What’s Next on my Plate:

Hawaiian Mahi Mahi rolls stuffed with mango and macadamia nut stuffing

Æbelskiver (Danish Filled Pancakes)

Chicken Canzanese with Polenta Cakes

Lillet Poached Pears with Thyme & Pepper

Triple Lemon Baked Doughnuts

(German Braised Rabbit Stew)

Pesto Goat Cheese Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies

Nov 25th, 2014 by Kat | Comments Off

Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies

12 ounces (1 package) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter
3 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
12 oz (1 package) peppermint Andes Candies Chips
Peppermint Sprinkles (or crushes up candy canes), optional

Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with silpat or parchment paper.

In a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water (or a double boiler), melt together chocolate and butter, mix until smooth. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in melted chocolate. Mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in the peppermint chips. Drop tablespoons of dough evenly placed about 1 1/2 inches apart onto the lined cookie sheet and sprinkle with some of the peppermint sprinkles (or crushed candy canes). Bake, until cookies are crackly, about 12 minutes. The cookies should still be soft. Do not over bake.

Cool on sheets until about mostly cool then carefully transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely.

Print/PDF Version

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

Nov 21st, 2014 by Kat | Comments Off

1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup roasted and shelled pistachios
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, optional

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with a parchment paper or silpat

In a food processor, pulse the cranberries a few times. Coarsely chop the pistachios. Set aside.

In the work bowl of your stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until well combined, another 2 or so minutes. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt and mix just until well combined. The dough will be pretty sticky at this point. Add cranberries and pistachios.

Sprinkle some flour on the prepared baking sheet and transfer the dough onto the floured baking sheet using a silicone spatula. Form into about 11×3.5inch log. Since the dough is quite sticky, flour your hands. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Using a serrated knife cut the loaf, while it’s still warm, into 3/4 inch thick slices. Place them back on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. For extra crunch, flip them and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove and let cool completely on a wire rack.

If desired, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler until smooth, stirring frequently. Transfer the melted chocolate to the pastry bag with small round tip or a zip-lock bag with small hole cut in the corner, and drizzle over the biscotti.

Print/PDF Version

Raspberry Hot Chocolate Mix

Nov 19th, 2014 by Kat | Comments Off

1 cup milk powder
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch processed)
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
3/4 cup raspberry powder
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
marshmallows to taste

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Place in an airtight container or ziplock bag and use as needed (see below). Makes 8-10 8 ounce servings and lasts 3-4 months.

To make a mug of hot chocolate, combine 8 tablespoons of the cocoa mixture with 8 ounces of steaming hot milk. Let sit for 2 minutes before stirring and drinking. Enjoy!

Print/PDF Version

Apple and Honey Pinwheel Cookies

Nov 14th, 2014 by Kat | Comments Off

for the Filling
1 1/2 cups dried apples
1 cup apple butter
1 apple, peeled, cored and cut to a small dice
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

for the Dough
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, or allspice
1/3 cup canola oil
3 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons low-fat milk, plus more as needed
2 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

To prepare filling: Combine dried and fresh apple, apple butter, honey, orange zest, cinnamon and cardamom (or allspice) in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and cook, stirring, until the dried apples have softened and the fresh apple pieces have nearly fallen apart, 4 to 5 minutes. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor and puree. If the mixture seems dry, stir in up to 2 teaspoons water. Transfer the mixture to a container and refrigerate while preparing the dough.

To prepare dough: Whisk all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and cardamom (or allspice) in a large bowl. In another large bowl, combine oil, butter, sugar, honey, eggs, milk, orange zest, vanilla and almond extracts. Beat the wet ingredients with an electric mixer first on low speed, then on medium speed, until well combined. Add half the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until evenly incorporated. If the mixture is too dry to hold together, stir in up to 1 tablespoon more milk. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at minimum 2 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide in half. Shape each half into a 6-inch-long log. Working with one log at a time, center it on a 16-inch-long sheet of baking parchment or wax paper. Cover with a second sheet. Press and then roll into a 12-by-15-inch rectangle of even thickness, inverting the dough occasionally to roll out any wrinkles and patching it to make the sides as even as possible. Transfer the dough, in the paper, to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining log of dough and transfer to the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the dough is slightly firm, about 15 minutes.

To prepare pinwheel rolls: Place one sheet of dough on a work surface. Peel off the top sheet of paper. Spread half the filling evenly over the dough (it will be a thin layer). Working from a 15-inch-long side, tightly roll up the dough jelly-roll style, leaving the bottom sheet of paper behind. While rolling, slightly stretch out the center to yield an evenly thick roll. Wrap the roll in a clean sheet of wax paper, twisting the ends to prevent unrolling. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the second piece of dough and place on the baking sheet. Freeze until firm, at least 3 to 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper.

Working with one pinwheel roll at a time, trim the uneven ends. Cut the roll crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices using a large serrated knife. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. Bake the cookies until puffed and barely golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes. Immediately transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Cut and bake the remaining pinwheel roll.

Print/PDF Version

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

Nov 10th, 2014 by Kat | Comments Off

for the stew
2 pounds skirt steak (steak tips), 1 – 1 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup crimini mushrooms, 1 – 1 1/2 inch dice (optional)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, small dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup carrots, peeled and small dice
1/2 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine
3 cups low sodium beef stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon corn starch, mixed with 3 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons heavy cream

for the mashed sweet potatoes
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 cups half and half
8 tablespoons butter, divided
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a small pot of water to a boil over medium heat and add the carrots. Boil for 10-12 minutes, until carrots are tender. Rinse and set carrots aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and heat to a shimmer. Once hot, add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the crimini mushrooms, if using and sauté until they are tender. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove to a prep bowl and replace pan on the burner. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat again until shimmering. Add the meat and brown (you may have to do this in batches as not to crowd the pan — you want the meat to sear, not steam). Season with salt, pepper, herbs de Provence and paprika. Once the meat is cooked, remove it from the pan to a mixing bowl as well. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping the bottom of the pan for all the fond.

Return meat and onion-mushroom mixture to the pan and add beef stock and tomato paste. Bring mixture to a low simmer and cover, to let cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Test the meat for tenderness. If ready, add the corn starch slurry and bring to a rolling boil for just 30 seconds to thicken. Remove from the heat and add in the cream. Finally, stir in the cooked carrots and frozen peas. Ladle into your pie dishes and let cool to room temperature.

While the stew is cooling, make your mashed sweet potatoes. Cook potatoes over medium heat until tender, about 15-18 minutes. In a small saucepan, heat the half-and-half, and melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Drain potatoes and place in a mixing bowl. using your hand mixer, whip potatoes, adding the cream/butter mixer. Be careful not to let the mashed potatoes get gluely.

Preheat your oven to 400F.

To assemble, spread a healthy portion of the mashed potatoes over the stew. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until potatoes are browned. Let rest 10-15 minutes before serving.

Print/PDF Version