Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gingerbread Pita Chips w/ Creme Anglaise Dip

Again this week, I am continuing my quest for appetizers that are unique, with an easy serving style. I think this appetizer may fit the bill. I came upon these Gingerbread Pita Chips at Sam's Club about a month ago. I wasn't sure what to do with them, but I knew they would be good. First of all, I love the other Stacy's Pita Chips I have had. Second, I have a life long love of gingerbread. Therefore, a combo for a fantastic appetizer!  When I tried the chips, I was in heaven. They have a strong gingerbread flavor, and the texture of the chip is thicker than most chips, making them perfect for holding a dip. So, what kind of dip? I actually thought about this for some time. I mentally went through all the dips and sauces I could remember making in my life. The problem was that the gingerbread chips needed a dip that equaled it in flavor, but was contrasting. When you bite into the gingerbread chip the flavor is full. Every taste bud you have is busy with the gingerbread. I thought about a Creme Anglaise I used to make at a restaurant I worked in. This custard sauce is usually used for saucing cakes, and other desserts, and it has a rich, full flavor. So, I made some Creme Anglaise, and added cream cheese to make it thick. I think we have a winner!
Let me know what you think!

Gingerbread Pita Chips w/ Creme Anglaise Dip
1 bag Stacy's Pita Chips
2 cups Half and Half
1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
1/2 cup Sugar
4 large Egg Yolks (at room temperature)
8oz. Cream Cheese
Sprinkle of Cinnamon
Place your half and half in a saucepan, over medium low heat.
 Add vanilla bean paste. Simmer the two together
until small bubbles show up  around the edges.
Set up a water bath. Place a bowl in another bowl or 
shallow dish. Fill the dish with cold water. Let it sit.
In another separate bowl,  whisk your egg yolks and...
sugar until combined. 
Now we will temper the eggs. While you are whisking,
add about 1/2 cup of  the hot cream and vanilla mixture
to the eggs. Whisk until they are fully incorporated
into the egg mixture.
Do this several times until about 1/2 of the milk and 
vanilla bean mix has been mixed into the eggs.
Some recipes will tell you to add 1/2 of the mix at
one time, but I think it is better to mix a little at a time.
You are trying to get the eggs used to the heat, but not
cook themselves in the process.
Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan with the rest of
the milk and vanilla bean mix. Now it is all in one pan!
Stirring with a wooden spoon, cook the mix without boiling,
until it becomes thick, about 5 minutes. 
How will you know when it is thick enough?
The custard should coat the back of a wooden spoon....
and leave a distinct line if you run your finger through it.
Remember the water bath we set up earlier?
Pour the custard into the bowl that is sitting in the bowl with water.
This will immediately stop the cooking of the custard.
Not very good pictures from here on out. I apologize!
Put the custard in the refrigerator until it has completely cooled.
I set mine in there over night.
The next day bring the cream cheese to room temperature.
Mix it into the custard until smooth and creamy!
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Sprinkle the top with cinnamon!
Serve this dip cold from the refrigerator. 

Thanks for joining The Freshman Cook today!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

This Week at The Freshman Cook!

This post should have been posted earlier this week, but with such a busy week, it is!
Menu and Grocery List
Appetizer~Gingerbread Pita Chip with Creme Anglaise Dip
Stacey's Gingerbread Pita Chips
2 cups Half and Half
1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
1/2 cup Sugar
4 Egg Yolks~room temperature
8 ounces Cream Cheese~softened

Entree~Meat Sauce Bolognese Sauce with Garlic Loaf
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large Onion
1 Medium Carrot
1 Medium Celery Rib
2 pounds Ground Beef
2 large Garlic Cloves
3/4 cup Dry White Wine
1   28 ounce can Diced Tomatoes
15 ounce can Tomato Sauce
1 cup No Salt added Chicken Broth
1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons Fresh Italian Parsley
Spaghetti Noodles
1 loaf Rhodes White Bread
1/4 cup Butter
Garlic Powder

Dessert~Egg Nog Milk Shake
Egg Nog
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Whipped Cream
Maraschino Cherries with Stems
Ground Nutmeg

Thanks for stopping by.
Check back tomorrow to see some great recipes!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  Have a wonderful day!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Christmas Thumbprints

I love Christmas cookies.
I love to bake them. 
I love to wrap them up all fancy like and give them away.
 I love to eat them!!

The Christmas cookies I love the most are Christmas Thumbprints. They are simple and basic, but pretty and tasty! I have been making this version for years. I hope you enjoy them!
Christmas Thumbprints
This makes 8 dozen cookies

2 cups Butter
1 cup Sugar
4 Egg Yolks
4 teaspoon Vanilla
5 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Salt

Thumbprint Icing
1 cup Confectioners Sugar
1 tablespoon Water
Colors for icing

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Put your butter,
and your sugar in a mixing bowl.
Cream until fluffy.
Add your egg yolks and mix in.
Add vanilla and mix.
In a separate bowl, mix your flour and salt.
Add your dry ingredients to your wet ones.
Mix together.
Once your mix is together, start making small 1"-1 1/2"
balls of dough. I used a small cookie dough scoop to
get them started, but you can do this without a scoop
also. Using both hands, form the ball from the scoop
into a round ball of dough.
Place the dough balls on your cookie sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. The bottoms will be golden brown.
The tops are a little tougher to see, but they will be done if the
bottoms are.
Immediately after pulling the cookies out of the oven,
use your thumb, or the back of a measuring spoon to make
a round indention in each cookie.
It should look like this one. It is alright if they crack
a little. It gives them character!!
Looking good!
 Lets make our icing!
Mix together your confectioners sugar and 1 tablespoon water.
If you need more water, add some, but don't make the icing too runny.
This is what you want for consistency.
Divide the icing into 2 bowls, and add color
until you get the color you are looking for.
Start filling your cookies. If I had any left over, I would use
baby spoons. They are the perfect size!
Looking good!
One of the reasons I make so many of these cookies,
is that I give away a lot of trays of holiday cookies.
I love to use these on every tray. They are small,
and add a punch of color.

Thanks for joining
The Freshman Cook today.

Stop back again for more holiday treats!!

Secret Recipe Club~Turkey Cake Pops!

This month Secret Recipe Club took me to Angie's blog,  Big Bears Wife. Her blog is just wonderful, and it is full of great recipes, giveaways, and crafts. I choose her post on the Turkey Cake Pops. It was a video tutorial, and it was wonderfully done, and easy to understand. Although I have made cake pops before, it was nice to see the method she uses.  

Turkey Cake Pops
Chocolate Cake Mix
Buttercream Icing
Sticks for pops
Pretzel Sticks
Milk Chocolate Chips
Candy Corn
Brown Peanut M and M's
Wilton Rainbow Chip Crunch
Here are my cake balls.
I made the  cake mix and then I made Buttercream icing 
to mix into the cake crumble. Angie used cream cheese
which I thought was a great idea, but I am mailing these, 
and cream cheese doesn't travel well.
After some time in the freezer, it was time to get busy assembling
the cake pops.
Dipping wasn't difficult, but getting the excess chocolate to drip off
proved to be a problem for me. I think maybe my 
chocolate should have been a bit warmer.
Although my pops may have some potential,
I need to practice some more. 

Angie's are beautiful, and if you stop by her page,
you can see how talented she is.

For me, I hope practice makes perfect~I'll let you know!!

Thank you Angie, for posting a great recipe.
For more information on joining the Secret Recipe Club , click here!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sour Cream Apple Pie

I grew up in a little town in southern Ohio. Not too far away; up the hill, and around the bend, is an apple orchard. It is such a great place.  It's called  Rouster's Apple House, and it has been there since 1939. I am sorry to say that I read today that they have closed, except for some fruit picking next summer. The owners have retired. A family business for 72 years! You will be missed by me and so many others.!!

The Sour Cream Apple Pie I made today is from the Rouster's Apple House Recipe Book. I don't remember where I got this book. I imagine I picked it up on one of my visits. I have had it for a while, because it states it was written in 1993. It is filled with great recipes for jam, preserves, syrups, cakes, tarts, pies, bars, and just about everything that can be made with fruit! This pie is sooo delicious. It was good the first day, but the second day it was over the top. I hope you enjoy it!
Sour Cream Apple Pie
1 unbaked Pie Shell
1 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tablespoon Flour
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 Egg
2 cups peeled and finely diced Apples
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Flour
1/4 cup Butter

During the holidays, I like to make extra pie crust
and freeze them. It makes things a little quicker during such a
busy time.
That is where this crust came from. I made it about 
two weeks before I used it for this recipe.
The recipe is here. It is called Cobbler Topping,
but it was perfect for this pie.
Start with the sour cream in your mixing bowl.
Add the flour, vanilla, and egg.
Peel your apples. I used Granny Smith. 
Core the apples.
Slice the apples, and then...
dice them.
Add to the bowl.
Mix thoroughly.
Roll out your dough.
Place dough on the pie pan, and...
trim edge.
With some of the leftover dough, I cut out some leave designs 
to decorate the crust with.
Pour ingredients into pie shell, and bake at 400 degrees 
for 25 minutes.
While the pie is baking, let's make the topping!
Combine the flour, brown sugar and butter in a bowl.
Mix thoroughly, making sure the butter is well incorporated.
Pull the pie from the oven after the 25 minutes. 
Sprinkle the top with the crumb topping, 
and decorate the crust with the cut outs.
They will stick with a bit of water dabbed on the back of them.
Cook for an additional 20 minutes.
Cover the crust with foil, if it begins to get too brown.
Isn't pretty? 
Enjoy this delicious piece of pie!

Thanks for joining 
The Freshman Cook today!

See you tomorrow!