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Saturday, August 21, 2010

5 Minute Appetizer

Recipe: Herbed Ricotta Spread

A lot of times I get ideas on a whim or out of desperation and necessity. This was one of those times when I had unexpected people coming over, and I needed some form of an appetizer and quick. So after rummaging through my fridge for a moment I came up with this idea. I actually really liked how this came together and its especially yummy when spread over warm crusty bread. And because it comes together in less than 5 minutes, its a perfect addition for a cocktail party. You can whip it together and throw it in the fridge while you take care of other last minute party details. Which for me, would be putting on make-up or pants.

Makes 2.5 – 3 cups
(Printable Recipe)

- 15oz tub Ricotta cheese
- 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1.5 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon garlic
- splash of milk
- S& P to taste


In a large bowl combine all ingredients and stir to combine. Let mixture sit for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to develop. Allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with crostini or warmed pita bread.

Thoughts: I made this with dried herbs because that’s what I have on hand but I think fresh herbs would be even better. Basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, and chives would all be exceptional in this. Another great use would be to make your crostini, spread the mixture on, and top with diced tomatoes.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How to Basics: Caramelized Onions

A new element I would like to add to my blog is a “How To” section. The basic idea of this feature will be for me to demonstrate or break down some form of cooking or baking that I think would be useful. FYI: There is a link for a printable version at the end of the post.

I wanted to start with caramelized onions for a couple of reasons: 1- I use them a bit when cooking so it would be easier for me to have a post that breaks it down rather than explaining it every time and 2- they really aren’t the easiest thing in the world to make. They seem pretty simple, but it took me quite a while to figure out the trick to them. I figure other people may have the same issue.

Three things you need to know about caramelized onions:
- You start out with a lot, but end up with about a quarter of what you started with
- They take a LOT of patience
- Butter is key

What you’ll need:
- 1 medium/large white or yellow onion (I prefer yellow)
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)]
- Salt and pepper


Step One: Melt your butter in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Use a large pan; you want the onion to have a lot of room to move around. Slice your onion as evenly as possible. This will ensure that they cook evenly. I prefer to slice them about ¼ inch thick.
Step Two: Add the onions to the melted butter and stir to coat evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Add EVOO. Stir again and cover with a lid. I’ve found that covering them helps a lot. It will keep the moisture in the pan and will prevent the onions from browning too quickly.

Step Three: Keep an eye on them! Stir them every 5-7 minutes. If you see the pan getting a little “dry” add more butter or EVOO. Don’t be afraid to add more as needed. During this process I probably added another tablespoon of EVOO.

Step Four: Keep up Step Three until onions have developed a deep brown color and have become soft. Mine took between 50 – 55 minutes. HOWEVER – depending on the amount of onion and how thick you slice them, they make take more or less.

Here is the process in pictures:

Just added the onions to the pan

After cooking for fifteen minutes

After cooking 30 minutes

After cooking 50 minutes

I turned them off at this point. As you can see from the photos, they cook down a lot! Onion is a sneaky little ninja like that.

Click here for a printable copy.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A recipe and some rambling...

Recipe for Spicy Kick Guacamole

I’ve been blogging for a little over a year now and many times I still feel like a newbie. I was completely green when I started Kitten with a Whisk and all I knew was that I wanted to track my recipes and this seemed like a fun way to do it.

I had never shared recipes before because I never – I mean never – wrote them down. So while my problem has never been coming up with a new idea or a recipe, there was a problem when it came to replicating one I had created previously.

Believe it or not, I have actually used the print feature for some of my recipes I’ve posted here. I don’t keep them on file once I upload them… I probably should but I hate files clogging up my computer.

All this has nothing to do with the recipe I’m going to share with you.

Oh wait – yes it does.

So my blog is a little over a year old and I’m still learning new things about being a food blogger. The most recent lesson is: Plan on posting EVERYTHING you make.

A lot of times if I’m just cooking a quick dinner I don’t worry about writing down the specs as I go. And many times those dinners have been really great, and I would have loved to have posted them here. The recipe below was one such occurrence and was even apart of another dish that I didn’t write down either that was spectacular. Blogger FAIL.

This recipe took me 3xs to replicate what I did the first time so I could post it. And it was just a guacamole recipe!

Spicy Kick Guacamole

Friday, August 13, 2010

Are you on Facebook?

Then you should follow Kitten with a Whisk! Thanks to the Networked blog application, you can follow KWAW and get the latest posts in your feed.

All you have to do is go to the right sidebar, find the Networked Blogs widget, and click "Follow this Blog" at the bottom.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

If you aren't on Facebook you can also follow by Subscribing to my feed or by using Google Friend Connect. Both are also located on the right sidebar.

This has been a shameless self-promotion.

Rae ^..^

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Genius or Insane?

You can hate me for saying this…but I would try the Fried Cheese Melt at Denny’s. And honestly, it wouldn’t have to be at 4am with me a little lot drunk either. I like to live dangerously.

Denny's Fried Cheese Melt

Still, what’s not to like here?
- Fried cheese? Good.
- Grilled cheese? Even better.

Well maybe not even better but still good … fried almost always trumps grilled in my opinion.

Denny’s did get something wrong though. The Fried Cheese Melt is served with a side of marinara sauce. That is the one thing that I find gross about the dish – the marinara sauce. To me it is such an absurd idea because this sandwich calls for Ranch dressing and nothing else.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A for effort - F for failure

My mother says that I am the "baker" in the family. While my mother is a fantastic cook, she tends to have a little trouble when it comes to baking. So I like to think that I got my baking ability from my great aunt, who is an amazing baker.

Tonight I tried a new recipe which tested my patience and confidence in my baking abilities. I haven't shared too many baked good recipes here and the reason why is that I rarely make any. Generally I save them for special events or what not. I'm not the type to just keep brownies and such on hand. If I did my thighs would never forgive me for it. Cellulite just happens to be one of the many hazzards of being a food blogger.

The cake that I tried to make tonight in all honestly seemed suspect from the start. The ingredients just didn't sound yummy to me. Too much of this and not enough of that. But I decided to give it a try anyway.

 I have a theory that cooking is art and baking is a science. Cooking can be very forgiving and you can rescue a failure most of the time. Not so much when it comes to baking, so I know that you need to follow the recipe exactly or things might not turn out so great. So I followed the recipe to a "T" and I got a crap cake. No flavor and very biscuit-like. Who wants to eat that?

^^^ The Poo Cake ^^^

The only good thing was that the frosting I dreamed up to go on top turned out very yummy. Though next time I might make a minor adjustment to make it even better.

Now I just need to find the perfect cake to match.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy National S'mores Day!

August 10th is National S'mores day! I confess I like having silly food holidays. Why not, right? I'll take any excuse to indulge in something that I don't normally eat during a regular week. To celebrate I've included a few links below for recipes that are S'mores related from other blogs that I enjoy as well as one of my own.

S'mores Cake Balls @ Kitten with a Whisk Click Here

S'mores Pie @ Smitten Kitchen Click Here

S'mores Rice Krispies Treats @ Elle's New England Kitchen Click Here

S'mores Cupcakes @ Bakerella Click Here

S'mores Bars @ The Hungry Mouse Click Here

Inside-Out S'mores @ Clumbsy Cookie Click Here


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Chipotle Three Bean Dip

I’m currently in clean out mode for my pantry and fridge. I try to do this every couple of months in an effort to get rid of random things I have laying about. At any given time you can look in my freezer and see tons of ziplock baggies with small portions of unused broth, stock, beans, veggies… I could go on. When you only cook for two people you don’t always need a whole can of artichokes or black beans.So while we may eat some strange combinations for a week, there are times when these random baggies come together and make something yummy. And since this blog is about food I make and eat in my home at any given time, I decided to post it.
Enter stage left: black beans, red beans, and chipotles.

Chipotle Bean Dip

*Makes approx 3 – 3.5 cups

- 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup red beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 16 oz can refried beans
- 1-2 chipotles in adobo – depends on how spicy you want it
- 1 teaspoon minced cilantro


1. Throw everything a blender or food processor and combine. You may need to add a small splash of water to get things grooving.

2. Optional: This can be served hot or cold. I ate it cold but to heat just put dip in a baking dish and place in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes. A great idea would be to top with some shredded cheddar cheese.

3. Serve with chips of choice.

Thoughts: Its bean dip with chipotles, this is a win in my book.

Later this week I will be posting a recipe that I used the dip in.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Great Cake Ball Adventure

S'mores Cake Balls: I’ve been rolling this idea in my head for a while now. Since May actually because I thought about doing it for Mother’s Day. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I was in a baking mood – a big one. These are based off of Bakerella’s Cake Balls. If you haven’t been to her site you should go – now. Well maybe after you’re done reading this post, but seriously go when you have a little while to get lost in her site. She is nothing short of a Rockstar in my book, and after making these little guys I have a whole other level of respect for her.

So Cake Balls seem to be a pretty easy idea with simple ingredients: boxed cake mix, frosting, and melted chocolate. Totally doable. Or so I thought. Ok, in all honesty they weren’t THAT hard. They take some finesse is all. Once I realized I was suppose to let them chill in the fridge for a while, the hardest part for me was that I couldn’t get my balls to look smooth and as perfect as Bakerella had. She listed using a bar of baker’s chocolate on her site, but I used chocolate chips because they were two bucks cheaper for the same amount of ounces. Maybe this was why my chocolate was a little hard to manage?

I forget how I actually came up with the idea to do a S’mores version of the cake ball, but it seemed like a perfect little match. Instead of just using cream cheese frosting I mixed in Fluff as well (Yes Fluff!) and then rolled the chocolate coated balls in some crushed graham crackers. And thank DOG for those graham crackers because they made my little balls look less like the hot mess that they were.

Originally I intended to take pictures of the process, but that was near impossible since my fingers were coated with chocolate and graham crackers. In fact I almost didn’t get ANY pictures but remembered to at 8:10AM right before BD was walking out the door with them.

S’mores Cake Balls

*Makes approx 55 balls

- 1 box vanilla cake mix
- 1 cup cream cheese frosting
- ¾ cup fluff
- 2 12 ounce packages of milk chocolate chips
- 9 graham cracker sheets, crushed


1. Prepare the cake according to box directions. Allow cake to cool completely.

2. Mix cream cheese and fluff together in a bowl.

2a. Wait impatiently and eat remaining cream cheese frosting with spoon out of the can.

3. Crumble cake and add fluff mixture and combine. It’s best to use your fingers.

4. Roll cake mixture in balls about the size of a quarter and lay on a sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. Refrigerate for several hours.

5. Once balls (I’m seriously giggling every time I write that word. Sooo Karen Walker) are ready, crush graham crackers and place in a bowl. Melt chocolate in either microwave or double boiler.

6. Set up assembly line. Take each ball and dip in chocolate. Tap off excess and roll in graham cracker. Set back on cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. And repeat…again and again and again until done. Allow balls to firm. Won’t take long if you put them back in the fridge.

- I crushed the graham crackers by placing them in a large ziplock bag and rolling a rolling pin over top. You want them as fine as possible.
- When melting chocolate in a microwave, use a small amount and heat for short increments - like for 45 seconds and then stir in between. If I do these again I will use a double boiler, because I had to keep going back and forth with the micro.
Thoughts: I liked them and so did BD and he is not a fan of graham crackers or cake. (I suspect he’s an alien or something because of this.) After these little guys were “set”, I packed them up and sent them off to work with BD. I did not need 55 cake balls in my fridge calling my name. The marshmallow flavor was not as prominent as I thought it would be, so next time I might play with the ratio OR just use regular vanilla frosting with the fluff instead of cream cheese frosting.

I would definitely make these again or would do another variety of cake balls. Perhaps next time I will use the bakers bark instead of chips to see if that works better. If not, I shall roll them in nuts or sprinkles or sugar or something to make them pretty.

Now what to do with the rest of the jar of Fluff???

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