Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Asparagus, Ham, and Fontina Bread Puddings, and Hot Chocolate with Ginger

This is what we had for our Christmas breakfast. I figured we would be eating a little bit later in the morning, so I knew I would have enough time to throw it together. I made it in 8 little ramekins and cooked 6 in the water bath and 2 without the water bath, just to see what the difference was. The water bath definitely makes this more like a bread pudding and without it, it is more like a strata. Either way, it tasted really good. My husband absolutely loved these and that pretty much is a guarantee that anyone will like them.
The hot chocolate was a great way to start off the morning. It was very spicy and I wasn't sure if I liked it at first, but after a few more sips, I was sold. My family was a little divided, half of us really liked it, the other half, not so much. It was a fun breakfast anyway! Happy New Year's Eve- Have fun tonight!

Asparagus, Ham, and Fontina Bread Puddings from Cooking Light
1 pound asparagus
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
Cooking spray
5 (1.4-ounce) slices firm white sandwich bread (such as Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup chopped reduced-fat ham
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded fontina cheese
1 2/3 cups fat-free milk
3/4 cup egg substitute
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 375°.
Cut a 3-inch tip from each asparagus spear, reserving the stalks for another use. Cut asparagus tips into 1/2-inch pieces.
Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add asparagus; cover and cook 4 minutes, stirring once. Remove from heat, and set aside.
Coat 6 (10-ounce) custard cups or ramekins with cooking spray; place in a large baking pan. Place bread cubes evenly into custard cups. Top evenly with asparagus mixture, ham, and cheese. Combine milk and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Pour evenly into custard cups; let stand 20 minutes. Add hot water to pan to a depth of 1 inch. Cover and bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Hot Chocolate with Ginger from Cooking Light
1/3 cup chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
4 cups 1% reduced-fat milk
1/2 cup fat-free chocolate syrup
Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan; cook over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and is golden (about 5 minutes), stirring frequently.
Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir in milk and syrup; cook over medium-low heat, stirring with a whisk. Heat to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge of pan, stirring frequently (do not boil). Strain mixture through a sieve; discard solids.

Coming Tomorrow- Pork Chops and Swiss Chard with Balsamic Syrup

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

TWD- Tall and Creamy Cheesecake

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, Tall and Creamy Cheesecake was chosen by Anne Strawberry. You can find the recipe over at her blog. I almost didn't get any pictures of this one and had to settle for a half eaten piece, of which the top layer of cheesecake had been eaten and more sauce was added on top. I almost had to beat people and banish them from the kitchen, when I was making this so it could cool and rest in the fridge overnight. Cheesecake is popular around here. I decided to flavor the batter with key lime juice (which I had in the freezer from my last key lime cheesecake experience), lime zest and I made a fresh strawberry sauce. It was our Christmas dinner dessert and everyone loved it. I also made it with all sour cream and did away with the water bath. Yummy! Go check out the Tuesdays with Dorie blogroll to see all the other delectable cheesecake variations!

Strawberry Sauce from Southern Living
1 1/4 cups fresh strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime rind
Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides.
Come Back Tomorrow for- Asparagus, Ham, and Fontina Bread Pudding and Hot Chocolate with a serious kick!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tropical Muffins with Coconut-Macadamia Topping

I hope everyone had a great holiday break. We got a ton of snow and have been a little stir crazy. It is freezing outside and I am ready for a break in the weather. Somehow, something with the word tropical in the title, is really appealing to me right now. I can just start to dream about warm weather. I really should live somewhere that is warm and balmy all year round. I just can't take this cold stuff anymore! Oh, well. I can dream, right?
I received some dried kiwi in the mail a couple of weeks ago from Oh! Nuts and I have been wanting to use it in some kind of baked good. These muffins were the perfect thing. I had ripe bananas and a ton of macadamia nuts, so I decided to mix these up and throw in about a cup of chopped, dried kiwi. The kiwi added a nice little surprise inside and these muffins disappeared quickly. Another batch is going to be made by demand!

Tropical Muffins with Coconut-Macadamia Topping from Cooking Light
Muffins:1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 ounces)
1 cup regular oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2)
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple in juice, drained
1/3 cup flaked sweetened coconut
3 tablespoons finely chopped macadamia nuts, toasted
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons flaked sweetened coconut
1 tablespoon finely chopped macadamia nuts
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon regular oats

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. To prepare muffins, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Combine banana and next 5 ingredients (through egg) in a medium bowl; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in pineapple, 1/3 cup coconut, and 3 tablespoons nuts. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.
3. To prepare topping, combine 2 tablespoons coconut and the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
4. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of topping over each muffin. Bake at 400° for 18 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pans immediately; place on a wire rack.

Coming Tomorrow- Tuesdays with Dorie- Cheesecake

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Craving Ellie in my Belly- Triple Chocolate Cookies

This weeks Craving Ellie in my Belly recipe- Triple Chocolate Cookies, was chosen by Gabi of The Feast Within. I made these along with a few other cookies and sent them on Christmas plates, so I don't really have too much of a review. They weren't very pretty to look at, but the family member who got to taste one, said they were good. Plus they are on the lighter side, which is always nice at this time of year. I won't bore you with anything else- hope you had a Merry Christmas and continue to have a great holiday!
Triple Chocolate Cookies from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour, or regular whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
2 oz good-quality dark chocolate, coarsley chopped
2 oz milk chocolate, coarsley chopped
2/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, mash together the butter and sugars with a fork until well combined. Add the oil and egg and beat until creamy. Mix in vanilla.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa, and salt, if using. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix well. Stir in both chocolates and, if desired, the pecans, and mix well. Using a tablespoon, scoop the batter onto a ungreased cooke sheet. Bake until the cookies are just set, about 12 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. Store the cookies at room temperature in an airtight container, where they will keep for up to 4 days.

Up Next- Tropical Muffins

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me! Mini Cranberry Upside-Downers and Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes

Today is my birthday, so I thought I would share 2 mini desserts that I tried recently. They both come from Dorie Greenspans- Baking:from my home to yours and I took both of them to a recent gathering. The Cranberry Upside Downer was supposed to be a 8-inch round, but I made it in a muffin tin, so the servings would be smaller and I got 14 mini-cakes. I also used my mini-bundt cake pan for the Milk Chocolate Bundt cakes and got 15 of them. So, if you need a mini treat, try one of these. Merry Christmas Eve to everyone and Happy Birthday to Me!

Mini Cranberry Upside Downer by Dorie Greenspan
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup minus 2 TBSP sugar
zest of 2 oranges
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 cups cranberries-fresh or frozen(if frozen, do not thaw)
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 whole milk
1/3 cup red currant jelly, for glazing the cake
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.
Put a 8X2 inch round cake pan on a baking sheet.Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Melt 6 TBSP of the butter in a small saucepan. Sprinkle in 6 TBSP of the sugar and the zest of 1 orange and cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. Pour this evenly over the bottom of the cake pan, then scatter over the nuts and top with the cranberries, smoothing the layer and pressing it down gently with your fingertips. Set aside.
Working with a stand mixer, preferabley fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the remaining stick of butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and continue to beat until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed. Pour in the vanilla and zest of 1 orange. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half of the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the batter. Mix in the milk, then the rest of the dry ingredients.
Spoon the batter over the cranberries and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove it from the oven and run a blunt knife between the sides of the pan and the cake. Carefully turn the cake out onto a serving platter. If any of the berries stick to the pan-as they might-just scrape them off with a table knife and return them to the cake.
Warm the jelly in a small saucepan over low heat, or do this in a microwave oven.
Gently brush the glaze over the hot cake.

3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
7 oz premium-quality milk chocolate, melted and cooled
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used semi-sweet)
2 teaspoons light corn syrup

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 6-mold mini bundt pan.
Make the swirl by tossing the nuts, cocoa and sugar together in a small bowl.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the egg and beat for 1 minute more, then beat in the vanilla. Don't be concerned if the mixture looks curdled-it will smooth out soon. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the flour mixture, mixing only until it is incorporated. Add the milk, and when it is blended into the batter, add the remaining flour mixture, again mixing just to incorporate. Finally, add the melted chocolate and mix to blend.
Fill each of the mini Bundt molds with a little batter, then divide the swirl ingredients evenly among the molds and top off the Bundts with the remaining batter.
Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the cakes to rest for 5 minutes, then invert them onto the rack and let them cool to room temperature.
To make the glaze, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of water or in a microwave oven. Stir in the corn syrup. Using a small offset metal spatula or knife, spread the shiny glaze over the tops of the Bundts.

Coming up next- Craving Ellie and Barefoot Bloggers

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Homemade Samoas for My Matt on his Birthday

Matt's birthday cake last year-Red Velvet Peppermint Cake- so Yummy!

Today is my husbands birthday- I am a lucky woman. My Matt is a great husband and father, who loves his family, his work and makes the world a better place. He is happy, fun-loving and just a wonderful person. I could go on all day about how great he is. Seriously- I am so glad that we found each other! It is kinda fun, because his birthday is today and mine is tomorrow. We are both Christmas babies, that came home in giant stockings. In his honor, I made one of his favorite cookies. My hubby could keep a few places and products in business, all by himself. Of course, McDonalds, but also Girl Scout Cookies. He buys quite a few boxes each year and has no problem downing a box at a time. I try not to get mad, because he has the metabolism of a teenage boy, so it doesn't affect him at all. I have to keep my eyes away from the cookies, because if I even look at them, I will gain at least a pound.

I saw these Homemade Samoas over at I heart food 4 thought, and I have mentioned before, how much I love Clara's blog. She has so many great recipes!

These cookies were a little time consuming, but worth the effort. I used semi-sweet chocolate to dip them in and for the drizzle and my hubby told me next time to use milk chocolate. If you have a Samoa lover in the house, these cookies will make them very happy! Happy Birthday, Matt~ I love you!

Homemade Samoas as seen over at I heart food 4 thought, who found the recipe at Baking Bites
For cookies:
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
up to 2 tablespoons milk
For topping:
3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-ounces good-quality chewy caramels ( I used Wether’s Chewy Caramels)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
8 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate
To make cookies
—Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt at a low speed, followed by the vanilla and milk, adding in the milk as needed to make the dough come together without being sticky. The dough should come together into a soft, not-too-sticky ball. Add in a bit of extra flour if your dough is very sticky.

Roll the dough (working in two or three batches) out between pieces of wax paper to about 1/4-inch thickness and use a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter to make rounds. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and use a knife, or the end of a wide straw, to cut a smaller center hole. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned and cookies are set.

Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make topping—Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
Spread coconut evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.

Using the spatula or a small offset spatula, spread topping on cooled cookies, using about 2-3 tsp per cookie. Reheat caramel for a few seconds in the microwave if it gets too firm to work with.
While topping sets up, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each cookie into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle finished cookies with chocolate.

Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Coming Tomorrow- My Birthday- 2 Christmas Eve Treats!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Greek-style Stuffed Peppers and Greek WonTon Cups

The other day I noticed that I had a little bulgur and some feta I needed to use and 6 gorgeous peppers, so I turned to The Food You Crave and found a recipe for Greek-style Stuffed Peppers. I made a couple changes to the recipe- I used ground turkey breast instead of ground beef and added a can of cannellini beans. I was able to fill 12 pepper halves and still had a little of the meat mixture leftover, so I made some Greek WonTon cups- using Greek Seasoning to flavor them and cooked up the leftover meat mixture. I put the mixture inside and topped them with some chopped plum tomatoes. Yum!

Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger
1 pd lean or extra-lean ground beef ( I used 20 oz. ground turkey breast)
One 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated ( about 1 1/2 cups)
1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 small onion, minced
1/2 cup bulgur
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1.2 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3 medium red bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise, core and ribs removed
Two 14.5 oz cans no-salt-added stewed tomatoes, finely chopped and juices reserved (I used 2 cans of diced tomatoes, seasoned with olive oil and garlic)
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the beef, spinach, zucchini, beans, onion, bulgur, egg, oregano, salt and a few grinds of pepper. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Arrange the pepper halves cut side up in a 9x13-inch baking dish and fill each pepper half with the meat mixture. Pour the tomatoes with their juices over the peppers and sprinkle with the feta. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Uncover and bake the peppers until filling is completely cooked and the peppers are tender, about 45 minutes longer.
To make Greek WonTon cups- Go to this post and substitute Greek Seasoning for spice mix used.

Up next- Homemade Samoas for my Matt, on his birthday

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole with Ruby Grapefruit on the side

Sometimes it is nice to have a delicious breakfast, that you can prepare the night before, that will feed a number of people. All you have to do is pop it in the oven and you have a great breakfast, in a short amount of time. I made this breakfast casserole for a weekend breakfast and it was so, so easy to put together. I made it even easier on myself by using Jimmy Dean's Fully Cooked Turkey Sausage Links, which I buy regularly for my children. I just sliced them and threw them in with the bread cubes we had leftover from making our Thanksgiving stuffing. Since grapefruit is a readily available fruit this time of year, it is a nice addition to any breakfast, but you can jazz it up with this quick and easy raspberry sauce. The raspberry sauce could also be made ahead and kept in the fridge overnight. If you are expecting holiday guests, this would be an easy way to keep everyone happy in the morning!

Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole from Cooking Light
8 ounces ciabatta bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (I used leftover homemade bread cubes from Thanksgiving)
Cooking spray
1 pound turkey breakfast sausage (I used Jimmy Dean's Fully Cooked Turkey Sausage Links)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 1/4 cups fat-free milk
1 cup (4 ounces) reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I used mozzerella)
2 large eggs1 (8-ounce) carton egg substitute
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 400°.
Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 8 minutes or until toasted.
Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage to pan; cook 6 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Combine sausage, bread, and onions in a large bowl. Combine milk, cheese, eggs, and egg substitute in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to bread mixture, tossing to coat bread. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Uncover casserole. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Sprinkle with parsley; serve immediately.
Ruby Grapefruit from the Black Book
1- 10 oz pkg. frozen raspberries
1-3 tsps sugar
3-4 grapefruit
In a small dish, thaw raspberries in the microwave, until completely defrosted. Put them in a blender or food processor with 1 tsp of sugar and process, until smooth. Taste and add a little more sugar, if needed. Press this mixture through a sieve and discard the seeds.
Halve the grapefruit and remove the sections. Place the sections in bowl and drizzle the raspberry sauce over top.
Coming Up on Monday- Greek-style Stuffed Pepper and Greek WonTon Cups

Friday, December 19, 2008

Butter Cookie Dough, 3 ways- Candy Cane Twists, Peanut Butter Dips, and Pinwheel Pops

My son saw these fun cookies in a little insert that comes in NickJr. Magazine and wanted to make them. It is one of those recipes, where you make a basic butter cookie dough and then add a few things in, to make different variations. There were 10 different variations, so I told him to choose his 3 favorite cookies and we would make them. He chose the Candy Cane Twists, Peanut Butter Dips, and Pinwheel Pops. I tripled the basic dough, divided it into 3 parts, and refrigerated it overnight. Then my son came down with strep :( I mixed the dough up accordingly and let it sit in the fridge again, overnight. Then, when he was sick and so sad, I made all the cookies with my girls, and set one of each aside for him, for when he started feeling better. Luckily, the medicine kicked in quickly and he is feeling much better, but he missed out on taking our cookie plates to people. At least he gave us the idea to bake and share some Christmas cookies to spread a little joy~

Butter Cookie Dough from NickJr. Magazine Measurements for tripling are included in red
2 cups all-purpose flour (6 cups)
1 tsp baking powder (3 tsps)
1 tsp salt (3 tsps)
2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (2 cups or 4 sticks)
1/2 cup sugar (1 1/2 cups)
1 egg (3 eggs)
1 Tbls milk (3 Tbls)
1 tsp vanilla extract (3 tsps)

1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
2. In another bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and sugar at medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add egg, milk, and vanilla and beat 1 minute more. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, beating until smooth.
4. Shape dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour, or overnight.

Candy Cane Twists
1. Divide Butter Cookie Dough in half. Add 4-5 drops red food coloring to one half. Add 1/2 tsp peppermint extract to the other half. Mix each half well.
2. For each candy cane, on a floured surface, roll a tablespoon of each dough into a 4-inch long rope.
3. Twist the ropes together and bend to form a candy cane shape.
4. Place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy or candy canes.
5. Bake at 375 degrees F, 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool completely before removing from pan.

Peanut Butter Dips
1. Roll Butter Cookie Dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a floured surface. Using a round cutter, cut out circles and place on greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees F 7 to 9 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
2. Combine 1/3 cup peanut butter with 1/3 cup confectioners sugar. Spread mixture on the bottoms of half of the cooled cookies, placing bottom to make a sandwich.
3. Melt 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used candy melts) in a bowl in the microwave on high. Stir every 30 seconds, until smooth. Dip sandwiches halfway into chocolate. Cool on waxed paper.

Pinwheel Pops
1. Divide Butter Cookie Dough in half. Mix 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder into one half. Mix 5 drops green food coloring and 1/2 tsp peppermint extract into the other half.
2. On a floured surface, roll out each half into a 1/4-inch-thick rectangle.
3. Place one half on top of the other. Roll with a rolling pin to help them stick together.
4. Starting from one long side, tightly roll the dough into a cylinder shape. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour.
5. Cut 1/8-inch thick slices and place on a greased cookie sheet. Insert a craft stick into each ( We didn't do this part). Bake at 375 degrees, 7 to 9 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool a few minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Coming Tomorrow- Make-ahead Breakfast Casserole and Ruby Grapefruit

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Craving Ellie- MY PICK!!! Curried Butternut Squash Soup and Barefoot Bloggers Bonus- Savory Palmiers, heck why not some Cardamom ones too?

This week's Craving Ellie in Your Belly recipe was chosen by yours truly, Me. I wanted to try her version of Butternut Squash Soup, which is Curried. So, since butternut squash season is upon us, I chose it. I really like this soup, but keep in mind I love butternut squash and I also love curry powder. Some people reported that the honey made this a little too sweet, so I experimented and left the honey out of half of my soup. I liked it both ways, but better without the honey. I used greek yogurt on top, which really helped to calm down a little of the curry. This is a spicy soup and was just what this house of sore throats needed.
The Barefoot Bonus recipe for this week was Savory Palmiers, from Ina's new book, Back to Basics. It was chosen by Becky of Random Musings of a deco lady. This recipe looked really easy and pretty, so I threw it into the cookie plates that I took to a few people in the neighborhood. I also saw these yummy Cardamom-Brown Sugar Palmiers in Sunset magazine and they reminded me of my favorite pastry that I ate when I spent 18 months in Estonia. I decided to do a half batch of each, so I had some savory and some sweet. Super simple, elegant and delicious!

Curried Butternut Squash Soup from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger
1 Tbls canola oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups) ( I used half shallots)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsps)
one- 2 1/2 pd. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth ( I used chicken stock)
1 Tbls +2 tsps curry powder
1/2 tsp salt, + more to taste
2 Tbls honey (I only added honey to half of the soup)
4 tsp plain nonfat yogurt, for garnish (I used greek yogurt)
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the squash, broth, curry powder, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat, stir in the honey, and puree until smooth in the pot using an immersion blender or in two batches in a regula blender. Taste and season with salt, if necessary.
To serve, ladle the soup into serving bowls and drizzle with the yogurt.

Savory Palmiers from Ina Garten, Back to Basics
1 package frozen Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, defrosted
1/4 cup prepared pesto, store-bought or homemade (recipe follows)
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese, such as Montrachet
1/4 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Kosher salt
Lightly flour a board and carefully unfold one sheet of puff pastry. Roll the pastry lightly with a rolling pin until it’s 9 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches. Spread the sheet of puff pastry with half the pesto, then sprinkle with half the goat cheese, half the sun-dried tomatoes, and half the pine nuts. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt.
Working from the short ends, fold each end halfway to the center. Then fold each side again toward the center until the folded edges almost touch. Fold one side over the other and press lightly. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Repeat for the second sheet of puff pastry using the remaining ingredients. Cover both rolls with plastic wrap and chill for at least 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the prepared rolls of puff pastry into 1/4-inch-thick slices and place them faceup 2 inches apart on sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Bake for 14 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.
Homemade Pesto from Ina Garten, Back to Basics
makes 4 cups
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 pine nuts
3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Place the walnuts, pine nuts, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 30 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the food processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is finely puréed. Add the Parmesan cheese and purée for a minute. Serve, or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.

Cardamom Brown-Sugar Palmiers from Sunset Magazine
Time: 30 minutes, plus chilling time.
Bakers' Tip: As with any super-buttery dough, chilling it makes it much easier to slice.
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 sheet (8.6 oz.) frozen puff pastry dough, thawed according to package instructions
1. Combine brown sugar and cardamom in a small bowl. Unfold dough flat on a work surface and sprinkle evenly with half the sugar mixture.
2. Using a rolling pin, lightly roll sugar into dough so that most of sugar sticks, being careful not to change the shape of the dough. Turn pastry over and sprinkle evenly with remaining sugar.
3. Beginning with the side closest to you, fold in dough, 1 in. at a time, to the center of the rectangle. Repeat with the opposite side. Fold one half on top of other as if closing a book. Wrap dough airtight and chill at least 1 hour.
4. Preheat oven to 400°. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 1/2-in. slices. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and lay slices on flat sides about 2 in. apart. Bake slices until doubled in size and golden, about 10 minutes. Let cookies cool completely on trays.
Make ahead: Unbaked palmiers can be frozen up to 2 weeks; baked palmiers may be made up to 2 days ahead and kept airtight at room temperature.

Coming Tomorrow- Butter Cookie Dough- 1 dough turned into 3 Christmas Cookies