Monday, January 12, 2009
Aven brought boxed wine, a red and a white, because she figured that opening a box is faster than opening four bottles.
And she brought flavored waters (sparkling lemon, sparkling berry and chocolate mint).
Because that all seemed too easy she also made some hot cocoa mix for everyone. Simple and easy recipe to make your own is as follows:
1 part cocoa powder,
2 parts milk powder,
and 3 parts powdered sugar.
For really rich cocoa add a few mini chocolate chips.
1 Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheet
½ c dried cherries, roughly chopped
1/3 c chopped toasted pecans
¼ c honey
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 (13.2 oz.) brie cheese round--trim most of rind off with paring knife
Thaw pastry sheet at room temperature for 40 mins. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll sheet into a 14-inch square. Stir cherries, pecans, honey and rosemary in a bowl. Spread cherry mixture onto the center of the pastry square. Top with cheese. Brush edges of pastry with water. Fold two opposite sides over cheese. Trim remaining two sides of square to 2 inches from edge of cheese. Fold sides up onto cheese and press edges to seal. Place seam-side down onto baking sheet. Decorate top with pastry scraps and additional rosemary sprigs if desired. Bake for 20-25 mins, or until pastry is deep golden brown. Let stand for 15 mins. Serve with apple slices and crackers. Enjoy!!
1 jar (1-2 c) drained capers
2 T plus ½ c red wine vinegar
3 loaves of few day old wheat country bread
5 lb tomatoes chopped cored and scored on the bottom
2 T plus 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 T crushed garlic
1 T sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1- 1 ½ c sliced basil
1 whole jar red peppers drained and chopped
1 12 oz pkg of fresh mozzarella chopped into ½ inch pieces
1 large purple onion thinly sliced and soaked in vinegar and little salt
Fresh basil sprigs, for garnish
Soak the capers in 2 tablespoons of vinegar in a small bowl for 10 minutes. Drain.
Cut the crust off of the bread. Cut into 2-inch slices and toast at 400 degrees. Once toasted, rub each slice with a clove of garlic. Cut or tear bread into 1-inch cubes and set aside.
Submerge the tomatoes into a large saucepan of boiling water for 10 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to a large bowl of ice water to cool slightly. Using a small sharp paring knife, peel off the tomato skins. Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut the tomatoes into 1-inch cubes and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk 2/3 cup of oil, ½ cup of vinegar and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the bread cubes, tomatoes, and basil; toss to combine.
Transfer half of the bread mixture to a 13 by 9 by 2-inch dish.
Arrange half of the roasted peppers, drained capers, and olives over the bread mixture. Repeat layering with the remaining bread mixture, then the remaining roasted peppers, capers, and olives. Cover the salad and let stand at room temperature for flavors to blend, at least 1 hour.
Garnish with the basil sprigs and serve.
Can make any variation of bread salad: some suggestions: thyme, roasted butternut squash, brusselsprouts & parm or mushrooms and mustard greens/arugla
Curried Lentil Soup
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 red potato, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 T curry powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
5 c water or 3 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
2 c lentils (about 12 ounces), rinsed, drained
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and
sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Mix in curry
powder and cayenne and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add water or
broth, tomatoes with juices, carrots, potatoes and lentils and bring to
boil. Cover pot, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils are very
tender, about 30-45 minutes. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can
be made up to 2 days ahead. Refrigerate until cold; cover and keep
refrigerated. Before serving, rewarm soup over low heat.)
Side Dish: Sara (the momma-to-be!)
Mean Mixed Greens
¼ c olive oil
2 T fresh minced garlic
1 T fresh minced ginger
one bunch each of Green Kale, Red/Purple Kale, and Collard Greens
2 T lemon juice
salt to taste
Sara used her new cast iron wok and heated up the olive oil, once hot, added the garlic and ginger. Add the greens and saute', then add lemon juice and some salt to taste. Cook until vibrant in color but not soggy.
Very easy--prep time 15 minutes to wash and slice greens and chop garlic, cook time about 8 minutes. Yummmmmmm! and really healthy too.
Beef Szechwan with Cashews also made as Veggie Szechwen
1.5 pounds beef cut into strips
1 T soy sauce
1 T Chinese rice wine vinegar
2 T additional soy sauce
1 T corn starch
1 tsp white vinegar (can use rice wine)
¼ c vegetable oil
½ to 1 tsp red pepper flakes (you can go big here if you like the heat, we do)
3 green onions slices
½ c unsalted cashews (or nut of your choice)
Carrots cut into strips
Any veggie that you love to stir fry will work great
Marinate meat/ vegetables with 1 Tbsp. soy sauce and rice wine vinegar while you prep other items
Combine 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, cornstarch, and vinegar and set aside.
Stir fry the meat/vegetables for until just slightly under cooked remove from burner.
Heat oil in the same skillet until VERY HOT add red pepper flakes to oil and cook until they are black.
Add cashews and stir fry for about one minute or until lightly toasted
Add meat/vegetables to skillet and stir fry until cooked to your liking.
Add soy sauce, cornstarch and vinegar mixture and stir fry for a few more moments.
NOTE: the spice from the pepper flakes will fill your kitchen for be prepared to open a window!
Serve over cooked rice or serve it over fresh spinach!
Dessert: Tiffany T. (sub for Tamara)
Chocolate Tiramisu Mousse
1 c double strength coffee OR 1.5 T instant espresso powder dissloved in 1 c water
¼ c granulated sugar
¼ c rum (light or dark)
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ¼ c whipping cream, divided
2 c mascarpone cheese
¼ c powdered sugar, more for optional garnish
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz semisweet choclate, grated, divided
24 ladyfingers, hard or soft
In a shallow dish, combine the coffee, granulated sugar, and rum. Set aside, stirring occasionally to ensure sugar dissolves.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cocoa powder with 1/4 c of the cream and stir to mix, then stir in the mascarpone cheese until smooth and evenly blended.
Whip the remaining 1 c. of cream with an electric mixer at a medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture, then fold in half of the grated chocolate.
Dip 1 side of half the lady fingers in the coffee mixture. Line the bottom of a 9x13 pan** (or a 10" springform pan or trifle dish) with ladyfingers espresso side up. Cover them with half of the mascarpone filling. Dip 1 side of the remaining ladyfingers into coffee mixture. Lay them, espresso side down, over the filling. Spread the remaining filling. Cover dish with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours*** or overnight. Just before serving sprinkle the remaining grated chocolate over the tiramisu. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired, and cut into squares to serve.
Makes 12 16 servings and can be made up to a day in advance
** I used 30 ladyfingers, and there still weren't enough to cover a 9x13 dish. Midway through I switched to my springform pan.
*** My prep would have been under 42 minutes if I didn't need to make the dish change midway through.
Wild Card: Ashley
Bon Bons (aka Dark Chocolate Truffles)
These can be popped into your mouth for a "quick fix" but also can represent all the time you saved in the kitchen. You now have time to sit around eating Bon Bons.
Makes about 60 truffles
16oz Bittersweet (60%) Chocolate
2/3 c heavy whipping cream
12 T butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 c unsweetened cocoa
0r 1 ½ c finely chopped nuts
Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add butter and stir until melted. Add chocolate to saucepan. Stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and pour chocolate mixture into a shallow bowl. Cool, cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Roll mixture into 1" balls. Roll each ball in coating.