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I’m off to Yale Appliance and Lighting in Framingham again today from 12-4 and so excited to make cookies!  With the holidays approaching, who doesn’t need some new cookie ideas?  Today I am making three of my favorite cookies of all times, two of which bring me right back to my childhood for sure.

First, a cookie I call Double Duty Molasses Ginger Cookies.  They come by this name because the dough can be used for both a rolled cookie and a gingerbread person by adding a little more flour to the recipe.  You can up the spices as I always do as I like a nice spicy cookie and add or subtract any of the warm spices that you like.  This cookie emits such an amazing fragrance when baking and the aroma says “holiday” to me!

Double Duty Molasses Spice Cookies

2 ¼ cup all purpose flour*

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoons cinnamon

2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup butter flavored shortening

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

½ cup molasses

¼ cup turbinado or sparkling sugar

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.  Set aside.

In a large bowl cream shortening and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and molasses until well blended.  Slowly add flour mixture to creamed mixture and beat again until well combined.  Tightly wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cover four baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, place sparkling, granulated or turbinado sugar.

Roll dough into 1” balls and roll balls in sugar to coat.  Press balls slightly into sugar if necessary.

Bake 12 cookies per sheet for 10-12 minutes or until tops are slightly cracked and cookies are firm to the touch.  If you are making gingerbread cut outs,  bake for 11-13 minutes until edges are slightly browned.

Next,  THE cookie that brings me right back to being a little girl in my Mom’s kitchen.  Mom would make these cookies only once a year and with a pound of butter in the recipe, you can see why!  They so rich and decadent but so worth it!

Potato Chip Cookies

2 cups (4 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup sugar

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups potato chips, coarsely crushed

1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 300º.

In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar. Slowly blend in flour and vanilla. Add crushed potato chips and mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoon, 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Using a fork, flatten each cookie slightly. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until light brown around the edges. Remove to wire rack to cool. Sprinkle with confectioner’€™s sugar.


And finally, a creation of my very own.  They look and taste like traditional biscotti but are baked only once…hence….”biscookie”

“Biscookies”

3 cups flour

1 ½  tablespoons baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp cardamom

¾ tsp nutmeg

½ cup unsalted butter

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cover two large baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

Whisk together dry ingredients and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar and brown sugar until well combined and lighter in color.  Add eggs, one at a time and vanilla extract.  Beat until lighter in color and well mixed.  With mixer running on low, add dry ingredients and beat until incorporated.

Divide dough into 4 portions and knead in “mix ins” as desired.  Form into 4 loaves and bake two loaves to a sheet.

Suggested Mix ins:

Chocolate chips & chopped dried strawberries

White chocolate and dried blueberries

Chrystalized ginger and dried peaches

Chopped salted pistachios with sweetened dried cranberries

Use a few tablespoons of each.  If additional spices are desired, sprinkle them over the dough and knead in with the mix in ingredients

Bake at 350º for approx 30 min. when loaves turn light brown.  Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes.  Slice on the diagonal.  Allow to cool completely and drizzle with chocolate if desired.

For the chocolate drizzle:

½ cup chocolate, finely chopped

½ teaspoon shortening

In a small microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate and shortening.  Cook on high power for 1 minute.  Remove from microwave and stir until smooth.  Spoon in to a small plastic zip top bag, seal bag, snip corner of bag and drizzle over ‘biscookies.”  Allow chocolate to harden before serving.

 

 

Hello Friends!

Are you trying to get a head start on holiday entertaining?  I know that the calendar has not even turned to December yet but for those of us that love to have people over or always bring something when invited to a party, these recipes are for you!  Everything in today’s post can be made ahead of time and either kept refrigerated or frozen until ready to use.  They are easy, my original recipes and delicious!  I will be at Yale Appliance and Lighting, 296 Freeport Street in Dorchester cooking from 11-3 and if you are in the neighborhood, please stop by, have a snack and visit the amazing showroom.  Hope to see you!

Creamy Mushroom Marsala Bites

4 oz bacon, diced

¼ cup minced shallots

6 oz sliced crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped

6 oz sliced button mushrooms, roughly chopped

½ cup Marsala wine

30 mini phyllo shells

4 oz sour cream or 3 tablespoons heavy cream

2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped, plus more for garnish, roughly chopped

Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook chopped bacon until crisp, stirring occasionally to ensure even browning.

With a slotted spoon, remove meat from skillet, allowing drippings to remain in pan and set bacon aside.

Add shallots and stir to combine.  Cook until shallots are translucent about 5 minutes.  Add all mushrooms to the pan, stir, and allow mixture to cook over medium heat for 12-15 minutes or until mixture is nearly dry, stirring occasionally.

Add Marsala to mushroom mixture and stir again. Allow mixture to cook again over medium heat until pan is nearly dry again, about 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, place phyllo shells on a baking sheet and bake 5-7 minutes until crisp.  Remove from oven set aside.

When the mushroom mixture is nearly dry, add sour cream slowly to the mushroom mixture and stir gently until a creamy sauce forms.

Add reserved cooked bacon and chives to mushroom mixture, stir and remove from heat.

Season mushroom filling with salt and pepper to taste.

Fill shells with a scant tablespoon of creamy mushroom filling.

Top each filled tart with a small piece of fresh chive for garnish and serve immediately.

Filling can me made up to a week in advance. Enjoy!

Smoky Cheddar Cocktail Crackers

½ cup roasted salted cashews

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1-7 oz block smoked cheddar cheese, shredded

10 tablespoons salted butter, softened

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse cashews until finely chopped.  Place chopped nuts on a baking sheet and spread to cover.  Set aside.  

In the same bowl. pulse flour, salt, cumin, paprika and pepper until combined.  Add  shredded smoked cheddar cheese and butter and process again until a crumbly dough forms, about 45 seconds.  Remove dough from bowl onto a lightly floured surface.  

Divide dough in half and roll each half into a 12″ log. Roll each log in the chopped cashews to cover.   Wrap each log tightly in parchment paper and place logs in freezer for at least an hour or double wrap with plastic wrap and store in freezer for up to a month.

When ready to bake, remove logs from freezer and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.  Set aside.

Slice desired amount of crackers on the bias in a 1/4″ slice and place on prepared baking sheet.  Bake in preheated oven for 15-17 minutes until edges are lightly browned.   Slice parchment off baking sheet to cool crackers completely.

Serve alone, as part of a cheese tray or top with a roasted garlic salsa for an easy canape

Mini Party Crab Cakes

To make these delicious little treats ahead of time, simply follow the recipe all the way to the end, but stop before baking.  Freeze cakes on the buttered parchment, slide parchment off of sheet pan and cut parchement pieces with the crab cakes attached to the size of your storage container.

1-1 pound can claw fresh crab meat, picked through for shells

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

Zest and juice of one lemon

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 large egg

Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1 tablespoon Worcester sauce

Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste

1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss together crabmeat, breadcrumbs and lemon zest until well mixed.

In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, egg, cayenne, celery salt, hot pepper sauce, 1 tablespoon reserved lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce.

Gently combine wet ingredients with dry and form into 1 1/2” cakes.  Place cakes on prepared baking sheet.  Drizzle cakes with melted butter and bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch.

Serve with horseradish mustard sauce.  Makes 22-24 cakes

I’m off to Yale Appliance and Lighting (http://www.yaleappliance.com/framingham.aspx) again today to cook and talk about what to do with all of those Thanksgiving leftovers.  Sure, we all love a turkey sandwich and turkey soup, but how about these original takes on the never ending turkey and sides?

If you are around Framingham this afternoon, please come by and say hello, have a snack and visit the gorgeous showroom.  I’ll be at 215 Worcester Road, right near the Natick Mall.

And here are the recipes i’ll be cooking live in the showroom today.  Hope to see you!

Thanksgiving Brunch Strata

4 cups leftover stuffing

2 cups diced cooked turkey

2 cup diced leftover cooked vegetables

12 large eggs

2 cups milk

½ heavy or light cream

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425.  Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Spread leftover stuffing into a single 1” layer and cut into 1” cubes.  If stuffing is too wet to cut, toast stuffing in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes to dry out and crisp, then cut into cubes.  Spread cubed stuffing on prepared baking sheet and toast for 15-20 minutes until tops of cubes are crispy.  Set aside to cool.  .

Meanwhile, spray a 9 x 13” baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together  eggs, milk, cream and half of the shredded cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

In the prepared baking dish, scatter toasted stuffing cubes, cooked turkey and cooked diced vegetables.

Pour the egg mixture over the top of the stuffing, turkey and vegetables and sprinkle remaining cheese over the top of the egg mixture.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place the dish in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place the casserole in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until  egg custard is set in the center.

Remove from oven and allow to set for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Cranberry Clementine Oat Crumble Bars

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 teaspoon fine kosher salt

2 sticks butter, softened

1 egg, beaten

2 teaspoons fresh clementine zest

1 cup jellied or whole berry cranberry sauce

Sparkling sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 7” x 11” inch pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Set aside.  

to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse flour, sugars, oats and salt until oats are finely ground.  Add the butter, egg and zest and blend to combine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside two cups crumb mixture.

Press the remaining crumb mixture on the bottom the prepared pan. Spread the cranberry sauce over top.  . Crumble the rest of the oat mixture over the cranberry sauce and sprinkle sparkling sugar over the top.

Bake until lightly browned, 45 to 50 minutes until top crust and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars.


SWEET POTATO, SAGE AND BACON PIZZA WITH MASCARPONE & BALSAMIC DRIZZLE

Ingredients

Pizza crust (store bought or homemade)

Cornmeal for dusting

1 tablespoon olive oil

¾ cup mascarpone cheese

½ cup caramelized onions

1 cup roasted sliced or diced sweet potatoes

½ cup diced root vegetables, such as parsnips

1 tablespoon fresh sage, sliced thin

½ cup cooked bacon

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Place a pizza stone in the oven on the middle rack and allow to heat for 30 minutes.  

Meanwhile, sprinkle a pizza peel or the back of a baking sheet with cornmeal.  Stretch pizza dough to a 12” round, brush with olive oil and when pizza stone is hot, par bake crust for 8 minutes.  

Remove crust from the oven and allow to cool to the touch.  Spread half of the mascarpone on the warm dough and top with sliced sweet potatoes, caramelized onion and root vegetables.  Place small dollops of mascarpone of vegetables.  Chiffonade sage and sprinkle over pizza.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and bake for an additional 6-7 minutes until the cheese is softened and sage is crispy.  

Sprinkle pizza with cooked bacon, drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve.

 

 

Heading out shortly today to Yale Appliance and Lighting in Framingham (http://www.yaleappliance.com/framingham.aspx) to make some desserts, which if you know me, is one of my favorite things to do with my time!  I love all things about making desserts but especially about making seasonal desserts this time of year.  Now granted, you can find pumpkin puree in the grocery store year round now but do you really want a pumpkin cheesecake in June?  Ok, you might, but let’s celebrate the season and eat pumpkin desserts today!

Here are the three recipes I will be featuring at my demo today.  If you are in the neighborhood or feel like taking a drive, I promise you, the treats will be worth it!  My demos run from 11-3 today–you can get there and back before kickoff this afternoon!

spiced-pumpkin-cranberry-minis

Spiced Cranberry Pumpkin Mini Breads with Sweet and Salty Cashew Butter

For the Pumpkin Minis:

1-15 oz can pumpkin puree

4 large eggs

1 cup canola or vegetable oil

1/3 cup water

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground powdered ginger

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger

1 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped

3 tablespoons raw or sparkling sugar

For the Sweet & Salty Cashew Butter:

2 cups salted roasted cashews

3-4 tablespoon canola oil

2 tablespoon brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8 mini loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray and place on a large baking sheet.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or with electric hand mixer, beat pumpkin, eggs, canola oil, water and vanilla until smooth.

Sift together flour, sugar, cinnamon ginger, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.  Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture until beat slowly until just combined.  Add in chopped candied ginger and dried cranberries and beat again–do not over mix.

Scoop batter into prepared mini loaf pans and sprinkle batter with raw or sparkling sugar.

Bake in preheated oven 35 to 40 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched or an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

Meanwhile, make the cashew butter:

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine cashews, 2 tablespoons canola oil and brown sugar.  Process on high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Process mixture until smooth adding more oil, 1/2 a teaspoon, at a time if necessary.

Slice the Cranberry Pumpkin Mini Breads, spread on the cashew butter and enjoy!  

pumpkin-cheesecake-bars

Caramel Swirl Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars With Cinnamon Whiskey Whipped Cream

(note–the photo is of the same recipe but without the nut topping–since I made this recipe up a while back, I have become allergic to pecans…ugh)

1 14 oz. bag or box gingersnaps

1 tsp salt

2 tablespoons raw sugar

1 stick salted butter, melted

1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened

¾ cup sour cream

6 large eggs at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1-29 oz can pumpkin purée

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon ginger

2 tablespoons cornstarch

⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream

1-14 oz can dulce de leche

3-4 tablespoons cinnamon whiskey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9” x 13” baking pan with foil sprayed liberally with cooking spray.  Set aside.

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade pulse gingersnaps until fine crumbs.  Add salt, butter and raw sugar and pulse to combine.

Spread crumbs evenly into prepared baking dish. pressing to form a crust and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until crust is firm and fragrant.

Meanwhile, In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip cream cheese until smooth.  Add sour cream and eggs and whip again until completely combined.  Add sugar, pumpkin, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and whip to combine.  

In a small bowl, whisk together ⅓ cup heavy cream and cornstarch until cornstarch is dissolved.  Add to pumpkin mixture and mix until incorporated.  

In a small bowl whisk remaining 2 tablespoons heavy cream, dulce de leche and add whiskey to taste.  Pour filling mixture evenly on top of crust and swirl in the dulce de leche mixture

Bake for 55-65 minutes or until center is set.  Cool completely before serving.

Meanwhile, make the whipped cream

2 cups heavy cream

4 teaspoons honey

1-3 tablespoons cinnamon whiskey (to taste)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat heavy cream and honey to soft peaks.  Add whiskey and vanilla extract and bet to a stiff peak. Serve on cooled cheesecake bars.

img_2042

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Streusel Topping and Salted Caramel Sauce

6 cups cubed brioche or other soft bread

8 large eggs

¾ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons melted butter

1 cup heavy cream

4 cups whole milk

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon ginger

1 15 oz can pumpkin puree

Topping:

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup cold butter, cut into small cubes

1 teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  

Place bread cubes on baking sheet in a single layer and toast in preheated oven, 10-15 minutes until all sides are toasted, tossing bread cubes occasionally.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, spray a 9” x 13” baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside

In a large bowl, whisk eggs and brown sugar until sugar is dissolved.  Add salt, melted butter, milk, heavy cream, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and stir to combine.  Add pumpkin and whisk until pumpkin puree is completely incorporated into the egg mixture.  When bread is cool, add to egg mixture and fold to coat each bread cube.  All mixture to rest, refrigerated, for 30 minutes to an hour or until most of the mixture is absorbed by the bread and the bread cubes are soaked through.   

While bread is soaking, prepare the topping.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cubed butter and salt.  With a pastry blender or fingertips,

When bread is soaked, pour into prepared pan.  

Bake in prepared pan 45-55 minutes until center is set and a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread pudding comes out clean.  Allow to cool slightly before serving with caramel sauce.

Meanwhile, make the salted caramel sauce.  

Salted Caramel Sauce

1 cup granulated sugar

⅓ cup salted butter, cut into cubes

½ cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon kosher salt

In a saute pan over medium heat, melt sugar to an amber brown, shaking pan occasionally.  Reduce heat to low, add butter and stir until butter is melted and absorbed into the sugar.  Add heavy cream, a few tablespoons at a time and stir constantly until combined.  Remove from heat, add salt and vanilla extract and stir again until combined.  

Good Morning friends!

What are you doing today?  If you are withing driving distance, please come and say hello to me at Yale Appliance and Lighting at 296 Freeport St, Dorchester.  From 11-3 today I’ll be cooking up some fun football and Fall foods and giving away samples as well.  If you have not been to Yale Appliance, you are missing out.  Beautiful showroom, well informed and friendly staff and they make freshly baked chocolate chip cookies throughout the day—how can you go wrong?

Here are the recipes that I’ll be making this week:

HORSERADISH BEAN DIP

2 cups canned kidney beans, drained

¼ cup sweet onion, minced

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sweet pickle relish

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

3 tablespoons prepared horseradish

1 teaspoon garlic powder

hot sauce to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the kidney beans, and set aside to drain. In a medium bowl, combine minced  onion, mayonnaise, relish, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Gently fold in rinsed kidney beans until coated with dressing.  Refrigerate until ready to serve or up to 2 weeks.  

Best served with neutral flavored crackers, pita chips or crostini

BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP

2 ½ cups shredded cooked chicken

1 cup sour cream

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup blue cheese crumbles

2 teaspoons garlic powder

¼-⅓ cup buffalo sauce (to taste)

½ cup chopped banana peppers

1 cup shredded cheddar jack cheese

Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine cooked chicken, sour cream, mayonnaise, blue cheese crumbles and garlic powder.  Add buffalo sauce to taste and stir to combine.

Spread chicken mixture into prepared pan.  Sprinkle with chopped banana peppers and cheddar jack cheese.

Bake for 15-25 minutes until center is hot and mixture is bubbling on the edges.  Serve with tortilla chips

molasses ginger cookies

DOUBLE DUTY MOLASSES SPICE COOKIES

2 ¼ cup all purpose flour*

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoons cinnamon

2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup butter flavored shortening

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

½ cup molasses

¼ cup turbinado or sparking sugar

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.  Set aside.

In a large bowl cream shortening and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and molasses until well blended.  Slowly add flour mixture to creamed mixture and beat again until well combined.  Tightly wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cover four baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, place sparkling, granulated or turbinado sugar.

Roll dough into 1” balls and roll balls in sugar to coat.  Press balls slightly into sugar if necessary.

Bake 12 cookies per sheet for 10-12 minutes or until tops are slightly cracked and cookies are firm to the touch.

*For gingerbread cut out cookies, increase flour by 1/2 cup.  Generously flour rolling surface before rolling out the cookie dough.  Depending on the size of the cut outs, bake 10-12 minutes or until cookies are fragrant and lightly golden brown on the edges

 

Hello Friends.  Between work and travel I have been very quiet on the blog as of late but I am taking on a fun new challenge–live cooking demos at Yale Appliance in Dorchester and Framingham!  My first demo is this Saturday, September 17 from 12-4 at the Dorchester location (http://www.yaleappliance.com) and I will be making recipes and handing out samples. The theme of my demos this time is ” Late Summer Herbs and Vegetables and What To Do With Them.”

My herb bucket is overgrown with lemon thyme at this time (Ugh…pardon the pun), people are handing me zucchini left and right and we are buying local fresh corn like it’s going out of style because it’s so delicious so I am planning on featuring this late Summer bounty at the demo.

Please come by and say hello and be totally blown away by the showroom and the very well informed staff.  Here are the recipes that I will be featuring and sampling:

“Still Summer Grilled Corn, Bacon and Jalapeno Cornbread”

5 slices bacon, diced small

 2 tablespoons butter

1 cup yellow cornmeal

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup buttermilk (or whole milk with 1 tablespoon vinegar)

1 large egg, beaten

2 ears fresh corn, grilled

1 small chopped fresh jalapeno, membranes and seeds removed

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

In a small skillet, cook bacon until crispy.  Drain off bacon drippings and reserve.  Set aside.

 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place 2 tablespoons butter into an 9″ nonstick cake pan and bake for 5-7 minutes until the pan is very hot and butter is lightly browned.  Remove from oven and set aside.Meanwhile, In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

To the dry mixture, add buttermilk, reserved bacon drippings and egg and fold together until smooth. Fold in the bacon, corn kernels, jalapenos and cilantro and mix until combined. Place baking pan back in to the oven for 5 minutes until hot again.  Carefully remove heated pan from oven and pour in the batter and spread to cover.

Bake the bread until it is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Remove bread from the oven and let stand in pan for 10 minutes before cutting. Remove from pan and slice into desired portions.

Serves 8

“Garden Fresh Herb & Cheddar Pie”

Prep time:  15 mins

Cook time:  45 mins

Total time:  1 hour

Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup baking mix (such as Bisquick)
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 small sweet onion, minced
  • 3 cups zucchini and /or Summer squash, very thinly sliced or grated
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs (basil, thyme, marjoram, parsley all work well alone or in combination, plus more for garnish, very thinly sliced or chopped
  • 1 teaspoon all purpose seasoning mix (such as Adobo) or kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon paprika

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch pie pan or an 8’x 8′ baking dish plate with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs until combined.  Fold in canola oil, baking mix, parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, minced onion and two tablespoons fresh herbs, all purpose seasoning mix and black pepper to taste.  Pour into prepared dish.

Sprinkle mixture with remaining shredded cheese and top with reserved fresh herbs.  Sprinkle with paprika

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown on the top.

Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.  Can be served cold, hot or room temperature.

  

“Lemon Thyme Cocktail Cookies”

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup. granulated sugar

3 lemons, zested and juiced

1 lb. all- purpose flour (3 1/4 cups)

2 tablespoons cornstarch

¾ tsp. salt

12 oz. butter, softened

4 egg yolks

1 ½ Tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme or lemon thyme

Yield: 3 ½ dozen cookies

Bring all ingredients to room temperature.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process sugar, lemon zest, flour, cornstarch, salt and herbs until the herbs are finely ground.  

Add the egg yolks and butter to the bowl and process until mixture is combined.  Add lemon juice and process again until a cohesive dough forms.

Divide dough in half and form two disks.  Wrap dough securely with the plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator, at least several hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.

Let the dough sit at room temperature until it is pliable enough to roll with a rolling pin. Roll the dough out ¼ inch thick on a lightly floured surface.

Use as little flour as possible; flour may toughen the cookies. Cut out cookies with cookie or biscuit cutters; cut them as close together as possible to minimize scraps. Rolls scraps into fresh dough to minimize toughness.

Place cookies on prepared baking sheets. Bake until cookies start to turn a light golden brown around the edges, about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies.

Remove cookies from baking sheets. Let cool slightly on a wire rack.

Store in airtight containers.

Is it just me or when you’re away for a few days you come home to find little bits and odds and ends of stuff in the fridge? Does anyone see these things and think to eat them? Are they still edible? Have they turned into a giant hunk of mold in the container? I hate to waste so I always try find a way to use what I have on hand.

My favorite thing to do with odds and ends in the refrigerator is make a pizza.   The danger with using lots of veggies on your pizza is that it’s easy to have a soggy crust.  Read along and I will tell you my tips and tricks for using up your leftovers on a pizza and keeping the crust crispy.
image

I few days ago, I made my way in to the unknown….the back recesses of the fridge to find all of the these ingredients:  sauteed escarole, oil packed sun dried tomatoes, pitted stuffed olives, cooked mushrooms, pepperoncini, roasted yellow pepper strips and grated parmesan cheese.  I was also lucky enough to find a container of my Mom’s nut free pesto in the freezer.  She makes it at the end of the summer and its delicious.  We had been to the store the day before and stocked up on some fresh veggies as the fridge was more than kind of empty since I had been gone.  We got some chopped kale and some more mushrooms, both of which I sauteed in a large batch to have some to put in my eggs the rest of the week.  I also had some shrimp in the freezer (we love shrimp on our pizza) and some four cheese pizza blend.

You might be afraid to put so many veggies on your pizza for fear that it will never crisp up but the secret to using high water content vegetables is as follows:

  1. Roast veggies on the top of the pizza (as I will do with the kale)
  2. Cook out most of the water (which is what I did with the mushrooms, slowly over medium heat and did not salt them until they were mostly cooked, which roasts them and enhances the flavor)
  3. Literally squeeze the liquid out of the greens (which is what I did with the escarole and do with spinach)
  4. Pat dry anything that is in liquid or oil (the pepperoncini, olives, roasted peppers and the sun dried tomatoes)

 

 

 

The next trick to a crispy crust is a pizza stone or an overturned large baking sheet if you don’t have a pizza stone and a very high oven temperature.  Long before you start building your masterpiece, put the pizza stone in the oven at 450 degrees to heat all the way through.  It’s going to take a good 25-30 minutes to heat to 450.  If you are using a baking sheet overturned, it only takes about five minutes.  The key to a crisp crust is sliding the dough on to a hot surface to set it right away.

If you have a pizza peel, use it.  If you don’t, you can use a second overturned baking sheet in it’s place.  Cornmeal.  Cornmeal is the key to success with all pizza but especially a heavy one laden with deliciousness.  Sprinkle your peel (or second baking sheet) with a generous amount (at least 2 tablespoons) of cornmeal and spread it around to the edges of the peel.  Stretch your dough as thin as possible, leaving a nice edge for the crust and lay it on your pizza peel.  Now shake the peel.  Does the crust move freely back and forth?  If not, lift up the crust gently where it’s stick and through some cornmeal in there.  Shake it again…does it move?  You’re in good shape.

The next step is to layer appropriately.  I start with the pesto (obviously) in a very thin layer and then the dried vegetables that don’t need to be cooked, just heated including the escarole, sun dried tomatoes, olives and roasted peppers.  It’s important NOT to put anything that needs to be cooked (such as raw chicken, shrimp, raw mushrooms etc) under the veggies and cheese on the pizza because by the time the crust is crisp and the cheese is melted the raw food will not be cooked through, it will steam being trapped under the cheese and veggies and will cause the crust to be soggy.  Now is time to shake your crust again to be sure it moves freely.  If not, through some more cornmeal under the crust.  This is going to be a heavy pizza with all of the stuff on it so periodically, make sure it moves.

 

 

 

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The next layer is the remaining veggies, all but the kale, the cheese and the raw protein.  Keep in mind, however, that unless chicken, for example is cut very small it may not cook through, even on the top of the pizza.  Seafood, shrimp and/or scallops are a good bet because they cook so quickly as is any other cooked protein.  Time to add the shrimp and then sprinkle with some grated parmesan.
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And finally the kale.  I love crispy kale so it’s the perfect veggie to top the pizza.  Cooked broccoli is also a good bet as both kale and broccoli get very crisp when exposed to high heat.  Then some dried rosemary/oregano/ thyme or whatever you have on hand and some kosher salt and pepper.

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Shake your pizza on the peel once again and if it moves freely, you are all set.  If not, you know what to do.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until shrimp is cooked through and crust is golden brown and crispy.  Remove from oven and let pizza sit for 5 minutes for the cheese to set up and so you don’t burn the roof of your mouth because you’re going to want to eat this pizza as soon as possible!

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