Thursday, January 26, 2017

Mushroom Puff Pastry Appetizer and Baked Cheese Olive Bites

We entertain at home and I love serving small, hand held appetizers.
This is a delicious Mushroom Puff Pastry Appetizer.
When I was little, my parents entertained a lot. I remember my mother's appetizers. How could I forget her Baked Cheese Olive Bites? They were such an iconic 50's - 60's appetizer. I posted it at the end of this recipe. She made them every year for her New Year's Eve Party.

Mushroom Puff Pastry Appetizer

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Mini Muffin Tins sprayed lightly with a Vegetable Cooking Spray.

4 TBS Butter
1/2 C Finely Diced Onion
1 lb. of Fresh Mushrooms, Finely Chopped.
2 TBS Flour
1/2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 C Heavy Cream
Salt and Pepper to taste.
1 - Package of Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed.

In a Large Skillet on Medium High Heat:
Butter until melted.

Sautée to reduce the liquid.

Whisk until well combined.
Cook for an additional minute. Stirring constantly.

Lemon Juice
Whisking until incorporates.

Whisk well and cook until it begins to thicken.

Salt and Pepper to taste.

On a Flat Surface, lightly floured:
Puff Pastry
Roll out to 1/8" thick.
Cut into 2 1/2" Squares.

1 heaping tsp of Filling in the center of each square.
Bring up opposite corners, gently pinch them and repeat with the other corners.
Drop them, gently into the wells of the Muffin Tin. Do not force them into the bottom.

Cover the pan with Plastic Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until Golden Brown.
Transfer to a Serving Platter.

Serve Immediately.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Baked Cheese Olive Bites

I hesitated to post this recipe because I didn't think anyone would make them. Now that I have posted vintage recipes, I decided to write about this hors d'oeuvres.

My mother made these when I was a child. I think she served them at every New Year's Eve Party as far back as the mid fifties. I use to eat them like candy.

I remember making them myself sometime in the eighties for New Year's Eve. I also had a retro 50's and 60's party not so long ago and served these.
I still love them and I need to make them again soon.
I don't think I need an occasion anymore.

Cheese Olive Bites:
1 C grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 C flour
3 TBS butter
green olives ( the recipe doesn't state this, but the olives are pimento stuffed)
It also never mentioned how many it makes...... and I never added it.

That's one of the things I love about those vintage family recipes that were made often, all you needed to know was that you made them often and it didn't matter if anyone else needed to make them.

My mother in law has many recipes that don't even tell how many cups or tablespoons of an ingredient are needed, she just knew!

Mix cheese, flour and butter together to form dough around the olives.
Place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 20 minutes.

I started baking them on a Silpat lined cookie sheet.
The next time I make them, I may post the amount that it makes.... or not!

Peace in the Kitchen!

Broccoli Cheese and Rice Casserole

Here's a delicious Side Dish Casserole.
If you have leftovers Bake it in an Acorn or Butternut Squash.

Broccoli/Cheese/Rice Casserole

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
9" X 13" Baking Pan sprayed with a Vegetable Cooking Spray.

6 C Fresh Broccoli Florets.
2 C Cooked White or Brown Rice
3 TBS Butter
1 C Diced Onion
3 TBS Flour
2 C Whole Milk
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp Dried Mustard
1/2 tsp Paprika
3 TBS Cream Cheese
2 C Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided

In a Skillet on Medium Heat:
Butter until melted.
Sautée 3-5 minutes.

Garlic Powder
Stir well for 2 minutes.

Milk Slowly.
Whisking constantly.
When it begins to thicken, remove from heat.

Dry Mustard
Cream Cheese
1 1/2 C Cheddar Cheese
Mix well until Cheese Melts.

In a Saucepan on Medium Heat:
Cover with water.
Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes. It should be just under cooked. It will continue to cook in the oven.

In a Large Mixing Bowl:
Cooked Rice
Cheese Sauce
Gently stir to mix well.

Spoon into the Baking Pan.
Top evenly with remaining Cheese.
Bake for 35 - 45 minutes until golden brown.

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Apple Butter on the Stove or in a Crock Pot

I was raised on Apples in Michigan and my Grandmother had Apple Orchards in Up State New York.
Of course I love any recipe with Apples.

Apple Butter on the Stove:

6 lbs. of Apples, unpeeled, cored and cut into chunks. ( Jonagold Apples, Cortland Apples, Ida Red Apples or Jonamac Apples are the best to use for Apple Butter.)
2 1/2 C Apple Cider
2 C well packed Brown Sugar
2 Strips of Lemon Zest 2 1/2" Long.
1 1/2 TBS Cinnamon
1 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp Salt

In a large saucepan on medium heat:
Apples, cook stirring for 30 minutes.
Puree in a food processor.
Transfer to a large Dutch Oven.
Add remaining ingredients.

Cook on low for 2 1/2 hours.
Discard the Lemon Zest.
Spoon into sterilized canning jars with lids, filling within 1/2" from the top.
Wipe the rims and seal with lids.
Place jars in a water bath canner or on a rack in a large stock pot.
Fill with water, enough to cover the jars by 2".
Bring to a boil.
Remove jars to cool.
When the lids have popped, store them in a dark place like a Pantry, for 1 week.

Peace in the Kitchen.

Crock Pot Apple Butter

I realize that time is precious and it's very convenient to get out the Crock Pot and make a recipe.
Here's Crock Pot Apple Butter.

6 lbs. of Apples, unpeeled, cored and cut into chunks. ( Jonagold Apples, Cortland Apples, Ida Red Apples or Jonamac Apples are the best to use for Apple Butter.)
1 3/4 C Apple Cider
2 C Granulated Sugar
2 1/2 C Brown Sugar
1/4 C Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Salt
1 TBS Cinnamon
3/4 tsp Ground Clove
1/2 tsp Nutmeg

Add all ingredients to the Crock Pot and Stir to Mix Well.
Cook on High for 2 Hours. Stir occasionally.
After 2 hours, reduce temperature to Low.
Continue cooking for 8 hours or overnight.
Puree with an Immersion Blender.
Transfer to Mason Jars and refrigerate.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Deep Fried Olive Martini Appetizer

My favorite Cocktail is a Dirty Martini, Straight Up or On The Rocks. I only drink clear alcohol cocktails....... Vodka, Gin, Tequila. I also drink Red Wine.

I recently read about a Rooftop Bar in London serving Warmed Gin Cocktails served with a Deep Fried Olive sitting on the Martini Glass. Of course I'd ask for 2!

See NOTE first about preparing the Olives Overnight!

Here's what you'll need:
Martini Glasses for presentation.
A Large Jar with a Lid.
A Cast Iron Dutch Oven or Heavy Deep Skillet for Deep Frying. If you have a Deep Fryer, that's perfect.

Transfer the Olives and Juice to the Large Jar.
Cover and Refrigerate Overnight.

A Jar of Mezzetta Martini Olives with Juice.
3 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Dry Vermouth
1 C Flour
2 Eggs, well beaten.
1 C Dried Bread Crumbs
1/2 C Panko Bread Crumbs
1/4 C Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Herbes de Provence.
Canola Oil

3 bowls:
#1- Flour
#2- Eggs
#3- Dried Bread Crumbs
      Bread Crumbs
      Panko Bread Crumbs
      Parmesan Cheese
      Herbes de Provence
      Mix well.

Heat 2" of Oil to 350 degrees for Deep Frying.

Remove Olives in Small Batches.

Dredge in the following order:
Bread Crumbs

Fry Olives in Small Batches until Golden Brown.
Watch Carefully, they Fry quickly.

Transfer to Paper Towels to drain.

For Presentation:
Fill a Martini Glass with the Olives and serve with Toothpicks.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Waffle Iron Individual Pizza from Food Network

What a clever idea when you just want a quick individual Pizza.

Waffled Margherita Pizza Recipe : Food Network Kitchen : Food Network

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Corn and Black Bean Salsa served with Tortilla Chips

Here's another great Tex - Mex Party Dip.

3 Cans of Corn, drained.
2 Cans of Black Beans, drained.
1 C Mayonnaise
1 Package of Taco Seasoning
1 Red Bell Pepper, finely diced.
1 Green Bell Pepper, finely diced.
1/2 C finely diced Red Onion
2 TBS chopped Fresh Parsley

In a Large Serving Bowl:
Taco Seasoning
Mix Well.

Red Bell Pepper
Green Bell Pepper
Stir to combine well.

Serve with Tortilla Chips.

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Cinnamon/Sugar Pecans in a Crock Pot and a Collection of all of my Favorite Nut Recipes.

Here's another great recipe for Pecans. I make a lot of Savory and Sweet Nuts. I have many recipes on the Blog in a post titled I'm Nuts about Nuts. I keep updating it, and here's the latest.
I added all of the recipes at the end of this one.

Cinnamon/Sugar Pecans in a Crock Pot

Here's what you'll need:
A Crock Pot coated well with a Vegetable Cooking Spray.
2 Sheet Pans lined with Foil and sprayed lightly with a Vegetable Cooking Spray.
Mason Jars for Serving and Storage.

8 C Pecan Halves
2 C Granulated Sugar
2 C Brown Sugar
6 TBS Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Salt
6 Egg Whites, beaten.
5 tsp Vanilla
6 TBS Water

In a Large Mixing Bowl:
Egg Whites
Whisk until well combined.

In a Medium Mixing Bowl:
Granulated Sugar
Brown Sugar
Whisk until well combined.

Spoon the Pecans into the Egg White Mixture.
Toss to coat well.
Cinnamon/Sugar Mixture.

Spoon into the Crock Pot.
Heat on Low for 3 1/2 Hours.
Stir every 30 minutes.

When the Pecans have finished cooking:

Stir to combine well.
Transfer 1/2 of the Pecans to each Sheep Pan.
Spread out in an even layer.
Allow 2 hours to cool.

Break up any Pecans that are stuck together.
Transfer to Mason Jars until ready to serve.
Keep them stored in the Jars.
Serve from the Jars or transfer to Serving Bowls.

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I created this recipe for Bar Nuts.
This is a combination of Texas Spice and French Sea Salt and Herbs. It has a Sweet Savory and Spicy flavor.
If we're having a party I double or triple the recipe. They don't last long.

Tex - French Bar Nuts.

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1- Large Rimmed Sheet Pan

6 C Nuts, without Peanuts. I either use Mixed or a combination of (Pecans and Almonds, 3 C of each.)
4 TBS Butter, melted
4 tsp Sea Salt
4 TBS  Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Chipotle Powder
2 TBS Herbes de Provence
4 TBS Chopped Fresh Rosemary

Roast the Nuts on the Sheet Pan for 10 minutes.
Transfer to a Large Mixing Bowl.

In another bowl:
Brown Sugar
Chipotle Powder
Herbes de Provence
Whisk well.
Add to the Nuts and toss to combine well.

You can serve them hot or refer to the Option below.

Turn the oven off.
After the Nuts and Herbs have been combined, stir again.
Return them to the Sheet Pan and place in the oven to allow them to dry.
I've left them up to 6 hours.
Break up any clusters prior to serving.

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Crispy Brined Pecans:

These are so interesting and different than most spiced nuts.
They're not sweet and hot, they're not sugary and cinnamony, they're not sweet and made with egg whites.....they're amazing!
I've posted recipes for other roasted and spiced nuts that I also love.
Check out all of them and decide for yourself.
I just liked the fact that these are so different than all of the others.

The process is long, but the results are worth it.
I began soaking them at 10pm.
They were done soaking at 6am.
I put them in the oven and roasted them until 6pm.

I doubled the original recipe and this is my adaptation.

8 C pecan halves
8 tsp sea salt
12 - 1" pieces of cinnamon sticks
2 tsp nutmeg
12 whole cloves
8 pieces of 1"X3" orange peel
6 C boiling water

Place water in a large bowl ( it will eventually accommodate the pecans too).
Add all ingredients except the pecans.

Cool to luke warm.
Stir well.

Add pecans and soak for 8 hours.

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
With a slotted spoon, remove only the pecans and spread them out onto 2 full sized baking sheet pans lined with parchment paper.

Roast the pecans for 12 hours.
Store in sealed jars.

Texas Pecans:

2 TBS butter
1/4 C Worcestershire Sauce ( I use a vegetarian version)
1 TBS Ketchup
2 dashes of Tabasco Sauce
4 C pecan halves

in a saucepan, melt butter and add:
Worcestershire Sauce

Stir in pecans
Pour into a glass baking dish in a single layer
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes
Stir often
Pour onto Paper Towels
Sprinkle with salt.

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Honey Spiced Nuts:

2 TBS olive oil
6 C nuts
1/3 C honey (I used a Lavender Honey from France)
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 TBS salt
4 TBS sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Heat a large Saute Pan on Medium High. When it gets hot, add the oil.
Add the Nuts and stir for 1 minute.
Reduce heat to low and continue to saute the nuts for 7 minutes, stirring often.
sesame seeds
Stir Well

Spread on a sheet pan.
Dry them in the oven for 12 - 15 minutes.
Cool before moving to a sealed container.
As soon as they're cooled you will need to scrape the nuts from the pan with a strong metal spatula and break up the nuts as you remove them.
I kept some small clusters.
They are absolutely delicious.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pecans:

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees
1 - Jelly Roll Pan, heavily buttered on the bottom and up the sides.

I wanted to show a Jelly Roll Pan because it's
different than a Sheet Pan. You need a pan with sides
for this recipe.
I recommend this pan whenever you're baking Spiced Nuts.

4 C Pecan Halves
1 Large Egg White
1 TBS Vanilla
1/2 C Granulated Sugar
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/4 tsp Salt

In a large bowl with a Hand Mixer:
Egg White
Beat until Frothy.
Fold by hand to coat well.

In a Large Zip Lock Bag:
Granulated Sugar
Brown Sugar
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Shake to mix well.

Shake vigorously until the Pecans are completely coated.
Pour onto the pan in a single layer.
Bake for 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and spread onto Parchment Paper, in a single layer to dry.

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These are from the Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House in Oregon. They shared the recipe in the Dallas Morning News.

Bar Nuts

1 1/4 pounds of Almonds
1/4 C Molasses
1 TBS Sea Salt
1/2 Pound Brown Sugar ( divided in half)
1 1/4 pounds of Roasted Salted Cashews

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine Almonds with Molasses, Sea Salt and half of the Brown Sugar.

Spread them on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir the hot Almonds into the remaining Brown Sugar in the bowl.
Spread the nuts out on the baking sheet and set them aside to cool.

Toss the cooled Almonds with the Cashews into the bowl.

Store covered in a cool dry place in a plastic or glass container.

Makes about 10 cups.

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Here is another favorite recipe.
On the right side in parenthesis are the amounts for a larger quantity.

Fire and Ice Nuts:

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees

1 1/2 C Cashews               (4 1/4 C)
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper     (3/4 TBS)
1 TBS Soy Sauce              (3 TBS)
1 TBS Honey                    (3 TBS)
1/4 C Maple Syrup            (3/4 C)
1 1/2 tsp Butter, melted      (4 TBS)
2 C Pecan Halves              (6 C) = (1 1/2 lbs)

Cashew Preparation:
Line a baking sheet with foil, coated with a vegetable spray, set aside

In a Food Processor:
Place 1/2 C of the Cashews and process until finely ground
In a small bowl, mix together ground Cashews and Cayenne Pepper
Set Aside

In a larger bowl:
Soy Sauce
Remaining Cashews
Toss to coat completely
Stir in ground Cashew mixture
Spread out on the baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, stir once
Remove from oven and cool completely

Pecans Preparation:
Line a separate baking sheet with foil, coated with vegetable spray, set aside

In a bowl:
Maple Syrup
Toss to coat completely

Spread out on the baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, stir twice
Remove from the oven and cool completely
Break into chunks

Combine Cashews and Pecans in a bowl to serve
Store in airtight jars

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I'm not really a football fan and that's OK, not everyone is.

However, I know there are fans that are "nuts" about football
and especially the Superbowl.
Any Superbowl Party I've attended has always had a bowl or two, or three of just plain nuts, these would have been nicer to snack on!

I know Texans love spiced nuts and I've done the homework for you and here are two of the best versions of spiced nuts that I could find.
I still believe that the recipe I published earlier for the Union Square Cafe's Bar Nuts are also some of the best I've ever had.

I have to give credit to Martha Stewart for these two recipes.

As I researched spiced nuts, these two recipes came up often and they all gave credit where credit was due......... thank you Martha!

Chile Lime Cashews:

2 1/2 tsp coarse salt...... like Sel de Mer, or Sea Salt..... use the regular stuff if you need to!
1 tsp finely grated lime zest ( a rasp works well)
2 TBS Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 large Egg ( white part only)
3 C Whole Raw unsalted Cashews

1 rimmed baking sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

preheat the oven to 350 degrees

In a bowl, using the back of a wooden spoon or a muddler ( I thought I'd use that word to sound like a fancy food blogger) but seriously, use a muddler and
grind the salt and the lime zest together.

Add Sugar, Pepper Flakes and Egg White.
Whisk together until frothy.
Add the nuts and toss to coat well.

Spread the nuts in a single layer on the sheet pan.
Bake 20 minutes

Separate the nuts, break them up and allow to cool completely.
You can move them to another paper lined sheet pan to do this, if you have another one.

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Orange Spiced Cashews:

3 C Whole Raw unsalted Raw Cashews
1/4 C Light Corn Syrup
1/2 tsp Coarse Salt
1 1/2 tsp finely grated Orange Zest.... use the rasp again!
3/4 tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
A pinch...... just a pinch of Cayenne Pepper

2 rimmed baking sheet pans lined with parchment paper

In a medium bowl, mix Nuts with Corn Syrup until evenly coated, set aside!
In another bowl, combine Salt, Zest, Ginger, Coriander, Cumin and Cayenne
Sprinkle this mixture over the nuts and stir until evenly coated.

Spread the nuts in a single layer onto one of the sheet pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
Transfer the nuts to the second sheet pan, separate them and cool completely.

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Fall Candied Pecans:
I have 2 versions of these Pecans.

2 C Pecan halves
1/2 C granulated Sugar
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
1 1/4 C Water

In a medium mixing bowl:
Granulated Sugar
Brown Sugar
Whisk well.

In a small measuring cup:

In a Saucepan on medium high heat:
Stir to coat the Pecans.

Stir constantly to a boil.
Continue stirring until it begins to thicken.

Pour on to a nonstick Sheet Pan or a Sheet Pan lined with Silpat or Foil.
Spread out into a single layer.
Allow to cool completely.
Break into pieces to serve.

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2 C Pecan halves
1/4 C Granulated Sugar
1/4 C Brown Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Vanilla

In a Saucepan on medium high heat:
Granulated Sugar
Brown Sugar
Cook until melted.
Add Pecans and stir until well coated.
Add Vanilla and stir to combine well.
Heat to a boil and remove from the heat.
Transfer the Pecans to a nonstick Sheet Pan or a Sheet Pan lined with Silpat or Foil.
Spread into a single layer.
Sprinkle with Cinnamon.
Allow to cool completely.
Break into pieces to serve.

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Spiced Mixed Nuts from Sur la Table:

4 C Mixed Nuts (Almonds, Pecans, Cashews, Pistachios)
3/4 C Granulated Sugar
1 TBS Chile Powder
2 tsp  Cinnamon
1/2 tsp All Spice
2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Large Egg White

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
A rimmed Sheet Pan lined with Parchment Paper.

In a small bowl:
Whisk well.

In a large bowl:
Whisk Egg White until frothy and dry.
Add Nuts and Spiced Sugar Mix.
Toss well.

Spread in a single layer.
Bake , stirring with a wooden spoon 1/2 way through 40 minutes.
They should be light brown.
Remove the pan to a rack , cool completely.
Stir occasionally.

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Chipotle Chile Candied Pecans:

8 TBS  (1 stick) Butter
1 tsp Chipotle Chile Powder
1 C Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Large Egg White, room temperature.
3/4 tsp Sea Salt
1 pound of Large, Jumbo Pecan halves.

This recipe can easily be doubled.
Use 2 sheet pans with 8 TBS of Butter on each pan and make a double batch of the meringue, in a Stand Mixer.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Preferably non-stick for easy clean up.

In the oven:
Melt Butter in the sheet pan.
Remove and set aside.

In a mixing bowl:
Chile Powder
Brown Sugar
Whisk well.
Pour the Vanilla over this mixture, do not stir.
Set aside.

In a Stand Mixer with a Whisk attachment:
Egg Whites on medium speed, until foamy.
Add 1/4 tsp Salt and continue to beat until soft peak.
Add the Sugar Mixture, 2 TBS at a time, beating on high to get a shiny thick meringue.

Remove the bowl and fold in the Pecans gently by hand, until well coated.
Tip the Sheet Pan to swirl the Butter to coat the pan.

Spread the Pecans over the Butter in a single layer.
Bake 20 minutes.
Remove the pan, stir the Pecans.
Bake an additional 15 minutes.
Stir again.
Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tsp of Sea Salt.
Continue baking and stirring every 15 minutes for 45- minutes to 1- hour.
Line the counter with a long sheet of Foil, spread out the Pecans and cool completely.

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Spiced Pecans:
3 C Pecan Halves
2 TBS Butter
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1 tsp Paprika
2 tsp Chile Poeder
1 tsp Cumin
1/4 C Apple Cider Vinegar

Cool all ingredients in a Cast Iron Skillet over medium High heat.
Boil off the Vinegar
Place in a 350 degree oven on a cookie sheet and bake until browned.

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