We recently did an entertaining tasting event at work. Being a produce manager my selection to choose from is quite extensive. There are so many things I could have featured. At a meeting before the event someone had mentioned cranberry sauce. That started the gears in my mind turning. I thought it was a fantastic idea.
So many people automatically reach for the canned cranberry sauce on the shelves they have no idea how easy and flavorful homemade cranberry sauce can be.
The result were show stopping and fabulous! We had people coming back four and 5 times.
By the end of the evening we sampled out over 400 bites and had received rave reviews from everyone.
Because of the volume of samples we presented costs and time available for prep were kept in mind. If I were to make these at an event I hosted in my home I would have chosen phyllo cups as the vehicle for the bites.
This is a three step appetizer so planning ahead is essential.
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup of maple syrup or honey
1/2 cup of water 1 cup granulated sugar
Rinse cranberries and place in a large bowl. Heat syrup or honey and water in a small sauce pan just until warm. Pour the syrup over cranberries when warm. You do not want the syrup too hot as you do not want the cranberries to pop. Allow to cool. Cover and let the berries soak in the refrigerator overnight. Drain cranberries in a colander. Place sugar in a large bowl or baking dish. Add cranberries in small batches and roll around until lightly coated in sugar. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet until dry, 1 to 2 hours. When dry the berries have a nice crunchy candy coating.
Cranberry Sauce 1 bag of cranberries – fresh or frozen 1 cup of mango melon juice 1 cup of sugar 1/4 cup of honey
Place all the ingredients in a small pan. Cook on low – medium heat, stirring occasionally.
As they heat up, the cranberries will pop open. You know the sauce is done when 90 % the berries have split open.
Pour into a bowl to cool.
Sugared Cranberry Bites crackers or phyllo cups
soft spreadable cream cheese cranberry sauce sugared cranberries fresh mint for garnish
Spread the crackers with the cream cheese, add a teaspoon of cranberry sauce, and 4 or 5 sugared cranberries. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs.
I am the Produce Manager at the local Co-op. And with my new found position I find that I am doing much more experimenting with fruits. After all, I am surrounded by them for the majority of my week.
I had to pick up a box of the Coronation Grapes when they came in. It was actually the first time I had ever seen them so was excited to see what I could come up with.
Being an avid jam/jelly maker I knew that was the direction I was going to go with them. But I just couldn’t stop there. Tarts seemed like the perfect vehicle for the grape jelly. I nice finish of meringue would make it the perfect bite.
Making grape jelly is quick and easy. The most time consuming part is removing the grapes from the stems.
Once they are removed give them a good wash. Place them in a medium sized pot and add 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and place over medium low heat.
Coronation Grape Jelly
1 1/2 pounds of Coronation Grapes
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 cup of sugar
Bring the grapes and lemon juice to a simmer over medium heat for 12 minutes or until all the grapes are popped.
Strain the grapes in a fine mesh strainer until all the juice stops dripping. I did press the grapes to get every drop of juice I could.
Place the juice and sugar back into the pot and place over medium heat.
Bring to a low boil stirring occasionally until a temperature of 220 degrees is reached. Remove fro heat and allow to cool fully. The jelly will set once cooled.
While the jelly is cooling make the tart shells.
3 ounces of cream cheese – softened
1/2 cup of butter – softened
1 cup of flour
Cream the cheese and butter with a mixer. Add the flour and beat until a dough is formed.
Place in the fridge to chill for about 20 minutes.
Roll into 24 balls.
Spray a mini tart pan with non stick spray. Press the dough ball into each cavity and form the shells.
Bake in a 325 F degree oven for 20 – 25 minutes until lightly browned.
While the tart shells are baking make the meringue.
3 egg whites at room temperature
3/4 cup of sugar
Whip the egg whites until foamy with a mixer. Once foamy slowly add the sugar whipping well. This should take about 8 minutes.
Once the tart shells are done spoon a generous teaspoon of jelly into each shell. Using a pastry bag or a teaspoon place a dollop of meringue on to each tart. Broil for a few minutes until nicely browned.
In an effort to play catch up from the past couple of weeks I am digging into my files from 2012.
2 weeks ago I lost my last living grand parent. It has been hard. There were things left unsaid and it makes my heart heavy. When I returned from her funeral I immediately started a new job which has turned into what I can see as a long time position but also, it was a much needed distraction. Thankfully I shoot everything I do so it is nice to have a little cache of work I can use until I am fully adjusted to my new schedule.
These delicate cookies are always an fancy addition to my cookie trays.
Super easy to make, they have a fantastic flavor and the texture is just wonderful.
Make sure that you thaw the pastry according to package directions. In small bowl, combine softened cream cheese and sugar and mix well to blend. Roll one sheet of the thawed puff pastry into a 14×10″ rectangle.
Spread with half of the cream cheese mixture, leaving a 1″ border on one long side of the dough.
Sprinkle cream cheese filling with half of the chocolate chips.
Roll up pastry, starting at long side, and finishing at the side with the uncovered border of pastry.
Brush this edge with a bit of water, and seal pastry by pinching gently.
Repeat with remaining sheet of pastry and remaining ingredients. Cover and chill rolls for at least 1 hour. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with foil or parchment paper.
Cut rolls into 1″ thick slices, and place cut side up on prepared cookie sheets.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes until pastry is golden brown. Let cookies cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheets, than remove to wire racks to finish cooling. 24 cookies.
We have gone from the warmest winter ever in to the deep freeze.
With the wind chill tonight it will feel close to -50.
When it is that cold out the only good thing to do is turn on the oven bake.
I spied the bag of pecans in the cupboard and immediately though of making a danish. A natural paring with the pecans is maple. You can use either home made puff pastry or store bought from the freezer section. The satisfaction of making your own pastry is huge, though it is very time consuming. I will include a puff pastry recipe from Marth Stewart after the danish.
Maple Pecan Danish
1 pkg. of frozen puff pastry – thawed 1 cup (8 oz) cream cheese – softened 1/4 cup icing suger 1 egg 1/4 cup maple syrup 1/2 tsp. vanilla 5 tbsp. flour 1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup (2oz) cream cheese 3/4 cup icing sugar 1 tbsp. milk 1 tbsp. maple syrup 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Pre heat oven to 400 degrees F. Seperate pastry squares. Roll each square to a 12×9 inch rectangle. Place on lightly greased baking sheets.
Beat 1 cup of cream cheese, 1/4 cup of icing suger, egg, vanilla, maple syrup and flour until well blended. Stir in 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.
Spread mixture down center of pastries leaving 3 inches of dough on each side. Make 2 inch long cuts at 1 inch intervals on long side of pastry.
Crisscross strips over the filling.
Bake for 15 minutes at 400*F, turn down oven to 375*F bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer until golden brown. Remove to racks to cool.
Beat glaze ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over pasteries and sprinkle with 1/4 – 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.
3 cups (14 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting 1 cup (5 ounces) cake flour (not self-rising) 1 tablespoon salt 1 tablespoon sugar 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, plus 1 stick (½ cup), cold, cut into small pieces 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
In a large bowl, combine 2¾ cups (12.85 ounces) all-purpose flour with the cake flour, salt, and sugar. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter pieces (1 stick) until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few larger clumps remaining. Make a well in the center, and pour in 1 cup cold water and the vinegar, gradually drawing the flour mixture over the water, gathering and combining until mixture comes together to form a dough. If the dough is too dry, add more cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Knead gently in the bowl, and form dough into a rough ball. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 40 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour on a sheet of parchment. Lay remaining 4 sticks of butter on top, side by side; sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons flour. Top with more parchment; pound butter with a rolling pin until it’s about ½ inch thick. Remove top paper, fold butter in half, replace paper; pound butter until it’s about ½ inch thick. Repeat two or three more times until it is pliable. Using a bench scraper, shape butter into a 6-inch square; wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until chilled, about 10 minutes.
Lightly dust work surface with flour. Roll out dough to a 9-inch round; place butter package in center. Using a paring knife or bench scraper, lightly score dough to outline butter square. Remove butter; set aside. Starting from each side of marked square, gently roll out dough to form flour flaps, each 4 to 5 inches long; do not touch square. Return butter to center square; fold flaps over butter. Press with your hands to seal.
With the rolling pin, gently pound the dough all over in regular intervals until it is about 1 inch thick; this will soften the dough, making it easer to roll. Working in only one directly (lengthwise), gently roll out the dough to a 20-by-9-inch rectangle, squaring corners with the side of the rolling pin or your hands as you go. Using a dry pastry brush, sweep off excess flour. With a short side facing you, fold the rectangle in thirds like a business letter. Turn the dough a quarter-turn clockwise, so the flap faces right, like a book. (This completes the first turn.) Roll out the dough again to a 20-by-9-inch rectangle, rolling in the same lengthwise direction; fold dough again into thirds. (This completes the second turn.) Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour.
Repeat the rolling, turning, and chilling process for a total of six turns; always start each turn with the opening of the dough to the right. (If at any time, the dough becomes too soft to work with, return it to the refrigerator until firm.) Wrap dough in plastic; refrigerate 3 to 4 hours before using the dough.
Every once in a while you come across one of *those* recipes.
You know, the one you make over and over when you first discover it.
You make it so often that those around you start to roll their eyes when they hear your making it again.
Ya that one.
Well this soup is that recipe for me. Which is sort of surprising.
I have never been a big soup eater, I just prefer foods you can sink your teeth into, and soup has never fit the bill where my food cravings were concerned.
I received this recipe from a friend who lives on Singer Island down in Florida.
Of course, being the good Ukrainian girl that I am, I upped the amount of onion and garlic used, otherwise, the recipe remains the same.
The aromas that fill your kitchen are just a hint of the pleasure you are about to endulge in.
The creamy texture and deep roasted flavours leave your taste buds wanting more.
Hell, its even good cold!
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
1 butternut squash (seeded) -large enough to give you 5 – 6 cups of pulp after roasting.
2-3 large onions, peeled and quartered
3 heads of garlic
6 cups of chicken broth
1/2 tsp of marjoram
1/4 tsp of ground black pepper
1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
1 8 oz package of cream cheese
Preheat oven to 350*F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Halve the squash lengthwise, place on baking sheet with onion. Drizzle with some vegetable oil and season heavily with salt and pepper. Leaving the paper skins on the heads of garlic, and keeping the heads whole, slice of part of the end, exposing the bulbs. Place the heads of garlic on a sheet of foil and drizzle with vegetable oil, season heavily with salt and pepper. Wrap tightly and place in the corner of the baking sheet. Roast all in the oven for about an hour or until the squash is tender. If the garlic bulbs are not a nice toasted golden color place back into the oven for another half hour. Remove and set aside till cool enough to handle.
Scrape the flesh from squash, squeeze the garlic out of the skins and put all in the blender or food processor along with the roasted onions and cream cheese. Puree, adding abour 4 cups of the broth. Transfer to a pot and whisk in the remaining broth. Heat on medium until warm. Serve hot but do not boil.