Posts Tagged ‘holiday’

Leftovers aren’t forever!

November 21st, 2012 by andrea | No Comments | Filed in Christmas, Entertaining Tip, Fun Food Facts, Handy Hints, Holidays, Morsels & Musings, Thanksgiving, Turkey

Here’s some great advice on how to safely store your holiday leftovers (or any meal for that matter):

Leftovers Aren’t Forever
-from Thanksgiving 101 by Rick Rodgers

On Thanksgiving, store your leftovers safely. Get any leftover turkey and stuffing into the refrigerator within two hours of serving. Never leave leftovers out overnight.

Slice all of the turkey meat from the carcass and place in shallow plastic containers or self-sealing plastic bags, or wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Scrape all of the stuffing from the carcass, and refrigerate it separately from the turkey meat. (If you plan to use the carcass for soup, chop or break it into manageable pieces and store in plastic bags.) Refrigerate at 40°F or below, and serve within two or three days, or freeze and use within three months. 

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Bourbon Chocolate Cake

February 12th, 2012 by andrea | 1 Comment | Filed in Baking, Cakes, Chocolate, Christmas, Dessert, Holidays, Recipes

 

With Valentine’s Day just days away, I thought I’d post one of my favorite chocolate desserts: Bourbon Chocolate Cake. This fantastic dessert is dense, rich and worth every luscious bite! Even if you don’t enjoy sipping the barrel-aged spirit on it’s own, I’m confident you’ll love this cake. The bourbon (I prefer Jim Beam for this recipe) adds a subtle flavor without making the cake taste boozy.

To get 11 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate, I used 9 oz. Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Dark Chocolate plus 2 oz. Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Milk Chocolate. Both are good quality chocolates that are imported from Belgium, and made a great cake! 

The recipe says the cake serves 8-10 but I cut smaller pieces so I get a few more servings (10-12). I serve each slice with a drizzle of Raspberry Sauce and a dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy!

Bourbon Chocolate Cake
-recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine 

This mousse-like cake really does melt in your mouth. It can be baked up to a day before serving and stored lightly wrapped at room temperature. If you don’t have a 9×3-inch round cake pan, use a 9×2-inch pan (a standard size sold in supermarkets) and construct a parchment collar so the cake has room to rise. For this cake, it’s worth splurging on the best chocolate you can buy. We like Callebaut. Serves 8-10.

11 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 oz. (12 Tbs.) unsalted butter
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 oz. (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup bourbon
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

For serving:
1 cup heavy cream
1 to 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Position an oven rack on the middle rung and heat the oven to 350°F.

Butter a 9×3-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment and butter the parchment. Set the cake pan in a roasting pan large enough to accommodate it.

Melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

With an electric mixer (a stand mixer with the whip attachment or a hand mixer), beat the egg yolks with the brown sugar on medium speed until very pale, thick, and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed, add the chocolate mixture, and mix just to combine. Add the flour, mixing just to combine and scraping the bowl as needed. Blend in the bourbon and vanilla. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.

In a clean mixing bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites with the salt on high speed until they hold soft peaks, 1 to 2 minutes. With a rubber spatula, fold one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, and then gently fold in the remaining whites. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan.

Set the roasting pan on the oven rack and add enough warm tap water to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the top feels set, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the cake pan from the water bath and run a paring knife around the inside of the pan (or the inside of the parchment collar) to loosen the cake and then let the cake cool completely in the cake pan on a rack. When the cake is completely cool, loosen the sides once more with a paring knife. Cover the cake with a serving plate and invert the cake onto the plate. The bottom of the cake is now the top. Peel off the parchment. (Don’t worry if the surface looks a little ragged; you’ll be dusting with confectioners’ sugar).

To serve: In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, beat the cream and sugar to medium-soft peaks. Dust the top of the cake generously with confectioners’ sugar, slice, and serve each slice with the whipped cream.

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Rudolph Cookies

December 20th, 2010 by andrea | 1 Comment | Filed in Christmas, Cookies & Bars, Dessert, Holidays, Kid-friendly, Recipes

Rudolph-cookiesHere’s a fun project I made with my kids not too long ago. It’s easy, fun and kids love eating the Rudolph cookies once they’re made. I used Nabisco Nutter Butter cookies since I’m not aware of any other peanut-shaped cookie on the market.

The hardest part of making the cookies was inserting the “antlers” into the filling between the cookies. You first need to separate the two halves of the cookies then stick the pretzel pieces into the peanut butter filling, sandwiching the cookies back together once the antlers are in place. Sometimes the peanut butter cookie halves break during this step so be careful when sandwiching the antlers between the cookie halves. Next time I’ll try adding a little dot of melted chocolate to help keep the antlers in place.

For cementing the eyes and nose to the cookies, I used melted chocolate chips instead of buying the candy coating. I had to microwave the chocolate a few times to keep it melted but other than that it worked fine. Enjoy!

Rudolph Cookies
-recipe from Southern Living Magazine

 4 (1-ounce) chocolate candy coating squares
96 pretzel sticks
1 (16-ounce) package peanut butter sandwich cookies
64 candy-covered green, blue, or brown chocolate pieces
32 red candy-coated chocolate pieces or red cinnamon candies

Microwave chocolate candy coating in a small shallow glass dish at HIGH 3 minutes, stirring once.

Place 2 pretzel sticks in peanut butter filling of each sandwich cookie, forming large antlers. Break remaining pretzel sticks in half, and place 1 half pretzel stick next to each longer pretzel stick, forming smaller antlers.

Dip 1 side of green chocolate pieces in melted candy coating, and place on cookies for the eyes. Dip 1 side of red chocolate pieces in candy coating, and place on cookies for the noses. Yield:  32 cookies

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Nabisco brand Nutter Butter peanut butter sandwich cookies.

Southern Living, DECEMBER 1999

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Roasted Carrots and Parsnips with Fresh Herbs

November 18th, 2010 by andrea | 4 Comments | Filed in Christmas, Holidays, Recipes, Side Dish, Thanksgiving, Vegetable, Vegetarian

I love roasted veggies! It’s amazing what a little time in a hot oven will do to humble root vegetables! Roasted veggies can be prepared a day ahead of time and reheated before serving, making them a perfect side dish for the holidays!

The recipe calls for cutting the carrots and parsnips into 3″x1/2″ pieces. I didn’t get out the ruler to measure my veggie chunks but I did try to keep them all about the same size so they’d cook evenly. The cooking time will depend on the size of the vegetable sticks/chunks. Once the roasted veggies are tender, if they need a little extra color, sometimes I turn the oven to broil for a minute or two to get those brown, caramelized spots. If you do this, stay at the oven to watch the veggies or you’ll end up with a burnt mess.

At the store, choose small to medium parsnips that are firm; larger ones can be tough and have a woody core that needs to be removed.

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips with Fresh Herbs
-recipe from The New Thanksgiving Table by Diane Morgan

Here’s one vegetable dish that doesn’t need any last minute attention from the busy Thanksgiving cook—and I’m thankful for that. These orange and ivory root vegetables, flecked with fresh herbs, complement turkey and are a colorful addition to the holiday table. Parsnips are woefully underused; once most people try them, they are surprised by how sweet and pleasantly complex they taste. Look for medium-sized, well-shaped parsnips that are firm. Avoid ones that are limp or spotted. Store them wrapped in paper towels inside a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. They are also terrific combined with potatoes for a pureed winter soup. Serves 8 to 10.

7 medium parsnips (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, trimmed, and cut into 3-inch-by-1/2-inch sticks
1 1/2 pounds tender carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 3-inch-by-1/2-inch sticks
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a large roasting pan or 9-by-13-inch baking dish, toss the parsnips and carrots with the olive oil, dill, parsley, pepper, and salt. Roast, stirring once or twice, for about 45 minutes until the vegetables are tender when pierced with a knife and lightly caramelized in spots. Serve immediately, or cover and keep warm for up to 1 hour before serving.

Do Ahead: The roasted vegetables can be made up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate, covered, and bring to room temperature 2 hours before reheating.

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Pistachio & Cranberry Russian Tea Cakes

December 21st, 2009 by andrea | 1 Comment | Filed in Baking, Christmas, Cookies & Bars, Dessert, Holidays, Recipes

russian-tea-cakes-in-pow-su

If you’ve never made Russian Tea Cakes (also known as Mexican Wedding Cakes or Snowball Cookies), you’ve probably eaten them at some point in your life. They’re extremely easy to make, very tasty and a great addition to any holiday cookie platter.  

russian-tea-cakes-on-red-plAlthough the recipe calls for 1 cup of pecans, I decided to try 1/2 cup of chopped pistachios and 1/2 cup of chopped dried cranberries (soaked in a bit of Grand Marnier or orange juice before chopping to soften them up). I really like how the cookies turned out: a tender, buttery cookie with the added flavor and color of the green pistachios and ruby red cranberries (perfect for Christmas). A little freshly grated orange zest would also be a delicious addition to the pistachios and dried cranberries. The recipe calls for flattening the cookies but I left them in round balls.

After baking, the recipe says to roll the hot cookies in powdered sugar, which is messy and melts the sugar. I find that letting the cookies cool first then rolling them in the powdered sugar works best. I try to knock off the excess powdered sugar from each cookie so that the sugar isn’t inhaled when taking that first bite. Yumm!

Russian Tea Cakes
- adapted from a recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse on foodnetwork.com

Makes 4 dozen cookies.

1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar, plus more for rolling cookies
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts (I used 1/2 cup chopped pistachios & 1/2 cup dried chopped cranberries)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Cream butter in a large mixing bowl. Add the vanilla then gradually add the 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Sift the flour, measure, then sift again with the salt. Add gradually to the butter mixture. Add the pecans and mix well.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten slightly using the bottom of a glass, then bake for 20 minutes, or until edges are very lightly browned. Remove the cookies from the baking sheets and roll in powdered sugar while still hot. Cool on wire racks and roll cookies again in powdered sugar before serving.

Once they are completely cooled, cookies may be stored in airtight containers for up to 1 week.

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