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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

PEAR, WALNUT AND RICOTTA CROSTINI and GARLIC, BASIL PORK TENDERLOIN and RASPBERRY TART

We have friends who are moving to Austria for a year, and although I wanted to send them off with an all-American dinner, my menu didn't quite reflect that! All the same, it was a wonderful evening, and a fun meal to put together.
I have lovely memories of this crostini recipe - I made it for my brother-in-law over the summer, and although he had never taken a bite of ricotta, he tried it, and liked it!

PEAR, WALNUT AND RICOTTA CROSTINI



Divide 1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese among 8 crostini. Top each piece with several ripe pear slices (I have used fresh and canned in this recipe - either way, I like to saute the pear slices in a little butter, before placing them on the crostini), and toasted walnut pieces. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper and drizzle each with honey.
Serve immediately.

GARLIC, BASIL PORK TENDERLOIN



2 (1 pound) pork tenderloins
6 garlic cloves, cut in half
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 350F
To prepare pork, cut several small slits in pork tenderloins. Insert garlic into slits.
Press basil over pork, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray in the oven, cook about 25 minutes, or until a thermometer registers 160F.
Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

recipe adapted from Relish


RASPBERRY TART


CRUST:
8 whole graham crackers, coarsely broken
1/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
6 tablespoons of butter, melted
FILLING AND TOPPING:
6 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 pints raspberries
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

CRUST:
Heat oven to 375F
Grind crackers and sugar in processor until coarse crumbs form. Add butter and process until crumbs are evenly moistened.
Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom and up sides of a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom (I don't have a tart pan that size, so I used a pie plate). Bake until crust is firm to touch, about 8 minutes.
Cool crust on rack.
FILLING AND TOPPING:
Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in medium bowl until smooth. Beat in sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla. Spread filling in cooled crust. Chill until firm, at least 4 hours (can be made a day ahead. Cover and keep chilled).
Arrange raspberries over filling. Whisk jam in small bowl to loosen consistency. Drizzle over berries. Serve immediately or chill up to 3 hours.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, July 2001
www.bonappetit.com/

BAKED BACON AND EGGS

Somehow, food eaten outside just tastes better - and these baked eggs were no exception - a fun, easy breakfast with friends. We enjoyed a cool morning on the deck,  great conversation, and yummy food!

BAKED BACON AND EGGS



6 Canadian bacon slices
1 1/2 cups aged cheddar, grated
6 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon paprika
English muffins, to serve

Place 1 slice of bacon on the bottom of ramekins. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of cheese on top of bacon and push cheese against the sides of the ramekin, making a well.
Break 1 egg into the center of each well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour 2 tablespoons of cream over the top of each egg, sprinkle with paprika.
Place ramekins on baking sheet, bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.
Toast the English muffins, spread with butter, and serve alongside.
Enjoy!






PANCETTA WRAPPED PEACHES WITH BASIL AND PEACH BALSAMIC VINEGAR, and TOMATO SALAD WITH BACON, BLUE CHEESE AND BASIL

There is an abundance of basil in our garden this time of year, and I wanted to incorporate as much of this fragrant herb as I could in tonight's menu - this appetizer and salad scream of summer!!
We headed out to the lake house with friends,  realizing half way into our journey, my carefully prepared pork tenderloin was languishing at home in the refrigerator!! Thankfully, it was nothing a quick stop at the store couldn't fix!!


 

PANCETTA WRAPPED PEACHES WITH BASIL AND PEACH BALSAMIC VINEGAR



16 thin slices of pancetta or proscuitto
2 medium freestone peaches, halved, pitted and cut into 8 wedges each
salt and freshly ground pepper
16 basil leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
balsamic vinegar, or peach balsamic vinegar for drizzling

Lay the pancetta out on a work surface. Set  peach wedge at the edge of each slice, season with salt and pepper and top with a basil leaf. Roll up the pancetta to enclose the peaches.
In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the wrapped peaches and cook over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until the pancetta is browned and crisp, about 5 minutes.
Transfer to a platter, lightly drizzle the peaches with peach balsamic vinegar and serve.

recipe adapted from Food & Wine, July 2008
FOODANDWINE.COM


TOMATO SALAD WITH BACON, BLUE CHEESE AND BASIL



1/4 pound sliced bacon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 pounds of assorted tomatoes, quartered or halved
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled, or sliced
1/2 cup torn basil leaves

In a medium skillet, cook the bacon slices over moderate heat, turning once, until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels, then crumble or cut into pieces.
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil with the cider vinegar, garlic, Dijon mustard and herbes de Provence and season with salt and pepper.
Arrange the tomatoes on a platter and season lightly with salt and pepper. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with the bacon and blue cheese, garnish with the basil leaves and serve.
NOTE: I like to serve this on a bed of arugula

recipe adapted from Food and Wine, August 2010
FOODANDWINE.COM



















Friday, August 26, 2011

BLUEBERRY SCONES

Rolf and I had date night tonight, so I made the kids breakfast for dinner - bacon, eggs (from our backyard chickens) and blueberry scones.
Brushing the cream on the top before baking them, gave them a fabulous, yummy sheen!! And the glaze was just the right amount of sweet and tart.

BLUEBERRY SCONES


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup cream, plus more for brushing the scones
1 - 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

LEMON GLAZE
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 lemon, zest finely grated
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat the oven to 400F
Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut in the butter, until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
Make a well in the center and pour in the cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate, do not overwork the dough.
Fold the blueberries into the batter. Take care not to mash or bruise the blueberries because their strong color will bleed into the dough.
Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle, about 12 by 3 by 1 1/4 inches. Cut the rectangle in 1/2 then cut the pieces in 1/2 again, giving you 4 (3 inch) squares. Cut the squares in half again to give a triangle shape, or, leave them square if you prefer, as I did.
Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until beautiful and brown.
Let the scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze.

Mix the lemon juice and confectioners sugar in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon zest and butter. Microwave for 30 seconds on high. Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps, then drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones. Let it sit a minute before serving.
Enjoy!!

Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence, via the food network website













Wednesday, August 24, 2011

ONION SHORTCAKE

 My amazing husband got up this morning, and started black bean soup in the crock-pot, I thought the onion shortcake would compliment it nicely.
 I have made this numerous times, always to rave reviews and requests for the recipe!

ONION SHORTCAKE




1 cup sliced onion
1/4 cup butter
1 package cornbread mix
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup milk
1 can of cream-style corn
3-5 drops of hot pepper sauce
1 cup sour cream
8oz cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dill

Pre-heat oven to 425F.
In a large skillet, over low heat, saute onion in butter. Add sour cream, cream cheese, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, salt and dill to skillet.
Meanwhile, combine muffin mix, egg, milk, corn and hot pepper sauce, stir until smooth.
Spoon batter into a 9-inch square or round baking pan, and top with onion mixture.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Enjoy!






Tuesday, August 23, 2011

CHICKEN CROSTINA and CHOCOLATE CHIP ZUCCHINI SNACK CAKE

 Both of tonights recipes were featured in The Morning News, although they were printed 2 years apart, they came together tonight as the perfect family dinner, and dessert.
 I served the chicken with roasted broccoli (a little olive oil, salt and pepper, 15 minutes at 350F) and the "brownies" (my kids conclusion) were gobbled up in a guilt-free dessert picnic out by the pool.
















CHICKEN CROSTINA

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups and 1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup white wine
3/4 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound linguine or spaghetti
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup tomatoes, cored and diced
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
POTATO CRUST
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 small potato, peeled and grated
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350F.
Mix all ingredients for potato crust and set aside.
Mix 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, pepper and italian seasoning in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in the mixture, shaking off any excess. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet.
Cook chicken breasts over medium-high heat until golden brown and crisp.
Place cooked chicken breasts on a baking sheet or dish and top with potato crust mixture.
Transfer baking sheet the oven, bake 10-15 minutes, then place under broiler for 5-10 minutes until golden brown.
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan, add garlic, cook for 1 minute.
Stir in 1 tablespoon of flour and wine and bring to a boil. Add cream, parmesan cheese, I tablespoon parsley and tomatoes. Sauce is done when it is bubbling throughout and has started to thicken.
Mix sauce with pasta, top with chicken and garnish with parsley if desired.

adapted from The Morning News, April 25th, 2007




CHOCOLATE CHIP ZUCCHINI SNACK CAKES

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup applesauce
1 large zucchini, finely shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup chocolate chips

Pre-heat the oven to 350F
Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in a bowl.
Use an electric mixer to combine sugar and canola oil, then add eggs one at a time. Mix in applesauce, then add flour mixture a little at a time. Stir in zucchini, then chocolate chips.
Spread batter into a 13-by-9 baking pan, coated with cooking spray. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean - 25 minutes. Cool completely before cutting, then dust with powdered sugar.
Enjoy!!

adapted from The Morning News, July 13, 2005




Monday, August 22, 2011

CHERRY BABY CAKES


I had planned to make these treats to take to a friends house, but sadly she fell ill, and we were forced to consume them following the back-to-school skating party. They were yummy, especially with extra icing drizzled on - but all kids asked for the cherry preserves to be left out next time.

CHERRY BABY CAKES

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup cherry preserves
18 maraschino cherries (the recipe recommended the cherries have stems, and it would have looked pretty, but I happily used the stemless ones my sweet husband picked up for me at the store)
1 recipe powdered sugar icing (below)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 18 miniature muffin cups with paper baking cups, set aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add milk, butter, egg and vanilla. Beat on low speed until combined. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
Spoon 1 teaspoon of batter into each muffin cup. Add 1/2 teaspoon of cherry preserves, and top with 1 teaspoon of additional batter.
Bake cupcakes about 12 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from pans, cool completely on wire rack.
Pat cherries dry with clean paper towel. Drizzle each cupcake with about 1 teaspoon of icing (or more to taste) Place a cherry on top of baby cakes.
POWDERED SUGAR ICING
Ina small bowl combine 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk or 1/2 and 1/2. Stir in additional milk until icing reaches drizzling consistency.
Enjoy!!

recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, February 2004