Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Lemon Almond Ricotta Cake

I can tell you the amount of times I have had dessert since January. Twice.

Once was at my 50th birthday party and the second time was a Ted's Montana Grill on the day of my actual 50th birthday when we went out to dinner.

I had a piece of luscious Strawberry Short cake from a local dairy farm (Wright's Dairy Farm) at my party, and I split a decadent brownie covered in hot fudge and whipped cream with one of my son's and my husband, so I really only had a 1/3 of that.

I kind of save desserts for special occasions and holidays now. That's not to say that I haven't had a bite or two of something I've made. I have. I still need to taste what I'm making and see if it's good, but I'm not sitting down with a piece of whatever it is and eating a whole piece. It's sad and depressing sometimes but I just keep thinking ahead and looking forward to the days I know I can splurge.

Easter was a splurge day and I picked this dessert to splurge on.

It was the Sicilian in me that saw the words LEMON - ALMOND - RICOTTA.

I love all those flavors. Now put them in a cake.....I'm in heaven.

This cake was so good. The flavors were incredible. I'm so glad I chose this as the dessert to splurge on! It was so worth it. It looked so elegant too. Perfect dessert to bring to a party.

Since you use almond meal in this recipe, I believe it gluten free.

Lemon Almond Ricotta Cake
Printable recipe
By Honey & Figs
120 grams (1/2 cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
240 grams (2 cups) powdered sugar
2 vanilla beans (I used vanilla bean paste)
zest from 1 lemon
4 eggs (separated and at room temperature)
240 grams (2 1/2 cups) almond meal
300 grams (10 1/2 oz) ricotta
Freeze your beaters and a mixing bowl.

Heat oven to 400F (200ÂșC). Line a 20 cm round pan (9 inch) with parchment paper and set aside.

Beat softened butter, half of the sugar, vanilla seeds and lemon zest with an electrical mixer until pale and creamy, which should take about 5-6 minutes. Add egg yolks, one at time, and mix after each addition. Add almond meal and beat to combine. Fold in ricotta.

Take your mixing bowl and beaters out of the freezer. Beat egg whites and the remaining sugar until stiff. Gently, fold them into the cake batter.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and decorate with almond flakes if desired. Bake for 40-45 minutes (cover it with tinfoil after 25 minutes or so) until cooked. Let it cool for a couple of hours, or better yet, overnight!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Pina Colada Cookies

I’m getting spring fever.

Although I love winter and the snow I’m ready for a change of season and that comes late for Rhode Island. We’ve had a few nice days but for the most part it’s been chilly out. I’m waiting for a nice warm day so we can clean up the yard, and start prepping the garden for this year. I’ve got a few design changes for the yard this year too. We moved a big raised bed which contained my garlic and basil. I planted the garlic last fall so that’s all set but we have to make another raised bed for the basil. I plant a lot of basil.

I’m also re-designing an area in the front of the house. I have the plans all drawn up in my head and they include a picket fence. My only worry is that I think I have to move my Japanese maple and I’m a bit worried about that.

So my head is full of spring plans and more cooking on the grill and the garden and getting out in the fresh air! Oh, longer days also mean that I can actually take photos after I come home from work, so that means more recipes for the blog.

With all this talk of spring and Easter right around the corner, I thought I’d bring you a springy type cookie.

I adapted this recipe a bit from the original that I found on Eat at Home Cooks. I added in some toasted coconut to the mix. I think it was a good decision.

These cookies are so moist and so light. They are almost cake-like melt-in-your-mouth. How's that for a description?

Pina Colada Cookies
Yields 30 cookies
adapted from a recipe at Eat at Home Cooks
Printable recipe
1 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
1 box white cake mix
2 tablespoons flour
8 oz crushed pineapple, drained well and reserve the juice
¾ cup coconut (toasted)

For the glaze
1 1/2 - 2 cups powdered sugar
Reserved pineapple juice
1/2 tsp. coconut extract

Heat the oven to 350.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and the eggs. Add in the cake mix and drained, crushed pineapple. Mix until just combined. Stir the coconut in by hand. Chill batter for a half hour, then drop by rounded tablespoon on a parchment lined baking sheet 2 inches apart. I returned the batter to the fridge in between each batch. Bake for 11 – 13 minutes of just until the tops turn slightly golden. Let cookies sit for 3 minutes on the baking sheet, remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

For the glaze:
Place the powdered sugar in a bowl. Add just enough of the reserved pineapple to get it to a dunkable consistency. Dunk the tops of each cookie into the glaze and place on cookie rack until glaze sets.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Cadbury Easter Egg Bark

The absolute hardest part of staying away from sugar for me has been these:

I knew they were coming. I saw them in the market around mid February. Then March rolled around and they were everywhere. I mean everywhere.

They are my most favorite candy on the plant. I just love them so much. I bought 2 bags of them. One to make this recipe and one for John and the boys to much on. I successfully managed to not eat a single one until March 15th. I knew I was going to allow myself to cheat a bit that day. Our wonderful friends Ken and Eva threw me 50th birthday party at their home. All my family and friends were there. I always bring something to a party, and it's usually a dessert, so that night I brought this bark.  It was such a great evening and since I was allowing myself to cheat, I got to eat a piece of it. It was so good. I'm kinda glad I held out and waited cause I think that made it taste even better.

The hardest part of making this recipe was chopping the mini eggs. I tried the mini food processor, it chopped them up too much, tried putting them in a bag and whacking them with a rolling pin, same result. I ended up very carefully putting them on a cutting board and cutting them in two with a  big knife, then cutting each half in pieces. If any of you figure out a better way, please let me know!

Just make sure to have your chopped mini eggs ready before you start melting the chocolate.

Cadbury Easter Egg Bark
Printable recipe
adapted from a recipe at Tutti Dolci
1- 8oz bag Cadbury Mini Eggs, chopped
1- 16oz package of vanilla Candi-Quick (or 1 pound white chocolate, chopped)
1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped

Before you begin melting the chocolate, chop the mini eggs up! You need to have this ready when your chocolate is ready.

Line an 11 x 17-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Melt the Candi-Quick in the microwave according to the manufacturers directions. Pour melted chocolate into prepared pan and spread with an offset spatula into an even layer. Chill in the refrigerator until set, about 20 minutes. Remove pan from refrigerator and leave at room temperature while melting remaining chocolate.

Place bittersweet and semisweet chocolate in the microwave and microwave on low power in 1 minute intervals and then 30 second intervals until melted. Let stand 5 mins. Pour melted chocolate over white chocolate layer; carefully spread with an offset spatula into an even layer. Sprinkle with chopped Cadbury eggs. Chill in the refrigerator until completely set, about 1 hour.

Carefully lift parchment paper and place bark on a cutting board; then use a sharp knife to cut the bark into pieces. Just chop away, no need to have look-alike pieces.  Pack in an airtight container with wax paper between layers; store at room temperature up to 1 week.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Veggie Fries - a Giveaway!

A lot of you know I’ve drastically cut sugar and carbs out of my life. *sniff*. It’s not been easy but I’ve been doing it since mid-January. By far, the hardest thing for me to give up is the carbs. So much more so than the sugar and that really surprised me cause I am a sugar fiend, but cutting out the sugar hasn’t been that bad. The homemade bread, the pasta, the potatoes….that has been hard.

I think I’ve had 10 French fries in the past 3 months. So sad. Then I get this email from a company that makes Veggie Fries. Healthier fries! Yippee! It was like they knew I needed these! Would I like to try them….you betcha.

I love them. The kids love them too and I can eat a whole cup full and still keep my carbs in check. They really are crunchy on the outside and fluffy and tender on the inside. So good and it let's me indulge in fries without feeling guilty! They are gluten free and non-GMO. That means so much to me. We really have enjoyed them and now I want you guys to enjoy them too. So the nice folks at Veggie Fries have given me some coupons to let you enjoy Veggie Fries for free!!

3 lucky winners will receive coupons to buy and choose the Veggie Fries they'd love to try!

If you don't have a blog, please leave me email address to contact you (no email and I'll move on to the next name).

There are three ways to enter: (1) leave a comment on the blog (2) If you haven't already, go “like” The Cutting Edge of Ordinary on Facebook or (3) Already a fan? Just leave a comment here or on Facebook to let me know! Facebook comments will count as entries.

Giveaway ends on midnight Wednesday, April 9th eastern standard time.

Just tell me what flavor of Veggie Fries you'd try first?

They come in four delicious flavors.....

Broccoli & Potatoes

Carrot & Potatoes

Chickpea, Red Peppers & Potatoes

and Tuscan Bean, Herbs & Potatoes

Veggie Fries are made from all natural USA grown potatoes, carefully selected real farm-grown vegetables, beans, spices and herbs to provide the most authentic and delicious flavors. Each batch follows a unique patent-pending process to give you the perfect fry texture – crispy on the outside, fluffy and tender on the inside. Each variety contains at least 25% of non-potato vegetables and beans for a substantial amount of extra vegetable nutrition in every delicious serving. Every ingredient is all natural, non-GMO and contains no gluten or wheat.

You can check out the nutritional information here.

The fingers you see in that top photo are of my youngest. He was grabbing at them when I was taking pics for this post so I decided to keep him in the pic. He really loves them too!