Cooking with Dairy

Fudgy Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cake

Fudgy Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cake

  A simple cake that will show Mom how much you love and appreciate her. Ingredients 2 cup all-purpose flour 1.5 tsp baking powder 2 tsp espresso powder 1 tsp vanilla 2 eggs 1 1/2 cups of plain Greek Yogurt 1 cup milk 1 cup cream 10 0z. dark chocolate baking chips Nonpareil candies 10 oz. bag of frozen blackberries (or raspberries) Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On the stovetop, heat cream to just shy of a boil. In a separate bowl, pour hot cream over chocolate chips and mix until completely melted. Set aside Mix flour, baking powder and espresso powder, followed by eggs, vanilla, yogurt and milk. Mix in chocolate. Split batter between two 8″ greased cake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until you can stick a knife blade in the center and have it come out clean. Let cool, but while still warm, lay a ring of Nonpareils around the outer edge of your top layer. While the cake is cooling, cook down your blackberries and raspberries on medium high heat with just a touch of water to keep from burning on the pan. Mix in 3 to 4 tsp of corn starch to thicken. Allow to cool. Remove cake from pans, lay first layer on your cake plate. Spoon two-thirds of your black berries over the top of your bottom layer, let run down the sides. Set top layer of cake on and then spoon the remainder of the blackberries inside the...

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Don’t have time for Valentine’s Day?

Don’t have time for Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day falls on Tuesday this year, probably the most unromantic day of the week, not a day you want to spend baking a cake or slaving over candlelight dinner plans. And who had time to shop for VDay meal ingredients in a blizzard? On the upside, Valentine’s Day falls on Taco Tuesday, so you already have a winner right there, but if you’re looking for something a little more inspired that doesn’t require much effort, I have a few ideas. Breakfast Overnight Oats – Healthy, simple, ready to go, and easily adaptable to every taste. In a pint mason jar mix 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup rolled oats, and 1/2 cup whatever toppings you want. For Valentine’s, may I suggest raspberries or strawberries with mini chocolate chips? Mix and place in the refrigerator overnight. The milk and yogurt will soften the oats by morning, and it’s soooo gooood. Stuffed French Toast – This is adapted from this DairyGood.org recipe for Pineapple French Toast.  Using two pieces of bread, spread about a tablespoon of ricotta cheese on one side, add sliced strawberries, or raspberries and chocolate chips, place the second piece of toast on top. It’s easiest to seal the two pieces together by cutting off the crust (or cutting out with a heart-shaped cookie cutter). Submerge in your French toast mixture of eggs, milk and vanilla and place on a hot, buttered skillet, browning both sides. Top with maple syrup and some yogurt or whipped cream, and you’ve got yourself a decadent Valentine’s breakfast that is ready in no time.     Banana Strawberry Bread – 2 cups flour 1 tsp baking powder 2 eggs 1/2 cup buttermilk 1 cup sliced strawberries – fresh or frozen 3 bananas – mashed 1 tsp vanilla 1 cup mini chocolate chips (optional) Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Mix flour and baking powder, lightly mix eggs, vanilla and buttermilk, combine together and add bananas and strawberries. Pour into buttered bread pan (will cook faster if divided into two bread pans). Bake until a knife can be stuck in the middle and come out clean. Cinnamon Heart Scones Adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/79470/simple-scones/ 2 cups flour 1/3 cup sugar 1 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp baking soda 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces 1/2 cup sour cream 1 egg 1/2 cup cinnamon hearts (or mini chocolate chips or dried cranberries or currants) Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix dry ingredients, cut in butter, mixing into flour until granular. Add cinnamon hearts. Add egg and sour cream, mix together (use hands) until fully incorporated and dough ball has formed. Press into a 3/4-inch thick circle and place on cookie sheet, cutting into 8 equal triangles (or use a scone pan). Bake for 15-17 minutes. Lunch A heart-shaped cookie cutter can come in handy on Valentine’s. Send the kids to school with heart-shaped PB&J, or for an at-home lunch how about grilled cheese and tomato soup (made with milk of course).   Or if you’re in the mood for salad, try a simple one of spinach, sliced strawberries with pecans or cashews and crumbled feta or other cheese on top. Drizzle with a balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette.   Supper Again, it’s Taco Tuesday, and you could get take out or make delicious tacos at home pretty easily – don’t forget the sour cream and cheese. Tacos might not seem romantic, but who doesn’t love tacos? And who wouldn’t feel loved if served tacos for dinner? Another simple option would be pizza. Pizza is not junk food, and you can...

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Easy, cheesy ideas for the big game

Easy, cheesy ideas for the big game

Whether you’re a true football fan or not, the Super Bowl is a wonderful excuse to get together with friends and family and eat delicious food. If you’re looking for a different sort of offering to bring to the table, I have a couple of ideas.   Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms Spinach Artichoke dip is nothing new, but have you stuffed it into baby Portobello mushrooms? Ingredients   2 dozen baby Portobello mushrooms 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 14oz can of artichoke hearts, drained 10 0z package frozen spinach, thawed and drained 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1 medium onion, chopped (optional) 1 Tbsp butter (optional) Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Caramelize the onion by sauteing in butter in a pan on the stovetop. Once done, mix with the rest of the dip. Remove stems from the mushrooms and scoop out as much of you can of the loose underside, forming little cups. Fill with the dip. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender. Serve hot. (I have reheated these in the microwave and they weren’t rubbery at all.)   Potato Nachos This is a recipe you can do in any number of ways. You could even make a Potato Nacho bar and let guests build their own. Dress them up like classic nachos with salsa, ground beef, shredded cheese, sour cream and even guacamole, or have loaded baked potato nachos with offerings such as shredded cheese, sour cream, bacon bits or broccoli.   Or if you want something really extraordinary, check out these Breakfast Potato Nachos. They are delicious for almost any occasion. Breakfast Potato Nachos 4 large potatoes 2 Tbsp oil 6 oz. of cheddar cheese, shredded 1/2 lb ground breakfast sausage, cooked 16oz can of baked beans (or 2 cups of leftovers from your baked bean dinner) 6 eggs Maple syrup to top Directions Slice the potatoes like thick potato chips and throw into a hot, oiled, large cast iron skillet. On medium high heat, keep turning the potatoes over so they begin to brown and crisp but not burn. Once they are cooked through, remove from heat and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. If they appear too greasy, you can place them on paper towels briefly to remove some of the oil, but make sure the skillet is not completely dry. Spread potato slices evenly over the skillet, layer on the baked beans, crumbled sausage, most of the cheese (leave a little to top). Once oven is hot, put skillet in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fry your eggs and place on top of the nachos once they are removed from the oven. Top with the rest of your cheese and drizzle maple syrup over everything before...

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Easter and Maple Sunday – a winning combination!

Easter and Maple Sunday – a winning combination!

I haven’t done a good brunch in a long time, but there’s no better reason than Easter to lay out a mid-morning spread to share with family. And since Maine Maple Sunday falls on Easter this year, it’s a great reason to go heavy on the maple syrup! Here are a few ideas for your Easter get together. To begin with, I have a simple suggestion rather than a recipe. At one time, I thought it to be common knowledge, so I know many of you will be thinking, “Well, duh.” But it turns out that not everyone does this. The secret to light and fluffy scrambled eggs? Cream, or you can use milk, but cream gives that extra little umph. About 1/2 cup of cream to 4 eggs works perfectly. Get your frying pan hot, melt the butter, and whisk your eggs and cream together in a bowl before pouring them onto your frying pan. Proceed as usual. Now, a suggestion to serving them? Swimming in maple syrup. I remember going to a brunch with my family at a sugar shack in Quebec (we live relatively close to the Canadian border). There was a room filled with long tables, and you sat with family and strangers alike. The tables were all laid out with home-cooked samplings, and one of my favorites was a big bowl of eggs and maple syrup. If not topping my eggs with cheese, I will top them with maple syrup (or both). I recently inherited a waffle maker and have used it every weekend since. This Easter weekend, it will be cranking out some of these Ham and Cheese Waffles. You can simply add your favorite cheese (cheddar always works nicely) and some ham to any waffle batter, but here’s how they are done in my household. I doubled my usual recipe for a larger gathering. Ham and Cheese Buttermilk Waffles 2 cups flour 2 eggs 2 tsp baking powder 1 1/2 cup of buttermilk* 1 cup grated cheese 1 cup chopped ham *Depending on the flour you use, you might not need all the buttermilk. Start with 1 cup and then add as the batter needs it. Start heating your waffle maker. Mix dry ingredients and then add in the wet and mix well until fully incorporated. Pour or spoon the batter onto your waffle maker. For a special/different pancake experience, try dutch baby pancakes. Here’s a quick simple version. I like anything I can bake in my cast iron skillet. Blueberry Dutch Baby Pancakes 1/2 Cup flour (I used Buckwheat) 1/2 Cup milk 1/2 cup blueberries 3 eggs 1 tsp vanilla Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Thoroughly butter your cast iron skillet and put it in the oven to warm for about 10 minutes. Mix ingredients thoroughly and pour into the warm skillet. Should bake 15-20 minutes.   I have never been a decorative cake person – I don’t have the patience, but I had a moment of weakness and purchased an adorable Easter bunny-shaped cake pan. Then I couldn’t decide what kind of cake to make in it though. Rabbits mean carrots, so carrot cake was an obvious choice, but flavors like lemon and coconut say “Spring!” to me. So, I made two cakes. Lemon Cake with Coconut Mascarpone “frosting” 1 1/2 cups of flour 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp. Almond or Vanilla extract 2 eggs 1 cup yogurt 1 cup sugar or 1/2 cup honey 1/2 cup buttermilk 2 lemons (zest and juice) For the “frosting” 1/2 cup of whipping cream 4 oz. of mascarpone cheese 1/2 cup coconut...

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Raspberry Sweetheart Cake

Raspberry Sweetheart Cake

  To be completely honest, before I made this AWESOME, AMAZING, DELICIOUS, GORGEOUS (sorry, did I just toot my own horn a little too much?) dessert, I really didn’t know what crème fraîche was. I mean, I was positive it involved dairy (like 99% positive) and was pretty sure it involved cream. I’m a simple kind of girl, you know. I cook with basic ingredients, usually the ones that are in my fridge and need to be used up before they start growing fuzz. I don’t like a lot of extra steps when I am cooking and baking and I HATE doing dishes, so the less involved, the better. But we’re talking Valentine’s Day here, a day to show the ones you love just how much you really love them – like “I love you so much, I had to do the dishes THREE times while making this for you.” (This recipe is not anywhere near that bad, but you can play it up.) Or “I love you so much, I used these really fancy ingredients that I’m not even sure how to pronounce.” (It is pronounced “krem fresh,” right ?) Anywho … back to my confession of ignorance – I didn’t know what crème fraîche was, but standing in front of the specialty cheese section of the Hannaford Supermarket, there it was. It had a romantic ring to it. Perfect for a Valentine’s recipe, right? So I googled it on my smart phone. Yes, I was one of THOSE people using her phone in the grocery store. Actually, I stood there so long, studying, debating on how to use it, that the deli girl, whom I have known since childhood, asked with a concerned voice, “Uh, can I help you find something, Jami?” Well, by then I had found out that “crème fraîche” is a super fancy-sounding name for something super simple. You can easily make your own crème fraîche with buttermilk and cream (you can also easily buy it). So, I left that department empty-handed (I did have to return later for the mascarpone cheese though). Most sites I found compare crème fraîche to sour cream or say it is somewhere between yogurt and sour cream. All the recipes said to mix 2 tablespoons of buttermilk into 1 cup of heavy cream in a glass container, cover with a cheese cloth or something else that is breathable (clean dish towel) and let it set at room temperature for 8 to 24 hours (some said 12-16 hours), during which time it will thicken. Stir and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. It should stay good to use for 10 days to two weeks. The cake part of this recipe is not what is really important. It doesn’t even have to be chocolate if you’re loved one does not like chocolate (weirdo). Use whatever recipe you like, though I will share mine with you. I actually started with the recipe on the back of the Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa bag and made a few adaptions. One change was using 3/4 cup of sugar rather than 1 3/4 cup. I like dark chocolate, but if you like things sweeter, you might want to go by their suggestion. I also added coffee because I love putting coffee in any chocolate baked goods, and I used yogurt in place of butter. I also baked the cake so that I could layer it. You could make a sheet cake or round cake and just use the same raspberry/crème fraîche/mascarpone frosting. Whatever you do will be great. The topping is what makes this dessert. Chocolate Cake 2 cups flour 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa 3/4 cup sugar...

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Be the life of the party … BRING CHEESE!

Be the life of the party … BRING CHEESE!

You’ve had your fill of sweets and candies. You’re sick of baking and can’t stand the sight of another sprinkle, but you’ve got one more holiday party to finish out the year, and what are you going to bring to the table? What about something everyone loves, something no one ever gets sick of, something everyone will rave about and will be the talk of the New Year’s Eve party? The answer is cheese. Done right, a cheese plate can be a decorative centerpiece, and when filled with an assortment from local cheesemakers, can be a great conversation starter. Of course you don’t need quite the assortment I put together below – I just wanted to give several examples. Four or five should suffice, but why limit yourself? Maine has become a hotbed for cheesemakers, many making an art form of it, experimenting and developing signature flavors, specializing in varieties best suited to their cows’ milk. One can easily fill an impressive cheese platter with Maine-sourced cheeses. A stop at a food co-op and a local grocery store provided all I needed for the above cheese board. Haymaker is described as a mild to medium English-style hard cheddar-type cheese by its maker – Balfour Farms in Pittsfield. This cheese is the base for their other herbed hard cheeses. Owners of the farm, Doug and Heather Donahue, have a small herd of mostly Normande and Normande crosses – a beautiful breed with striking markings, including rings around their eyes, in an array of colors. It is known as a dual purpose breed, valued for its meat as well as its milk. In addition to aged hard cheeses, the Donahues also make soft cheeses and a bloomy rind cheese as well as yogurt and other cultured dairy products. Orne Meadows is advertised as a robust, sharp cheddar, and it is that for sure. Named for Cabot’s founding cheesemaker Tom Orne, it is a smooth Alpine-style cheese with a subtly sweet fruity and nutty finish, according to Cabot. The cheese is part of Cabot’s Founders’ Collection – cheeses are made from the original recipes created by their founding farmers in 1919. And yes, yes, Cabot cheese is made in Vermont, but more than one-third of the dairy farms in the state of Maine belong to the Agri-Mark cooperative, meaning they are farmer/owners of Cabot. So a purchase of Cabot products is still supporting your local dairy farms. As well as being easy to find in most grocery stores, there is also the Cabot Farmer’s Annex in the Old Port of Portland. They have a plethora of Cabot cheeses as well as other artisan cheeses, wines, ciders, gifts and more.   Port City Pesto by State Of Maine Cheese Company is an Italian flavored Jack cheese with “a delightful blend of roasted minced garlic, sun-dried tomato, and basil.”  Owner Cathe Morrill said it was a favorite among those attending the wildly popular Maine Harvest Festival in November in Bangor. She added that it’s festive red and green colors make it perfect for the holiday season. It could decorate a cheese platter all on its own. If you want to treat guests to a fun fondue, Cathe recommends the Mt. Kineo Caerphilly – a traditional Welsh cheese that melts very nicely. State of Maine Cheese Company is not of the new crop of cheesemakers. They were well ahead of the curve, establishing in 1983. Several of their cheeses are available in Hannaford Supermarkets. If you can make it to Rockport, it’s worth a stop at State of Maine Cheese Company’s shop – a haven for Maine-made...

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