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We got a makeover!!

Hi Everyone!!!

I am super excited to announce that Cheater Bites got a makeover!  She is looking pretty lovely now on her very own URL: http://www.cheaterbites.com/

As of today, anytime you come to this website, https://cheaterbites.wordpress.com, you will be automatically forwarded to the new site.  Be sure to subscribe to the new site so that you can recieve emails when there is a new and delicious post!  Also, check us out and become a fan on Facebook!

Hope you love it as much as I do!!! 

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Ina’s Chocolate Cake

When I had heaps of raspberry Swiss meringue buttercream icing left over from my festive Fourth of July cupcakes, I decided to bake again, this time a cake for a dinner party.  I thought chocolate would be heavenly with the fluffy sweetness of the raspberry icing, and man was I right.  I am consistently thrilled with Ina’s dessert options, so I went for her Beatty’s Chocolate Cake recipe from her Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook.  I will never make another chocolate cake recipe again…this cake was awesome.  It had the perfect consistency, moist and fluffy, not too dense, just rich enough.  Oh man, I am drooling just thinking about it!  OK, so here are the details…

You will need:
some butter for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour, plus a bit more for dusting the pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup good quality cocoa powder, I like to use Ghirardelli
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat your oven to 350° and butter two cake pans (I used 6 inch), line with parchment, then butter and flour on top.  Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of your electric mixer.  Quickly mix on low to make sure all the dry ingredients are combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ones.  Once combined, add in the coffee.  Mix again until just combined, scraping the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated.

Pour the batter into prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.  Slice into layers if you want more than two, frost and decorate with icing of your choice.  I used a very generous amount of raspberry Swiss meringue buttercream, which was just decadent.  It looked pretty with some fresh raspberries clustered in the center as well!

Wait til you see what I did with the excess cake…hint: Bakerella would be proud!!

Time: 30 minutes of prep + baking (40-ish minutes), cooling (1 hour) & assembling (20-ish minutes)
Yields: two 8 inch cakes
From: Barefoot Contessa at Home

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2011 in cakes, sweets

 

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Fresh Tuna Salad Nicoise with Fresh Oregano Dressing


Growing up I can remember hot summer evenings when my Mum would fix fresh tuna Niçoise salads for dinner.  I was never one to really complain, I would eat anything, but I didn’t really get the appeal.  Now that I truely love yummy tuna steaks and appreciate the simplicity of fresh summer ingredients, this is one of my favorite hot summer evening meals.  The creamy fresh oregano dressing adds another level of delicious flavors.  This superb salad needs nothing more than good bread and a cool glass of French wine.

For the salad you will need:
salt
1 pound green beans, trimmed
8 red-skinned new potatoes, scrubbed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 or 4 tuna steaks (about 1.5 pounds), 2 inch thickness
freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs, hard boiled, peeled and quartered
2 large, ripe tomatoes, seeded and sliced in wedges
1/3 cup Niçoise olives, drained
sprigs of fresh oregano for garnish

Bring a pan of salted water to a boil, add the beans and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring once or twice.  Drain and transfer immediately to a bowl of ice water to cool completely, drain and set aside.  In a saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water and stir in about 1 tablespoon of salt before setting over medium heat.  Cook until just tender, about 9 minutes after the water reaches a boil.  Drain and let cool.  Both the beans and the potatoes can be prepared a day in advance.

Rub the room temperature tuna steaks with olive oil, salt and pepper and set the grill to medium/high heat.  Place steaks over the hottest part of the grill and cook, turning once, 2 minutes per side for rare or 3 minutes per side for medium.  Like Mario says, “if you want your tuna more cooked than that, throw the steaks directly into the trash and buy some cans of good tuna instead!”

Cut the tuna along the grain into 1/4 inch thick slices.  Arrange the beans and sliced potatoes on the plates. Fan tuna slices in the center and garnish with the eggs, tomatoes and olives.  Garnish with fresh oregano and drizzle with the dressing.  Will also need some nice coarse salt sprinkled on top for an extra umph.

serves: 4 people
time: 35-40 minutes
from: The New American Kitchen


For the dressing you will need:

1/3 cup clean, whole fresh oregano leaves
1 egg
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 medium garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil

In a small food processor, combine the oregano, egg, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper.  Process for about 30 seconds.  With the machine running, add the olive oil in a quick, steady stream.  Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Dressing can be made up to 2 days ahead of time, just bring to room temperature before serving.

yields: around 1 cup
time: less than 10 minutes
from: The New American Kitchen

 

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Roasted Corn and Poblano Salsa

In the Cheater Bites household, we love salsa.  We will put it on just about anything.  We were using up some leftover steak and decided to whip up some tacos, at which point Matt requested corn salsa.  Well that was a good call because this recipe is awesome…I could just sit and eat a bowl of it alone.  It has great fresh flavors with a light, lingering heat from the poblanos and a bit of sweetness from the honey.

You will need:
1.5 cups Trader Joe’s fire roasted frozen corn
1  poblano chile, roasted, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
generous handful chopped fresh cilantro
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons canola oil
salt & pepper to taste

Microwave the corn to get it to room temperature.  Take your whole poblano pepper, set it on some foil, under the broiler on high. The skin blisters quickly, so after 3 minutes, flip the pepper over, then cook for another 3 on the opposite side.  Take out of the oven and either dump the pepper into a plastic bag and seal it or into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let sit for about 15 minutes to allow the skin to loosen.  Then peel, halve and seed the pepper before you chop it up.

Combine the corn, poblano, onion, cilantro, lime juice, honey and oil in a medium bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir well and taste for flavors.  I added a little more honey, oil and salt until it reached the perfect balance of flavors.  Let sit for at least 15 minutes before serving, but it can be made the day before you want to serve it.  Just be sure to serve it room temperature!

yields: about 2 cups, plenty for 4 people
time: 20 minutes
adapted from: Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill Cookbook

 

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Greek Tzatziki

Mama Cheater Bite recently came back from a trip to the Mediterranean, and Greece was one of the fabulous stops.  Upon her arrival back to the states, she was in the mood for Greek inspired cuisine, so one afternoon we cooked up some garlicky and delicious homemade tzatziki.  It’s rather easy to make; a healthy snacking option and condiment to many different dishes.

You will need:
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt, drained
1/2 seedless cucumber, cut in small cubes
1/2 medium sweet onion, grated
3 cloves garlic, zested/grated
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper
3 tablespoons fresh dill

Place the yogurt in a sieve over a bowl in the fridge for about 2 hours.  This drains the excess liquid and makes the tzatziki thicker.  Cut your cucumber, being sure that there are no seeds.  Toss the cucumber into the yogurt.  Grate in your onion and garlic.  Drizzle in olive oil and season with salt, pepper and dill.  Stir well and taste.  Adjust oil and seasonings to your desired thickness and flavor.

Keeps for at least 5 days or so, covered in the fridge.  It’s great on a pita chip or some veggies.  Goes wonderfully with pork, chicken, lamb and really anything that can use some “sauce.”  Adds a fabulous flavor!!

 

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Rolled flank steak


Stuffing flank steaks is such a great idea.  It’s a rather cheap piece of meat, so you are not spending a fortune on a snazzy cut of meat.  The possibilities are endless for what flavors you can add.  We have done pancetta and cheese before as well as tomato, basil and mozzarella.  For our big family cook out, we decided to use spinach, carrots and cheese.  This can also be a good way to use up some of the produce in your fridge…

You will need:
2 lb flank steak
1 cup shredded fontina cheese
large handful fresh spinach
1 cup shredded carrots
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt & pepper
olive oil
butchers twine

Lay your flanks steak, striated side up, on your cutting board.  Using a very sharp boning knife, trim off any access fat.  Butterfly cut the steak so that it opens up like a book.  Try to cut evenly in the center, and leave one of the long sides attached.  Salt and pepper both sides and rub on a few tablespoons of olive oil.  You can put in a plastic bag in the fridge until you are ready to stuff and roll the steak.


Lay the steak out on your cutting board.  Lay on the spinach, cheese, carrots and garlic in an even layer across the steak, leaving about 1/2 inch steak on all sides.  Add more salt and pepper to season.  With either a second set of hands readily available or 6 pieces of pre-cut butcher’s twine, tightly roll the steak, tucking in the filling as needed.  Tie several pieces of butcher’s twine along the meat to keep everything in place.

stuffing in place

tightly roll the steak

tie on several pieces of butcher's twine

ready for the grill

You can either grill the meat or cook it in a skillet in your oven:
For grilling – Turn your grill on medium-high and let sit with lid down til the temperature reaches 400°.  Spray the grates with grilling Pam, and place your meat over the direct heat.  Sear on all sides, about 2 mintes each turn (brown, sear marks, not charred).  Turn center burners down to medium while keeping side burners on high, check the temperature.  If it’s not at the desired temperature yet, keep grilling and test again in 2 to 3 minutes.

For skillet cooking –  Preheat your oven to 400°.  Brown all sides of the meat in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, takes about 5 minutes.  Place the skillet in the middle rack of the oven for 5 minutes, then use your thermometer to check the internal temperature.  If it’s not at the desired temperature yet, place back in oven and test again in 2 to 3 minutes.

**When you check the temperature of the meat, make sure you are inserting the thermometer into the center of the meat.  For medium-rare, internal temperature should be 120° (for medium 130°) right when you take the meat out, then let sit for 10 minutes.

Time: 30 minutes prep time + 15 minutes cook time
Serves: 4 people

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2011 in beef, main dish

 

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Strawberry basil mojitos

Lazy days poolside at my in-laws are fantastic…

and even more so when accompanied by fruity drinks…

My sister-in-law Lauren doesn’t like mint, so enjoying a mojito is difficult for her, unless of course it is made with basil.  So I stole her idea for this mojito variation…thanks Laur!

You will need:
generous handful basil, rinsed and torn
2 tablespoons sugar
8 strawberries, 7 of them sliced
4-6 oz. rum (I used Bacardi Limon)
juice of 1/2 lemon
club soda (or Sprite)

In a small bowl, muddle the basil and sugar together until it resembles a paste.  Slice 6 of the strawberries and then add them to the sugar/basil paste.  Muddle in the strawberries.

Place ice cubs and the rum in a cocktail shaker.  Add the muddled basil, sugar and strawberry mixture and the lemon juice and shake well.

Fill 2 fun glasses with ice and the remaining sliced strawberries.  Divide the mixture in the shaker evenly between the glasses, top off with club soda/Sprite and garnish with the remaining strawberry and some basil if you wish.

Place a straw and a colorful umbrella in the glasses, drink, and repeat!

*the measurements can easily be adjusted to your preference of fruit vs. basil vs. rum ratio!

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2011 in drinks, fruit

 
 
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