Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Abbey's Recipes from "A Summer in Italy" August Recipe Club 2015

Balsamic Bruschetta

8 roma tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBS balsamic vinegar 
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 loaf French bread, toasted and sliced

Directions: In bowl, mix tomatoes, basil, cheese, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Serve on toasted French bread ☺ 

Italian Meatballs

1/4 cup milk
4 eggs
2 lbs ground beef
12oz mild Italian sausage
1 ¼ cups Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 (24oz) jars marinara pasta sauce

  1. In large bowl, whisk together milk and eggs until combined. Add ground beef, Italian sausage, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder; stir with a wooden spoon or mix with your fingers until well combined.
  2. Heat broiler to high; place an oven rack about 4 to 5 inches from the broiler. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets with cooking spray or oil. Using your hands, shape (about 40) 1 to 2-inch meatballs from the mixture; place on prepared baking sheets.
  3. Broil meatballs 6 to 8 minutes, flipping halfway through, until browned. Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker.
  4. Top meatballs evenly with sauce. Cover and cook on low 4 to 5 hours in the slow cooker until meatballs are cooked through to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees F.

Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes

1 ¾ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 ¼ cups sugar
Zest of 1 large lemon
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup wholemilk ricotta cheese 
¼ cup milk 
Juice of 1 large lemon

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake pan with paper liners. 
  2. In electric mixer (or large bowl) combine sugar and lemon zest. Mix about 1 minute on low speed to infuse sugar with lemon scent. Sugar should have appearance of wet sand. Add butter, beating on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down bowl after each addition.
  3. In liquid measuring cup, combine Ricotta, milk and lemon juice. Whisk to blend. With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients in 3 additions alternating with wet ingredients, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix each addition just until incorporated.
  4. Divide batter between prepared cupcake liners filling each about 3/4 full. Bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan briefly, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely before frosting. 

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

5 large egg whites (room temperature)
1 Cup + 2 TBS sugar
1 lb (4 sticks) butter (room temperature)
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract (or any flavor extract you want to use!)

  1. Combine sugar and egg whites in your stainless steel mixer bowl (or any heat proof bowl). Set your bowl over top of a pot with water, just enough to cover the bottom of the pot. You do not want the water to boil and touch the bottom of your mixing bowl. Heat on medium. Keep thermometer in the bowl or check temperature frequently. 
  2. Stir constantly until the mixture reaches 140° F. This is the most important part; you do not want to egg whites to cook. I have read that you can have it be anywhere between 120° F – 160° F. When it reaches 140° F, the sugar should be dissolved in the egg whites. You can test this by placing a drop on your fingertips and rubbing them together. The mixture should be completely smooth.
  3. Place the mixing bowl on your stand. Using the wire whisk, beat the eggs. Start on low and increase the speed to medium after 2 minutes. (If you do not have a stand mixer, a hand mixer will work just fine).
  4. Beat for another 3 minutes on medium. At this point, your frosting should have turned white as the egg whites are whipped and the body of the meringue starts to form.
  5. After 5 minutes, increase speed to high. You will notice that as you increase the speed, the body of your meringue will also increase. It will start to look glossy as the peaks begin to form. Beat for another 5 minutes.
  6. After you have beat the meringue for a total of about 10 minutes, the bottom of your mixing bowl should be cooled completely. Your SMB should look kind of like whipped cream. Scrape down all sides and bottom of the bowl.
  7. Turn your mixer down to medium-low. Slowly add your butter, about 1 tbsp at a time, ensuring it is mixed well after each addition (I count to 12 or 15 between each addition). Once you have added all your butter, slowly add vanilla extract. Mix for another minute and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  8. Switch to the paddle attachment and continue beating on medium to allow all the air bubbles to escape. In about 2-3 minutes the frosting is smooth.

Note: You can keep the SMB at room temperature if you are planning to use the same day. Otherwise, you can keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Before you are ready to use, take it out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. Place back in your mixer (don’t forget to wipe down with Vinegar) and beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment for 3-5 minutes.

The frosting looks harder to make than it really is. If this seems like too much effort, these cupcakes taste delicious with a fresh whipped cream as frosting too ☺

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