HURRICANE and FRENCH QUARTER CHEESE SPREAD and SHRIMP REMOULADE and WHITE CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE SAUCE and CREOLE BROWNIES and PECAN PRALINE BITES

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I was talking with one of the kindest, most fabulous ladies I know following a committee meeting for a fundraiser we were both working on. She shared her idea of donating a Kids Cajun Cooking Class to the auction – and I loved the concept and immediately offered to partner with her.

After a couple of gatherings over coffee, we determined I would host, provide drinks, appetizers and desserts, and my sweet friend would guide our guests through the art of making gumbo, have aprons customized and create gift bags for the recipients of the auction item.

marion - cooking class

HURRICANE

hurricane

1 ounce fresh lime juice

1 ounce dark rum

1 ounce light rum

4 ounces passion fruit nectar

2 ounces pineapple juice

Shake ingredients with ice, then strain into a glass filled with ice cubes.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from allrecipes, February/March 2015

allrecipes.com/

FRENCH QUARTER CHEESE SPREAD

french quarter cheese spread

1 package (8-ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard

1 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, onion and garlic. Transfer to a serving plate and shape into a 6-inch disk. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Cook and stir over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, stir in pecans.

Cool slightly. Spoon over cheese mixture.

Enjoy!

SHRIMP REMOULADE

shrimp remoulade

FOR THE REMOULADE SAUCE

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard

2 tablespoons Creole mustard

2 teaspoons tomato paste

1 garlic clove

dash of tabasco sauce

juice from half a lemon

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons chopped green onions

3 tablespoons chopped celery

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

salt

FOR THE SHRIMP

1/3 cup salt

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns

1 lemon, cut in quarters

1 garlic clove

4 bay leaves

1 onion, diced

1 1/2 pounds large shrimp

MAKE THE REMOULADE SAUCE

In a food processor, combine the vinegar, yellow mustard, Creole mustard, tomato paste, garlic, tabasco, lemon juice, egg and paprika. Pulse to mix. Slowly add the oil in a steady stream. Add the green onions, celery, parsley, and salt to taste. Pulse briefly to combine. Chill.

MAKE THE SHRIMP

In a 6 quart pan, combine 1 gallon of water with 1/4 cup of the salt, the cayenne, peppercorns, lemon, garlic, bay leaves and onion. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until they just barely turn pink, about 3 minutes.  Remove shrimp from the boil and put them in a large bowl. Cover with ice and then add 2 cups of the boil liquid to the iced shrimp. Soak for 5 minutes. Add the remaining salt. When the shrimp are well chilled, drain. Serve shrimp with the Remoulade Sauce.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking, Spring 2008

www.finecooking.com/

WHITE CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE SAUCE

white chocolate bread pudding

8 ounces French bread, cut into 1-inch pieces

3 1/2 cups whipping cream

1 cup milk

1/2 cup sugar

18 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped

7 egg yolks

2 eggs

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

Heat oven to 275F. Arrange bread cubes on a baking sheet. Bake until light golden and dry, about 10 minutes. Cool completely. Increase oven temperature to 350F.

Combine 3 cups cream, 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup sugar in heavy large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add 10 ounces white chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Whisk yolks and eggs in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in warm chocolate mixture.

Place bread cubes in 2-quart glass baking dish. Sprinkle with raspberries. Add half of chocolate mixture. Press bread cubes into chocolate mixture. Let stand 15 minutes. Gently mix in remaining chocolate mixture. Cover dish with foil.

Bake pudding 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until top is golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Transfer pudding to rack and cool slightly.

Bring remaining 1/2 cup cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove saucepan from heat. Add remaining 8 ounces of white chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.

Serve pudding warm with white chocolate sauce.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

www.epicurious.com/

CREOLE BROWNIES

creole brownie

FOR THE BROWNIES

2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes

8 ounces chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 eggs

1 cup flour

1/4 cup cocoa nibs

FOR THE GANACHE

1 cup cream

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

16 ounces chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup hot chicory coffee

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-by13-inch baking pan and line with parchment.

TO MAKE BROWNIES

Melt butter and chocolate, stir until smooth. Add sugar, salt and vanilla and stir until completely combined. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the flour and stir until the batter is smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cocoa nibs.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

TO MAKE GANACHE

Combine the cream, butter, sugar and salt in a saucepan, set over low heat and stir until the butter is melted. Add the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.

Remove from the heat, add the coffee and vanilla and stir until smooth. The ganache will thicken as it cools.

To finish the brownies, pour the thickened ganache over the brownies, spreading evenly into a thick layer on top. Let the brownies stand until the ganache is completely set. Remove brownies from pan and cut into squares.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bake The Book

http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2013/01/bake-the-book-creole-brownies.html

PECAN PRALINE BITES

praline bites

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 cup pecans, chopped

1/2 to 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Heat oven to 350F. Line a mini muffin pan with paper liners. Mix egg, sugar, flour and pecans together in a bowl. Slowly add in melted butter until the batter is not able to absorb any more. You may have butter left over – the batter will be wet but still thick and look like dough, not runny. Pipe into prepared pan, filling each cup 3/4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Langlois

https://www.langloisnola.com

 

BUTTERMILK CAKE WITH STRAWBERRY ICING

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On one of the first days the boys were out of school, we picked up sandwiches for lunch, that they then sat out by the pool to eat, while enjoying the sunshine. After their fill of bread, meat and fresh air, they came inside for a little something strawberry sweet.

boys eating lunch out by the pool

BUTTERMILK CAKE WITH STRAWBERRY ICING

buttermilk cake with strawberry icing

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 eggs

3 cups cake flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Strawberry Icing (recipe follows)

Heat oven to 350F. Spray a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with baking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy, stopping occasionally to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to butter mixture in thirds, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat in vanilla. Pour batter into prepared dish. Smooth top.

Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, approximately 25 minutes. Let cool completely on wire rack. Spread Strawberry Icing on top of cooled cake.

STRAWBERRY ICING

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup strawberry preserves

5 cups confectioners’ sugar

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter at high speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add preserves, beating until combined. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Swans Down

www.swansdown.com/recipes

APPLE BROWNIES

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My husband hosted the regular monthly Scout committee meeting, gathering the group on the back deck and offering a variety of refreshments that I had set out for them to enjoy during the evening.

As they worked their way through the agenda, appetizers and desserts, I curled up on the couch on the quiet little porch off our bedroom with my book, savoring the peace and settling into the view.

one of the views from my seat on the porch off our bedroom

one of the views from my seat on the porch off our bedroom

APPLE BROWNIES

apple brownies

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup oil

2 cups diced apple

1 cup caramel pieces

Heat oven to 325F.

Mix flour, sugar and baking powder. Make a well and add oil and eggs. Stir to blend. Add apples and caramel pieces. Stir well. Spread mixture into a 9-by-13-inch pan and bake for 1 hour.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Dining Guide, March 2015

www.nwaonline.com/

BACK-TO-SCHOOL RASPBERRY GRANOLA BARS

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The first few days all the kids were back in school were spent catching up with friends – driving up North for lunch on the Bentonville Square, walking the few blocks down to Dickson Street for brunch and meeting to ride on the trail – before settling back into a regular daily routine.

lunch on the Bentonville Square

lunch on the Bentonville Square

a fun and delicious brunch

a fun and delicious brunch

BACK-TO-SCHOOL RASPBERRY GRANOLA BARS

back to school raspberry granola bars

1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup self-rising flour

1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

1 cup raspberry preserves

Heat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

Spread the chopped pecans in a pie plate and toast for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the rolled oats, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt and pecans. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the melted butter until the oat mixture is thoroughly combined.

Press two-thirds of the oat mixture in an even layer on the bottom of the prepared baking pan and top with the raspberry preserves. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the preserves.

Bake the bars for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the granola bars cool completely, about 3 hours.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food & Wine, October 2009

www.foodandwine.com/

FRESH CORN AND ZUCCHINI SAUTE

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The skirt my daughter made, using her own pattern and sewing machine, was as fresh, simple and pretty as the corn dish I had created that afternoon in the kitchen.

elise home made skirt

 

 

FRESH CORN AND ZUCCHINI SAUTE

fresh corn and zucchini saute

1/2 stick butter

1 onion, finely diced

2 cups chopped zucchini

3 ears corn, kernels cut off cobs

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat until foamy and lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add corn and season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender, about 3 minutes.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from allrecipes, June/July/August, 2016

allrecipes.com/

CORN AND CHEDDAR SOUFFLES WITH KALE AND MUSHROOM SALAD

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Never having attempted a souffle before, or for that matter even tasted one, I was a little hesitant to try this recipe. It turned out to be very easy to make, and very delicious to eat, and although I tested it on immediate family members for fear of failure, it is a dish worthy to be shared with friends.

CORN AND CHEDDAR SOUFFLES WITH KALE AND MUSHROOM SALAD

corn and cheddar souffle

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 package baby kale

4 tablespoons butter

2 1/2 cups milk

1 1/4 cups frozen corn

6 green onions, chopped

3/4 cup cornmeal

5 eggs, separated, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar

In a large bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar and mustard. Toss with the mushrooms and let marinate 15 minutes. Add kale, toss, then season with salt and pepper.

Heat the oven to 425F. Grease four 2-cup ramekins and place on a rimmed baking sheet.

In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups milk, the corn, green onions and 1 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the cornmeal and cook, whisking constantly, until very thick, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, whisk in the butter, egg yolks, 1 cup of cheese and the remaining 1/2 cup milk.

In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold into the warm cornmeal mixture in three additions. Divide among the prepared ramekins and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake until puffed and golden, 16 to 18 minutes. Serve with the salad.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray, June 2016

www.rachaelray.com/recipes

SALAD WITH PEAS, PARMESAN, EGG AND BACON

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After months of debating with myself, I finally scheduled a consultation and then the phlebotomy and sclerotherapy to eliminate venous insufficiency and remove my unsightly, unattractive varicose veins.

It was a long process, requiring much patience from the specialists, and though the olympics were on the TV and available for viewing to help pass the time, I chose to read the book I had brought with me, and tried to ignore the uncomfortable pulling sensations coming from my numbed legs.

awaiting the first surgery - the veins to be removed are marked on both legs

awaiting the first surgery – the veins to be removed are marked on both legs

I knew from experience with a similar operation many years previously, that the doctor would recommend I be up and about, to walk and move (sadly there was to be no reclining on the couch while concerned and compassionate family members waited on me), so I planned a simple dinner that encouraged me to be in motion.

SALAD WITH PEAS, PARMESAN, EGG AND BACON

salad with parmesan, peas, egg and bacon

4 slices of bacon, cut crosswise 1/4 inch thick

1/3 cup grated parmesan, plus more for shaving

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 eggs

mixed greens

2 tablespoons tarragon leaves

2/3 cup frozen peas, thawed

2 radishes, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives

Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate.

Combine the grated parmesan, vinegar and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the olive oil.

Put the skillet over medium-low heat and add the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, crack the eggs into the skillet and cook, basting occasionally with the fat, for about 2 to 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the greens, tarragon leaves, peas and radishes. Lightly dress the salad with some of the vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper, and toss. Divide the salad among serving plates.

Top each salad with an egg. Drizzle 1/2 tablespoon vinaigrette over each egg, and season with salt and pepper. Top with the bacon, shaved parmesan and chives.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking, June/July 2016

www.finecooking.com/

CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES WITH SEA SALT POTATO CHIPS

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We walked a few blocks to gather on a friends beautiful front porch, with a spectacular view towards downtown Fayetteville and beyond. After accepting a perfectly chilled glass of white wine, we settled into the sumptuous chairs, and helped ourselves to the appetizers that had been generously laid out while we discussed an upcoming dinner we had donated to a local charity, and would be hosting together.

I had baked cookies earlier in the day, and packaged up a portion for each couple to enjoy later at their leisure.

CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES WITH SEA SALT POTATO CHIPS

chocolate chunk cookies with sea salt potato chips

2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups light brown sugar

2 cups granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons hot water

3 cups flour

1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 ounce chocolate, chopped into 1/2-inch chunks

1 cup crumbled thick-cut potato chips

flaky sea salt, for finishing

Heat oven to 325F.

Using an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix butter and sugars on medium-high speed, scraping down the bowl as needed, until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Mix in eggs, vanilla and hot water.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and fine sea salt. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix on low speed until completely incorporated. Stir in chocolate and potato chips.

Scoop tablespoons of dough onto ungreased baking sheets, two inches apart. Sprinkle flaky sea salt over.

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Let cookies cool slightly before removing from baking sheet.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Wall Street Journal, October 2015

www.wsj.com/

S’MORES CUPCAKES and BUTTERMILK CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

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Friends invited us for a late summer backyard barbecue, and while the kids swam, the adults caught up over icy cold beers and fresh made salsa. I offered to bring a dessert and spent a leisurely afternoon baking cupcakes.

S’MORES CUPCAKES

smores cupcakes

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided

4 tablespoons butter, melted

3/4 cup flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 egg

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup warm water

1 recipe Marshmallow Buttercream (recipe follows)

milk chocolate to garnish

Heat oven to 350F. Line 18 wells of a muffin pan with paper liners. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter, stirring until blended. Press 1 tablespoon of mixture into each prepared well of muffin pan. Bake until light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

Increase oven temperature to 375F. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, whisking well. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine softened butter and remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla extract, beating to combine.

Combine buttermilk and water, stirring to blend. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in thirds, alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Divide batter among prepared muffin pans.

Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the centers comes out clean, 15 to 16 minutes. Let cupcakes cool completely.

Pipe Marshmallow Buttercream onto cupcakes in a swirl, garnish with milk chocolate.

Enjoy!

MARSHMALLOW BUTTERCREAM

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon whole milk

2 cups marshmallow creme

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, confectioners’ sugar, and milk. Beat with a mixer at medium-high speed until creamy. Add marshmallow creme, beating at low speed and gradually increasing to high speed until thoroughly incorporated.

Recipe adapted from TeaTime July/August 2015

www.teatimemagazine.com/

BUTTERMILK CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

buttermilk chocolate cupcake

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup water

FROSTING

1/2 cup butter, softened

3 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 ounces chocolate, melted

2 tablespoons cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

chocolate sprinkles

Heat oven to 375F.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Combine buttermilk and water. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk and water, beating well after each addition.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

For frosting, in a small bowl, beat butter and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Beat in melted chocolate, milk, vanilla and salt. Frost cupcakes, garnish with chocolate sprinkles.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

www.tasteofhome.com/

GREEN CHILI GRILLED CHEESE MELT

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My daughter and I came home a few days early from our summer vacation, and after the long drive, ordered Chinese food, put on a homemade chocolate face mask artfully mixed by my daughter, wrapped ourselves in blankets and cozied up on the couch to watch a movie.

chocolate mask

The next night, with the rest of the family still out of town, dinner consisted of a simple sandwich meal.

GREEN CHILI GRILLED CHEESE MELT

green chili cheese melt

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded colby-monterey jack cheese

1 can (4-ounces) chopped green chilies, drained

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

salt and pepper

sliced bread

slices tomato

butter

In a bowl, mix cream cheese, cheddar cheese, colby-monterey jack cheese, green chilies, mayonnaise, and garlic powder, season with salt and pepper. Spread over bread slices and top with slices of tomato and another slice of bread.

Melt a knob of butter in a skillet, toast sandwiches over medium-low heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown and heated through.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home, June/July 2015

www.tasteofhome.com/