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Monday, January 31, 2011

♥ Pecan-Lace Cookies ♥

* 2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
* 1/2 cup light corn syrup
* Salt
* 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
* 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
* 2/3 cup cake flour (spooned and leveled)

1. In a medium saucepan, heat sugar, butter, corn syrup, and a pinch of salt over medium, stirring, until sugar has dissolved, about 7 minutes.

2. Remove pan from heat; stir in orange zest, pecans, and flour. Transfer to a bowl; cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until dough is firm, about 2 hours.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment. Drop dough by teaspoons, about 2 inches apart, onto sheets (6 per sheet); roll into balls.

4. Bake until cookies are golden brown (they will harden as they cool), 9 to 10 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough. Let cookies cool completely.

Makes 55.

~~From Everyday Food, March 2009~~

Sunday, January 30, 2011

♥ Earl Grey Pots de Creme ♥

* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1 cup whole milk
* 2 tablespoons Earl Grey tea leaves
* 4 egg yolks
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
* 1/8 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small saucepan, bring the cream, milk, and tea leaves just to a boil over medium heat. Turn off heat; let steep at least 30 minutes but no more than 2 hours.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Reheat infused cream over medium heat; slowly whisk into yolk mixture. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl to extract as much liquid as possible without pressing on tea leaves. Discard leaves.

3. Working close to the oven to minimize risk of spilling water, arrange four 6-ounce ovenproof cups in a baking pan large enough to hold the cups without touching one another. Pour boiling water into pan, being careful not to splash any inside cups, until water comes halfway up sides of the cups.

4. Divide infused liquid among cups. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil, poking a few holes to let steam escape. Bake until custards are set but still slightly wobbly in centers, about 30 minutes.

5. Carefully remove baking pan from oven; remove foil. Transfer cups from the hot water to a wire rack; let cool about 30 minutes. Cover cups with plastic wrap; chill in the refrigerator until custards are firm, at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

~~From Martha Stewart Living, May 2003~~

Friday, January 28, 2011

♥ Mini Frittatas ♥

* 1 medium zucchini
* 4 to 6 white mushrooms
* 1 red bell pepper
* 1 yellow bell pepper
* 16 large eggs
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1 tablespoon chopped chives
* 1/2 cup finely grated Gruyere or fontina cheese
* Vegetable-oil cooking spray

1. Lightly spray two 24-mini-muffin tins with vegetable-oil spray. Slice zucchini into 1/8-inch rounds. Slice mushrooms lengthwise into 1/8-inch pieces. Core and seed red and yellow bell peppers. Chop into 1/8-inch dice, and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, salt, pepper, and chives, and set aside. Arrange cut zucchini, mushrooms, and peppers in each muffin tin. Ladle egg mixture into each tin, just even with the rim, and sprinkle with cheese.

3. Transfer to oven, and bake until frittatas are set, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve warm, or reheat briefly at 325 degrees.

Makes 48.

~~Martha Stewart Living, November 1996~~

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

♥ Vanilla-Sparkling Wine Pound Cake ♥

* 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
* 1 tsp. baking powder
* 1/4 tsp. salt
* 1 cup sparkling wine or milk
* 3 Tbsp. sour cream
* 2 cups sugar
* 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
* 1/4 cup safflower or canola oil
* 5 cold eggs
* 2 Tbsp. vanilla paste or vanilla extract
* 1 recipe Sparkling Wine Glaze, recipe below

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan; set aside. In large bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Sift mixture; set aside. Stir together sparkling wine and sour cream; set aside.

2. In large mixing bowl beat sugar, melted butter, and oil with electric mixer until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in vanilla paste. Beat on medium to high 3 to 5 minutes or until thicker and lighter in color. Add one-third the flour mixture; beat on low just until combined, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Add half the wine mixture; beat just until combined. Repeat with one-third the flour mixture, the remaining wine mixture, and remaining flour mixture. With rubber spatula scrape batter into prepared pan.

3. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 15 minutes. Turn out on rack; cool completely. Drizzle with Sparkling Wine Glaze.

Makes 16 servings.

4. Sparkling Wine Glaze: In small bowl combine 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp. sparkling wine. Stir in additional wine, 1 tsp. at a time, to reach drizzling consistency.


Monday, January 24, 2011

♥ Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake ♥

* 1-1/4 sticks (10 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened
* 2 Tbsp. golden syrup (such as Lyle's) or dark corn syrup
* 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 tsp. baking soda
* 3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
* 2 eggs
* Zest of 2 small oranges (1 Tbsp.) and juice of 1 small orange (3 Tbsp.)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Grease sides of pan or line with a paper loaf-pan liner.

2. In large bowl, with electric mixer beat the butter, syrup (brush a little oil on your tablespoon measure before measuring the syrup to help remove it from spoon), and sugar until fairly smooth.

3. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, and cocoa powder. Beat 1 tablespoon of the dry ingredients into the syrup mixture, then beat in one egg. add another couple of spoonfuls of dry ingredients before beating in the remaining egg.

4. Beat in remaining dry ingredients, and then add, while still beating, the orange zest. Gradually add the juice. The batter may look slightly curdled.

5. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes (edges should look dry and center of cake may have dipped slightly). Cool in pan on wire rack. Carefully remove from pan and cool completely.

Makes 6 servings and leftovers.

Make Ahead: The Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake can be baked up to 3 days ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic and store in airtight container. will keep for 5 days total. To freeze, tightly wrap in a double layer of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil. Keeps up to 3 months. Thaw overnight at room temperature.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

♥ Mini Puffs with Goat Cheese and Herbs ♥

* 1/4 cup water
* 1/4 cup milk
* 1/4 cup butter, cut up
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
* 3 eggs
* 1/2 of an 8-ounce container cream cheese with chive and onion
* 3 ounces soft goat cheese (chevre)
* 2 tablespoons milk
* 1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley
* 2 teaspoons snipped fresh dill or basil
* 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a baking sheet; set aside. For pastry, in a medium saucepan, combine the water, milk, butter, salt, and nutmeg. Bring to boiling. Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. Cool for 5 minutes. Add two of the eggs, one at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition until smooth. Spoon batter into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip with a 1/2-inch opening.

2. Pipe twenty-four 1-inch mounds (or spoon batter with a rounded measuring teaspoon) 1 inch apart onto prepared baking sheet. Lightly beat the remaining egg and brush over tops of pastry mounds. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack and cool.

3. Slice puffs in half horizontally with a serrated knife. For filling, in a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, goat cheese, and milk; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add parsley, dill or basil, and pepper and mix well. Use a pastry bag to pipe filling into the bottom half of each puff (or spread each bottom half with a rounded teaspoon of the mixture). Replace tops. Serve immediately or cover and chill for up to 2 hours.

Makes 20 to 24 puffs.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

♥ Ricotta, Gorgonzola, and Honey spread ♥

* 1 15-oz. carton whole milk ricotta cheese
* 6 oz. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
* 1/2 tsp. snipped fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
* 1/4 tsp. snipped fresh rosemary or 1/8 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
* 1 Tbsp. honey
* 36 toasted baguette slices
* Sliced apples, fresh thyme, and/or toasted walnuts
* Honey

1. Place ricotta in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in Gorgonzola, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon rosemary until combined. Fold in 1 tablespoon honey until just combined. Spoon mixture into a serving bowl. Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours.

Makes 36 appetizer servings.

2. To serve, spread on baguette slices and top with apple slices, thyme, and/or walnuts. Drizzle with honey.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

♥ Cheddar Artichoke Quiche Cups ♥

* 2 jars (7-1/2 ounces each) marinated artichoke hearts
* 1 small onion, finely chopped
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 4 eggs, beaten
* 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
* 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
* 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper
* 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
* 2 cups (8 ounce) shredded cheddar cheese
* 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

* Drain artichokes, reserving half of the marinade. Chop artichokes; set aside. In a skillet, saute onion and garlic in reserved marinade until tender; set aside.
* In a large bowl, combine the egg, bread crumbs, mustard, oregano, pepper and hot pepper sauce. Stir in the cheese, parsley, reserved artichokes and onion mixture.
* Fill miniature muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 325° for 15-17 minutes or until set. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to wire racks. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers.

Yield: 4 dozen.

~~Country Woman Christmas Annual 2004~~

Sunday, January 16, 2011

♥ Smoked Salmon Cucumbers ♥

* 1 large English cucumber
* 1 carton (8 ounces) spreadable chive and onion cream cheese
* 7 to 8 ounces smoked salmon or lox, chopped
* Minced chives

* With a fork, score cucumber peel lengthwise; cut into 1/4-in. slices. Pipe or spread cream cheese onto each slice; top with salmon. Sprinkle with chives. Refrigerate until serving.

Yield: about 3 dozen.

~~Quick Cooking November/December 2004~~

Friday, January 14, 2011

♥ Cucumber Party Sandwiches ♥

* 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
* 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
* 2 teaspoons Italian salad dressing mix
* 30 slices snack rye bread
* 30 thin slices cucumber
* Fresh dill sprigs and chive blossoms

* In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, mayonnaise and dressing mix until blended. Let stand for 30 minutes.
* Spread on rye bread. Top each with a slice of cucumber, dill sprig and chive blossom. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (3 each) equals 157 calories, 11 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 26 mg cholesterol, 286 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein.

~~Country June/July 1992~~

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

♥ Asparagus Appetizer Roll-ups ♥

* 12 slices white bread, crusts removed
* 1 container (8 ounces) spreadable cream cheese
* 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
* 8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
* 24 fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
* 1/4 cup butter, melted
* 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

* Flatten bread with a rolling pin. In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, onions and bacon. Spread mixture over bread slices. Cut asparagus to fit bread; place two spears on each bread slice. Roll up bread and place, seam side down, on a greased baking sheet. Brush with butter; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
* Bake at 400° for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Yield: 1 dozen.

~~Bountiful Harvest Cookbook~~

Monday, January 10, 2011

♥ Apple-Rosemary Blue Cheese Bites ♥

* 1 cup crumbled blue cheese (4 oz)
* 1/4 cup chopped pecans
* 1 oz cream cheese, softened
* 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crushed
* 2 medium apples, peeled
* 1 can (8 oz) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

* Mix blue cheese, pecans, cream cheese and rosemary. Cut each apple into 16 wedges; set aside.
* Separate dough into 8 triangles. Cut each triangle in half lengthwise, forming 2 triangles. Spread 1 tablespoon cheese mixture over each triangle; place 2 apple wedges along wide end of each triangle. Roll up each triangle from wide end and place point side down 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
* Bake at 375°F 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Yield: 16 appetizers.

~~Taste of Home~~

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

♥ Brie-Leek Tartlets ♥

* 1 medium leek (white portion only), finely chopped
* 3 tablespoons butter
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
* Dash salt and white pepper
* Dash ground nutmeg
* 1 package (1.9 ounces) frozen miniature phyllo tart shells
* 2 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed

* In a small skillet, saute leek in butter until tender. Add the garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
* Place tart shells on a baking sheet. Slice cheese into 15 pieces; place one piece in each tart shell. Top each with 1-1/2 teaspoons leek mixture.
* Bake at 350° for 6-8 minutes or until heated through. Refrigerate leftovers.

Yield: 15 appetizers.

~~Taste of Home October/November 2008~~

Sunday, January 2, 2011

♥ Asparagus Cheese Triangles ♥

* 2 quarts water
* 2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed and chopped
* 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
* 1 cup (8 ounces) ricotta cheese
* 1 small onion, chopped
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper
* 9 tablespoons butter, melted
* 30 sheets phyllo dough (14 inches x 9 inches)


* In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil; add asparagus. Cover and cook for 4-6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water; drain and pat dry. In a large bowl, combine the asparagus, cheeses, onion, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
* Brush a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with some of the butter. Unroll phyllo sheets; trim short side to fit pan. Cover dough with plastic wrap and a damp cloth while assembling. Place two sheets of phyllo in pan; brush with butter. Repeat eight times. Spread with asparagus mixture. Layer with remaining phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter.
* Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Cut into 24 pieces; cut each piece in half diagonally. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers.

Yield: 4 dozen.

~~Taste of Home February/March 2006~~

Saturday, January 1, 2011