Thursday, August 16, 2018

Vanilla Vodka & Melon Sangria

By: The Food Hunter

The crisp, refreshing taste of Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio makes it, in my opinion, one of the best bottles for day drinking with friends. Pair it with some chopped melon and vanilla vodka to make an intense Sangria that is ideal for sipping on hot summer afternoons by the pool.

Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio starts with fully ripe Pinot Grigio grapes, harvested by hand from Alto Adige vineyard in the Italian Alps. They are aged for several weeks, until the signature dry golden apple taste develops. It's a pleasing to the palate versatile wine.

Vanilla Vodka & Melon Sangria
(makes 1 pitcher)

8 oz Vanilla Vodka
1 bottle Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio
1 honeydew, chopped
1 watermelon chopped
Seltzer water
fresh mint springs

In a pitcher, combine Vanilla Vodka, Pinot Grigio and fruit.

If serving immediately top off mixture with seltzer and stir. If not refrigerate until ready to use, adding the seltzer at that time.

Pour into glasses and serve with fresh mint.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Fresh Strawberries with Almond Cream Cheese Spread

By: The Food Hunter

I joined a book group in my new neighborhood and needed a snack to bring to our first meeting. Not knowing anything about the ladies that would be attending I decided to play it safe and make a healthy treat for everyone to share.

Fresh strawberries are a favorite of mine and paired with an almond cream cheese dip makes them that much better. Nielsen-Massey's New Pure Organic Almond Extract made this combination extra special. Crafted with certified organic ingredients and the same level of passion and attention to detail as all of their other products this extract is top notch.

Fresh Strawberries with Almond Cream Cheese Spread

8 ozs cream cheese
1-2 tablespoons of cream (enough to thin the dip) 
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey's New Pure Organic Almond Extract
Sliced almonds

Mix on low speed until creamy. Top with sliced almonds and refrigerate until cold.

Sweet Peas and Mint Topped Hummus

By: The Food Hunter

Traditional hummus is a good-for-you food made with chickpeas and heart healthy olive. It's full of nutrients and when eaten in moderation it's a wonderful addition to a healthy diet.

A simple twist that I will often do, is to top hummus with sweet green peas and chopped mint. This provides extra protein and fiber that will keep you feeling full longer.

Sweet Peas and Mint Topped Hummus

1 can chickpeas
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
1-2 tablespoon lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons cumin
fresh mint, minced
1 cup frozen baby sweet peas, thawed

Place first 5 ingredients in a bowl of food processor and process until smooth puree is formed, scraping down sides as necessary, about 30 seconds total.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer hummus to serving bowl, top with peas and mint. Serve immediately.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Italian Cannoli Cake with Cinnamon Orange Buttercream

By: The Food Hunter

Growing-up in South Philadelphia we ate a lot of cannoli. This popular dessert was available in most bakeries throughout the city. The cannoli is a fried Sicilian pastry tube,  that is piped with sweet ricotta cheese dotted with chocolate, and often times candied citrus. (check-out this post of me making cannoli at Termini's Bakery)

I'm a huge fan of the cannoli and will always stop for one (or more) when I am visiting the old neighborhood. This past weekend I wanted to make a celebration cake for my Uncle's birthday and after much deliberation decided to put together a "cannoli cake"

I started with a classic vanilla buttermilk cake and layered it with a delicious chocolate studded mascarpone & ricotta filling. I topped the entire cake with an Orange Cinnamon Buttercream. Though obviously not a cannoli the combination was delicious!!

Italian Cannoli Cake with Cinnamon Orange Buttercream 

For The Vanilla Buttermilk Cake
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 8" cake pans and line with parchment.

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on med-high until pale and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla and mix again.

Add flour mixture and buttermilk in alternating additions; beginning and ending with flour. Be sure to fully incorporating after each addition.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes and turn out onto wire rack until ready to fill and frost.

For the Mascarpone & Ricotta Filling
15 ounces whole milk ricotta
15 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup finely chopped dark chocolate
Pinch salt

Beat the ricotta and mascarpone until smooth. Add in the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest, and salt, until combined. Fold in the chocolate, and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the Cinnamon Orange Buttercream
1 cup butter
4 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 teaspoon Grand Marnier
4 tablespoons Half + Half

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy and light, about 5 minutes. Add in the vanilla, cinnamon, half & half and Grand Marnier and mix until creamy.

Pork Cutlets Served with Capers, Lemon, Arugula, and Chopped Eggs

By: The Food Hunter

In the summer months we often eat thin sliced breaded pork cutlets topped with a squeeze of fresh lemon for dinner. Served with a small salad it's a light, fresh meal that doesn't heat up the house.

When I came across the recipe below, while browsing, I knew I had to give it a try. They say some dishes are better topped with an egg and I'll admit this is one of them.

Pork Cutlets Served with Capers, Lemon, Arugula, and Chopped Eggs 

serves 6

1 lemon
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 thin sliced pork cutlets
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
3 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil
3 tablespoons drained capers
4 cups (lightly packed) arugula
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 warm or room-temperature large hard-boiled eggs, peeled, coarsely chopped
1-2 tomatoes, chopped

Using small sharp knife, cut all peel and white pith from lemon. Quarter lemon lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. Cover and chill lemon slices; discard peel.

Mix sage, thyme, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1 teaspoon ground pepper in small bowl. Sprinkle sage mixture over both sides of each pork cutlet.

Place flour in shallow bowl and place eggs in another shallow bowl. Mix breadcrumbs and cheese in third shallow bowl. Working with 1 cutlet at a time, dredge in flour, shaking off excess, then dip in egg to coat. Place in breadcrumb mixture and coat both sides, pressing to adhere.

Add enough oil to heavy large skillet to measure depth of 1/4 inch. Heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook pork until browned and cooked through.

Mix arugula with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, chopped tomatoes and large pinch of coarse salt. Divide arugula among 6 plates. Place pork on top and sprinkle with chopped eggs, capers and lemon slices.