Monday, December 10, 2018

Double Pecan Thumbpints

It's Holiday season ,so that means it's Sweet treats season too!

These buttery frangipane-filled pecan buttons are decadent without being fragile, and they make excellent cookies for boxing up and giving as gifts. Dusting them powdered sugar before baking creates a crackly, glossy coating. Feel free to add more afterward as well.

Check it out-

INGREDIENTS: 

Frangipane 
2 cups pecan halves
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg white
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp. espresso powder
 ½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. almond extract Dough and Assembly
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. baking powder
 ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
 ¾ cup powdered sugar, divided; plus more for serving (optional)
 1 large egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract or paste

DIRECTIONS:

 Frangipane

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly toast pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing halfway through, until slightly darkened in color and fragrant, 6–8 minutes.

Let cool; set 1¼ cups pecans aside for making the dough.
Pulse granulated sugar and remaining ¾ cup pecans in a food processor until nuts are very finely ground (be careful to stop before they become a paste), 30–60 seconds.

Add egg white and pulse just to blend, then add butter, espresso powder, salt, and almond extract.
Pulse just until mixture is smooth and combined.
Scrape frangipane into a small bowl and chill at least 30 minutes before using.

Do Ahead: Frangipane can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled. You will have more than you need, but try slathering leftovers on toasted brioche and baking until lightly browned (sort of like an almond croissant). We guarantee you won’t be upset about it.

Dough and Assembly Pulse flour, salt, baking powder, and 1 cup reserved pecans in clean food processor until nuts are very finely ground, about 1 minute.

Beat butter, granulated sugar, and ¼ cup powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat until combined and no streaks remain. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients. Beat just until incorporated, about 1 minute. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough until it’s firm enough that you can scoop it and it will hold its shape, 30–45 minutes.

Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 350°. Place ½ cup powdered sugar in a shallow bowl. Working in batches, scoop out tablespoonfuls of dough and roll into balls between your hands, then roll in powdered sugar, knocking off any excess. Transfer to 2 parchment-lined baking sheets as you work, spacing 2" apart.

Bake cookies until puffed but edges are still soft, 6–8 minutes. Carefully remove from oven and make an indent in the center of each cookie with the handle end of a wooden spoon or a similar heatproof object. Spoon a heaping ½-teaspoonful of frangipane into each and top with a pecan half from remaining reserved ¼ cup. Return cookies to oven and continue to bake until edges are set and very lightly browned, 6–8 minutes longer. Let cool on baking sheets.

 Just before serving, dust cookies with more powdered sugar if desired.

Do Ahead: Cookies can be baked 5 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Enjoy!  Eat Well My friends!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Sweet Potato Pie With Marshmellow Meringue

Hey babies....Here is a savory pie for the fall that isn't Pumpkin...Sweet Potato Pie with Marshmellow Meringue.

Sweet potatoes are essentially the closest you’ll get to pumpkin in both taste and consistency. With ingredients and spices similar to that of a pumpkin pie, it’s the perfect alternative to the fall classic. Factor in the rich and fluffy marshmallow meringue, and you have an utterly delectable treat in your hands..

So check this out-

INGREDIENTS:


1 cupall-purpose flour (sifted)
½ teaspoonsalt
⅓ cupshortening (+1 Tablespoon)
2 tablespoonsice cold water
3 large sweet potatoes (to make 2 cups of filling, do not use canned)
4 egg yolks (from large eggs)
¾ cupsugar
¼ cupbrown sugar (lightly packed)
¼ cupevaporated milk
1 tablespoonfresh lemon juice
1 teaspoonvanilla extract
1 teaspoonground cinnamon
½ teaspoonkosher salt
¼ teaspoonground nutmeg
1 lemon (zest of)
6 egg whites (room temperature)
3 ½ cups marshmallow creme

DIRECTIONS:
For the pie crust, measure flour into bowl; mix salt through it. With pastry blender (or two knives) cut in shortening until particles are the size of giant peas. Sprinkle with cold water, a Tablespoon at a time, mixing lightly with fork, until all flour is moistened.
Here is my trick. No matter what crust I use, it never seems to roll out as large as I want, so I increase the recipe by about half (it doesn’t even need to be exact). This gives me extra dough on the edges for a thicker crust and I often have enough left over to make little cut outs as well. This crust recipe is for an 8″ or 9″ pie, but with the increase, it fits my 9″ deep dish pan, which is what I used to make this pie. It’s up to you whether you increase the recipe for the dough or not.

 Gather dough together with fingers so it cleans the bowl. Press firmly into a ball. Then turn out lightly on a board covered with wax paper and lightly floured to prevent sticking.

 Prepare your rolling pin by covering it with a stockinet. If you do not have a stockinet, you must get one. It will make your crust endeavors so much easier. Flatten the disc with your hand and roll out the dough to about 1/8″ thick. Keep rounding the pastry edge. If it begins to break, pinch broken edges together the best you can. Keep pastry circular and roll it about 1″ larger all around than an inverted pie pan.

 Fold pastry in half and carefully transfer to your pie pan. Unfold and ease pastry loosely into pan. Do not stretch which causes shrinking during baking.

Fold the edges under and crimp as desired. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place pie shell in the freezer for 15 minutes or until firm. Line frozen shell with foil, pressing firmly against the sides and folding gently over the edges. Fill shell with raw rice or dried beans and blind bake until crust is set but not browned, about 20 minutes. Unfold foil at edges and carefully lift it out; return shell to oven and bake 5-10 minutes, or until pale golden.

 For the filling, bake sweet potatoes for 40-50 minutes or until very soft in a 400 degree oven. Peel while hot and place potatoes in food processor.

 Puree until smooth. Peeling and processing the potatoes while hot makes a smoother puree.

 Add egg yolks, sugars, milk, lemon juice, vanilla, spices and lemon zest; whisk just to blend. Pour filling into pie crust (it’s alright if the crust is still hot from baking…if you are using a store bought crust, make sure it’s at least room temperature), smooth the top and bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Reduce oven to 325 degrees and continue baking until a knife inserted 1″ from the center comes out clean, 20-30 minutes. Remove pie but leave oven on.

 Beat room temperature egg whites (you can do this and have it ready while pie is baking) with a mixer in a clean metal or glass bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add marshmallow creme and continue beating until stiff peaks form, 5-7 minutes more.

 Spread meringue over pie all the way to edges so the meringue doesn’t shrink. (Beads of liquid often form on meringue. To avoid “weeping” spread the meringue on the pie while the filling is hot, then brown it.) Spike it to make swirls and swoops. Return pie to the oven and bake 15-20 minutes or until topping is golden, rotating for even browning. Watch the pie carefully at this point, do not walk away…meringue can burn.


Cool pie to room temperature and place in the fridge over night before serving.

 And there you have it...Enjoy!  Eat well my friends!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Honey Wings

It's time to get serious about Honey Barbecue Wings....Here is the real deal about how to prepare em...Check it out..

INGREDIENTS:
  • 18 chicken wings
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 12 teaspoon sugar
  • 12 teaspoon paprika
  • 12 teaspoon black pepper
  • 14 teaspoon cayenne
  •  Cooking spray
  • SAUCE
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce, preferably Hickory Smoke Flavor
  • 12 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 12 teaspoon garlic powder
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Wash, dry, and season the wings with the salt, garlic, pepper, cayenne, sugar, and paprika. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Spray a cookie sheet with a generous spray of cooking spray.
  3. Place the wings in a single layer on the cookie sheet, and place in the oven.
  4. Cook for 35-40 minutes, depending on the size of the wings, turning once.
  5. While they are baking, make the sauce by slowly simmering the sauce ingredients over the lowest heat.
  6. When the wings are done baking, carefully dip them in the sauce, and place them back in the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling.
  7. ENJOY! Eat well My friends!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Spicy Beef & Pepper Stir-Fry



In a mood for Chinese or Pan Asian? Here is a great start...


INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 pound beef top sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh gingerroot
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha Asian hot chili sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 large sweet red pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
DIRECTIONS:
  • In a large bowl, toss beef with ginger, 2 garlic cloves, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand 15 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk coconut milk, sugar, chili sauce, lime zest, lime juice and remaining salt until blended.
  • In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add beef; stir-fry 2-3 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove from pan.
  • Stir-fry red pepper, red onion, jalapeno and remaining garlic in remaining oil 2-3 minutes or just until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in coconut milk mixture; heat through. Add spinach and beef; cook until spinach is wilted and beef is heated through, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with green onions and cilantro.
Enjoy! Eat Well My friends!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Country Bacon Beef Mac & Cheese

The Ultimate in Slow Cooker Comfort Food is this dish right here...Meaty slow cooker mac and cheese is easy to make, very tasty and the kids will love it!

Check it Out!

INGREDIENTS:
  • 5 bacon strips, chopped
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely grated
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups uncooked protein plus or whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
DIRECTIONS:
  • In a large skillet, cook bacon, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until crisp, 5-6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of drippings. Brown ground beef in drippings; remove from pan. Add onion to skillet; cook and stir until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute more.
  • Combine red pepper, carrot, seasonings and pasta in a 4-qt. slow cooker. Layer with ground beef, bacon and onion mixture (do not stir). Pour in broth.
  • Cook, covered, on low until meat and vegetables are tender, about 1 hour. Thirty minutes before serving, stir in sour cream and cheeses.
ENJOY! EAT WELL MY FRIENDS!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are always a crowd pleaser at the Thanksgiving table or at any table for that mater (Except when they're not.)

So knowing how to make them the right way is kind of essential. And while they seem easy enough to whip up on the fly, there are a few trick you can employ to ensure your mash is fluffy and light instead of gloppy and gloopy.

 Here's how to master mashed potatoes:

1. Choose the right potato(es)

Starchy potatoes like Russets are the classic and best choice for mashed potatoes. Their high starch content guarantees a light, fluffy result that easily soaks up butter and cream. Using low-starch, waxy potatoes such as fingerlings or red-skinned potatoes will result in a mash that's gummy.
However, while Russets make for a fluffy mash, they do tend to be milder in flavor than some other varieties. Combining Russets with a flavorful potato, such as Yukon Golds (which are lower in starch than Russets, but totally big on flavor) makes for a richer, more buttery-tasting mash.

2. Cut the potatoes evenly

For classic Thanksgiving potatoes, you'll want to peel them first. Start by peeling one potato, cutting it into large, even chunks and placing the chunks directly into a bowl of cold water. Then continue with the next potato. Placing potatoes directly into the water will keep them from browning and rinse off some excess starch.

3. Boil potatoes starting with cold water

Drain the chopped potatoes and then transfer to a large pot and cover them with fresh cold water. Bringing your potatoes to a boil with the water rather than adding them to already boiling water will ensure they cook evenly—this is also why you want evenly chopped potatoes: so that a small chunk doesn't overcook while you're waiting for a larger one to be done.
Potatoes are pretty much a blank slate when it comes to flavor, so it's important to season as you go. Generously salt the water you use to boil your potatoes. "I also like boiling the potatoes with whole peeled garlic," says former Epi editor Adina Steiman. The garlic infuses into the potatoes as they cook, adding a subtle savory flavor.

Rice the potatoes

"A potato ricer is the best way to make mashed potatoes," says senior food editor Anna Stockwell: it's the best way to limits lumps, prevents you from overworking the potatoes, and makes things go along more quickly than using other methods. Want mashed potatoes that are fluffy rather than gluey? Put the potato masher aside and reach for a ricer instead.



Thanksgiving isn't the right time to put a hold on fat. Reach for high-quality unsalted butter (so you can control the salt yourself), whole milk, and real cream for the ultimate mash. Let the butter soften to room temperature—if you melt it, you'll loose the emulsion resulting in potatoes that are less creamy.
However, for maximum absorption—and so you don't cool down the potatoes too quickly—you'll want to heat up the milk and cream. Don't bring it to a boil, just heat it until it's hot to the touch or you start to see steam rising from the pot. Feel free to toss in a few fresh thyme sprigs, garlic cloves, or bay leaves to infuse the milk while it warms up—just be sure to leave them behind in the pot when you pour the milk into the potatoes. If you want to add tang, swap out some of the milk for buttermilk, sour cream, or full-fat Greek yogurt. Since they'll curdle when heated, these can be added cold.

6. Reheat the right way

Yes, you can make mashed potatoes ahead of time. The challenge is reheating them while keeping them luscious. Potatoes continue to absorb moisture as they sit, so former food editor Katherine Sacks recommends keeping some of the milk you're putting in the mash to the side to use when you reheat it. "Make the mashed potatoes a bit drier then you want them to be. When you're ready to reheat them, simmer the remaining milk in a pot, stir in the mash, cover and warm over low heat."

 ENJOY!  EAT WELL MY FRIENDS!

Food Safety Tips
Protect yourself against food-borne illnesses.


1. Use a "refrigerator thermometer" to keep your food stored at a safe temperature (below 40 degrees fahrenheit).

Cold temperatures slow the growth of bacteria. Ensuring that your refrigerator temperature stays at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of food-borne illness. You can buy a refrigerator/freezer thermometer at appliance stories, home centers (i.e. Home Depot), and kitchen stores including online ones, such as Cooking.com.

2. Defrost food in the refrigerator, the microwave, or in cold water... never on the counter!

Perishable foods should never be thawed on the counter for longer than two hours because, while the center of the food may remain frozen, the outer surface may enter the Danger Zone, the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly. If you’re short on time, use the microwave or you can thaw meat and poultry in airtight packaging in cold water. Change the water every half-hour so it stays cold and use the thawed food immediately.

3. Always use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/fish and cooked foods/fresh produce.

Bacteria from uncooked meat, poultry, and fish can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. An important way to reduce this risk is to use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/ fish, and cooked foods/fresh produce.

4. Always cook meat to proper temperatures, using a calibrated instant-read thermometer to make sure.

One effective way to prevent illness is to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry, and egg dishes. The USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures are as follows:

* Beef, veal, and lamb (steaks and roasts), fish - 145 degrees fahrenheit

* Pork and ground beef - 160 degrees fahrenheit

* Poultry - 165 degrees fahrenheit.

Cook meats like roasts and steaks to lower temperatures, closer to medium-rare, so that they retain their moisture. It is recommended that those who are at high risk for developing food-borne illness (i.e. pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, people with weakened immune systems, or certain chronic illnesses) should follow the USDA guidelines.

5. Avoid unpasteurized/raw milk and cheeses made from unpasteurized milk that are aged less than 60 days.

Raw milk is milk from cows, sheep, or goats that has not been pasteurized (heated to a very high temperature for a specific length of time) to kill harmful bacteria that may be present. These bacteria, which include salmonella, E. coli and listeria, can cause serious illness and sometimes even death. The bacteria in raw milk can be especially dangerous to pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses. Raw milk cheeses aged 60 days or longer are okay, since the salt and acidity of the cheese-making process make for a hostile environment to pathogens.

6. Never eat "runny" eggs or foods, such as cookie dough, that contain raw eggs.

Even eggs that have clean, intact shells may be contaminated with salmonella, so it’s important to cook eggs thoroughly until both the yolk and the white are firm. Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees fahrenheit and you can use an instant-read food thermometer to check. Eggs should always be cooked fully and those who are at high risk for developing foodborne illness (pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems or certain chronic illnesses should follow the USDA guidelines. If you can’t resist runny eggs or sampling cookie batter, use pasteurized eggs. They’re found near other eggs in large supermarkets.

7. Always wash your hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before handling food and after touching raw meat, poultry, or eggs.

You can pick up a lot of bacteria out in the world, so it’s important to always wash your hands before you eat or prepare food. You should also wash your hands after touching any uncooked meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, as the bacteria from these foods can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. Use soap and warm water and wash thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.

8. Always heat leftover foods to 165 degrees fahrenheit.

The USDA recommends heating all cooked leftovers to 165 degrees fahrenheit in order to kill all potentially dangerous bacteria.

9. Never eat meat, poultry, eggs, or sliced fresh fruits and vegetables that have been left out for more than two hours or more than one hour in temperatures hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you leave perishable foods out of the refrigerator or freezer for more than two hours they may enter the Danger Zone—the unsafe temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly.

10. Whenever there’s a food recall, check products stored at home to make sure they are safe.

You should discard any food that’s been recalled because it’s associated with the outbreak of a food-borne illness. But, according to a survey conducted by Rutgers University during the fall of 2008, only about 60% of Americans search their homes for foods that have been recalled because of contamination. For more information on food recalls, visit the website Recalls.gov






Cavier & Vodka
Courtesy of The Lady (Bug) of the Household