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Friday, February 28, 2014

MILK CHOCOLATE MAPLE BACON COOKIES

Serving on the Chase Family Foundation Fundraising committee has been an absolutely wonderful experience for me!!
When Susan called to ask if I would be on it, I immediately said "YES" - then I thought to ask what exactly would be involved.
An amazing, hardworking, huge hearted group of people have met for the past couple of months, to pull together the "Chase The Blues Away" fundraiser - a Mardi Gras themed event that benefits the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank.
I have loved being involved in helping to organize this fabulous community event, our weekly meetings have been filled with business items and great ideas, but also great conversation, cheers, and a few tears.
It has been so good for me to step outside of my comfort zone - to ask people to donate - and I must admit a little surprising, and so humbling when people have been so willing to give - this is an amazing area and community and cause.
Our final meeting before Chase The Blues Away (Tuesday, March 4th at the Springdale Country Club) was held last week, thanks to Susans generosity and thoughtfulness, we all took gifts home with us, and knowing that, although Susan doesn't care for dessert, she loves bacon, and a certain maple bacon ice-cream combination, I made a batch of these Milk Chocolate Maple Bacon Cookies for her to enjoy.

MILK CHOCOLATE MAPLE BACON COOKIES


1 pound maple bacon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon maple extract
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
1 (11 1/2 ounce) milk chocolate chips

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until well browned and crispy. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain and cool. Reserve the bacon drippings in the skillet. Once the bacon has cooled, crumble or chop into small chunks. Set aside.
Heat the oven to 375F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to be a together the butter, 1/2 cup of the reserved bacon drippings, brown sugar, sugar, baking soda, salt and maple extract, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating and scraping the bowl after each addition.
Mix in the flour, then the chocolate chips and crumbled bacon.
Scoop the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets in 1 tablespoon mounds. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden around the edges.
Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, February 2014
www.arkansasonline.com/news/features/food/‎

Thursday, February 27, 2014

TRIPLE ONION DIP and ENDIVE WITH SMOKED TROUT AND HERBED CREAM CHEESE and SAUSAGE BALLS WITH APRICOT BALSAMIC DIPPING SAUCE and CHICKEN SALAD, WATERCRESS AND BACON SANDWICHES and BOURBON BROWNIES and LEMON DREAM PIE

The Chase Family Foundation was formed in 2008, out of tragedy and upbringing a determination to help the hungry, elderly and abused women throughout Northwest Arkansas was fostered and strengthened.
During the first year alone, The Chase Family Foundation provided over 21,000 meals through the Ozark Food Bank and Meals on Wheels program, and they have also been responsible for providing Christmas cheer to over 500 people - taking bags full of gifts to home bound seniors, who otherwise would not have received anything. The first Christmas this was offered, not one of 120 men and women asked for a frivolous item - every single request was for a necessity, and if they had a cat or dog, a case of pet food was also delivered.
This past Christmas when my dear friend was describing this caring, compassionate and time consuming project, I offered at the very least, to deliver refreshments for the hard working folk sorting the donations and putting the bags together, and was excited and thankful to be able to contribute and help out in a small way.
In order to maintain all of this wonderful work, and to continue to provide for others, a Mardi Gras themed Fundraising event will be held Tuesday, March 4th, from 6 to 10pm, at the Springdale Country Club, with all proceeds going directly to the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank -
for more information please visit chasefamilyfoundation.com/‎

TRIPLE ONION DIP


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 to 1 red onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
1 cup greek yogurt

Heat oven to 350F.
Heat skillet over high heat. Add olive oil, shallots, green onions, red onion and thyme. Lower heat to medium, cook, stirring occasionally until shallots are golden, about 5 minutes.
Add cream cheese and yogurt, stir until well mixed. Transfer mixture to a baking dish, bake until heated through and bubbling.
Enjoy!

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

ENDIVE WITH SMOKED TROUT AND HERBED CREAM CHEESE


1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, room temperature
8 ounces smoked trout fillets, chopped
1/2 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
4 heads of Belgian endive
fresh dill sprigs

Mix cream cheese, smoked trout, dill, green onions and lemon peel in a bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Separate endive into leaves. Place a spoonful of cream cheese mixture on the base end of each leaf. Garnish with a dill sprig. Arrange filled leaves on a plate.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2003
www.bonappetit.com/recipes‎

SAUSAGE BALLS WITH APRICOT BALSAMIC DIPPING SAUCE


1 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup spicy brown mustard
1 1/4 pounds bulk Italian sweet sausage meat
6 ounces pork sausage
1 tablespoon dried sage
1 cup Italian bread crumbs

Heat oven to 425F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add vinegar and cook until vinegar is reduced to 2 tablespoons. Remove from heat and stir in apricot preserves and mustard and mix well. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine sausage and chopped sage. Add 2 tablespoons of the apricot-vinegar mixture to the sausage mixture. Form sausage into balls, then roll in bread crumbs.
Arrange sausage balls on prepared baking sheet. Bake, 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until sausage balls are cooked through. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then serve with apricot dipping sauce.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Arkansas Democrat Gazette, April 2010
www.arkansasonline.com/news/features/food/‎

CHICKEN SALAD, WATERCRESS AND BACON SANDWICHES



4 slices of applewood smoked bacon1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1/2 shallot, finely chopped
2 teaspoons parsley, finely chopped
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 to 1 1/2 pounds of chicken tenders, cooked, cut into small dice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
16 bread cases (roll pieces of white bread flat, cut out circles and press into a greased mini-muffin tin, bake in a 350F oven until lightly browned and crisp)
2 small plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
16 watercress leaves

In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until browned and crisp all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain, then cut each slice into 4 pieces.
In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, celery, shallot, minced parsley and lemon juice. Stir in the diced chicken and season the salad with salt and pepper.
Spoon 1 tablespoon of the chicken salad into each bread case, garnish with the bacon pieces, sliced tomato and watercress.
Enjoy!

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

BOURBON BROWNIES


1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons bourbon
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350F.
Grease an 8 by 8 inch baking pan, set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine 1/3 cup butter, sugar and water. Cook and stir over medium heat just until boiling. Remove from the heat. Add 1 cup of the chocolate chips, stir until chocolate is melted. Stir in eggs and vanilla, beating lightly with a spoon just until combined. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Spread batter into prepared pan.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until edges are set and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Using a fork, prick the warm brownies all over. Drizzle bourbon evenly over brownies, cool in pan on a wire rack.
For the Frosting: in a small mixing bowl, beat the 3 tablespoons of butter with an elector mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating well. Slowly beat in 2 teaspoons of the milk and vanilla. If necessary, beat in the remaining milk to reach spreading consistency.
Spread over brownies.
Enjoy!

LEMON DREAM PIE


1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar, divided use
3 eggs, divided use
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons finely grated meyer lemon peel
1/3 cup meyer lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Heat oven to 350F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat at medium speed, the cream cheese, 1/4 cup of the sugar and 1 of the eggs until smooth. Arrange the pie crust in a 9-inch pie pan. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over the bottom of the pie crust.
In the same bowl, beat 1/4 cup of the sugar, the remaining 2 eggs, corn syrup, lemon peel, lemon juice, butter and cornstarch, until well blended.
Pour over cream cheese layer. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup sugar evenly over lemon mixture. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until filling is puffed and set. Cool on a wire rack.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, December 2002
www.arkansasonline.com/news/features/food/‎

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

CHICKEN LIVER CROSTINI

I thought this Chicken Liver Crostini was sexy, I really did!!
I made it for a recent dinner party, and served it as an appetizer, but saved the last little bit for just my husband and myself.
A few nights after the dinner party, we opened a bottle of wine and savored the remaining pate, in celebration of the last Boy Scout meeting my husband would be responsible for.
As part of a cheese board, with fresh fruit, preserves, crackers and nuts, and the kids in bed asleep, it was the perfect romantic respite - a lovely get-away at home.

CHICKEN LIVER CROSTINI


1 pound chicken livers
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 sage sprigs
1 rosemary sprig
1 anchovy fillet, minced
1 tablespoon drained capers
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup cognac
1 baguette, thinly sliced, toasted

Trim the chicken livers of any sinews and veins and set them on paper towels to dry for about 20 minutes.
In a large skillet, melt the butter in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the chopped onion, sage and rosemary and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the anchovy and capers and cook over low heat until the onion is lightly browned, about 8 minutes longer. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl.
Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Season the chicken livers with salt and pepper, add them to the skillet and cook over high heat until browned, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook the chicken livers for 1 minute longer. Stir in the onion mixture. Add the cognac and carefully ignite it with a long match. Cook the livers until the flames subside.
Discard the herb sprigs and scrape the contents of the skillet into a food processor, let cool slightly. Pulse to desired level of smoothness, then season with salt and pepper.
Either spread the baguette toasts with the chicken liver to serve, or spread the mixture into a ramekin and top with melted duck fat - chill before serving.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, September 2009
www.foodandwine.com/recipes‎

Monday, February 24, 2014

LEMONGRASS COOKIES and BOURBON CHOCOLATE CHIP BAR COOKIES and DEEP CHOCOLATE POUND CAKES

My husband hosted his annual company meeting at a Razorback basketball game.
Thinking outside the box, he rented a luxury box, and ordered in barbecue and beer, definitely a fun way to get the job done.
I offered to stock the room with desserts, my humble, heartfelt and homemade way of saying thank you for all the hard work and dedication from this amazing team.

LEMONGRASS COOKIES


1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
zest from one lemon
1 cup of flour
1/3 cup coconut, shredded
1 heaped tablespoon of lemongrass puree
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350F.
With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in a medium bowl until creamy. Add lemon zest. Gradually beat in flour, coconut and lemongrass. Stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place 1/2 inch apart on baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes,  or until cookies are set and light golden brown on the bottom.
Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, place on wire racks to cool completely.
Microwave remaining chocolate chips, scrape melted chocolate into a plastic bag, snip off one corner and squeeze a dollop of chocolate onto each cookie.
Enjoy!

BOURBON CHOCOLATE CHIP BAR COOKIES


2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 teaspoons of sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons bourbon
1 1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary.
Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed to incorporate. On low speed, add the bourbon, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating for about 20 seconds after each addition, and scraping the bowl as necessary.
Gradually add the flour mixture, beating until well incorporated, then fold in the chocolate chips.
Press dough evenly into the bottom of a prepared baking dish, bake for about 20 minutes, until set on top and beginning to brown around the edges. Cool in pan for 10 to 15 minutes, before cutting into squares.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, December 2013
www.arkansasonline.com/news/features/food/‎

DEEP CHOCOLATE POUND CAKES


2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons boiling water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350F.
Place paper muffin liners in a muffin tin.
Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Whisk sour cream and milk together in a small bowl.
Sift cocoa powder into another small bowl. Whisk in honey and 2 tablespoons of boiling water until smooth. Cool completely.
Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in another medium bowl, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in flour mixture alternately with sour cream mixture until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Divide batter among the muffin tins, bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit October 2008
www.bonappetit.com/recipes‎

Sunday, February 23, 2014

COQ AU RIESLING and PANANG CHICKEN CURRY and ROASTED MOROCCAN CHICKEN and CHICKEN SPAGHETTI

In 1992, chicken consumption surpassed that of beef in the United States. Chicken is extremely versatile - roasted, added to currys and casseroles, it mixes well with many flavors in many dishes for a quick and easy dinner.
Chicken is eaten in every country, including Antarctica, and has even been eaten in Outer Space.
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/When_did_chicken_consumption_pass_beef?#slide=4
Enjoy one of these effortless, simple, uncomplicated recipes where chicken is the star.

COQ AU RIESLING


3 pounds of chicken breasts, cut into cubes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1 1/2 cups riesling wine
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
3 rosemary sprigs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup creme fraiche
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Heat oven to 300F.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large, enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil. Add half of the chicken and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until browned, 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate, cook the remaining chicken, then pour off the fat and wipe out the casserole.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil in the casserole. Add the onion, carrot, celery and shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and simmer for 1 minute, scraping up the browned bits from the pot. Add the chicken stock and thyme and bring to a boil.
Nestle the chicken in the casserole, cover and braise in the oven for 1 hour, until tender.
Meanwhile, in a very large skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook over high heat, without stirring, until well browned, about 5 minutes. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes, add to the chicken.
Whisk in the creme fraiche and lemon juice, simmer for 3 minutes.
Garnish with parsley and serve.
Enjoy!

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

PANANG CHICKEN CURRY


1 1/2 talbespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds of chicken, cut into cubes
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons finely grated peeled ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sambal oelek
1/2 cup water
1 can light coconut milk
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 cups of peeled, sliced carrots

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, shallots, ginger and garlic, cook until chicken and shallots are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add peanut butter, turmeric, cumin and samba oelek, stir until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
Whisk in water then coconut milk, lime leaves and brown sugar, bring to a simmer.
Season the sauce with salt. Add carrots and simmer over medium heat until carrots are tender, occasionally stirring, about 12 to 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
www.bonappetit.com/recipes‎

ROASTED MOROCCAN CHICKEN


2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper
1 whole chicken

Heat oven to 425F.
In a small bowl combine the paprika, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, cumin, 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste.
Place the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan. Rub with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the spice mix, making sure to get under the skin and in the cavity.
Roast for 55 minutes to an hour, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine, December 2013
www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/‎

CHICKEN SPAGHETTI


3/4 stick butter
1 cup celery, chopped
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 small can of tomatoes, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 can rotel tomatoes
1 cooked chicken, remove skin and chop the meat
10 ounces velveeta, cubed
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pound of spaghetti, cooked
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 350.
Melt the butter in a pan. Saute the celery, onion and garlic until wilted. Mix with the tomatoes, chicken broth, chili powder, rotel chicken, velvet, soups and spaghetti, Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread in an 11 by 14 inch baking dish.
Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese, bake for 45 minutes.
Enjoy!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

SUPER CITRUS MARGARITA

Happy National Margarita Day

SUPER CITRUS MARGARITA


salt
juice of 1/2 a ruby red grapefruit
juice of 1/2 orange
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lime
2 ounces tequila
1 ounce cointreau

Salt the rim of a cocktail glass.
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the grapefruit juice, orange juice, lemon juice, lime juice, tequila and cointreau. Shake vigorously, then strain into the glass.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, May 2012
www.arkansasonline.com/news/features/food/‎

Friday, February 21, 2014

MAPLE PUMPKIN PIE and BROWN SUGAR PUMPKIN PIE

This past weekend was such a welcome respite from the intense cold we have experienced for much of the winter, that we couldn't wait to get outside. We traveled the short distance to Lake Fort Smith, and enjoyed the beauty of the outdoors.
To distract the kids from the fact that we were hiking, we started a game where we would walk for a while, through all kinds of "hardships", then "set up camp" - a pile of dried grass for a bed and a ring of stones for the fire. We imagined we were cooking all kinds of fabulous meals, and talked about them as if they were real - even on the way home we were still discussing which of our "foods" and "meals" were our favorites.
My youngest son declared he wanted real pumpkin pie, so once we were home, I made this Maple Pumpkin Pie for dessert and all fantasy aside, it was delicious. I made the Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie over Thanksgiving, and it was every bit as yummy.

MAPLE PUMPKIN PIE


Heat oven to 350F.
Whisk 1 1/2 cups of canned pumpkin and 2 eggs to blend well in a medium bowl. Add 1 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup pure maple syrup, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt, whisk to blend well. Pour the filling into a 9 inch baked pie crust. Bake pie until the center is just set, 55 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, let cool, served with sweetened whipped cream.
Enjoy!

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

BROWN SUGAR PUMPKIN PIE


1 pie crust (I used a pre-made graham cracker crust)
1 (15 ounce) can of pumpkin puree
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 375F.
Combine the pumpkin puree with the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl, and stir until well blended. Pour into the prepared pastry and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and the custard set. Let cool before serving.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from AY Magazine, November 2012
www.aymag.com/AY-Magazine/Recipes/‎

Thursday, February 20, 2014

CEDAR PLANKED PECAN, BOURBON AND BROWN SUGAR GLAZED BRIE and GREENS AND RADISH SALAD WITH WARM RED WINE VINAIGRETTE and CHOCOLATE MERINGUES AND STRAWBERRIES

Ever since our first Valentines together, my husband and I have cooked at home. For quite a few years we have had a wonderful and very dear couple join us - they met at our house and then became engaged here - and as our culinary skills have increased, so have the number of people we have included.
We usually begin the evening with appetizers and cocktails upstairs, then we negotiate the stairs down to the wine cellar for the first course, main course and appetizer.
This years meal began with a Cedar Planked Brie, continued with a simple green salad and moved on to a fragrant, delicious leg of lamb, that my husband prepared, before concluding with Chocolate Meringues.
As fantastic as everything was, I must admit, I couldn't wait for the next day - for thinly sliced lamb on soft, fresh bread, with butter, ketchup and a sprinkle of sea salt, which is how I loved it while growing up in New Zealand.
I anticipated the left overs as much as I look forward to our special celebration each year - a lot!!

CEDAR PLANKED PECAN, BOURBON AND BROWN SUGAR GLAZED BRIE


1 cedar grilling plank
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons dried apricots, chopped
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 round of brie
2 tablespoons blackberry jam

Soak the cedar plank in water for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together the brown sugar, pecans, dried apricots and bourbon.
Heat oven to 400F.
Place the brie on the wet cedar plank. Spread the jam over the top of the cheese. Spoon the fruit and nut mixture over the jam.
Place the plank with the brie on a cookie sheet in the oven, bake for 10 minutes, or until the brie is slightly softened and the sugar melts.
Serve with grapes and sliced apple and pear, if desired.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, December 2013
www.arkansasonline.com/news/features/food/‎

GREENS AND RADISH SALAD WITH WARM RED WINE VINAIGRETTE


1 head of butter lettuce, leaves torn
1 head of red leaf lettuce, leaves torn
thinly sliced radishes
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped shallot
1 cup red wine
5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Place lettuce and radishes on individual serving plates.
In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until tender. Add red wine, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 6 minutes. Pour mixture into the container of a blender. Add vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Pulse until mixture is emulsified and smooth. Serve warm over salad.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Southern Lady, September/October 2011
www.southernladymagazine.com/recipes/‎

CHOCOLATE MERINGUES AND STRAWBERRIES


8 ounces of frozen strawberries, thawed
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar, divided
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (I used a violet balsamic)
3 egg whites at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
5 teaspoons cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 cup cream
2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
2 ounces dark chocolate, shaved

Heat oven to 325F.
In a bowl, combine strawberries, 2 tablespoons sugar and vinegar. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until peaks form. Add cream of tartar and a pinch of salt, beat to combine. Slowly add remaining 3/4 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Sprinkle cocoa over egg mixture, whip until just combined. Spread into 6 mounds, 3 inches each, on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Place in oven, reduce temperature to 300F and bake until meringues are dry on the outside and soft in the center, about 50 minutes. Cool on sheets.
Using an electric mixer, whip cream and confectioners sugar. Top meringues evenly with berry mixture, whipped cream and chocolate.
Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

OREGANO OLIVE CHICKEN and CAPER ROSEMARY SALMON

Even though they are both pickled and Mediterranean, olives and capers are not part of the same family.
Fruit and flower bud are featured in these flavorful recipes, perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.

OLIVE OREGANO CHICKEN


4 chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
1/4 cup capers, drained
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

Sprinkle chicken with pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, brown chicken on all sides in oil. Remove and keep warm. Drain drippings from skillet.
Combine remaining ingredients, pour into skillet, stirring to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil. Carefully return chicken to pan. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Readers Digest
www.rd.com/food/

CAPER ROSEMARY SALMON


6 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons drained capers
4 teaspoons liquid from capers in jar
4 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon sea salt
large pinch of dried crushed red pepper
pinch of sugar
1 small onion, diced
6 salmon fillets

Whisk first nine ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in onion. Transfer mixture to resealable plastic bag. Add salmon and seal bag, let marinate for one hour, turning occasionally.
Prepare grill, remove salmon from bag. Grill until just cooked to the center, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Pour marinade into small saucepan, bring just to simmer.
Place one salmon fillet on each plate, spoon warm marinade over. Serve with a green salad.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, August 2008
www.bonappetit.com

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

TRAVEL TUESDAY - GULF SHORES, ALABAMA - SEA SCALLOP BROCHETTES WITH ORANGE SAFFRON AIOLI

A couple of summers ago my plan had been to rent a house right on the white sands of Florida, with a large balcony overlooking the ocean, and cocktails mixed each evening. After a glorious day on the beach, we would have an amazing dinner, tuck the kids into bed and enjoy the peaceful sounds of the ocean.
However, our vacation was a little different than I had imagined - we rented an RV, drove to, and parked in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Our RV site in Gulf Shores, Alabama
Although there are no RV parks surrounded by, and commanding the premium view of gorgeous beaches, we did find a lovely spot by the ocean one evening, and stayed in a State Park the next.

After a day on the beach
We delighted in the fresh seafood available while close to the ocean, and then found this fabulous Sweet Home Farm cheese shop on the way home. We sampled cheeses and preserves and stocked the refrigerator in the RV.


This past frigid winter has made us treasure the sunny memories of our vacation even more, and this little taste of the ocean enveloped us in warmth.

SEA SCALLOP BROCHETTES WITH ORANGE SAFFRON AIOLI


AIOLI
2 egg yolks
6 tablespoons fresh orange juice, divided
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel
1 garlic clove
1/2 to 1 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
BROCHETTES
24 sea scallops
8 8-inch skewers
16 fresh bay leaves

olive oil
2 oranges, peeled, sectioned
1/4 cup fresh tarragon

FOR AIOLI
Whisk yolks, 4 tablespoons orange juice, and saffron in medium bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water (do not let bowl touch water). Whisk until thickened and thermometer registers 160F, about 4 minutes. Transfer to processor. Add orange peel and garlic. With machine running, gradually add oil in a thin stream until incorporated, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl. Transfer to medium bowl. Whisk in lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of orange juice. Season with salt and pepper.
FOR BROCHETTES
Thread 3 scallops on 1 skewer alternately with 2 bay leaves. Place on rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining scallops, skewers and bay leaves.
Heat griddle over high heat, brush with oil. Cook scallops until brown and just opaque in center, about 2 minutes per side. Place 1 brochette on each of 8 plates. Drizzle scallops with aioli. Garnish with orange sections and tarragon.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2006
www.bonappetit.com/recipes‎

Monday, February 17, 2014

GEORGE WASHINGTON CHERRY COBBLER

In honor of Presidents Day, I found this recipe for George Washington Cherry Cobbler. Although I am sure most people know the connection between the first president and a certain cherry tree, I must admit, it wasn't until my 7 year old asked me to explain, that I researched it more thoroughly.

GEORGE WASHINGTON CHERRY COBBLER


1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup water
1 package (12 ounces) frozen, pitted dark sweet cherries, thawed
1 tablespoon butter
TOPPING
1 cup flour
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup milk

Heat oven to 400F.
In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Stir in water until smooth. Add the cherries (and cherry juice) and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Pour into an 8 inch baking dish, set aside.
FOR TOPPING
In a large bowl, combine the flour, 2 tablespoons, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk, just until moistened.
Drop by spoonfuls over the cherries, sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve warm with ice cream if desired.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home
www.tasteofhome.com › Recipes‎

Sunday, February 16, 2014

CHICKEN MEATBALLS WITH SWEET PEANUT SAUCE

I had half a package of ground chicken in the refrigerator, left over from another recipe, and I thought these Chicken Meatballs would be a fun and tasty way to use it. They were a success, and enjoyed by everyone in our family.

CHICKEN MEATBALLS WITH SWEET PEANUT SAUCE


1 pound of ground chicken
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
chopped peanuts for garnish

Mix chicken, cilantro, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Roll into 1 tablespoon balls. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
Add meatballs and cook through, 6 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, mix peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil, in a bowl, and warm in microwave.
Sprinkle cooked meatballs with peanuts, and serve with the dipping sauce.
Enjoy!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

GINGER BOURBON COCKTAIL and MAINBRACE COCKTAIL

 Perfect to warm up a chilly evening!!

GINGER BOURBON COCKTAIL


1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon rainbow peppercorns
2 slices fresh ginger
ice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 ounces bourbon

In a pan, simmer the sugar with 1/2 cup water, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Off the heat, steep the peppercorns and ginger until cool, strain.
Fill a glass with ice, and 1 tablespoon of syrup, lemon juice and bourbon.
Enjoy!

MAINBRACE COCKTAIL


1 ounce of gin
1/2 an ounce of Cointreau
1/2 an ounce of grapefruit juice

In a cocktail shaker, shake with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Dwell Magazine, September 2012

Friday, February 14, 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

POMEGRANATE LIME CAKES and CHOCOLATE POMEGRANATE CAKES and CHOCOLATE POMEGRANATE TORTE

She is generous, funny, kind, brilliant, nonjudgmental, and she has the greatest collection of shoes I have ever seen - Connie Porter - 1994

POMEGRANATE LIME CAKES


1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs
3/4 cup pomegranate juice, divided
juice and peel of 1 lime
1/2 cup plain, thick yogurt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
lime peel to garnish

Heat oven to 350F.
Butter and flour 2 muffin pans, or line with paper liners.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and slat in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended, about 1 minute. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 1/2 cup pomeganate juice and the lime juice and peel. Beat flour mixture into batter just until blended. Stir in the yogurt.
Evenly divide batter into prepared pans, bake until tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cakes cook about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, sift powdered sugar into medium bowl, whisk in 1/4 cup pomegranate juice, and vanilla. Pour glaze over cakes, sprinkle with lime peel.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2008
www.epicurious.com › recipes & menus

CHOCOLATE POMEGRANATE CAKES


4 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup oil
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

Heat oven to 350F.
Grease 2 mini bundt pans or a muffin pan. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the eggs, sugar and brown sugar utnil well combined. Add the vanilla extract, oil and pomegranate juice and beat to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder.
Slowly stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Mix utnil just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking pans, filling about 3/4 full.
Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove cakes from the oven and set asie to cool.

POMEGRANATE GLAZE

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons pomegranate juice

In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and pomegranate juice. If needed, add a bit of water until you reach a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cooled cakes.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Tales of an Overtime Cook, September 2012
overtimecook.com/

CHOCOLATE POMEGRANATE TORTE


FOR THE CAKE
4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 ounces chocolate
3 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup flour
FOR THE POMEGRANATE JELLY
1 apple
1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
12 cranberries
FOR THE GLAZE
6 ounces chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon honey
pinch of salt

MAKE THE CAKE
Heat oven to 350F.
Grease the sides and bottom of a 9 by 2 inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Grate 2 ounces of the chocolate and set aside. Chop the remaining chocolate and combine with the butter and 3 tablespoon s of water in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl in a skillet of barely simmering water and stir frequently until the mixture is melted and smooth. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar and the salt until thick and lightened in color.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar at medium-high speed to soft peaks, about 2 minutes. With the motor running, gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, beating to stiff peaks, 1 to 2 minutes more.
Whisk the warm chocolate and the flour into the yolk mixture. With a rubber spatula, fold one quarter of the whites into the chocolate batter. Scrape the remaining whites into the chocolate mixture and sprinkle the grated chocolate on top. Fold together. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out smudged with a few moist crumbs, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto another rack. Remove the pan and parchment and invert the cake onto the first rack. Let cool completely.
MAKE THE POMEGRANATE JELLY
Grate enough of the apple (including the peel) to yield 3/4 cup. In a medium saucepan, bring the grated apple, pomegranate juice, sugar and cranberries to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer, covered, until the apple is softened and the mixture has thickened a little, about 10 minutes. Uncover and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally at first and then constantly towards the end, until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is reduced to 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes.
With a rubber spatula, press the pulp through a mesh strainer into a bowl until you can't get any more juice out of the pulp. Scrape all of the juice clinging to the bottom of the strainer into the bowl and discard the pulp in the strainer.
Transfer the cake to a plate. Stir the jelly to blend it, scrape it onto the cake, and spread it evenly over the top. Let the jelly cool until it's set, about an hour.
MAKE THE GLAZE
Put the chocolate, butter, honey and salt in a heatproof bowl set in a skillet of barely simmering water. Stir gently until the chocolate melts and the mixture is perfectly smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of cool water. Let cool to room temperature without stirring. With an offset spatula, spread the glaze over the top and around the sides of the cake.
Garnish with pomegranate seeds.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking
www.finecooking.com/recipes/chocolate-pomegranate-torte.aspx‎

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

HEART CAKES WITH CHOCOLATE GANACHE and GANACHE STUFFED CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."
Charles M. Schulz

HEART CAKES WITH CHOCOLATE GANACHE


6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, divided use
1 tablespoon cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into small cubes
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flour
cocoa powder for dusting

Heat oven to 400F.
Grease a heart shaped muffin pan.
In a medium heatproof bowl, combine 2 ounces of the chocolate and the cream. Set bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water, but not touching the water.
Melt chocolate, stirring occasionally, until mixture is smooth and blended, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
In a separate medium, heatproof bowl, combine remaining 4 ounces of chocolate and the butter, set bowl over saucepan of simmering water and melt chocolate, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and well blended, 2 to 3 minutes, remove from the heat and cool for 10 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, yolk, sugar, vanilla and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat until thick ribbons fall from the beaters and the mixture is nearly triple in volume, 5 to 6 minutes.
Sift flour over bowl and gently fold in until just blended. Add chocolate mixture and gently fold together until smooth and blended.
Divide batter among wells of prepared muffin pan. Remove chocolate ganache from the refrigerator and scoop teaspoon-sized balls onto the top of each cake, pressing gently.
Bake until the cakes pull away from the sides of muffin well and tops are just firm, 9 to 11 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool about 5 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack, and dust with cocoa powder.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, February 2005
www.arkansasonline.com/news/.../food/‎

GANACHE STUFFED CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES


COOKIES
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
GANACHE
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
5 tablespoons cream
2 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons creme fraiche

MAKE THE COOKIES
In a bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter with the sugars and vanilla at medium speed, about 1 minute. Beat in the egg. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the dry ingredients. Beat in the chocolate chips. Chill the dough for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 375F. Scoop spoons of the dough onto cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Let cool on the sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Sandwich the chocolate chip cookies with the ganache and serve.
GANACHE
Put the chocolate in a bowl. In a saucepan, bring the cream and corn syrup to a boil, pour over the chocolate and let stand for 1 minute. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in the creme fraiche. Refrigerate the ganache until thick and spreadable, about 1 hour.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, September 2009
www.foodandwine.com/recipes‎

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

TRAVEL TUESDAY - EUREKA SPRINGS, ARKANSAS

Eureka Springs is recognized as a Favorite Family Destination - and we have definitely taken the kids, and various family friends to Thorncrown Chapel, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, Quigley's Castle, War Eagle Mill, Cosmic Cavern and Onyx Cave. However, this weekend was just for my husband and me - and the Rotary Conference, which was the reason we were in town, and staying at the Basin Park Hotel.
It was the perfect weekend escape, the Victorian homes were beautiful with their dusting of snow and after asking a couple of friends who live in Eureka Springs for suggestions of places to eat and go, I was ready and excited to explore the town.

I had a rare and wonderful day to myself, and began my adventures at Fresh, on Main Street. Tucked in an adorable area called The Shoppes on North Main, they are a farm-to-table restaurant and had a gorgeous menu filled with soups, salads, sandwiches and freshly squeezed juices. I enjoyed my perfectly dressed spinach and arugula salad, seated by the generous windows, in the lovely, welcoming atmosphere. Complete with bar and exquisite service, it could not have been better.

Fresh - Olive oil and Balsamic - beautiful!!
Fresh - Arugula and Spinach salad
There are many great Antique stores in Eureka Springs, and one of my favorite is The Barn Shoppes. I picked up a gorgeous antique necklace and a jar of Lavender Port Wine Jelly, then popped down the road to W.T Fockers Discount Outlet, and across to 512 Village Circle, the address of Fresh Harvest.
This is an incredible store, filled with canisters of oils and vinegars, each available for tasting - and every one I tried was marvelous!! This is the second time I have been here, and I have trouble deciding which flavorful product I want to take home. I finally chose the Violet Balsamic, Lavender Balsamic, Toasted Sesame Oil and Arbosana Olive Oil.

Fresh Harvest
By this time, my husband was out of the conference, so I met him at the hotel, and wanting exercise and fresh air, we walked down the main street, making our way around the Historical Loop past the Crescent Hotel, and Ermilios Italian restaurant.

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at StoneHouse for an amazing cheese plate and a fortifying glass of wine. It is always such a pleasure to see Rob and Amanda, the absolutely fabulous owners - this wine bar should not be missed!! We have been made to feel welcome (as I know everyone who steps foot into this stunning place is) from our very first visit here a couple of years ago to celebrate our anniversary.

The StoneHouse - one of my very favorite places in Eureka Springs
Amazing cheese plate from StoneHouse
Reservations for dinner had been made at the elegant Grand Taverne restaurant. My husband and I had dined here, when it was Chez Charles, and we were first dating.

Chez Charles now Grand Taverne
Their cocktails were incredible, and we ordered a selection of appetizers to accompany my Negroni and my husbands Gin Martini.
The pan seared scallop with lobster butter sauce was out of this world, and we really enjoyed the uniqueness of the grilled buffalo mozzarella wrapped in proscuitto and romaine with sun dried tomato vinaigrette. The grilled romaine salad and sesame encrusted tuna carpaccio were great as well, and as I had found at every restaurant and store I had been to throughout this memorable weekend - the service was excellent.

The Grilled Romaine at Grand Taverne
Sesame Encrusted Tuna Carpaccio, Grand Taverne
THE NEGRONI


Equal parts Campari, Gin, Sweet Vermouth
Place in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake vigorously, pour into a martini glass
Enjoy!

Monday, February 10, 2014

JELLY HEARTS

"The best thing to spend on your child is time"

JELLY HEARTS


1 packet unflavored gelatin
5 ounces of rose hip jelly (or your choice of fruit preserves)
1/2 cup sugar, divided

In a bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water, and let sit for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine fruit jelly and 1/4 cup sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until boiling. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin mixture. Pour into a baking pan.
Chill in the refrigerator several hours until firm. Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut hearts out of fruit mold. Dredge hearts in remaining 1/4 cup sugar.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Parents Magazine, February 2006
www.parents.com/recipes/‎

Sunday, February 9, 2014

APPLE CHARLOTTE

Tonight I finally had the chance to sit and watch the Sochi Olympics. We ate dinner in front of the TV, and our whole family was entranced.
I love a theme, so I made this Russian themed dessert from a Cookbook I had picked up from the library.

APPLE CHARLOTTE
SHARLOTKA "GOST' na POROGE"


butter, for greasing the pan
6 apples, cored, peeled, quartered and sliced crosswise
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup less 1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour

Butter a 9 inch springform pan. Add the apples, they should fill the pan completely. Toss with cinnamon.
Heat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and forms a ribbon when the beaters are lifted. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Gradually beat in flour. You will have a rather thick batter. Pour the batter evenly into the pan over the apples.
Bake until the top of the charlotte is puffy and golden, 50 to 55 minutes.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from "Please to the Table, the Russia Cookbook", Anya von Bremzen and John Welchman

Saturday, February 8, 2014

CHERRY SCONES and SWEET CINNAMON BISCUITS and CHEESE BLINTZ HOT CAKES

All of this icy, snowy, freezing weather, resulting in the kids being home from school, makes me want to cook a warm, delicious, breakfast for them. Not having to rush out the door to school enables us all to have an easy, relaxing, nurturing morning, and to eat well.

CHERRY SCONES


1 1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 stick butter, cut into pieces
10 candied cherries, cut into halves
3/4 cup almond milk
Double Cream (recipe follows)

Heat oven to 400F.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, cream of tartar and sugars. Cut in butter. Stir in cherries. Add milk and stir to form a sticky dough. Fold dough over a few times on a floured surface until just combined. Flatten to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a round biscuit cutter and place on cookie sheet.
Bake for about 12 minutes. Serve with Double Cream.

DOUBLE CREAM

4 ounces cream cheese
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pinch salt
1 cup cream

In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese, sugar and salt. Beat in cream until stiff peaks form. Chill until serving.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, February 2007
www.arkansasonline.com/news/.../food/‎

SWEET CINNAMON BISCUITS


2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
8 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl and mix well. Stir in vegetable oil. Add buttermilk and stir just until blended.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Roll dough into a 15 by 8 inch rectangle.
Heat the oven to 400F.
Grease a 9-inch round baking pan.
Spread butter over the dough. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix well.
Sprinkle over butter. Roll up rectangle, jelly roll fashion, starting from one long side. Gently pinch the seam to seal.
Cut the roll into 1 1/2 inch slices. Arrange the slices, cut side up, in prepared baking pan. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven.
Enjoy!

CHEESE BLINTZ HOT CAKES


2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup Cottage cheese
2 tablespoons butter
jam and confectioners sugar to serve

In a blender, mix eggs, flour, milk, sugar and baking powder for 10 seconds. Add cottage cheese, blend until just incorporated. Heat butter in a skillet, over medium heat. Spoon batter by 1/4 cupfuls into the skillet. Cook, flipping once, until golden, 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter. Top with jam, dust with sugar.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray, January/February 2014
www.rachaelray.com/‎