Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Stuffed French Toast

I don't know if I have ever met someone who doesn't like french toast.  I know that there has to be someone out there, but everyone I know does like french toast.  And everyone I know that knows about Stuffed French Toast, loves that even more.


Once again, it's about making the meal special and this takes what is already great about french toast and adds a decadence and elegance to it.  I didn't by any means create this dish, but I sure had fun making and eating it.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Holiday Challenge - Week 2 - Mini Chocolate Pies

For the longest time I able to avoid Pinterest.  Partially because I didn't totally understand it right away and partially because I wasn't sure that I wanted to have access to one more thing that would consume some more of my time.  Well, about eight months ago I gave in, and I have to say, I've had some fun. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bolognese with Polenta

Here it comes ladies and gentleman...another time consuming, but absolutely delicious-I'm-going-back-for-seconds-and-maybe-thirds kind of dinner!  


Friday, December 7, 2012

The Holiday Challenge - Week 1 - Home Made Whiskey Caramels

The holiday season is upon all of us and like the last few years, our house already screams Christmas.  Both trees are up with lights on, but not fully decorated yet.  The Christmas Village is rockin' it's light house, fire pit, carolers, B&B, Wine Shop and more.  And the rest of the boxes and totes made it up from the garage and are ready to be dug through and placed out.  Half of the Christmas shopping is done and ready to be wrapped.

So, basically, I'm saying bring me on some holiday spirit!  I have given myself a little challenge for the blog this season to help me continue trying something new...and that challenge is to make a different kind of holiday cookie or treat each week leading up to Christmas.  And then, of course, blog about it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Day After Holiday Leftovers

After a big family holiday meal and making sure the family and guests are all fed, well, at least with this family, there is enough food for leftovers.  After all of the cooking, all of the laughter, all of the eating...this year, it seemed a little boring to just reheat the leftovers and eat.  Plus, I only had one container of leftovers and five people to feed a nice lunchtime snack.



Time to be creative!  And bite sized snacks sounded wonderful for the group.  The only thing that would have made this even better would have been a pureed cranberry sauce to dip this in.


It was an added bonus for me that I got to use my mini muffin pan to make this.  I love when I get to use that for baking anything, but can say that normally, it can seem a little tedious when I think of making mini cupcakes and all the mini frosting that needs to be done with that.



This is a fun creative way to use up the food that you spent all that time cooking for the first meal, without spending a lot of time re-creating.

The Day After Holiday Leftovers

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbls melted butter
  • Left overs
    • Turkey
    • Stuffing
    • Mashed Sweet Potatoes 

Preparation:
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease the mini muffin tin with the melted butter and set aside.
  • Chop up the turkey into smaller pieces and place in a bowl.  
  • Using your hands, combine turkey with the stuffing until worked together.  
  • Fill the mini muffin cups with the mixture and top with mashed sweet potatoes.  
  • Place in oven and bake for about 15 minutes until everything is warmed up and there is a nice baked top on the mashed sweet potatoes.

Happy Leftovers!!!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Mosaic Apple Tart

The simplest ingredients come together in something quite extravagant with this dessert.  This tart will satisfy those who love desserts that aren't too sweet with just the right amount of freshness. 


 It is a bit of a labor of love to get the apples sliced the same size (thank god for the mandolin) and the proper arrangement on the tart.  Aside from that, the small amounts of butter, sugar and having a premade frozen pastry adds an element of ease to the dish.  


All that being said, this dessert needs your time and attention.  There will be time with peeling & slicing the apples, as well as the arranging, baking, caramel and baking again.  I'm not saying any of this to scare you off.  It is as easy as it gets, just time consuming.  For those of you who love to create something beautiful, as well as delicious, this is soooo worth that time.


The main tip with this dish is to have everything ready for your apples.  Pre-cut the butter & store in the fridge, roll out the pastry dough and place it on the sheet pan, preheat the oven and get your station ready.

This end result is worth every minute of time put into this dish!!!

Mosaic Apple Tart

Ingredients:
  • 14oz frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 3-4 apples, peeled and sliced thin and even
  • 2 Tbls sugar
  • 2 Tbls cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • Flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbls cold butter
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbls heavy cream

Preparation:
  • Heat your oven to 400 degrees and line your sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • Sprinkle the flour on your work surface, unfold your puff pastry and roll out.  Roll it out gently until it fits the sheet pan.  Place in sheet pan.
  • Peal the apples, cut in half and remove the cores and stems. Using a mandolin (or just a knife), thinly slice the apples.
  • Begin arranging the apple slices around the pastry dough starting with the edges.  Over lap them so that about 1/2 - 1 inch of the prior apple is showing.
  • Sprinkle the sugar over the tart to cover all the apples and place the small, cold pieces of butter around the top of the apples.
  • Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes until the pastry browns and the apples start to color.
  • While the tart is almost done, begin the caramel sauce by heating the 1/4 cup sugar over medium high heat in a sauce pan.  Let the sugar cook over the heat until sugar turns a nice copper color.
  • Take off heat and add salt and butter until completely melted.  Return to head and slowly add the heavy cream.  Definitely add slowly because once the heavy cream hits the melted sugar, it will start to boil up.  
  • Cook for another few minutes until you reach a nice caramel color, then remove from the heat.
  • Pull the tart out of the oven and carefully brush the top of the apples with the caramel.  Try to time it so that the tart comes out close to when the caramel is finished.  The warmer the caramel, the easier to spread.
  • Place the tart back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes until the caramel sauce is bubbling.
  • Remove, let cool a little (hot caramel is really hot), cut anyway you would like and enjoy!

Happy Baking!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Hasselback Potatoes

My opinion on Hasselback Potatoes is that they are simply baked potatoes made fancy.  In the theme of making every meal special one dish at a time, this is a great way to change things up.  Your family will experience the baked potatoes that they love in a whole new way.


I started this dish with four potatoes and I ended with two that were photograph-able at the end because I was a little heavy handed with the knife.  Two of the potatoes became four when I didn't stop and went through to the bottom.  Oops!  No worries...they were still edible, but not the best for the blog.