Belgian truffle" or praline is made with dark or milk chocolate filled with ganache, buttercream or nut pastes.  The "Swiss truffle" is made by combining melted chocolate into a boiling mixture of dairy cream and butter, which is poured into molds to set before sprinkling with cocoa powder.  As you can see there are many ways to make a truffle, but this recipe simplifies and hits the nail on the head: a win-win.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1.     Leave your cream cheese on the counter to get to room temperature.  This will make mixing it with Oreos easier.
2.     Crush your Oreos (filling and all) either with a food processor or a
rolling pin.
3.     I used all but 4 Oreos, but you can use all the Oreos and leave 1 for the dusting on top.
4.     When mixing the Oreo and cream cheese, use a fort and smash the larger pieces left so that no chunks are left.  Your mixture should be very black and no white left visible.
5.     Since the center is soft and sticky, I suggest using a 1-inch cookie dough scooper.  It allows for an easy release and consistent sizing.
6.     Stick the centers on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper to solidify in
the fridge.
7.     If using white chocolate, use a
candy coating type
and no butter. 
White chocolate is already thinner
than milk and
dark; thus, the
butter will clump
and separate
making a gross mess. (Trust me!)
8.     If using a dark or
milk chocolate, use
a little bit of butter
to thin it allowing it to coat the centers but not break
them apart.
9.     I sprinkled the truffles with Oreo cookie crumbles (sans center).  Crumble them the same way as noted above in step 2.

I was able to make roughly 30 of these delicious treats.  I'm interning at Crisis Nursery and they were the talk of the town.  The great thing about truffles is that they are sweet enough that one bite is all you need.  The creamy inside helps compliment the hard candy-coated outside.  Be sure to enjoy them with everyone.  They'll be surprised at the effortless treat that you whipped up with only 3 ingredients. 

Leave a comment below with other fillings and toppings for your truffles.  Follow my Pinterest for more.  Be sure to check back this Wednesday for more treats and tips from The Cooking Bug.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Thia Cucumber Salad

Summer is the perfect time to indulge in a fresh and light meal.  This Thia cucumber salad will pair perfectly with that juicy steak or grilled chicken.  Being summertime, cucumbers are at their peak of the season.  They are a good fruit that supplies the necessary water that you are craving and needing
sitting poolside.

Now if the refreshing sound of cucumber doesn't tickle your taste buds, the dressing on this salad is divine.  It plays on the boundaries of sweet and sour.  I could have literally drunk the dressing by itself.  The acidity of the vinegar is complimented by the sugar added and water-nutrient ingredients.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:
          1. I suggest buying the burp-less cucumber or you will be at your wits end after
              enjoying it.
          2. Dice the peppers and onion in small even chunks. If you don't like the onions
              raw because of their pungency, cook them strove top for a few seconds to
              bring out their sweetness.
          3. I cut the cucumber a little larger because it is the main part of the dish.
          4. I replaced the sugar with Truvia.  You lessen the caloric intake of the dressing
              to zero and use half the amount of sugar.
          5. I would add more of the spice mixture to the chickpeas and cook them for
              around 30 minutes for an extra crunch.  Make more than you need because
              they store in the refrigerator very well.
          6. Both the chickpeas and peanuts add another flavor profile that compliments
              the salad well.  Eat them!
          7. Mix the dressing and salad together frequently to keep it from getting too
              soggy in certain areas.  Do not add the chickpeas and peanuts until ready
              to serve.
          8. Eat the salad within the next day to keep the freshness alive.
          9. We got 4-5 meals out of this dish because we used 2 large cucumbers.  I like
              the larger cucumber to pepper and onion ratio.
         10. You could add fresh tomatoes to the dish for another added vegetable and still
               maintain the dish's integrity.

I was hesitant about this recipe because the mixture seemed so random; however, all the pieces fit together perfectly like a puzzle.  For such simple ingredients, there is a mound of flavors fizzling in your mouth.  Whether lounging poolside or enjoying the 4th of July weekend, this salad is a must do for any summer occasion.

Leave a comment below with your poolside plans.  Be sure to follow my Pinterest. Check back again next Wednesday for another slim, summer recipe from The Cooking Bug.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cookies & Cream Ice Pops

For a festive Father’s Day, I made a deal to make every meal consist of Oreos.  This theme happens to be one of his favorite desserts.  They have the perfect combination of cookie to cream and are great for the milk dunkers. 

I happened to crush some Oreos to dabble over his yogurt in the morning.  For lunch, I had chocolate dipped Oreos.  Following dinner, we completed our Oreo theme with cookies and cream ice pops.

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:
1.     They are simple to make with timing around 10 minutes.
2.     They need to freeze so make them in preparation before hand. Allow for 2-4 hours of freezer time.
3.     I didn’t want to buy a huge thing of
heavy cream that I would hardly use
again, so I found a substitute.  It
combines ¾ cup milk with 1/3 cup butter.  However, this substitute only works for warm dishes because the butter seizes
up when cooled again.
4.     If you want to make it healthier and skip the buttermilk, replace it with evaporate milk.  They are a 1-to-1 ratio.
5.     I used more Oreos than the recipe described because I want that
Oreo punch.
6.     The Oreos will separate to the bottom if you have stand up ice cream molds.  Try to find molds that lay flat so that you can disperse
everything evenly.
7.     You can use an ice cube tray for bite sized pops or just fill a container and stick it in the freezer to enjoy.

For tips on the chocolate covered Oreos:
1.     Melt a combination of dark and milk chocolate (substitute bitter sweet chips) for 30 seconds. 
2.     Make sure to mix the chocolate chips to get them melting without burning.
3.     Dip the Oreos with a fork so that they coat evenly.
4.     Place them in the freezer for 1-2 hrs on wax paper.

Know that you can use dozens of combinations.  The cookies can be your choice and mix and match flavors that curve your sweet tooth.  They are an easy, no mess dessert that goes great with the summer heat.

Enjoy! Leave a comment below with ideas for your ice pops.  Follow my Pinterest for more delicious desserts and recipes.  Check back next Wednesday for other cooking tips from The Cooking Bug.