Archive | December 2009

Holiday Finger Foods

This weekend I will be planning our holiday menu.

We will have the typical turkey/stuffing/dressing/gravy meal along with a couple of salads, rolls and of course pies!

I usually make cheese balls and garlic dip to snack on during the day …however, these finger food recipes look very tasty!

The goat cheese and black bean dip particularly caught my eye.
If I can find goat cheese local I just may give this one a try!

It’s Party Time: 14 Finger Foods from O, The Oprah Magazine by Delish

Black Bean-Goat Cheese Dip

Ingredients

1 tablespoon(s) olive oil, plus more for brushing (optional)
1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 clove(s) garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) cumin (preferably whole seeds, freshly toasted and ground)
2 can(s) (15 1/2 to 19 ounces each) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup(s) chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 large poblano peppers
1 bunch(es) scallions, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup(s) coarsely chopped cilantro
1 log(s) (11-ounce) fresh goat cheese
6 whole-grain tortillas, cut into wedges

Directions

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cumin and cook 30 seconds. Add 1 can beans and lightly mash using a potato masher. Stir in chicken stock and remaining can of beans. Simmer until very thick (but not pasty), 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool.

Meanwhile, place poblano peppers directly on a burner over a medium-low gas flame. Turn regularly with tongs to blacken skin, 10-15 minutes (if you don’t have a gas stove, you can blacken peppers on a sheet pan under a broiler, turning regularly, about 15 minutes). Place peppers in a paper bag; seal and let sit (and steam) until cool enough to handle. Peel peppers, removing as much of the charred skin as possible without rinsing. Seed and coarsely chop. Transfer to a small bowl and toss with scallions and cilantro.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In the bottom of a 1- to 1 1/2-quart soufflé or baking dish, spread half of bean mixture. Top with half of cheese, crumbled, and half of pepper mixture. Repeat layering once more, ending on pepper mixture. Place dish on a sheet pan and bake 30-35 minutes, until top is bubbling. Meanwhile, arrange tortilla wedges on a large baking sheet in a single layer. Place in oven with dip and bake 10-12 minutes or until crisp. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt, if desired. Serve hot with tortilla chips on the side.

Goat Cheese & Black Bean Dip

Goat Cheese & Black Bean Dip

Rebecca

Rebecca

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Creative & Stylish Gift Wrap Ideas

I have never had the time (read: energy) to creatively put together unique gift wrapping…especially this year…
However…
There is always NEXT year!

Here are a few links to give you ideas how to make your gifts extra special!

Stylish Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas by HGTV

Gift Wrapping Ideas and Projects by Dot Com Women

Gift Wrapping Ideas by Instructables

Gift Wrapping by Martha Stewart

giftwrapbox

Rebecca

Rebecca

Homemade Food Gifts

I have always loved the cookie-mix-in-a-jar idea and in fact this weekend while standing at the check out stand at our favorite grocery store I bought one of those booklets that have these types of ideas in it!

Then I found similar ideas on Parents.com!!!

Note:
This site, for me, takes a while to load so have patience.
When you click on the Get Recipe Here link you will need to sign up for a free newsletter. I chose 100 Holiday ideas and since I’m already a member of Better Homes & Garden I was signed up already!

You still have plenty of time to put something like this together!!

Homemade Food Gifts For The Holidays

This one looks good!

Homemade Holiday Cookie Mix

Ingredients

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brownulated sugar
3/4 cup swirled chocolate chips

Directions

1. Have ready a clean 1-quart reusable plastic or glass canister.

2. In a medium-size bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Spoon 1 cup of the flour mixture into a second bowl and add cocoa powder and cinnamon. Whisk to mix thoroughly.

3. Begin packing jar for gift: Spoon about half the flour mixture into bottom of jar. Use a small spice jar to lightly compress. Spoon in half the cocoa mixture; compress. Spoon in remaining flour mixture and cocoa mixture, compressing each layer.

4. Top second cocoa layer with granulated sugar and brownulated sugar, compressing each slightly. Pour chips over sugar and seal jar.

5. Write baking instructions on a tag (or print out); secure to jar with ribbon.

Baking Instructions:

In a large bowl, combine 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) melted and cooled unsalted butter with 3 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir in contents of jar. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto baking sheets. Bake at 350°F for 13 to 14 minutes. Cool on sheets for 1 minute; transfer to rack.

Note: Brownulated sugar can be found in your grocery store’s baking section.

(I’m assuming Brownulated sugar is the same as our Brown Sugar??!!)

Homemade Holiday Cookie Mix

Homemade Holiday Cookie Mix

Rebecca

Rebecca

Holiday Desserts

Looking for something a little more fancy for Christmas dessert?

Check out these recipes from Delish!

Unexpected Holiday Pies & Dessert Recipes

This looks like one I can tackle!

Chocolate Caramel Cream Pie

Ingredients

8 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
2 cup(s) (about 5 ounces) finely crushed chocolate wafer cookies
2 tablespoon(s) Cognac
5 ounce(s) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup(s) dark brown sugar
2 tablespoon(s) dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon(s) cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon(s) salt
2 cup(s) heavy cream
2 tablespoon(s) heavy cream
1 cup(s) (plus 2 tablespoons) whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
Caramel Sauce
1 tablespoon(s) cocoa powder

Directions
Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Stir the crushed cookie crumbs, melted butter, and Cognac in a medium-size bowl. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and all around the sides of a pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, and cool completely on a wire rack.

Make the pudding: Place the chocolate in a large bowl and set aside. Whisk the egg yolks, 2/3 cup brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Heat 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cream, milk, and remaining butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until the mixture just begins to boil. Remove from heat and, whisking continuously, gradually add the hot milk to the egg mixture. Return the milk-and-egg mixture to the saucepan and, whisking continuously, cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Cook for 1 more minute, whisking continuously, and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Remove from heat and strain the pudding into the bowl with the chocolate. Let sit for 2 minutes and fold the chocolate into the pudding with a spatula. Cool to room temperature.

Finish the pie: Pour Caramel Sauce into the bottom of the piecrust and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Spread the pudding over the caramel and chill for 2 hours. Beat the remaining cream, brown sugar, vanilla, and the cocoa powder in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Top the pudding with the cream and chill for 30 minutes or up to 6 hours.

Chocolate Caramel Cream Pie

Chocolate Caramel Cream Pie

Rebecca

Rebecca

Traditional Christmas Cookies

I LOVE the holiday themed sugar cookies but I seldom have time to make them!

I have a few favorites that I make every year (russian teacakes, molasses cookies with frosting) but this year I’m going to try a few new ones!

Here is a link to Old Fashioned Christmas Cookies courtesy of Delish.com.

Enjoy!

Sugar Cookies With Ornamental Frosting

Ingredients

1 cup(s) (2 sticks) butter (no substitutions), softened
1/2 cup(s) sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon(s) vanilla extract
3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
Ornamental Frosting (optional)
Coarse sugar crystals, silver dragées, holiday decors (optional decorations)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl, with mixer on low speed, beat butter and sugar until blended. Increase speed to high; beat until light and creamy. On low speed, beat in egg and vanilla. Beat in flour, baking powder, and salt until blended.

Divide dough into 4 equal pieces; flatten each piece into a disk. Wrap each disk with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour or until dough is firm enough to roll. (Or place dough in freezer 30 minutes.)

On lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll 1 piece of dough 1/8 inch thick. With floured 3-inch to 4-inch cookie cutters, cut dough into as many cookies as possible; wrap and refrigerate trimmings. Place cookies, 1 inch apart, on ungreased large cookie sheet.

Bake cookies 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough and trimmings.

When cookies are cool, prepare Ornamental Frosting, if you like; use along with sugars and candies to decorate cookies. Set cookies aside to allow frosting to dry completely, about 1 hour. Store in tightly covered container (with waxed paper between layers if decorated) at room temperature up to 2 weeks, or in freezer up to 3 months.

Ornamental Frosting

Ingredients

1 package(s) (16-ounce) confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoon(s) meringue powder, (see note below)
Assorted food colorings (optional)

Directions

In bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat confectioners’ sugar, meringue powder, and 1/3 cup warm water until blended and mixture is so stiff that knife drawn through it leaves a clean-cut path, about 5 minutes.

If you like, tint frosting with food colorings as desired; keep covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying out. With small spatula, artist’s paintbrushes, or decorating bags with small writing tips, decorate cookies with frosting. (You may need to thin frosting with a little warm water to obtain the right spreading or piping consistency.)

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies

Rebecca

Rebecca