Sunday, November 29, 2009

Martha Stewart's Almond Crescent Cookies


2 sticks unsalted butter
2/3 cup confectioners sugar (plus more for rolling)
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond extract
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds
2 1/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1. Heat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Cream together butter and 2/3 cup sugar until fluffy. Beat in extracts, then add almonds. Stir in flour and beat until well mixed.

2. Divide dough in half and roll each half into a log 1 inch in diameter. Cut each log into 3/4-inch pieces, and roll each piece into a cylinder 2 inches long. Place cylinders 1 to 2 inches apart on baking sheets, and form into crescents.

3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden. Let crescents cool, then roll in additional sugar.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Holiday Pumpkin Squares


I've had 'em all. So many pumpkin squares . . . this is the one true pumpkin square. Nothing like this one. I lost this recipe and had to call on my coolest friend (Robyn) to bring me back . . . try this one. It's killer.

Combine:

12 whole long graham crackers-crushed
1/2 cup melted butter
1/3 cup sugar

Pat into bottom of 9" x 13"pan

Beat together until light and fluffy:

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese

Pour over crust and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes

In heavy saucepan blend and bring to a boil
:

1 (16 oz.) can pumpkin (2 cups)
3 eggs yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Meanwhile, dissolve 1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water and add to mixture in saucepan. Cool.

Beat 3 egg whites until foamy, add 1/4 cup sugar. Fold into COOLED pumpkin mixture. Pour over cooled baked part in pan. Refrigerate until set.

Top with 1/2 pint heavy cream sweetened with 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Cut into squares.

Thank you Sue Gordon (Robyn's mom). These are unforgettable. Trust me.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Chicken Empanadas


8 oz. skinless boneless chicken breasts (cut into 1/2" cubes)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup water
2 T. raisins
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
1 T. tomato paste
1 T. chopped pimento stuffed green olives
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 t. ground cumin
2 T. dry breadcrumbs

36 potsticker wrappers
1 large egg

2 cup oil

Combine and cook first 6 ingredients. Transfer to food processor and add remaining ingredients. Wrap with potstick wrappers and use egg to seal. Fry till golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve with various dipping sauces

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Torte


My friend (hi Robyn) was just visiting from Boise and mentioned how much she loves this recipe. It's another great holiday dip that can be made ahead of time. Take this to your Christmas party . . . it's delicious.

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (2 oz.)
2 cloves garlic, minced (I like more than 2 cloves)
1 T. milk
1 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup firmly packed fresh parsley sprigs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. olive oil
2 T. pine nuts
1/2 cup oil-packed dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
french bread slices

In food processor bowl combine cream cheese, feta cheese, 2 cloves garlic and milk. Cover and process or beat with electric mixer on medium speed till almost smooth.

For pesto combine basil, parsley, parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup nuts, 2 cloves garlic and olive oil. Cover and process or blend till almost smooth.

Line 4 cup mold with plastic wrap and sprinkle the 2 T. roasted nuts over bottom of mold. Spoon 1/4 cheese mixture atop nuts, spreading evenly. Carefully spread with half the pesto. Add another one-fourth of cheese mixture.

Sprinkle tomatoes atop cheese in mold Add another 1/4 cheese mixture and remaining pesto. Spread remaining cheese mixture atop and cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight. To serve, unmold onto platter and serve with French bread.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

O Henry Bars



4 cups oats
2/3 cup butter
1/2 Karo syrup
1 cup brown sugar
3 t. vanilla

6 oz. chocolate chips
2/3 cup peanut butter

Pat dough in 9 x 13 pan and bake at 35 for 15 minutes only.

Melt peanut butter and chocolate chips. Spread on dough and let set before cutting.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup...


I had a delicious butternut squash soup at my cousin's house in Pepperell and haven't stopped talking about it. For two years. This attempt proves butternut squash and carrots make a great couple. It's a sweet soup with an earthy flavor. Maybe croutons on top made out of cinnamon raisin bread?

Serves 8–10

1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
2–3 pounds butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1-inch chunks
3 large carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (1-inch piece)
2 quarts vegetable stock or cold water
1/8 cup grated orange zest
1 bunch parsley, chopped
pinch of ground nutmeg
sea salt, to taste
ground pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil or butter over medium heat in a large sauce pot. Sauté the squash, carrots, onion, and ginger for 3 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Add the stock and orange zest, and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the parsley, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Purée the soup with a hand held immersion blender or in a food processor until smooth and creamy.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread


Ingredients

* 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
* 4 eggs
* 1 cup vegetable oil
* 2/3 cup water
* 3 cups white sugar
* 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.
2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
3. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Almond Butter Cake


I know, I know, enough with the almond. It's obvious I'm in pursuit of the perfect almond cake, one that's on the smaller side with the exact amount of crunch. Since I haven't been very successful I decided to attempt to modify a "go to" recipe I've relied on for years, the Desert Island Butter Cake. The resulting recipe is as follows:

2 T. almond paste
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup flour
2 sticks melted butter
1 T. almond extract
sliced almonds to garnish
confectioners sugar for sprinkling

Process almond paste and sugar in food processor until blended. Add eggs and process until fluffy. Add 1 cup of flour, 2 sticks of melted butter and 1 T. almond extract. Blend by hand. Pour into 9" pan and bake at 350 until golden brown.

To mix it up I've made the recipe in this pan and placed a sliced almond on the top of each miniature cake with a dusting of powdered sugar.

I might be satisfied now.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Brown Sugar Cookies


I'm re-posting this recipe just in case you glazed over after reading directions that included a step to brown some butter. I have never seen this in a cookie recipe before but I must tell you . . . make these. The extra step was so worth it. This recipe is spectacular.

Ingredients

* 14 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
* 2 cups flour
* 2 tablespoons flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 large egg
* 1 large egg yolk
* 1 tablespoon vanilla

Directions

1. Heat 10 Tbs butter in 10" skillet over med-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1-3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 Tbs butter into hot butter to melt; set aside for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350. Line 2 large (18x12") baking sheets with parchment paper. In shallow baking dish or pie plate, mix granulated sugar and 1/4 cup pack brown sugar, rubbing between fingers, until well combined; set aside. Whisk flour, baking soda and baking powder together in medium bowl; set aside.

3. Add remaining 1 3/4 cups brown sugar and salt to bowl with cooled butter; mix until no sugar lumps remain, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined, about 1 minute. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed.

4. Divide dough in 24 portions, each about 2 Tbs, rolling between hands into balls about 1 1/2" in diameter. Working in batches, toss balls in reserved sugar mixture to coat and set on prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2" apart, 12 dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but it will take 3 batches.)

5. Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are browned and still puffy and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between the cracks and seem underdone), 12-14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Do not overbake. See here for done test information.

6. Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes; using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

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Egg Rolls


1 lb. uncooked medium shrimp
1 lb. uncooked bonless lean pork
4 oz. fresh mushrooms
8 green onions
1 red pepper, seeded
8 oz. Chinese cabbage
1 can water chestnuts
3 T. sherry
1 1/2 T. soy sauce
2 t. grated pared fresh ginger root
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 T. cornstarch
24 spring roll or egg roll wrappers
3 cups vegetable oil

Finely chop shrimp, pork, mushrooms, onions, pepper, cabbage and water chestnuts using cleaver or food processor. Add sherry, soy sauce, ginger, sugar and salt and mix well.

Mix water and cornstarch in small bowl until blended. Place 1/4 cup filling evenly across corner of each wrapper and brush cornstarch mixture evenly over all edges of wrappers. Carefully roll wrappers around filling folding in the corners.

Heat oil in wok over high heat until it reaches 375 and fry 3 to 4 rolls at a time until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper.

P.S. I frequently use only chicken in these egg rolls. I posted the recipe the way I learned it . . . I mostly make chicken only egg rolls.

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