Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie- Thanksgiving Twofer Pie

This time of year is always busy, and I only was able to squeeze in 2 of the Tuesdays with Doire this month. I completed the first one & have been holding out for this weeks recipe chosen by Vibi of La casserole Carree. I was pretty excited when I heard that the pie was a combo of my two favorites.. Pumpkin Pie and Pecan. My Grandmothers Pecan Pie is an absolute favorite in my family... I look forward to it always. As well, my mothers Pumpkin chiffon pie.. it is so light and fluffy. Yum. I figured, how could this possibly go wrong??

I hate to say it, but I did not like this pie at all... the only appropriate word that comes to my mind is "ICK". I was so bummed. (perhaps it was baker's error on my part, although I did follow the recipe to a T. or maybe I am just a plain old traditionalist when it comes to pies?? ) As I was explaining to my cousin Lynne, who also is a member of TWD, the pumpkin part was somewhat flavorless (maybe needed more spices??). I also was not crazy about the taste of the two mixtures together. Oh well, with 100's of recipes in Dorie's book... it is nearly impossible to win them all. It happens... regardless I am looking forward to the next adventure in TWD. No doubt it will turn out better!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Caramelized Onion-Apple Bites

This year for Thanksgiving, we are going to my sister's... a usual holiday in my family, lots of people and kidos running around. I think 14 people?? Honestly, I lose count.. but the more the merrier! One of my "assignments" this year is to do an appetizer. So, I have been on the hunt for something new to try. Don't get me wrong, I love the usuals that we do... baked brie, bacon wrapped water chestnuts, crab stuffed mushrooms.... to name a few. But sometimes it is nice to change it up a bit, ya know?

I found this recipe Caramelized Onion-Apple Bites, and gave it a test run last night. It was wonderful....(I did make a few adjustments, like leaving out the salt. It doesn't need it) Aside from the fact that it was delicious, I love it that the onion/apple topping can be prepared up to 2 days ahead of time (big bonus at this busy time of year). This one is a keeper...
Makes 32 hors d'oeuvres
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 pound yellow onions, thinly sliced
* 2 Granny Smith or other tart apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted just before use
* 3 ounces fontina cheese, shredded
* 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves

1. Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add apples and stir to coat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until onions are medium brown, about 30 minutes. Stir in pepper and salt to taste. Set aside and let cool, about 10 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 375°. Unwrap puff pastry sheet. Cut sheet into 16 squares, then halve those squares diagonally to make 32 triangles. Arrange them, not touching, on a baking sheet.

3. Place a spoonful of cooled onion-apple mixture on each triangle. Top with a sprinkle of shredded cheese and minced thyme. Bake until puffed and golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.

These savory hors d'oeuvres can be assembled in advance—ideal for relaxed entertaining. Prep and Cook Time: 1 1/2 hours. Notes: The onion-apple topping can be made up to 2 days ahead. The triangles can be prepared, covered, and chilled the morning of a party, then popped into the oven when guests arrive. They can also be frozen, wrapped well, for up to 3 months (do not defrost before baking).

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Coffee cake has always been a favorite in my family, as well as crumb cake. It is tradition, that we serve it while opening presents on Christmas morning... before we make our big breakfast. Between my sibling's families there are 5 kiddos (soon to be 6) that demand we get down to business, ie. opening gifts, before we cook breakfast (who can blame them!! ). I am always looking for great coffee cake recipes... (often times we are lazy and buy Entenmann's .. which by the way is damn good!)

This is a classic recipe using sour cream & it is from a dear family friend... Last night I was feeling up for a challenge and decided to see if I could succeed making it gluten free. It turned out wonderfully! I was very pleased... you never would have known it was GF (which is not always easy to achieve). I am posting the original recipe, with my gluten free adjustments next to it. *if you use Pamelas GF baking mix.. please remember that you must adjust the baking powder & baking soda measurements. The leavening in Pamela's is equivalent to 1 tsp baking powder & 1/4 tsp baking soda per cup.

1/2 c butter
3/4 c sugar
2 eggs or 1/2 c egg substitute
1 cup ligh
t sour cream
1 1/2c flour (I used Pamela's Gluten Free Baking mix)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder (do not add)
1 tsp baking soda (5/8 tsp)
1 tsp vanilla


1/2 c Brown Sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c chopped nuts (I used pecans)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking dish (or tube pan)... I used a 9'"x 13". In a large bowl, cream butter & sugar. Beat in egg substitute. Add sour cream & mix well. Combine the flour, baking powder & baking soda. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, mixing well. Add vanilla. To prepare the topping, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts. Place half of the batter in baking dish & sprinkle with half the topping. Repeat. Cut through the batter several times with knife. Bake 45-50 minutes. Makes 12 servings.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

A few years ago my dear friend, Trish, gave me this recipe for pumpkin cake (I think she had gotten it from a parent of one of her students). She just raved about how incredible it was, and insisted I make it... and oh my goodness am I glad I did. This is a "To Die For" recipe. Since then I have made it countless times and always get amazing reviews.. Today some of the reactions were "soooooooo good, OMG, amazing and someone even said they were orgasmic". Clearly this one is a keeper! *This recipe is just wonderful as cake or cupcakes.

Pumpkin Cake-
makes 24 cupcakes or 1 cake using (2 square or round pans)

4 eggs or equivalent of egg substitute
2 c sugar

1 c oil
1 medium (15oz) can of pure pumpkin
2 c all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp (heaping) cinnamon


8 oz cream cheese
1/2 c butter
2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt & cinnamon.. set aside. In another bowl combine egg, sugar and oil. Beat till smooth, add pumpkin. Add in flour mixture in 3 parts. For cupcakes, bake for 20 minutes or until springy. For cake, bake in pan at 350 for 40-45 minutes. I would recommend two square pans or one big cake pan. If you do 2 small square do 350 for 35 minutes and regular cake pan for 40 minutes. Let it cool completely before you frost. For the frosting combine cream cheese, vanilla and butter.. cream together until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar... "ice" away and enjoy!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Turkey-Veggie Meatballs

It is that time of year where I start to crave comfort food. Unfortunately, there is that annoying part of my brain that is still determined to TRY to keep it light and healthy. Hmph.. (I wish she would just keep quiet some days. I am kidding..well sorta ;) ) At any rate, I had some ground turkey in my fridge that needed to be used. I went to my trusty friend Cooking Light , and the Turkey-Veggie Meatball recipe popped up. It had very good reviews, but a few said that they were a bit dry. So I switched up the recipe a bit... and they were just terrific. (they freeze well too) * My photos aren't my favorite, please forgive the raw meat one.. but i wanted to show what they looked like.Turkey Veggie Meatballs -
makes 30 -serving size 5

1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs (I used Gluten Free Breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) finely shredded skim/low fat mozzarella
1/3 cup finely chopped green onions
1/4 cup coarsely shredded carrot
1/4 cup coarsely shredded zucchini
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 c. egg substitute
1 tbsp minced garlic
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400°. Combine all ingredients except cooking spray in a bowl; stir well. Shape mixture into 30 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs. Place on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until done.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 228 (29% from fat) Fat: 7.3g (sat 3.1g,mono 1.8g,poly 1.4g) Protein: 30.3g Carbohydrate: 8.5g Fiber: 0.8g Cholesterol: 71mg Iron: 2.5mg Sodium: 399mg Calcium: 166mg

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie- Rugelach

One of the things that I just love about baking and/or cooking is creating something new, the process of putting it together and the outcome. It is like a science experiment for me, sometimes it is a great success and sometimes it explodes into disaster. Regardless the result, I just get a kick out of it... so entering a new challenge is incredibly fun for me. This week's recipe was chosen by Grace.... Rugelach. I personally don't think I have ever had this treat, so I had no idea what to expect... perfect!

When I made the dough it came together really quickly.. in fact I was a bit concerned that I "overworked it", as Dorie warns, so I let it chill over night. I switched up the recipe a bit... as I generally am not a fan of cookies with jam or Currants/raisins. Instead for my filling, I used Maple Pumpkin Butter, mini chocolate chips, toasted pecans(chopped finely) and of course cinnamon sugar.

My dough rolled out very easily... but man was it sticky. Thankfully I had fair warning from my cousin Lynne who had made the recipe the night before. *Use lots of flour on your rolling pin and wax paper to make it easier. I decided to go the "pinwheel" route for the sake of ease...

After putting it all together, I let it chill for an hour as it had gotten very soft thru the process. I then, sliced the rolls in 1/4 inch pieces and covered them in cinnamon sugar... skipping the "basting" that Dorie's recipe called for.I have to say, the result was fantastic! The perfect "fallish" combination for me... and they have all but disappeared in the kitchen at my office. My co-workers loved them. Thank you so much Grace for choosing this recipe, which I most likely would have never tried. These will surely go into my cookie "rotation". For the recipe, please visit Grace's wonderful site.