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Archive for May, 2016

French Macarons

French Macarons

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup almond flour
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup superfine sugar
2 to 3 drops gel food coloring (see below)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla, almond or mint extract
Assorted fillings (see below)
Special Equipment:
Oven with convection setting
4 baking sheets
3 silicone baking mats
Fine-mesh sieve
Pastry bag with 1/4-inch round tip

Directions
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F using the convection setting. Line 3 baking sheets with silicone mats. Measure the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour by spooning them into measuring cups and leveling with a knife. Transfer to a bowl; whisk to combine.

Sift the sugar-almond flour mixture, a little at a time, through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, pressing with a rubber spatula to pass through as much as possible. It will take a while, and up to 2 tablespoons of coarse almond flour may be left; just toss it.

Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt with a mixer on medium speed until frothy. Increase the speed to medium high; gradually add the superfine sugar and beat until stiff and shiny, about 5 more minutes.

Transfer the beaten egg whites to the bowl with the almond flour mixture. Draw a rubber spatula halfway through the mixture and fold until incorporated, giving the bowl a quarter turn with each fold.

Add the food coloring and extract (see below). Continue folding and turning, scraping down the bowl, until the batter is smooth and falls off the spatula in a thin flat ribbon, 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round tip. Holding the bag vertically and close to the baking sheet, pipe 1 1/4-inch circles (24 per sheet). Firmly tap the baking sheets twice against the counter to release any air bubbles.

Let the cookies sit at room temperature until the tops are no longer sticky to the touch, 15 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the humidity. Slip another baking sheet under the first batch (a double baking sheet protects the cookies from the heat).

Bake the first batch until the cookies are shiny and rise 1/8 inch to form a “foot,” about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Repeat, using a double sheet for each batch. Peel the cookies off the mats and sandwich with a thin layer of filling (see below).

Almond-Raspberry:
Tint the batter with 2 drops neon pink gel food coloring; flavor with almond extract. Fill with seedless raspberry jam (you’ll need about 3/4 cup).

Mint-White Chocolate:
Tint the batter with 2 drops mint green gel food coloring; flavor with mint extract. For the filling, microwave 3 ounces chopped white chocolate, 2 tablespoons heavy cream and 1 tablespoon butter in 30-second intervals, stirring, until smooth. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon mint extract and 1 drop mint green gel food coloring.

Blueberry Cheesecake:
Tint the batter with 3 drops royal blue gel food coloring; flavor with vanilla extract. For the filling, mix 4 ounces softened cream cheese and 3 tablespoons blueberry jam.

Lavendar-Honey:
Tint the batter with 2 drops violet gel food coloring; flavor with almond or vanilla extract. For the filling, mix 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese, 2 tablespoons honey and 1 teaspoon ground dried lavender.

Pineapple:
Tint the batter with 2 drops lemon yellow gel food coloring; flavor with vanilla extract. For the filling, press 3/4 cup pineapple jam through a sieve, discarding any large pieces.

Recipe found here: French Macrons

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Corn Pasta Salad

Corn Pasta Salad

Ingredients
2 cups cooked tricolor spiral pasta
1 package (16 ounces) frozen corn, thawed
1 cup chopped celery
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped seeded tomatoes
1/2 cup diced pimientos
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 cup picante sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions
In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the picante sauce, oil, lemon juice, garlic, sugar and salt; shake well.

Pour over pasta mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Yield: 10 servings.

Recipe found here: Corn Pasta Salad

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Ranch Biscuits

Ranch Biscuits

Ingredients
2 cups biscuit/baking mix
4 teaspoons dry ranch salad dressing mix
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions
In a large bowl, stir the biscuit mix, salad dressing mix and milk until combined. Drop 2 in. apart onto a greased baking sheet.
Bake at 425° for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. In a small bowl, combine the butter, parsley and garlic powder; brush over warm biscuits. Serve warm. Yield: 9 biscuits.

Recipe found here: Ranch Biscuits

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French Onion Portobello Brisket

French Onion Portobello Brisket

Ingredients
1 fresh beef brisket (4 pounds)
1-3/4 cups sliced baby portobello mushrooms
1 small red onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 can (10-1/2 ounces) condensed French onion soup
1/4 cup dry white wine or beef broth
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
Fresh sage, optional

Directions
Cut brisket in half; place in a 5-qt. slow cooker.

In a large saucepan, saute the mushrooms, onion and garlic in butter for 3-5 minutes or until onion is crisp-tender. Add the soup, wine and pepper; mix well.

Pour mushroom mixture over beef. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until meat is tender. Garnish with sage if desired. Yield: 9 servings.

Editor’s Note: This is a fresh beef brisket, not corned beef.

Recipe found here: French Onion Portobello Brisket

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Homemade Antipasto Salad

Homemade Antipasto Salad

Ingredients
2 packages (1 pound each) spiral pasta
4 cups chopped green peppers
4 cups chopped seeded tomatoes
3 cups chopped onions
2 cans (15 ounces each) garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 pound thinly sliced Genoa salami, julienned
1 pound sliced pepperoni, julienned
1/2 pound provolone cheese, cubed
1 cup pitted ripe olives, halved

DRESSING:
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 cups olive oil

Directions
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; rinse with cold water. In several large bowls, combine pasta, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, beans, salami, pepperoni, cheese and olives.

Place vinegar, sugar, oregano, salt and pepper in a blender. While processing, gradually add oil in a steady stream. Pour over pasta salad; toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, 4 hours or overnight. Yield: 50 (3/4-cup) servings.

Recipe found here: Homemade Antipasto Salad

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Black Cherry Cream Parfaits

Black Cherry Cream Parfaits

Ingredients
2 packages (3 ounces each) black cherry gelatin
2 cups boiling water
2 cups black cherry soda, chilled
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 can (15 ounces) pitted dark sweet cherries, drained
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions
In a large bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in soda; refrigerate for 2 hours or until partially set.

In a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners’ sugar; beat until soft peaks form. Stir cherries and walnuts into gelatin; fold in whipped cream. Spoon into parfait glasses. Chill until firm. Yield: 10 servings.

Recipe found here: Black Cherry Cream Parfaits

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glazed carrots

Glazed Carrots

Ingredients
1 1/2 lb ready-to-eat baby-cut carrots
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel

Directions

1 In 2-quart saucepan, heat 1 inch water to boiling. Add carrots. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 6 to 9 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain and set aside.

2 In 12-inch skillet, cook remaining ingredients over medium heat, stirring constantly, until bubbly.

3 Stir in carrots. Reduce heat to low. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots are glazed and hot.

Recipe found here: Glazed Carrots

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