Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category
Once or twice a month my girlfriends and I get together for a “cooking club”. (we have since conceded that it should actually just be called “eating club” because it’s not like we exchange recipes, we just get together to eat.) I was drawing a blank as to what I was going to bring today, when at the last minute I decided to do a Mozarella Salad.
The thing is, I didn’t want to bring everything with me and assemble it there, which would mean the salad would actually look presentable, but I didn’t want to make it at home either because it would look … not pretty by the time it got there.
I decided to do these one bite appetizers instead. I have made them before with a whole cherry and a whole mozzarella ball (Ciliegine) with a basil leaf atop each one, but it wasn’t something you could just pop into your mouth. Plus, I wanted them to be able to stand up.
Instead I opted to half each of the main ingredients. This is very very simple to put together, but I think it makes for a really nice presentation. Just cut your cherry tomatoes (and you can use whatever kind. My husband just happened to pick up the yellow ones) in half and spear the skinned side with the toothpick. Then, place a small leaf or a portion of a larger leaf of basil on the toothpick and finish up with half of a mozzarella ball.
There are several recipes you may use for your dressing, but I am a simple girl when it comes to this combination. I simply sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and finish up with a dash of olive oil and a good quality balsamic vinegar. Add some basil chiffonade for garnish and extra yumminess and you are good to go!
This presentation allowed me to put the oil and vinegar on the bites while maintaining an appetizing appearance. I do think it tastes better when you let it marinate a little.
It’s amazing to me how sometimes the most simple of flavor combinations can be the most delicious.
I know, I know, I’ve been blogging a lot of recipes lately, and not so many crafts. But what can I say? Fall and Winter put me in a domestic mood and make me want to bake and cook. Bear with me, you’ll be glad you did. This recipe is SO YUMMY!
For the last cooking club, not only did I bring the candied apples I previously outlined, but I also brought this Butternut Squash Risotto. Now, I had never made a risotto before, and while I knew it would take a lot of time stirring and adding the broth, I don’t think I realized just how much. However, it was totally worth it! The end result is a nice, creamy blend of rice and butternut squash with a hint of Parmesan.
I found this recipe HERE. There are some other really tasty looking recipes over there. Be sure to take a look around!
6-8 cups chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided into 4 Tbsp and 1 Tbsp
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups butternut squash, peeled, and finely diced
2 cups arborio rice (can substitute medium grained white rice, but arborio is preferred)
1 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp chopped chives or garlic chives
(surprise surprise, my grocery store didn’t have the garlic chives or even regular chives, so we did without. It was still delish.)
First, peel and chop your squash into bite size pieces. I think if I do this again, I’ll cut them even smaller than I did. Melt 4Tbsp of butter and sautee the onions and squash until the onions are translucent. While you do this, heat your broth in another pot and keep warm over medium heat.
Add your rice to the onions and squash and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add your wine and stir constantly until the wine is either absorbed by the rice or evaporated. Then, ladle broth over rice until it just covers it. Cook over medium heat until the broth is absorbed.
Continue cooking and stirring rice, adding a little bit of broth at a time, cooking and stirring until it is absorbed, until the rice is tender, but still firm to the bite, about 15 to 20 minutes.
During the last few minutes of cooking, add the remaining butter, 1/3 cup of Parmesan, and chives. At this point it should be nice and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with remaining Parmesan.
This was a big hit! I am looking forward to making it again, actually. It was the first time I really had eaten butternut squash too!
For cooking club last week I decided to bring some candied apples for my dessert. For one, I think they’re yummy, but two, I think they’re really pretty to photograph!
I found this recipe at All Recipes. It was really easy and I had all the ingredients on hand. Here’s what you’ll need.
- 15 apples
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 8 drops red food coloring
- cinnamon oil to taste (my own addition)
First things first, wash your apples, pull the stems out, and dry them well.
Then stick some sticks, whether they be popcicle sticks or dowels, into the top of each apple.
Now that those are ready we’re going to get the candy going. Mix the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a heavy bottom pot.
Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until the temperature on a candy thermometer reaches between 300 and 310 degrees.
I taped a little video to show you what you’re looking for to get the candy to a hard crack stage.
When your candy has reached hard crack stage, remove from heat and add your food coloring and your cinnamon oil to taste.
(cinnamon oil can sometimes be hard to find. I got mine through the Randall’s pharmacy.) I added about a quarter teaspoon and had a nicely flavored candy that wasn’t too spicy. Stir well to incorporate.
At this point you want to roll your apples in the candy. Dip and twist them while in the candy and continue twisting to remove the excess candy and cover the entire apple.
I kind of had a lot on mine so you’ll see it dripped down all around the base. Place your apples on a well greased cookie sheet or marble slab. (not on greased wax paper like I did because it still stuck to it!)
Let cool until they harden, about a half hour at least.