Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Strawberry Avocado Salad!

Our second fruit inspired dish of this weeks menu is a Strawberry Avocado Salad! This is a simple salad with a delicious vinaigrette that lingers on your tongue, and when it mixes with the slightly sweet strawberry and the creamy goodness of the avocado, it's remarkable! Plus, it's pretty!
Strawberry Avocado Salad
(Makes 2 Salads)
1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon minced Shallots
1 1/2 tablespoon Granulated Sugar
3 tablespoon Sherry Cooking Wine
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pinch of Salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 Avocado
Romaine Lettuce
1 cup Strawberries
Mix the sherry and the mustard in a bowl and whisk.
Chop off both ends of the shallot.
Ready to chop.
Cut slices off of the end of the shallot.
Slice the shallot into pieces.
Cut the shallot in the opposite direction, then measure.
Add the shallots to the bowl along with the sugar.
Drizzle the oil in while you whisk it all together.
I used 2 leaves of lettuce for each salad. 
Wash lettuce and cut off the ends.
Slice the romaine into four strips.
Slice the other way until all the lettuce is chopped.

Place the chopped lettuce in the middle of 
your plate.
Wash the strawberries
and dry them with a towel.
Trim the strawberries
Slice them in half.
Cut the avocado in half by cutting around the seed on the
outside, then pull apart.
Slice the avocado into 4 pieces. 
To get the avocado out, scoop with
a spoon.
Top your lettuce with the avocado slices.
Place your strawberries  on the lettuce.
Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad.

Thanks for joining me today!
Tomorrow we will be making Orange Chicken!

Hope to see you then!!

Amaretto Purses with Mascarpone & Fontina

This week we are all about fruit. Each recipe featuring a different one. Today's appetizer is about cherries. The recipe calls for dried cherries, but you could use chopped fresh ones also.
 Amaretto Purses with Mascarpone & Fontina
(adapted from Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board)
(Makes 8 appetizers)
1 cup Fontina Cheese
1 cup Mascarpone Cheese
1/4 cup Almonds
1 1/2 teaspoons Amaretto Syrup
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1/4 cup dried Tart Cherries
12 sheets Fillo Dough
4-5 tablespoons Butter
I could not find Amaretto syrup anywhere, so I made
my own. You should make the syrup first. You only need:
2 teaspoons Almond Extract
2 cups Sugar
1 cup Water
Combine 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water  in a saucepan.
Put it on medium heat. 
Bring to a boil, then add 2 teaspoons almond flavoring.
Turn down to medium heat and let the mix thicken. 
 Let cool.
Now, to the mix.
Combine the Fontina and Mascarpone cheeses.
The Fontina cheese should be grated, but if it becomes
too soft, just chop it in small pieces and it will blend 
easily with the Mascarpone.
Add the almonds, Amaretto, pepper, and cherries.
Mix well. Chill for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.
After the mix is ready, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Defrost the fillo sheets. When they are totally soft,
open the roll and cut in half. 
Lay the fillo sheet out. Make sure to cover the rest with
plastic because it dries out very quickly. Try to limit the
amount of air that gets to the filo.
Brush the first sheet of fillo dough with butter,
then cover the first sheet with a second sheet,
and butter it with butter also.
 Put a tablespoon of the mix in the middle
of the dough.
Bring each corner of the dough to it's opposite corner.
Pinch the middle.
Place in the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes.
Serve hot.

Thanks for joining me today!
Tomorrow we will be making our salad dish for the 
Week of Fruit~Strawberry Avocado Salad!

Hope you will join us!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Braving The Heat To Go To The Grocery!

I'm off to the grocery to get this weeks necessities. Here's our menu:

Appetizer~Amaretto Purses w/Mascarpone & Fontina

Salad~Strawberry Salad

Entree~Orange Chicken

Side Dish~Fruit Studded Rice Pilaf

Dessert~ Bread Pudding & Apples

Here is our Grocery List:

Amaretto Purses with Mascarpone & Fontina
8 oz. Fontina Cheese
8 oz. Mascarpone Cheese
1 tablespoon Amaretto
 White Pepper
Dried Tart Cherries
25 sheets Phyllo Dough

Strawberry Salad
Romaine Lettuce
Fresh Strawberries
Sherry Vinegar
Dijon Mustard
Minced Shallots
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Avocados

Orange Chicken
Chicken Breast
Dijon Mustard
Green Bell Pepper
Orange Juice
Pineapple Juice
Brown Sugar

Fruit Studded Rice Pilaf
Long Grain White Rice
Chicken, Vegetable, or Beef Base or Bouillon Granules
Dried Apricots
Golden Raisins
Brown Sugar

Bread Pudding
White Bread
3 Eggs
2  Granny Smith Apples
Golden Raisins

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Weekend Survival Kits

I have been busy making treats for my son and his roommates and friends. I send them treats a lot of the time, but these were special;  for back to school. I made school cookies, rice krispie treats, chocolate dipped pretzels, and brownie balls.

It was such fun making these! I love to bake and especially for
such appreciative recipients!!

Apple Pie Bundles

These Apple Pie Bundles are a great way to finish out our week. Rumor has it that fall is just around the corner, bringing with it all the wonderful fall food flavors and colors. I can't wait! But right now, I am sitting in the air conditioning, attempting to wait out the record high temperatures we are experiencing this week. Oh, please, make it go quick. I'm begging!

1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
4 cups Apples
1/4 teaspoon Cornstarch
 1/2 cup Water
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice
Place water in a pot.
Add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice and cornstarch.
Bring to boil. Let boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add apples and return to boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 6-8 minutes.

Pie Crust
(adapted from Perfect Party Food)
(I apologize for no pictures. My camera died while I was
making this recipe, but I didn't know it. It kept taking pictures,
but even though I was using a card, and I checked to make sure the
pictures were there, it didn't keep them. As soon as I am done here,
I am off to get a new camera)

2 1/2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Sugar
1/2 cup Vegetable Shortening
1/2 cup unsalted Butter~Cold
3-5 tablespoons Ice Water

Put the flour and sugar in the food processor and pulse a few times.
Add the Vegetable Shortening and pulse again to mix it up.
Add the butter cut into cubes, and pulse until the mix
starts to pin itself against the sides of the bowl. Scrape the sides.
Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of water and pulse 4-5 times again
until the mix comes together. The mix should still be a little crumbly.
Wrap the dough in plastic and set in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Flour your work surface and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough.
I used a 6" round plate to cut my discs. I cut around the plate
with a pizza wheel.

Then I set the discs on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
I piled apple pieces in the middle of the dough.
Then I pulled the dough up to the middle of the circle, and cinched
it together to form a bundle. If any of the crust broke open,
just squeeze it back together.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Let bundles completely cool before moving them
off the baking sheet.

Caramel Sauce
1 1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Water
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water
over low heat. Stir the sugar until dissolved. Turn the heat to high,
and let the mix cook until the mix becomes carmelized and amber in color.

Take the pan from the heat and add whipping cream, 2 tablespoons at a time.
Be careful, as mixture will bubble up. Continue adding the cream and mix
together thoroughly. Let cool, then refrigerate.

To Serve: Place the bundle on a plate.
Drizzle with the caramel sauce.
 Serve with ice cream, if so desired!


Thank for joining me today!