Nota Link https://notalink.com Fri, 06 Jul 2018 04:58:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Seriously Amazing: 19 Awesome Baking Hacks You Must Know! https://notalink.com/seriously-amazing-19-awesome-baking-hacks-you-must-know/ Fri, 29 Jun 2018 08:55:54 +0000 https://notalink.com/?p=463 Baking is not always easy work. From prepping food to mixing to cutting and serving, everyone could use a little help in the kitchen from time to time. These baking hacks are intended to make your life easier by streamlining the baking process.

From slicing cheesecake with an unexpected household item to quickly ripening bananas on command and even making DIY buttermilk to order, these tips will help assist you in creating recipes in sometimes unexpected, but always delightful ways.

1. CUT CHEESECAKE WITH DENTAL FLOSS.

For perfect cheesecake slices, every time, just reach into your…medicine cabinet? Yep! Unflavored dental floss, held tautly and drawn back and forth in a gentle sawing motion, will yield clean cheesecake slices and doubles as a droll conversation starter.

2. TURN GRANULATED SUGAR INTO CONFECTIONERS’ SUGAR.

If you’ve run out of confectioner’s sugar, you can make more easily by putting granulated sugar in a blender, blending until it has reached a powdery consistency, and then use as specified in your recipe.

3. SOFTEN BROWN SUGAR WITH AN APPLE SLICE.

If your brown sugar has turned hard as a rock, there’s still hope. Place a slice of apple with the brown sugar for several hours in an airtight container, and it will soften the sugar. For more methods, of softening brown sugar, check out this post on how to soften brown sugar.

4. HEAT CITRUS TO RELEASE THE MOST JUICE.

Warm citrus releases more juice than its chilly counterparts. Heat citrus fruits for 5-10 seconds in the microwave before juicing for best results.

5. USE NON-STICK SPRAY TO RELEASE HARD-TO-MEASURE INGREDIENTS.

When measuring sticky ingredients such as honey or molasses, make sure you get all of the ingredient out of the measuring cup by spraying it with non-stick spray before measuring. You’ll release every bit of the sticky stuff, making for a happy recipe and less cleanup.

6. COMBINE VINEGAR AND MILK FOR INSTANT BUTTERMILK.

Who has buttermilk around when you need it? A trip to the store is not necessary–all you have to do is combine milk with a little vinegar. This method and more can be found in our guide on on how to make DIY pantry staples.

7. STORE YOUR CAKE IN THE MICROWAVE.

Looking for a spot to stow your cake at room temperature? Use the microwave. It’s sealed, it’s free of dust, and it will keep your cake fresher longer. It’s an easy way to store your cake for optimal freshness.

8. REMOVE EGGSHELL EASILY

Got a bit of excess eggshell in the bowl when you cracked an egg? Simply wet your finger and reach it in, and the eggshell bit will magnetically be attracted. Seriously amazing!

9. MAKE YOUR OWN BROWN SUGAR

All you need to make DIY brown sugar is granulated sugar and a little molasses. Here’s our simple recipe.

10. EASILY REMOVE THE SKINS FROM HAZELNUTS

Once heated in the oven, roll the hazelnuts between a folded over kitchen towel. You’ll effectively remove the majority of the skins. A little bit of skin may still hang on, but rest assured, this is the grunt work. This is a perfect way to prep your nuts for homemade Nutella.

11. SHAVE OFF THE BURNT PORTION OF CAKES OR MUFFINS

Using a vegetable peeler, shave off the burnt part of cakes or muffins that baked a little too long. This way you can shave away only the burnt bits but preserve as much cake as you can! This method works for toast, too.

12. STABILIZE WHIPPED CREAM WITH MARSHMALLOW FLUFF

Make your whipped cream last and hold its shape longer by adding a little fluff to the mix. It will give your whipped cream the structure it needs to avoid wilting. This and other helpful methods of stabilizing whipped cream are detailed in this post on stabilizing whipped cream.

13. MAKE A PAPER PLATE A DIY SPATTER GUARD ON YOUR STAND MIXER

Here’s a nifty tip: Remove the blade or beaters from your mixture, and perforate a paper plate on the top portion of the beater. Secure it back in place, and you’ve got yourself an instant spatter guard for your next recipe.

14. WARM EGGS IN WATER TO MAKE THEM BAKING-READY

Do you have a recipe which calls for room temperature eggs? Place eggs from the fridge in warm water for a few minutes to bring them to room temperature, and fast.

15. USE COOKIE CUTTERS AS A SPRINKLE STENCIL

Use a cookie cutter as an impromptu stencil: gently pour sprinkles inside of its lines directly on top of a cake. Lift the cutter and you’ll have a clear outline. This works best with recognizable shapes, such as hearts or stars, and numbers or letters.

16. RIPEN YOUR BANANAS, FAST

Want to make banana bread but only have green bananas? Make ’em soft by roasting the whole bananas in a 300 F oven until soft and dark brown. It’s as if you’ve got old bananas!  Perfect for cakes and breads.

17. SAVE STALE CAKE BY PUTTING IT IN A STEAM BATH

Got stale cake? Bring it back to life with a steam bath. Placing a slice or entire cake over simmering water will reduce dryness directly before serving, ensuring a moist cake eating experience.

18. USE LEFTOVER YOGURT…TO MAKE MORE YOGURT

Using the dregs of your yogurt container, you can create a starter to make your own homemade yogurt, which is cheaper and far tastier than store bought varieties. Here’s an easy 4 step method for making yogurt at home.

19. USE BUBBLE WRAP FOR AN INSTANT CHOCOLATE GARNISH

Here’s an easy idea for an impressive chocolate garnish: spread melted chocolate on top of impeccably clean bubble wrap. Let it set, peel off the bubble wrap, and you have a very cool-looking piece of chocolate, ideal for decorating the top of a cake.

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How to Cook Sweet Potatoes: 11 Tried and True Methods https://notalink.com/how-to-cook-sweet-potatoes-11-tried-and-true-methods/ Fri, 29 Jun 2018 08:49:07 +0000 https://notalink.com/?p=451 With their earthy, naturally sweet flavor and beautiful orange hue, sweet potatoes make healthy eating a pleasure. If you’re not sure how to cook sweet potatoes, or perhaps are just looking for some new ideas to add to your repertoire, you’re in the right place.

Here, we’ll detail 11 different ways to cook sweet potatoes, from no-cook options to traditional techniques in the oven and stovetop and even some unusual methods in the microwave and yes, even the toaster!

RAW SWEET POTATOES

Yup: sweet potatoes can be consumed raw (sweet potatoes don’t contain solanine, an enzyme that can be harmful when consumed in regular raw potatoes). Here are a few ways to try them uncooked!

1. SMOOTHIES

Put chunks of raw sweet potato in your smoothies to increase the fiber and overall satiety while you sip. The Mind Body Green blog has a great recipe for a raw sweet potato pie smoothie, which includes coconut water, flax seeds, dates and banana for a satisfying and naturally sweet drink.

2. SPIRALIZED SWEET POTATOES

Just as you can make “noodles” from spiralized zucchini, you can use the same method to create sweet potato “noodles.” It’s not necessary to cook the noodles before topping them with your favorite pasta fixings, though you can stir-fry them if you choose.

COOKING SWEET POTATOES IN THE MICROWAVE

Your microwave can be a miracle worker if you want to cook your sweet potatoes fast. Here are two easy ways to prepare them!

3. MICROWAVE “BAKED” SWEET POTATO

Follow these simple steps to make a “baked” sweet potato in your microwave.

STEP 1:

Wash your sweet potato, then pierce it all over with the tines of a fork. This is important, as the potato can explode and make a big mess if you don’t pierce it!

STEP 2:

Place a damp paper towel in the microwave. You can put it on top of a plate or right on the microwave’s tray.

STEP 3:

Place the potato on top of the damp towel. Microwave on high for about 4 minutes; pause and feel the firmness of your potato. Continue microwaving on high in 1-minute intervals until the potato is softened to your liking.

Note: Once you know how long it takes to microwave a sweet potato in your microwave, you can simply heat it for that long, omitting the 4-minute check-in.

4. MICROWAVE SWEET POTATO CHUNKS

Following a similar method, you can cook sweet potato chunks in the microwave. I like to use this method to par-cook sweet potato chunks before incorporating them into a stir-fry.

STEP 1:

Wash your sweet potato. Peel, then cut into chunks (they can be cubes or sticks; just make sure they are fairly uniform in size). Pierce each portion once or twice with the tines of a fork.

Note: Peeling is highly suggested if you’re cutting the sweet potato into chunks. This is because, in smaller portions, the peel can get gummy and unpleasantly chewy when microwaved.

STEP 2:

Place a damp paper towel in the microwave. You can put it on top of a plate or right on top of the microwave’s tray.

STEP 3:

Place the potato portions on top of the damp towel. Microwave on HIGH For about 2 minutes; pause, flip, and feel the firmness of your potato portions. Continue on HIGH at 1-minute intervals until the potato is softened to your desired level.

COOKING SWEET POTATOES IN THE OVEN

There’s so much that you can do with sweet potatoes in the oven. Here are some classic preparation methods.

5. BAKED WHOLE SWEET POTATO

There aren’t many foods cozier than a baked sweet potato. Here’s a foolproof method for making them perfect every time.

STEP 1:

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

STEP 2:

Wash your sweet potato, then pierce it all over with the tines of a fork. Sprinkle with salt.

STEP 3:

Wrap the sweet potato in aluminum foil. Place in the oven (you can put it right on the rack, or on a baking sheet). Bake about 40 to 60 minutes, until softened to your liking.

Want to kick things up a few notches? Try this recipe for sweet potato egg boats!

6. BAKED SWEET POTATO FRIES

The keys to making perfect sweet potato fries? Cut portions so that they are a uniform size, and use a higher temperature to ensure crispy edges.

STEP 1:

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

STEP 2:

Wash your sweet potato, then peel (if desired) and slice into uniformly sized chunks, strips or wedges.

STEP 3:

Scatter the portions on a parchment-lined baking sheet, drizzle with oil and season to taste with salt, pepper and/or other seasonings.

STEP 4:

Bake until tender to the touch but crispy on the edges, or to your desired level of doneness. Depending on the size of your portions, this will take 15 – 25 minutes. Flip after about 10 minutes for even browning.

Note: For extra crispy edges, use the broiler setting toward the end of the cooking time. Keep a close eye on those fries once you set the broiler — they can progress from crispy to burnt quickly, depending on how powerful your broiler is.

7. SHEET PAN ROASTED VEGETABLES WITH SWEET POTATOES

This is the ideal winter dinner: cozy, comforting and totally delicious.

STEP 1:

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

STEP 2:

Cut up a variety of your favorite veggies, as well as sweet potatoes. Need some ideas? Rutabaga, brussels sprouts, beets or parsnips are all good choices. Be sure to cut the pieces fairly uniformly in size.

STEP 3:

Toss the veggies with olive oil, and scatter them on a baking sheet. Salt, pepper and season to taste.

STEP 4:

Roast for about 20 minutes, then flip the veggies using a metal spatula. Roast for 20-30 more minutes, or until crisped to your desired level. Remove from the oven and serve!

COOKING SWEET POTATOES IN THE TOASTER

Wait, what? Yes indeed, you can cook slices of sweet potato in a toaster like toast.

8. SWEET POTATO TOAST

Meet your new best friend: sweet potato toast. It’s a naturally vegan and gluten-free alternative to wheat bread, and it tastes delicious. Of course, if you feel funny putting sweet potato slices in your toaster or simply don’t have a toaster, this can be done in the oven as well.

Check out this post on how to make sweet potato toast!

MAKING SWEET POTATOES ON THE STOVE

9. MASHED SWEET POTATOES

Mashed potatoes are a thing of beauty! You can simply substitute sweet potatoes for regular potatoes in your favorite recipe, or use this method:

STEP 1:

Wash and peel about 2½ pounds of sweet potatoes. Cut the potatoes into chunks.

STEP 2:

Bring 1 gallon of lightly salted water to a boil, and add the sweet potato chunks. Boil until fork-tender, about 15 minutes.

STEP 3:

Strain the potatoes, and using a masher, mash until smooth. Season them as you like — I like to add about ½ cup of milk, a few tablespoons of unsalted butter, and salt.

Note: Instead of merely mashing the sweet potatoes, you could also use them to make our healthy sweet potato casserole recipe!

10. FRIED SWEET POTATOES

Fried sweet potatoes are a snap! This quick and easy technique is perfect for making a breakfast side dish or making fries on the fly.

STEP 1:

Wash, peel (if desired) and cut the sweet potato into wedges, fries or coins. Make sure they’re uniform in size.

STEP 2:

Pour enough oil to fill a skillet about 1″ deep. Put the skillet over medium-high heat.

STEP 3:

Once the oil is hot, add the potatoes, leaving enough room in the pan so that they are not too crowded. Cook on the first side until crisped to your liking, then flip and repeat on the second side. Remove from the pan, and serve hot!

MAKING SWEET POTATOES IN A SLOW COOKER

When time is at a premium, it’s nice to let your slow cooker do the hard work for you. Sweet potatoes are well suited to slow cooker preparation!

11. SLOW COOKER MASHED SWEET POTATOES

Why deal with boiling water? Making mashed sweet potatoes in your slow cooker is a piece of cake. Follow the same method as detailed in this blog post, but substitute sweet potatoes for the regular potatoes.

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6 Ways to Never Get Bored of Brussels Sprouts https://notalink.com/6-ways-to-never-get-bored-of-brussels-sprouts/ Fri, 29 Jun 2018 07:39:28 +0000 https://notalink.com/?p=443
Brussels sprouts are a pretty divisive vegetable: You either love them or hate them. But developing a love of these cabbagelike little bundles really comes down to finding a preparation method that suits your tastes. Some eaters adore the nutty intensity of roasted whole Brussels sprouts. Others might prefer them deconstructed in a salad, or doctored up with nuts or bacon. Taking the time to find your favorite preparation method is well worth the effort, since Brussels sprouts can produce some of the easiest, most-affordable side dishes around. Here are a few renditions that you’ll definitely want to tuck away in your recipe book, especially with Thanksgiving right around the corner.

Add (a little) Bacon

Food Network Kitchen knows that salty, crispy bacon makes everything better. When served warm, their  Brussels Sprouts with Bacon  are welcome at any holiday meal. Since the recipe doesn’t go wild with added butter or oil (there’s enough fat in the bacon), it clocks in at a reasonable 252 calories per serving.

Shred & Saute

Just like cabbage, Brussels sprouts take on the appearance of slaw when shredded. Toss in some sliced shallots and this  Sauteed Brussels Sprouts  recipe is your next go-to fall side dish.

Simply Roast

Simple yet sensational, Food Network Magazine’s  Roasted Brussels Sprouts  recipe sticks to the basics. When roasted, the sprouts take on a nutty flavor that needs little else. Just cut the veggies in half, season well with salt and red pepper flakes, and let them caramelize in the oven.

Use a Balsamic Glaze

Ina Garten uses balsamic vinegar as a sweet, syrupy glaze in her   Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts . Like bacon, the salty pancetta complements the nutty roasted sprouts and cuts out the need for an excessive amount of oil or butter.

Add Nuts & Seeds

Picky eaters may turn up their noses at the sight of an all-green side dish, but they just might warm up to Bobby Flay’s vibrant  Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate and Hazelnuts . Orange zest, toasted hazelnuts and plump pomegranate seeds add visual appeal and some textural variety.

Use a Wok

Ditch your roasting pan for these crispy  Brussels Sprouts with Mushrooms and Ginger . A wok gives you the charred flavor you would get from roasting or grilling and the tenderness you would get from braising — but in half of the time. Although the intensity of the wok would overpower delicate seeds or nuts, the meaty, umami-rich mushrooms can certainly handle it.
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Holy Cannoli! A Traditional Homemade Cannoli Recipe https://notalink.com/holy-cannoli-a-traditional-homemade-cannoli-recipe/ Fri, 29 Jun 2018 07:28:52 +0000 https://notalink.com/?p=431 Here’s a fun fact: did you know that cannoli is plural, and canolo is the singular term? Most people know these delicious ricotta cream-filled fried pastry shells simply as cannoli, perhaps because it’s so hard to limit yourself to just one!

WHAT MAKES A GOOD CANNOLI?

Cannoli are popular in Italian bakeries all over the world. In general, you can tell if a bakery is worthwhile if it only displays the shells. Cannoli should be “filled to order” so that the shells don’t get soggy before it’s time to snack.

Making cannoli at home can seem daunting, mostly because of the fried shells. But armed with the right equipment and a little time, making cannoli isn’t difficult at all. This recipe breaks it down into easy steps.

HOW TO MAKE CANNOLI

Makes 10 approximately 5″ long cannoli

FOR THE SHELLS:

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Marsala (or white vinegar)
  • 2-3 tablespoons cold water
  • Enough oil to fill a large skillet 2″ deep, for frying

FOR THE FILLING

  • 15 ounces (1 container) whole milk ricotta cheese, chilled
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup chopped chocolate or mini chocolate chips
  • Optional: crushed pistachios, additional chocolate chips or candied citrus, for garnish
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting the finished cannoli

STEP 1:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, salt, olive oil, egg and  vinegar. Mix briefly, then add the cold water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough is cohesive (you may not use all the water).

Mix for 3-5 minutes, or until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and has become smooth and elastic.

STEP 2:

Form the dough into a disc and cover it with plastic wrap. Put it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or overnight. This resting period will help the dough roll out more easily later on.

STEP 3:

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and turn it onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough to an approximately 1/8″ thickness. The round of dough will be a bit bigger than a rolled-out pie crust.

Using a 4″ round cutter (or the rim of a drinking glass or ramekin), cut out circles from the dough. Gather and re-roll the scraps to get a few more cutouts. You should be able to get about ten 4″ cutouts.

STEP 4:

One at a time, form each circle of dough into an oval shape. Either stretching by hand or using your rolling pin for help, stretch the dough slightly up and down so that it becomes a 5″ long oval.

STEP 5:

Pour the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, so that it is at least 2″ deep. Heat the oil until it registers between 350-375 F on an instant-read thermometer; adjust the heat as needed to keep it within these temperature zones as you fry.

STEP 6:

Wrap the dough portions around cannoli forms or short wooden dowels. Really press the edges together, forming a seal. You can use an egg wash if the dough seems to have trouble sticking together.

STEP 7:

Place the dough portions, seam side down, into the hot oil. If it’s your first time doing this, you might want to fry the first few units one at a time. Once you get used to the process, you can fry a few shells at a time.

STEP 8:

Fry until golden on the seam side, then flip using tongs and fry the second side to match. This won’t take more than a few minutes, but rather than timing it, keep an eye on the oil temperature and the visual of the shells.

STEP 9:

Gently remove from the hot oil, let the excess oil drip off, and then transfer to a wire rack. Let cool slightly before removing the forms. Continue frying all of the shells until done. Let cool to room temperature.

STEP 10:

Make the cream filling. Strain excess liquid from the ricotta. Place the ricotta, powdered sugar and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Beat on low speed until completely combined. Then stir in the mini chocolate chips and mix briefly, until evenly dispersed. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a round tip large enough for the chocolate chips to fit through, or load it into a plastic freezer bag and cut off the tip of the bag for piping.

STEP 11:

To fill the cannoli, insert the piping tip halfway into each shell, and pipe in filling and pull the tip outward as you pipe, so that the entire half is filled. Repeat on the second side (this ensures that you won’t have an empty spot in the middle — sacrilege!).

If desired, dip the ends in mini chocolate chips, crushed pistachios or candied citrus (not necessary, but pretty). Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

RECIPE NOTES + SOME TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS

CANNOLI FORMS

The key to cannoli-making success is investing in cannoli forms, which are heavy duty metal tubes that you can use to mold the dough and help it hold its shape during frying. They’re easy to find online.

If you don’t have a cannoli-specific form, you can use short wooden dowels with a diameter of ¾” – 1″. Just make sure they’re not too long, or you may have trouble fitting them in your pan!

MAKE-AHEAD

The unfilled cannoli shells will keep for up to two weeks when covered and stored with slight ventilation at room temperature. The cream filling is best the same day made, but it can be made up to two days in advance. If any separation occurs (i.e, liquid forms), strain the cream filling before using.

FILL YOUR CANNOLI TO ORDER

For best results, fill your cannoli directly before serving so that the shells remain crispy.

HELP! MY SHELLS AREN’T CRISPY ENOUGH

If your cannoli shells are not as crispy as you’d like, here’s a personal trick of mine. Place the shells back on the cannoli forms and heat in a 400 F oven for up to 10 minutes, then let cool to room temperature. Note, though, that you’ll need to use the shells immediately after they’ve cooled because they will become hard after this “toasting” step.

HELP! MY CANNOLI CREAM FILLING WENT FLAT

If you made your cannoli filling too far in advance, or if you overmix it, it can go flat. Don’t despair! Here’s another trick I’ve used: fold in ½ – 1 cup of unsweetened whipped cream into the cannoli cream, and it will usually revive it!

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How to make perfect pesto https://notalink.com/how-to-make-perfect-pesto/ Fri, 29 Jun 2018 07:18:29 +0000 https://notalink.com/?p=424 Traditional basil pesto is about to become a thing of the past with this fun recipe that puts the spotlight on kale! Yes, pesto made with kale! What can kale not do? Seriously. Read on to learn how to make kale pesto from scratch in 30 minutes or less.

YOU ARE ABOUT TO LEARN HOW TO MAKE KALE PESTO RIGHT AT HOME!

With the cost of pine nuts at $20 per pound, I’m switching things up and using walnuts in this recipe instead.

Walnuts are a great substitution because they have many of the same qualities as pine nuts. They’re both a softer nut with a rich, nutty flavor and buttery texture after a light toasting.

SO HOW EXACTLY CAN YOU MAKE PESTO FROM KALE?

Well, first you’ll dip your fresh greens into a bath of boiling water and then promptly place them in an ice bath to stop the cooking. After that, it’s pretty much the same process as making any pesto. A few spins in the food processor and you’re all done! I promise it’s really simple.

This pesto is brightened with lemon and a small handful of basil leaves and has a robust kick of garlic. It explodes with flavor and freshness and is a great topping for so many things!

Of course, there’s the obvious choice of pairing this deliciousness with pasta but there are many other ways you can get creative in using your pesto!

  • Spread on toast
  • Dolloped on scrambled eggs
  • Spread inside an omelet
  • On top of roasted potatoes
  • Sandwich topping
  • Used as a pizza sauce
  • Tossed with grilled or roasted vegetables
  • Slathered on corn on the cob

I think my favorite use is on grilled vegetables and on pizza.

If you’re a fan of making your own sauces and dressings at home then you’re going to love this recipe for kale pesto. And if you’re new to from-scratch cooking, this is a great place to start. The ingredient list is short and the process is very basic. You’ll be a pesto-making pro in no time at all!

HOMEMADE KALE PESTO RECIPE

Yields: approximately 8 ounces of kale pesto

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¼ cup raw walnuts
  • Leaves from 2½ large kale stems (or 5 small stems)
  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • ¼ cup loosely packed fresh basil
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Zest from half a lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper
  • ¼ – 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

STEP 1:

Preheat your oven to 300 Fahrenheit. Place walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 8-12 minutes, stirring once, until fragrant and light golden brown. Let cool.

STEP 2:

While the walnuts are toasting, place about 5″ of water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.

STEP 3:

While waiting to boil, de-stem kale leaves and tear into a few pieces.

STEP 4:

Stir kale leaves into the boiling water for 30-60 seconds. Remove kale with a strainer and place directly into the ice bath (this stops the cooking). Drain water and pat kale dry.

STEP 5:

Place garlic in a large food processor (7-11 cup capacity works well) and turn on until minced. Scrape the sides and add the cooled walnuts, kale, basil, Parmesan, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt and pepper. Turn the processor on until until kale is well chopped and all ingredients are incorporated.

STEP 6:

Slowly stream in the olive oil while pulsing the food processor until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. (I used ¼ cup but for a thinner pesto use more.) Taste and stir in more salt and/or pepper if needed.

STEP 7:

Scrape contents from the processor into an airtight container and keep refrigerated for 4-5 days.

Usage tip: When adding the pesto to pasta: Retain about 1/2 cup of the cooking water when you drain the pasta and add in one tablespoon at a time along with the pesto to help thin out.

Not only is this pesto supercharged with all of the good-for-you nutrients from kale but it tastes pretty outstanding, too!

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How to Make Cinnamon Rolls with Puff Pastry https://notalink.com/how-to-make-cinnamon-rolls-with-puff-pastry/ Fri, 29 Jun 2018 07:12:50 +0000 https://notalink.com/?p=410 This cinnamon roll recipe is my favorite for a quick breakfast or brunch item and an excellent dish for entertaining. After all, this isn’t your average regular cinnamon roll recipe — it has a very crisp and flaky twist! Learn how to make a puff pastry cinnamon roll that’s lip-smacking and irresistible in under 30 minutes flat.

CAN YOU MAKE CINNAMON ROLLS WITH PUFF PASTRY?

Yes, absolutely! For this quick recipe, we’ll use store-bought puff pastry. The beauty of this is we don’t need to deal with proofing time (allowing the dough to rise) that’s required for traditional cinnamon roll dough or homemade puff pastry. It’s totally not necessary with puff pastry sheets.

In the morning, I’m a fan of 3 things: easy, quick and satisfying! Only 4 ingredients are required for these cinnamon rolls, including the puff pastry. Just give them 30 minutes in the oven and you’ll have deliciously warm, crisp and flaky treat.

WHERE DO I FIND PUFF PASTRY SHEETS?

Puff pastry sheets can be found in the freezer section of most grocery stores, usually near the frozen dessert pies and frozen pie shells. They often come two to a box. They can be thawed from the freezer or placed in the refrigerator to thaw overnight (which is what I recommend).

PUFF PASTRY CINNAMON ROLLS

Makes 12 cinnamon rolls

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 1 box of store-bought puff pastry (two 10″ x 15″ sheets)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened and divided

FOR THE ICING:

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

STEP 1:

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease a 9″ x 13″ pan and set aside for now.

STEP 2:


Thaw two puff pastry sheets according to package directions. The puff pastry sheets I’m using are 10″ x 15″ each.

Once fully thawed, dust your work surface with a little bit of flour before unrolling the dough. Unroll and press against the seams to flatten completely. Make sure the puff pastry sheets are thawed completely; you don’t want to break the panels during the unfolding or unrolling of the sheets.

STEP 3:


In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon.

STEP 4:


Spread 3 tablespoons of the softened butter on each puff pastry sheet.


Sprinkle the cinnamon and brown sugar mixture very generously over the two sheets. Sprinkle it all!

STEP 5:


Roll each sheet from the bottom up. Don’t worry about tucking it too tight, but make sure it’s not too loose, either.

STEP 6:


Cut each roll into six pieces. The easiest way to do this evenly is to first slice down the middle, then make two more cuts on each side.

STEP 7:


Carefully place the rolls in three rows of four in the greased pan. Some of the cinnamon goodness may spill out from the bottom; that’s OK. The pastries will expand quite a bit while baking and the cinnamon sugar mixture will form a crisp crust underneath.


Bake for 25-28 minutes or until golden. Allow to sit and cool for a couple of minutes. Serve while warm and top with icing if desired.

STEP 8:


Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese together in a medium bowl. Add sugar and vanilla extract. Mix until completely incorporated and the icing is smooth. Spread over warm cinnamon rolls.

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A 45-Minute Cheesy Egg Tart for Your Best Brunch Ever https://notalink.com/a-45-minute-cheesy-egg-tart-for-your-best-brunch-ever/ Fri, 29 Jun 2018 07:03:09 +0000 https://notalink.com/?p=399 You might think of puff pastry as a dessert, but this flaky pastry is quite versatile! Since puff pastry isn’t sweet on its own, it’s surprisingly easy to turn it into savory treats, as well. This puff pastry egg tart is a delicious weekend brunch option that’s easy to make and impressive to serve!

THESE EGG TARTS START OUT WITH A SHEET OF PUFF PASTRY.

You can use homemade puff pastry, but store-bought puff pastry is usually a quicker and easier option — and it works just as well here. A “sheet” of puff pastry is about ½ pound of pastry and that quantity comes from the fact that store-bought puff pastry is typically packaged in 1-pound boxes with two sheets inside.

The pastry should be rolled out on a lightly floured surface to eliminate any wrinkles. It will be a rectangle or a square between 1/8″ and ¼” thick, but the exact dimensions don’t matter. This style of tart is not an exact science — so don’t worry!

Once your pastry has been rolled out, cut it into four equal rectangles or squares. Trimming off the outer edges of the pastry will help give it a more even rise. Once it’s cut into squares, you’ll need to score the pastry.

This scored line will remain in the pastry as it bakes, giving it the look of a frame and creating the shape needed for the finished tart.

After the puff pastry is baked, you’ll clearly see how scoring the pastry created a design on each one of the tarts. While the pastry is still warm, use a spoon to push in the raised center of each tart, leaving only the crisp “frame.” It’s fine to leave the crushed pastry in place — it’s delicious and will only add more flavor to your tarts.

ONCE YOU HAVE THE PUFF PASTRY SHELL, IT’S TIME TO TALK FILLINGS

Once the frame is prepared, you can sprinkle in shredded cheese and crack an egg into each tart shell. I used Swiss cheese, but cheddar, gruyere or another favorite cheese are also great choices. Add a few halved cherry tomatoes to the top of each tart, for color and flavor.

Return the tarts to the oven to bake until the eggs are set and the whites are fully cooked. The pastry will crisp up even more during this time, while the cheese melts under the egg and the tomatoes become tender.

Top the tarts with salt and pepper, then serve them right away. You can eat them out of hand or serve them with a  fork (which will be a bit less messy!).

This technique can be used with other ingredients, as well. Not only can you change up the cheese, you can also add a layer of tomato sauce or pesto underneath the egg for more flavor. Instead of tomatoes, you can add asparagus or other quick-cooking vegetables. The options are endless, and they’re all delicious.

PUFF PASTRY EGG TART RECIPE

Make four tarts

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 sheet or ½ pound of puff pastry, chilled (not frozen)
  • ½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 4 large or extra large eggs
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and pepper

STEP 1:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry into a square or rectangle from 1/8″ – ¼” thick (exact dimensions don’t matter). Cut the rectangle into quarters. Score a shallow line along each side of the pasty, about ½” from the edge.

Bake the pastry for 20 minutes, or until crisp and golden.

STEP 2:

Using a spoon, press down the inside of the pastry “frame,” leaving a raised edge. Sprinkle cheese inside of the tart shell, then crack an egg on top of the cheese and add a cherry tomato half in each corner.

STEP 3:

Return tarts to oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until eggs are fully cooked and whites are completely set. Top with salt and pepper before serving.

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These Over-The-Top Milkshakes Will Make Your Jaw Drop https://notalink.com/these-over-the-top-milkshakes-will-make-your-jaw-drop/ Fri, 29 Jun 2018 06:56:10 +0000 https://notalink.com/?p=388 Whose milkshakes bring all the boys to the yard? Your milkshakes will bring all the boys to the yard with these ultimate milkshake ideas!

You know those Insta-famous milkshakes (such as the ones from Black Tap in NYC and Pâtissez in Australia) that are piled high with toppings almost as tall as the milkshake glass? I decided to give these crazy milkshake ideas a whirl and had a blast.

They may seem extreme, but you can make them yourself at home! Read on to find out how to make your own mountainous milkshakes with easy-to-find ingredients and my best tips for success.

RECIPES FOR 3 OVER-THE-TOP MILKSHAKE IDEAS

A successful milkshake is a subjective thing. I’ve provided ingredient lists for some of my favorite milkshake recipes, but how much of each ingredient to add is really up to you!

For a single shake, I typically start with three heaping scoops of ice cream and a few tablespoons of milk. Add more milk to thin out your shake, but not before adding your flavor elements. Chocolate sauce, extracts or liquor will thin out the shake without any additional milk needed. Toss in chunkier elements, like cookies or pretzels, right at the end so they don’t get too pulverized.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER PRETZEL SHAKE

INGREDIENTS:

  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Milk
  • Peanut butter
  • Chocolate sauce
  • Pretzels

BIRTHDAY CAKE SHAKE

INGREDIENTS:

  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Milk
  • Funfetti cake mix
  • Extra sprinkles

CHOCOLATE COCONUT KAHLÚA SHAKE

  • Salted caramel ice cream
  • Milk
  • Kahlúa
  • Coconut rum
  • Chocolate sauce

HOW TO BUILD THE ULTIMATE MILKSHAKE

RIM THE GLASS

Take a cue from your favorite cocktails and rim your milkshake glass with some tasty treats. Think small with sprinkles, tiny candies or edible stars. Or go big and add larger, chunkier candies around the rim of your glass.

Use something sturdy and sticky, like ganache, melted chocolate or even frosting, to keep things in place.

Dig through your cupboards and get creative with your glassware. Besides the traditional fountain glass,  highballs or even mason jars can make for great shake containers.

MAKE A GREAT SHAKE

If you’re going to go to the trouble of dolling up your glass and layering on the candy decor, there better be something pretty delicious waiting inside!

Save calorie counting for another day and use a high-quality ice cream and whole milk when mixing up your shake. Allow your ice cream to soften on the counter before scooping into the blender. Softened ice cream whips up faster and you’ll need less milk to get your shake smooth. Hold the ice — it’ll just water things down.

DON’T LET ANYTHING GET BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR SHAKE

No blender? No problem. A stick blender is fantastic for whipping up shakes on the fly. In a pinch, you can even use a hand mixer or good old-fashioned elbow grease with a whisk and bowl.

PILE IT ON

Once your glass is rimmed and filled, time to take it over the top! Whipped cream is always a good idea (amirite?!), as well as chocolate sauce, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, melted caramel, marshmallows… I think you get the point. Now is not the time to exercise restraint.

ADD AN EXTREME ELEMENT

Just when you think you’ve gone far enough, take it over the line — WAY over the line. Add some height and drama to your shake with an extra treat that conveys the theme, like a giant lollipop, chocolate-dipped marshmallows or even a hunk of birthday cake.

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You’ll Never Guess What These Ice Cream Sandwiches Are Made Of https://notalink.com/youll-never-guess-what-these-ice-cream-sandwiches-are-made-of/ Fri, 29 Jun 2018 06:50:03 +0000 https://notalink.com/?p=371 One of the most loved ice cream toppings gets a major upgrade in this fun and colorful ice cream sandwich recipe. It’s beautiful, colorful and looks fragile like stained glass… but what is it?

It’s what all kids’ dreams are made of — these ice cream sandwiches are made of gummy bears! Vanilla ice cream is sandwiched between two thin gummy layers. For an even bigger wow factor, dip them in chocolate!

IT’S A BIT OF A STICKY SITUATION…

For this recipe, there are a few things you’ll need to prepare for:

  1. Your children constantly asking, “Please, may I have just one gummy bear?!”
  2. Resisting the urge to eat one (or many) yourself.
  3. Make sure there’s a fresh roll of parchment paper in your kitchen.
  4. Remind the entire household that patience is a virtue. Especially when the sandwiches look done but actually need to go back in the freezer.

GUMMY BEAR ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

Makes about ten 2½” square sandwiches.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 24 ounces of gummy candies
  • 1½-quart container (about 6 cups) of vanilla ice cream
  • 8-12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

TOOLS:

  • Parchment paper
  • 11″ x 17″ baking sheet
  • 9″ x 13″ baking pan
  • 2½” square cookie cutter
  • Coconut or olive oil for cutting
  • Cornstarch for cutting

STEP 1:

Preheat oven to 300 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

STEP 2:

Have your kids sort gummies by color.

Then arrange the gummy bears in the center of the pan in a single layer, making an abstract color design. After the gummies melt, you’ll swirl surface of the gummies. Intermingling them like this make sure you get an interesting color pattern. For a real rainbow look, try forming rows of each color.

Try using gummy worms too!

STEP 3:

Place the gummies into the oven and allow them to melt. Check on them after 20-25 minutes. The edges should be melted, but the center may still be intact.

Turn the oven temperature down to 275 F and allow them to melt for 10 more minutes.

STEP 4:

Use a toothpick, fork to break the surface of the gummies swirl the colors in a back-and-forth or swirl motion. This breaks and blends the baked “skin” that’s covering the liquified gummies underneath it.

After swirling, let the sheet of gummies cool completely and sit at room temperature for at least 2-3 hours. Avoid touching the surface to maintain that glossy sheen.

Then it’ll look like this! Don’t worry about the little lumps and bumps in the gummies.

STEP 5:

While the gummies are melting in the oven, place the container of ice cream in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to soften. Line a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with parchment, making sure all sides are lined.

After 30 minutes, scoop softened ice cream into parchment paper–lined pan.

Use a spatula to spread it into an even layer. Place the pan in the freezer for at least 2-3 hours or more to harden.

STEP 7:

To make the assembly go fast (and avoid a mess of melted ice cream), cut the ice cream into squares ahead of time.

After the ice cream has been in the freezer for a few hours, use the parchment paper to lift the hardened ice cream out of the pan. Use a 2½” cookie cutter  to cut squares from the sheet of ice cream. Place these cut-outs in a parchment paper–lined pan and place back in the freezer.

STEP 8:

Next, cut out the gummy sheet. Carefully grease the edge and walls of the square cutter  with coconut or olive oil. Then dip the edge into the cornstarch.

Press the cutter lightly into the sheet to mark a row.

If the edge or corners of the gummy square stretch a bit, that’s OK. Just push and position the corner or edge back in place and the gummy will mold it back.

Cut an even number of squares. Place the cut squares onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.

STEP 9:

Time to assemble — you’ll need to work fast!

Place an ice cream squares on a gummy square, then place the other gummy square over the ice cream. Place the assembled sandwiches on a parchment-lined baking sheet. When you’ve assembled all the sandwiches, place the pan in the freezer for an hour or two.

STEP 10:

This step is optional, but it’s delicious and keeps the ice cream contained while slower (littler) eaters nibble away at them.

Melt semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave at 50 percent power in 30-second bursts. Stir between intervals, and use coconut oil to thin it out if needed.

When the chocolate is completely melted, dunk the sides of the ice cream sandwich into the chocolate and place on parchment paper. It will harden rather quickly.

When the sandwiches come out of the freezer, the gummy parts will be a little hard at first but will soften with the warmth of little (or big) fingers. Enjoy this fun cold gummy treat! It’ll be a favorite for the little, big and adult kids alike!

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These Grilled Peaches Might Become Your Favorite Summer Dessert https://notalink.com/these-grilled-peaches-might-become-your-favorite-summer-dessert/ Fri, 29 Jun 2018 06:27:28 +0000 https://notalink.com/?p=365 For many of us, summer is synonymous with grilling. The possibilities at the grill are endless, even when it comes to dessert.

Once you try these grilled peaches, we bet they’ll become your everyday backyard treat. Grilling fruit is a simple concept, but the results will blow you away. The grill transforms fruit into something special (and a little ice cream or whipped cream adds a little magic too).

The grill magically transforms peaches into tender, sweet, caramelized jewels of delight. You can even save leftover grilled peaches (if you have any!) and add them to the next day’s breakfast or lunch. They’re perfect on oatmeal and waffles.

The key is finding firm, but not rock-hard, peaches. If they’re too ripe, you won’t be able to twist them apart. If they’re rock hard, they won’t soften as well on the grill.

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This recipe for simple grilled peaches with coconut whipped cream is a satisfying and healthy way to end a summer meal.

You can even try adding your grilled fruit to savory meals. How about topping a burger or pizza with grilled pineapple? What about a slice of grilled peach in between layers of a grilled veggie sandwich?

SIMPLE GRILLED PEACHES

Yield: 8 peach halves

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 peaches (slightly soft)
  • Olive oil or avocado oil

FOR THE GLAZE:

  • 2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1½ tablespoons coconut sugar, brown sugar or cane sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

FOR TOPPING (CHOOSE ONE):

  • Homemade vanilla ice cream
  • Coconut whipped cream

STEP 1:

Preheat your grill to medium.Slice all the way around your peach against the pit. Hold each side with one hand and twist gently in opposite directions. If your peaches are fully ripe and difficult to twist open, simply cut the peach into four large sections away from the pit.

STEP 3:

Rub all sides of the peach halves with a light coating of oil.

STEP 4:

Once the grill is fully preheated, place peaches on the grill cut-side down. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until starting to caramelize with grill marks appearing. Flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes.

STEP 5:

While the peaches are on the grill, heat a small pan over low heat. Add the coconut oil and let melt, stirring constantly. Add the maple syrup, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Stir together and let heat for 1-2 minutes. Stir a few times. Remove from the heat.

STEP 6:

Remove peaches from the grill. Drizzle syrup over each peach and top with coconut whipped cream. Serve immediately.

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