Monday, September 18, 2017

Raspberry Almond Crumb Tart for the birthday boy!



What does the Birthday Boy get for his special birthday treat?  How about a Raspberry Almond Tart!  Shame on me that I did not ask him what he wanted for his birthday cake, but I think I know him pretty well.  In the past we have had a Raspberry pie for his special day so why not try and make a Raspberry Tart on my own.  I still love to bake and make a special treat now and then even though he has taken over the kitchen quite a bit lately.  This is adapted from Eating Well and was pretty easy to make.  I prepared this the day before his birthday and because we had our last "Meet the Teacher" night to attend right after work on the actual day.  That is right - 17 years of meet the teacher if not for both of the kids, then one of them.  When we finally got home, dessert was waiting and was very tasty.  Present too!

Ingredients  for  8 servings

½ cup sliced almonds, (skins on) 
6 tablespoons granulated sugar 
1⅓ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
 ½ teaspoon salt
 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces
 1 large egg yolk
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
¼ teaspoon almond extract
 4½ cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) raspberries 
1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan with cooking spray. 

Combine almonds and sugar in a food processor; pulse until the almonds are finely ground and incorporated with the sugar. Set aside ½ cup of the mixture. Add 1⅓ cups flour and salt to the remaining sugar mixture and pulse briefly to blend. With the motor running, add butter a few pieces at a time until well incorporated. Stir egg yolk, vanilla and almond extracts together in a small bowl until blended. 

With the motor running, add to the processor and pulse until the mixture begins to clump and form a dough, about 1 minute (the mixture will look like crumbly sand). Set aside ⅓ cup of the mixture for the topping. Transfer the remaining dough to the prepared tart pan; spread evenly and press firmly into the bottom and up the sides to form a crust. 

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons flour to the reserved almond mixture; stir to blend. Gently toss raspberries with 2 tablespoons of this mixture in a medium bowl until coated. Spread the berries evenly in the tart pan. Sprinkle the remaining almond mixture over the berries. Pinch the reserved dough into small clumps to make crumbs and sprinkle the crumbs on top of the berries. 

Bake the tart for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until the crust and crumbs are golden brown, about 45 minutes more. Let cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes. 

Serve warm or at room temperature. Remove the pan sides; place confectioners' sugar in a fine sieve and dust the tart just before serving.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Baked Ravioli Lasagna


How easy can this get!  4 ingredients, a little prep time, then 30 minutes in the oven. Plus this is perfect now that the weather is slowly beginning to change.  Think if it as a little bit of comfort food when you don't have the time to make real lasagna from scratch.  We are making this extra special by using one of our favorite sauces from a little restaurant that recently closed.  Canale's traditional sauce is my hubby favorite and we stocked up before they closed their local restaurant.  They still have the original restaurant but that is about 45 minutes away from our house.  It is good thing though that we can get the sauce at the local grocery store.  

So, give this a try and let me know what you think.  


Easy Ravioli Lasagna



1 – 25 oz package frozen cheese ravioli
1 lb cooked ground beef
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 quart or 32 oz tomato sauce


Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9″x 13″ baking pan with non stick cooking spray. Pour a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Layer with half ravioli.Pour 1/2 sauce over mixture. 

Layer remaining ravioli on top of sauce. Layer 1.5 cups cheese, remaining cooked beef and remaining sauce. Add remaining 1 cup cheese to top of casserole.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Top with a little fresh basil.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Peppermint Stick Ice Cream

Christmas Time in the Summer!  

Who doesn't like homemade ice cream?  What about Peppermint Flavored?  This is one of my favorite flavors and reminds me of when I was a kid going to Howard Johnson's for Ice Cream.  Mom, Dad and I would go in to the one nearby and sit at the counter and get a dish of ice cream.  Now I did like the Swiss Chocolate Almond flavor and use to play this game with Mom on how many almond pieces we would get, but my all time favorite was peppermint stick.  

Around here you only see this at Christmas Time.  So this past Christmas season, i picked up a couple extra boxes of peppermint sticks for just this occasion.  We unwrapped them, put them in a storage bag and then into another Ziploc bag.  Took out the meat tenderizer and went to work crushing the sticks to bite size chunks.   Too bad I didn't make this in June for Leon Day


Prepping the ingredients

Crushing the peppermint sticks



PEPPERMINT STICK ICE CREAM

Preparation: 5 – 10 minutes, 25 – 30 minutes chilling time; optional 2 hours to
“ripen” in freezer.

Makes about ten 1/2-cup servings.

 Ingredients


1 cup whole milk, well chilled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3/4 cup crushed hard peppermint candies

Directions

In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer or a whisk to combine the milk and
granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 – 2 minutes on low
speed. Stir in the heavy cream, vanilla and peppermint extract. Turn the
machine ON, pour mixture into freezer bowl through ingredient spout and
let mix until thickened, about 25 – 30 minutes. Add the crushed peppermint
candies during the last 5 minutes of mixing

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Chicken Piccata - oh so good and light!


This was absolutely delicious! Browsing through my new Cooking Light magazine, I found this recipe for Chicken Piccata.  I love the flavor of lemons and the saltiness that the capers bring to this recipe.  The lemon flavored orzo is just right.  One error I made is that I thought that draining the orzo on wax paper rather than a cookie sheet would be easier - it is not.  Just use the cookie sheet. I also did not have a shallot on hand so I just added extra garlic.  The best part is that this recipe is light and lower in calories, so I do not feel guilty taking a small extra helping. 


Ingredients


1 cup uncooked whole-wheat orzo  (I used regular)
3 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour 4 (4-oz.) chicken breast cutlets
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
8 thin lemon slices, seeds removed
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions


Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Spread orzo on a baking sheet; cool 10 minutes. Place orzo in a bowl; add 1 tablespoon juice, 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, parsley, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, stirring to combine.

Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Place chicken on a platter (do not wipe out pan).

Add shallot and garlic to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons juice and lemon slices, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat to low; add capers and butter, stirring until butter melts. Spoon lemon mixture over chicken. Serve with orzo.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Blue Cheese Artichoke Dip for Dinner Club


(I forgot to get the picture of it completed before it was devoured!)

We had dinner club last night at our neighbors across the street.  The theme was pot luck, with just the main course recipe provided.  Each couple was assigned a course and told to bring their favorite recipe.  Ours was the appetizer and we made our Blue Cheese and Artichoke Dip and served it was Kettle Chips.   This is inspired from a appetizer we got a few years back at a place called Tin Pan Galley in Sacketts Harbor.  Homemade Kettle Chips with a warm Blue Cheese dip.  

Several other restaurants now make this and when we see it on the menu we have to order it.  A few years ago I had to make an appetizer for our family Christmas dinner and I made this.  Topped it off with kettle chips and sat it down in front of my mom who just loved it.  If she liked it I knew it was a hit! As you can see from my picture, it was well received at our dinner. 




Blue Cheese Artichoke Dip with Kettle Chips




1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup Light Mayonnaise
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Light Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup crumbled  Blue Cheese
1/2 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
4 green onions, sliced

Kettle Chips

Preheat oven 350°F. Place all ingredients in food processor container; cover. Process just until blended, but not completely smooth.

Spoon into 9-inch pie plate.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve with Kettle Chips

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Zucchini Time


Zucchini Saute

It is that time of year when gardens are plentiful with summer vegetables.  One of my favorite summer veggies is Zucchini. This is a quick dish that the flavors will change with the herb choice.  I used tarragon this time.  Tarragon does have a unique flavor. You can omit the scallions or shallots if you choose or use summer squash as well.   


1 pound (about 3 medium size) zucchini and or yellow squash
1 shallot or 2 scallions
2 tablespons fresh herbs leaves such as tarragon, parsley or dill or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon or dillweed
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Scrub squash and trim ends.  Shred using a shredding disk in food processor.  Mince the shallot or trim and thinly slice the scallions.  Finely chop the herb.





Heat oil in a large skillet. Add shallot(if using scallions, they will be added later) and stir over medium-low heat - 1 minute until soft.  



Increase heat to high.  Add zucchini and cook 2 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring and turning constantly.

Stir in herbs and scallions.  Cook and stir 15 to 30 seconds longer until any liquid reserved from the squash has evaporated.  Season with salt and pepper. 


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Garlic Herb Potato Salad



I am sure that it is no surprise to people who know me that I have always been a picky eater.  No, I don't like sandwiches, condiments, etc.  Lunch to me is a hot lunch or now a good yogurt and granola bar to hold me over.  It took me a while to warm up to summer salads because I really am not a mayo fan.  So when I saw this recipe that has no mayo I gave it a try and loved it.  It is very easy to make and taste great warm and cold too.  Give this a try!


Ingredients



3 lbs small red potatoes , scrubbed and rinsed and diced into small even size chunks (about 1-inch)
1 1/2 Tbsp salt , divided
1/2 cup olive oil (I prefer 1/4 cup extra-virgin 1/4 cup regular)
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic , minced (1 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (from about 1/2 cup cup packed leaves with some stem)
2 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives*
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme

Instructions


Place potatoes in a large pot. Cover potatoes with water (water level should come about an inch or two above potatoes), season with 1 Tbsp salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it reaches a boil reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until potatoes are just tender all the way through, about 10 - 15 minutes (they should pierce easily with a knife, but you also don't want them really tender/mushy). Drain potatoes and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes (cooling is recommend so they don't fall apart while tossing. If you want to serve them hot then plate individual servings of potatoes and spoon dressing over each serving rather then tossing everything together).


While potatoes are cooking prepare the dressing - in a mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, pepper, parsley, chives and thyme. Season with remaining 1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste. Let mixture rest while potatoes continue to cook and cool slightly, then once potatoes are ready, pour drained potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Pour dressing over top and gently toss just a few times to coat. Serve warm or chilled.