Category Archives: Pies and Tarts

Veggie, Bacon & Cheese Tarts in a Toasted Quinoa Crust

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Veggie, Bacon & Cheese Quinoa Tarts

I love making savory tarts and pies, but unfortunately I don’t love the carbs and calories that come along with them. It’s also Summertime, and I’m trying to cook and eat lighter than usual…and the Fall season will come soon enough with all that yummy comfort food!

Quinoa Tart 1

I’ve been experimenting lately with alternatives to pasta and dough – things like zucchini, cauliflower, almond flour, and quinoa. Not only are they lighter, but also , gluten-free and less carbs than traditional flours and equally as satisfying and tasty!

Veggie, Bacon & Cheese Quinoa Tarts

I found a recipe on Cooking Light for a savory Fall tart made in a toasted quinoa crust and decided to experiment a little with the crust, fillings and flavors. MISSION ON.

Toasted Quinoa

I love the flavor of the nutty toasted quinoa, which is done in the oven and gives a nice depth of flavor and crunch to the tart crust.

Toasted Quinoa Tart Shells

I mixed in some Bob’s Red Mill almond flour, corn starch, Parmesan cheese and an egg for binding the quinoa, then added a little garlic salt and olive oil to bring it all together for the crust. Then I pressed the quinoa mixture into four small tart pans and baked for about 10 minutes before filling them and baking again.

Mascarpone & Cheddar

While the tart crusts were baking, I made a savory filling with mascarpone and cheddar cheese and spooned in this delightful cheesy goodness on to the par-baked crusts.

Crispy Cooked Bacon

I also cooked up some crispy gorgeous bacon in the oven while the tarts were baking..(for about 20 minutes or so)..

Top with Crispy Bacon

then chopped it to pieces and layered it on top of the cheeses. HELLO PRETTIES. Come to me.

Blanched Cauliflower and Peas

Next I started filling the tarts with my blanched cauliflower and baby peas,

Veggie Tart fillings

more Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil,

Ready to bake the tarts again

popped them back in the oven..

Tarts Cooling

and baked these cuties for another 5-10 minutes and let them cool on a wire rack for a few…

Tarts cooling

the anticipation of these delicious things in my mouth is MOUNTING.

Cooked Quinoa Tarts

Once the tarts were cooled a bit, I garnished them with some fresh chopped basil, chives and freshly cracked black pepper and a few red pepper flakes. Mini Green Goddesses!

Veggie, Bacon & Cheese Quinoa Tarts

And Oh Holy Delicious.

Veggie Bacon & Cheese Tarts in a Toasted Quinoa Crust

This is a great base recipe for any savory tart really – feel free to substitute different fillings for the tarts depending on the season..butternut squash and spinach in the Fallcorn, tomatoes and zucchini in the Summer… roasted carrotspotatoes and Gruyere in the Winter..asparagus and leeks in the Spring…oh, the ideas are endless!

Veggie Bacon & Cheese Tarts in a Toasted Quinoa Crust

Veggie, Bacon & Cheese Tarts in a Toasted Quinoa Crust

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: Makes four 4 5/7-inch tarts

Serving Size: 1 tart

This is a gluten-free tart recipe made with a toasted quinoa crust, filled with a savory filling of mascarpone and cheddar cheese, bacon, cauliflower, peas topped with Parmesan, and fresh basil and chives.

Ingredients

  • Toasted Quinoa Tart Crust:
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup almond meal flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Cooking spray
  • Tart Filling:
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup baby green peas, frozen
  • 4-5 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (Cheddar, Jack, or Gouda)
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced chives, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the Toasted Quinoa Tart Crusts:
  2. Preheat oven to 350°.
  3. Place quinoa on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden brown; cool.
  4. Place half of quinoa in a food processor; pulse 30 seconds.
  5. Transfer to a large bowl. Add remaining toasted quinoa, almond meal, cornstarch, and salt to bowl; stir to combine.
  6. Add oil and egg; stir until mixture is crumbly but holds together when pressed.
  7. Press into bottom and up sides of four 4 5/7-inch removable-bottom fluted tart pans coated with cooking spray.
  8. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden, but not completely cooked (you will put them back in the oven later after you fill them with the veggies, bacon and cheese.)
  9. Prep the Tart fillings:
  10. While the tart crusts are baking, chop the cauliflower into small florets and measure out the baby peas.
  11. Blanch the veggies in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes, then drain and rinse them in very cold water or shock them in an ice bath, set aside.
  12. Cook the bacon and drain, chop into small chunks, set aside.
  13. Measure out the mascarpone, Cheddar and Parmesan cheese, and chop basil and chives, set aside.
  14. Fill the Tart Crusts:
  15. Spread the mascarpone cheese evenly in bottom of each tart crust.
  16. Top each tart with shredded cheese, then crumbled bacon.
  17. Arrange cauliflower and peas evenly over cheese and bacon mixture on the tarts and drizzle with some olive oil, Parmesan cheese and black pepper.
  18. Bake tarts for another 5-7 minutes in the oven.
  19. Remove tarts from the pans; cool completely on a wire rack.
  20. Garnish with fresh chopped basil and chives, serve warm.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, Nov 2014.

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Other Tart Recipes you might enjoy:

Savory Harvest Fall Tart

Quinoa Tart with Zucchini & Sundried Tomato Dressing

Gluten-Free Tomato Tart

Gluten-Free Spinach and Onion Tart

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A Birthday Pie for Dad: Lemon Icebox Pie w/ Raspberry-Blueberry Topping

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LemonBlueberryPie2

I just got back from a lovely 2 week vacation in Upstate New York (Rochester) visiting family and friends, which I normally do in the Summer. Not only is it the 4th of July holiday, but my Sister’s and Dad’s birthdays and a time to celebrate Summer!

Dads Birthday Pie

I decided to make my Dad a pie for his birthday because I know he loves them..he usually loves Lemon Meringue Pie but I thought I’d surprise him with a lovely Lemon Icebox Pie with a Blueberry-Raspberry Filling in a Graham Cracker crust.

Lemon Blueberry Pie1

The pie is made in a buttery graham cracker crust and has a light and luscious creamy lemon filling made with eggs, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest that is mixed with condensed milk, buttermilk and whipped egg yolks. It’s topped with a homemade Blueberry-Raspberry Filling made with fresh berries, sugar and lemon zest and cooked into a yummy warm syrupy topping, along with some fluffy whipped cream to top it off.

It’s really easy to make and has a creamy tangy flavor that is balanced by the sweet berry topping a crunchy graham crust. Delicious! Here’s how to make it in a few easy steps:

Bake Pie Crust

Prepare the crust by mixing crushed graham crackers with melted butter, sugar and salt and pressing into a 9 inch pie pan. Bake at 325 for about 10 minutes until lightly browned, set aside to cool on wire rack.

Zest Lemons

Next make your lemon icebox pie filling by zesting some lemons,

Lemon Pie Filling

and whisking the lemon zest and lemon juice with the condensed milk.

Whip Egg Buttermilk Filling

Next you will beat your egg yolks for about 5 minutes until ribbons form, and gradually whisk in condensed milk mixture and buttermilk, and pour into prepared graham crust.

Pie Cooling

Bake the pie for about 20-25 minutes at 325 degrees F, and let cool completely on a wire rack for about an hour.

Cook Berry Filling

While the pie is cooling, make your fresh berry filling by adding 2 cups of fresh berries (I used raspberries and blueberries, but you can use any berries you wish) to a medium saucepan along with some lemon zest, sugar and water. Cook the berry mixture on medium-low for about 10 minutes until the berries breakdown and a syrupy texture forms.

Berry Filling

Let the berry filling cool completely and keep cool in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Lemon Blueberry Pie 3

Let the pie freeze for about 4-6 hours (make sure to spray some plastic wrap and cover well first). Once ready to eat, just top pie with mixed berries and whipped cream and let the party begin!

A Birthday Pie for Dad: Lemon Icebox Pie w/ Raspberry-Blueberry Topping

Total Time: 6 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 8

A luscious and light lemony pie in a graham cracker crust with macerated raspberries and blueberries topped with whipped cream.

Ingredients

  • Graham Cracker Crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Lemon Icebox Pie Filling:
  • 1 (14-ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • Raspberry-Blueberry Topping:
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Dash of vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Prepare Pie Crust:
  2. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  3. Pour graham cracker crumbs in a large mixing bowl and add sugar, salt and melted butter.
  4. Mix well and press into the bottom of a greased 9-inch pie pan.
  5. Bake crust for 8 to 10 minutes and let cool completely on a wire rack. (Can also freeze for up to an hour while preparing pie filling and topping).
  6. Prepare Lemon Icebox Pie Filling:
  7. Whisk together lemon zest, juice and condensed milk in a mixing bowl, set aside.
  8. In another large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks with a mixer on high speed, until ribbons form and they become pale (for about 5 minutes).
  9. Whisk in condensed milk and lemon mixture slowly and gradually until thoroughly combined, then whisk in buttermilk.
  10. Pour mixture into cooled graham cracker crust and bake at 325 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes until filling is set.
  11. Let pie cool on a wire rack for an hour, then cover with a greased saran wrap and freeze at least 4 hours.
  12. Prepare Raspberry-Blueberry Topping:
  13. Place all the berries and rest of ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  14. Once berries come to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes until berry mixture thickens (stirring often).
  15. Let berry topping cool completely and store in the fridge (covered) until ready to use.
  16. Top the pie with berry topping and whipped cream.

Notes

You can substitute any berries you like for the pie topping, and also use cracker crumbs, vanilla wafers or gingersnaps in place of the graham crackers for the crust.

Recipe adapted from Lisa Donovan, Southern Living Magazine - June 2015

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Dad's Birthday Pie

We also had a great lunch for Dad’s birthday at Phillip’s European before we had this pie for dessert. Fun delicious day! :)

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A Special Treat for Mom: Glazed Chocolate Orange Tart

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Chocolate Orange Tart

Happy Mother’s Day! What a gorgeous day it is today to celebrate Mom and all the awesome things she does every day of the year.

photo by @dadarocks

I’m posting this recipe today in honor of MY Mom, who loves Chocolate and Orange, in any form, and who I promised to make this delicious thing for when I go home to see her in June.

Chocolate Orange Tart

This gorgeous Chocolate Orange Tart is something I made recently for a photography event at Drift Studio in NYC hosted by eyeFi, a really cool app that allows photographers to upload their photos to the internet via a WiFi enabled SIM card, directly from their DSLR cameras.

Chocolate Orange Tart

They asked me to bring some food and style a lovely still life for the photographers to shoot at the event and it was quite the hit that people actually started eating the tart off the still life set! (LOL- Who can blame them?!)

ChocolateOrangeTart-OrangePeel

The tart is made with luscious semi-sweet chocolate and cream with a dash of orange flower water and baked in a graham cracker and cocoa crust,then topped with a gorgeous shiny chocolate glaze and homemade candied orange peel made from a Cara Cara orange, for extra citrus zing that balances out the richness of the creamy chocolate center.

CandiedOrangePeel

I’m wishing all the Moms out there an amazing Mother’s Day today and hope you’re indulging in something sweet and lovely, just like YOU.

 

Chocolate Glazed Orange Tart w/ Candied Orange Peel

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 8-10 servings

Serving Size: 1 piece

Ingredients

  • Chocolate Tart Shell:
  • 1 package of graham crackers (9 total)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Tart Filling:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (or chopped)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon orange flower extract or Grand Marnier liqueur
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Chocolate Glaze:
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 3/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1 teaspoon corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • Candied Orange Peel:
  • 1 orange (Cara Cara is what I used)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Make the chocolate tart shell:
  3. In a food processor, crush the graham crackers into a fine crumb, add the cocoa and pour into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the melted butter to the cracker cocoa crumbs and stir together until mixed well with no lumps.
  5. Press the crumbs evenly into a 9-inch tart pan, about 3/4 inch up the side of the pan.
  6. Bake for about 10 minutes and let cool in the pan on a baking rack.
  7. To make the filling:
  8. Bring the cream to a boil then pour over the chocolate chips into a large mixing bowl and let stand for about 5 minutes until the chocolate starts to melt, then stir together until smooth.
  9. Whisk the eggs, orange flower extract and salt in a separate bowl, then fold into the melted chocolate.
  10. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake until the filling is set about 3 inches form the edge, about 20-25 minutes. (The center should still be a bit wobbly).
  11. Cool the tart in the pan on a cooling rack for about an hour.
  12. To make the chocolate glaze:
  13. Pour the cream into a saucepan and bring to a boil, remove from heat.
  14. Pour in the chocolate chips or chunks and stir until melted and smooth.
  15. Stir in the corn syrup and then the warm water.
  16. Pour the glaze over the cooled tart, then tilt the glaze to evenly cover the top. Let stand until glaze is set about 1 hour.
  17. To make the candied orange peel:
  18. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off the skin of the orange into long strips, then cut into thin matchstick pieces.
  19. Place the orange peel in a saucepan and cover with cold water, bring to a boil for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and drain the peel, rinse out the saucepan.
  20. Add the peel back into the saucepan and add the sugar and water, stirring everything together and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 20 minutes until the peel becomes translucent and the sugar water becomes thick and syrupy.
  21. Remove from heat and place the orange peel with a fork on to a plate and let cool. The orange peel will cool and harden with a sugary coating when ready. Place the candied orange peel on top of the chocolate tart and serve.
  22. Note: orange peel can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container until ready to top the chocolate tart. Tart can also be made a day ahead without the chocolate glaze, covered loosely with foil and stored in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before topping with the chocolate glaze if making ahead.

Notes

Note: orange peel can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container until ready to top the chocolate tart. Tart can also be made a day ahead without the chocolate glaze, covered loosely with foil and stored in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before topping with the chocolate glaze if making ahead. Recipe adapted from Epicurious

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Rustic Pizza with Ham, Grapes, Shallots, Cheese, Honey & Thyme

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Rustic Pizza with Grapes, Shallots, Ham & Thyme

So it’s Friday. And a lovely Spring day. I was in the mood to make something lovely to eat, preferably with a sweet and savory twist. I’ve also been on a baking kick lately, not sure why but I’m loving experimenting with different flavors and textures of pizzas and tarts and pies.

Rustic Pizza with Grapes, Shallots, Ham & Thyme

I decided to make a delicious rustic pizza made with some red grapes, shallots, sharp white cheddar and mozzarella cheese, and some thin cut Italian ham. I simply rolled out some refrigerated pizza dough and then topped it off with some olive oil, all the pizza ingredients, and some fresh thyme.

Rustic Pizza with Grapes, Shallots, Ham & Thyme

I popped it into a 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes until all the cheese and crust was bubbly and golden brown, then finished this beauty off with some sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, some fresh basil and drizzles of honey.

Rustic Pizza with Grapes, Shallots, Ham & Thyme

This is the best thing I have ever tasted in my life. Seriously. The contrast of the sweet grapes, shallots and honey with the sharp and tangy cheddar cheese and salty, crispy ham are like a true love affair…in Paris.

I’m thinking the only thing better than this would be an actual trip to Paris..on the top of the Eiffel Tower at sunset. With a chocolate croissant and cafe au lait in hand. With a really cute French guy. Ooh La La.

Aaah – a girl can dream, can’t she? (Happy Friday!)

Rustic Pizza with Grapes, Shallots, Ham & Thyme

Rustic Pizza with Ham, Grapes, Shallots, Cheese, Honey & Thyme

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 6-8

Serving Size: 1 slice/wedge

Ingredients

  • 1 package of refrigerated pizza dough (or homemade if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere or Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded extra sharp White Cheddar cheese
  • 4-6 thin slices Italian ham or prosciutto
  • 1/2 cup red seedless grapes, cut in half
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Honey for drizzling

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Spray a pizza sheet with oil and stretch out pizza dough to the edges making a thin crust.
  3. Drizzle the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with the shredded Mozzarella cheese. Add the sliced shallots, ham, grapes and White cheddar cheese on to the dough evenly. Top with some fresh thyme leaves and red pepper flakes.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes until cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.
  5. Top with fresh basil, sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper and drizzle with honey.
  6. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Notes

You can also substitute prosciutto or bacon for the ham, and top with some fresh ricotta cheese if desired.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2015/04/17/rustic-pizza-with-ham-grapes-shallots-cheese-honey-thyme/

 

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Seriously Delicious Taco Pizza

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Taco Pizza

I’ve been on a spicy food kick lately. Maybe it’s the pseudo-Spring weather. Or maybe I’m just addicted. I decided to make a fun twist on pizza and make a seriously delicious Taco Pizza. Yes, TACOS. And PIZZA. All baked into a bubbling pile of goodness. This Taco Pizza is the easiest thing to make, and the best tasting thing on the planet. Like a fiesta in your mouth.

Taco Pizza 2

I had a bunch of Pillsbury Crescent Dough in the fridge, as well as a ton of fresh ingredients I wanted to use up. Yes, I could have made Nachos. Or Burritos. Or Enchiladas. Or even a Taco Salad. But why not make a Taco Pizza? It was Friday after all. And Fridays are made for FUN FOOD, arent’ they?

Taco Pizza_OH 2

The crust is super buttery and flaky and a delicious canvas for this Taco Monster creation.

Toppings 1

The pizza is topped with all the goodies you would make tacos with – salsa, ground beef, taco seasoning, black beans and onions,

Toppings 2

with a layer of fresh veggies like black olives, tomatoes, jalapenos; and of course plenty of shredded cheddar cheese.

Taco Pizza 3

Just layer all the goods on the dough, pop it in a 375 degree oven and bake for about 13-16 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese is melty-ooey-gooey.

Taco Pizza 5

Then, top it with some chopped cilantro, a few dabs of sour cream and some wavy corn chips for extra crunch.

Serious YUM. And perfect for a Friday afternoon. With a margarita or two, of course. :)

Seriously Delicious Taco Pizza

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 1-2 slices/squares

A seriously delicious Taco Pizza made with ground beef, tomatoes, jalapenos, olives, black beans and cheese, topped with sour cream, cilantro and crunchy corn chips baked on a crescent dough crust.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (8 ounce) Pillsbury crescent dough
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped (or 1 tablespoon minced dried onion)
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup chunky salsa
  • 10-12 cherry or plum tomatoes, halved
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup wavy corn chips, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Separate dough into 2 long rectangles and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press perforations to seal into one large rectangle of dough. Repeat for second pizza.
  3. In a large skillet, saute ground beef, onions and black beans until cooked through and meat is no longer pink. Drain grease, and add taco seasoning and 1/4 cup of water, mix together well and keep warm, covered.
  4. Prep the veggies and pizza topping ingredients.
  5. Layer the dough with the salsa, 1/2 cup for each pizza.
  6. Top dough with the taco beef and bean mixture, olives, tomatoes, jalapenos and shredded cheese on both sheets.
  7. Bake for 13-16 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.
  8. Garnish pizzas with corn chips, sour cream and fresh cilantro.
  9. Cut each pizza into 6 squares and serve hot.

Notes

You can also substitute shredded chicken, ground chicken or turkey or pulled pork for the ground beef. A regular pizza dough crust can also be used in place of the crescent dough.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2015/03/28/seriously-delicious-taco-pizza/

All recipes, photographs, copy and content on this post and website are copyrighted © 2010-2015 by Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet. Please do not use, share or distribute this content in any way without expressed permission from me first.

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Top Ten {Things I Love} :: Holiday 2014

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Things I Love-holiday 2014

These are a few of my favorite things…food, wine, cooking tools, home and barware, recipes, cookbooks, etc…just simply places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their awesomeness! And they make great gifts for the holidays as well..Happy Holidays everyone! 

Kitchen in France Cookbook

1. A Kitchen in France: A year of cooking in my farmhouse – cookbook by Mimi Thorisson

This is a gorgeous full color cookbook by Mimi Thorisson of Manger, one of my favorite food bloggers. It’s full of beautiful photos by her husband and lovely recipes from her farmhouse in France. Enough to make you want to quit your job and move there and bake tarts all day long.

Grab a copy on Amazon.com here.

west elm pillows

2. West Elm Velvet, Metallic and Mongolian Lamb Pillows

These beautiful pillows by West Elm are a great gift idea for that person who has everything – a little indulgent, but so pretty and festive for the cold Winter months.

Pick up a few of these beauties online here.

english toffee

3. English Toffee

English Toffee is one of those things I absolutely crave during the holidays! It’s rich, buttery, crunchy and chocolatey and makes the perfect gift, whether you make your own or get some pre-made it’s absolutely delicious and addicting. In fact, I’m planning to make some myself this year for stocking stuffers!

Here’s a great recipe for it on Food.com, or pick up a batch at Williams-Sonoma which comes in a festive holiday tin.

photo: Delicious as it Looks

holiday cocktail party set - Mouth.com

4. Holiday Cocktail Party Collection – Mouth.com

Everyone loves a cocktail party but sometimes it’s more work than  you expect it to be. Mouth.com, a specialty indie food store has a Holiday Cocktail Party set that has all the essentials packaged up by local food producers to get your holiday party in gear. It comes with a variety of cheeses, Ginger Caramels, Old Bay peanuts, Vanilla Pickled Cherries, Sesame Lavish Crackers, Dark Chocolates and more. YUM.

Pick one up online here, and check out their other fun collections while you’re at it!

beaded table linens Neiman Marcus

5. Capiz Shell Beaded Table Linens – Neiman Marcus

Absolutely love these gorgeous Capiz shell beaded table linens by Kim Seybert at Neiman Marcus. It comes in a table runner and placemats with matching napkin rings. Festive enough to feast at Christmas like Queen Victoria. LOVE.

Get them online here.

Il Buco Vita

6. Il Buco Vita 

Il Buco Vita is a hidden gem, above the Il Buco Italian restaurant in NoHo NYC. It’s a showroom full of gorgeous handmade Italian and Mediterranean ceramics, linens, glassware, home furnishings and antiques that will make you swoon.

Visit their store online here and their showroom at 51 Bond Street, NYC

Swedish Meatballs

7. Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs are one of those appetizer dishes perfect for a holiday cocktail party. My Mom makes them every year for New Years Eve and I just can’t get enough of them. Try this recipe by BBCGoodFood, Bon Appetit or Food & Wine. For a cool twist, try this recipe for Nut-and-Seed Crusted Sausage Meatballs with Mustard Sauce. Totally indulgent and pure YUM.

Caramel Chocolate Tart

8. Dorie Greenspan’s Golden Caramel and Chocolate Tart

I love making tarts during the holidays, especially luscious ones made with caramel and chocolate. Dorie’s has a simple recipe for making a perfect tart dough, and the filling is perfect too, with melted bittersweet chocolate lining the crust with a silky, creamy homemade golden caramel on top. Divine.

Get the recipe here

foodie dice

9. Foodie Dice and Mixology Dice

As foodies, I know we all love to cook. But sometimes we get stuck in a rut and need a boost for some new creative ideas for our cooking. Same goes for cocktails – we drink the same old thing and how fun would it be to toss a few dice and get some fresh ideas for your mixology? Check out the Foodie Dice and Mixology Dice – with just a simple toss, you’ll get suggestions for making your own fab creations with fresh ingredients and combinations of your own.

Get ’em online here.

vintage champagne flutes

10. Vintage Etched Champagne Flutes – Williams Sonoma

What kind of holiday celebration would it be without some bubbly? Get these gorgeous vintage etched champagne flutes from Williams-Sonoma for the party, and while you’re at it, don’t forget to pick up some bubbly to fill them with! If you’re in the mood to splurge, try a vintage 2004 Dom Perignon ($160), or try a Cremant de Bourgogne, a little less expensive than Champagne made in a Brut Rose, but just as tasty and bubbly ($24). Or try some sparkling wine (Blanc de Blancs) as an option- Gloria Ferrer has a great one from Sonoma CA.

 

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A Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Side: Fall Harvest Galette w/ Maple Sweet Potatoes, Caramelized Onions, Bacon & Gruyere

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FallGalette1

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year, simply because it’s a time to spend with friends and family and a great excuse to gather around the table and celebrate our blessings with some delicious bountiful food!

Whenever I go home to cook with my family, my mom takes care of the turkey and dressing, my sister makes a dessert, and I am in charge of making all the delicious side dishes. We normally make the usual green bean or broccoli casserole, squash, Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes, and have enough food to feed the entire neighborhood!

KA-Mixer

I recently got a gorgeous new KitchenAid® Artisan® Series Stand Mixer and decided I wanted to use it to make a non-traditional Thanksgiving side dish this year. The Stand Mixer comes in 30 vibrant colors (I got Grape – my favorite) and makes cooking for the holidays so much easier, especially when it comes to making pie, tart dough and sauces. It comes fitted with a ceramic flat beater, dough hook and a wire whisk, has 10 speeds, and also has a plastic one-piece pouring shield to help keep ingredients in place when you’re mixing. And I also got the new KitchenAid® Ceramic Bowl in white to replace the metal one, which is a great accompaniment. The KitchenAid® Stand Mixer also has plenty of cool attachments that are available including food grinders, ice cream and pasta makers, juicers and more!

Fall_Galette

Using my new KitchenAid® Stand Mixer, I decided to make a beautiful Fall Harvest Galette, with roasted maple sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, crispy bacon, sage and Gruyere cheese. The pastry dough was made in my Stand Mixer in less than 10 minutes and came out perfectly. The galette has the delicious warm flavors of fall and it’s a lovely addition to the Thanksgiving table as a colorful, healthy side dish that will blow that green bean casserole away.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL POST WITH THE RECIPE AND MORE PHOTOS ON THE KITCHENAID BLOG!

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Luscious Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie

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Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie

This is a delicious, luscious custard pie that is one of my absolute favorite pies to make for the Thanksgiving holiday, and it is really simple to make.

The filling is made with buttermilk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and browned butter; it has a creamy consistency similar to pumpkin pie but without the pumpkin. It includes a simple recipe for a buttery homemade pie crust, but you can also use a store-bought frozen crust to save some time and effort (Pillsbury is great). Another option is to make the pie crust with whole wheat or buckwheat flour for a nuttier taste. Throw in a tablespoon of maple syrup and a dash of sea salt to the filling and sprinkle the pie with some large grain sugar to bring out the flavors even more. Then just top it with some bourbon vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and you’ve got yourself a prize for the table..it won’t last long, I promise.

Wishing you a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday…Enjoy :)

Make the crust

Roll out the dough

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12 inch round.

Prick the dough in a pie plate

Place in a 9 inch pie plate, fold overhang under, and crimp edges. Prick dough all over with a fork. Place a sheet of parchment paper over dough and fill with pie weights or dried beans.

Bake pie crust until golden brown

Bake until edge is light golden brown about 15 minutes; remove parchment and weights.

Make the filling

Whisk together the pie filling ingredients

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk, lemon zest, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon until combined. In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown and most of the foam has subsided, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately whisk brown butter into buttermilk mixture.

Pour pie filling into baked pie shell

Pour filling into pie shell and bake until set but still wobbly in center, 25-35 minutes. Sprinkle pie with sugar (if desired) and let cool completely on a wire rack, 2 hours before serving. Can be refrigerated and wrapped in plastic for up to 3 days.

Serves 8.

Luscious Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie

Yield: 9

Serving Size: 1 slice

Ingredients

  • For the crust:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3-5 tbsp ice cold water
  • For the filling:
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • large grain sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make the crust: 
  2. In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 3 tbsp ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (you can add additional ice water if necessary, up to 2 tbsp, 1 at a time); do not overmix. Form dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12 inch round.
  5. Place in a 9 inch pie plate, fold overhang under, and crimp edges. Prick dough all over with a fork. Place a sheet of parchment paper over dough and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
  6. Bake until edge is light golden brown about 15 minutes; remove parchment and weights.
  7. Make the filling:
  8. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk, lemon zest, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon until combined. In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown and most of the foam has subsided, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately whisk into buttermilk mixture.
  9. Pour filling into pie shell and bake until set but still wobbly in center, 25-35 minutes. Sprinkle pie with sugar (if desired) and let cool completely on a wire rack, 2 hours before serving. Can be refrigerated and wrapped in plastic for up to 3 days.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2014/11/18/luscious-brown-sugar-buttermilk-pie-2/

 

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Luscious Lobster Pies

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Luscious Lobster Pies

 

There’s nothing better in the Summer time than fresh seafood. Lobster is one of my favorites and an indulgence, at that. Lobster Rolls and Lobster Salad are great picnic and backyard BBQ dishes to serve a crowd. But once the end of Summer arrives, I start to crave some comfort food and one-pot dishes for the cooler days ahead.

This is a classic recipe for Maine Lobster Pie, something I made in a recent cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education – it’s a luscious pie made with fresh Lobster meat, cream, sherry and butter (um, not diet-friendly!) topped with a buttery, crispy topping made of Ritz crackers, melted butter, Parmesan cheese and paprika. We made a bunch of pies in small ramekins for appetizers, but you could also make one big luscious pie in a medium pie dish and serve it as a main one-pot course with a salad and some rice or pasta on the side.

It’s perfect for entertaining guests during the holidays, or even just for a homey comforting dinner on a crisp Autumn night. Go on – indulge a little. I won’t tell anyone.

Boil Lobster

 

Cooked Lobster

 

Lobster Meat

 

Luscious Lobster Pies

Yield: Makes 6 appetizer servings, or 1 whole pie.

Ingredients

  • Lobster Pie Filling
  • 10 tablespoons butter (1 ¼ sticks), divided
  • ½ cup good quality sherry
  • Meat from 2 cooked lobsters, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups half and half
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Topping
  • ½ cup crushed Ritz crackers
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • Fresh tarragon, chives or parsley, minced, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter, add sherry and boil 1 minute.
  3. Add lobster and remove from heat. In a medium saucepan, melt remaining butter. Add flour and cook, stirring, until mixture bubbles; cook at least 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  4. Drain and reserve the sherry from the lobster meat, then slowly whisk sherry and half-and-half into the mixture until thoroughly blended. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper, adjust to desired to taste.
  5. Spoon 4 tablespoons of the sauce into a small bowl. Add beaten egg yolks, 1 at a time, stirring well after each addition.
  6. Return egg mixture to sauce and mix well. Whisk constantly over low heat about 3 minutes; do not allow to boil, or the eggs will cook and get clumpy. Remove from heat and add lobster. Turn into four individual ramekins or a small, deep pie plate.
  7. Combine topping ingredients, blend well and sprinkle over pies. Bake about 10 minutes to heat through and until the topping gets crunchy and golden brown. Garnish with some fresh tarragon, chives or parsley, if desired.
  8. Makes 6 appetizer servings, or 1 medium pie.
  9. Recipe adapted from Yankee Magazine
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2014/09/07/lobster-pie/

 

Lobster Ingredients

 

Butter

 

Lobster and Butter

 

Bechamel

 

Lobster Pie Filling

 

Lobster Pies Ready for Oven

 

Lobster Pies

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Maine Wild Blueberry Pie

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Maine Wild Blueberry Pie

September is one of my favorite months – the weather is getting cooler, the leaves are turning color, and the breezy nights remind us that Summer is coming to an end with a bountiful harvest to come. I especially love the fruits and vegetables of late Summer/early Fall – especially Maine blueberries, which are primarily found in the Downeast areas of Bar Harbor where they grow wild. They are typically smaller than regular blueberries, giving them a high amount of antioxidants and other healthy nutrients, and have an intense sweet and tangy flavor. They also stay whole when you cook them, making them perfect for baking up a gorgeous berry pie. Although August is the peak season for picking them fresh, they can also be frozen (harvesters freeze them within 24 hours) so they are available year round – Wyman’s and Cascadian Farms are my favorite brands.

In a recent cooking class (that was centered around classic Summer foods of Maine, of course), we made a Wild Blueberry Pie with a gorgeous homemade piecrust with cut holes on top for venting the filling. We used frozen blueberries and thickened them up with a little ground tapioca and apple pectin to create a juicy sliceable filling, that wasn’t too loose and runny. The secret to a crispy piecrust is plenty of super cold butter with a small amount of vegetable shortening to crisp it up, and a touch of vodka for texture, making the crust light and flaky.

Make the Pie Dough

 

Make the Blueberry Filling

 

Cut Pie Holes in Crust

 

Blueberry Pies-2

 

We also made a slew of other Maine-inspired dishes for our feast: Lobster Pie, Lobster Rolls, Fish Chowda, Summer Corn Pudding and Seaside Slaw, served with Blueberry Beer and some lovely cocktails – Tart Cherry and Blueberry Vodka Lemonade. I’m not sure I’m ready for Summer to be over yet, but these recipes I’ll be making all year around whenever I’m missing sunny skies and blue waters. Next year a Summer vacation on the Maine coast is definitely in order!

 

Maine Wild Blueberry Pie

Yield: Makes 1 pie, serving 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • Perfect Pie Dough
  • 2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 ½ ounces), divided, plus more for work surface
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks), cut into ¼ inch slices
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening, cold, cut into 4 pieces
  • ¼ cup vodka, cold
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • Wild Blueberry Filling
  • 6 cups fresh wild blueberries (about 30 ounces), if using frozen, cook but do not mash the berries, as described below
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated on large holes of box grater
  • 2 teaspoons grated zest and 2 teaspoons of juice from 1 lemon
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca, ground in a clean spice grinder
  • Pinch table salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch pieces
  • Egg wash; 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Instructions

  1. Process 1 ½ cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 (1 second) pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until a homogenous dough starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds; dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour. Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup of flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
  2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until it is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into 2 even balls and flatten each into a 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
  3. Remove 1 disk of dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to ¼ cup) work surface to a 12-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhand on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs plate in place; refrigerate while preparing filling until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
  4. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 400 F.
  5. Place 3 cups berries in medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Using potato masher, mash berries several times, to release juices. Continue to cook, stirring frequently and mashing occasionally, until about half of berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduce to half (about 1 ½ cups), for 8 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  6. Place grated apple in clean kitchen towel and wring dry. Transfer apple to large bowl. Add cooked berries, remaining 3 cups uncooked berries, lemon zest, juice, sugar, tapioca and salt, toss to combine. Transfer mixture to dough-lined pie plate and scatter butter pieces over filling.
  7. Roll out second disk of dough on generously floured (up to ¼ cup) work surface to 11-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Using a 1 ¼-inch round biscuit cutter, cut round from center of dough. Cut another 6 rounds from dough, 1 ½ inches from edge of center hole and equally spaced around center hole. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll over pie, leaving at least ½-inch overhang on each side.
  8. Using kitchen shears, trim bottom layer of overhanging dough, leaving ½-inch overhang. Fold dough under itself so that edge of fold is flush with outer rim of pie plate. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with tines of fork to seal. Brush top and edges of pie with egg mixture. If dough is very soft, chill in freezer for 10 minutes.
  9. Place pie on heated baking sheet and bake 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F and continue to bake until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. Cut into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2014/09/07/maine-wild-blueberry-pie/

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