So February is here and so is National Almond Day! I absolutely love almonds – not only are they packed with tons of vitamins, minerals and fiber, but they also taste amazing! I love toasting almonds for salad toppings, making almond crust for chicken or fish, and best of all baking them into lovely, nutty,scrumptious desserts…especially cookies..mmmmm.
I recently got a new KitchenAid®12″ Convection Digital Countertop Oven, and I am absolutely in love with it! Not only is it a toaster oven, but it’s also a fully functioning convection oven with nine different pre-programmed functions, including Pizza, Bagel, Cookie, Asado Roast and Keep Warm. It has a large capacity with enough room to roast a chicken or make a 12″ pizza, and of course enough space to bake a large batch of cookies. I LOVE THIS THING!
Since we are in the dead of winter and in the spirit of National Almond Day, I thought a big batch of cookies was in order. I made some delicious Almond Shortbread Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze. They’re super buttery and crisp with a sweet, tart and refreshing hint of blood orange – perfect for a chilly day with a cup of tea. And they’re really easy to make too..check out the link below for my recipe on the Kitchenthusiast food blog and enjoy!!!
With the holidays approaching, it’s time to start thinking about fun food to make for all the parties and get togethers with family and friends. I love making appetizers, mini tarts, and small bites for potlucks and parties because it’s fun to experiment with different flavor combinations and they’re generally easy to transport.
One of my favorite things to make are Sweet and Savory Mini Tarts, and I’ve used my KitchenAid® Professional-Grade Nonstick Mini Pie Pan to whip up two delicious tarts that you can bring to your next holiday soiree. I love this pie pan because its nonstick professional-grade construction and removable bottoms make it easy to work with. And the pre-engraved ridges for the crust ensure that all of your tarts and mini pies come out looking perfect!
My Mini Cranberry Apple Almond Tarts are super delicious – sweet and tangy with a little bit of crunch, made with fresh cranberries, orange juice, honey, apples, cinnamon and chopped almonds.
I also made some savory Mini Bacon, Veggie and Cheese Tarts that are great for a holiday brunch or even a small evening get together with friends and family. They’ve got tons of good stuff inside too – eggs, cream, shredded cheese, crispy bacon and lots of fresh sautéed veggies like zucchini, mixed bell peppers, green onion and garlic with a touch of fresh thyme for garnish.
So easy to make and so delicious and fun for a holiday party!
I’d love to hear in the comments below what you would make in the mini pie pan for your holiday party – sweet or savory? Or both? What flavors and ingredients would you use? How would you change up the crust? Be sure to share your take on these sweet and savory tart recipes with us on Instagram using #MadeWithKitchenAid for a chance to be featured.
Check out how i made them with my KitchenAid mini pie pan Stainless Steel cookware and get the #recipes on the Kitchenthusiast blog HERE!
Disclaimer: As a Kitchenthusiast Contributor, I have been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents my own opinion.*
Once the holidays are over, it’s time for a break from all the super rich food and cocktails and detox with some healthy recipes made with some of my favorite superfoods for a fresh start to a healthy New Year!
What’s all the fuss over superfoods about? They help step up your immunity, boost energy, slow down aging, lift your spirits, improve circulation, detox, improve sleep, and they have healing benefits too. And they just make you feel better and healthier all around. Colorful fruits and vegetables possess tons of vitamins and minerals – start ‘eating the rainbow’, and you’re off to a healthy start.
The best way to get your fix of Superfoods is to make a big pot of veggie soup in the middle of winter, not only for it’s warming properties, but also because soup gives a big dose of healthy vegetables that boost the immune system, as well as detox and cleanse the body with its healthy ingredients, antibacterial properties, vitamins and minerals.
I’ve created a super healthy soup recipe that I made with my KitchenAid 11-cup Food Processor, that is so convenient to chop, grate and shred all those lovely veggies. Then I just threw them all in my KitchenAid 8-Quart Stainless Steel Stockpot (part of the Stainless Steel 8-piece set that I just got!) to make a delicious and heartwarming Vegetable and Bean Soup. The Stockpot is great because it heats up fast on the stovetop to sauté all the veggies and seasonings and it has etched measurement markings inside the pot that make it easy to measure all the liquids for the soup.
My soup is full of onions, garlic and chicken stock, which all help build the immunity system and keep the colds away. It also has tons of fresh veggies including zucchini, kale, carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and northern white beans topped with grated Parmesan cheese and extra virgin olive oil and some crusty whole wheat bread for dipping.
The New Year is also a great time to cleanse and detox by eating lots of healthy Superfood fruits! I love all berries that are full of antioxidants, with plenty of vitamins for a super boost in the morning.
I’ve created a delicious KiwiAppleBerry Blast Smoothie recipe made with kiwi, apples, vanilla greek yogurt, almond milk, blueberries, acai berry puree, honey, lemon zest, flax seed and raw almonds.
I simply threw all the ingredients into my powerhouse KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond Blender with 5 different settings that does all the stirring, mixing, blending, pureeing and heavy lifting for me.And the smoothie is a healthy breakfast or snack, giving a big boost of protein and energy from the yogurt, almond milk, flax seeds and almonds; antioxidants from the berries and honey; and betacarotene, vitamin E and C from the kiwi fruit and lemon zest.
Last Sunday on a cold rainy night last week, I started craving some homey pan-roasted chicken. And since I had some fresh asparagus from the farmer’s market I wanted to make some roasted asparagus to go with.
I found a recipe on Food.com‘s website by Rachael Ray for Garlic Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon that looked pretty delicious and decided to make my own version by tweaking the recipe and the cooking method a little bit.
Rachael’s recipe uses boneless chicken breasts and lemon along with the rosemary and garlic, and is roasted in the oven for about 25 minutes. It’s a simple recipe but I wanted to change it up a bit by using boneless chicken thighs for a richer, meatier flavor, and I added some paprika and cayenne pepper for some extra zing and savory flavor. I started out by pan-searing the chicken and garlic cloves in a Rosemary-Garlic infused olive oil for 20 minutes until they got caramelized and browned, then added the rosemary and finished the dish in the oven for another 20 minutes or so until cooked through and a lovely, golden brown. Then I made a savory pan sauce made with chicken broth, wine, lemon juice and butter to top the chicken, giving it a silky luscious sauce to bathe in.
I also made some lovely roasted asparagus to go with it simply made with olive oil, salt and pepper, some fresh lemon juice, sliced toasted almonds and a dash of dill seasoning and lemon zest to give it some bright flavor at the end.
The result? Crispy, savory chicken with tons of roasted caramel-y flavor and a fresh, lemony side dish of spring green asparagus topped with crunchy almonds and a hint of dill. Perfect for a Spring Sunday Supper!
Preheat oven to 475 degrees and heat olive oil in a cast iron or large skillet.
Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, cayenne and paprika, and sear over high heat skin side down for about 2-3 minutes. Lower heat to medium-high, add the garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs; cook for another 10 minutes until golden brown.
Turn off the heat, turn chicken over in the skillet, baste with some of the pan juices, and broil in the oven for another 10-12 minutes until chicken is crispy and cooked through.
Turn chicken over once more (skin side up) and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so.
Remove chicken, garlic and rosemary sprigs from the skillet, reserving the drippings in the pan. Add chicken broth, white wine, lemon juice and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until sauce has reduced by half. Swirl in the butter at the end to make a silky sauce. Serve sauce over the chicken and caramelized garlic.
Roasted Asparagus Almondine:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Wash and trim asparagus and place on a roasting sheet or in a baking dish.
Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add lemon juice and dill. Add sliced almonds over the asparagus
Roast in the oven for 7-10 minutes until asparagus and almonds are a toasty, golden brown. Sprinkle some additional lemon zest for garnish, if desired, and serve immediately with the Pan-Roasted Rosemary Chicken and Caramelized Garlic.
Summer is here and what better way to spend it than dining out on a rooftop, in a garden or an outside patio eating some glorious Summer food with a cocktail in your hand to soak up the sun? Or you might be in the mood for seafood, whether it be a luscious Lobster Roll, some rockin’ Sushi, a dozen steamed clams or fresh shrimp cocktail with a sexy margarita or fruity cocktail to accompany. The best part about Summer is being able to buy some of your own fresh seafood at a local market and firing it up on the grill. Where should I go do you ask? Well listen up friends. There’s some amazing places right here in NYC to please your palate and your eyes.
I had a great opportunity to do photography and write two feature stories about the Top Seafood Spots, Outdoor Dining destinations and local seafood markets in NYC for Downtown Magazine Summer issue. And oh, what a fun story this was! I visited some of NYC’s top seafood joints, swanky rooftops, garden patios and local seafood markets to come up with THE Hot List for your enjoyment this Summer. Keep reading for the full reviews in the article and scroll further down to see some great photos and links to the coolest, swankiest, tastiest hot spots in town this Summer.
Check out the tearsheets and more fun photos from the story below! (CLICK PHOTOS BELOW TO ENLARGE)
Tuscan Fields, provider of organic, Italian farro, is offering a scholarship to this spring’s Eat Write Retreat food bloggers conference in Philadelphia. They sent some of their delicious samples to me to create a farro recipe for a chance to win a scholarship to the conference this year!
If farro is new to you, you’ll love discovering this ancient grain made of 100% organic semi-pearled farro. It has a mellow, nutty taste, a pleasing “al dente” texture when cooked, and offers loads of nutrients in each bite. Plus, it’s versatile enough to elevate side dishes, salads, soups and main courses to culinary excellence. You can use farro in place of white or brown rice, couscous or pasta and pair it with roasted vegetables, meats and poultry or make a fresh spring salad with farro as your whole grain base, layered with vegetables, fruit or fresh herbs tossed in a vinaigrette dressing.
I decided to create a recipe for Citrus Honey Soy Chicken with Toasted Almond Farro – made with stir-fried chicken marinated in honey, soy sauce, orange juice, garlic, sriracha hot sauce, ponzu sauce, white pepper, black and white sesame seeds, and water chestnuts topped with green onion, fresh orange slices and toasted almonds over a bed of cooked farro. The sauce has a sweet and tangy zing that pairs great with the nutty farro and toasted crunchy almonds. The fresh orange slices give it a fresh and healthy twist.
I am lovin’ this grain – and plan to come up with some other cool recipes to make with it!
I found a delicious recipe for a Grapefruit, Avocado and Fennel Salad that I had to make – it’s a fresh combination of healthy grapefruit, avocados and fennel with a light, tangy Asian Citrus dressing made with fruit juice, honey, olive and sesame oil and a little bit of onion and mustard. The original recipe called for a pound of fennel, but I switched it up by adding sliced celery and fresh salad mix (any lettuce will do but I used an Italian Romaine, green leaf and cabbage mix). I also added some some fresh grapefruit juice into the dressing and topped the salad with some sliced toasted almonds for some nutty flavor and crunch. You could also throw in some sesame seeds or sunflower seeds which would be great too. The original recipe called for twice the amount of dressing which I cut in half, and I recommend tossing the dressing on at the end instead of all together with the salad, to avoid any mushiness and to keep the veggies fresh and crunchy. If you want to double the dressing recipe below, use half of it as a marinade for some grilled chicken or shrimp and toss either of those into the salad for a full meal. Light, tangy, refreshing and delicious! Perfect summer salad – enjoy.
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 large pink grapefruits, sectioned
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cut into paper-thin slices
2 celery stalks, cut into thin slices
1 large avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, cut into thin slices
1 bag of fresh salad mix
1/2 cup sliced toasted almonds
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
To make the dressing: whisk together all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and set aside.
To make the salad: cut the grapefruits in half, and cut around the edge and in between the pith, peel and cut out the wedges, removing all pith and peel. Trim the top and bottom off of the fennel bulb, remove the core and cut into paper thin slices. Cut celery into thin slices. Halve the avocado and remove the pit. Cut thin slices and remove the outer skin.
Toss salad mix into a large salad bowl, and add grapefruit wedges, fennel and celery slices and add dressing, tossing to coat. Top the salad with avocado slices and sliced toasted almonds and salt and pepper to taste.
I recently picked up a cookbook at a conference called Recipes Worth Sharing by Favorite Recipes Press. It’s a collection of the most prized, tried-and-true tested home cook recipes from some of the most popular regional community cookbooks and charitable organizations in America. I remember my Mom and Grandmother would occasionally cook from these spiral-bound community cookbooks and they usually made some type of yummy salad or casserole dish for a Sunday family brunch or neighborhood potluck supper. Usually these cookbooks go unappreciated or overlooked, but this one deserves to be noticed.
The reason I picked up this book was mainly because of the recipes themselves, not the beautiful photos which normally are what grab my attention when I pick up or buy a cookbook. The recipes are a collection of delicious comfort food, down-home favorites and are not particularly complicated to make but delicious all the same. A lot of these recipes remind of the Southern cooking I experienced and learned to make when I lived in Atlanta and made trips to Savannah, Charleston and New Orleans – lots of seafood, fresh veggies and salads, grilled and roasted meats, pasta dishes, homemade breads, pies and desserts, and of course the delicious creamycasseroles made out of basically EVERYTHING under the sun. The foods and recipes in this book are the ones that your Grandmother and Mother probably made too, and passed along to their friends at church, bridge club or the local junior league. Fussy and stuffy recipes they are not, but simple, delicious and comforting – they are indeed.
The recipes in the book are organized in typical categories: Appetizers and Beverages, Breads and Brunch, Soups, Salads and Sandwiches, Entrees, Fish and Seafood, Vegetables and Sides, Cakes, Pies and Cookies, Desserts, and Kid’s Recipes. I’ve gone through the book and picked out a sampling of my favorite recipes below (a few from each category) to share with you. I hope you enjoy them and maybe even try a few for your next potluck party or family picnic. If you want to check out the cookbook for yourself – you can preview and purchase the cookbook online. Enjoy!
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon horseradish
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon white wine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cooked crab meat, drained
2 scallions, chopped
1 cup cooked shrimp, cut into small pieces
40 frozen phyllo cups, thawed
Grated parmesan cheese
Blend the cream cheese, milk, horseradish, butter, wine, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Fold in the crab meat, scallions and shrimp. Fill the phyllo cups with the seafood mixture. Place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the cheese and almonds. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until heated through.
Recipe from Toast of the Coast, The Junior League of Jacksonville, Florida
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup chopped cooked ham
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup chopped green chilies
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 (1-pound) round loaf French or Sourdough bread
Combine the cheddar cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, ham, green onions, green chilies and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl and mix well. Cut a thin slice from the top of the bread loaf; reserve. Remove the center carefully, leaving a shell. Cut the bread from the center into 1-inch cubes. Fill the bread shell with the dip; top with the reserved top. Wrap in foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve with the bread cubes, crackers or chips.
Recipe from Downtown Savannah Style, The Junior League of Savannah, Georgia.
Pirate’s Milk Punch
1 cup sugar
1 cup bourbon (not sour mash)
1 cup French brandy (Cognac)
1 cup vodka
2 ounces pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Combine the sugar, bourbon, brandy and vodka in a gallon container with a lid. An empty gallon milk jug will work. Secure the lid and shake vigorously until the sugar is dissolved. Add the vanilla and nutmeg; shake well. Add the milk, 2 cups at a time, until the jug is full; shaking well after each addition. Chill for 8 to 24 hours before serving. Serve very cold or over ice in old-fashioned glasses. Sprinkle freshly grated nutmeg over the top before serving.
Makes 1 gallon (16 servings).
Recipe from The Life of the Party, The Junior League of Tampa, Florida.
6 English muffins, split into halves
Butter to taste
12 slices Canadian bacon
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
To prepare the eggs, toast the English muffin halves and spread with butter. Brown the Canadian bacon in a skillet; drain. Whisk the eggs in a bowl until light and frothy. Add the cheese, salt and pepper and mix well. Arrange the muffin halves in the bottom of a baking dish, split side up. Top each muffin half with a slice of Canadian bacon. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the Canadian bacon. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until eggs are set. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Slice into squares around the muffin halves.
To prepare the sauce, combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and Tabasco sauce in a blender and process until smooth. Bring the butter to a simmer in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and immediately add to the egg yolk mixture in a find stream, processing constantly at high speed until combined.
To serve, top each serving with a spoonful of Hollandaise sauce. Note: The sauce can be kept warm in a baking dish placed in a pan of hot water.
Recipe from Shall We Gather, Trinity Episcopal Church, Wetumpka, Alabama.
White Spanish Gazpacho
3 cucumbers, peeled and cubed
1 small garlic clove
3 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth
3 cups sour cream
3 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
4 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup sliced green onions
3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted and salted
Puree the cucumbers and garlic in a blender. Pour into a bowl. Whisk in a small amount of chicken broth until smooth. Whisk in remaining chicken broth gradually. Whisk the cucumber mixture gradually inot the sour cream in a bowl. Stir in the vinegar and salt. Chill, covered, until cold. Ladle into 6 chilled soup bowls. Top each with equal portions of the tomatoes, parsley, green onions, almonds and croutons.
Recipe from Recipes of Note, Greensboro Symphony Guild, Greensboro, NC
Sweet Tart Salad
Poppy Seed Dressing:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
10 ounces salad greens or 16 cups torn lettuce
4 cups chopped Granny Smith apples
2 cups garlic bagel chips, crushed
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon pepper
For the dressing, combine the sugar, oil, vinegar, poppy seeds, paprika and Worcestershire sauce in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and seal tightly. Shake to mix. Chill, covered, in the refrigerator until serving time. The flavor is enhanced if made in advance and chilled.
For the salad, mix the salad greens, apples, bagel chips, cheese, pecans, and pepper in a salad bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Recipe from Tables of Content, Junior League of Birmingham, Alabama.
Toasted Brie Chicken Tea Sandwiches
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup red grapes, sliced
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Italian herbs
2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
6 to 12 croissants
2 (8 ounce) wheels Brie cheese, rind removed and cheese sliced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the chicken and broth in a roasting pan. Roast for 12 to 18 minutes or until cooked through. Do not allow the chicken to brown. Drain and discard the broth. Place the chicken in a large bowl and let stand until cool. Mix the mayonnaise, grapes, celery, Italian herbs, pepper and onion powder in a bowl. Stir in the chicken. Cut each croissant into halves crosswise and cut each half into halves horizontally. Toast the croissants. Place a slice of Brie on half of the croissant pieces. Top with the chicken mixture and the remaining croissant pieces.
Makes 12 to 14 sandwiches.
Recipe from Savor the Seasons, The Junior League of Tampa, Florida.
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
1 (14 ounce) can hearts of palm, drained and sliced
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
6 tablespoons salad oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Juice of 2 garlic cloves
4 ounces bleu cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
2 large tomatoes, cut into 12 slices
1/4 cup crumbled crisp-cooked bacon
Combine the artichokes, hearts of palm, green onions and parsley in a bowl and mix gently. Add a mixture of the salad oil, lemon juice and garlic juice and bleu cheese; toss to mix. Season with salt and pepper. Chill, covered, in the refrigerator until serving time. The salad may be prepared to this point one day in advance. Line 6 chilled salad plates with romaine. Arrange 2 tomato slices on each salad plate. Top with the artichoke mixture. Sprinkle with the bacon just before serving.
Recipe from Art Fare, Toledo Museum of Art Aides, Toledo, Ohio.
Father Art’s Pozole
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (2-pound) pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 large onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken broth
10 tomatillos, husked, cored and cut into quarters
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
1 (15-ounce) can hominy, drained and rinsed
2 whole dried red chiles, stems removed
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat. Add the pork and saute until brown on all sides. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion. Cook for 10 minutes or until the onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Combine the pork mixture with 3 cups of chicken broth in a large saucepan. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the pork is very tender. Combine the remaining 2 cups chicken broth with the tomatillos and cilantro in a blender and process until pureed. Add the puree, hominy and red chiles to the pork mixture and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove and discard the chiles and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve with chopped onion, shredded lettuce, thinly sliced radishes, cheese, cilantro and lime wedges.
Note: Pozole can be prepared a day or two in advance and chilled, covered, until needed. Reheat over low heat to serve.
Recipe from The Bells are Ringing: A Call to Table, Mission San Juan Capistrano Women’s Guild, San Juan Capistrano, California.
6 whole chicken breasts, split and skinned
3 1/2 cups ice water
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cayenne to taste
Spray a baking sheet 3 times with a nonstick cooking spray. Rinse the chicken. Place the chicken in the ice water in a bowl. Spoon the yogurt into a medium bowl. Combine the bread crumbs, flour, Old Bay seasoning, garlic powder, Creole seasoning, thyme, basil, oregano, black pepper and cayenne in a sealable plastic bag, shaking to mix. Remove 2 pieces of chicken from the water; coat with yogurt. Place the chicken in the plastic bag with seasonings, shaking to coat. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining chicken. Spray the chicken lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Place the baking sheet on the bottom oven rack. Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour, turning every 20 minutes to assure even browning.
Recipe from A Taste of the Good Life: From the Heart of Tennessee, St. Thomas Hospital, Nashville, Tennessee.
1 stick butter
1 small bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons flour
1 pint heavy cream
1/2 pound grated Swiss cheese
1 tablespoon sherry wine
Red pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1 pound white crabmeat
Melt butter in heavy pot and saute onions and parsley. Blend in flour, cream and cheese, until cheese is melted. Add other ingredients and gently fold in crab meat. This may be served in a chafing dish with Melba toast or in puff pastry shells.
Recipe from River Roads Recipes: The Textbook of Louisiana Cuisine, Junior League of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Baked Heirloom Beets with Balsamic Vinegar
1 pound of beets various colors, leaves and stems trimmed (golf ball size)
10 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 cup fresh marjoram or oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the beets, garlic, and marjoram on a sheet of foil large enough to enclose. Season generously with salt and pepper and bring the sides of the foil up. Pour a mixture of the vinegar and olive oil over the beet mixture and seal the foil.
Bake for 1 hour or until the beets are tender. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel and slice or chop the beets, reserving the juices. Serve the beets with the reserved juices over watercress or mixed salad greens or as a side to grilled meats. Serve at room temperature if desired.
Recipe from California Mosaic, The Junior League of Pasadena, California.
Church Street Squash
2 pounds yellow or zucchini squash (or medley of both)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3/4 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, whisked
1/2 cup Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix, plain
1 tablespoon paprika
Cook squash until tender. Mash with fork after draining. Let stand until cool. Saute onion in 2 tablespoons butter until yellow, not brown. Mix squash, onion, cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper and egg. Gently pour into greased casserole. Sprinkle stuffing mix on top and dot with 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle paprika on top. Cook, uncovered 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until bubbly. It does freeze well after cooking and covered.
Recipe from Charleston Receipts Repeats, Junior League of Charleston, South Carolina.
Fresh Peach Crisp
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup margarine or butter
4 cups fresh peaches, sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
Combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon; cut in margarine or butter with 2 knives or pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Combine peaches, lemon juice and water; spoon into a greased 9x9x1 3/4 inch baking dish. Sprinkle flour mixture over peaches. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove cover and bake 35 to 45 minutes longer.
Recipe from Savannah Style, Junior League of Savannah, Georgia.
1/2 cup margarine
1 (6 ounce) package chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
1 (10 1/2 ounce) package mini marshmallows
4 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup peanuts, optional
Combine margarine, chocolate chips, and peanut butter in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until melted, stirring until smooth. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Blend in cereal and peanuts. Spread in 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Chill until firm. Prepare frosting by melting chocolate chips and butterscotch chips together, blending until smooth. Spread on chilled bars. Cut into 2×1-inch bars.
Makes 60 bars.
Recipe from Children’s Party Book, The Junior League of Hampton Roads, Virginia
There’s something exciting about getting a new, shiny toy that makes you feel like a kid again. There’s something even more exciting about making somethingsuper delicious with that new toy and sharing it with the world. In this case, it’s my new KitchenAid 13-cup Food Processor – a powerhouse culinary machine that demystifies and simplifies big, scary food processors into a joyful thing, and makes slicing, dicing and pureeing the easiest thing ever. Not to say that all my knife skills I learned in culinary school have gone to waste, but this certainly makes my life easier, especially when I have a lot of ingredients to prepare and want perfectly blended, sliced and diced food in an instant.That “something super delicious” I decided to make is some dee-lish Mediterranean-inspired recipes – a Mixed Olive Tapenade and a Parsley & Pistachio-Walnut-Cashew Pesto, which turned out pretty impressive, if I must say so myself.
The machine comes with two different metal chopping blades (1 multi-purpose and 1 mini-blade with a bowl insert), a dough blade and a shredding disc and a slicing disc. I used the multi-purpose blade to chop the herbs and olives, and then slowly streamed in the liquids to the dry spices and herb ingredients to whip up some delicious goodness. This machine is so awesome that you can really just throw all the ingredients in the mixing bowl all at once, and the best part about it is that you can adjust the thinness and thickness of your slices (for slicing veggies) with one slide of a button on the front so you don’t have to keep changing the blades every time you need a different-sized slice. (Which also means less cleanup time for me – bonus!). It also has a 3-in-1 Ultra Wide mouth feed so you can fit sliced or whole ingredients through it depending on what you’re making.
I hope you’ll enjoy these delicious dip recipes I’ve created – serve them with some cut up fresh veggies, crackers, pita bread, crostini or whatever you feel like using to dip into them with. The pesto is also delicious as a pasta sauce or as a topping for grilled or baked fish and chicken, or as a garnish on minestrone or vegetable soups. You can substitute basil for the parsley and pine nuts for the mixed toasted nuts in the recipe below for a traditional Basil Pesto, or try using Artichokes and Walnuts, Peppers and Cashews…get creative! And if you haven’t tried making your own tapenade and pestos at home, you’ll love how easy they are to make with this fun, easy machine (and you’ll never buy store-bought stuff again!) Oh, and stay tuned for my next recipe for Baked Falafel with Roasted Garlic Lemon Hummus and Tahini Salad! The possibilities are endless with this cool toy – mynew best friend.
Mixed Olive Tapenade
½ c Kalamata olives
2/3 c oil-cured black Italian olives, pitted
2 tsp capers, drained
3 scallions, trimmed and chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
¼ c extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
1/3 c flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper (more or less to taste)
Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor with a metal fitting blade and puree into a medium-fine paste. Mix the ingredients in the bowl with a spatula and sprinkle some fresh black pepper in and puree on low for another minute or so.
Scoop out the olive tapenade into a serving bowl and garnish with additional chopped parsley. Serve with crackers, breadsticks, veggies for dipping or spread the tapenade on toasted Italian bread (1/2 inch slices) for crostini.
Makes about 2 cups.
Parsley & Toasted Nut Pesto
1 c pistachios, walnuts and cashews, toasted
2 c flat-leaf Italian parsley (leaves only, no stems)
3/4 c Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 garlic cloves
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 c extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus 2 tsp grated lemon zest
Heat a medium saute pan over medium-low heat. Toast the nuts in the pan until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. (You can also toast them in a 350 degree oven on a baking sheet for about 5-10 mins).
Place parsley, toasted nuts, cheese, garlic and salt in the food processor bowl with a metal blade fitting, and pulse into a medium-fine texture.
In a small mixing bowl, add olive oil, lemon juice and zest and combine.
Slowly steam in the oil and lemon mixture to the parsley and nut mixture through the top opening of the food processor, pulsing every few seconds to combine ingredients.
Serve over pasta, as a dip with crackers or breadsticks, or as a garnish to vegetable or cream-based soups.
“Aphrodisiac: any of various forms of stimulation thought to arouse sexual excitement. Aphrodisiacs may be classified in two principal groups: (1) psycho-physiological (visual, tactile, olfactory, aural) and (2) internal (stemming from food, alcoholic drinks, drugs, love potions, medical preparations)”.
We’ve all heard that there are certain foods that have aphrodisiac powers, but which ones and what effect do they have on romance? There are several foods that increase passion and the mood for love – almonds, arugula, asparagus, avocado, bananas, basil, chilies, chocolate, coffee, figs, garlic, ginger, honey, nutmeg, oysters, pinenuts, raspberries, strawberries, black truffles, vanilla and wine, just to name a few.
Truffles are said to stimulate and sensitize the skin for touch. Vanilla’s scent and flavor is known to increase lust. Chilies increase blood flow and sex drive. The chemicals in chocolate trigger neurochemicals in the brain that increases passion. Red wine relaxes and stimulates the senses.
For Valentine’s Day, I rounded up a few recipes featuring some of these love-ly passion-inspiring foods, guaranteed to spice up your night and make it one to remember!
Broiled Oysters with Fresh Herbs, Garlic and Cheese
24 fresh oysters
¾ cup of breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of olive oil
½ teaspoon of fresh thyme, chopped
½ teaspoon of fresh basil, chopped
¼ teaspoon of fresh marjoram, chopped
Zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
Shuck the oysters and set aside on the half shell. Discard the remaining shells. In a bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, garlic, mustard, olive oil, thyme, basil, marjoram, lemon zest and Parmesan. Top each oyster with about 1 teaspoon of the breadcrumb mixture and place the oysters on a baking sheet. Cook under high broiler (grill) for about 6 minutes or until the oysters are crispy and golden brown. Serve hot, with a wedge of lemon and your favorite hot pepper sauce on the side. Pop open a bottle of your best bubbly and indulge with your honey.
2 lbs. chicken, cut up — (2 to 2 1/2)
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil — (1 to 2)
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. anise seed
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1/2 tsp. fresh pepper
2 tsp. hot crushed red peppers
1/8 tsp. cayenne (or to taste)
Brown chicken in a medium skillet in hot oil. Remove to a large (13x9x2) cake pan or baking dish. Pour oil from skillet and add the stock. Simmer 5 minutes. Mix cocoa with vegetable oil to form a paste. Add cloves, cinnamon, anise seed, and blend. Stir spice mixture into simmering stock and simmer 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Pour mixture over the chicken parts. Cover and bake in preheated 350-degree oven until chicken is tender (around 1 to 1 1/2 hours). Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds over a bed of rice.
Spicy Scallops with Capellini
1 pound sea scallops, quartered if large
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small dried chipotle chile with seeds, stemmed and chopped
Fine sea salt
1/2 pound capellini
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large shallow glass or ceramic baking dish, toss the scallops with the oil, wine, parsley, garlic and chipotle. Season with salt and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the oil is sizzling and the scallops are firm.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the capellini until just al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain; transfer to a serving bowl. Add the scallops and their juices, toss well and serve immediately.
Olive oil or lard
5 lbs beef short ribs
Salt and Pepper
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
2 cups strong coffee
1.5 cups chopped tomatoes, with juice (or one 28 oz can)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup unsweetened chocolate (70% or higher cacao)
Cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
Rinse short ribs under cold water and pat dry, season liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron pan or Dutch oven over medium high heat.
Place a few of the short ribs in the pan, being careful not to crowd them. Brown the short ribs well on all sides until they have a nice seared brown color. Transfer the meat to a plate and continue to cook the rest of the ribs. When done, remove all of the meat to the plate.
Reduce the heat to medium. If you used a cast iron pan for the browning, heat more oil in a large oven safe covered casserole dish. If you’re using a Dutch oven, just keep on cooking.
Add the onions and peppers and cook until the onions are translucent, approximately 5-10 minutes. Next mix in the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the brown sugar and spices and cook for 5 minutes longer. Add the coffee, chopped tomatoes, and tomato paste and bring the whole mixture to a boil.
Return the short ribs to the pot and cover. Braise in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours. Mix in the chocolate until melted. Season ribs with salt and pepper, and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, pasta or polenta. Indulge in a nice hearty red such as a Cabernet or Zinfandel or Shiraz which goes great with the chocolate and spicy flavors in this dish.
Arugula and Avocado Salad With Shaved Parmesan and Toasted Pine Nuts
2 bunches arugula, washed and dried ( about 6 cups)
1 avocados, peeled and sliced
Shaved parmigiano-reggiano cheese, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
4 -5 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
To make the dressing, in a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and garlic. Slowly whisk in olive oil until the mixture is creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
Place arugula in a serving bowl and add dressing to taste. Mix well. Top with avocado slices, drizzle a bit more dressing over them and season with a pinch of salt. Using a vegetable peeler, shave slivers of Parmesan over the top.
Top off the salad with some toasted pine nuts for an extra crunch (and spice to your Valentine’s Day!)
¼ cup (½ stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup banana liqueur
4 bananas, cut in half lengthwise, then halved
¼ cup dark rum
4 scoops vanilla ice cream
Combine the butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a flambé pan or skillet. Place the pan over low heat either on an alcohol burner or on top of the stove, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the banana liqueur, then place the bananas in the pan. When the banana sections soften and begin to brown, carefully add the rum. Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum. When the flames subside, lift the bananas out of the pan and place four pieces over each portion of ice cream. Generously spoon warm sauce over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately. Prepare to swoon almost immediately.
12 oz of dark crispy chocolate
5-6 dessert spoons of pure honey
3 cups of fresh cream
Mix together dark chocolate (should be crushed into pieces), 5 dessert spoons honey and ¾ cup of fresh cream. The ingredients
should be mixed over luke warm water. This mixture will need to be stirred constantly, till the dark chocolate stats to melt and combines itself with the honey and cream.
Once all three ingredients have blended into one another, keep it aside for it to cool.
While the chocolate mixture is kept aside to cool, start whipping the remaining cream (2 ¼ cups) but not very firm.
Once the cream is whipped and the chocolate mixture is cool, gradually and slowly fold the cream into it. Blend this mixture well.
Take a special serving dish and carefully pour the whole mixture into it and keep it to set in the refrigerator.
The chocolate honey mousse can also be poured into separate individual bowls as it does make a lavish amount.
If the mousse is poured into one whole serving dish, the chocolate honey mouse might take about 3 to 4 hours for it to set well.
Chocolate honey mousse can be served with creamy vanilla ice cream. Garnish with crushed nuts as a topping.
White Chocolate Raspberry Tart
1 ¼ cup of walnuts, finely chopped
¾ cup of unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 ½ cup of flour
1 teaspoon of freshly-grated orange zest
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 cups of fresh raspberries
12 oz of white chocolate, chopped
½ cup of heavy cream, warmed
½ cup of whipped cream, to garnish
In a bowl with an electric mixer, blend walnuts, ¾ of the butter, sugar, flour, orange zest and egg until thoroughly combined, and press into an 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom.
Freeze the shell for 15 minutes. While the shell is freezing, preheat your oven to 375°F. Bake the shell in middle of your oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow the shell to cool on a rack.
Remove the side of pan and transfer the shell to a plate. Fill shell with 2 ½ cups of raspberries.
In a large metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt the white chocolate. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the cream and the remaining butter, whisking until smooth. Spread the white chocolate mixture over the raspberries, smoothing top and chill, covered, for 3 hours or overnight.
Garnish the tart with whipped cream and remaining ½ cup of raspberries. Serve at room temperature.