Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Eve Tapas menu, 2014

Claire, Mike and I had so much fun celebrating Christmas with Jan and Mike Pitzo!

Some old favorites made it to the menu again:
  • Hot Spiced Meatballs
  • Blue Cheese Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates
  • Shrimp-Cilantro Lime
  • Veggies with herb dip
Some new winners:
  • Crab Cakes via chef Patrick (Thanks Pat for sharing your recipe and coaching me from afar. I hope you are with us next Christmas.) served with corn relish.
  • Fig Empanadas (Thanks Katie, for the recipe. Love, love love these)
  • Caprese skewers
  • Manchengo cheese slice topped with a doplup of Dianne's pepper jelly and an almond
  • Jan's corn and bean relish served with chips
For dessert we had my mom's  Pecan Lazers with fresh raspberries.  Absolutely delicious with White Port from Prager.

We started the night with bubbles, of course.  Mike started with Miner Wild Yeast Chardonnay.  We also served Miner Grenache and Biale Black Chicken Zin. Yum.

Christmas Potpourri

1/2 cup dried apples slices cut into small pieces
1/2 cup whole cranberries
4 cinnamon sticks
1 whole nutmeg broken into smaller pieces
2 Tablespoons whole cloves
2 Tablespoons whole allspice

Allow the apples and cranberries to air dry for several days.
Mix all ingredients together. Place 1/2 cup mixture and 2 cups water in a small sauce pans. Place over low heat and simmer for several hours.  As more water as needed.

I allowed to simmer while Claire and I watched movies, sipped wine and knitted.   Ahhh the magic of Christams.

Fig Empanadas

Mike's sister Katie made these for The Dailey family Christmas celebration, December 2014 at her home in Oregon, WI. The theme was Mediterranean.  I added these to our Christmas Eve tapas menu and will keep them as a regular.

This recipe makes 36 - 48 empanadas or 4 large meat pies.  I cut the recipe in half and had more than enough.

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds ground turkey
2 Tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
Salt and pepper
5 ounces chopped dried figs (about 3/4 cup)
4 tablespoons chopped pickled peppers. (I used corn relish based on Katie's rec. perfect!!!!)
1 cup flat leaf parsley chopped
pie dough ( about 4-6 crusts)
Egg wash ( 2 eggs whisked with salt and a Tablespoon of water)

NOTE: If you are making the pie crust, this can be done in advance and kept in refrigerator)

In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Add ground turkey and cook. Stir in the paprika and cumin, season with salt and pepper.

Remove from heat and add the figs, corn relish, and parsley. Transfer to a separate bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.

After the filling has cooled, preheat the over to 350 - 450 degrees F. Roll out your pie dough until it is 1/8 inch think. Use a 4 1/2 inch round cutter or similar size bowl, cut our circles of pastry.

Fill the circles with about 2 heaping Tablespoons of the filling on half of the dough leaving about a 3/8 inch border from the edge of the pastry. Egg wash that border and fold over the pastry to create a half moon shaped empanada. Press gently along the edge to seal using the egg wash as glue.  Use a fork and make tiny indentations (crimp) around the edges. Repeat until all the filling is used up or you run out of pie crust.  Reroll the pie dough scraps, being careful not to overwork the pie dough.  NOTE:  this is a long tedious process. Enlist helpers whenever possible..

Bring empanadas to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and place 3 thin slits on the top with a knife to allow steam to vent during baking.  Egg wash the empanadas and bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until the empanadas are golden.

Serve as an appetizer or as an entree along side fresh chunky tomato salsa.

These can be made ahead of time and frozen.

You can also make large empanadas using the same approach as above.

Pork Empanadas with Corn Relish

Pecan Lazers

This recipe is from my mom's recipe box. She made these at Christmas time. You will need small muffin pans.

First the Crust
1/2# butter
6 oz cream cheese
2 cups flour

Mix above ingredients like a pie crust. I use one of those pie crust utensils. Then add a few Tablespoons of water until you can shape the mixture into small balls.  Don;t get it too wet. Put balls into small muffin pans and press on the bottom and side until you get a nice indentation.

Second the Filling
2 1/4 brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup pecans, chopped (Save 1/4 cup to sprinkle on top)

Beat eggs slightly, add other ingredients and nuts. Pour into crust shells ( I use a teaspoon.), sprinkle with a few chopped pecans on top. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Stir Fry Vegetables

This recipes comes via my Aunt Jayne
I think you can use any combination of vegetables.  This is what Aunt Jayne recommends.

4 oz broccoli
1/2 # cauliflower
1 med. carrot, sliced on a diagonal

1 can bamboo shoots
20 fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup celery, sliced on diagonal
4 oz snow peas
4 T oil

1/2 cup chicken stock
1 T rice wine (any white wine will do)
1 t. salt
1/2 t. sugar

1 T cornstarch
2 T water

Heat 4 T oil in a wok or large fry pan. Stir fry sliced carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, bamboo shoots, celery, fresh mushrooms and pea pods.  Add chicken stock, white wine, salt and sugar. Cover for 2 minutes and add cornstarch and water mixture and stir until thickened.

Serve with cooked rice or noodles.

Sweet-Sour Sauce

I love this sauce with egg rolls.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 T  chopped green pepper (optional)
1 T chopped canned pimento (optional)
1/2 t salt
2 t. cornstarch
1 T water
1 t paprika

In a sauce pan, mix 1 cup sugar. 1/2 cup each white vinegar and water, I T chopped green pepper and chopped canned pimento, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.. (You can skip the green pepper and pimento.)

Simmer for 5 minutes,

Combine 2 teaspoons cornstarch and 1 T cold water. Add the hot mixture. Cook and stir until sauce thickens and bubbles.

Cool. (This is makes the next step work more smoothly.)

Add 1 teaspoon paprika.

Makes 1/12/cup.
Keeps well in refigerator

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Carmelized Upside Down Pear Tart

I received a bag of organic pears from the whole food store in my weekly share and set out to find
a cool recipe to try.  Thank you Ruth Reichl for this amazingly delicious and simple recipe from your book "The Gourmet Cookbook"  2004, pg 782. Apparently this is a spin off from a French recipe which used apples.

1/2 stick butter (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
4 firm but ripe Bocs pears ( 2 pounds total), peeled halved and cored ( I use whatever type of pears I have on hand on that come with the share :)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Basic Pastry dough for a tart shell. ( use a pie crust recipe)

Accompaniment:whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
Special Equipment: 9 or 10 inch ovenproof nonstick skillet or well seasoned cast iron skillet

Heat butter in skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides. Stir in sugar (sugar will not dissolve yet). Arrange pears cut side up in skillet, with wider ends out. Sprinkle cinnamon over the pears and cook without stirring, until sugar mixture becomes a deep golden caramel, 15 to 25 minutes (depending on the skillet and stove.) Remove from heat and cool pears completely in skillet.

Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 91/2 to 101/2 inch round. (I actually take the time to cut this to size.  It makes the next step even easier.) Lay over pears in skillet and tuck edges in around pears.

Bake until pastry is golden brown, 30 - 35 minutes. Remove tart from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes.

Wearing oven mitts, invert a rimmed serving plate slightly larger than the skillet over tart, keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together, invert tart onto plat Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.  Enjoy!!!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Mediterranean Salad

Here's one of my faves:      From Kyle Gruening (dec 2014)                                                                  Mediterranean Salad

2 (15 oz.) cans Garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 lg. can black olives, sliced or halved
2 cucumbers, halved, seeded and sliced
12 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
½ red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ c. Italian dressing
2 T. fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. garlic salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 oz. Feta cheese

Combine all ingredients, except Feta, and marinate.  Sprinkle Feta on top prior to serving, or stir in just prior to serving.

1 cup = 214 calories