Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cranberry Crème Brûlée Tarlets

Well it's been a long week. Thankfully rather slow at work, which scares me about how busy it will be tomorrow. I have made myself a few pumpkin smoothies from the recipe last week, and they have all been very good. I'm loving having a blender! This weeks recipe comes from the Holiday 2009 BJ's Journal. This is my first foray into deserts, other than things like pies and cookies, and that disastrous taffy that Rachel and I attempted to make.

Cranberry Crème Brûlée Tartlets
~Betty Crocker Test Kitchens
1 Pkg Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust
Cranberry Filling
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/3 cup water
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Cream Cheese Filling
12 oz cream cheese, softened
heavy cream
1/2 cup cane sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup Werther's Original hard candies, crushed

1. Heat oven to 450. In a 1-qrt saucepan, mix
cranberry filling ingredients; heat to boiling. Cook over medium heat about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened, cool.
2.Unroll pie crusts on work surface. Flatten each crust slightly with a rolling pin. I didn't have a rolling pin, so I used a plastic cup. Got terrific results! With 31/2" round cutter, cut 8 rounds from each crust. I actually got 9 from each, again with the cup that I used as a rolling pin. Press rounds in bottoms and up sides of muffin cups, with edges extending slightly. Bake crusts 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown.
3. Reduce oven temperature to 350. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. I do not own an electric mixer so I beat mine by hand, and not with one of those newfangled hand mixers either. Nope by hand with a fork!
Spoon about 1 heaping tsp cranberry filling int
o each tartlet;
top with the cream cheese mixture.4. Bake 10-12 minutes or until center is set. Sprinkle each tartlet with crushed caramel candies. Bake 3-5 minutes or until candy is melted. Cool on cooling rack about 1 hour.
Refrigerate until thoroug
hly chilled (about 2 hours) before serving. Store in refrigerator.

So right now the Crème Brûlée is cooling in my fridge. I can't wait until I'm able to eat it. Hopefully it will be yummy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pumpkin Smoothies

Well this week has been stressful, started Monday morning having to get my car towed to the garage and have it fixed. I do have my car back and running now after having the clutch slave cylinder replaced, which thankfully does not involve having to remove the transmission. But because of the unexpected payments that I had to make for both the tow and to have it repaired I was a little short on cash. So this weeks recipe, brought to us by Betty Crocker; is quick, easy, and most of all inexpensive to make.

Pumpkin Smoothies

1 1/4 cup
s vanilla soy-milk
1/4 cup cold canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
6 oz French vanilla yogurt

1 Tbs honey
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp vanilla

1.Place ingredients in blender or food processor. Cover; blend on high speed about 1 minute or until smooth.

2.Pour into 2 glasses. Serve immediately.

As i am typing this up I am enjoying my delicious pumpkin smoothie. It is a liquid pumpkin pie! Which in my mind makes it more enjoyable since it does not have the weird texture that the pie generally has. This is definitely something I will enjoy time and time again. I may have to start keeping pumpkin in my fridge. I would totally recomend this as a wonderful drink to get you in the holiday mood.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Update on last week's recipe, I still love it. Even though I've eaten the entire thing myself. Daniel took one look and it and said " No thanks, it smells really good though." And the only person that was even interested in trying it was April, and she couldn't eat it because she's vegetarian and I used chicken broth. But I have about two serving left and then it's goodbye to the pumpkin soup, although depending on if I have to work Thanksgiving or not it may make a reappearance.

Now for this weeks recipe. Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip. I must be on a Thanksgiving kick a month early because this recipe I have made before, for Thanksgiving last year. The reason I decided to make it again was because it's really yummy. And Daniel hasn't eaten the past two things I've made, so I felt I owed it to the poor guy to make something he would enjoy. And it gave me a reason to by myself a new toy, a shiny new blender!

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Cosmopolitan November 2009
1 8 oz package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 9 oz package artichoke heart (no marinated)
1 cup steamed spinach, well drained
1/2 cup may
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves
6 large fresh basil leaves

1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup Mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 2-qrt. backing dish2. In a food processor, combine the cream cheese, artichoke hearts, spinach, mayo, Parmesan, garlic, basil, salt and pepper. I used the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese that I had left over from making the pumpkin soup. Also I found that I needed to use a spatula a few times to make sure all the ingredients were mixing properly.
3. Spoon into the baking dish. Top with the Mozzarella. Bake until bubbling and the top is golden brown, 25-30 minutes. I used fresh Mozzarella that I'd cut into circles, tasted good, but not practical for dipping. I would definitely stick to shredded in the future.

4. Serve with crackers, tortilla chips, or toasted rustic bread.
Doesn't that just look good! And how about my new blender? Well so Daniel and I both like spinach and artichoke dip. So the dip is gone. And it tasted so good. This is something I would recommend wholeheartedly to anyone looking for a nice party dip. I would recommend doubling the recipe. I did that last year for Thanksgiving. It is supposed to serve four, but I mean Daniel and I ate it for dinner and we demolished it, so take that into consideration.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Parmigiano Pumpkin Soup

To start out with I want to just say that my Texas Caviar did turn out. I enjoyed immensely. And amazingly enough it is all gone. Thanks of course to Stacy taking some of it off my hands. Also I must say that it was a remarkably easy dish to make. And probably one I'm going to make numerous times. I now have a new dish to take to parties!

Now for today's recipe. Parmigiano Pumpkin Soup. I have never had this soup before, I found the recipe in American Lifestyle, the magazine the Mrs. Kimball sends out. I was flipping through the October/November issue and the photo of the soup just made me hungry. And reading over the recipe made me even hungrier, so I decided to go ahead and try it.

Parmigiano Pumpkin Soup

Art of the Slow Cooker- Andrew Schloss ( Chronicle Books, 2008)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into thin strips
1 large onion, cut into 1/8 inch dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can ( approx 28 oz) 100% pure pumpkin
2 quarts vegetable or chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon kosher salt
1.4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 cup cream ( at least 10% fat)

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian ( flat leaf) parsley

Heat the oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat. Add the prosciutto, and saute until crisp and frizzles. Remove with slotted spoon, and reserve. You can also substitute 3 slices of bacon cut into small strips. I did not do this step as I neither like ham nor bacon, but I can see where the addition of the meat would just top off the flavor.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion to the skillet, and saute until tender (do not brown). Add the garlic, and cook for a few seconds, until aromatic.

Stir in the pumpkin, broth, nutmeg, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Transfer to a 5-6 quart slow cooker, cover, and cook for 3 to 4 hours on high, or 6 to 8 hours on low. When I was doing this I do not have a slow cooker so I cooked it for 3 hours of medium low heat on the stove.
Stir in the cream and Parmesan, and heat through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve.

So I have been taking this soup to lunch with me for the past two days. And it is REALLY good. It definitely is not sweet, so if you are looking for a soup that resembles pumpkin pie this definitely is not it. This soup is closer to a squash flavor then the stereotypical pumpkin. Also I have to say it does travel and reheat very well. My microwaved soup lunches taste just as good as the first time I tried this soup. I don't know that I liked how long this soup took to make, possibly because I don't have a slow cooker, but I did feel the need to check on it about every 20 minutes just to make sure it wasn't burning. So I would definitely leave this for a day when you are willing to stay at home and watch it. All in all I give the soup 4 stars!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Texas Caviar

So today was the start of my weekly cooking. And to start with I decided I would try a recipe that I had already eaten and knew I would enjoy. Texas Caviar. The first time that I ever tried it was when Stacy brought it over to the Kimball's. And let me just say that I am very glad that I ate it before I ever saw the recipe. This recipe was quick and very easy to make, I actually spent more time at the grocery store buying the ingredients than I spent cooking.

Texas Caviar

submitted by Stacy Jutras
1 Can Black Eye Peas
1 Can Shoe Peg Corn
1 Can Black Beans
1 Small Jar Pimentos
1 can diced green chilies
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Drain and wash Black Eyed Peas and Black Beans.Drain Corn, Pimentos, and Chilies
Mix together in 1 bowl

Bring to boil sugar, oil, and vinegar. Once boiling, leave on stove to cool.Once cool pour over top of the beans etc.Let sit and marinate in fridge overnight. Next day, drain and serve!

So currently the Texas Caviar is sitting marinating in my fridge. I'm looking forward to trying it tomorrow. The upside in trying something that I have had before is that I will know immediately whether or not I've made it correctly. Although if it isn't right then I just fail at cooking as this was almost as easy as a grilled cheese sandwich. The down side is that I have no where to take this "dip." Daniel won't eat it. So I'm going to end up taking this everywhere with me. Who knows I may end up hating it after eating enough for a party.