Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pineapple Dip with Jerk Spice - 52 Appetizers Recipes


Fast Easy... Open a can and a package... Spice, Mix and ENJOY!

Perfect for when you want to serve something Fresh made with a hint of the unusual...

And of course TASTY

And FAST and EASY!

I made this with a combination of Sweet Pineapple and spicy Jerk (Jamaican Island spices).  But you could adapt this with a Cajun spice mix or even something savory like an Herbes de Provance spice mix.


OK... Here's what I did...

Pineapple Dip
with Jerk Spice


Ingredients
  • 1 Brick (8 Ounces) Cream Cheese, Softened to room temperature
  • 1 Can (15 Ounces) Crushed Pineapple, drained but reserve juices
  • 1 tsp Jerk Spice mix (can use Cajun mix, Italian Mix or Herbes de Provance for a different taste)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (optional), crushed and minced
  • Dusting of Sweet Paprika for Garnish
Cooking Directions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer,mix together the Cream Cheese, Pineapple, Jerk Spice and Garlic until well combined and smooth.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Dust with Sweet Paprika for color.
  4. Serve with Apple Slices or crackers and ENJOY

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Claire's Co-Worker's Sichuan Chicken Wings via The Portlandia Cookbook


OH BOY... CHICKEN WINGS!  And these are baked so they are EASY EASY EASY to make!  And comes from a FUN source, the "The Portlandia Cookbook: Cook Like a Local".  Just as much fun to read as the series is to watch!

First, my disclaimer... I received this book FREE! courtesy of BLOGGING FOR BOOKS.  I was sent the book in exchange for this review.  The book was theirs, but the opinions are mine.  What follows is my honest impression.

My impression is Oh My GOSH... WHAT FUN!

If you have never had a chance to catch up with the folks in Portland, Portlandia is a sketch comedy show, produced by Lorne Michaels of Saturday Night Live fame and starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownsein.  Fred and Carrie play a variety of folks who live in Portland, spoofing the image that the good folks in Portland have as twenty-first century Hipsters and old hippies.

One of my favorite examples of Portlandia zaniness is on Youtube and can be reached by clicking this LINK.  There you will learn the story of COLIN, the chicken served at the Gilt Restaurant.  Colin has lived a very good life for a chicken, Free range, Local, feed a diet of Squash, Eggplant, Greek Yogurt.  Colin happens to have an allergy to Avocados.  Before ordering you are presented with Colin's photo and dossier.  You get the idea, well worth a look.

I discovered Portlandia as an option on Netflix.  But you can stream episodes on Hulu as well.  And now... The companion cookbook to the hit show Portlandia by the Emmy-nominated stars and writers Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, with 50 delicious recipes for every food lover, freegan, organic farmer, and food truck diehard.

Food plays a very special role in Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s award-winning satire, Portlandia. Here are recipes for the dishes that define the show, from cult-raised chicken and Stu’s stews to pickled veggies and foraged green salads. Complete with new full-color finished food photographs and illustrations, humorous stories and sidebars from the loveable food-obsessed Portlandia characters (such as Mr. Mayor, Peter and Nance, and Colin the chicken), and advice on how to choose a bed and breakfast and behave at a communal table, this is a funny cookbook—with serious recipes—for anyone who loves food. And yes, the chicken’s local... And named Collin
Take a look through the book.  You'll laugh, you'll cry and you will indeed probably recognize a few friends.



Take a look at the preview above (Just click the photo and you will get to the Amazon.com page that includes a preview of the book.  Several pages and recipes for you to get an idea of the quality of the book and the fun ahead!

For my review I decided to take Collin out for a stroll and give chicken wings a try.  These are baked, take very little time to get together and feature their own faux Duck Sauce!

Loved the final product.  As the name applies,certainly spicy.  I followed the recipe exactly.  You may want to consider dropping the amount of Red Pepper Flakes down if you are not in a spicy mood.  But as baked wings go, this is a terrific recipe...


OK... Here's what the book says to do...


Claire's Co-Worker's Sichuan Chicken Wings via "The Portlandia Cookbook: Cook Like a Local"


Ingredients
  • 2 TBS Ground Cumin
  • 1-1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese 5-Spice Powder
  • 2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 8 Large Chicken Wings, about 3 pounds, split into wingettes and drumettes
  • 1-1/2 TBS Canola Oil plus more for brushing
  • FOR THE FRESH MADE DUCK SAUCE - 2 TBS Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Apricot Preserves
  • 1-1/2 tsp fresh minced peeled Ginger
  • 1/4 Cup Water
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the Cumin, Red Pepper Flakes, 5-Spice Powder, Salt and Flour.
  3. On a work surface, coat the chicken with the Canola Oil, rubbing to coat completely. Add the Chicken to the spice and flour mix and toss to coat completely. Arrange the chicken on the baking sheet and brush lightly with additional oil.
  4. Roast in the center of the oven until deeply browned and crispy, turning once or twice; about 50 minutes. If needed, blot on paper towel to remove excess fat.
  5. Meanwhile, make the duck-like sauce. In a food processor, combine the Soy Sauce, Apricot Preserves and the fresh minced Ginger. Add a quarter cup water and puree until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan and simmer on low heat until reduced by about 1/2 cup... About 6 Minutes. Pour the sauce into a small dipping bowl.
  6. Arrange the wings on a platter and serve with the sauce... And ENJOY!

And wonderful accessible workable recipes!


And one last disclaimer...
"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review." But the review and opinions are 100% accurate and mine!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Chocolate Meringue Swirls with a Chocolate Sauce via A KITCHEN IN FRANCE - Recipe and Cookbook Review


OH BOY... Something new!

Well, for me at least.  I probably see dozens of different desserts a day and while appealing all, most are just a variation on themes.

These on the other hand... Well, a dramatic presentation, a delicious sounding name and a unique flavor all add up to a wonderful dessert experience!

They are indeed about as big as your fist, 4-5 inches wide and 2-3 inches tall!  But despite the size of the meringue, they are actually pretty light.  The basic ingredient is a single egg white in each one, packed with as much sugar as it can hold and whipped until stiff.  The taste and texture is very similar to a marshmallow.

Just BIG, DRAMATIC, DELICIOUS and... Something NEW!

This is Day six of my dinner party review...

The party was part of a review of of "A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse " by Mimi Thorisson.... 6 Recipes from the book,  8 Friends and family...

First, my disclaimer... I received this book FREE! courtesy of BLOGGING FOR BOOKS.  I was sent the book in exchange for this review.  The book was theirs, but the opinions are mine.


I posted my first course for a dinner party for 8 of my family and friends; Her Onion Tart recipe... (LOVED IT!).

I served the tart as my Sandwich in a Soup and Sandwich course.  I made Mimi's
PUMPKIN SOUP as the soup course.

Next came my Appetizer course... Her title for the recipe is "Gambas Flambees with Pastis" which translates to Prawns (or Shrimp) Flamed with an Anise flavored Liquor.  Worked FANTASTIC, stunning presentation, easy, fast and no First Responders needed to help.


My next course was the "Main Course", The meat I selected was a basic Roasted Chicken... Well, much more than basic as Mimi's Roast Chicken with Creme Fraiche and Herbs was FANTASTIC ..the side dish I posted of a Butternut Squash Gratin Paired PERFECT!

The short version of my longer review of the book (see this post) is that  the book is astounding.  Stunningly beautiful photographs, wonderful descriptions of her family and life in the French countryside and of course wonderful recipes.  I made 6 dishes for my party and each came out as expected, and wonderful!

It is a bit sad, as I file Mimi's astounding book away.  I have hundreds of cookbooks.  So many that I have separate shelves for BBQ and Grilling, Italian, Restaurant and celebrity books, Southern (more of a comfort shelf with casseroles and crock pot books) and a shelf for basics (got to be able to find that "Joy of Cooking when I need it).  But  also have a shelf for books that are especially personal.  You know the ones you like to look at, the ones you use the recipes from often, the ones that inspire... The pretty ones.

Mimi.s "A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse " deserves a spot on that shelf.  I have several more recipes marked to try and even more that are crying out for me to personalize with a few of my one touches.  I can not thank Mimi enough for sharing such a personal bit of her life, so many delicious dishes that I can tell she worked to perfect before going to press and, for me at least, the perfect cookbook... Could not recommend this enough.

If you follow this link you will get to the AMAZON.com page that offers a FREE preview (and a discount on the final price) of several pages from her book.  Take a look.  Wonderful accessible recipes, STUNNING photos and a sweet dreamy story you can get lost in... Maybe you will decide that this book deserves a spot on your "Special" shelf as well!




OK... Here's what I did...


Chocolate Meringue Swirls with a Chocolate Sauce


Ingredients
  • 6 Large Eggs, WHITES ONLY, at room temperature
  • a Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 1 TBS Cornstarch
  • 1-2/3 Cup Sugar
  • 2 TBS Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, plus more for dusting
  • FOR THE CHOCOLATE SAUCE... 6-1/2 TBS Water
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 3 TBS Light Corn Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Ounce Bittersweet Chocolate, broken into several pieces
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Using a stand mixer, whip the egg whites in a clean bowl (make sure the bowl is free of any trace of oil) to medium peaks. Add the salt and whip for an additional 30 seconds. Add the cornstarch and whip for 30 seconds. Finally, add the sugar 2 TBS at a time and whip until the whites are stiff and glossy, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from the stand mixer. Add the cocoa powder and FOLD gently only 5-6 times. You want the rustic look of the cocoa ribbons.
  4. You want to make 6 Meringues, each about 4 to 5 inches wide and 2-1/2 inches tall. You want to create nice swirls. With the help of two large spoons, spoon the egg whites onto the baking sheet. Twirl one of the spoons around and finish each meringue with a spiky peak. Dust with additional cocoa powder and use a small fork to gently make a few more swirls.
  5. Bake for 1 hour. Switch off the oven and leave the door closed for an additional 15 minutes. Resist the urge to open the door to take a peak. That releases all of the heat.
  6. Meanwhile, make the chocolate sauce. In a small saucepan, mix the water, cocoa powder and corn syrup and heat to a gentle boil.
  7. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring until melted. Let cool for an hour before serving.
  8. Place each meringue on a serving plate and drizzle with the chocolate sauce. Listen to the Oohs and Aahs and ENJOY!

Here's my Menu for the night...

Pumpkin Soup
With an Onion Tart

Gambas Flambees
With Pastis

Roast Chicken With
Creme Fraiche and Herbs
Served with a
Butternut Squash

PLUS and AMAZING Spectacular
Chocolate Meringue Swirl

As I said, Each of the 6 recipes I tried from the book worked and worked spectacularly.  I have been doing a lot of non-challenging catering dishes lately.  It was fun and exciting to whip these dishes up and serve this menu to my friends.  All well received, all went as best as I could have imagined and I could not recommend this book highly enough.

Beautiful enough to be a table top book, inspiring enough to get lost in on a rainy Sunday afternoon...

And wonderful accessible workable recipes!



And one last disclaimer...
"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."  But the review and opinions are 100% accurate and mine!
*************************************************************************

So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Ways to Cook COOKIE, BARS and TRUFFLES"!!!

Old school like classic criss cross peanut butter to new takes on interesting recipes like a beautiful Red Velvet with the cream cheese mixed inside the cookie, accented with white chocolate chips!  Even a Pineapple Cream Cheese EASY Bar with only 5 ingredients! 
Stop on by, there's always a new cookie in the cookie jar!

****************************PINTEREST**************************

Come and find me on Pinterest... Any of my "52 Ways to cook" Boards are worth following.  If you like this post, please take a second and "Pin" this to your own boards... Better yet, if you are part of a foodie group board please take a second and add this post to your group pins... best way to show your Love!

And BTW, if you are not yet part of a group board, drop me an email at Contact@eRecipeCards.com and request to be added to my group board... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! (be sure to include your pinterest ID when you write)  Once you are added, any pins you add will be seen by 10s of THOUSANDS of followers of the board (and growing daily).

Rules, only 2... 
  1. In order to join you need to start following the group board as well as at least one of my boards.
  2. And you must ONLY pin original sources, posts from food related bloggers only.  If you are a blogger, this is a great way to have thousands of potential readers see your work,  If you are a fan of bloggers, a great way to share your favorites...
    Come and be a part of ... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! on Pinterest

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Roast Chicken with Creme Fraiche and Herbs via A KITCHEN IN FRANCE - Recipe and Cookbook Review


Day five of my dinner party review...

The party was part of a review of of "A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse " by Mimi Thorisson.... 6 Recipes from the book,  8 Friends and family...

First, my disclaimer... I received this book FREE! courtesy of BLOGGING FOR BOOKS.  I was sent the book in exchange for this review.  The book was theirs, but the opinions are mine.


I posted my first course for a dinner party for 8 of my family and friends; Her Onion Tart recipe... (LOVED IT!).

I served the tart as my Sandwich in a Soup and Sandwich course.  I made Mimi's
PUMPKIN SOUP as the soup course.

Next came my Appetizer course... Her title for the recipe is "Gambas Flambees with Pastis" which translates to Prawns (or Shrimp) Flamed with an Anise flavored Liquor.  Worked FANTASTIC, stunning presentation, easy, fast and no First Responders needed to help.


My next course was the "Main Course", this chicken plus the side dish I posted of a Butternut Squash Gratin.

The short version of my longer review of the book (see this post) is that  the book is astounding.  Stunningly beautiful photographs, wonderful descriptions of her family and life in the French countryside and of course wonderful recipes.  I made 6 dishes for my party and each came out as expected, and wonderful!

I served in courses, First course was to be a Soup and Sandwich.  I sort of fudged the sandwich and served the Onion Tart as the sandwich.  The pumpkin soup was served with the tart.  The flaming Shrimp was served as an appetizer and we are now into the main course with a side dish... here's the Meat Course!

The chicken tasted fantastic.  Reminded me of the best taste of Buttermilk Fried Chicken without the coating... Just about as moist a chicken as you could imagine.

I did have a logistics problem... I used an instant read meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature.  The chickens I had took almost an hour 45 minutes to cook.  Much longer than the 1 hour suggested in the recipe.  The delay affected the timing of the meal.  Remember, I was serving in courses so there was about a 30 minute delay between the appetizer course and this Main meat course.  Which was plenty of time to refill wine glasses and even break out a bit of Sambuca (the flaming agent from the previous course).  But, next time I make this dish I will add a bit more cooking time.  Possibly the extra coating of the thick cream added time to the process.

But the dish was a big success.  White meat just as tender and juicy as the dark.  And the dark meat was even more filled with flavor than usual.

A near perfect roasted chicken recipe!


OK... Here's what I did...

Roast Chicken with
Creme Fraiche and Herbs


Ingredients
  • 2-1/2 Cups Creme Fraiche
  • 8 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Medium Shallot, Thinly Sliced
  • A large Bunch of Fresh Parsley Leaves, removed and Chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Herbes de Provance
  • Fine Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Whole Chickens, about 3 pounds each
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the Creme Fraiche, Garlic, Parsley, Herbes de Provance, Salt and Pepper. Spoon a quarter of the mixture inside the cavity of the chicken. Truss the chicken securely with kitchen twine. Rub the remaining cream in a thick layer all over the chickens, making sure to rub inside the thighs and wings. Sprinkle Course Sea Salt over the chickens and put them in a roasting pan.
  3. Roast the chicken until golden brown or the internal meat thermometer registers 165 degree at several spots, most importantly in the thickest part of the meat. The juices should run clear, not pink when you prick the thigh with a knife... About 1 hour.
  4. Let the chickens rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Here's my Menu for the night...

Pumpkin Soup
With an Onion Tart

Gambas Flambees
With Pastis

Roast Chicken With
Creme Fraiche and Herbs
Served with a
Butternut Squash

PLUS and AMAZING Spectacular
Chocolate Meringue Swirl

As I said, Each of the 6 recipes I tried from the book worked and worked spectacularly.  I have been doing a lot of non-challenging catering dishes lately.  It was fun and exciting to whip these dishes up and serve this menu to my friends.  All well received, all went as best as I could have imagined and I could not recommend this book highly enough.

Beautiful enough to be a table top book, inspiring enough to get lost in on a rainy Sunday afternoon...

And wonderful accessible workable recipes!



And one last disclaimer...
"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."  But the review and opinions are 100% accurate and mine!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Butternut Squash Gratin via A KITCHEN IN FRANCE - Recipe and Cookbook Review



Day four of my dinner party review...

The party was part of a review of of "A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse " by Mimi Thorisson.... 6 Recipes from the book,  8 Friends and family...

First, my disclaimer... I received this book FREE! courtesy of BLOGGING FOR BOOKS.  I was sent the book in exchange for this review.  The book was theirs, but the opinions are mine.


I posted my first course for a dinner party for 8 of my family and friends; Her Onion Tart recipe... (LOVED IT!).

I served the tart as my Sandwich in a Soup and Sandwich course.  I made Mimi's
PUMPKIN SOUP as the soup course.

Next came my Appetizer course... Her title for the recipe is "Gambas Flambees with Pastis" which translates to Prawns (or Shrimp) Flamed with an Anise flavored Liquor.  Worked FANTASTIC, stunning presentation, easy, fast and no First Responders needed to help.

The short version of my longer review of the book (see this post) is that  the book is astounding.  Stunningly beautiful photographs, wonderful descriptions of her family and life in the French countryside and of course wonderful recipes.  I made 6 dishes for my party and each came out as expected, and wonderful!

I served in courses, First course was to be a Soup and Sandwich.  I sort of fudged the sandwich and served the Onion Tart as the sandwich.  The pumpkin soup was served with the tart.  The flaming Shrimp was served as an appetizer and we are now into the main course with a side dish... here's the side!

A wonderful way to serve up seasonal Fall and early winter squash.  An alternative to potatoes or even sweet potatoes and filled with cheese, spices and a creamy base.

Delicious in every way!


OK... Here's what I did...


Butternut Gratin


Ingredients
  • 3 TBS Butter
  • 1 Large Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 Large Butternut Squash, peeled, halved, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • Sea Slat and freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Cup, divided, Conte' Cheese (can use Gruyere or Swiss Cheese)
  • 2 TBS Butter, cut into 8-10 thin slices
  • Fresh Chives for Garnish
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, prepare a casserole pan with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large saute' pan, heat the butter over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the Garlic and Saute an additional 1 minute.
  3. Add the squash slices and season with the nutmeg and cook until slightly tender, another 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of the cheese and mix. Transfer this mix to the prepared casserole dish. Pour the cream all over the top. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and the Bread Crumbs on the top. Dot with the remaining butter slices.
  5. Bake until golden brown and delicious for 30 minutes.
  6. Serve HOT with sprinkles of the Chives for garnish and ENJOY!
I served this with a Roasted Chicken recipe from the book.  Slathered in Creme Fraiche' and lots of herbs, made for a beautiful colorful presentation and a rustic French countryside mix of flavors!  Come back next post for the Roasted Chicken recipe.


*************************************************************************

So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Ways to Cook Side Dish Recipes"!!!

Sure the meat gets all the glory but real cooks know it's the spread... the specialty Side Dishes that makes a meal rise or fall. Here's a few of my favorite recipes that will help to create that illusive COMPLETE MENU!

LOTS of Potato Sides, Vegetable Sides, Specialty Salads, Bread and MORE!

****************************PINTEREST**************************

Come and find me on Pinterest... Any of my "52 Ways to cook" Boards are worth following.  If you like this post, please take a second and "Pin" this to your own boards... Better yet, if you are part of a foodie group board please take a second and add this post to your group pins... best way to show your Love!

And BTW, if you are not yet part of a group board, drop me an email at Contact@eRecipeCards.com and request to be added to my group board... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! (be sure to include your pinterest ID when you write)  Once you are added, any pins you add will be seen by 10s of THOUSANDS of followers of the board (and growing daily).

Rules, only 2... 
  1. In order to join you need to start following the group board as well as at least one of my boards.
  2. And you must ONLY pin original sources, posts from food related bloggers only.  If you are a blogger, this is a great way to have thousands of potential readers see your work,  If you are a fan of bloggers, a great way to share your favorites...
    Come and be a part of ... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! on Pinterest

*******************************************************************************

Here's my Menu for the night...

Pumpkin Soup
With an Onion Tart

Gambas Flambees
With Pastis

Roast Chicken With
Creme Fraiche and Herbs
Served with a
Butternut Squash

PLUS and AMAZING Spectacular
Chocolate Meringue Swirl

As I said, Each of the 6 recipes I tried from the book worked and worked spectacularly.  I have been doing a lot of non-challenging catering dishes lately.  It was fun and exciting to whip these dishes up and serve this menu to my friends.  All well received, all went as best as I could have imagined and I could not recommend this book highly enough.

Beautiful enough to be a table top book, inspiring enough to get lost in on a rainy Sunday afternoon...

And wonderful accessible workable recipes!



And one last disclaimer...
"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."  But the review and opinions are 100% accurate and mine!

Media

FMP