Thursday, December 27, 2007

Flood of Food

Flood of Food. What does that mean, you might ask. Well, it pretty much sums up the amazing, wonderful, beautiful, fun, and delicious bridal shower hosted by the lovely Teri. (A flood is more than a shower--get it?) Yes, her house looked like it had been plucked from the pages of Southern Living/Martha Stewart/Better Homes and Gardens, and yes, everyone who braved the wintry weather was treated to the majestic beauty (a bit much?) of the snow falling outside. Of course, sparkling conversation was had amongst friends and family (who all happened to be wearing paper crowns)...despite the strange ritual of watching me open gifts.

But that's not the point of this post. It's all about the food. Teri so graciously shared the yummy recipes from the food she served, and I feel it is my duty to pass along this valuable information. So, if you want to re-create the shower in your own kitchen, whether or not you were there for the live show, enjoy!

Mushroom Turnovers
Prep: 30 min., Chill: 1 hr., Cook: 15 min., Bake: 20 min.

1 ½ (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 pound mushrooms, chopped
¼ teaspoon thyme
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup sour cream
3 tablespoons sherry
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Combine first 3 ingredients. Shape dough into a ball; cover and chill 1 hour.
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add onion, and sauté 12 minutes or until onion is golden. Stir in chopped mushrooms, and sauté 3 minutes. Stir in thyme, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons flour evenly over mushroom mixture. Stir in sour cream and sherry. Remove from heat, and set aside.
Pat or roll chilled dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut with a 3-inch round cutter.
Spoon 1 teaspoon mushroom mixture on half of each dough circle, fold dough over filling. Press edges together with a fork to seal. Place turnovers on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned; brush tops evenly with melted butter.

Note: To make ahead, place uncooked turnovers in a single layer on baking sheets, and freeze. Transfer frozen turnovers to large zip-top plastic freezer bags, seal and freeze up to 1 month. Place frozen turnovers on ungreased baking sheets. Bake as directed.

Yield: Makes 3 ½ dozen appetizer servings

Southern Living, DECEMBER 2005

Pear, Hazelnut, and Blue Cheese Salad
To keep pears looking fresh once you’ve sliced them, dip slices in lemon water (1/4 cup water plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice).

1 cup whole hazelnuts in the skins
8 cups mixed salad greens (such as red leaf, green leaf, Bibb)
2 ripe red Bartlett pears, unpeeled and thinly sliced
2 ripe green pears such as Anjou, unpeeled and thinly sliced
1 (4-ounce) package blue cheese, crumbled
Raspberry Vinaigrette
Freshly ground pepper (optional)

Place hazelnuts in an ungreased 15” x 10” x 1” jellyroll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until skins begin to split. Transfer hot nuts to a colander, and cover with a kitchen towel. Rub nuts briskly with towel to remove skins; chop nuts.
Combine salad greens, sliced pears, hazelnuts, and blue cheese in a large bowl; toss gently. Pour Raspberry Vinaigrette over salad just before serving; toss gently. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper, if desired. Yield: 8 servings.

Raspberry Vinaigrette

½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup raspberry vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a jar; cover tightly, and shake vigorously. Cover and chill thoroughly.
Yield: ¾ cup.

Holiday Mix

In a bowl, combine equal amounts (begin with 1 cup each) pistachio nuts, honey-roasted peanuts, dried tart red cherries and/or dried cranberries. Break up white chocolate bars [or coconut bars] and add to mixture. (Use a 3-ounce bar for every 3 cups of mixture.) To wrap, place mixture in silver foil muffin cups with paper liners. Wrap in clear plastic wrap; secure top with string.

Better Homes and Gardens, DECEMBER 2005

Cranberry Tapenade
Purchased sweet potato chips make sturdy dippers for this festive red relish.

1 small sweet potato (about 6 ounces)
1 small navel orange, unpeeled and quartered
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
½ cup sugar
2 jalapeño peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Sweet potato chips
Garnishes: additional cranberries, fresh cilantro sprigs

Cook sweet potato in a small amount of boiling water just until barely tender. Drain and cool completely. Peel and finely dice sweet potato; set aside.
Position knife blade in food processor bowl; add orange quarters. Process until coarsely chopped, stopping once to scrape down sides. Add 2 cups cranberries, sugar, and jalapeño pepper; pulse 2 or more times until mixture is finely chopped.
Transfer mixture to a bowl; stir in reserved sweet potato, pecans, and next 3 ingredients. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Serve with sweet potato chips. Garnish, if desired. Yield: 2 ¼ cups.

Chicken Salad
Serves 4-6

3 chicken breasts (thoroughly cooked and cooled, either grilled, boiled, or roasted—or purchased as rotisserie chicken from Costco—and cut into small pieces)
½ cup real mayo
½ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon seasoned salt (Lowery’s)
¼ to ½ cup chopped celery
¾ cup red or green grapes (halved)
Other optional additions: slivered almonds, water chestnuts, or pineapple tidbits

Chill before serving.

Poppy Seed Bread

Prepare pans by spraying with release spray (Pam)

3 cups flour (all purpose)
2 ½ cups white sugar
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 ½ cups milk
1 1/8 cups oil (canola, but olive oil is OK too)
1 ½ Tbsp. poppy seeds (usually use 2 Tbsp.)
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1 ½ tsp. almond extract
1 ½ butter flavoring

Mix all ingredients together; beat for 2 minutes. Yield: 2 large, 4 medium, or 10 tiny loaves. These can also be made into muffins or mini-muffins. Bake approximately 1 hour at 350 degrees or until toothpick comes out clean. Adjust baking time down for smaller sizes, 20 to 25 minutes for muffins. When done, turn out on cooling rack. Pour glaze over top or roll tiny loaves in glaze. Mom’s note: it makes for easy clean up if you put the racks on top of newspapers to catch all the drips.

Glaze for poppy seed bread:
¾ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup orange juice
½ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. almond extract
½ tsp. butter flavoring

You can make the glaze thinner or thicker, your preference. Don’t be tempted to skimp on any of the extracts; they really make the flavors perfect!

Peanut Clusters
Preparation time: 5 minutes;
Cooking time: 6 minutes; Chilling time: 30 minutes

8 (2-ounce) vanilla candy coating squares, cut up
2 2/3 cups (16 ounces) milk chocolate morsels
1 pound salted Spanish peanuts

Melt candy coating and chocolate morsels in a heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly
Remove from heat; stir in peanuts. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto wax paper-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm. from heat; stir in peanuts. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto wax paper-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm.
Yield: 4 dozen.

Note: If desired, microwave candy coating and morsels in a 1-quart microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 2 to 3 minutes or until chocolate melts, stirring twice.

Betty Moore
Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
Carrie’s Holiday Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup flour
½ teas. baking soda
¼ teas. salt
1 cup (soft) butter
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon orange zest
3 cups “quick” oatmeal (one cup at a time)
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries

Oven temp.: 350 degrees Time: 10 minutes

Mix flour, b. soda and salt together. Cream butter and sugars till creamy. Beat in eggs, vanilla, orange zest. Beat in flour, cho. Chips and cranberries. Bake 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes—on ungreased cookie sheet.

Gilchrist’s Department Store Macaroons Cookie Recipe

1/3 C. flour
2 ½ C. shredded coconut
1/8 t. salt
2/3 C. sweetened condensed milk
1 t. vanilla extract
Maraschino cherries, as needed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
In a bowl, mix together the flour, coconut and salt. Stir in the condensed milk and vanilla. Stir well to make a thick batter.
Drop by tablespoons onto the cookie sheet. Top each cookie with half a cherry. Bake until golden brown.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Note: Drain the cherries on a paper towel so the juice doesn’t “dye” the coconut part.

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