Thursday, September 12, 2013

Epic Carrot Cake

This carrot cake is the bomb! Comes out perfect every time!

Ingredients
               3 sticks, plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
               2 cups granulated sugar
               2 cups all-purposed flour
               2 teaspoon baking soda
               2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
               1 teaspoon salt
               4 large eggs
               1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
               3 cups grated carrots
               1 cup chopped toasted pecans

Pecan Cream Cheese Icing:
               8 ounces cream cheese
               1 stick unsalted butter
               1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar
               1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
               1 cup chopped toasted pecans
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter 3 (9-inch) cake pans with 1 tablespoon of the butter and set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer. Add the sugar, and beat. In a medium bowl or on a piece of parchment, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, and mix well.
Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the eggs, beating well after the addition of each. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Add the carrots and beat on medium speed until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Fold in the nuts. Divide between the 3 cake pans and bake until set and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest in the cake pans for 10 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, remove from the pans, and let cool.
For the Frosting: In a large bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar gradually, beating constantly. Add the vanilla and pecans. When the cake is cool, place 1 cake layer on a cake plate or stand. Spread the top with cream cheese frosting and top with a second and third cake layer, spreading the icing between each layer. Spread the icing around the sides of the cake and let harden slightly before serving. To serve, cut into wedges.

Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Salad with Dijon Curry Dressing

Ingredients:

Dressing: 
1/2 cup fat-free Greek Yogurt 
1/4 cup mayo (I used full-fat mayo, but low-fat would work) 
1 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice (zest the lemon first, then squeeze the juice) 
1 T curry powder (I used Penzeys Sweet Curry Powder) 
2 tsp. Dijon mustard 
1 tsp. lemon zest 
1/4 tsp. sea salt 
2 tsp. olive oil 

1 1/2 lb. boneless-skinless chicken breasts (about 3 trimmed chicken breasts) 
1 T fresh-squeezed lemon zest (zest the lemon first, then squeeze the juice) 
10-12 oz. asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1 inch strips and blanched (or use leftover cooked asparagus) 1/2 cup sliced celery 
1/4 cup sliced green onion 
1/3 cup peanuts for garnish (or use other nuts of your choice) 
1 Diced avocado on top for garnish 

salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste 


Directions:

Whisk together Greek yogurt, mayo, curry powder, Dijon mustard, lemon zest, salt, and lemon juice to make the dressing

Prepare chicken breasts, by marinating in olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, and thyme, then grill. Let cool then cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

You'll need thinly sliced celery and green onion.

I used about 12 ounces of cooked asparagus, cut into pieces about 1 inch long.  I like to cut them on the diagonal for looks.  If you don't have leftover asparagus, I'd cut the asparagus, blanch about 2-3 minutes 

Toss together the diced chicken, cut asparagus, celery and green onions and toss with enough dressing so all the salad is moistened.  Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste, and garnish with a sprinkling of peanuts on top of each serving. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Best Guacamole in the south



Ingredients

  • 3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro                
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Directions
In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

Gourmet Turkey meatloaf

I decided I'm going to keep a record of the recipes we've enjoyed the most. This one was a hit:

Gourmet Turkey meatloaf w/ roasted side of asparagus and potatoes:


Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped red or green bell pepper
1 large egg
1/4 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2  teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of fresh italian parsley
1/4 teaspoon of onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of dried basil
1/4 teaspoon of thyme
1/4 teaspoon of celery salt
1 jalapeno chopped
1-2 packets of asparagus, red skin potatoes

Directions
Make sure the oven rack is in the center position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Wash your hands and place the turkey in a large mixing bowl. Add the onion, bread crumbs, celery, bell pepper, egg, 1 tablespoon of the ketchup, the garlic, other seasonings, jalapeno, salt, and ground pepper, and mix with your hands until the ingredients are well incorporated.

Transfer the turkey mixture to a 1-pound loaf pan and use your hands to form it into a loaf shape. Wash your hands really well with warm, soapy water before proceeding.

Pour the remaining 3 tablespoons of ketchup on the turkey and smear evenly over the top with the back of a spoon.

Prepare red skin potatoes w/ olive oil, rosemary, salt, pepper: bake with (same time as) meatloaf

Bake until brown on top, cooked through, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reaches 165 degrees F, about 45 to 50 minutes.


prepare asparagus w/ olive oil, salt and pepper: bake 20 mins

Using oven mitts or pot holders, remove the loaf from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

You can easily make the turkey loaf into turkey burgers just by shaping them into burgers and cooking them like Burgers.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

He(Art) for Haiti


Recently I participated in the He(art) for Haiti Benefit. They had partnered with HELP (Help End Local Poverty) to build a house for aged-out orphan girls. This home will hold three girls and a “mom.” It will not only provide community, but protection from human and sex trafficking. All this was done for $5,500. To raise funds for this house, they hosted a silent auction featuring the work of 15 local artists and photographers. Each of these artists donated their time and talent to support this cause, including live music by Naked Folk Collective. Dominican Joe’s who hosted the event also donated 20% of the evenings coffee sales to the cause. From this event $2,300 was raised. I feel blessed that I was able to be apart of this great cause.

Custom Matt/Frames project



The Director of Rehab at the facility that I work at gave me the project of painting these matts for my coworkers and to give them the color/design that fits their personalities the best. It was a fun project and helped me channel my creativity in a very unique way. Enjoy.







Saturday, June 18, 2011

Some of my work

The following are some of my recent pieces. If any catch your eye let me know and we can work a price out if they're still available.
















Size (2) 12" x 12"

Size: 24" x 24"