Thursday, May 16, 2019

Hor's Douevre Platters

I follow Cheese by Numbers on Instagram.  I know her posts look so simple but it's actually harder than it looks.  So while I practice one of my latest happy hour bite platters, I'll post them, mostly so I recall what I've done.  I bought this cool looking platter for about $15 and love the size and shape!  It can be dinner for 2 or a platter to serve many with drinks ahead of dinner. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Fruit Tarts

I had a hankering for individual fruit tarts that I made years ago for Christmas desert.  I searched my blog and didn't find a thing.  Then I searched my kitchen book (where I write menus of past events) and again came up empty.  After looking at a few cookbooks, I still couldn't find a recipe that I might have used.  After that, I decided to wing it a bit.  

I have 6 individual tart pans that are a perfect size.  

First I made the dough and baked the shells.  In a food processor, combine 1 Stick Unsalted Butter (cut into cubes) with 3 oz Cream Cheese.  These can both warm up for about 15 minutes so they are cool but not soft.  To this add 1 tsp Sugar and 1/2 tsp Salt.  Add 1 Cup Flour and blend until a ball is formed.  No not over mix. 

Preheat oven to 350.  Divide the dough into 6 pieces.  Give and take until they look about even.  With floured fingers, gently press dough into the tart pans so the dough along the sides is fairly even.  Know that the dough will stick into the corner so press there and up the sides.  It's pretty forgiving.  Pierce with a fork along the bottom.  Place into hot oven for about 18 minutes until golden brown (and fragrant).   Remove from oven and let cool.

To make the lemon curd, to a bowl, add 3 Egg Yolks and beat til pale yellow.  Add 3 TBL Fine Sugar and beat until ribblons form when removing the beaters.  Zest 2 Lemons straight into the bowl.  Juice the 2 Lemons and beat in 2 TBL of the juice (taste to see if you want more and add accordingly.)  Place the curd in a small pan and while stirring continually, heat over low heat until it warms through and is thick.  Once it's resembles smooth pudding, remove from heat and put the curd in a clean bowl to cool.  

NOTE: For fine sugar, beat granulated sugar in a food processor.  I prepared a 1 LB bag of Sugar for my various needs and I store it in the bag it came in.  You can buy Caster Sugar but it's very expensive. 

To this point, all of this can be made ahead.  Assemble when you are ready to serve.  Place a tart pan on a plate and top the shell with curd.  Add fruit of choice and serve at once.  It's a delicious dessert any time.

For GF use GF flour when making the shells.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Chirstmas Dinner Table

This is late as I just came across the picture on my desktop.  My son wanted to set the table for Christmas Dinner.  It was just the 3 of us so I thought, why not.  Though he stole stuff from around the house and, I think the results were awesome.  It was the first time we ate together in the dining room.  It's a lovely room!  

Friday, March 8, 2019

Simple Chicken Meatball Kabobs

I've been very busy with home renovations and sometimes I get something that I can put together midweek without much effort.  I require it has to cook quickly and taste good.  I was at Costco with my sister D and we sampled Aidells' products.  We decided to split a package of Chicken Teriyaki Meatballs.  26 meatballs came in each package..  

Last night I bought a 1 Green Bell Pepper and a 1 Fresh Pineapple (wow $1.50, that's the lowest I've ever seen!)  I already had 1 Small Red Onion.  I prepped the vegetables and put everything on skewers.  I had a 1/2 package of Rice Sticks that I cooked like pasta which made it very low calorie.  

Recipe: Preheat the oven to 375 while you boil the water.  While all that is happening, prep and put everything on skewers and place on a sheet pan.  Mix together, 1 TBL Honey, 1 TBL Soy Sauce, 1 TBL Rice Vinegar, drizzle in 1 TBL Olive Oil while stirring.  Add a shake of Red Pepper Flakes for some heat.  You can adjust these quantities to taste.  Glaze both sides of the vegetable/meatballs.  Place in hot oven for 15 minutes until hot throughout, browned lightly and bubbly.  Serve at once.  

Monday, February 4, 2019

Fresh Pineapple

Fresh Pineapple is in season!  I know you can get them all the time but they are particularly good beginning now and under $2 each if you shop around.  I bought this one at Walmart for $1.78.   Sometimes I spirialze them and occassionaly I like large chucks eaten by itself.  I could tell by looking at it that it would be good with a firm looking skin and dark, hydrated and healthy looking crown. This is the second one I bought in a week.  It was ready to eat immediately and seems to be at it's peek!  They are in season beginning now through July!  

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Nestle's Mini Skillet Cookies

Have you ever gone to a restaurnant and ordered a hot cookie and it came served in a mini skillet?  I knew we would have fun with the mini skillets I gave to my son for Christmas!  We were at Costco and my son wanted to buy a tub of Nestles Cookie dough.  First, it was larger than we would eat in a month.  Second, I told him I didn't think it had real butter and in reading the label, I was right.  Third, it was $7, not a bad price, but I already had all of the needed ingredients at home.  

I offered to make the cookie dough which I store in a plastic container so he could bake the mini skillet cookies when he wanted.  We've made 3 skillets twice so far and I think we have enough to make 3 more, if not 3, then 2.  The only thing that would make it better is to place a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream on top when serving!  But this is an awesome dessert!

Preheat oven to 375.  Lightly grease each skillet with a thin coating of Crisco.  Make the Nestle's cookie dough using the recipe found on the package.  Scoop about 1/2 Cup of dough into each skillet and press with the back of a spoon to even it out.  They will rise when baking.  Bake for about 12 minutes and reduce the heat to 350 to let them finish cooking.  Mine seemed brown on the edges and still light in the middle, so I decided to reduce the heat for an even bake.  Let rest for no more than 5 minutes and enjoy with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream or a cold glass of milk!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Skewered Spiral Souped Up Hot Dogs for Sunday Playoff Games

Whodat Nation pulled through!  Next week, the Rams face them in New Orleans and the Patriots face off in KC.  

Yesterday for the playoff games I took a page from Rachel Ray's Tailgate episode.  

To make Spiral Hot Dogs, thread All-Beef Hot Dogs, my personal favorite Hebrew National, on a skewer.  Place a sharp knife at a diagonol with the blade facing the skewer about 1/2" from the top.  As you spin the skewer, you are able to slice a spiral into the hot dog.  Be sure to stop 1/2" from the bottom. Grill or cook on a flat top  griddle to desired doneness.  

In the meantime, in separate pans, heat up Queso, Baked Beans, Chili, and Sauted Thinnly Sliced Onions until they are browned.  Serve with Baked Potatoes, Cole Slaw, Salad, Mustard and Ketchup.  I love the Split Top Hot Dogs Buns for this and they can be steamed, grilled on the outside, or served straight from the bag. 

Just a note, plan on 3- 4 hot dogs per person if serving throughout the game.  

For us, there were only 3 of us eating but for a crowd, add more ingredients such as Jalepenos, Diced Red Onion, Relish, Crumbled Bacon, Grated Cheese, etc.  

Zucchini and Tomato Mini Skillet Side Dish!

For Christmas, I gave my son these awesome 3 1/2" mini Lodge Skillets along with a skillet meals magazine.  We had to adjust the recipe for 4 mini skillets rather than a 10" skillet but it worked out well.   We will have lots of fun using them!  

First up, he had his friend K for dinner and I prepped and they built these cool side dishes.  Once done, we each had our own side dish served  hot from the oven.  Put these ingredients into separate dishes.  Thinnly Slice 1 Medium Zucchini.  Add Salt and Pepper to Zucchini and sweat the water from the Zucchini which will take about 15 minutes.  Slice 1 Small Onion, Thinnly slice the bulb of 1 Leek.  Cut in Half about 10-12 Grape or Cherry Tomatoes.  I make my own Bread Crumbs from the heals of bread but you can toast bread and make your own or even substitute Panko Crumbs.  

Preheat Oven to 375.  Lightly coat each pan with Olive Oil.  Add a layer of Onion.  Layer the Zucchini.  Add Leeks.  Top with Parmesan Cheese and Tomatoes.  Drizzle with Olive Oil and add a sprinkle of Oregano, Salt, and Pepper.  As we learned, these shrink slightly so you can fill them to the very top.  Bake in a hot oven for 25-30 minutes.  Let rest and serve on a small plate straight from the oven to the table  Enjoy!

Emeril's Breakfast Stratta

My Mom used to make a breakfast stratta for certain family events.  I realized at Thanksgiving, during a conversation about Christmas morning breakfast traditions, that I have never made her stratta or any stratta for that matter.  

This December, while watching Rachel Ray, Emeril was a guest and what do you thing he made?  A stratta! But it was tall because it was made with large cubes of bread rather than sliced bread.  It was the traditional "make the night before and bake in the morning" affair so I dedcided to give it a try.   Wow, it was delicious - and of course it doesn't hurt that it is made with Gruyere Cheese!

He calls his a Morning Breakfast Bake and he uses Canadian Bacon.  My family prefers Sausage so I crumbled sauage patties instead.  I did omit the garlic because I don't like garlic for breakfast but for brunch or "we're having breakfast for dinner" I would probably add it.  Feel free to swap out Shallots for the Onion.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 TBL Butter and to it add: 6 Crumbled Breatfast Sauage Patties and cook for about 5 minutes while stirring often. Add 1 Small Onion Diced and 1/4 tsp Salt and cook until the onion has sweated, about 2-3 minutes.  Have ready 1 pound of prewashed Baby Spinach.  Add half of the spinach to the skillet and once it is reduced in volume, add the other half.  Once it is wilted, remove the skillet from the heat.  

Butter a 9" x 9" x 2 3/4" - in other words tall baking dish.  Cut a Loaf of Bakery Bread (some suggestions are Italian, Sour Dough, Boulle or my favorite is Pane di Casa if you have a Harris Teeter) to 1 1/2 " cubes.  Grate 8 oz. Gruyere Cheese.  

Add the bread to the dish and top with sausage topping and grated cheese - preserving about 1/2 Cup of Gruyere for the top.  It works well to get the topping between the cubes of bread.  Just keep building until all the topping is gone and 3/4 of the cheese is used.   

In a bowl beat 10 Eggs,  2 Cups 1/2 & 1/2, 1 Cup Milk, 1/2 tsp Pepper, 1/2 tsp Nutmeg.  Gently pour egg mixture over the bread and toppings.  You may have to re-distribute any topping that got disrupted.  Press gently so the bread comes into contact with the egg mixture.  Top with about 1/2 Cup of preserve Gruyere.  Cover and place in refrigerator overnight.  

In the morning, remove dish from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.   Preheat oven to 400.  Bake incovered for 25-35 minutes until puffed and golden brown and "set".  Let rest for 5 minuted before cutting into generous squares.  Serve with fresh fruit.  If you want to go crazy,  serve Vermont Maple Syrup along side of it for a light drizzle.  

Hopefully this dish will be part of your holiday tradition or your favorite "we're having breakfast for dinner" meal on that cold January night!  Enjoy!!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Cheese By Numbers (as found on Instagram) my first try

I began following CheeseByNumbers after I saw Melissa Mullen on Rachel Ray.  I need to get better at this but I had a lot of fun putting it together.  I easily could've added some sprigs of herbs and grapes, but I couldn't find Champagne Grapes which is what I wanted.  On the left is my jumping off point.

This is what a made.  Beginning at the top left corner and serpentining around the tray:  Grains First Crackers, Pepperoni, Camembert wedges with Pomegranate,  Pistachios behind the Olives, Kalamata Olives - in a bowl I made about 17 years ago, Sliced Gouda, Blue Cheese Spread with Pomegranate, Crisp and Buttery Crackers, the small bowl is for local honey, Fontina Cheese wedges, Blackerries, Duck Liver Pate, not seen Whole Cashews, Hard Salami.  

Lots to learn but lots of fun, too!