Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cocktails and Dreams

This popular starter can be just as easy to prepare as it looks! Serve it with some flair for an elegant first course.



Shrimp Cocktail
Printable recipe

Ingredients:
  • 4-5 Large-jumbo shrimp per serving
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Lemon wedges
  • Cocktail sauce








Directions:
1) Fill a medium pot about halfway with water.
2) Add lemon juice and salt and bring to a boil over high heat.
3) Add shrimp to water and reduce to medium heat.
4) Cook for about 5 minutes until pink on the outside and opaque all the way through.
5) Strain shrimp and run under cold water.
6) Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour or until serving time. 
7) Remove peel, leaving the tail still on.
8) Serve with lemon wedges and cocktail sauce!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Stuck Like Glue

If you want to take a crack at making a gingerbread house or if you just need to decorate some cookies, royal icing is just what you'll need. Royal icing can be used as a sort of edible glue for all your pastry needs!



Royal Icing
Printable recipe

Ingredients:
  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • 1.5 Tbsp meringue powder (available in craft stores)
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla, or almond (or peppermint!) extract




Directions:
1) Combine powdered sugar with meringue powder in a small mixing bowl.
2) Add water and extract.
3) Using an electric mixer, beat on high for about six minutes until stiff peaks form.
 

4) Add coloring if wanted and use to decorate your cookies or to make your gingerbread house! If icing is too thick add water.

Tastes Like Xmas

This is the recipe I was going to post last week and then didn't. It goes along with the previous week's recipe for Gingerbread Rice Krispy Treats, except I did these ones in the microwave for anyone who wants to give that a go instead of the stove-top method. Use these ingredients in the previous recipe if you don't want to do them in the microwave.


Candy Cane Krispy Treats

Ingredients:
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 4 cups (1 12oz bag) mini marshmallows
  • 1 Tbsp peppermint extract
  • 10 peppermint candies
  • 2 Tbsp mini chocolate chips (optional)
  • 6 c Rice Krispies cereal



Directions:
1) Unwrap candy and put in a ziploc bag. Cover with a dish towel and crush using a hammer. Transfer to a small bowl and mix in chocolate chips if desired.
2) Prepare pan with cooking spray and set aside.
3) Melt butter in a small bowl.
4) Put marshmallows in a large bowl and pour butter on top. Stir to coat evenly.
 
5) Microwave on high for 1 minute, then 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until completely melted.
6) Stir in Krispies about 2 cups at a time.
7) Transfer to baking pan and smooth with a rubber spatula.
8) Sprinkle with peppermint (and chocolate) and press down with spatula to adhere.
9) Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set then turn out on a cutting board.
 10) Let treats return to room temperature then cut into squares and cover until ready to serve.
 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Not the Gumdrop Buttons!

A holiday twist on this comfort food classic!





Gingerbread Rice Krispy Treats
Printable version

Ingredients:
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 4 cups (1 12oz bag) mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon or extract
  • 6 c Rice Krispies cereal



Directions:
1) Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat.

2) Add marshmallows and stir until melted.
3) Mix in ginger and cinnamon.
4) Turn off heat and mix in Rice Krispies 1 or 2 cups at a time. If marshmallow starts to get hard to work with turn the burner on briefly to soften it.
5) Spoon mixture in a greased 13" x 9" baking sheet and smooth using a rubber spatula. *
[This was where I forgot to continue to take photos]
6) Let cool completely then cut into squares and serve!


*Alternate preparation: Spread treats onto cookie sheet instead of baking pan, flatten as much as possible and cut out pieces using a gingerbread man cookie cutter.


You can't catch me I'm the Gingerbread Man

Saturday, November 26, 2011

ToMAYto, ToMAHto

I know I already posted a recipe for tomato bruschetta but I had the idea for this after sampling a similar treat at work. Aside from making the pesto, this recipe is easier to prepare than the traditional version, with the same flavors. What's great is that once the pesto is made, you can make as much or little as you want!

Pesto and Tomato Bruschetta

Ingredients:
  • 12 slices Italian bread
  • 2-3 Roma tomatoes
  • Pesto:
  • 1c basil, loosley packed, chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts, chopped
  • 1/4 c finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp white or balsamic vinegar*

Directions:
1) Prepare pesto: chop basil (requires more of a slicing action than chopping, or use scissors).
2) Put basil, pine nuts, garlic and salt into a blender or food processor.
3) Pour olive oil into blender and pulse until blended evenly.
4) Blend/process on a high setting until smooth.
5) Transfer to a small bowl.
6) Mix in cheese and vinegar.

7) Prepare bruschetta!: Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
8) Thinly slice tomatoes.
9) Place slices of bread on baking sheet.
10) Cook for 5-7 minutes until lightly toasted.
11) Remove bread from baking sheet.
12) Spread a thin layer of pesto sauce on each slice, place 2-3 tomatoes on each slice and top with Parmesan.
13) Enjoy!

*If you are making pesto for a different use, leave out vinegar.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Kangarookies

Here's a recipe for sugar cookies that is not only nice and simple but also doesn't taste like cardboard. They are even better if you decide to ice them!

You can obviously make any shape you want but I chose the kangaroo cookie cutter I won from Kirsti's blogiversary giveaway! She also posts recipes, and good ones, so go there. Now.

Kangaroo Sugar Cookies
(Printable recipe)

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/4 c powdered/confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar

  • 1 tsp vanilla or flavored extract
  • 1 Tbsp half and half or whole milk
  • 1 egg

Icing:
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 1.5 Tbsp milk
  • Optional: Food coloring of your choice


Directions:
Preheat to 375ยบ
1) Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a small bowl.
2) In a large bowl, cream together sugars, vanilla, and butter with electric mixer.
3) Mix in vanilla and milk.
4) Mix in egg.
5) Split dough in half and wrap up in parchment or wax paper. *
6) Refrigerate for at least one hour.
7) Lay down a cutting board and sprinkle flour (I like to use a flour/powered sugar combo) on it and rub some on your rolling pin.
8) Take out half your dough, lightly coat it with flour and roll out to about 1/8" to 1/4" thick.
9) Cut out cookies with your cookie cutter and transfer shapes to parchment lined cookie sheet.
10) Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned.
11) Cool completely before icing.
My brother said they look like dinosaurs. He's kinda right.


Icing:
Mix together ingredients. Add more milk or sugar as needed. After icing, sprinkle with granulated sugar to make them sparkly.
1 c powdered sugar will give you about 1/2 c icing.

*If you don't want to make shaped cookes, skip refrigeration and just scoop tablespoon sized balls onto cookie tray and bake!

I also made starfish :)

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