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Crunchy Pecan Pie Bites

Crunchy Pecan Pie Bites

recipe credit

Makes about 6 dozen

Ingredients

  • 3 cups chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 (2.1-oz.) packages frozen mini-phyllo pastry shells

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant.

2. Stir together sugar and corn syrup in a medium bowl. Stir in pecans, eggs, and next 3 ingredients.

3. Spoon about 1 heaping teaspoonful pecan mixture into each pastry shell, and place on 2 large baking sheets.

4. Bake at 350º for 20 to 22 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks, and let cool completely (about 30 minutes). Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Mini Pecan Pies: Substitute 1 1/2 (8-oz.) packages frozen tart shells for frozen mini-phyllo pastry shells. Prepare recipe as directed through Step 2. Spoon about 1/4 cup pecan mixture into each tart shell. Place tart shells on a large baking sheet. Proceed with recipe as directed in Step 4, increasing bake time to 25 to 30 minutes or until set. Garnish with currants, if desired. Makes 1 dozen. Prep: 15 min., Bake: 30 min.

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Braised Short Ribs with Potato Purée, Swiss Chard and Horseradish Cream

Braised Short Ribs with Potato Purée, Swiss Chard and Horseradish Cream
Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques

The braise on this smells so good, it moves me to cliche: It makes my knees weak and I briefly considered dabbing it behind my ears so I could keep it with me all day. In the end, I did not. Or so I tell you.

I have adapted this recipe in just a couple ways, because honestly, it’s perfect, but being not in a restaurant kitchen with dish washing help I have tried to reduce the number of pots it requires and swap the potato puree (which, if you can even get your head around this, has twice the amount of cream and butter than my recipe below and then is passed through a fine-mesh tamis twice, when I draw the line at once…) with Cook’s Illustrated’s classic mashed potatoes, which never do me wrong and have never been the cause for any complaint.

Finally, we doubled the recipe so of course your portions will look a tad tinier.

Serves 4 (generously) to 6

6 beef short ribs, 14 to 16 ounces (ask for 3 bone center-cut)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, and 4 whole sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
3 dozen small pearl onions
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced carrot
1/3 cup diced celery
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups port
2 1/2 cups hearty red wine
6 cups beef or veal stock
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
2 bunches Swiss chard, cleaned, center ribs removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Horseradish Cream (recipe follows)
Potato Purée/Mashed Potatoes (recipe follows)

Season the short ribs with 1 tablespoon thyme and the cracked black pepper. use your hands to coat the meat well. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Take the short ribs out of the refrigerator an hour before cooking, to come to room temperature. After 30 minutes, season them generously on all sides with salt.

When you take the ribs out of the refrigerator, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Toss the pearl onions with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon thyme, 3/4 teaspoons salt, and a pinch of pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast them about 15 minutes, until tender. When they have cooled, slip off the skins with your fingers and set aside. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees F.

When it’s time to cook the short ribs, heat a large Dutch oven [or a large saute pan, if you would like to use a separate braising dish; I aimed to use fewer dishes] over high heat for 3 minutes. Pour in 3 tablespoons olive oil, and wait a minute or two, until the pan is very hot and almost smoking. Place the short ribs in the pan, and sear until they are nicely browned on all three meaty sides. Depending on the size of your pan, you might have to sear the meat in batches. Do not crowd the meat or get lazy or rushed at this step; it will take at least 15 minutes. [I find this takes closer to 45 minutes if you’re really thorough. Be thorough!] When the ribs are nicely browned, transfer them to a plate to rest.

Turn the heat down to medium, and add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme springs, and bay leaves. Stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up all the crusty bits in the pan. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables just begin to caramelize. Add the balsamic vinegar, port, and red wine. Turn the heat up to high, and reduce the liquid by half.

Add the stock and bring to a boil. Arrange ribs in the pot, lieing flat, bones standing up, in one layer. [If you used a saute pan for previous steps, transfer the ribs to a braising pan at this point.] Scrape any vegetables that have fallen on the ribs back into the liquid. The stock mixture should almost cover the ribs. Tuck the parsley sprigs in and around the meat. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and a tight-fitting lid if you have one. Braise in the oven for about 3 hours.

To check the meat for doneness, remove the lid and foil, being careful of the escaping steam, and piece a short rib with a paring knife. When the meat is done, it will yield easily to a knife. Taste a piece if you are not sure. [If you would like to cook these a day ahead, this is where you can pause. The next day, you can remove the fat easily from the pot — it will have solidified at the top — bring these back to a simmer on the stove or in an oven, and continue.]

Let the ribs rest 10 minutes in their juices, and then transfer them to a baking sheet.

Turn the oven up to 400 degrees F.

Place the short ribs in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes to brown.

Strain the broth into a saucepan, pressing down on the vegetables with a ladle to extract all the juices. Skim the fat from the sauce (if you made these the day before, you will have already skimmed them) and, if the broth seems thin, reduce it over medium-high heat to thicken slightly. Taste for seasoning.

Heat a large saute pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Tear the Swiss chard into large pieces. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to the pan, and stir in the cooked pearl onions. Add half the Swiss chard, and cook a minute or two, stirring the greens in the oil to help them wilt. Add a splash of water and the second half of the greens. Season with a heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of ground black pepper. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring frequently, until the greens are tender.

Place the swiss chard on a large warm platter, and arrange the short ribs on top. Spoon lots of braising juices over the ribs. Serve the potato puree and horseradish cream (recipes below) on the side.

Horseradish Cream

3/4 cup créme fraîche
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the créme fraîche and horseradish in a small bowl. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Taste for balance and seasoning.

Mashed Potatoes
Cook’s Illustrated’s Master Recipe

2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed (I used Yukon Golds)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick, 4 ounces), melted
1 cup half-and-half , warmed
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
Ground black pepper
Chives for garnish (optional)

1. Place potatoes in large saucepan and cover with 1 inch water. Bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender (a paring knife can be slipped into and out of center of potatoes with very little resistance), 20 to 30 minutes. Drain.

2. Set food mill or ricer over now empty but still warm saucepan. Spear potato with dinner fork, then peel back skin with paring knife. Repeat with remaining potatoes. Working in batches, cut peeled potatoes into rough chunks and drop into hopper of food mill or ricer. Process or rice potatoes into saucepan.

3. Stir in butter with wooden spoon until incorporated; gently whisk in half-and-half, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Recipe credit

Homemade Energy Bars

Homemade Energy Bars
1 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 cup smooth natural peanut butter
2 2/3 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup soy protein powder or whey protein powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup roasted sun flower seeds
3/4 cup ’sun-ripened’ blueberries
3/4 cup ’sun-ripened’ cranberries
1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

Mix the syrup and peanut butter together in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until well combined. Press it into the prepared pan. It will be slightly sticky but should still spread easily into the pan if you grease your fingers.

Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cut into bars while still warm but allow to cool completely in the pan. Wrap each bar individually and store for up to 10 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Chai Eggnog

Chai Eggnog
Adapted from Cuisine at Home

15 whole cloves
4 quarter-sized pieces of fresh ginger (1/2″ thick)
2 cinnamon sticks, broken up
1/2 vanilla bean, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1 cup water
4 Darjeeling tea bags
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
Brandy, rum or whiskey, optional
Freshly grated or ground nutmeg

With a mortar and pestle crush fresh ginger, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean, cardamom seeds, whole coriander seeds, whole black peppercorns and whole fennel seeds until coarsely ground. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, put the ginger and spices in a resealable plastic bag and crush with a meat mallet.

In a small saucepan bring spice mixture and water to a simmer. Remove from heat and add Darjeeling tea bags and steep for five minutes.

Whisk egg yolks, sugar and salt together in a saucepan while the tea is steeping. Gradually heavy cream and whole milk, whisking until smooth. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is as thick as heavy cream. If you boil this the eggnog will curdle and you will have scrambled eggs in your nog. Off heat, strain the tea into eggnog.

Serve in your favorite cup warm or chill until cold. Sprinkle ground or fresh nutmeg on top for garnish.

For those wanting to add liquor, a Tablespoon (or so) of brandy, rum or whiskey will usually be sufficient. If you are serving this warm, add liquor after straining the tea. If you are serving it cold, chill the eggnog and stir in the liquor just before serving.

Cranberry-Orange Bread with Grand Marnier Glaze

Recipe Credit

1 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more for buttering pan
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 cup whole cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups powdered sugar
7 to 8 tbsp. Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter two 6-cup-capacity loaf pans

With an electric or standing mixer on medium speed, cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Add orange juice, cranberry sauce, orange zest, and vanilla; mix until blended.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix just until dry ingredients are absorbed; do not overmix.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers of breads comes out clean, 70 to 75 minutes

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and 7 tbsp. Grand Marnier. Glaze should have consistency of thick maple syrup or corn syrup. If it is too thick, thin with an additional tbsp. of liqueur

Let loaves cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and transfer to a cooling rack set over a large baking sheet. With a thin skewer or long toothpick, poke deep holes in tops of loaves. Drizzle with Grand Marnier glaze so that it coats the top, runs down the sides, and seeps through the holes. Let loaves cool completely, then slice and serve

Swiss Souffle Potatoes

Swiss Souffle Potatoes
serves 2

2 baking potatoes (about 1lb)
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese (I used mozzarella)
1/4 cup herb butter (I used regular butter)
2 tbsp double/heavy cream (I used evaporated milk)
1 egg, separated
salt and ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425F.

2. Scrub the potatoes and prick all over with a fork. Bake for 1-1.5hrs or until tender. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 350F.

3. Halves potatoes and scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Place the potato shells on a baking sheet and return to the oven to crisp up while making the filling.

4. Mash the potato flesh, add cheese, butter and egg yolk. Mix well, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Whisk white egg until stiff and carefully fold into the potato mixture. Pile the mixture back into the potato shells and bake for 20-25min until risen and golden brown.

May We Remember…


If you have much, give of your wealth – If you have little, give of your heart.

Hot Artichoke Dip

1-2 14 cans artichoke hearts (drained and chopped)
1 8 oz cream cheese (softened)
1 c. mayo
1 c. sour cream
2 garlic cloves, minced finely
1 c. grated parmesan

Combine all ingredients and bake in casserole dish at 375 deg for 30 mins. Can also add 1/2 bag chopped frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed of all moisture) and/or top dip with bread crumb/parmesan cheese mixture.

Turkey Cooking Times

Weight Total Roasting Time
8-12 pounds 2 to 3.5 hours
12-16 pounds 3 to 4 hours
16-20 pounds 4 to 5 hours
20-25 pounds 5 to 6 hours
25-30 pounds 6+ hours

Caramel Apple Crumb Cake

caramel apples

4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 Fugi apples, peeled and sliced thin

crumb topping

1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 1/3 cups cake flour
2 sticks butter, melted

cake

2/3 cup half and half
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks butter, cut in chunks
2 extra large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

Heat a large saute pan to medium high. Add the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir to melt. Add the apples and stir to coat. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Apples should be slightly soft.
Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the crumb topping ingredients and stir to combine. Set aside.

In a small bowl, add vinegar to half and half and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. With mixer on low, add the butter chunks, one at a time. Mix for about 2 – 3 minutes until mixture resembles a coarse crumble. Add eggs, vanilla, and half and half mixture. Beat on medium high speed for about 1 – 2 minutes until smooth.

Spread cake batter into prepared baking dish. Top with sauteed apples. Break up the crumb topping with a spoon. The pieces should be about the size of marbles. Sprinkle on top of apples. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Dust with powdered sugar.

EAT! and EAT! some more.