Monthly Archive for March, 2012

April Foolish! Dessert Sushi & Eyeball Surprise

There is no time like now to get your A-game on for the big shenanigans as April Fools draws near. Every year I do my best to make sure it is somehow memorable. I know my family is probably lurking about, trying to determine what I might be up to this year. Well, no dice. I am blogging my success from last year.

Menu

Dehydrated Green Bean Chips (store bought)

Dessert Sushi (with store bought decoys)

Eyeball Surprise (AKA Stuffed Lychee Nuts alla Vano)

Dessert Sushi

Dessert Sushi Ingredients

1 package Soy Wraps

1 cup sushi rice, prepared according to package directions

6-8 pieces of your favorite sushi (to use as decoys)

chocolate sauce (optional)

Fillings (use what you like, these were my favorite combinations)

– pear and feta with honey

– jack fruit (found in Asian Market, canned), strawberries and banana

– kiwi, strawberries and Nutella

Dessert Sushi Directions/Tutorial

To get started on the sushi, it will be easiest if you have a sushi rolling mat. Cover the mat with a square sheet of plastic wrap. Place a soy sheet sheet on the rolling mat, which is now covered with plastic wrap, with the grooves in the soy wrap parallel to the direction you’re facing.

Spread rice onto the soy wrap sheet, leaving a gap on the back edge to seal the roll. Spoon a small amount of filling in a row on the edge of the sheet closest to you, perpendicular to the direction you are facing. Roll the sheet around that row of filling. To make a nice firm roll, press tightly backwards (towards yourself), and slightly down onto the roll. Try not to squish the roll while trying to making it tight. Take the rolling mat out a bit so that you don’t roll it into the sushi, and continue rolling tightly until reaching the end of the soy wrap, where the gap was left to seal the roll closed.

Allow the sushi roll sit a few minutes enabling the wrap to soften from the moisture in the rice. Once it’s ready, cut the roll into slices and you now have created the perfect dessert sushi. If using chocolate sauce, drizzle over sushi after plated. Arrange ‘real’ sushi decoy pieces in place strategically.

Eyeball Surprise (AKA Stuffed Lychee Nuts)

Stuffed Lychees Ingredients

1 (20 oz) can whole Lychee nuts in heavy syrup

1 (6 oz) container cream cheese, softened

1 (6 oz) bag whole macadamia nuts

Stuffed Lychees Directions

Drain lychees for 5 minutes. Gently stuff lychees with cream cheese, almost to the top of the opening. Insert macadamia nut into the cream cheese. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Memory lane. If you are looking for more foolishly fun food spoof ideas check out my post from last year.

Dinner conversation: To impress the victims you’ve just punked at dinner, I’ve compiled a quick list of other famous pranks that top the charts.

* 1957: Hoax BBC Panorama reveals spaghetti harvest in Switzerland

* 1976: Patrick Moore tells Radio 2 listeners that at 0947 a planetary event would lessen Earth’s gravity and if people jumped in the air at that moment, they would float

* 1986: Le Parisien newspaper announces that the Eiffel Tower is to be moved to Euro Disney

* 1998: Burger King launches left-handed Whopper

Pesto Parmesan Chip Remodel

In case I forgot to mention it, I am in the middle of a kitchen remodel, which makes everyday cooking a bit of a challenge. One thing I’ve discovered is that nibbles go a long way on the spectrum of comfort food. With the world around me in upheaval, I am on a quest for comfort. Comfort food >check< fills that need. Admittedly, along the way to this post, there were quite a few food failures as I learn to maneuver with a crock pot, hot dish, microwave, toaster oven and BBQ. I wish I had documented these food disasters because in retrospect they were hilarious. In the heat of the moment = Not.So.Funny. So it is with great pleasure that I reveal to you (insert drum roll please) these lovely new chip-esque treats. These crunch snacks became an instant favorite at our home, and can be adapted to accommodate either a sweet or a savory palate.

Pesto Parmesan Chip Remodel

Ingredients

12-16 wonton wrappers (3-inch squares)

1 TBS olive oil

1 TBS Parmesan cheese

Paprika, dash

2-3 TBS pesto

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the wonton wrappers on a rimmed baking sheet, arranging so that they do not touch. Brush tops with oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, dash of paprika and dot with pesto.

Bake until lightly browned, approximately 7-9 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.

Note: These can be made one day in advance in dry climates. Once cooled, store in airtight container.

Pecan Tartlets – A Brunch Dessert

There is no reason why we shouldn’t have dessert after brunch. I believe in dessert at ANY TIME of day. What could be better than ending the first meal of the day with some nice treats. These little goodies are a mouthful of excellence >dare I say more addictive than miniature quiches? I dare!<

Miniature Pecan Tartlets

Pecan Tartlet Dough Ingredients

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

4 TBS unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup flour

dash of salt

Pecan Tartlet Filling Ingredients

1 egg

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 TBS pure maple syrup

2 tsps vanilla extract

1 TBS unsalted butter, softened

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To prepare the dough, place pecans in a food processor and process until finely ground. In a medium bowl, add mascarpone and butter and mix with a spatula (or if using a mixer, use the paddle setting). Ensure that the mixture is well combined if mixing by hand, if using an electric mixer, set on medium-high speed until well blended. Add flour, ground pecans and salt; mixing until dough just comes together.

Roll dough into 16 one-inch balls, and press into bottom and up sides of mini-muffin tins.

To make filling, in a small bowl, whisk the egg, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, butter and salt. Stir in toasted pecans. Spoon about 1 1/2 tsp filling into each muffin cup.

Bake until crust begins to turn golden, approximately 15 minutes. Let cool completely in tins on wire rack. Store in single layers in air tight container. Makes 16-18. Can make three days ahead of time.

Take a Leap- Bake a Difference

Kahlua Cake - Taste This! The Delicious Sequel

While I am in the midst of a messy kitchen remodel and now challenged to cook each meal in my temporary kitchen, I am determined not to ‘suffer’ through meal time with my family. I’ve decided that dinner must be the one grounding point of our day while the upheaval around us spins in and out of control. There is one other challenge I will give myself this month, I will find a way to bake something with my limited kitchen resources and not just because I am a glutton for sweets. In honor of Leap Year, that one extra day we are given every four years, I want to make a decision that marks this extra day. I want to make it count. I want to do something that can help make a difference – and I hope that you will join me.

(Standing on soap box) I was inspired by an email I received from the ‘Share Our Strength’ foundation asking to help them in the fight to end childhood hunger by registering to host and/or participate in the Great American Bake Sale. Today they are kicking off the 2012 bake sale season, and they’ve got all of the tools you need to plan for and host a fun, exciting and successful bake sale in your community.

I hope you will join me by whipping out your whisk, heating up your oven and recruiting your loved ones of all ages to bake for the No Kid Hungry Campaign. All the money raised in your bake sales will help feed kids across America. Kids shouldn’t have to go to bed hungry anymore. I hope you will take this LEAP with me.

Looking for baking inspiration while surrounded by rubble….