Thursday, January 8, 2015

Tomato and Mozzarella Caprese Salad on a Stick - 52 Appetizers Recipe

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This is hardly something new.  The classic Italian Caprese Salad, a combination of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, has been around for hundreds of years and is still just as popular and tasty.

This particular combination is perfect as an appetizer,

Anything on a stick is fun and an attention getting plate.  This also has the advantage of being able to be made at least a day ahead of time (in fact, that extra day helps the flavored oil add deeper layers of flavor to the mix).

I also like to add a simple to make flavored Garlic and Herb Oil.  No need to buy the expensive pre mixed version, just add oil to  as saute pan, set on very low heat and allow the garlic and herbs to seep into the oil.  Tastes so much better than just adding herbs to cold oil.  Really seasons the mix.

The knotted bamboo skewers/toothpicks can be ordered over the internet if you do a lot of parties or are available at a well stocked party store and are worth tracking down.  Just adds a little extra to the look.


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

Tomato and Mozzarella Caprese Salad on a Stick

  • 50 Cherry Tomatoes (about 3 Pints)
  • 1 Pound ciliegine (cherry-sized) mozzarella
  • 20 Large Basil Leaves (sliced Chiffonade Style)
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, smashed and minced
  • 2 TBS Italian Seasonings spice mix (Herbes de Provence)
Cooking Directions
  1. First, make the flavored Olive Oil... In a small heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat the Olive Oil over low heat. Add the Garlic and Herb spice mix and allow the Oil to steep at low temperature for 1 hour.
  2. Next, in a bowl, combine the mozzarella balls and the cherry tomatoes. Add the warm seasoned oil and stir to mix.
  3. To cut the ribbons of Basil, stack the basil together and roll (like a cigar). Tale a sharp knife and slice the ends of the "cigar". Continue slicing ribbons from the end until you have a pile of basil ribbons.
  4. Add the Basil to the bowl and again mix. Using a small skewer or specialty long appetizer toothpick, add one ball of mozzarella and one cherry tomato.
  5. Arrange attractively on a plate, serve chilled and ENJOY!


So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Appetizers Recipes"!!!

From Dips and Salsas to everyone's favorite, Deviled Eggs; Appetizers will set the mood for something special. And make enough different ones and you have a Tapas Meal!

Links include Dips (Take a Look at the WORLD's BEST Guacamole recipe (and world's easiest to make), Salsas, Grilled Bites, Watermelon Art, and of course something with a spectacular presentation and taste... Take a look, something to match any occasion...


I am also pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Specialty Salad Recipes"!!!

Sometimes they are the main course, sometimes a lunch and sometimes they are the side dish... And if you count Jell-o salad you can even make a dessert of a salad.  Here are a few of my favorite salads that get far more Ooohs and Aaahs than that simple chopped head of lettuce.

Links include Potato Salads, Cole Slaws, and Plenty of greens and fixins' Salads... And more than a few matching FRESH MADE Jam Jar make it yourself Salad Dressings!


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 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

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Butterscotch Pie "Old School" Style - 52 Cakes and Pies at Home

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Everything old is new again as this very old "Old School" recipe has become an instant brand NEW Favorite family event recipe.

And it's all "Scratch", but it all comes together easy.  A near perfect do ahead of time dessert!

I made this for a recent holiday meal, along side an Apple Pie (always a favorite).  My taste testers (Family) went crazy wanting a piece of this.  The 9 folks at the table were all after a slice of this before they glanced at the Apple.

I love the dramatic High Top meringue dome look. MUCH easier to do than you would imagine.

My "GO TO" simple pie crust, recipe below, is as advertised, simple to make and never fails.

But it's the filling... Think Butterscotch Pudding, but sets up, firm enough to slice.  Rich full flavor with the sweet light meringue topping.  A stunning delicious New favorite, "Old School" Delicious addition to any holiday table!

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

"OLD SCHOOL" Butterscotch Pie

  • FOR THE FILLING - 1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Cornstarch
  • Pinch Sea Salt
  • 3 Large Egg YOLKS ONLY
  • 2 Cups Half and Half (can use whole milk)
  • 2 TBS Butter
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • FOR THE CRUST - 1-1/4 Cups Flour
  • 1/2 Cup (1 Stick) Butter (COLD), cut into 8 pieces
  • Big Pinch of Salt
  • 5 TBS Water (COLD)
  • 1/2 tsp Cream of Tarter
  • 1/2 tsp Clear Vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
Cooking Directions
  1. Prepare a pie crust (see recipe below for EASY Scratch Crust). Blind Bake the crust. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Use a fork to prick the bottom of the Crust in several places. Tent the crust with aluminum foil, Bake for 15 minutes.
  2. FOR THE FILLING - Meanwhile, In a large heavy bottomed sauce pan, whisk together the Brown Sugar, Sugar, Cornstarch and Sea Salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the Egg YOLKS (only the Yolks) and the 1/2 and 1/2.
  4. Turn stove top to medium heat and gradually add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine and continue gently stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue to stir for one additional minute once the mix reaches the boil stage. The pudding will thicken at this stage.
  5. Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla and stir to mix until butter has melted into the pudding. Cover to keep warm.
  6. Prepare the High Top Meringue (See Recipe Below). Pour the pudding into the partially baked pie crust. Spread meringue over the top, spreading t the edges (be sure the meringue "seals" around the edges or the meringue will separate as the pie bakes. Heap the meringue like a dome. Take a fork and pull some of the topping into stiff peaks for that "Old School" Baked meringue look.
  7. Bake at 325 for 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 2 hours. Best if cooled overnight in a fridge.
  8. FOR THE PIE CRUST - In a Food Processor, Pulse Flour and Salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until the mix becomes crumbly (like sand). Gradually add the water while processing until a dough ball forms.
  9. Dump onto floured surface and knead for a few minutes until combined. Flour the top. Cover with plastic wrap and roll out with a rolling pin just larger than the pie pan. remove plastic wrap. Fit onto a 9 inch Pie Pan. Easiest way to do this is to flour the rolling pin, roll the circle onto the pin. Put the pin over the edge of the pan and just unroll. It takes practice, but it will become easy after a half dozen pies.
  10. FOR THE HIGH TOP MERINGUE - In a stand mixer, whisk Egg WHITES ONLY at low speed for 1 minute. Then add the Cream of Tarter and Vanilla and whisk at high speed until the meringue begins to form and looks foamy. Continue to whisk at high speed, gradually add sugar until sugar has dissolved and the meringue will hold stiff peaks.
  11. Spread Meringue over hot filling. Bake at 325 for 15 to 20 minutes until the meringue has lightly browned.
  12. Serve Chilled and ENJOY!