Tuesday, December 30, 2008

OK, so here’s another best-kept secret. This time, my friend Heidi’s, but apparently, my sister Regina has claimed it for her own:
“Hi, do you have ‘my’ champagne punch recipe? I want to make it tomorrow, forgot my recipe in PA.”
Lucky for Regina, Heidi’s recipe is actually epicurious.com’s recipe, and luckier for Regina, Heidi actually shared that fact with me and didn’t claim it for her own, otherwise I would’ve had trouble putting my fingers on it tonight.

Reg, enjoy your punch tomorrow, and more, enjoy your friends at “home”. You deserve a very fun night with them, for sure!

Champagne Punch
1 c Triple Sec
1 c brandy
½ c Chambord
2 c unsweetened pineapple juice
1 qt chilled ginger ale
2 chilled 750-ml bottles dry champagne
In a bowl combine Triple Sec, brandy, Chambord, and pineapple juice, and chill the mixture, covered, for at least 4 hours or overnight. In a large punch bowl combine the Triple Sec mixture, ginger ale, champagne, and ice cubes.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I know Brendan will be mad at me for divulging this long-held family secret (and probably this picture), but I can’t find my copy of the recipe, and I’d like you all to tell me if my memory is correct.

Irish cream

4 eggs
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 c heavy cream
2 T chocolate syrup
2 t instant coffee
1 t pure vanilla extract
¼ t pure almond extract
¾ c Irish whiskey (I think the original recipe called for 1½ cups, but I usually use less)
Combine in blender. Chill. Serve in a pretty bottle. Makes great gifts!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

File under: You gotta try this! It's the simplest, nicest, chocolate treat ever!

Now, if you ask my kids what my favorite candy is, they'll tell y0u it's Junior Mints or maybe Mounds or Almond Joy. And I do love those, don’ get me wrong. But my favorite candy is Chunky. I’m just generally unwilling to pay $1 for a 1½" square of chocolate with raisins and nuts. Enter: Chocolate, Fruit, and Nut Clusters that arrived in my e-mailbox this week, as if from Santa, but really from Health.com Healthy Holiday Postcard ... Healthy Holiday?! This just got better! The sidebar on the recipe says it’s healthy because dark chocolate offers stress-busting (really?! no wonder I like it so much!) antioxidants, while cranberries may help fend off winter colds and fight stomach bugs.

The other thing I love about it is it’s a half-cup of everything. That, I can remember when I’m walking through the store with no idea where I left my shopping list (usually on the passenger seat of the car).

I tried it as written, but I’d like a little more dark chocolate and a little less sweet, so I might substitute darker bittersweet or more semisweet chocolate for the milk chocolate next time.

Chocolate, Fruit, and Nut Clusters
½ c (3 oz) semisweet chocolate chips or chopped baking bar, such as Ghirardelli
½ c (3 oz) milk chocolate chips or chopped milk chocolate bar
½ c dried cranberries
½ c coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
Place the semisweet chocolate and milk chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water; make sure the water is not actually touching the inner pan. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

Stir in the cranberries and pecans. Immediately drop by level teaspoonfuls onto a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes. Clusters will keep in the refrigerator up to 5 days.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Brandini Toffee

This Toffee recipe from Martha Stewart makes me think of Aunt Margo's toffee. It is pretty easy to make and really comes out great.

Makes about 2 pounds1/4 pound whole almonds3 cups (6 sticks) salted butter3 cups sugar1 pound Guittard French vanilla dark chocolate

DirectionsPreheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds evenly on a baking sheet and transfer to oven. Roast until almonds are dark and fragrant, but not burned, about 15 minutes. Remove nuts from oven and let cool completely. Transfer cooled nuts to a large resealable plastic bag. Using a mallet or other heavy object, pound nuts until coarsely ground.
Melt butter in an 8-quart pot over medium-low heat; stir in sugar. Continue stirring until toffee reaches 305 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 30 minutes.
Pour toffee onto an 18-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet, spreading evenly to cover. Let cool until toffee is slightly hardened, but still tacky. Run a knife along the edges of the baking sheet to make toffee easier to remove.
Meanwhile, in a bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water, melt chocolate. Remove chocolate from heat and let cool slightly until it reaches about 95 degrees on a candy thermometer. Immediately pour melted chocolate over toffee, spreading evenly to cover. Sprinkle over coarsely ground almonds, pressing down with offset spatula. Transfer to refrigerator until toffee is set, about 1 hour.
To remove toffee from pan, run a sharp knife along the edges and lift toffee from the bottom. Using your hands, break toffee into large pieces; keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What are your favorite appetizers this season?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Menu

We are having Christmas with Kate (and fam), Bridge (and fam) and my parents at our house in New Hope. That will be 8 adults and 10 kids, ranging from 16 (that day, Happy Birthday, Will!) - 17 months.  We thought we'd do our menu planning here, so we'd love to hear what everyone else is making and you can weigh in on what we are thinking about. Let the planning begin!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Create a Cookbook

I was with Katie at Book Group last night (neither of us had read the book…), and we got to talking about food – surprise!

We ended up talking about all of our favorite recipes: Katie’s Mom’s Clam Chowder, Lynne’s “Great-Grandmother’s” Italian Peasant Soup, our friend Marilyn’s Delta Shrimp, our friend Lisa’s Crockpot Ground Turkey 3 Bean Soup, etc. I told them all about this cool website that my cousin Betteanne sent to me -- http://www.tastebook.com/.

Check it out – you create a hardcover, spiral-bound cookbook of your favorite recipes that you can then order. You either type in new recipes or import from other websites. It's a great, easy way to organize your recipes.

I’ve created a cookbook citing Katie, Lynne, Marilyn, Lisa and others as sources and am thinking of creating one with all my mom’s old recipes as a gift for my sisters. Let me know and I can send you the link to my cookbook if you’re interested.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Second (or third or fourth) time around

Bridget asked:
What are you doing/did you do with the leftover turkey? I tried some different recipes, I'll post them later. Thanksgiving Strata for Brunch on Sunday, it was tasty, a good change. Turkey Enchiladas and of course Turkey Divan.
I just made the best—and one of the easiest & quickest!—leftover turkey meals I've ever made! I served it with white rice—to which I added leftover mashed butternut squash & a can of drained, rinsed black beans just before serving. It was adapted from www.cookinglight.com.

(BTW, I still have more turkey & a great stock (for this, I just put the carcass in my crockpot Thanksgiving night, fill with water & let it simmer for 12-24 hours), any ideas for a different soup or stew?)

Turkey Picadillo
Turkey matches well with the flavorful ingredients of this Cuban dish: tomato, chiles, cinnamon, and cumin. Serve with baked tortilla chips.
1 t olive oil
¼ c finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c chopped tomato
2 T chopped jalapenos
1 T dark brown sugar
½ t ground cinnamon
½ t ground cumin
½ t black pepper
¼ t salt
2 T golden raisins
2 T capers
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T dry sherry
2 c chopped skinned cooked turkey
8 flour tortillas
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chopped tomato and green chiles; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, cumin, black pepper, and salt; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Reduce heat to low. Stir in raisins, capers, vinegar, and sherry; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring often. Add turkey, stirring to combine. Remove from heat.

Warm tortillas wrapped in foil in oven. Spoon about 1/3 cup turkey mixture onto each tortilla; roll up.

Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bake sale

I have to bake for a bake sale on Friday.  I'm thinking of a loaf bread.   Maybe a pumpkin or banana? What do you do for a bake sale?  Katie I know you mentioned Orange bugs the other day, I didn't write down the recipe. If you have a chance  please post it.