29 December, 2011

DIY: Twelfth Night Front Doors

Photo and wreath for dark door on Mardi Gras Outlet
Directions on deep fried kudzu

Photo and tutorial on Mardi Gras Outlet

Photo and tutorial on Mardi Gras Outlet

Photo and tutorial on Mardi Gras Outlet

Photo from The Times-Picayune on NOLA.com

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Last Updated February 11, 2012

21 December, 2011

Chocolate Chunk Hot Cocoa Mix | Real Simple

Chocolate Chunk Hot Cocoa Mix ingredients
Makes: 1 gift (4 cups in all) 
2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
8-oz chopped semisweet chocolate

Notes:  For a printable PDF with the instructions, suitable for including with your gift, go to Homemade How-tos (scroll to third page).

Total time: 10 minutes 
In a bowl, combine the cocoa, sugar, and chocolate. Store in an airtight container. Keep at room temperature for up to 4 months.

To package your gift, transfer the cocoa mix to a resealable airtight container. Try a 25-oz French Terrine glass jar available at containerstore.com.

Handwrite or download the following instructions on a gift tag or label to include with your gift: “In a small saucepan, whisk ¼ cup cocoa mix with ¾ cup milk. Bring to a bare simmer. Serves 1.” 

Tie a ribbon around the container, looping it through a measuring scoop and the gift tag with the instructions.

20 December, 2011

Penne with Italian Sausage | Emeril's

Penne with Italian Sausage ingredients
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1-LB penne pasta
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp salt
1-LB sweet or mild Italian sausage, casings removed and coarsely crumbled or chopped
2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

For garnish:
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

Cranberry-Bourbon Relish | Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay's Cranberry-Bourbon Relish
Makes qty?
1 1/2 Tbsp canola oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 jalapeño or serrano, finely diced
2 cups fresh orange juice
1 cup bourbon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1-LB fresh cranberries or frozen, thawed
2 tsp grated fresh orange zest
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley or fresh cilantro

18 December, 2011

Black Bean Chili | The New York Times

This is a medium-hot vegetarian chili. If you prefer a three-alarm version, make it hotter by using hot ground chili or adding more medium chili. ~Martha Rose Schulman

Martha Rose Shulman's Black Bean Chili ingredients
Makes 6 to 8 servings
2 Tbsp canola oil 
1 onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp mild ground chili (or use hot, or use more)
1 Tbsp lightly toasted cumin seeds, ground
1 (28-oz) can chopped tomatoes, with juice
2 Tbsp tomato paste, dissolved in 1 cup water
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, seeded and chopped
1 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican oregano
Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
4-oz goat cheese, or queso fresco (also known as queso ranchero), crumbled 

For serving:
Corn tortillas or cornbread

17 December, 2011

Art of Antipasti | Saveur (Issue #143)

Is there a better way to start a meal than with an abundant antipasti platter, artfully arranged with ruffles of prosciutto 1, briny olives 2, roasted red peppers, marinated artichokes and mushrooms and pepperoncini, chunks of Parmesan 3, fresh mozzarella 4, and whatever else catches the preparer's fancy? Antipasto, which means "before the meal," stretches back to medieval times in Italy, when diners used to mingle over finger foods, both sweet and savory, before sitting down to eat; early recipes included everything from sugared nuts to clotted cream to spiced ham. Over the centuries, antipasti became the domain of restaurants, which would set out dozens of stuffed, marinated, roasted, and grilled vegetables, meat, and fish. ~Saveur 

"The aim is to excite rather than fill diners, who will then be inspired to choose yet more delicacies from the menu," writes Gillian Riley in The Oxford Companion to Italian Food (Oxford University Press, 2007). People rarely created such elaborate spreads at home, and when Italians emigrated to America, they would often set out a simple platter of store-bought ingredients to be shared as they eased into the meal. 
Over the years, home cooks and chefs have gotten craftier with their antipasti, incorporating more color (fresh tomatoes 5; sauteed zucchini 6 or broccoli rabe 7) and a range of flavors and textures (nuts 8; different kinds of salami; fresh ricotta 9 for slathering over bread). But the spirit of the dish is as generous and convivial as ever. ~Saveur 

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10 December, 2011

Mulled Cider Sachets | Real Simple Magazine

Photo: Christopher Baker via Real Simple Magazine

Mulled Cider Sachets ingredients
Makes 12
12 cinnamon sticks
6 pieces star anise
1 Tbsp whole allspice berries
1 Tbsp whole cloves
6 bouquet garni bags ($8 for 12 bags, surlatable.com)


Assemble the sachets:  Divide the cinnamon, star anise, allspice, and cloves among the bags. Keep at room temperature for up to 6 months.

Package your gift:  Divide the sachets between 2 small boxes lined with decorative foil or paper. Try the Bamboo Stackable Drawer Organizers available at containerstore.com (3- x 6- x 2-inches, $4 each).

Handwrite or download (scroll to page 2) the following instructions on a gift tag or label to include with your gift: “Simmer 1 sachet in 2 quarts apple cider for 15 minutes. Serves 8.”

Tuck gift tags with instructions into the boxes; wrap with decorative wrapping paper or fabric that is cut to the width of each box, leaving the ends open. Secure each with a ribbon and finish by tying on a cinnamon stick and a star anise piece.

04 December, 2011

Ragù Bolognese | David Leite

Marcella, in her inimitable fashion, offers the home cook plenty of suggestions to create an authentic Bolognese sauce recipe, the kind my grandmother would approve of. First, the more marbled the meat, the sweeter the ragù. The most desirable cut of beef is the neck portion of the chuck. You may have to call up and order it from your butcher. It’s also important to salt the meat as soon as it hits the pan; it extracts the juices and flavors the sauce. Last, use a heavy pot that retains heat. (I use my Le Creuset 5-quart Dutch oven.) Avoid a cast-iron pot, as the acid can interact with the metal and turn the sauce an unpleasant blech color. ~David Leite

Ragù Bolognese ingredients
Makes 4 cups
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
8 Tbsp unsalted butter (divided use)
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/3 cups chopped celery
1 1/3 cups cup chopped carrot
1.5-LB ground beef chuck, ground pork, and ground veal
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups whole milk
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups dry white wine
3 cups reduced homemade tomato purée or canned imported Italian San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand, with their juice

For serving:
Warm, cooked and drained spaghetti
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Notes:  David says, "Rush this recipe, and you’ll miss its most important ingredient. Time." This recipe takes, " 6 hours, most of it unattended, except for making lazy eights with a wooden spoon."

03 December, 2011

Menu: German Christmas Dinners | Saveur

Dinner Menu 1
November 2011
As appeared in Saveur 

"According to German folklore, those who don't eat well on Christmas Eve will be haunted by demons throughout the night."

(A specialty of Swabia in southern Germany)

(For the vegetarian guest, keep the spinach salad's hot bacon dressing 
on the side, and also offer a simple balsamic vinaigrette.)

This recipe is from Mimi Sheraton, The German Cookbook
(Random House, 1965).

Dinner Menu 2
November 2011
As appeared in Saveur

This recipe adapts Jan Mitchell, Lüchow's German Cookbook (Doubleday, 1952).

Cranberry Orange Cookies | Fake Ginger

"The sugar make them a little crunchy on the outside but they stay soft on the inside."

Cranberry Orange Cookie ingredients
Makes qty?
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1 Tbsp orange zest

Rolling sugar:
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp orange zest

Baked Crab Rangoon | Classic Gourmet

Image credit

Baked Crab Rangoon ingredients
Makes 12
1 (6-oz) can white crab meat, drained and flaked
4-oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup Kraft mayonnaise
12 won ton wrappers

Chopped green onions

A Taste of New England — For Fried Crab Rangoon, delete mayonnaise and use  2 (8-oz) pkgs cream cheese with 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 garlic clove and 2 green onions (all chopped), dash of paprika with 1 can of crabmeat. Mix all ingredients and refrigerate for several hours. Make a paste with flour and water to glue edges of wonton wrappers. Place 1/2 tsp cream cheese mixture in middle of each wrapper; seal edges with the flour glue. Using deep fat fryer if you have it, fry stuffed wonton pillows in oil at 350ºF to 375ºF until edges are brown. Serve warm.

The Fried Crab Rangoon recipe is from The Junior League of Worcester, Inc, A Taste of New England (Memphis: The Wimmer Companies, Inc, 1990), 21.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Mix crab meat, cream cheese, onions, and mayonnaise.

Apply vegetable oil spray to 12 medium muffin cups. Gently place one won ton wrapper in each cup; allow edges of wrappers to extend above sides of cups.

Evenly fill each cup with crab meat mixture. Bake until edges are golden brown and filling is heated through, about 18 to 20 minutes.

Serve warm (but also good cold!).

This recipe is from Crye-Leike, Realtors, Classic Gourmet (Collierville: Fundcraft Publishing, Inc, 2009), 8.

Page Last Updated 5 April 2015

Basil-Red Pepper Olive Oil

Use as a condiment or in marinades (perfect for Marinated Mushrooms). Add to plain buttered pasta.   

Basil Red-Pepper Olive Oil ingredients
Makes 1.5 cups
1-1/2 cups olive oil (divided use)
1 tsp minced garlic (divided use)
1 tsp crushed basil
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 (0.66-oz) pkg fresh basil leaves
2 green onions, sliced

Notes: Safety Precautions

Heat 1/2 cup olive oil and saute green onions and 1/2 tsp minced garlic. Bruise basil leaves in your hand and add with remaining olive oil to pan; heat through. 

Remove from heat; let mixture cool completely.

Pour into a clean and dry glass container. Cap and store for several months in a cool cupboard.

02 December, 2011

Fruited Baked Brie

This post contains three appetizer recipes using brie and either berries or cherries.
  • Brie with Cranberries & Pistachios
  • Cherry-Pecan Brie
  • Triple Berry Baked Brie

Photo and recipe via Betty Crocker

Brie with Cranberries & Pistachios
Makes 8 appetizer servings
Vegetable oil to grease the baking dish
8-oz round Brie, herb or plain (Do not peel coating from cheese.)
1/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
1 Tbsp coarsely chopped pistachios

For serving:
Sliced baguette loaf or water crackers

Iced Fruits For Punch | Good Housekeeping Cookbook (1963 Edition)

Frozen whole fruits are especially nice "icers"; they do the same chilling job that ice rings or ice cubes do, but are more colorful, do not dilute punch, and can be eaten later.

Grapes, peaches, nectarines, plums, pears, apricots, lemons, cherries, and strawberries all freeze successfully. Of these, grapes and cherries stay close to the bottom of the punch bowl, while rest float on top. So always freeze one or two large bunches of grapes; then you can anchor smaller frozen fruit beneath them.

Before freezing, wash and dry fruits. Arrange on foil, then freeze overnight or till frozen. At serving time, arrange in chilled punch bowl, and add punch. Remember--- don't use too much of the fruits or it may be difficult to ladle your punch.

These tips are on from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook Edited by Dorothy B Marsh (Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc, 1963), 687.

01 December, 2011

Cookie Dough Dip | Add a Pinch

Cookie Dough Dip ingredients
Makes 12 servings
For dip:
1 (8-oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1.5 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup toffee bits

For serving:
Graham crackers
Apple wedges (dipped in citrus juice to prevent browning)