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Friday, December 21, 2012

BACON WRAPPED COD WITH FRUIT CHUTNEY and CRISPY COD WITH DIJON, BASIL AND TARRAGON

During this hectic time of year - it is wonderful to find a quiet night to cook a simple, nourishing meal for my family!
There have only been a couple of opportunities for that this month, but we have made the most of every minute.

BACON WRAPPED COD WITH FRUIT CHUTNEY


8 slices of center cut bacon (I used turkey bacon)
4 cod fillets (skinless, about 1/2 inch thick)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/3 cup apricot jam
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Place bacon on a microwave safe plate, and cook in microwave about 1 1/2 minutes.
Rinse salmon, pat dry, lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap bacon around each salmon fillet. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook fish, for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until bacon is crisp and fish flakes easily with a fork.
For chutney, in a small saucepan combine jam and cranberries. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until heated through, Serve cod with chutney and thyme.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, September 2012
www.bhg.com › Food › Recipes from the Magazine


CRISPY COD WITH DIJON, BASIL AND TARRAGON


1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 lime, juiced
salt and pepper
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
zest of 1 lime
1 pound green beans, trimmed
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
2 shallots, peeled and halved
2 green peppers, sliced
4 pieces cod, seasoned with salt and pepper

Heat oven to 450F.
In a bowl, whisk the egg yolk, mustard and lime juice, season with salt. Whisk in the grapeseed oil in a steady stream until it thickens into mayonnaise. Stir in the basil and tarragon. In another bowl, mix the panko, cheese and lime zest.
On a rimmed baking sheet, scatter the green beans, mushrooms, shallots and green peppers. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
Slather the mayonnaise on the seasoned fish and coat with the panko mixture. Arrange the fish on the vegetables. Roast until cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Everyday Meals with Rachael Ray, October 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

RED VELVET BROWNIES and LIMONCELLO ROLL

When I remember my favorite things, it usually always involves people and food - I love any occasion where wonderful friends - familiar or as yet undiscovered - gather, and food is consumed.
A dear friend invited us for dinner and I offered to bring dessert. I wanted something that would please the kids and indulge the adults, and liked the contrast of the chocolate and lemon. Although my Limoncello Roll didn't so much elegantly roll as flop, it still tasted lovely.

RED VELVET BROWNIES


4 ounces of chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup butter
2 cups of sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 (1 ounce) bottle of red food coloring
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350F.
Line bottom and sides of a 9 inch pan with foil, lightly grease the foil.
Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwave safe bowl, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth.
Whisk in sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Gently stir in flour, food coloring, baking powder, vanilla extract and salt. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Lift brownies from pan, using foil sides as handles, gently remove foil. Spread cream cheese frosting on top of brownies and cut into squares.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar and salt, beating until blended. Stir in vanilla.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Southern Living, December 2010
www.southernliving.com › Food › Recipes

LIMONCELLO ROLL


5 eggs
pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
40 grams of butter, melted
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cups cream
1 cup lemon curd
2 tablespoons limoncello

Heat oven to 190C.
Grease and line a 35cm by 26cm baking dish.
Beat eggs until frothy. Add salt, sugar and vanilla and beat until thick and pale. Sift over combined flour and baking powder, add butter and fold in gently. Pour into dish and bake 10 to 12 minutes or until puffed. Turn out on to baking paper sprinkled with sugar. Cool before spreading with half the lemon curd.
Whip cream, add limoncello and remaining curd and mix until firm. Spread over sponge leaving a border on one long side. Tuck over and roll up sponge from the other side. Chill 2 to 3 hours before slicing.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from New Zealand House and Garden
www.nzhouseandgarden.co.nz/entertaining.asp

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

WHITE BEAN DIP and VANILLA CHAMPAGNE CAKE

We have had friends over for dinner a couple of times this month - a peaceful respite from the whirlwind of activity. It has been wonderful to spend time together, to just be able to sit and visit, to enjoy fabulous company, and simple food.

WHITE BEAN DIP


1 can white beans
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 shallot
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh sage
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Drain the beans, reserving about 1/4 cup of the liquid.
Puree all of the ingredients together in a food processor, adding more liquid if necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper, serve at room temperature with warm crusty bread.
Enjoy!

VANILLA CHAMPAGNE CAKE


3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup champagne
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup canola oil
5 cold eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350F.
Grease and flour a bundt pan, set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt.
Stir together champagne and sour cream.
In a large mixing bowl beat sugar, melted butter and oil with an electric mixer until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in vanilla extract. Beat for 3 to 5 minutes or until thicker and lighter in color.
Add one third of the flour mixture, mix on low just until combined, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Add half the wine mixture, beat just until combined. Repeat with one third of the flour mixture, the remaining wine mixture, and remaining flour mixture. Spoon batter into prepared pan.
Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 15 minutes. Turn out on rack, cool completely. Drizzle with champagne glaze.

CHAMPAGNE GLAZE

In a small bowl, combine 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of champagne. Stir in additional champagne, 1 teaspoon at a time, to reach drizzling consistency.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens All-Time Favorites, 2012 Cookbook
www.amazon.com › Books › Cookbooks, Food & Wine

Monday, December 17, 2012

SMOKED TROUT DIP

It's the most wonderful time of the year - we hug our family close, spend joyful time with friends, and remember and honor those who are no longer with us - while running around like crazy in between.
I was very much looking forward to an ornament exchange with a group of fabulous ladies, so fun and festive. Not only was there excellent conversation and incredible food, but I gained a beautiful ornament, handmade with recycled material.


SMOKED TROUT DIP


12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons horseradish
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
9 ounces of skinless smoked trout fillets, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons drained capers

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sour cream, horseradish, lemon juice, and worcestershire sauce in a medium bowl to blend well. Gently stir in smoked fish and capers. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer dip to a decorative bowl, cover and refrigerate, Serve with bread and crackers as desired.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2009
www.bonappetit.com/.../2009/.../smoked_trout_dip...

Monday, December 10, 2012

GINGERBREAD WAFFLES

I love those quiet mornings, when I can actually take the time to fulfill from scratch my kids breakfast requests. Although they didn't exactly ask for their waffles to be gingerbread, I thought it was a wonderful way to celebrate the season, and a beautiful morning.

GINGERBREAD WAFFLES


4 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

With an electric mixer, beat the eggs until they are light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar, molasses, and buttermilk and mix until blended, about 1 minute more.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir until smooth. Stir in the butter.
Cover and refrigerate the batter overnight or cook immediately in a waffle iron until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve with toppings of your choice.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Family Fun, April 2010
https://familyfun.go.com/...fun/.../familyfun.../familyfun-april-2010/ ...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

HONEY ROSEMARY CHERRY JAM and CANDIED CURRIED PECANS

My husband started a new business just over three years ago - a local trade exchange.
They recently had their annual holiday show, complete with refreshments and I was in charge of the cheese board. I joyfully made Honey Rosemary Cherry Jam and Candied Curried Pecans to accompany the cheeses, breads, fruit and crackers.
I have made the jam a couple of times since - it is so quick and delicious, and turns an ordinary cheese selection into something quite special.

HONEY ROSEMARY CHERRY JAM


1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 (12 ounce) package frozen dark, sweet pitted cherries, thawed
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I used rosemary balsamic)
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Saute shallot in hot oil in a skillet over medium high heat, 2 to 3 minutes or until tender. Add cherries, with any liquid, the vinegar, honey, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes.
(I added a little cornstarch mixed with water, returned the jam to a boil and cooked for a couple of minutes to thicken)
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Southern Living, December 2011
www.southernliving.com › Food › Recipes

CANDIED CURRIED PECANS


1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey
3 cups pecan halves

Heat oven to 250F.
Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Mix onion powder, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, curry powder, and cayenne pepper in small bowl to blend.
Melt butter and honey with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add pecan halves and stir to coat, remove from heat. Add spice mixture and toss to coat pecans evenly. Spread pecans in single layer on prepared baking sheet.
Bake pecans until dry and toasted, about 40 minutes. Cool completely. Separate pecans.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2002
www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/.../Candied-Curried-Pecans-10724...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

PEPPERMINT FROTH

One of our favorite holiday traditions is choosing our Christmas tree. We meet family friends, pack a large thermos of hot chocolate and kids and adults carry cups of the steaming beverage as we search for the perfect tree. The adults usually add a shot of peppermint schnapps to their libation, but this year I mixed up Peppermint Froth to accompany our hot chocolate and tree hunt.

PEPPERMINT FROTH

1 1/2 ounces vodka
1 ounce peppermint schnapps
1/2 ounce agave syrup
1/2 ounce cream

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine ingredients. Shake vigorously and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Holiday Entertaining Essentials

Friday, December 7, 2012

BACON PARMESAN SCONES and PIMIENTO CHEESE TARTS and LEMON CURD CAKES WITH POPPY SEEDS and CHOCOLATE TOFFEE BARS

There is almost no place I enjoy more than a library - there is something so enchanting about being surrounded by books and silence, an orderly cataloging system and so much available knowledge.
It was an honor to be asked to provide the refreshments for the dedication of the new library, at the local Elementary school my children attend. The PTA and the Starr Foundation had given so much of their time and resources, and I was very glad, and very excited to be able to contribute in some way.

BACON PARMESAN SCONES


4 slices of turkey bacon, chopped
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cream, plus 2 tablespoons

Heat oven to 400F.
In a medium skillet, cook the bacon, stirring until crisp, about 5 minutes.
Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in the butter, cheese, green onions and pepper with a pastry blender or fork, and work just until it starts to form lumps and come together. Add the bacon and 1 cup of cream and work just until it becomes a sticky dough.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and pat until it comes tougher, Form into a large circle, about 3/4 inch thick, and cut out scones with a 2 inch round cookie cutter. Transfer to cookie sheet, paint the tops of the wedges lightly with the remaining 2 tablespoons of cream and bake until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly on the baking sheet.
Best if served warm.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse, 2002
www.foodnetwork.com › Recipes

PIMIENTO CHEESE TARTS


2 cups grated extra sharp white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped drained pimientos
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon celery salt
mini filo tart cases

Heat oven to 350F.
Mix cheese, pimientos, mayonnaise and celery salt together in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Scoop a tablespoon of the cheese mixture into the mini filo tart cases.
Bake in oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until filling is heated through and bubbly.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, October 2008
www.bonappetit.com/.../2008/10/pimiento_cheese_...

LEMON CURD CAKES WITH POPPY SEEDS


CAKE
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
5 eggs, separated
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
LEMON SYRUP AND POPPY CREAM
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup cream
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

MAKE THE CAKES
Heat the oven to 350F.
Place liners in a cupcake tin, then place tin in a roasting pan.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar until pale, about 1 minute. Beat in the egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly beat in the milk, lemon juice and flour.
In a large bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites to firm peaks. Fold the whites into the batter and spoon among the prepared dishes. Add enough hot water to the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the cupcake tin. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until the cakes are slightly puffed and just set. Transfer the cupcake tin to a rack and let cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
MAKE THE LEMON SYRUP AND POPPY CREAM
In a small saucepan, combine the lemon zest, juice, vanilla bean and seeds and 1/4 cup sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring, until the sugar has melted, about 3 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean.
In a bowl, beat the cream with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar to soft peaks. Beat in the sour cream until firm. Stir in the 2 teaspoons of poppy seeds.
Place the cupcakes on a plate, spoon the lemon syrup onto cakes and top with the poppy cream. Garnish with poppy seeds, if desired, and serve.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, January 2010
www.foodandwine.com/recipes/lemon-curd-cakes-with-poppy-seeds

CHOCOLATE TOFFEE BARS


FOR THE CRUST
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
FOR THE TOPPING
1 tablespoon instant coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
6 ounces chocolate, chopped
6 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 cup toasted walnuts

TO PREPARE CRUST
Heat the oven to 350F. Line a baking pan, 13 by 9 inches, with aluminum foil, lightly butter the foil.
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add the egg yolk and beat well. Stir in the flour and salt until well mixed. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool slightly.
To prepare the filling, stir the instant coffee and vanilla in a large microwavable bowl until well blended. Stir in the condensed milk and butter until well blended. Microwave on high for 4 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and smooth, stirring every minute. Spread evenly over the baked layer in the pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until set. Sprinkle the surface evenly with the chopped chocolates. Bake for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the chocolate is melted. Use a spatula to smooth the surface. Sprinkle with the walnuts.
Cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until the chocolate is firm. Cut into bars to serve.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Northwest Arkansas Times, December 1999

Saturday, December 1, 2012

CREAMY PROSCIUTTO AND PORCINI PENNE

I made this absolutely wonderful pasta dish for my family. I was meeting friends out for dinner, and had a little taste before I left, thinking I would have a big plateful for lunch the next day. However, much to my disappointment - it was all gone by the time I returned home.
It is one of the first times I have used dried mushrooms, and they definitely leant a richness and depth to the sauce. I cannot wait to make this again, and this time, have a proper serving.

CREAMY PROSCIUTTO AND PORCINI PENNE


1/2 pound penne pasta
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 pound prosciutto, diced
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 large shallot, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup cream
1/3 cup marsala
shaved parmesan cheese
chopped parsley, for garnishing

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.
Bring the chicken stock and porcinis to a boil. Simmer until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Puree in a food processor.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the prosciutto and cook about 2 minutes. Add the creminis and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Add the shallot and garlic, season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cream and marsala. Stir in the mushroom puree and cook at a fairly rapid bubble, stirring until reduced, 10 minutes.
Add the pasta to the sauce. Top with cheese and parsley.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray, October 2012
www.rachaelraymag.com › In the Magazine