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Monday, September 19, 2011


I had so much fun cooking for a friends trunk show. My menu was inspired by razorback red and the cooler fall weather and was a blast to put together!

cheeseboard with gruyere walnut crisps and garnished with red grapes
roasted red pepper dip
artichoke cheesecake garnished with tomato, olives and basil
chicken meatballs with a sweet peanut dipping sauce
strawberry lemon shortbread bars
honey caramel pecan tarts


These were very yummy by themselves or with the cheese - I loved that they could be made in advance, and sliced and cooked when needed.

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
8 ounces finely grated gruyere cheese
4 ounces finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped, toasted walnuts

Using electric mixer, beat butter until smooth. Beat in cheeses and salt. Add flour and walnuts, beat just until dough comes together, adding water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Divide in half. Roll each half into a 15 inch log. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, at least 4 hours.
Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut logs crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices. Arrange on prepared sheets, spacing 1/2 inch apart.
Bake crisps until deep golden brown, about 20 minutes (I cooked them for 8 minutes, then turned them over before baking them for another 8 minutes).
Transfer to racks and cool completely.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2009


1 12-16 ounce jar of roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry
1 (8-ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
3 green onions, trimmed and coarsely chopped
juice and rind of a lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a food processor, combine peppers, cream cheese, sour cream, green onions, garlic, lemon juice and rind and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer dip to a serving bowl.

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, March 2009


4 tablespoons butter, melted
8 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
12 ounces marinated artichoke hearts
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped green onions
3 roma tomatoes, diced, for garnish
greek olives, pitted and cut in half, for garnish
fresh basil leaves, sliced, for garnish

Heat oven to 400F.
Brush bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with butter.
Place 1 sheet of phyllo in pan so that phyllo extends up and over the sides of the pan. Brush with butter. Repeat with remaining phyllo and butter (or in the place of butter, you can use cooking spray - a great tip I picked up at a cooking class). Make 2 slits in the center of phyllo for steam to escape.
Bake 9 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
Decrease oven temperature to 325F.
Drain and chop artichokes, set aside. Beat cream cheese, feta, oregano and garlic powder in a large bowl. Add eggs, beating just until blended, Do not over beat.
Add artichoke hearts and green onions. Combine well.
Pour mixture into crust and cover loosely with foil. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, until center is soft and sides stay firm when gently shaken.
Cool. Cover and chill 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
When ready to serve, remove from pan, garnish with tomatoes, olives and basil leaves.
Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature, with pita chips.

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, December 2002


These bars were absolutely delicious but I had a lot of trouble trying to make a clean cut. Therefore they didn't turn out as pretty as I would have liked.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon lemon zest, divided
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold butter
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup strawberry preserves

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Stir together flour, powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest in a medium bowl, cut in butter until crumbly. Press dough onto bottom of a lightly greased 13-by-9 inch pan.
Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, beat cream cheese and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and beat just until blended after each addition.
Stir in fresh lemon juice and remaining 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest, beating well.
Spread preserves over shortbread. Pour cream cheese mixture over preserves, spreading to edges.
Bake 28 to 32 more minutes or until set. Let cool 1 hour on a wire rack. Cover and chill 4-8 hours. Cut into bars, garnish with whipped cream and strawberries, or chocolate circles if desired.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living, April 2011

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