Monday, December 27, 2010

Easy Mini-Apple Pie

Santa was very good to me this year.  One of his hits was a coveted set of Le Creuset Mini Round Cocottes.  I put them to good use immediately to create a yummy Christmas dessert.  These can be made in any small bakeware.

Easy Mini-Apple Pies
(makes 2)

1 sheet defrosted puff pastry
1 large red apple, chopped
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbs butter, cut into chunks
1 tbs butter, melted
2 tbs maple syrup 
Fresh whipped cream (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 400 F.
2.  In a medium bowl, combine the apple, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Stir well.  Divide into baking dishes.  Top with cold butter.
3.  Cut the puff pastry large enough to hang over sides of baking dish.  Place on top off dishes and crimp dough along the edges of the dish.
4.  Baste the pastry tops with melted butter.  Sprinkle with allspice.  Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
5.  Remove from oven.  Crack shell in the middle and pour one tablespoon maple syrup into each pie.  Top with whipped cream and enjoy.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sausage and Peppers, Two Ways

I had just about given up on the return of my willingness to blog when, low and behold, it showed back up.    Maybe it's because I have a delicious way to use leftovers to post.  Maybe it's because I received a comment that wasn't in Chinese and didn't translate into porn websites.  Whatever the reason, it's back.  I do have a feeling that it may just be kind of testing the waters.

I admit that I came up with this dinner after I watched an episode of the Jersey Shore.  Don't judge me.  I can do what I want.

Sausage Peppers

First Way:  Oven-baked
We make this for two adults, a sausage a person, doubled so that there are leftovers.

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 hot Italian sausages
3 large bell peppers, sliced
8 oz of assorted mushrooms (we like brown and white buttons), sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white wine
2 tsp oregano (dried)
2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp kosher salt

1.  Preheat the oven to 400.  
2.  In a 5 quart stovetop and oven safe pan, heat the olive oil over a medium flame.
3.  Brown the sausages in the oil, roughly 30 seconds each side.  Remove from heat.
3.  Add the bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, white wine, fennel, oregano, and salt into the pan on top of the sausages.
5.  Cover and cook 45 to 60 minutes (until the sausages are done).  Serve hot with a side salad.

Second Way:  Grilled Pepperonata Sandwiches
The leftover sausages and peppers gets turned into this for a quick meal the following day.

In addition to leftovers from the above meal, you need:
2 hoagie rolls
several thin slices of mozzarella 

1.  Preheat your barbecue to medium.  
2.  Barbecue leftover sausages until hot.
3.  In the meantime, on a grill top or in a large skillet on medium high heat, warm the vegetables.  When the sausages are almost warm, place the cheese on top of the vegetables and push them around a bit so it gets the vegetables all melty.
4.  Lightly grill the buns.  Prepare with mayo, mustard, or whatever else you'd like.  Add the sausages and top with the cheesy vegetables.  


Monday, February 15, 2010

Hello Bangkok!

When not in Bangkok, we dream about this bowl of soup. The vendor that dishes this up is out of this world! We often wonder if the memory of this soup is better than the real thing. It isn't. My mind can't dream up anything more wonderful than this.

I did it. I tried some of David's bugs. I ate one and threw up a little in the back of my throat. As I have a firm two taste rule, I had to try another one. It was no better the second time around. David is wrong...They don't taste like the world's best potato chips. They taste like cricket. He thinks that the large grasshoppers are better than the crickets, but there was no way in hell I was going to let that squish and crunch through my teeth.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Kahlua Butter Cream Frosting

This past weekend, my dad celebrated his 62nd birthday. We held a surprise party Friday night and a family dinner Saturday night, complete with ten pounds of clams, a shrimp salad with a homemade blue cheese dressing, and parmesan garlic toast. My mom really dusted off her cooking skills for the family dinner. I wanted to lighten her load and make dessert. Seeing as how there was a birthday and all, I made a devil's food cake, my father's favorite.

Butter cream frosting was the natural compliment, seeing as how my father loves butter creams. Apparently, so does my husband. Once the mixture was set aside to cool, I couldn't keep him out of the butter cream mixture. He must have ate two cups of the final product. I married a sugar fiend. The kahlua adds a wonderful coffee flavor to the frosting, but you can use orange extract, almond extract, bourbon, coconut extract, and so on.

Kahlua Butter Cream Frosting

8 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
4 tbs kahlua
3 sticks butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
1. In a double boiler over boiling water, combine the egg yolks, sugar, and kahlua. Whisk until the mixture becomes thick and has a pale, even color (5-10 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool.
2. In a mixer bowl, combine the butter and vanilla. Mix with the electric mixer until the butter is very fluffy.
3. Slowly incorporate the kahlua mixture into the butter. Mix until well blended. The frosting is now ready to use.