Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Fall Mushroom Risotto!

  Truffled Mushroom Risotto in a Roasted Acorn Squash

                                   adapted from Karin Calloway

The first time I tried truffle was via "truffle oil". It is a beautiful oil that tastes great on popcorn, potato chips and french fries. But, it just won't do for everything. Truffle tapenade is made by blitzing a small amount of truffles into a mushroom paste and let me tell you that this is warm, and earthy in the most amazing of ways. It still makes your head feel a little funny and your nose start proposing marriage! The paste is available at specialty gourmet shops.

Mushrooms are a great substitute for meat because of their earthy flavor and meaty texture. And if you serve a good mushroom risotto, even the most ardent carnivore won’t miss the meat.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Pork Tenderloin with Port, mushroom sauce!


This is yummy and easy, and also makes a pretty presentation. Before I share the recipe, I need to tell you, I love pork tenderloin.  But, in my experience, it usually needs seasoning, marinade, a glaze or a sauce. The flavor of pork tenderloin itself is rather neutral, so it is a nice palate for lots of adornments.  

This fabulous and impressive sauce is deep in the  flavor of Port. Wine reduction sauces are divine, however, most wine reduction sauces take patience and a little more time. I’ve tried to make this sauce as simple and as flavorful as a typical reduction sauce, but in less time. The outcome is a savory......but with a hint of sweet, flavors of shallot and intense port wine. Please let me know what you think.  I love to hear from my fellow foodies and comments are always welcome!  I’ll also be posting a few side dishes that will compliment this recipe beautifully!  Keep an eye out for those recipes in the next few days.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Spiders, Pumpkins and Spooky Ghosts!

As Halloween quickly approaches, I have a cookie recipe to share with you. I found these cookie cutters at Williams Sonoma and decided to bake, decorate and box up in cute decorative boxes and deliver to our neighbors. These cutters are great for beginner cookie decorators (like me!) because it stamps the design on the cookie so that you know where to decorate! They have taken all the guess work out of it. Well, I suppose you could say that they have taken all the credit for the design. I haven't mustered up the courage yet to bake a batch of cookies and decorate myself, so these were perfect for me as a first attempt into the cookie decorating arena!


These cutters are exclusive to Williams Sonoma and you still might find them in stores as I did -I got mine on sale! If you would like, you can buy cookie cutters in the same shapes and just use these designs as a template to make your own from scratch. 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Glazed Apple Cider Donuts






 Let me begin this post by saying how excited I am to share this doughnut recipe with you. What can I say? Doughnuts are exciting. They remind me of my childhood.....and my children's childhood, all fuzzy and warm with loving family.


Long story short: the doughnuts I’m sharing with you today are perfect for a child's Halloween party, a memory making activity with your children, or a gift for a neighbor or friend. Doughnuts are fun to make!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Arugula Salad with Caramelized shallots, goat cheese and candied walnuts!


 
I enjoyed this hearty salad for lunch last week, and it was a triumph for the taste buds!  It was soooooo tasty! I thought I would share this salad in prelude to the Halloween Sweets, which will be featured the rest of this week!  My favorite salads have lots of different things going on: some kind of fruit, some kind of nut, some kind of cheese. And almost always a little hint of sweetness in the dressing. There’s a little bit of prep involved, but the best part is that you can do all of it in advance! So perfect for dinner too! You will be delighted at how easy each step of this salad is!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Octoberfest ~ Part Two

Almost always, my favorite part of a meal is....DESSERT! For the Octoberfest party I made JJ's Inside-Out German Chocolate Cake. It was delish and not much was left over at the end of the night. I still have a slice or two tucked away in my freezer for a rainy day when a chocolate pick me up is in dire need!

Originally taken from 'Gourmet|March 2000', this has been a family tradition for many years. As explained in the recipe, the chef uses Valrhona cocoa powder in her cake, but other Dutch-process cocoa powders work equally well. The filling is made from sweetened condensed milk that is cooked in a water bath in the oven until it caramelizes. I think it adds a wonderful richness to the rest of the cake. I could eat the milk/coconut filling alone, it's that yummy!

*This recipe makes about 12 servings.



Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Chicken Soup...the COLD remedy!

 Who among you is coughing? Who among you is sneezing? Whose throat is so sore, it’s like you gargled sand?  I’m here to heal you and me, with homemade chicken soup. You may think to yourself: “Heck no! I haven't got time for homemade chicken soup! I’m opening a can!” But you’d be wrong, my friends, you’d be dead wrong. One whiff of this Godly creation and you’ll be better restored than the Sisteen Chapel. Behold the vision:



Monday, 15 October 2012

Roasted Pearl Onions



Pin it! Onions are one of my favorite foods and these roasted onions are so tasty and easy to make. While I was looking for side dishes for my steak tenderloin, I remembered making these for a side last Spring with ham. I wrote the recipe, took the picture, but, did not deliver to you! I really enjoy roasting vegetables of all sorts and I was looking forward to roasting onions. This  recipe is pretty straight forward, no muss and no fuss. Roasting the onions brings out their natural sweetness and are a perfect side for steak, ham or any of your Fall dishes. I am pleased to offer another really tasty way to enjoy onions! Roasted pearl onions are rich in flavor and nutrients. 

Friday, 12 October 2012

Octoberfest! -Part One

My husband and I had a successful Octoberfest party over the weekend. Most of the neighbors attended along with some family and friends. JJ and Wee Bear are back from their cruise so JJ and I split the menu and planned out decorations and set up. She has a great knack for planning and decorating plus she has so many wonderful decorations to use! I rented a beautiful farm table from a local family owned business. We got so many compliments from the neighbors on it and glad we opted for that instead of the basic buffet tables you cover with a table cloth. This table was gorgeous!


We also rented the plates and silverware from the same company, which made for an easy cleanup. You just wipe the food from the plates and place them back into the crate they came in...no washing and no drying!

The first part of this blog series, I will be telling you about the appetizers and share with you some of the recipes. A lot of these you can use for any occasion, in fact, many are create options for football/sports entertaining. 


These little gems were created by "Tink". They are easy to prep and taste so good straight out of the oven! We ask her to make these often for family gatherings. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Pepperoni Pin Wheels!


While on our cruise up the east coast of the United States and Canada, we were looking for new and different dishes that we could share. We were directed to a pub in Quebec for the best lobster rolls, as it turned out we didn't have lobster rolls, but, we had a terrific meal starting with Pepperoni pinwheels and deep fried pepperoni.......trust me, this was all Wee Bear!! We loved the pinwheels and I decided to recreate them.


With football season here and the holiday's on their way, this is a quick, easy, and make-ahead appetizer. These delicate little pinwheels are absolutely delicious, positively addicting, and devoured by adults and children alike.  Oh, and the smell of these while they are baking?  Pizzeria comes to mind.

This appetizer can be made in advance (perfect for the Holiday rush). Just roll them up and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag for up to one month.  Defrost the rolls in the freezer before slicing and continue with the recipe.

Two roll Pepperoni
1 package puff pastry

That's it! Easy Squeezy!!

Normally I like to make my own puff pastry, however there are a few acceptable options in the freezer section at the grocery. If you can find Dufour, it is a all butter puff pastry that bakes up nicely with tremendous flavor. I found it at my Whole Foods. Most stores have Pepperidge Farm, and with the strong flavor of the pepperoni in this recipe....I think it will be fine.

 I prefer the taste of log pepperoni and used that in my recipe, however, you could use the slices.  I just peel off the casing, give it a rough chop, and then throw it in my food processor to finely mince the pepperoni. 


Spread the pepperoni mixture over the puff pastry, and roll up!

This picture is the other mixture I used, bacon and cheese. Same technique.

Bake the pinwheels just before your guests arrive and serve warm and within the hour.  Any leftovers can be refreshed in a 350ยบ F oven for 5 minutes, but I doubt there will be any leftovers.  Perfect for a Holiday get together and lovely for a cocktail party.  Give this a try, you won't be disappointed!



These golden brown rounds are everything you want in an appetizer, lots of pepperoni flavor, everything you want in a recipe!



I also made bacon and cheddar cheese pin wheels, using the same technique above!! Cook the bacon and chop, shred the cheese and mix together.


                                     ~~~



As promised here is the clip of Sweet One and TT's Oktoberfest! Enjoy!
I have had a ball with I movie and am looking forward to improved tutorials on the blog!

Cheers!
JJ

Monday, 8 October 2012

Hungarian Nut Strudel!



The Nut Roll is a traditional Hungarian pastry that is a sweet bread known as Beigli. Eva Kenly, my mentor for 20+ years, made her Beigli or Hungarian Nut Roll usually during the holidays of Christmas and Thanksgiving. Beigli [pronounced BAY-glee] is really a Hungarian sweet bread with special fillings. It is the filling that makes this nut roll pastry so tasty and nutty! My favorite nut roll fillings include chopped walnuts or chopped pecans.

Friday, 5 October 2012

JJ's tips for hosting a dinner party at home!

 

 

JJ's Tips for Hosting a Dinner Party at Home

Sweet One and TT are hosting a large party tomorrow, so, I thought this a great time to put together some tips. They are hosting 25 neighbors and a couple of relatives....Wee Bear and I! Nate Dogg and Tink are hoping to stop in for a German beer in small kegs later in the evening.

Hosting a dinner party doesn't have to be a huge and intimidating undertaking. With the right preparation and attitude, even the least experienced cook can host a fantastic event. Here are a few tips that will help give you confidence to pull off a fun dinner party with gusto!  


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Easy Banana Bread!



Yum!   


 What do you do with all those over ripe bananas? I usually make up a batch of my yummy homemade granola (March 11, 2012 blog) or when I had children living at home, I made banana bread. The kids would come running through the door after school to a house filled with the aroma of this delicious banana bread. They would gobble down a couple of slices, and off they would go to play in the back yard. I have several versions of this recipe............mostly changing the type of nut. Feel free to use any nut or none at all!! In the Winter, I add pecans or even chocolate chips, for a heavier feel. I like all types of nuts, so each time I make it, it is different, depending on the flavor profile I am looking for or what I have on hand.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Veal Scallops with Angel hair pasta and Gorgonzola Sauce!




Veal Scallops with Gorgonzola sauce served with angel hair pasta is Wee Bears....I cry Uncle dinner! If I'm in the dog house, I serve this and I'm out and running again!! It combines three of his favorites, veal, pasta and Gorgonzola. This not only a good choice now, but an excellent choice during the Winter. If you don't care for veal, try it with pork cutlets, beef steak or even a thick slice of egg plant sauteed.....mmmmmm!

Veal is quick to cook, so this is a good recipe for a quick mid week dinner or a elegant weekend dinner party. Everything can be done in less than 45 minutes.