Sunday, October 5, 2014

Mini Jalapeño Popper Cups!

Here's a great Tex - Mex appetizer recipe.
This is not an original recipe. The concept came from Pillsbury.

Mini Jalapeño Popper Cups.

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1 - 24 C Mini Muffin Tin.

24 Mini Phyllo Tart Shells
1 - 8oz. package of Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 C Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
4 large Jalapeños, seeded , diced
2 TBS Tabasco Sauce
Bacon Bits (Vegetarian)

Place 1 Tart Shell in each cup of the Muffin Tin.

In a medium bowl:
Cream Cheese
Pepper Jack Cheese
Tabasco Sauce
Mix well by hand.
Spoon evenly into the Tart Shells
Sprinkle with Bacon Bits.
Bake 15 - 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and serve hot.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Homemade Mincemeat Chutney and other various recipes with Mincemeat!

I happen to like Mincemeat. I know that it's not for everyone. However, if you happen to agree with me and it's something you like to serve during the Holidays, you'll like this Chutney too.
I have a recipe on the blog for homemade vegetarian mincemeat that I eat as a side dish or as a filling for Christmas Cookies. I'll repost it at the end of this recipe. This Chutney is cooked in a Crockpot.

Here's what you'll need:
1 Crockpot

Homemade Mincemeat Chutney:

2 Jonagold Apples peeled, cored and roughly chopped.
1/2 C diced Vidalia/Sweet Onion
1/3 C Golden Raisins
1/4 C chopped Dates
1 TBS minced fresh Ginger
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp ground Cloves
1 tsp Salt
1/3 C Apple Cider Vinegar
1 TBS Cornstarch

In a small bowl:
Whisk well.

In a large mixing bowl:
Stir well to combine.

Add Vinegar and mix well.
Spoon into the Crockpot and cook on High for 4 hours or on Low for 7 hours, stirring occasionally.

Allow to cool completely.
Transfer to a jar and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Homemade Vegetarian Mincemeat:

I know it's not for everyone but I happen to love Mincemeat and because I'm Vegetarian, I love this recipe. It's such an iconic recipe for Christmas. I serve it as a compote and I also use it to fill cookies.
If you love the idea of vegetarian mincemeat, without the Suet, this recipe is perfect.

4 TBS Butter
1 C Unsweetened Apple Juice
2 Large Apples, peeled, cored and grated. (I use Jonagold).
1.2 C Dark Raisins
1/2 C Golden Raisins
1/2 C Dried Currents
1/2 C Dried Cranberries
1/2 C chopped Dried Figs
3/4 C Candied Mixed Peel
1/2 C chopped Candied Red Cherries
Zest and Juice of 1 Orange
2/3 C packed Brown Sugar
1/3 C Dark Rum + an additional 4 TBS to add at the end of cooking.
1/3 C Brandy + an additional 4 TBS to add at the end of cooking.
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground Ginger
1/4 tsp ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Salt

Place all ingredients in a large Dutch Oven and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer , stirring often for 30 minutes. Some of the liquid should begin to evaporate.
Remove from heat and fold in an additional Rum and Brandy.
Allow to cool completely in the Dutch Oven off the heat.
Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate overnight.
It will keep, refrigerated, for up to a month.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Mincemeat Filled Cookies:

This is an original recipe . I wanted to create a mincemeat filled cookie for Christmas.
I shop at a British Shop in our town and I discovered Vegetarian Mincemeat.
For non - vegetarians, you can certainly use traditional mincemeat for the filling.

2 C sugar
1 C butter
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
6 C flour
1 C whole milk
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla

1 (14oz) jar of Norfolk Manor English Traditional Mincemeat, Suitable for Vegetarians.

Dough Preparation:
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment:
Cream  sugar and butter  on low until light and fluffy
Mix until well combined
baking powder
baking soda
Combine well
Transfer to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes - 1 hour)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Line 3 baking sheet pans with parchment paper.
Roll out 1/3 of the dough at a time on a floured surface to 1/8" thick.
Use quite a bit of flour, the dough will be soft and sticky.

Use a 2 3/4" round cookie cutter
Place rounds on the sheet pan and spoon 1- 2 tsp of filling on the center of the circle.
Top with another circle of dough
Do not seal them, this will happen when they bake.
Prepare all of the circles for 1 sheet pan then repeat for the other 2.

Bake for 15 minutes
Allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes.
Transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.

Store in an airtight container up to 5 days at room temperature.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Mini Tartlets:

I just saw this recipe on The Chew.
I've adapted it to utilize one of my recipes.
Check out my Scalloped Apples Recipe to fill these Tartlets.
Another Option would be to use pears in place of the apples to make Scalloped Pears and fill the Tarts. I reposted the recipe here.
I bought some Vegetarian Mincemeat at a local market and I'll make mine with the Mincemeat for Christmas.
This is very simple to do.

Here's the recipe.

1 (8oz.) package of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.

Lay the dough on a floured surface and use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough to 1/4" thick.
Pinch the seams together and roll.
Cut into 2" squares.
Tuck squares into the cups of a mini muffin tin.
The corners will stick up.

Fill the cups with your choice of filling mentioned above.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 -12 minutes. The edges will turn golden brown.

Peace in the Kitchen!

This is a Thanksgiving Favorite in our Family!
It's great any time of the year.

I wanted to recreate the flavor of Apples that we used to get at Luby's Cafeteria when I was a kid. I loved them and they always had them around Thanksgiving. I knew they weren't baked so I created this microwaved version. They are exactly as I remembered them.

10 C peeled, cored and sliced tart apples (about 8 med. apples), of course it depends on the size of the apples.
This is the preparation stage of the apples.

After they're coated with the sugar and spices they are dotted with butter.
They are then microwaved with a cover slightly ajar.

This is the final product.

1/3 C Sugar
2 TBS Cornstarch
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground Nutmeg
2 TBS Butter
Raisins and Pecans (optional)

Place Apples in a 2 1/2 Quart Microwavable Baking dish with a cover
Combine Sugar, Cornstarch,Cinnamon and Nutmeg in a small bowl
Sprinkle ove the Apples and toss to coat well
Add Raisins and Pecans if desired
Dot with pieces of Butter
Cover and microwave for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Squash and Pie Pumpkin Gratin baked in a Cast Iron Skillet

I love cooking in Cast Iron. I created this recipe after researching many similar ones. There are so many aspects of this recipe that I like. It's Fall and it's the perfect time to serve Squash. One of my new favorites is Tuscan Squash Stew in a Crock Pot. I'm making it again today. Here's another favorite Squash recipe.

Squash and Pie Pumpkin Gratin baked in a Cast Iron Skillet.

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
1 - 9" or 10" Cast Iron Skillet

3 TBS Butter, divided
1 Vidalia / Sweet Onion, roughly chopped
2  Garlic Cloves, minced
1 TBS fresh Thyme
1 small Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed into 1/2" pieces.
1 small Pie Pumpkin, peeled and cubed into 1/2" pieces.
1 C Water
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 C Vegetable Broth or Vegetarian Chicken Broth
1/2 C Heavy Cream
1/4 C Italian Herbed Bread Crumbs
2 TBS Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 TBS fresh chopped Parsley
Additional Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 C grated fresh Gruyere Cheese

In the skillet on medium high heat:
2 TBS Butter
Heat until melted.
Saute 5 minutes, stirring often.

In a large microwave safe bowl:
Cover with plastic wrap and heat until tender, about 5 minutes at 1 minute intervals.
Drain and add to skillet.
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Continue cooking for 3 minutes.
Broth and cook 5 minutes.
Stir in Cream and cook an additional 2 minutes, stirring as it begins to thicken,

In a small microwave safe bowl:
Remaining TBS of Butter
Heat until melted.
Salt and Pepper to taste
Whisk well.
Sprinkle evenly over Squash.
Sprinkle evenly with Gruyere Cheese.
Bake 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Pretzel Nuggets

I found this recipe on a blog that I follow. I researched several recipes and I have to give credit to Katrina's Kitchen for this one. There are several variations available but I think this one is the best. I believe in crediting fellow bloggers when I discover a recipe that I really like. I know that many people copy recipes and never credit the origin. I've adapted the recipe without changing the integrity of the original one.

This is simply a great fall snack that needs no other explanation!

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
1 - sheet pan lined with foil and lightly sprayed with a vegetable cooking spray.

1 - 16oz. bag of Sourdough Pretzel Nuggets
2/3 C Vegetable Oil
1/3 C Brown Sugar
2 TBS Cinnamon
Granulated Sugar

In a large mixing bowl:
Brown Sugar
Whisk well.
Add Pretzel Nuggets and stir to coat well.
Transfer to the sheet pan in a single layer.
Bake for 10 - 15 minutes.
Remove the pan and cool completely.
Transfer the Nuggets to a serving bowl.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Cast Iron Sweet Potato Casserole

The perfect Fall Casserole for Thanksgiving Dinner.
This has always been a family favorite. I think every family has their favorite version of this casserole.

Cast Iron Sweet Potato Casserole.

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
1 - 9"-10" Cast Iron Skillet sprayed with Vegetable Cooking Spray

3 - 4 C mashed Sweet Potatoes. You can use fresh roasted, fresh boiled or canned.
1/2 C Butter, melted
1/3 C Heavy Cream
1/2 C Granulated Sugar
1/4 C Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Eggs, beaten
1/8 tsp Salt


1 C Brown Sugar
1 C Flour
1 C chopped Pecans
6 TBS Butter, cold, cubed

In a large mixing bowl:
Sweet Potatoes
Granulated Sugar
Brown Sugar
Whisk well.
Spoon into skillet.

In a medium mixing bowl:
Brown Sugar
Mix well by hand.
Work in the cold Butter with your hands to create a Crumble.
Sprinkle evenly over the Sweet Potatoes.
Bake for 25 0 35 minutes.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Spinach Artichoke Dips / Artichoke Dips, Spinach Dips....... etc. A collection of my favorites!

I've tried every Spinach Artichoke recipe I can find. I haven't found the perfect one yet. I have a favorite one that I've posted on the blog, but it was adapted from a recipe.
This another adapted recipe. I like the convenience of the Crock Pot and the fact that it will stay warm during an entire party.
I've posted additional favorites at the end of this recipe.

I'll begin with a Poem!

Ode to the Artichoke, Terry Mosher!

I gave a dinner party, and I served some artichokes!
The guests began to laugh and make rude remarks and jokes.
They said, " these things could stick us" and they threw them on the floor.
I turned around, I walked away and thought I'd just ignore!

Then, I jumped up on the table and I began to say:
"what would you expect from a vegetarian, a meat filled, appetizer tray"?
Yes, artichokes are prickly, but I promise they won't hurt.
If you pick them up and eat them, I will serve a nice dessert!

The guests looked quite embarrassed and they said " we have to go",
leaving artichokes all over, on the table and below!
So, I picked them up and placed them in the fridge, upon a shelf.
And everyday, for breakfast, I enjoy one by myself!

Peace in the Kitchen!

Crock Pot Spinach Artichoke Dip:

1 (10 oz.) bag of Baby Spinach Leaves, roughly chopped
1 (14oz.) can of Artichoke Hearts
1/2 C Sour Cream
1/2 C Mayonnaise
1/2 C Onion, roughly chopped1/4 C grated Parmesan Cheese
1 C Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/4 C Heavy Cream
1 (8oz.) package of Cream Cheese, cubed
1 tsp Adobo Seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste

Spray a Crock Pot with a Vegetable Cooking Spray.

Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
Pour into the Crock Pot.
Cook on High for 2 hours.
Stir well, reduce heat and keep warm to serve.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Baked Artichoke - Jalapeño Parmesan Dip / Ellise Pierce

I was checking out some of my favorite blogs this morning and I love to keep in touch with a fellow Texan, fellow Francophile and friend, Ellise Pierce. She is the author of Cowgirl Chef, Texas Cooking with a French Accent. If you haven't gotten a copy of her cookbook, I highly recommend it. I refer to Ellise as my "friend". Actually, I've only met her once. Have you ever met someone for the first time and you feel a kindred spirit? That's how I felt when I first met her. I took a cooking class from Ellise and immediately felt that I had known her all my life. We share our Texas roots and our love of France. I love everything she cooks and I like the way she teaches cooking! We keep in touch and she has published one of my recipes in her column. Ellise, Merci pour tout ce que tu fait dans la cuisine!
A la prochaine classe!

I love this recipe!
Ellise talks about her love for rustic and vintage cookware. You know, those vintage bowls and bakeware that your grandmother and great grandmother mixed recipes in and baked in? Those well used pieces of bakeware that you find in French Flea Markets? Well, I have the same passion. My latest is baking in a Bram and I will bake this recipe in my Bram.

Baked Artichoke-Jalapeno Parmesan Dip
1 14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained
4 cloves garlic
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup plain or Greek yogurt
10-12 sliced jalapenos (pickled)
10 sundried tomatoes
¼ teaspoon sea salt (to taste)
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a food processor, puree the garlic until finely chopped. Add sun dried tomatoes and pulse until finely chopped. Add artichoke hearts and jalapeno peppers and pulse one or two times, making sure not to puree the artichoke hearts or peppers. You want this to be chunky.
In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, Parmesan cheese, sea salt, and cayenne pepper.

 Fold the artichoke-pepper mixture into the bowl, mix well and pour into a baking dish. 

Sprinkle more grated Parmesan on top.
Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until heated through and cheese on top starts to brown.
Serve with toasted pita chips, or crispy bread – and champagne!
this is my Bram, it's one of my favorite baking dishes

Peace in the Kitchen!

Aunt Faye's Artichoke Spinach Dip

2 (8oz.) cans of artichoke hearts or bottoms, drained
1 (10oz.) package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and patted dry with paper towels.
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
3 TBS minced shallot or green onion
1 large clove of garlic, mashed
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 tsp fresh dill
1 C mayonnaise
2 C sour cream
1 TBS Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Roughly chop artichokes in a food processor or they can be pureed!
Add all ingredients, by hand, in a large bowl until well combined.

It can be thinned with Buttermilk to create a Salad Dressing. Serve with Crackers or Crudite.

If serving with Tortilla Chips, the dip can be heated! ( Aunt Faye did not mention this, but that's what Texans would do)!

Peace in the Kitchen!

Hatch Chile Artichoke Dip

It's Hatch Chile time at Central Market in Texas.
That means that there is an abundance of Green Chiles available for making all kinds of recipes using Hatch Green Chiles.
It only takes place once a year.
I stock up on the Chiles, freeze them and use them through out the year.
I have a collections of recipes using the Hatch, New Mexico Green Chile.

Here's a Dip using Hatch Chiles:
This is simply an adaptation of a very popular Artichoke Dip.

1 can (14oz.) artichokes, drained and chopped
1 C finely diced Roasted Hatch Chiles, your choice of Mild or Hot
1 C mayonnaise
1 1/2 C grated parmesan cheese

Mix all ingredients together in a 2 qt. baking dish
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes

Serve with crackers or....... here in Texas, we serve with Tortilla Chips!

Peace in the Kitchen!

Baked Artichoke Bruschetta:

This is an appetizer on the menu at a New York City Cafe.
After I made this, I made some notes with the photographs below. I really need to re write the recipe.
I've adapted it slightly, not changing the integrity of the original recipe.
I love recipes from Cafes, Bistros and Bars.
I recently discovered recipes from Brooklyn's Flatbush Farm & Bar (N).
They use fresh and organic products.
I also posted their recipe for Rhubarb Rice Pudding.

2 large jalapenos, small dice
4 (9oz.) boxes of frozen artichokes, thawed, drained, finely chopped.
After making this I realized that the artichokes need to be well chopped. The pieces were too large to enjoy as a spread. I ended up pulsing them in a food processor. You won't have to do this if you chop them well in the beginning. I also felt that the taste was a bit bland. I would add more spice in some way. I tasted a lot of lemon. I may increase the Tabasco the next time and maybe try adding some Adobo Seasoning and a can of Diced Green Chiles. After all, I live in Texas!

3/4 C mayonnaise
3/4 C fresh grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp Tabasco Sauce
1 C shredded Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
Slices of Toasted French Baguette

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl:
3/4 C Parmesan Cheese
Lemon Juice
Lemon Zest
Tabasco Sauce
Mix Well

Pour into a 1 quart Gratin Dish
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes
1C White Cheddar Cheese and broil for 2 minutes until browned and bubbly.

Serve on toasted slices of French Baguette Bread.

This is before it's baked, I'll post a picture of the final dish when I finish it.
We served this and then I realized that it needed something different, based on texture and taste.
The bottom photograph is the final appetizer after I re did it.

This is after I re made it. I pulsed it in a food processor, re baked it.
I added more Cheese to the top and broiled it again.
When I'm ready to serve this dip, I will fold in a can of Diced Green Chiles.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Hot Spinach /  Artichoke Dip:

Just another Spinach artichoke dip, and a very good one!

1 - (10oz.) package of frozen chopped spinach
2 - (13 3/4 oz.) cans of Artichoke hearts
1/2 C mayonnaise
1/2 C sour cream
1 C grated parmesan
1 C grated pepper jack cheese

Spray a 2quart casserole dish with a vegetable cooking spray.

Microwave the spinach 5 minutes and squeeze dry.
Drain artichokes and chop coarsely in a food processor.

Combine all ingredients , except the cheese, in a large bowl, Stir well.
Transfer the mixture to the casserole dish.
Sprinkle cheese evenly over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Peace in the Kitchen!

These are three of my favorite original Spinach Dip Recipes.
In Texas, we love spicy food. We also love Dips. We eat a lot of Chile con Queso or, Cheese Dip. It can be white or yellow or ..........Spinach, Hot or Cold, your choice! Dip #1 is served cold and Dip#2 is served hot! I added the classic All American Knorr Spinach Dip at the end of this post with a story.

Texas Spinach Dip #1

1/2 C Mayonnaise
1/2 C Sour Cream
2 TBS Olive Oil
1/2 C Chopped Pecans
1/4 C diced Onion
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Coriander
1/2 tsp Chile Powder
1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
Salt to taste
2- 10oz packages of Frozen Spinach, thawed and squeezed dry.

In a skillet:
Heat Olive Oil.
Add Onion and Pecans.
Saute 5 minutes.

Add all spices including Salt to taste.

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Serve cold with Tortilla Chips.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Texas Spinach Dip #2

8 oz. Pepper Jack Cheese, grated
4 oz. Queso Quesadilla Cheese, grated
1 4.5 oz. can of Diced Green Chiles
1/4 C diced Onion
1 Roma Tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp Coriander
1/2 tsp Chile Powder
2 - 10 oz. packages of Frozen Spinach, thawed and squeezed dry.

Fold all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
Pour into a 2 quart Casserole Dish.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes.
Serve Hot with Tortilla Chips.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Well, this is certainly a very well known recipe in every kitchen in America.
It's definitely a "Classic".
I'm posting this for my European friends and for those of you that live in other parts of the world and are interested in our Classic Recipes.

I grew up with this recipe at every New Year's Eve Party, every Picnic, every occasion when some sort of dip was required. It's served on slices of Baguette Bread, on Crackers,  or as a dip for Vegetables. Some have been known to create a sandwich with it and others will simply eat it with a spoon! You know who you are!

It was originally published by the Knorr Soup Company and can be found on the back of the Knorr Vegetable Soup package.

1 10oz. package of Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 1/2 C Sour Cream
1 C Mayonnaise
1 4oz. package of Knorr Vegetable Soup Mix
1 8oz. can of Water Chestnuts, finely chopped
3 Green Onions, finely chopped

In a medium size bowl, stir together :
Sour Cream
Soup Mix
Mix well

Add Chestnuts and Onions.
Mix well.
Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

We have coffee every afternoon. It's a habit that we got into while staying with friends in France.  We go to a couple of our favorite coffee shops. Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Gingerbread Lattes are out now and they're really good. They're really expensive too.
This afternoon I made this recipe and it's delicious. So we can start saving money and make our own Fall Coffee drinks every afternoon. Tomorrow I'll make the Gingerbread Spice mixture.  Follow the instructions exactly and you'll have a delicious homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte!
I have other Latte recipes on the blot and one of them that we make every year during the Holidays is made in a Crock Pot. It makes 14 cups.
I double the recipe for two of us.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte:

1 C Whole Milk
2 TBS Pumpkin Puree
1 TBS Granulated Sugar
1/4 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice + additional for garnish.
1/4 tsp Vanilla
1/4 C Hot Espresso Coffee ( I use instant Medaglia d'Oro Espresso Coffee if I'm too lazy to use the Espresso Machine)

In a glass bowl or measuring cup:
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Whisk well.
Heat in  a microwave safe bowl covered with plastic wrap and vent with a small hole.
Heat 1 - 2 minutes.
Whisk vigorously until the milk is foamy, 30 seconds.
Add Espresso Coffee to a Coffee Mug, add foamed milk, top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of Pumpkin Pie Spice.

Peace in the Kitchen!