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Saturday, November 30, 2013

VANILLA MAPLE SCONES

Perfectly delicious for a lazy Saturday morning!

VANILLA MAPLE SCONES


SCONES
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons of flour
1 tablespoon vanilla powder
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup buttermilk
GLAZE
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons milk

TO MAKE SCONES
Heat oven to 350F. Butter and flour a baking sheet, set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together flour, vanilla powder, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut the butter into 1/2 inch pieces and add it to the dry mixture. Use your fingers to break down butter into small, pea size pieces. Stir in buttermilk until just combined.
Scrape the dough onto a well floured surface. If dough is too sticky to work with, fold in a little flour. Shape into a circle about 8 inches in diameter and 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut into 8 triangles and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through until scones spring back to the touch, 23 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
TO MAKE GLAZE
In a small bowl, stir together ingredients. Once scones have cooled, drizzle glaze on tops and let set.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Oprah Magazine, October 2011
www.oprah.com/food.html‎

Friday, November 29, 2013

CHICKEN ENCHILADAS and FALL CURRY CHICKEN

Although I used chicken in both of these pleasant recipes, left over turkey would be a perfect substitute. Transforming the bird from its previous Thanksgiving role on center stage to  b e a u t i f u l  back - up,   working well with other ingredients to create a completely new and different meal.

CHICKEN ENCHILADAS


5 tablespoons butter, divided
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups, chopped cooked chicken
3 (4 ounce) cans diced green chiles, divided
3 cups shredded colby-jack cheese blend, divided
8 flour tortillas
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk

Heat oven to 350F.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add onion and bell pepper, and sauté 5 minutes or until tender.
Stir together onion mixture, chicken, 1 can diced green chiles and 2 cups of shredded cheese.
Spoon 1/3 cup of chicken mixture on 1 end of each tortilla, and roll up. Arrange enchiladas, seam sides down, in a lightly greased 13 by 9 inch baking dish.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat, whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and milk, cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 3 to 4 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Remove from the heat and stir in remaining 2 cans of green chiles.
Remove enchiladas from oven. Pour green chile mixture over enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of cheese.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with cilantro, chopped tomato and shredded lettuce as desired.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Southern Living, October 2011
www.southernliving.com/food/‎

FALL CURRY CHICKEN


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and cubed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 pods cardamom
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup light coconut milk
3 tablespoons chicken broth
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 apple, peeled and diced

Heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat, add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes, or until onion begins to soften. Add curry powder, cayenne pepper, cardamom and tomato paste and mix. Pour in coconut milk and chicken broth, stirring until ingredients are combined.
Add squash to sauce and cover. Let simmer for 15 minutes, or until squash has softened. Return chicken and juices to pan. Simmer for 2 minutes, then add raisins and apple. Stir to combine.
(I ended up adding a jar of pre-made curry sauce to the mixture, as it seemed like it required more flavor).
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Shape Magazine, November 2013
www.shape.com/healthy-eating/healthy-recipes‎

Thursday, November 28, 2013

TANGERINE CHESS PIE and CHOCOLATE CHESS PIE

Happy Thanksgiving - here is a little something sweet to finish the festivities!!

TANGERINE CHESS PIE


1 package of refrigerated piecrusts
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons tangerine or orange zest
1/3 cup fresh tangerine or orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 large eggs, lightly beaten

Heat oven to 450F.
Unroll piecrusts, fit one into a 9 inch pie plate. Prick bottom and sides of crust with a fork. Bake 8 minutes, cool on a wire rack 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350F.
Whisk together sugar, flour, cornmeal, salt, butter, zest, tangerine and lemon juices and eggs, until blended. Pour into prepared piecrust.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is set.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Southern Living, February 2012
www.southernliving.com › Food › Recipes

CHOCOLATE CHESS PIE


1 ready made pie crust
1/2 cup butter
2 ounces chocolate
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350F.
Fit pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate.
Microwave butter and chocolate, until melted and smooth, about 1 1/2 minutes, stirring at 30 second intervals.
Whisk in evaporated milk, eggs and vanilla.
Stir together sugar, cocoa, flour and salt. Add sugar mixture to chocolate mixture, whisking until smooth, Pour mixture into prepared crust.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until pie is set. Remove to a wire rack, and cool completely.
Enjoy!

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

SOUTHERN CHESS PIE


1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
3 eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1 pie shell

Heat oven to 400F.
Cream and sugar in a bowl together. Stir in the flour. Add lightly beaten eggs, evaporated milk, nutmeg, vanilla and salt, mix well.
Pour into unbaked pie shell, bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 300F and bake for 30 minutes longer. Refrigerate after it cools completely.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Holiday Cookbook, 2009

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

GREEN BEANS WITH LEMON AND GARLIC and SWEET POTATOES WITH MIRIN AND HONEY and CREAMED SPINACH AND PARSNIPS and POTATOES COOKED IN DUCK FAT and BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH APPLEWOOD BACON and BUTTERNUT SQUASH PARMESAN

Lots of delicious side dishes. As much as I love turkey on Thanksgiving day - a tradition I didn't grow up with, but have come to adore, thanks to my wonderful in-laws, and excited kids, it is the vegetables, sides and condiments that really get me excited and encourage me to return to the beautifully laden buffet table again and again!!

GREEN BEANS WITH LEMON AND GARLIC


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 packet haricot vert
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup
4 cloves garlic, minced
zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add green beans and cook until a little brown, but still crisp, about 10 minutes.
Add lemon juice, salt, pepper and maple syrup. Add garlic, stir well, and cook for 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with lemon zest and toasted almonds.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Sams Club Healthy Living, November/December 2012
www3.samsclub.com/Healthyliving/.../daily-ways-to-stay-healthy

SWEET POTATOES WITH MIRIN AND HONEY


2 sweet potatoes
1/2 cup mirin
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons corn oil
2 tablespoons butter
salt to taste

Heat oven to 450F.
Pierce potatoes in several spots with a fork. Microwave sweet potaotes on high for 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Whisk mirin, honey, vinegar and salt in a medium bowl. Peel sweet potatoes and cut crosswise into 1 inch thick rounds. Add to mirin mixture and toss to coat.
Drizzle a baking dish with the oil, add sweet potatoes and mirin mixture to the dish, arranging sweet potatoes cut side down. Bake until sweet potatoes are caramelized on one side, 15 to 20 minutes. Turn sweet potatoes and cook until tender and caramelized, 5 to 7 minutes longer. Transfer sweet potatoes to a platter. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the baking dish, scraping up browned bits. Add butter, swirling pan to melt and combine. Pour sauce over sweet potatoes. Season with salt.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2012
www.bonappetit.com/recipes‎

CREAMED SPINACH AND PARSNIPS


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds small parsnips, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 pounds baby spinach
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups half and half or whole milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the oil. Add the parsnips and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and thyme and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer over low heat until the parsnips are tender, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill a large, deep pot with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Add the spinach in large handfuls and blanch, stirring, just until wilted, about 10 seconds. Drain and cool under running water. Squeeze the spinach dry and coarsely chop it. Stir the spinach into the parsnips.
In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking for 1 minute. Whisk in the half and half and nutmeg, season with salt and pepper and bring the sauce to a boil, whisking until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir the sauce into the spinach and parsnips and bring to a simmer. Transfer to a bowl and serve.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, November 2008
www.foodandwine.com/‎

POTATOES COOKED IN DUCK FAT


1 1/2 pounds of potatoes
3 tablespoons rendered duck fat
1/2 cup packed parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves

Peel potatoes, then cut them into 1/4 inch thick slices. Rinse in 2 or 3 changes of cold water, until the water runs clear. Drain and pat dry.
Heat fat in a skillet, over medium heat until melted. Cook potatoes with 3/4 teaspoon salt, turning gently, until coated with fat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, turning occasionally, until golden in spots and potatoes are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, finely chop parsley and garlic together.
Gently stir parsley mixture into cooked potatoes.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Epicurious
www.epicurious.com › recipes & menus‎

BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH APPLEWOOD BACON



2 pounds of brussels sprouts, halved
6 slices of applewood smoked bacon, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons of butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg

Cook brussels sprouts in boiling, salted water to cover, for 4 minutes, drain. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process, drain.
Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often, 10 minutes, or until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Reserve 1 tablespoon of drippings in the skillet.
Melt butter in hot drippings over medium-high heat, stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute or until sugar is melted and sauce thickens slightly. Stir in brussels sprouts, cook, stirring often, 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Southern Living, November 2012
www.southernliving.com/food/‎

BUTTERNUT SQUASH PARMESAN


1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
4 teaspoons of olive oil, divided
1 onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese, divided

Heat oven to 425F.
Toss squash with 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a 15 by 10 inch pan. Spread evenly onto the bottom of the pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
Add onions, pepper and remaining oil, toss to coat. Spread in an even layer in the pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
Drizzle with broth, mix lightly. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of parmesan, toss to coat. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with remaining parmesan.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food and Family, Fall 2010
www.kraftrecipes.com/foodfamilyarchive/‎

Monday, November 25, 2013

PAN SEARED SCALLOPS WITH GINGER SAUCE

This is a dish elegant enough to serve to guests, but simple enough to make for a quiet evening at home. Which is exactly what I did when I had a longing for scallops recently. My husband and I enjoyed them with the ginger sauce, while our kids preferred them plain.

PAN SEARED SCALLOPS WITH GINGER SAUCE


1 carrot, peeled and quartered
1 shallot, peeled and quartered
1 (2 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic, peeled and cut in half
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound sea scallops
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
basil for garnish

In a medium saucepan, combine carrot, shallot, ginger, garlic, wine and broth. Cook uncovered, over medium heat for 12 minutes, or until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Strain, discard vegetables and reserve liquid.
Pat scallops dry with paper towel. In a skillet that has been coated with cooking spray, heat oil over medium-high heat. Place scallops in a single layer in pan. Cook until golden brown on bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn scallops. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cook for 2 minutes longer or until second side is lightly golden. Reduce heat to low.
Pour reserved liquid over scallops. Simmer 1 minute, or until scallops are done.
To serve, arrange scallops on plate, spoon sauce over them and sprinkle with basil.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, March 2008
www.arkansasonline.com/news/features/food/‎

Saturday, November 23, 2013

CHEF ZHANGS PORK BELLY SAUCE

I was recently captivated by a book that was a wonderful, mouthwatering combination of food and travel. "On the Noodle Road", written by Jen Lin-Liu, attempted to trace the origin of the noodle through various countries, it was flavored with musings on womens roles in the different countries she visits, and incorporated the parallel adventure of her marriage. In fact, I found myself not so intent on discovering the origin of the noodle, but whether her marriage would remain intact.
Jen is someone I would like to cook with, take a cooking class from and sit and eat noodles with, all kinds of noodles, all over the world - I love her passion for food, and I felt very inspired to savor all the delicious sounding cuisine, while immersed in the various cultures she mentions.
Even though the recipes in the book were adapted for American kitchens, I still found the noodle techniques a little intimidating - but I couldn't wait to try this pork belly recipe - and it was every bit as flavorful and delicious as I imagined it would be.

CHEF ZHANGS PORK BELLY SAUCE


1 pound pork belly, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup soy sauce
1 quart water
1 leek, cut into 1-inch pieces (white part only)
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
4 star anise
2 bay leaves
1 tabelspoon powdered chicken bouillon
2 whole dried red chili peppers
1/2 teaspoon salt

Fill pan (or wok) halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add the pork, return to a boil, and simmer for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Place the pan over high heat until it is dry again, then add the vegetable oil and sugar. Stir vigorously until the mixture begins to caramelize. When it is reddish brown, add the blanched pork, stir to coat with the sugar, then add 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce. Stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the water, the remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce, the leeks, ginger, star anise, bay leaves, bouillon, red chili peppers, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour, until the sauce is thick (I left it bubbling on the stove for about 4 hours). Discard the bay leaves.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from On the Noodle Road, Jen Lin-Liu

Friday, November 22, 2013

CABERNET SHORT RIBS WITH PARMESAN POLENTA and BRAISED SHORT RIBS

I was first introduced to short ribs by a friend, on a cold, winters evening. Hers had simmered in a slow cooker all day, and I'm not sure if it was the wonderful warmth of the friendship I was feeling at the time, or the cocktails I had mixed up, the fun and thrill of trying something new, or the fact that our husbands drove across the snowy town to liberate the short ribs from her house and bring them to ours for the impromptu dinner we organized after running into their family at the near-by park-turned into sled area, but her short ribs were absolutely amazing.
I have cooked short ribs several times since then, and they always bring back marvelous memories of that first time I experienced them, although they have never tasted quite so good as they did that night.

CABERNET SHORT RIBS WITH PARMESAN POLENTA


RIBS
16 (3 ounce) bone in beef short ribs, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped shallots
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 rosemary sprig
2 1/2 cups cabernet sauvignon
1 1/4 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon flour
2 teaspoons water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
GREMOLATA
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 garlic clove, minced
POLENTA
3 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup quick cooking polenta
1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

Sprinkle the ribs with salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch Oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan, add ribs, saute for 6 minutes, turning to brown on all sides, cooking in batches if needed.
Remove ribs. Add onion, shallots, carrot, celery, garlic and rosemary to pan, saute for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add wine to pan and bring to a boil. Cook for 13 minutes or until reduced to 2 cups.
Heat oven to 350F.
Add broth to pan, and bring to a boil. Return ribs to pan. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours, turning ribs after 45 minutes.
Remove ribs from pan, and strain cooking liquid through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Discard the solids. Skim the fat and discard.
Return cooking liquid to pan. Combine flour and 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl, stirring well. Add to pan, and bring to a boil. Cook for 11 minutes or until reduced to about 1 cup. Stir in vinegar.
To prepare gremolata, combine 1/3 cup parsley, 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind, and minced garlic.
To prepare polenta, bring milk, cooking broth, salt and freshly ground black pepper to a boil over medium heat. Slowly stir in polenta. Cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese. Place polenta in shallow bowls, and top each serving with ribs, sauce and about 2 teaspoons of gremolata.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, October 2011
www.cookinglight.com/food/recipe-finder/‎


BRAISED SHORT RIBS


4 1/2 pounds beef short ribs
2 cups red wine
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 6-ounce package sliced button mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, peeled
6 fresh parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves

Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper.
Place in an even layer in a slow cooker. Add red wine, tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, garlic, parsley and bay leaves, cover and cook on low heat until meat is tender, about 8 hours.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer ribs to serving bowl. Discard parsley and bay leaves. Spoon fat off top of sauce and pour sauce over ribs.
Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, October 2008
www.bonappetit.com/recipes‎

Thursday, November 21, 2013

SAFFRON AND PISTACHIO SHORTBREAD COOKIES

My daughter cleaned out her closet recently, and knowing how much I love previously owned clothes, especially those from friends, I offered the clothes to friends of ours with two girls younger than Elise.
When delivering items, I always try to deliver a treat too. I made these Saffron Pistachio Shortbread Cookies to go along with the clothes, they had a delightfully crunchy texture, and the flavor of the saffron was as unique as my daughters style.

SAFFRON AND PISTACHIO SHORTBREAD COOKIES


1 cup butter, softened
1 vanilla bean, scraped
zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped pistachios

Use a mortar and pestle to finely grind the saffron threads into a fine powder. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add in the vanilla bean seeds, orange zest, salt and ground saffron.
Mix in the powdered sugar and flour and stir until just combined. Form the cookie dough into a log, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least two hours.
Heat oven to 325F.
Roll the cookie dough log in the chopped pistachios (I let the cookie dough soften a little to allow the pistachios to adhere). Slice into 1/4 inch pieces.
Place the cookies on parchment lined cookie sheets, at least 1 inch apart, and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the edges are light golden brown.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Yossy Arefi, Apt. 2B Baking Co.
apt2bbakingco.blogspot.com/‎

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

SPINACH SALAD WITH BACON AND EGG

With the holiday season almost upon us, it's wonderful to be able to make a quick, fuss free, one dish meal, that is fresh, delicious and lighter on calories. The added bonus is, it clears out the refrigerator to make room for the turkey and stuffing that will be requiring a cool space next week.

SPINACH SALAD WITH BACON AND EGG


8 slices of thick cut, bacon
1 (10 ounce) package of mushrooms, sliced
1 red onion, chopped
4 eggs
2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
baby spinach
12 ounces of mixed cherry tomatoes, halved

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove from pan, drain on a paper towel. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings, discard the rest.
Chop the bacon into bite sized pieces when it is cool enough to handle.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook 4 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Add onion, cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
Poach the eggs.
Meanwhile, in the same skillet the mushroom-onion mixture was cooked in, whisk red wine vinegar, remaining 1 1/2 bacon drippings, olive oil, mustard and salt until well blended and warmed through.
Add desired amount of spinach to the mushroom mixture in bowl and pour warm dressing over, toss to coat. Add tomatoes and reserved bacon pieces. Divide salad into 4 servings, top each with a poached egg. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from RedBook Magazine
www.redbookmag.com/‎

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

TRAVEL TUESDAY - OCHO RIOS, JAMAICA

It was a brief visit to Jamaica for my husband and I - he was attending a conference and I was planning on relaxing by the pool. We stayed at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort, in Ocho Rios, a former fishing village turned tourist destination, and about an hour and 45 minutes from the Montego airport.
The resort was all-inclusive, offering a choice of 6 restaurants, including a buffet, bar and grill and several upscale restaurants that required reservations. Mealtimes mostly revolved around social time with the other conference attendees, and although my husband was immersed in seminars for most of the day and networking in the evenings, we did manage to sneak away for one quiet, romantic, lovely dinner.
The weekend was definitely a fun escape from everyday life, and although it was disappointing not to have had the opportunity to taste authentic Jamaican cuisine, it gives us a good excuse to venture back.

Also see my Tuesday, January 29, 2013 post
http://recipedoodle.blogspot.com/2013/01/jerk-chicken.html

Beautiful view from the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort
Gorgeous salad from LaDiva Italian restaurant at the resort

Monday, November 18, 2013

ALMOND WHITE CHOCOLATE COOKIES

I made these Almond White Chocolate cookies for my kids and their friends after school. I was busy in other parts of the house so I set the timer on the oven and then set the timer on my phone to go off a couple of minutes early. When the timer went off, I went back to the kitchen to take the cookies out of the oven, and to transfer the previous batch off the cookie sheet, to a rack to cool, but the cookies were already all gone off the cookie sheet! Thankfully there was a large bowl of cookie dough just waiting to be made into cookies and baked, that the kids also enjoyed.

ALMOND WHITE CHOCOLATE COOKIES


2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
2 cups white chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375F.
Mix flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and almond extract, mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed, until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop by tablespoons about 1 inch apart onto cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks, cool completely.
Enjoy!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

RUM SPIKED GINGER BEER COCKTAILS and GINGER PARSNIP SOUP WITH BACON PARMESAN CRISPS and ARUGULA PEAR SALAD WITH SMOKED PROVOLONE AND GINGER PEAR DRESSING and PORK CHOPS WITH PEAR AND GINGER SAUCE and GINGERED GREEN BEANS and EASY GINGERBREAD and GINGER OAT CRUNCH

I have been on quite a ginger kick lately - I didn't realize it until I had gathered my recipes from the past week to sit down and write them - sweet to savory, cooking for dinner parties, family, and friends, I pretty much covered everything!

RUM SPIKED GINGER BEER COCKTAILS


In a pitcher, combine 6 ounces of dark rum and 1/4 cup fresh lime juice. Refrigerate. Add two 12 ounce bottles of chilled ginger beer and divide among glasses.
Garnish each with a lime wedge.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray
www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/‎

GINGER PARSNIP SOUP WITH BACON PARMESAN CRISPS


1 onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons maple syrup
14 ounces of chicken broth
1 pound of parsnips, peeled and chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup of half and half
salt and pepper to taste
Bacon Parmesan Crisps - recipe to follow

Saute onion and celery in hot oil in a saucepan over medium heat, 5 to 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in ginger and maple syrup, and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in broth and parsnips, cover and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes or until parsnips are tender. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
Process parsnip mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in half and half, cook over low heat for 2 to 4 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with Bacon Parmesan Crisps.

BACON PARMESAN CRISPS

French baguette slices, 1/2 inch thick
olive oil
slices of parmesan cheese
cooked bacon slices
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400F. Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, bake for 5 to 8 minutes, until lightly browned.
Place a piece of cheese and a third of a slice of bacon on each bread slice, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bake for 5 minutes.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Southern Living, February 2010
www.southernliving.com/food/‎

ARUGULA PEAR SALAD WITH SMOKED PROVOLONE AND GINGER PEAR DRESSING


1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons ginger and pear preserves
1/2 cup pear infused white balsamic vinegar
1 shallot, diced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
4 to 6 cups arugula
2 pears, cut into wedges
8 slices of smoked provolone cheese
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Process the ginger pear preserves, vinegar, shallot, mustard, salt and pepper in a food processor, 30 seconds to 1 minute or until smooth. Pour olive oil in, processing until smooth.
Transfer to a bowl, set aside.
Place arugula on serving plates, top with pears, provolone and walnuts.
Drizzle with vinaigrette.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Southern Living, December 2012
www.southernliving.com/food/‎

PORK CHOPS WITH PEAR AND GINGER SAUCE


5 pork chops
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 pear, peeled, cored and sliced lengthwise
1 tablespoon grated ginger
6 green onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed with 2 teaspoons of water

Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet, over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook until browned and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate to keep warm.
Add vinegar and sugar to the pan, stir to dissolve the sugar. Cook over medium-high heat for about 10 to 20 seconds, until the syrup turns a dark amber color. Pour in the wine and bring to a simmer, stirring. Add broth, pears and ginger, bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, turning pears occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add green onions and cook until the pears are tender, about 2 minutes more. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring until lightly thickened. Reduce heat to low and return the pork and any accumulated juices to the pan, turn to coat with the sauce.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Morning News, January 2005

GINGERED GREEN BEANS


2 pounds whole green beans, trimmed
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
salt

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the beans until crisp tender, about 4 minutes. Drain the beans and pat dry.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the ground ginger and crushed red pepper, then add the beans. Season with salt and stir fry until the garlic is lightly browned and the beans are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the beans to a platter and serve.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, December 2010
www.foodandwine.com/recipes‎

EASY GINGERBREAD


1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg, well beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350F.
Grease a loaf pan.
Sift ginger and flour together. In a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until well combined. Add flour mixture and blend well. Beat in molasses and egg.
Dissolve baking soda in boiling water, add to batter and mix well. Pour into prepared pan, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, November 2003
www.arkansasonline.com/news/features/food/‎

GINGER OAT CRUNCH


150 grams of butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup self raising flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
GINGER ICING
125 grams butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
40 grams of crystallised ginger

Heat oven to 180C.
Melt together butter, golden syrup and brown sugar. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl, pour over butter mixture and stir thoroughly. Press mixture into a 19 by 26 centimeter tin, well greased.
Bake for 20 minutes until a light golden color. Allow base to cool until just warm.
TO MAKE THE GINGER ICING
Melt butter and golden syrup, mix in icing sugar and ginger to make a smooth icing, adding extra icing sugar if needed. Spread icing over base.
Chop crystallised ginger and scatter over icing. Allow to set and then cut into pieces.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from New Zealand Womans Weekly, July 2010
http://www.nzwomansweekly.co.nz

Saturday, November 16, 2013

SWEET POTATO COCONUT SOUP and SPICED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

I served both of these lovely soups at dinner parties, where wonderful friends were gathered. I was excited to share my affection for squash and sweet potatoes, especially when they are blended into luscious soups.
It's fun and delicious to top the soups with whatever you have on hand - herbs, cheeses, yogurt, or in this case, creme fraiche and harissa, for an extra shot of flavor and interest.

SWEET POTATO  COCONUT SOUP


1 1/2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, grated
pinch of red pepper flakes
3 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 pounds of sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups of coconut milk
1 tablespoon of clover honey
large pinch of ground cinnamon

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and ginger, cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Add stock and water, bring to a boil. Add sweet potatoes, bring to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes.
Process with an immersion blender until smooth.
Simmer over low heat. Whisk in coconut milk, honey and cinnamon.
Cook until warmed through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Enjoy!

SPICED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP


SPICE BLEND
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tespoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
SOUP
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
salt
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1/4 pound aged gouda, shredded
harissa
freshly ground black pepper

MAKE THE SPICE BLEND
In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients.
MAKE THE SOUP
In a large heavy pot, toss the onion with the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook over moderately-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the squash, cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, 1 teaspoon of the spice blend and the water to the pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the squash is tender, 20 minutes. Let cool.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender, or use an immersion blender. Add the creme fraiche, 3/4 of the cheese and 1 teaspoon of the harissa to the last batch. Return all of the soup to the pot and season with salt and black pepper. Serve the soup, passing the remaining cheese and more harissa at the table.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, October 2011
www.foodandwine.com/recipes‎

Friday, November 15, 2013

CREAMY CHOCOLATE MARTINI and CHOCOLATE MARTINI and dark chocolate martini

A friend and I were talking about food and cocktails one day, and she mentioned she used to have a recipe for a fabulous chocolate martini - I tried several chocolate variations before I found one that was similar to what she described.
She came over for cocktails recently, and I served the Creamy Chocolate Martini, delicious!!

CREAMY CHOCOLATE MARTINI


chocolate syrup
2 ounces Godiva chocolate liqueur
2 ounces vodka
1/2 to 1 ounce of cream
ice

Swirl the chocolate syrup around the inside of a martini glass. Mix the chocolate liqueur, vodka and cream in a cocktail shaker, over ice.
Pour into prepared glass.
Enjoy!

CHOCOLATE MARTINI


2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce creme de cacao

Pour ingredients into a shaker filled with ice, shake well. Pour into a martini glass.
Enjoy!!

DARK CHOCOLATE MARTINI


3 ounces vodka
2 1/4 ounces Creme de Cacao
3/4 ounce Kahlua
1 dash Hersheys Chocolate Syrup

Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Strain and serve in a chilled martini glass.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food.com
http://www.food.com/recipe/dark-chocolate-martini-144945 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

WHOLE WHEAT BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

We arrived home early evening, after a lovely, long, rambling drive in the country side.
My husband had put beef shanks in the crock pot, that morning before we left, and it was absolutely wonderful to come home to a warm, delicious smelling home.
I promptly made these dense, scrumptious biscuits to go with the stew, which we ate snuggled up in the T.V room - savoring family time with none other than Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Truly Scrumptious.

WHOLE WHEAT BUTTERMILK BISCUITS


2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

Heat oven to 450F.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Whisk in the cheddar cheese. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, rub or cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea-size pieces remaining.
Mix in the buttermilk, stirring, just until the dough holds together.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 7 1/2 inch square that is 3/4 inch thick.
Cut the dough into 9 squares and transfer the squares to a baking sheet. Bake the biscuits for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown on the top.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, October 2013
www.foodandwine.com/recipes‎

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

TRAVEL TUESDAY - BACON CHEESEBURGERS WITH CHIPOTLE KETCHUP - OZONE, ARKANSAS

A couple of weekends ago, when the leaves were at their peak, we took a lovely family drive through the stunning, colorful countryside - destination - Ozone, Arkansas.
A friend told me about a little burger place, that served the most amazing food. It was so fabulous that she planned to take out of town guests there, therefore, I made it my goal to experience the Burger Barn for myself. When someone tells me about a great place for food, I am always intrigued and always try to check it out - I'm the same way with a good book.
I talked about it so much for so long, that my husband finally agreed to visit the Burger Barn, so we made it our Sunday drive destination. Although we were the only customers when we arrived there, there was soon a long line behind us, and the restaurant eventually turned people away. They had quite an extensive menu, there was outside seating, and fun activities set up around the property for the kids to do, and although the man taking the orders was a little grumpy, it added to the atmosphere and his burgers were quite gratifying.



The Burger Barn cheeseburger
The adorable Burger Barn

BACON CHEESEBURGERS WITH CHIPOTLE KETCHUP


16 slices of bacon
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 to 2 pounds of ground beef
1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons of ground coriander
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
salt and pepper
4 slices of sharp cheddar
4 slices of pepper jack
4 burger rolls, split and toasted
lettuce leaves and jalapenos for serving
chipotle ketchup (recipe below)

Heat the oven to 400F. Place the bacon on a broiler pan, bake until crisp, about 15 minutes.
Chop 8 slices of bacon, set aside.
Drizzle a pan with olive oil, add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook until softened, 7 to 8 minutes. Let cool. In a bowl, combine the beef, chopped bacon, onion mixture, paprika, cumin, coriander and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Form into 4 patties (I actually made 6).
Add to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning once, for 8 to 10 minutes. Add one slice of each cheese on top during the last minute of two of cooking (or place on the rolls while they are toasting).
Layer each roll bottom with a burger, 2 bacon slices, lettuce, jalapenos, chipotle ketchup and a roll top.

CHIPOTLE KETCHUP
1 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon of chipotle pepper powder
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar (I used balsamic)
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

In a saucepan, combine all of the ingredients. Simmer over low heat until thickened, about 20 minutes.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray
www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/‎

Monday, November 11, 2013

FRANCESCAS

Todays recipe is in Honor and Thanks for our Veterans.
I discovered an Allied Cookery Book, and baked this lovely, rather decadent sounding dessert for my family.

FRANCESCAS


Mix together 2 eggs, 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup of flour (scant), 2 squares of melted bitter chocolate (I used 2 ounces of melted dark chocolate), and 1 cup of chopped (not too finely) walnuts. Bake on well-buttered paper in moderate oven (I baked at 350F). (I baked them for 15 minutes). Cut in squares while hot.

Recipe adapted from Allied Cookery: British, French, Italian, Belgian, Russian/arranged by Grace Clergue Harrison and Gertrude Clergue, to aid the war sufferers in the devastated districts of France, 1916
digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/HumanEcol.AlliedCook‎

Sunday, November 10, 2013

TEA COOKIES and FROSTED MAPLE APPLE PIE DESSERT

A friend graciously let me borrow her set of leaf cookie cutters, which I needed for baking, then she thoughtfully and generously ordered me my own set and had them delivered to my home. It was such a wonderful surprise to receive an unexpected and fun package in the mail.
It is the perfect time of year to be baking leaf shaped delights -and  my family have been taking great pleasure in my cooking experiments with the cookie cutters.

My friends fabulous cookie cutters
My marvellously fun leaf cookie cutters

TEA COOKIES


1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons meringue powder
5 teaspoons water
food coloring

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour and salt, gradually add to the creamed mixture.
Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours until dough is easy to handle.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with floured cookie cutters into shape of your choice. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake at 350F for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
For glaze, in a small bowl, combine confectioners' sugar and meringue powder, stir in water until smooth. Tint with food coloring of your choice. Spread over cookies, let stand until set.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home, April 2012
www.tasteofhome.com/‎

FROSTED MAPLE APPLE PIE DESSERT


PASTRY
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
3 to 4 tablespoons cold water
FILLING
6 cups peeled, thinly sliced apples
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon maple flavor
MAPLE FROSTING
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon maple flavor
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons milk or cream

Heat oven to 450F.
In a large bowl mix the flour and salt for the pastry. Cut in shortening until particles are the size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl.
Divide pastry in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 part to fit a 9 by 9 inch baking dish, on the bottom and up the sides.
In a large bowl, stir filling ingredients until mixed. Spoon evenly into pastry lined dish.
Roll remaining pastry out to about a 7 by 5 inch rectangle. Cut into leaf shapes and place over apples.
Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400F, bake for 20 to 30 minutes longer or until juices are bubbly and clear in the center, apples are tender and the crust is a golden brown.
In a small bowl, stir frosting ingredients until thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over top crust.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker, Cakes Pies and Tarts

Saturday, November 9, 2013

BAKED ZITI

An old friend and her kids made a long drive and came to stay a couple of weeks ago. We met when I first moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana in 1998 - a long time ago - and our kids have also become good friends. It was a short visit, but marvelous!!
After ordering pizza for lunch, the kids decided they wanted to just hang out and play at the house, so Rachel and I spent the chilly, grey afternoon in the kitchen, happily, peacefully and warmly chatting and cooking, pasta, meatballs, and dessert, and drinking endless cups of tea, while the girls created lavender scented sachets out of dried lavender buds, napkins and ribbon.
The one sight we did take our visitors to see, was the nearby Target Store - every one of the kids was anxious to spend their money and souvenir cash there. We had to laugh because while in Lake Charles over the summer, that was where my kids wanted to venture to - 10 hours in the car to go to a store it would take us 10 minutes to drive to!!

My husband spent his weekend days at a Rotary Conference and traveling to Kansas City for a professional football game. Out of relief, or resignation, or I like to think, graciousness, he spent the night at a hotel close to the conference, even though it was local, allowing my friend and I wonderful time to talk and continue catching up well into the night.


BAKED ZITI


SAUCE
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
PASTA
1 pound ziti
2 (15 ounce) containers ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

TO PREPARE SAUCE
Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add garlic and cook one minute. Add tomatoes. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add salt, sugar and pepper.
Heat oven to 350F. Coat a 13 by 9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
TO PREPARE THE PASTA
Cook ziti, drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water.
Place pasta, ricotta, salt, garlic powder, oregano, red pepper flakes, black pepper, half of the parmesan and 1/2 cup cheddar in a large bowl. Stir to mix, adding a few spoons of pasta cooking water until creamy.
Add tomato sauce and mix. Place in a baking dish. Sprinkle the top with remaining parmesan and cheddar cheeses.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, utnil thoroughly heated.
Remove foil during last 10 minutes of cooking time, to brown.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Relish Magazine, February 2010
relish.com/recipes/‎

Friday, November 8, 2013

POMEGRANATE CHAMPAGNE COCKTAIL

Cheers to Friday and the Weekend ahead - wishing you a beautiful one!

POMEGRANATE CHAMPAGNE COCKTAIL



For each cocktail, add 1 1/2 ounces pomegranate juice, 8 pomegranate seeds, 1/4 ounce fresh lime juice, stir. Top with champagne.
Enjoy!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE WHOOPIE PIES and CARROT PUMPKIN BARS WITH ORANGE ICING and CHOCOLATE CHIP PUMPKIN BREAD and PUMPKIN PUDDINGS

I love all things pumpkin, and love the convenience of opening a can and scooping out the ready to use puree, as opposed to peeling, dicing, cooking and mashing to attain the same result.
I am loathe to waste any of this fabulous fruit once I delve into a can, and these three sweet, delightful recipes originated from the siren song of the open can in my refrigerator.

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE WHOOPIE PIES


2 cups flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus 1/4 cup, room temperature
3/4 cup cream
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar

Heat oven to 350F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, melted butter, and 1/4 cup cream. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and whisk just until combined.
Drop dough in 2 tablespoon mounds, 1 inch apart, onto two parchment lined baking sheets. Bake until the tops of the cookies spring back when gently pressed, about 14 minutes.
Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely.
In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat room temperature butter, 1/2 cup cream, cocoa powder and confectioners sugar on medium-high until fluffy, 2 minutes.
Spread filling on flat side of half the cookies, sandwich with remaining cookies.
To serve, dust with cocoa powder.
Enjoy!

CARROT PUMPKIN BARS WITH ORANGE ICING


2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice, plus extra as needed

Heat oven to 350F. Grease a 15 by 10 inch baking pan, set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, orange peel, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine eggs and brown sugar. Stir in the pumpkin, oil, milk, and vanilla. Stir in carrots and walnuts. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until combined. Spread batter in prepared pan.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack.
For orange icing: In a mixing bowl, combine powdered sugar and orange juice. Add extra orange juice as needed, to make icing of drizzling consistency.
Drizzle icing over the top of the bars.
Enjoy!

CHOCOLATE CHIP PUMPKIN BREAD


2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/2 can pumpkin
1 cup plus 1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon raw sugar

Heat oven to 350F. Grease a loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, stir flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until mixed, set aside. In a large bowl, beat 1 cup of sugar and the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed 1 to 2 minutes or until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Beat in water and pumpkin on low speed. Add flour mixture, beat on low speed until moistened. Stir in 1 cup of the chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips, and the sugar.
Bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, remove to cooling rack.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker, Fall Baking, October 2009
www.bettycrocker.com/recipes‎

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

BEEF AND BLACK BEAN CHILI and BEEF CHEEKS STEW WITH CARIBBEAN SPICES and FLEMISH BEEF STEW and MARINATED FLANK STEAK and STEAK PITAS and VAMPIRE STEAK

Although a hearty steak has become our oldest childs meal of choice, I don't often serve beef for dinner.
However, whether for friends, a dinner party, overnight guests, family, at home or while on vacation, beef seems to have been a frequent feature at our table lately. My husband even served marrow bone with crusty bread at a recent dinner party.
I also, have experimented with cuts of the cow I have never tried before, as well as followed more familiar recipes.

BEEF AND BLACK BEAN CHILI


1 pound of ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
3/4 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoons smoked paprika
green onions and grated cheddar cheese to garnish

In a large skillet, cook ground beef, onion, pepper and garlic over medium heat until browned.
Drain fat. Transfer meat mixture to a slow cooker. Add beans, tomatoes, broth, cocoa powder, chili powder, cumin and paprika.
Cover and cook on high heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.
Garnish with green onions and cheese as desired
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, December 2012
www.bhg.com/recipes/‎

BEEF CHEEKS STEW WITH CARIBBEAN SPICES


2 1/2 pounds beef cheeks, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
6 garlic cloves (2 chopped and 4 whole)
pinch nutmeg
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cassareep (or substitute 1 tablespoon molasses, 1/2 teaspoon vinegar, juice of 1 lime)
2 sprigs parsley
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 2-inch piece of ginger, finely diced
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 cups beef stock
4 bay leaves

Marinate meat for 8 hours or overnight in cider vinegar, 1 chopped garlic clove, nutmeg and 2 tablespoons of oil.
Heat pan over high heat. Add remaining oil and brown sugar. When sugar caramelizes, after about 3 minutes, add the beef and the cassareep. Cook meat, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes.
Add parsley, scallions, onions, shallots and remaining garlic. Saute until onions begin to brown, 5 to 10 minutes, then add ginger, thyme, cloves, allspice, salt and pepper.
Continue cooking for another 10 minutes, then add enough stock to cover the meat. Add bay leaves and lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes.
Remove herb sprigs and bay leaves before serving.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Wall Street Journal, September 2012
online.wsj.com/public/page/magazine-food.html‎

FLEMISH BEEF STEW


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 pounds flank steak, cut into cubes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups diced onions
1/2 cup flour
Three 12-ounce cans of beer
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
chopped parsley, for garnish

In a heavy pot or enameled casserole dish, melt the butter. Season the beef with salt and pepper and add it to the dish (add in batches if needed).
Cook over moderate heat until lightly browned. Transfer meat to a bowl. Add the onions to the casserole dish, cover and cook over low heat, stirring, until browned, 8 minutes. Stir in the flour until the onions are well-coated, then slowly add the beer. Return the meat to the casserole along with any accumulated juices. Add the thyme and bay leaves, cover and simmer over low heat, stirring until the beef is tender, 2 hours.
Uncover and transfer the meat to a bowl. Simmer the sauce over moderate heat until thickened slightly. Discard the bay leaves. Return the meat to the casserole and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, October 2011
www.foodandwine.com/recipes‎

MARINATED FLANK STEAK


6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 2 pound flank steak
salt

Combine greeen onions, garlic, soy sauce, lime juice, olive oil, brown sugar, hot pepper sauce and toasted sesame oil, in a large resealable plastic bag and mix well. Add steak, seal bag, pressing out excess air. Turn steak to coat. Refrigerate overnight, turning bag occasionally.
Heat grill to high. Remove steak from bag, season both sides lightly with salt. Grill steak until well browned, about 6 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice thinly against the grain.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, June 2012
www.bonappetit.com/recipes‎

STEAK PITAS


1/4 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, drained
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 onions, cut into 1/8 inch thick slices
salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds of filet mignon, cut crosswise into 4 even pieces
4 plain pitas
handful of spinach leaves

Heat a grill to medium.
In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, mayonnaise, horseradish and garlic.
Lightly brush the onions with olive oil, place them on the grill. Season with salt and pepper, cover the grill and cook, carefully turning once, until softened and lightly charred, about 5 minutes, transfer to a bowl.
Pat the beef dry and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill for about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before thinly slicing crosswise.
Grill the pitas, turning once, until just warmed through but not crisp, about 1 minute.
Slice the pitas in half, spread the insides with 2 generous teaspoons of horseradish sauce, then stuff with the spinach, sliced meat and grilled onions. Finish with a dollop of the remainig sauce and serve immediately.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine, June 2011
www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/rachael-ray-magazine-recipe-search‎

SWEDISH MEATBALLS


MEATBALLS
3 pounds ground beef
1 onion, diced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
GRAVY
4 tablespoons flour
2 (10.5 ounce) cans beef consommé
1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste

Place a large nonstick frying pan on medium-high heat. While pan is heating, thoroughly mix together ground beef, diced onion, eggs, breadcrumbs, parsley, salt and pepper. Form mixutre into 1 inch meatballs. Brown meatballs on all sides, in batches if necessary. Use a slotted spoon to remove browned meatballs to heatproof plate, leaving drippings in pan.
Sprinkle flour over drippings and whisk until combined. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or just until flour turns light golden brown. Slowly whisk in consommé and Worcestershire. Add milk, salt and pepper while whisking constantly. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, or just until gravy starts to thicken. Add meatballs back to pan along with any accumulated juices, gently toss to coat meatballs. Lower heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes or just until meatballs are cooked through.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Dining Guide, June 2013
www.nwaonline.com/dining/‎

VAMPIRE STEAK


4 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 (1 1/2 pound) flank steak, trimmed
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine garlic, lemon juice, smoked paprika and tarragon. Score a diamond pattern on both sides of steak, rub juice mixture evenly over both sides.
Cover, refrigerate for an hour.
Heat grill to high heat.
Sprinkle both sides of steak evenly with salt and pepper. Place steak on grill rack coated with cooking spray, grill 6 minues on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove steak from grill, let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak across grain into slices.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, July 2012
www.cookinglight.com/food/recipe-finder/‎