Monday, December 19, 2016

Recipe #116: Rugelach...Apricot, Raspberry, Chocolate Espresso...Take Your Pick!!!

I love rugelach, and the reason being there is so few ingredients to make the dough...four, actually.  Though I usually make it during the holiday season, it's not a heavy cookie, actually it's more like a pastry dough, and you can make them as big or as small as you want.  The filling I usually use is either apricot or raspberry with crushed almonds or almond extract.  But, you can use lemon filling, chocolate...there are endless possibilities.  Now, let's bake...

8 oz cream cheese, at room temp                        2 sticks butter, at room temp
1/4 cup sugar, plus more for filling                     1/4 tsp salt
2 cups flour                                                               1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup apricot filling (solo) or                                 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp milk for egg wash
    raspberry preserves                                            1/2 tsp pure almond extract

Put cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a mixer and blend until light.  Add the 1/4 cup sugar and salt.  With mixer on low speed, add the flour and mix just until combined.  Dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface (I use my counter) and roll into a ball.  Cut the ball into quarters and wrap each in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least one hour.  For the filling, combine in a small bowl, 1/4 cup sugar and the 1/4 cup brown sugar.    In another small bowl, give the apricot filling or the raspberry preserves a stir, along with the almond extract.  Take dough out of frig and roll each quarter into a 9" circle.  Spread the dough 1/4 cup filling and then sprinkle with 1/4 of the sugar.  Press the sugar slightly onto the filling with the rolling pin.  At this point, I use a pizza cutter and slice the round in quarters, then another three, totaling 12 wedges.  Roll up each wedge, starting at the widest part.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with side down.  Put in the fridge for about half hour.  Since I have a side-by-side, I have to use a small cookie sheet, then transfer the cookies to my larger cookie sheet.  It's a real pain, but I have no choice.  Take cookies out and brush with egg wash.  At this point, you can sprinkle sanding sugar or regular sugar on top, or nothing if you don't want to.  Bake in a 350 oven for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Remove to a wire rack and cool.  Bon appetit!

CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO FILLING

1/2 cup sugar                                                                  2 tsp espresso powder
8 oz bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate                       4 tbsp butter, melted
  grated, or shaved

Mix sugar and espresso powder in a small bowl.  After rolling out rugelach dough in a circle, brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with sugar/espresso mixture, and then chocolate...


for this batch I used raspberry preserves with almond extract and chopped walnuts

because I can never seem to roll out a perfect circle, I tape a piece of parchment paper on the counter after tracing around a dinner plate with a sharpie...

lay on cookie tray lined with parchment paper...

now I can just throw away the parchment paper...

blurry, but you get the picture...yum...



Friday, September 2, 2016

Recipe #115: S'Mores...Anytime You Want!!!

Yes, I remember making these on campouts as a girl scout, 49 years ago...and yes, that age would be correct..yikes!  There's nothing like roasting marshmallows over an open campfire, but who has the luxury of being able to make a fire on a whim?  That said, I have also made them by putting the marshmallows on a shish kabob skewer and roasting over an open flame on the stove in my kitchen.  The problem with that, though, like the campfire, is that you can only make one s'more at a time.  Well, all your problems are solved...yes, you can have your cake and eat it too, because now you have a whole cast iron pan full of that ooey gooey richness. Now, let's bake...

This recipe calls for an 8" cast iron pan, which is enough for 2-3 people in my book...you certainly could go with a larger cast iron pan, and adjust the ingredient list accordingly...

1 bag mini marshmallows                            2 7 oz. Hershey bars
1 box graham crackers

Heat oven to 425.  Break up the Hershey bar into the scored squares and put in pan...it doesn't need to be an exact break, but the two bars should more than cover the pan.  Sprinkle the mini marshmallows so that chocolate is completely covered.  Place pan in oven and bake anywhere from 5-8 minutes, making sure to keep an eye on the marshmallows so they don't burn.







 










Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Recipe #114: Kimo's Cucumber Salad with Fresh Ginger, Dill & Rice Wine Vinegar

Kimo is a man I met through my neighbor, Sibyl.  One day when she had me over for dinner, he brought this wonderful cucumber salad, and I mean wonderful, as in addictive.  Since having it, I have made it every few days...yes, every few days.  It takes so few ingredients, but is such a lovely compliment to any dinner, or on its own for dinner, with bread or rolls.  The other bonus is, the only ingredients in the dressing is rice vinegar, sugar and grated fresh ginger.  Now, let's cook...

2 large cucumbers, peeled and seeds scooped out    1/3 cup rice vinegar
4 tsp sugar                                                                 1 large piece ginger, peeled
2 tbsp fresh dill, snipped off of stem                        1/4 tsp salt
2 medium tomatoes, chunked                                   2 green onions, white and green, sliced thin

In a large bowl, whisk rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Using a rasp, or hand held grater, grate ginger right into the bowl.  Add dill and green onion and stir until combined.  Slice cucumbers extremely thin and add to bowl, along with the tomatoes.  Stir and refrigerate at least an hour to chill thoroughly.  Bon appetit!

 I could eat the whole bowl...

 ingredients...

 I put my great grater right in the bowl while I grate the ginger...juice and all goes in...

 stir it all together...

 peel cucumber, then use a spoon to scoop out the pulp and seeds...

 cut cucumber into thin slices...the thinner the better...

 delicious!!!

the only thing you can't see here is the grated ginger.  also, the tomatoes are from my garden...

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Recipe #113: Lemon Sour Cream Parfait with Baked Graham Cracker Crumble

I guess if chocolate left the world, my next go to would be anything made with lemon.  I find it so refreshing, clean, light...even if it's a cake.  This recipe is great for a summer dessert, and even though the wine glasses I put them in are filled to the brim, they go down 1, 2, 3.  It's light and creamy, tart and sweet, with a crunch from the graham cracker on the top and in the middle.  This lemon curd could easily go in a graham cracker crust if you wanted to, and you could use the whipped cream to top the pie with, but sometimes I like to go out of the box with a pie, and hence, these parfaits.  They are a show stopper, and you will be an absolute rock star with all of your guests.  Now, let's cook...

1 cup sugar                                                              3 tbsp cornstarch
5 tbsp grated lemon peel (6-7 lemons)                   1/4 cup lemon juice
3 egg yolks                                                              1 cup 2% milk
1/4 butter, cut up (4 tbsp)                                        1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup crushed graham crackers                           1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp sugar                                                             1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp melted butter                                                1 tsp sugar

In a medium saucepan, combine the 1 cup sugar, cornstarch and lemon peel.  Stir in the lemon juice, egg yolks and milk until blended.  Add the butter.  Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly until thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes more, makin sure the custard doesn't burn.  Cover the surface of the filling with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.   In the meantime, mix graham crackers, melted butter and sugar.  Place on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are turning brown. You need to watch carefully as the crumbs an burn rather quickly.  Remove from oven and cool.  Remove the filling from the refrigerator.  Fold in the sour cream with a whisk.  Refrigerate at least 2 more hours, or overnight. Whip cream with the 2 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp vanilla.  Layer lemon custard, whipped cream and graham crackers.  Bon appetit!



look at all that great lemon peel...

mix cornstarch, lemon peel and sugar...

stir in egg yolks and butter...

mix graham crackers, melted butter and sugar, then bake a 350...

when lemon curd is done, use a rubber spatula to place into bowl, then immediately put plastic wrap flat against the whole thing so it doesn't form a "skin"...

I couldn't get along without this whisk, which is flat, and goes around the round coners of a pan...

pure decadence...






Thursday, June 2, 2016

Recipe #112: Almond Chocolate Chip Galette with Toasted Almonds

I like almond anything....raw almonds, toasted almonds, almond joy candy bars, bear claws stuffed with almond.  This recipe is so, so easy to make, and is the perfect choice if you want to impress friends.  The only downside is that it needs to cool for about 15 minutes before you serve it.  But, you really can't ruin this wonderful, decadent dessert.  The only thing you need to be careful about is keeping the puff pastry cold so it gets the greatest amount of puff while baking.  Now, let's bake...

1 box puff pastry, such as Pepperidge Farm      2/3 cup (6 oz) almond paste
6 tbsp butter at room temp                                    1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt                                                                 2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla                                                                1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup almond flour                                               1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted*
1 cup chocolate chips

*to toast almonds, and using the 400 oven, toast on a cookie sheet for about 5-7 minutes...you have to watch this as I have burned many batches not paying attention...

GLAZE

1 egg yolk                                                             1 tsp water

Heat oven to 400.   Unfold each piece of puff pastry...at this point it should measure 9x9".  Roll each out to an 11x11" square.  Roll out one pastry to a 10" circle and the other one to an 11" circle.  I used a dinner plate for the 11" and an angel food cake pan for the 10", cutting around each with a knife.  Set each on a parchment-lined baking sheet and put in the fridge.  Beat the almond paste, butter, sugar and salt until creamy.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well incorporated.  Mix in both flours.  Stir in chocolate chips and almonds.  Take out the 10" circle and spread the filling all around, leaving a 1" rim around the edge of the pastry.   Mix the egg yolk and water together in a small bowl and brush it over the uncovered edge of the pastry.  Center the large round of dough over the first, and smooth it out over the filling.   Press all around the edge and then using a fork, crimp the rim of the galette to seal.  At this point, you can decorate the top of the galette, slicing swirls, lines or curves on top.  Poke five vent holes in the middle, then brush all over with the glaze.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until it is golden in color.  Bon appetit!

I didn't press all around the edge well before crimping, so the whole galette puffed up...the crimped edge should stay pretty flat, but again, I failed to press it down all around before crimping...

the little circle in the middle of the disc on the left is due to turning the angel food cake pan upside down while drawing a knife around it...

spread filling to about an inch all around...

brush egg yolk all around...

press down and crimp all around the edge...put decorative slits on top if you want...poke holes in the middle for venting...

brush the whole thing with the egg yolk...

you find this in the baking section of the grocery store...don't confuse it with solo pastry filling...

so it's not perfect, but close enough...i'll try again soon, and remember to press the edges...

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Recipe #111: Cinnamon Bread Pudding with a Maple Syrup, Lemon Zest & Fresh Strawberry Sauce

I first had this dish probably 15 years ago when staying at a lovely B & B in Connecticut with my good friend and travelling partner, Cindy.  I had never had bread pudding before, and really wasn't looking forward to it, but was I in for a big surprise.  It was quite tasty and had a maple syrup/butter sauce with infused with fresh lemon zest and fresh strawberries and blueberries.  I have been making this recipe for company I have had over ever since I got home from that trip.  In fact, I was featured on our local pbs fundraising program on tv, making this recipe in front of the television camera for zillions of people to view.  Was I nervous, you betcha, but I was a hit nearly as much as the bread pudding itself.  George, who had hosted years of these cooking shows, looked like he had died and gone to heaven after tasting it.  Yes, he could have been acting, but you know when you look at someone's face when something is genuine.  This bread pudding is not dry inside, more custardy, and the sauce is "to die for".  Okay, time to cook... 

8-10 slices cinnamon bread (depending on                2 1/2 cups 2% milk
        how high you like your pudding)*                        4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla                                                                        1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon                                                                  1/4 cup sugar

*You want to take the cinnamon bread out the night before and leave it on a cookie sheet overnight so it dries out a bit.  This time I had just bought the bread so while the oven was heating up, I placed all the slices on the rack that you see below, so both sides would dry out at the same time, and left it in the oven for about 5-8 minutes...

MAPLE BUTTER SYRUP

1 cup real maple syrup (please don't use                   2 tbsp butter
    the fake stuff)                                                              1/2 cup strawberries, chopped
1/2 cup blueberries, optional                                       1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1-2 tsp fresh lemon zest (depending on how
    much you like lemon...I use 2)

Place everything in a medium saucepan except the berries on low heat and whisk until incorporated.  Add berries just a few minutes before serving.

Put kettle of water on to heat to boiling.  In the meantime, evenly divide bread cubes among 4 greased 4" ramekins sprayed well with cooking spray.  In a medium bowl, combine milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Place ramekins in a 9x13 pan and fill each with custard mixture.  Press down just a little.  Fill pan with 1" boiling water.  Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes, until top is brown and crusty and a butter knife stuck down in the middle comes out clean.  Remove from oven and take ramekins out of pan.  I use my bare hands, and yes, it's a bit of a challenge, but mitts will get wet from the water unless you can hold either end of the pan and dump some in the sink.  Immediately run a knife or offset spatula around the inside, turn over, then put right side up on a plate.  Repeat with each one.  Some pudding may stick around the side..don't worry.  Serve with warm syrup.  Bon appetit!

this is exactly how I served the dish on the air...

I bought a loaf of sliced cinnamon bread and just about made a double batch...I used the whole loaf for this post...

I used 4 4" and 4 3" ramekins...perfect for the whole loaf of bread...

the bread cubes after pouring the custard in...

press the whole mixture down just slightly...


aah...nicely browned on the top...

look at the crust on that...yum-my...

the inside is very custardy....

Monday, March 21, 2016

Recipe #110: Want a Beer? Have One of Phil Hildebrandt's Margaritas!

Who is Phil Hildebrandt, you might wonder?  One of my neighbors.  He brings a pitcher of these to special events in our community.  Of course, he can never make them fast enough, or enough of them to last very long.  These margaritas are FABULOUS!  I love them even more than the ones I have featured previously, only because you don't need to squeeze fresh limes and make a simple syrup.  Not that that's a big deal or anything, but if it gets me to the drink faster, it's a good thing.  This recipe uses a 12 oz can of beer...yes, you read correctly, a can of beer.  I have never bought beer, and it's really mind-boggling just how much of it is out there to buy.  Phil said you can use regular or light beer.  I've also adjusted the recipe for those of you who have 16 oz cans of beer in the fridge.  These go down real easy...Now, let's mix...

12 oz tequila, I use gold or silver                               1 12 oz can of beer
12 oz can frozen limeade                                             6 oz triple sec

If you have 16 oz cans of beer...

16 oz tequila                                                                  1 16 oz can beer
1 12 oz can frozen limeade, plus                               8 oz triple sec
   4 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, then pour into a pitcher.  At this point, you can add ice, and blend, but I prefer mine on the rocks.  Bon appetit!




I usually add a packet of equal and mix in with the beer and limeade just because I like a little sweetness...

no, this is not grapefruit juice, but a batch of margaritas I put in this container, and in the fridge they go...then, I always have margaritas when I want one...or two...