Thursday, January 31, 2013

Baked Brie with Apple Compote

Ingredients 1 tbs unsalted butter 2 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into ½ inch dice ¼ cup sugar 1/8 tsp ground cardamom 1 round Brie cheese, 6-8 oz and about 4 ½ inches wide, slightly chilled 10 inch round puff pastry dough, rolled out to ¼ inch thickness 1 egg, beaten with 1 tbs water Water crackers for serving Directions In a 2 quart sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the apples and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and have released most of their liquid, approximately 5-7 minutes. Add the sugar and cardamom, stir to dissolve and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 12-15 minutes more. Remove from heat and let apple compote cool to room temperature. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. With a sharp knife, cut the cheese in half horizontally. Place one half of the cheese, sliced side up, and evenly spread ½ cup of apple compote over surface. Set the other half, sliced side down, over the compote and spread ½ cup compote over the top. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and set the cheese in the center of the dough. Fold the dough up over the sides of the cheese, pleating the upper edges to fit snugly around the cheese. Pinch the dough together in the center to seal. Brush the dough evenly with the egg wash and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until pastry is golden all over and crisp, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Let baked brie rest for 5 minutes, then transfer to a platter along with a sharp knife and crackers. Serves 6-8. Note: This appetizer can be made up to 2 weeks in advance. Assemble the pastry, cheese and apple compote, but don’t brush the dough with the egg wash. Instead, wrap the pastry tightly with a plastic wrap and freeze until ready to bake. Then brush the frozen pastry with egg wash and bake in a 350F oven for 45-50 minutes.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sweet Potato, Corn and Edamame Hash

This seasonal dish is a crowd pleaser and makes a fantastic addition to any buffet. To serve for brunch, plate over a fresh bed of arugula and top with a poached egg. 1 sweet onion, diced- rough chop (we used maui onions, but yellow onion will work) 1 tbsp olive oil 2 (or 4 small) large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 in cubes 8-10 oz of diced smoked ham 1-2 garlic cloves, minced 1 12 oz package uncooked frozen shelled edamame 1 12 oz package frozen whole kernel corn 1/4 cup chicken broth 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme 1/2 tsp kosher salt 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper Saute ham and onion in hot oil in a skillet over medium heat-high heat. (I prefer to use a large cast iron skillet but a standard non-stick skillet will work). Sautee for approx 6-8 minutes or until onion is tender and ham is lightly browned. Stir in cubed sweet potatoes, and sauté for additional 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute max. Stir in edamame and remaining three ingredients. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally 10-12 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender. Add salt and pepper.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Favorite Citrus Salad !

Arugula, Fennel and Orange Salad This time of year when our local citrus is at it’s best, this salad makes a beautiful presentation and unique flavor combination. The bright flavors and beautiful color of fresh arugula and fennel, combined with tangy sweetness and wonderful color of local oranges come together in this vibrant salad. You can make the vinaigrette and prepare the fennel and oranges ahead of time and refrigerate. Then combine all of the elements just before serving. Ingredients ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice 2 tsp grated orange zest 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil 2 Tbs canola oil 2 tsp Dijon mustard ½ tsp dried tarragon 1 shallot, chopped salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 1 large fennel bulb 3 large local oranges 4 cups arugula Directions To make vinaigrette, in small bowl , whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, orange zest, mustard, tarragon, and shallot. Continue rapid whisk while pouring olive oil and canola oil into mixture in bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Cut off the stems and feathery fronds of the fennel bulb and remove any bruised or discolored outer layers. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise and cut out any tough parts. Cut the bulb halves crosswise into slices 3/8 inch thick and then cut the slices into 1 inch lengths. Working with one orange at a time, and using a sharp knife, cut a slice off both ends of the orange to reveal the flesh. Stand the orange upright on a cutting board and slice off the peel and pith in strips, following the contour of the fruit. Cut the orange in half crosswise, place each half cut side down, and thinly slice vertically to create half moon shapes. Repeat with the remaining oranges. Place the fennel and arugula in a large serving bowl, add half of the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat thoroughly. Arrange the orange slices in a pinwheel or other design on top. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette and garnish with finely cut fennel greens. Serve immediately. Serves 8.

Perfect Appetizer.... for any party!

Stilton Stuffed Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce Ingredients 2-3 doz boiled shrimp, shelled and cleaned, tails left on Handful of chopped chives, fine cut (or sub with Italian parsley) Crumbled blue cheese (stilton, Roquefort, blue variety) Directions Cut shrimp ¾ way through with paring knife. Stuff crumbled blue cheese in opening. Roll shrimp stuffed with cheese in chopped chives or parsley. Serve shrimp chilled with cocktail sauce

Deviled Eggs... with a twist!

Smokey Deviled Eggs Every party needs a plate of deviled eggs. This recipe makes for a traditional flavor base but with a slight twist. Be sure to garnish with paprika for a colorful presentation. 10 eggs 7 tbsp good quality mayonnaise 1 tsp champagne vinegar 2 tsp Dijon mustard ½ tsp dry mustard ¼ tsp curry powder ¼ tsp cayenne pepper ¼ tsp paprika salt and pepper to taste Place eggs in a large sauce pan of cold, salted water over high heat. Bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for exactly 9 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs from the water and place under cold running water until cool to the touch. Gently crack the shells and peel the eggs under the running water. Halve the eggs. Scoop the yolks into a food processor and process until smooth. Cut a thin slice from the underside of each white, so they will sit flat on a plate. Arrange on plate and set aside. Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, Dijon mustard, dry mustard, cayenne, and curry powder to the yolks., Process briefly until well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings. Spoon the yolk mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe the mixture into the egg whites. Garnish with paprika and serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Guacamole !

Guacamole To me, the best guacamole is made with avocado, onions, jalapeno, lime, salt, and cilantro. The amounts of the ingredients can vary. The important things are to taste for a balance of salt, heat, and acid to make the guacamole taste perfect. 2-3 large ripe avocados 2-3 small juicy limes 1 jalapeno pepper 4 green onions cilantro salt 1 tomato, optional Halve the avocados, remove the pits, scoop out the flesh into a mortar and season with salt. Trim and slice green onions and put them in a small bowl, add salt and squeeze in the juice of 2 limes--- totally mashing the onions into the lime juice. Cut off the stem of the jalapeno, cut the pepper in half lengthwise and remove the membranes and seeds. Flatten the pepper and cut into fine dice. Mash the avocado but leave it a bit chunky. Add the onions and lime juice, along with the jalapeno (add half or whole depending upon how hot you like it). Mix lightly. Taste and add more salt or lime juice, as desired. Chop a handful of fresh cilantro leaves and stir into guacamole. Serve with toasted tortilla chips.