Jamie Oliver's Party Squash Soup


Ingredients

5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
6-7 lime leaves
3 fresh red chilies, deseeded
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 large thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled
3 sticks of lemongrass, trimmed and squashed with the back of a knife
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a small bunch of fresh coriander
olive oil
1 heaped teaspoon five-spice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 large butternut or acorn squash, halved, deseeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
7 ounces basmati rice, washed
2 14 oz cans coconut milk
Juice of 3-4 limes
1 fresh red chili, finely sliced (garnish)


Directions:

Get a high-sided pan or wok on a medium-high heat to get nice and hot, and pour your broth into a small pan on a low heat to get warm. To make your fragrant soup base, add the lime leaves, chilies, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and a pinch of salt to a food processor. Chop the top few leaves off your bunch of coriander and pop to one side, then add the rest to the processor and blitz for 30 seconds or so until fairly fine. With the processor still running, add a few good lugs of olive oil, the five-spice and ground cumin. Tip this mixture straight into your hot pan, you can add a splash of broth to loosen it if you want, and fry and stir for a couple of minutes so it starts smelling fantastic. Add your sliced onion, then cook gently for 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the squash to the pan and stir well, then pour in the broth. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until the squash is lovely and soft. At this point, add the rice and give it a really good stir. If it looks a bit dry, you can add a splash of water here. Continue to simmer for about 8 minutes until the rice is almost cooked, then add the coconut milk and bring back to the boil. Simmer for a couple of minutes until hot through and thickened a little. I like to squash up some of the squash at this point too.

Take the pan off the heat, give it a good stir, then taste and season carefully with salt and pepper. To give it a bit of twang add the lime juice – the amount you need will depend on how juicy your limes are, so keep tasting it as you go. Scatter with more sliced fresh chili and your reserved coriander leaves before serving.

If you’re making this for a party, what I like to do is to hack the top off a massive pumpkin, scoop out the insides, then bake the shell in the oven for 40 minutes at 220˚F. You can then use this as a receptacle for your hot soup, and as long as it’s an inch or so thick, it should keep warm for a good hour or so. Have it sitting out at the party with a load of little cups and bowls lined up next to it and a bunch of lime wedges, and let everyone help themselves!

Shortbread Cookies


Ingredients

1 cup softened butter
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp good vanilla
1 egg white
1 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup icing sugar
2/3 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum


Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a stand mixer, mix butter, brown sugar, vanilla and egg white. Mix until nice and creamy.

In a medium bowl, combine the rice flour, salt, icing sugar, cornstarch, tapioca starch and xanthan gum. Make sure it is fully mixed.

Then, add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, a little at a time, until it looks like a thick whipped cream.

Next, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Roll batter into 1" balls and place on a cookie sheet with 2" between them. Dough will be soft but shouldn't stick to your hands because of the butter.

Flatten balls with a fork dipped in icing sugar.

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden.

Let cool completely on baking sheet before moving them. Otherwise they might crumble.

Spiced Coffee Cookies


Ingredients

2 teaspoons instant coffee crystals
1 teaspoon hot water
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chocolate decorator bits


Directions

Dissolve instant coffee in hot water. Beat shortening, brown sugar, egg, vanilla and coffee mixture in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

Divide dough into two equal parts. Shape each half into a roll 7-inches long x 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Roll in chocolate decorator bits, pressing lightly. Wrap tightly. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Heat oven to 375°F. Cut rolls into 1/4-inch slices. Place slices 1-inch apart on ungreased baking sheet.

Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until set. Cool on rack.

Chocolate Orange Truffles


Ingredients

1/2 cup (raw) cashews
1/4 cup creamy roasted almond butter
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 Tbsp cacao powder
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp orange zest
1/4 cup cacao powder


Directions

Place cashews in a food processor and pulse until the texture of coarse sand.

Add almond butter, agave, cacao powder, vanilla and orange zest and pulse until smooth.

Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, until firm.

Remove from fridge and roll into 1/2-inch balls.

Coat with cacao powder.

Serve.

Liebster Blog Award - For Me?!

Everyone loves hearing that someone likes their blog, so I was psyched to receive this fun little award from Jennifer at Jenny's Cookbook. It was a nice surprise and much appreciated!


The Liebster award originated in Germany. The word “Liebster” is a term of endearment meaning "dearest", "beloved" or "favourite". The aim of the award is to bring attention to blogs with fewer than 200 followers.

Thank you, Jennifer, for including me in your 5!

Do you want to give a little Christmas present to some of your favourite bloggers too?

  1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog. This part will be hard. I love so many!
  3. Post the award on your blog. Right click on the award image to save it to your computer and then upload to your blog!
  4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the Internet - other writers.
  5. And best of all – have fun and hope that followers will spread the love to other bloggers.

Here are the 5 fabulous blogs that I want to share with you today...

Creation Care Kids
Tessa the Domestic Diva: A Healthy, Allergy-Friendly Lifestyle Made Easier
The Inverted Cow
Farm Girl Gourmet
The Schmidt House

Lasagna Soup


Ingredients

2 tsp olive oil
1-1/2 lbs Italian sausage
3 cup chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 cups chicken stock
8 oz Mafalda or broken whole-wheat Lasagna noodles (about 8 noodles)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 oz ricotta
1/2 sup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


Directions

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and brown for about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.

Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. Do not over cook or let soup simmer for a long period of time at this point, as the pasta will get mushy. Stir in basil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheesy yumminess. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.

To serve, ladle the hot soup into a bowl, place a dollop of the cheesy yumminess in each soup bowl and sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top.


This recipe is also linked to...

Sunday Night = Soup Night

Jamie Oliver's Hamilton Squash


Ingredients

1 small handful of dried porcini mushrooms
1 butternut squash, halved and seeds removed
olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, pounded
a pinch or two of dried chilli, to taste
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g basmati rice
1/2 a handful of pinenuts, lightly roasted


Directions

Soak your porcini for 5 minutes in 2/3 cup of boiling water.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Using a teaspoon, score and scoop out some extra flesh from the length of the squash. Finely chop this flesh and add to a frying pan with generous drizzle of olive oil.

Add the onion, garlic, coriander seeds, chilli, rosemary and sun-dried tomatoes. Fry for 4 minutes until softened. Add the porcini, their soaking water and the rice. Cook for a further 5 minutes before adding salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the pinenuts, pack the mixture tightly into the 2 halves of the squash and then press the halves together. Rub the skin of the squash with a little olive oil, wrap in foil, and bake in the preheated oven for about 75 minutes.

Roasted Green Beans with Mushrooms


Ingredients

8 oz. mushrooms, sliced in 1/2 inch slices (I used brown Crimini mushrooms, but any mushrooms will work)
1 lb. fresh green beans, preferably thin French style beans
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese


Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Wash mushrooms and let drain (or spin dry in salad spinner).

While mushrooms are drying, trim ends of beans and cut beans in half so you have bite-sized pieces. (An easy way to trim them is to gather a small handful of beans, stand them up on cutting board, holding loosely so they will fall down and have ends ends aligned, then trim. Repeat with other end.)

Cut mushrooms into slices 1/2 inch thick. Put cut beans and mushrooms into a Ziploc bag or plastic bowl.

Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar and pour over, then squeeze bag or stir so all the beans and mushrooms are lightly coated with the mixture.

Arrange on large cookie sheet, spreading them out well so beans and mushrooms are not crowded. Roast 20-30 minutes, starting to check for doneness after 20 minutes. Cook until beans are tender-crisp, mushrooms are cooked, and all liquid on the pan from mushrooms has evaporated.

Season beans to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper, then sprinkle with finely grated Parmesan. Serve hot.

Bite-Sized Apple Pies


Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 pkg refrigerated pie crust
3 Tbsp melted butter, divided
2 medium tart apples, each cut into 8 wedges


Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon, set aside 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon sugar.

On a lightly floured surface, unroll the pastry. Brush with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, sprinkle dough with the remaining sugar mixture.

Cut each sheet into 8 1-inch strips, about 8 inches long. Wrap one strip around each apple wedge, placing sugared side of pastry against apple.

Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar mixture. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Serve warm.

Samoa Wanna-Be


Ingredients:

2 cups grated coconut, toasted and cooled
1/3 cup coconut oil (or butter)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup coconut milk (or milk)
1 Tbsp ground flax seeds
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp tapioca starch/flour
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp millet flour
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp brown rice flour
1/2 tsp xantham gum
(for those who can have gluten, sub the flours and the guar gum for 1 cup all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2 Tbsp coconut oil (or butter)


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Scatter the coconut in a thin layer on a cookie sheet. Toast in the oven for about 5-10 minutes. Watch it carefully, it should be golden and smell toasted but will burn quickly. Set aside to cool.

In a mixer, beat the coconut oil with the brown sugar until creamy. Beat in the milk, vanilla, and flax meal.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well. Mix in to the waiting mixer bowl along with the cooled toasted coconut. The batter should be quite thick.

Using about a tablespoon of dough, roll small balls and flatten slightly on a parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheet. Use your finger to make an indentation in the middle (for filling w/ chocolate at the end!).

Bake in the 350 oven for about 8-10 minutes until the edges are just golden. Do not over bake. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

When cookies are fully cool, melt the chocolate and oil together in a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate and oil together. Start with about a minute. Stir, if the chips are melting at this point, continue stirring until the chips turn smooth and fully melt. If needed, microwave for additional 20 second increments and repeat stirring.

Dip the bottoms of the cooled cookies in the melted chocolate. Place on a piece of parchment, wax paper, or my favorite, a Silpat. to cool. When all the bottoms have been coated, use a spoon to fill the indentation and drizzle over the top. Cool to harden!

Stuffed Mushrooms with Goat Cheese and Herbs


Ingredients:

1 pound of baby portabella mushrooms, stemmed
1/2 pound fresh goat cheese
2 Tbsp sour cream
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup mixed fresh herbs: basil, parsley, dill and chives
1 tsp thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed.


Directions:

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F and clean the mushrooms. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Crumble the goat cheese and mix with the sour cream. Stir in the garlic and herbs. Taste and add salt and pepper.

Stuff the mushrooms with the cheese mixture and place on the baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven until lightly browned on top, about 15 minutes. Let cool and serve hot or at room temperature.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Skewers


Ingredients:

1 8 oz log fresh goat cheese, chilled
1 cup pistachio nuts, finely chopped
20 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
20 fresh basil leaves
20 small skewers or cocktail toothpicks


Directions:

Fill a pitcher with hot water. Dip a knife into the hot water to slice the goat cheese log in half lengthwise.

Slice each half into 10 pieces making sure to dip the knife into the hot water in between slicing to ensure a nice clean cut. Roll each piece of goat cheese into balls approximately 1/2-inch in diameter and put onto a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper.

Add the chopped pistachio nuts to a shallow bowl. Roll a goat cheese ball into the pistachio nuts and coat 1/2 of the ball. Return to the sheet pan and repeat with the remaining goat cheese balls.

Drain the oil from the tomatoes and put onto a plate lined with a paper towel.

Skewer a goat cheese ball onto the skewer. Lay a basil leaf on top a sun-dried tomato. Fold the tomato in half around the basil leaf and add to the skewer with the goat cheese. Repeat with remaining skewers. Arrange on a serving platter, cover and keep refrigerated until ready to serve

Gingerbread Truffles


Truffle Filling:
3/4 cup whipping cream
10 whole allspice
10 whole cloves
1 Tbs mild-flavored (light) molasses
1 1/2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
7 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (divided)
7 ounces high-quality white chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger

Truffle Coating:
11 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
11 ounces high-quality white chocolate, chopped
chopped crystallized ginger for garnish, optional


Directions:

Bring cream ingredients just to boil in heavy medium saucepan; remove from heat and let steep for 1 hour.

Combine both chocolates in a large metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water; stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water. Strain cream mixture into chocolate; stir to blend. Stir in chopped ginger. Chill filling until firm, at least 3 hours.

Line baking sheet with parchment. Using 1-inch cookie scoop, scoop filling and roll between palms to form balls. Place on parchment. Chill truffles at least 2 hours.

Line another sheet with parchment. Place 11 ounces bittersweet chocolate in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water; stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water. Cool until thermometer inserted into chocolate registers 115 degrees F. Quickly submerge 1 truffle in chocolate. Using fork, lift out truffle and tap fork against side of bowl so excess coating drips off. Using knife, slide truffle off fork and onto prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining truffles. Chill until set.

Line another baking sheet with parchment. Place 11 ounces white chocolate in another medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water; stir until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water. Cool until thermometer inserted into chocolate registers 100°F. Hold 1 truffle between thumb and index finger; dip halfway into white chocolate. Place on prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining truffles. If desired, press small pieces of crystallized ginger atop truffles. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

Yield: About 2 dozen

**NOTE: This is a gluten-free recipe IF you're careful about the spices and chocolates.


This recipe is also linked to...

Crazy Sweet Tuesdays
Gluten-Free Wednesdays
Sweet Treats Thursdays
Full Plate Thursdays
Allergy Friendly Friday
Sweets for a Saturday

Pears with Goat Cheese and Pistachios


Ingredients

2 pears, cored and cut into two dozen slices
1/4 cup goat cheese
2 tablespoons pistachio pieces
2 tablespoons cranberries
1 tablespoon orange or lemon juice


Directions

Core pears and cut into slices. Toss in orange or lemon juice to keep from browning. Spread cheese on widest part of slice and then sprinkle cheese end with pistachio pieces and cranberries. Arrange on platter and serve.


Note: I also really like this with walnuts or pecans instead of pistachios.


This recipe is also linked to...

Gluten-Free Wednesdays
Food on Friday: Pears and Peaches

Baileys Vanilla Bean Fudge

I found this recipe at Not So Humble Pie


Ingredients:

2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup heavy cream (40% milk fat)
1/2 cup plus one tablespoon Baileys Irish cream
2 cups good quality white chocolate chips
1/2 vanilla bean scraped, reserving seeds
7 ounce jar marshmallow creme


Directions:

Line a 9x9 inch pan with foil and coat with a little butter or nonstick spray.

Combine sugar, butter, heavy cream and Irish creme into a heavy bottomed sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, attach a candy thermometer and reduce the heat to a hair above medium low and cook for 7-10 minutes until your thermometer reads 234°F , stirring constantly.

Once your mixture hits the appropriate temperature, remove from heat and add the white chocolate chips, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the vanilla bean and marshmallow creme and mix until well blended.

Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and allow to cool on a wire rack until room temperature. Cut, wrap, and you're good to go.

If you're in a rush you can also cool the fudge in the fridge without any ill effects.

This fudge freezes well and is best stored in an air tight container or wrapped, at room temperature.


This recipe is also linked to...

Photobucket


This month we're on the hunt for the MOST AMAZING FUDGE recipe. Check out the what we've come up with and place your votes...

White Chocolate - Cherry Shortbread Cookies


Ingredients:

1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
12 ounces white chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter, finely chopped*
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 to 3 drops red food coloring (optional)
2 tsp shortening
nonpareils/edible glitter/sanding sugar (optional)


Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Spread cherries on paper towels to drain well. Chop finely; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in drained cherries and 4 ounces (2/3 cup) of the chopped chocolate. Stir in almond extract and, if desired, food coloring. Knead mixture with your hands until it forms a smooth ball.

Shape dough into 1/4-inch balls. Place balls 2-inches apart on lined cookie sheets. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in water and then sugar, flatten balls to 1-1/2-inch rounds.

Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until centers are set. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to wire rack and let cool.

Place remaining chocolate and shortening in a pyrex bowl or measuring cup. Heat and stir in 30 second intervals in the microwave until melted and smooth. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. If desired, roll dipped edge in nonpareils/edible glitter/sanding sugar. Place cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set.


* I use a 4 oz. Ghirardelli white chocolate bar within the cookie, and Wilton’s vanilla disks (available at Michaels) for the dipping.

To store: Layer cookies between waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.


This recipe has also been linked to...

Sweet Indulgences Sundays
Crazy Sweet Tuesdays
Sweet Treats Thursdays
Sweets for a Saturday

Coconut Shrimp


Ingredients:

2 lb. large, raw shrimp/prawns, de-veined*
1 cup cornstarch
3/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 tsp. ginger (optional)
3 egg whites
2 cups shredded coconut


Directions:

Remove shells from prawns, leaving tail shells intact

Mix seasonings with cornstarch in shallow bowl

Beat egg whites just until they are foamy and soft peaks form. Do not overbeat as the egg white will not stick to the shrimp if they are too dry.

Place coconut in another shallow bowl.

Coat each shrimp with seasoned flour, then dip in egg white until well coated, then transfer to coconut and coat gently on all sides.

Place shrimp on the cookie sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes or until coconut is a golden brown. Make sure to turn it once halfway through (around 8 minutes into cooking time) to make sure both sides brown.

Serve warm with your choice of dipping sauce.


*NOTE: I use the largest prawns/shrimp I can find. Using the raw ones ensures that they are not overcooked and rubbery.


This recipe has also been linked to...

Gluten-Free Wednesdays
Savory Sundays

Bacon-Wrapped Figs


Ingredients:

4 ounces chevre (fresh, soft goat cheese)
12 dried figs (fresh will work if that’s all you have)
12 strips bacon
4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
24 tooth picks


Directions:

Combine balsamic vinegar and honey in a small sauce pan and heat while stirring on medium low to reduce mixture. When the syrup coats the back of a spoon so that it leaves a clean line when swiped with your finger, remove from heat.

Soak dried figs in the syrup until they are plump (omit this step if using fresh figs).

Slice or separate chevre into 24 portions.

Cut figs lengthwise into halves and press one portion of chevre into each.

Cut bacon strips in half to make two shorter pieces of each.

Wrap each piece of fig with one half-length strip of bacon and secure with a toothpick. (Toothpick is optional and depends on how well your bacon is cooperating.)

Place wrapped fig-halves in a baking pan and cook at 475 degrees F until bacon is cooked through (approx. 15 min).

Remove from oven and drizzle honey-balsamic mixture over the figs.

To get the most out of the slightly melted goat cheese, serve while still warm.


This recipe is also linked to...


Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles


Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp xantham gum
1 cup sweet sorghum flour
1 cup superfine white rice flour
1 cup millet flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour/starch


Directions:

Take the butter out of the refrigerator and cut it into 1/2” chunks. Put the chunks into a mixing bowl of a standing mixer (outfitted with the paddle attachment).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet or cookie sheet with silpats or parchment paper

Combine the cinnamon and the 3 Tbsp of granulated white sugar together in a shallow bowl. Put aside.

Put the shortening in the bowl with the butter and turn on the mixer to medium, beating them together until they are well blended.

Add the 1 1/2 cups of sugar, and continue to beat until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time beating after each addition and scraping down the sides with a spatula. Add the egg yolk and beat again. Add the vanilla and beat again.

Add the cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and xantham gum into the butter mixture and beat well.

Add the flours and beat until smooth.

Roll 1 tablespoon amounts of dough into 1-inch balls into the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Place on the baking sheets about 2” apart.

Bake for 12 minutes of until the tops of the cookies start to crack a little. Try not to over bake them, but don’t underbake them either. You want them them to crack on top, but not to look to dark brown. Let them cool on the pan for 3 minutes and then move them to a rack to cool.

Chocolate Mint Sandwich Cookies


Ingredients:

1 cup superfine brown rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 tsp gluten-free baking soda
pinch salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 egg
24 round York Peppermint Patties (unwrapped)
white sugar for rolling


Directions:

Combine flour(s), cocoa, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, white sugar and corn syrup until creamy. Beat in egg.

Gradually mix in flour mixture. Refrigerate dough for 2 hours.

Roll dough into scant 1-inch balls and roll in white granulated sugar. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet in a preheated 350-degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

Immediately remove half of the baked cookies, placing them upside down on a wire rack. Working quickly, place a peppermint patty on each inverted cookie and top with a second cookie from the baking sheet.

Let stand for 3 minutes and then using a flat hand, gently flatten the sandwich (using a slight twisting motion helps) so the melted peppermint patty oozes to the cookie edge.


This recipe is also linked to...

Crazy Sweet Tuesdays
Gluten-Free Wednesdays
Allergy-Friendly Fridays
Sweet Indulgences Sundays

Gluten-Free Pfeffernuesse a.k.a. Pepper Nuts


Ingredients:

1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup molasses
3 Tbsp softened butter
2 large, room temperature eggs
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp superfine brown rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup almond flour
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp guar gum OR xanthan gum
1 cup gluten-free powdered sugar to dust cookies after baking

Directions:

Place honey, molasses and softened butter in a large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to cream on high for about 2 minutes. Add room temperature eggs and beat until combined.

Place all dry ingredients except powdered sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk to thoroughly combine.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir to thoroughly combine. Cover tightly and refrigerate cookie dough for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, silicone liners OR lightly grease with vegetable shortening.

Use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop or rounded tablespoon to form 1-inch balls of cookie dough. The dough will be sticky so occasionally dust your hands lightly with gf powdered sugar to prevent sticking. Make about 36 balls of dough and place 1 1/2-inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 13-15 minutes or until cookies are firm but not hard.

Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and cool about 10 minutes. Place powdered sugar in a medium bowl and dredge warm cookies in sugar. Store in an airtight container or eat immediately.

Spicy Shrimp Soup (a.k.a. Tom Yam Ghoong)


Ingredients

3 lbs large uncooked, unshelled, heads-on shrimp
1/3 cup sesame oil
4 quarts water
12 stalks lemon grass, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
3 large knobs fresh ginger or galangal, sliced 1/8-inch thick pieces
30 kaffir lime leaves, center stem/vein removed
12 Thai red chili peppers
6 Tbsp fish sauce (Nam Pia)
9 heaping Tbsp roasted chili paste (Nam Prik Pao)
3 15 oz cans straw mushrooms, drained and rinsed
5 limes, juiced
1 large bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, more for garnish.


Directions

Wash and drain the shrimp and then remove the head and shells and de-vein. Retain the heads and shells for the stock. Set the shrimp aside.

Heat up a large stock pot and when it’s hot add the sesame oil. Once the oil is hot add the shrimp heads and shells and stirring occasionally cook on high until all the shells turn pink and get a little charred and crispy sounding when you stir. Once the shells are all toasty add the water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Allow the stock to simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Pour the shrimp stock though a chinois or a colander lined with cheesecloth to remove all the bits and pieces from the stock. Quickly rinse the stock pot to remove any lingering bits and then pour the stock back into the pot and return the pot to the stove over medium heat. If you have a pasta insert for your pot, this is a great time to use it. Either into the pasta insert or directly into the pot, add the lemon grass, ginger/galangal, kaffir lime leaves, Thai red chilies, fish sauce and roasted chili paste. Mix well and bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the solids from the soup. Discard the solids and return the stock to the pot.

Add the straw mushrooms and return to a boil. Once at a boil add the shrimp, lime juice and chopped cilantro. Stir to mix and then remove from the heat, cover and allow the shrimp to cook for 5 minutes until they turn pink.

Check the balance of sweet, sour and spice and adjust as needed with more fish sauce, roasted chili paste or lime juice as needed.

To serve, pour into bowls and garnish with cilantro.


This recipe is also linked to...

Sunday Night = Soup Night
Food on Friday: Go Asian

Creamy and Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Adapted from: Olive Juice's Twice Baked Taters


Ingredients:

5-pound bag of red potatoes
1/2 lb. bacon (optional)
1 (8oz) package of cream cheese
Half cup heavy cream or buttermilk
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheese
1 tablespoon roasted garlic, mashed
4 tbsp butter, softened
Snipped fresh chives, parsley, scallions or cilantro (optional)
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper


Directions:

Put potatoes in a pan with half tsp salt and just enough cold water to cover them.

Bring to a boil and cook at a moderate boil for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are easily pieced with a fork but not falling apart.

While the potatoes are cooking, slice the bacon into pieces and fry. Fry until crisp, drain on paper towels, and set aside.

Meanwhile, warm cream cheese and cream/milk together a saucepan until steaming hot (do not boil).

Drain potatoes and return to pan.

Turn heat to high, shake pan for about 30 seconds, until water evaporates. Remove the pan from the heat and then it's time to mash.

Beat or mash the sour cream and grated cheese into the potatoes.

Add the cheese mixture into the potatoes a half cup at a time and the butter a tablespoon at a time.

Check after adding approximately three quarters of the liquid to see if you have the consistency and richness you want.

Mash in the garlic and stir in the bacon.

Add more liquid, if desired and season to taste with salt & pepper.

Garnish with snipped herbs, if desired.


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This month we're on the hunt for the ULTIMATE MASHED POTATO recipe. Check out the what we've come up with and place your votes...

Cabbage Roll Soup


Ingredients:

8 oz (250 g) lean ground beef
8 oz (250 g) ground pork
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup (175 mL) uncooked rice
1 medium onion, minced
1 small clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
8 cups (2 L) chicken broth
1 can (28 oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes
4 cups (1 L) shredded cabbage
1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped fresh parsley


Directions:

In Dutch oven or soup pot, heat chicken broth, tomatoes (including juice) and cabbage. Bring to boil over high heat.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together beef, pork, egg, rice, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Form into 1-1/2 inch (4 cm) balls to make 25 to 30 meatballs.

Gently add meatballs into boiling soup and cook until meatballs are cooked through (at least 30 minutes). Stir in parsley and serve.


This recipe is also linked to...


Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Full Plate Thursdays
Allergy-Friendly Fridays
Savory Sundays
Sunday Night = Soup Night
Delicious Dishes

Baked Ham with Cranberry Curry Glaze


Ingredients

1 10-pound cooked ham, preferably shank end with bone
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 can whole cranberries
4 teaspoons curry
2 tablespoons light corn syrup


Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse ham and slice off the tough outer skin, but leave behind most of the fat underneath it. Score the ham, cutting diagonal lines about 1/4 inch deep, all over the outside. Place the ham, fat side up in a roasting pan and place it in the oven.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. In a medium skillet over low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add cranberry sauce, curry and corn syrup and heat through. Set aside.

After the ham has cooked for about 1 hour, remove it from the oven and coat it with the glaze, making sure it gets into all the scored portions. Pour any remaining glaze into the pan.

Return ham to the oven and bake for about 1 hour more, brushing it with glaze every 20 minutes or so. If the ham begins to get too dark, cover it with foil.

When the glaze is well browned and the ham has reached an internal temperature of 130 degrees, remove from the oven. Place it on a serving platter and serve immediately.


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Delicious Dishes

Glazed Goose with Gravy

10-12 lb goose

Marinade:
2 cups boiling water
2/3 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp celery seed
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp white sugar

Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. Place your goose in a large resealable bag and pour the cooled marinade over the bird; turn to evenly coat. Refrigerate for 4 hours, turning every hour.

2 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 cups water
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp cold water

Bring the goose out of the refrigerator and discard the marinade.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and spray a shallow roasting pan with vegetable oil.

Rub the outside of the goose with the canola oil. In a small bowl mix the salt, pepper, cinnamon and garlic powder together; rub over the entire bird. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile in a saucepan, combine the 2 cups of water with the cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and honey. Bring to a rapid boil and simmer until it is reduced in half.

Bring the goose out of the oven after 30 minutes and brush the entire goose with the honey mixture; lightly sprinkle with salt. Place back in the oven and cook another 30 minutes.

Now cover the goose with foil and cook until done (1-1/2 to 2 hours) or when a thermometer reads 180 degrees.

When cooked, bring out of the oven and let it rest, covered for 20 minutes. DO NOT prick the skin when it is resting or you will loose all of your juice!

For the gravy, strain the pan juices and discard any fat. Mix the cornstarch with the water in a small saucepan and whisk until smooth. Now add the pan juices and bring to a boil, cooking for 2 minutes or so. Carve your goose and serve with the gravy.


NOTE: Our goose was a tough, old bird so I did the marinade as instructed. But instead of using the spices to season the bird (it had no skin), boiling the remaining ingredients and cooking the bird in the oven, I seasoned the bird with salt and pepper and put everything else straight into the crockpot and let it go long and slow making sure that I basted the bird whenever I thought of it. It ended up way more tender than the one we did in the oven 2 weeks ago.

My Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found this recipe at Foodie at Fifteen (now 18)

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 cups bread flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 large whole egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
8 oz. Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
4 oz. chopped pecans
fleur de sel or other fine salt


Directions

Combine the melted butter with the sugar over medium speed in a stand mixer.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda.

Add the egg and yolk, and vanilla extract to the stand mixer.

Very slowly add your flour mixture.

Add the chocolate and pecans and mix until combined.

Chill the batter thoroughly in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Scoop the batter in huge, even, spoonfuls onto parchment paper.

Sprinkle with fleur de sel or other fine salt.

Bake for 18 minutes.

Cool for 15 then enjoy!


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This month we're on the hunt for the ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE recipe. Check out the what we've come up with and place your votes...

Beef Fillet with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce


INGREDIENTS:

2 tbsp olive oil
12 oz baby portobello mushrooms
2 large shallots – thinly sliced
2 Tbsp fresh tarragon
1/2 cup red wine (whatever you’re drinking will work)
2 cups beef broth
salt and pepper to taste
2 lbs beef fillet
a drizzle of grape seed or olive oil


DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 420 degrees F

Preheat saute pan for 1 minute on medium heat. Add 2 tbsp olive oil and saute mushrooms & shallots for about 4 minutes to soften. Add red wine and reduce heat to simmer. Allow to simmer until wine is reduced by half (2 to 5 minutes) and add broth and tarragon. Simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat another skillet on high for 1 minute. Season fillet on all sides with salt and pepper. Add drizzle grape seed (excellent for cooking on high temps) or olive oil in hot pan and sear fillet on all sides until browned, 2 minutes each side approx.

Once the fillet is seared remove to a pan. Pop into the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes (for medium rare).

Let rest for 10 minutes when cooked to let the juices redistribute back into the meat before slicing.

Spoon sauce over sliced steak and serve.


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Delicious Dishes

Grapes Rolled in Goat Cheese with a Pistachio Crust


Ingredients

1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup goat cheese, room temperature
1 Tbsp liquid honey
40 seedless grapes
2 cups chopped pistachios


Directions

Combine the cream cheese, goat cheese and honey using an electric mixer or a spatula. Chill slightly if it is unmanageable.

Cover each grape with approximately a teaspoon of the cheese mixture.

Roll the grapes in the nuts, making sure to completely cover so that the cheese does not stick together or get on people’s fingers.

Chill for at least one hour before serving.


This recipe is also linked to...

Sweet Indulgences Sunday
Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Nuts

Butternut Squash & Apple Bisque


Ingredients

3 cups peeled and seeded butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup orange juice or apple cider
1 tbsp bourbon or dark rum (optional)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 (3 inch) cinnamon stick
1 cup sliced leeks, white part only
1 medium tart apple, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter or margarine
4 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup whipping cream
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a roasting pan, toss 3 cups of squash, juice/cider, bourbon/rum and brown sugar; add cinnamon. Cover and bake at 450 degrees F for 30-40 minutes or until squash is tender. Discard cinnamon; drain squash, reserving cooking liquid. Set squash and liquid aside.

In a Dutch oven, saute leeks, apple and onion in butter until tender. Add broth; bring to a boil. Stir in cooked squash; cook for 5 minutes. Add cream, salt and pepper; heat through. Cool slightly. In a blender or food processor, process soup in batches until smooth. Return all to the pan; heat through (do not boil).

Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish as desired, I like crispy, crumbled bacon and a sprinkling of fresh, grated Parmesan cheese or a thinly sliced piece of apple.


This recipe is also linked to...

This Week's Cravings: Apples
Delicious Dishes
It's a Blog Party's Fall Fest Apple Recipes 2011
Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Apples
Savory Sunday
Sweet Indulgences Sunday
Gluten-Free Wednesdays
Seasonal Inspiration Saturday

Apple Cookies


Ingredients

2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1/4 cup apple juice
1 1/2 cups chopped apples
1 cup pecans, chopped


Directions

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Combine flours, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, cinnamon and cloves in medium bowl.

In another bowl, cream sugar, butter and egg. Beat dry mix into egg mixture, until well mixed. Beat in apple juice. Stir in apples and pecans.

Spoon onto parchment lined baking sheet and bake about 10 – 12 minutes.

Cookies should be golden brown, but not too soft.

This recipe is also linked to...

Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Apples
Gluten-Free Wednesdays
This Week's Cravings: Apples
It's a Blog Party's Fall Fest Apple Recipes 2011

Pasta Primavera


Ingredients

3/4 pound whole-wheat or whole-grain pasta
1 pound (1 bunch) medium asparagus, cut into 1 1/2-inch sections
1 15-ounce can chicken stock
1/4 tsp salt
Pepper, to taste
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons extra for serving
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 red onion, chopped small
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
4 oz cremini mushrooms, trimmed and cut into quarters or sixths, depending on size
1 cup frozen peas
2 pieces sun-dried tomatoes
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 oz baby spinach
2 scallions, chopped


Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

Combine the asparagus, 1/4 cup of stock and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large skillet. Cover and cook over medium heat until al dente, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with any remaining stock. Set aside.

In the same skillet, heat the 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil with the garlic and onion over low heat. Cover and cook until the vegetables soften but do not brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes. Add the mushrooms, and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook until the mushrooms are lightly browned and softened, about 5 minutes. If mushrooms begin to stick to the bottom of the pan, add 2 tablespoons stock and stir to release. Add the peas, the rest of the stock and 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook about two-thirds of the way, about 6 minutes.

Remove 1 cup of pasta water and add it to the skillet with the vegetables. Drain the pasta in a colander, and add it to the skillet. Bring liquid to a boil; cook until reduced by about one-half. Add all but about 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, the asparagus, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and the spinach. Cook, tossing with tongs, until the liquid is reduced and thickened and the spinach is wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.

Divide the pasta among 4 bowls, and sprinkle with scallions and sun-dried tomatoes. Drizzle each with 1/2 teaspoon oil, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Apple-Stuffed Pork Loin


INGREDIENTS:

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup white onion, diced fine
1/2 cup celery, diced fine
1 cup Granny Smith apple, diced
1 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 cup toasted breadcrumbs
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken/veg broth
1 1/2 lbs pork loin
a drizzle of grape seed or olive oil
3 oz Hazelnuts (Filberts), pulsed in food processor to breadcrumb consistency


DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Preheat saute pan on medium heat for 1 minute. Add 2 tbsp olive oil along with onion and celery. Saute for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add diced apple and herbs and continue sauteing for another 3 minutes. Once softened add breadcrumbs and broth and mix everything together. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Put stuffing on a plate and set aside.

Place pork loin on a clean cutting board and using a sharp knife slice along the side opening the loin like a book. Do not separate the top from the bottom. Once the “book” is open lay some plastic wrap on top, use a mallet or a heavy bottomed saucepan and hit the meat a few times to thin out a little, which will tenderize it. Once you’ve got all your aggressions out, lay some plastic wrap on your work surface and on top on that lay 5 pieces of twine (approx. 12″ long) perpendicular to you approx 2" apart. Place the tenderized pork across the pieces of twine so that cut you made to the meat is going the same direction as the twine. Use as many pieces of twine as needed to securely tie it all up. Season the meat with salt and pepper.

Spoon the filling in the center. Begin rolling the meat like a Swiss roll nice and tightly ensuring the filling stays inside. Tie each string tightly. Any excess filling that falls out, stuff it back in. Season the outside and drizzle with olive oil. This will help the hazelnuts to stick to the outside. Rub the seasoning in.

Place the crushed/chopped hazelnuts on a plate. Gently roll the loin in the hazelnuts to coat all sides. Lay on foil-lined baking pan and put it in the oven for approx 75 minutes or until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F.

When ready remove and let rest for 5 minutes to let the juices redistribute in the meat.

Snip the strings and discard them, slice the meat and serve.


This recipe is also linked to...

This Week's Cravings: Apples
It's a Blog Party's Fall Fest Apple Recipes 2011
Delicious Dishes
Cast Party Wednesday

Pork and Roasted Pears


Ingredients

3 Tbsp maple syrup (grade B is fine)
3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 pound pork tenderloin, divided into 4 pieces
2 pears, quartered and cored
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)


Directions

In small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, soy sauce, mustard, pepper and garlic cloves. Transfer to a large, sealable plastic bag, then add the pork, seal and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork and pears. Remove the pears after about 3 to 4 minutes, and keep warm. Cook pork for about 6 minutes, then turn and continue to cook until cooked through, about 5 minutes longer. (If the bottom of the pan becomes too dark while cooking, lower the heat slightly and add a few tablespoons of water to the pan.)

Top the pork with the pears, sprinkle with rosemary and serve.


This recipe is also linked to...

Savory Sunday
Sweet Indulgences Sunday
Seasonal Inspiration Saturday
Simply Delish Saturday
Delicious Dishes

Apple Coffee Cake


Ingredients

1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup millet flour
2 teaspoons of xanthan gum
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/4 cups milk
3 eggs
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 medium apples, diced (you can leave the skins on if you want)
3/4 cup gluten-free old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup melted butter/margarine


Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degree and grease a 9x13 dish.

In a medium bowl, mix the sorghum flour, tapioca flour, millet flour and xanthan gum. Set aside 1/4 cup of the mixture. Add the sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg to the flour mixture.

Add the milk, eggs and oil and mix until well combined. Add the apples and let sit for 10 minutes.

Pour into your prepared dish.

In a medium bowl, mix all the oats, brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, butter and the 1/4 cup of reserved flour until well-combined and crumbly. Spinkle on top of the cake batter.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.


This recipe is also linked to...

Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Apples
Gluten-Free Wednesdays
Cast Party Wednesday
This Week's Cravings: Apples
It's a Blog Party's Fall Fest Apple Recipes 2011

Grape & Rosemary Focaccia


Ingredients

3/4 cup warm water (105° to 110°F)
2 Tbsp milk, slightly warmed
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups Sovereign Coronation grapes, seeded 
and halved
1 tsp fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp raw or coarse sugar
2 tsp coarse sea salt


Directions

In the bowl, stir together the warm water, slightly warm milk, sugar, and yeast. Let this mixture sit until it becomes foamy (about 10 minutes).

After the mixture becomes foamy, in the same bowl, add the flour, salt and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and mix well on low. If you are using an electric mixer you can attach the dough hook, crank up the speed to medium-low and knead the dough for 8 minutes longer.

Next, brush a large bowl with a good amount of olive oil. Put the dough into the bowl and brush the top of it with more oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a cool place until it doubles in bulk, 1.5 – 2 hours.

Press the dough down with a floured hand. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and divide it into two balls. Brush a large baking sheet (or two small ones) with olive oil, place the dough balls on it and brush the top with again, more oil. Set it aside for about 20 minutes, lightly covered with a kitchen towel.

After 20 minutes, dip your fingers in olive oil and press and stretch each ball of dough into an 8 to 9-inch circle-ish/square-ish shape. Cover again with the towel and let it rise for another 1 1/4 hours in a cool place.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Brush tops of dough with the rest of the olive oil and sprinkle the grapes, rosemary, coarse sugar and coarse sea salt evenly over the dough (you can push the grapes lightly into the dough so they are not just resting on top).

Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and puffed around edges. Let cool before serving.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: You can use a bought focaccia bread or a bought pizza dough instead of making your own.

Note: I like to omit the sugar and sprinkle on a little bit of goat's cheese.


This recipe is also linked to...

Delicious Dishes
It's a Blog Party's Fall Fest Recipes 2011
Sweet Indulgences Sunday
Cast Party Wednesday
Seasonal Inspiration Saturday
Simply Delish Saturday

Carob Truffles


Ingredients

1/4 cup flaxseeds, ground
1/4 cup unsweetened carob powder, sifted
1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/3 cup raw almond butter
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
small bowl of unsweetened shredded coconut


Directions

Process all ingredients until mixture forms a dense ball. Remove from processor and roll small portions between palms of hands to form one inch balls. Roll in coconut to coat. Place on serving platter and refrigerate.


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This Week's Cravings: Honey

Fondue Mac and Cheese

Adapted from: Married …with dinner's recipe post


Ingredients

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for dish
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 cups milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 to 1/2 cup Chardonnay (or other white wine)
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/2 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
6 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
1/2 pound spiral or elbow pasta


Directions

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9×9 baking dish, and set aside.

Place bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 Tbsp butter. Pour butter into bowl with breadcrumbs, and toss. Set breadcrumbs aside.

Fill a large saucepan with water, and bring to a boil. Add pasta, and undercook by 2 to 3 minutes, until the outside of the pasta is just cooked. Transfer pasta to a colander and drain well, shaking the colander to remove as much water as possible from inside the pasta. Set pasta aside.

Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt remaining butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. While continuing to whisk, slowly pour in hot milk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick, but do not allow to boil. Take the saucepan off the heat, and whisk in the wine, salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme, mustard and both cheeses, reserving 1 cup of cheese for topping.

Stir macaroni into the cheese sauce, then pour mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top, followed by the buttered breadcrumbs. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer casserole to a wire rack, and cool 5 minutes; serve hot.


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Chicken Salad with Grapes and Walnuts with Maple-Dijon Dressing


Ingredients

6 - 7 large skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts
1 onion, cut into chunks
1 celery stalk, cut into a few pieces
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 cup halved black seedless grapes
1 cup halved green seedless grapes
4 stalks celery, cut lengthwise, then thinly sliced
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and broken up
half a bunch of flat-leaf Italian parsley, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup real maple syrup
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
Rice vinegar, a few generous shakes
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt


Directions

Put chicken, onion, celery, peppercorns, and bay leaf into a stockpot and cover generously with water. Bring to a gentle simmer, then immediately turn the heat down to low. You do not want it bubbling, or the chicken will get tough and dry. After awhile, take out a piece of the chicken and cut down into it to see if it's cooked through. If not, return it to the pot. As soon as the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the pot (you can strain the stock and save it to make soup if you don't want it to go to waste).

When the chicken is cool, remove the skin and bones and cut it into chunks.

To toast the walnuts, put them on a baking sheet and into a 300 degree oven. Check every couple of minutes until they just start to turn golden. Remove immediately and put on a plate to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, walnuts, green and black grapes, celery, green onions, and parsley.

In a jar, shake up to combine the dressing ingredients: olive oil, maple syrup, dijon mustard, and rice vinegar. Taste and see whether the mixture is to your liking. If you like it sweeter, add more syrup, more acidic, add more vinegar. Pour dressing over the chicken mixture and toss thoroughly.

Add plenty of freshly-ground black pepper and salt to taste and toss again.


This recipe is also linked to...

Sweet Indulgences Sunday
Savory Sunday
Cast Party Wednesday
Delicious Dishes

Gluten-Free Crepes



Ingredients

2 eggs
2 tbsp milk or water
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup tapioca flour


Directions

Beat eggs with fork. Beat in water, vanilla and tapioca flour. Batter will appear very liquidy. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Cook over medium high heat on a crepe pan or low-sided skillet brushed with oil (should be just hot enough that a drop of water sizzles and jumps across the pan).

Grasping the pan by the handle pour batter (about 1/3 cup) on pan and quickly tilt all directions, swirling the batter to form a very thin round layer of batter.

Cook until the batter loses its wet look and the edges start to brown a bit.

Carefully turn with a spatula and brown the other side for a few moments. Remove and stack on a plate and keep warm until ready to fill and roll with a sauce.


This recipe is also linked to...

Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Almond-Apple Crisp


Ingredients

1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1 cup gluten-free oats (or another cup almond flour)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup melted butter
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
6-8 medium apples, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes or sliced


Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine almond flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix in melted butter and vanilla.

Place apples in a 9x9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle almond mixture evenly over the apples. Cover and bake for 50 minutes on low rack.

When apples are soft and their juices bubble, remove cover and bake 10 more minutes to brown crisp. Serve warm.


NOTE: I use a mixture of Granny Smith, Cortland, Empire and McIntosh apples for this recipe.


Cran-Apple Crisp: Add fresh or frozen cranberries in with the apples in a large bowl. Add 1 Tbsp cornstarch, 2 Tbsp white sugar and a sprinkle of nutmeg then mix to combine before dumping into the pan. Do the topping the same as the recipe says.


This recipe is also linked to...

Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Apples
Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Nuts
Gluten-Free Wednesdays
This Week's Cravings: Apples
It's a Blog Party's Fall Fest Apple Recipes 2011
Food on Friday: Cherries and Almonds 

Salsa


Ingredients

8 quarts plum tomatoes
pickling salt
6 large onions (we do half red and half white)
2 to 3 heads of garlic
1 pound Jalapeño peppers
6 large mild green chili peppers
2 1/2 cups minced cilantro
1/4 cup cumin seed, ground
1 156ml (5 1/2 ounce) can tomato paste
*PER JAR* 3 tablespoons lime juice (I use the store bought, but you could squeeze your own if you want to


Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the tomatoes by dropping them in the boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes. You will need to do them in batches. Transfer the tomatoes to a sink or tub filled with ice water.

Peel the tomatoes, and chop them coarsely. Layer them in a large strainer with the salt. I try to use about 4 tablespoons, but a bit more is okay. Much of it will run out with the water. Let the tomatoes drain for several hours to overnight, in a cool spot (but not in the fridge.) Don't forget to keep them a little raised from the bottom of whatever pot you strain them into, so they are not sitting in their own water.

When you are ready to proceed, put the canning jars into a large canner with water to cover them by one inch at least, and bring to a boil. Boil the jars for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the onions, de-stem and de-seed the Jalapeños (wear gloves!) and other green peppers, and peel and mince the garlic. Squeeze the juice from the limes and set it aside.

Take the strained tomatoes, and chop them to the texture you would like - a food processor is fine for this. Mix them with the chopped onions, garlic, and peppers in a large canning kettle or other large, deep pot. Chop the cilantro and mix it in, along with the ground cumin seed.

Mix the tomato paste with a cupful of the salsa, until it is lump-free. Mix it into the pot of salsa. Taste the salsa, and add some salt if you think it needs some more. Bring the salsa to a boil.

Lift the sterilized jars from the boiling water bath and empty them. Half should be emptied into the sink, and half should be emptied back into the pot to keep the boiling water level up.

Add three tablespoons of lime juice to each jar. Fill each jar with salsa, to within 1 cm of the rims. Wipe the rims with a clean paper towel dipped in the boiling water, and seal according the manufacturers directions - i.e by using lids and rims boiled for 5 minutes.

Return the jars to the boiling water bath and boil them for 20 minutes, well covered in water. It will most likely be necessary to do this in 2 batches; put as many into the canner as will fit, when they come out put in the next batch of jars to be sterilized while you fill the first set. Take them out and fill them as the first set of filled jars is being processed.

Remove from the water bath, allow to cool, check seals and label the jars with the date and batch number.

This recipe makes 12 - 14 500mL jars.

Note: To make it hotter, use different hot peppers like Serrano (medium), Chile de Arbol (medium-hot), Arbol (hot), Cayenne (hot), Habanero (super hot).


This recipe is also linked to...

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This Week's Cravings: After-School Snacks

Popcorn Trail Mix


Ingredients

1 bag Orville Redenbacher Natural Simply Salted 50% Less Fat, popped
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2/3 cup raw, unsalted almonds
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup diced dried apricots


Directions

Sprinkle hot, freshly popped popcorn with cinnamon, tossing to coat evenly. In a separate bowl, combine the sunflower seeds, pepitas, almonds, cranberries and apricots. Mix well. Toss the nut, seed, and fruit mixture with the popcorn. Divide evenly among 4-6 snack sized bowls.


This recipe is also linked to...

This Week's Cravings: After-School Snacks
Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Nuts

Eggplant Parmesan


Ingredients

3 eggplant, peeled and thinly sliced
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
6 cups spaghetti sauce, divided
1 (16 ounce) package mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided


Directions

To remove the bitterness, salt the eggplant and let it sit for 20-30 minutes and then rinse with cold water.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, mix the bread crumbs with 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese and the dried basil.

Dip eggplant slices in egg, then in bread crumb mixture. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 7 minutes on each side.

In a 9x13 inch baking dish spread spaghetti sauce to cover the bottom. Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with the cheeses.

Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.


This recipe is also linked on...

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Savory Sunday
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Delicious Dishes: Garden Delights

Mock Peach Daiquiri


Ingredients

1 1/2 cups fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
6 ice cubes
2/3 cup milk
1/4 tsp rum flavouring
2 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp white sugar (or sweeten to taste)


Directions

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.


This recipe is also linked on...

This Week's Cravings: Peaches