10/31/2021

Sunday Dinner

served with radishes, gherkins, and rye toasts


Milky Way Tart


What better way to spend a cloudy, chilly October 31st? With the doorbell ringing in just a few hours, I am not sure we will get the main event (that's ok, we had it last night for dinner). We will, however, be able to grab bites of the Obatzda (I included the link so that you can read all about it) during the neighborhood candy spree.  And when the doorbell stops ringing, we will turn off the lights, turn off the pumpkin candle, close the door behind us and run inside for a slice of my idea of a gourmet candy treat.

There are three wonderful layers of sweetness in this tart; a chocolate pastry crust, a gooey caramel layer and a chocolate-malted chocolate whipped cream.  All three make for an undeniably rich tart. 

I was inspired by an old Bon Appetit magazine recipe, but of course, I have my adaptations.  I used my own chocolate pastry dough and to really make this like a Milky Way, I added a secret ingredient; chocolate-malt milk powder.  I used Ovaltine brand which has plenty of vitamins, so it's good for you right??  The addition of this secret ingredient really gives it that malt chocolate nougat taste.  Finish off the tart with a drizzle of melted chocolate or you can just dust the top with a little cocoa powder. Whichever way will be good.


It's perfect for Halloween, but let's be honest.  Chocolate and Caramel are well received anytime of year!
Have a safe and happy Sunday!

10/28/2021

Apricot-Curry Chicken Quinoa Salad


Are you familiar with quinoa? I was introduced to it over 20 years ago and have loved it ever since. It is a staple on our dinner table and enjoyed when packed for lunches. 

It is referred to as "the mother of all grains", but it is not a grain.  It is actually a seed from the amaranth family.  It is packed with protein, fiber, essential vitamins and minerals. It is cooked similarly to rice and has a wonderful nutty taste.

In this recipe, I add lemon juice, red onion and parsley to round out the flavors for a bowl of goodness and nutrition.

I think it is the perfect recipe to share before a weekend of Halloween sweets!

10/21/2021

Apple Butter Pound Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting


OMG! Why did it take me six years to make this?!? This is one unbelievable cake!! It tastes like Fall in sugar form! There really aren't enough words to tell you how good this cake is! (I have writer's block trying to think about how to describe how incredible it tastes, so let me just write about the recipe because you will need to make this cake ASAP.)


This is a cold-oven pound cake. And by that, I mean you turn the oven on AFTER you put the pan in the oven.  It is an old technique that produces a tall cake with a nice crisp crust. I love the crispy bits, don't you? The one thing that I want to point out is the bake time; it will vary depending on how quickly your oven heats up. The pilot light in my gas oven is a little slow to start (because I use it so much), therefore it took my cake a bit longer than 80 minutes to bake. To keep the top from browning too much, I lightly covered it with a sheet of aluminum foil towards the end of the bake time. 

As far as the recipe, I really didn't change much to the cake, but I did to the glaze/frosting.  The original recipe called it a glaze, but I knew by looking at the magazine photo that it was more of a pourable frosting than a glaze.  So to achieve that, I made sure that the base of the frosting was completely cooled before I beat in the confectioners' sugar.  And let me tell you that I am super glad that I went for the pourable frosting.  Holy yum and cue the sugar rush! 

The cake and frosting is all you need, but if you feel like getting fancy, dress the top of the cake with some dried apple chips like I did. Just make sure you wait to garnish until you are going to serve the cake, otherwise the apple chips will soften and loose their crunch.

Now, please don't do what I did and wait six years to make this cake!  It is sooooo good!!

10/19/2021

Goat Cheese and Gouda Pimento/Pimiento Cheese


Pimiento or Pimento? They are both equally accepted.  The former is the original Spanish term for mild cherry peppers.  The latter is just how the term evolved.  Is the latter a Southern term?  I don't know.  I do know that when I say it, it sounds like PUH-MEN-UH and I do spell it as pimento . However you spell it or say it, it is a delicious little pepper that adds flavor and color to a dish or a stuffed Manzanilla olive.  Speaking of stuffed olives...

Quick story... Someone close to me (I will not name the person) with a very high IQ once asked, "So do they just take the pimentos out of the olives and put them in jars?" OMG you should have seen the expression on my face!! I just about died from laughter and disbelief. It was truly a "you've got to be kidding me" moment!!!šŸ˜‚

Ok, back to the cheese.  How many variations of the classic pimento cheese are there? I have no clue, but I bet one could write a book just about pimento cheese (Wait, I just looked. There is one!).  Some refer to it as the peanut butter of the South, but I like to think of it as the flavored butter of the South.  You can do almost anything to or with a basic recipe.  Add jalapeƱos, bacon, horseradish, buffalo sauce, onion, olive spread, chipotle sauce, etc...and/or change up the cheeses, like in this recipe.  Once again, the possibilities are endless!  Having said that, there is one thing that must remain in any recipe, a good amount of quality  Cheddar cheese and mayonnaise (NOT the salad dressing stuff).  The other thing that is an absolute must is the technique.  What ever cheese you are using, grate or crumble it yourself.  Step away from the bags of the pre-shredded stuff.  There are stabilizers in there and they lend an off-putting taste to the end result.  Another important tip is to let the cheese mixture set-up in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, especially if you are using add-ins or using different cheeses.  This allows the flavors to develop.

In this particular recipe, the original called for adding pecans to the mixture, but I really like the side addition/option of the candied pecans.   If you choose to "go-nuts", you get that whole sweet, savory, creamy and crunchy thing all-in-one bite.  If you choose to stay in the nut-free zone, you still get a delicious mouthful of flavor.  Along with the pecans,  I like to serve this pimento cheese recipe with Blue Diamond Artisan Crackers; either flax seed or multi-seed.

10/17/2021

Sunday Dinner

Goat Cheese and Gouda Pimento Cheese
Candied Pecans

North Carolina Vinegar Sauce
Apple-Cabbage Slaw
Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges

Apple Butter Pound Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting



What's with the Southern themed Sunday dinner menu this week, you might ask?? Well, other than it being an absolutely gorgeous Fall weekend that made it perfect for smoking 9 1/2 lbs of pork shoulder and 7 1/2 pounds of a whole turkey breast yesterday,  I was born in Goldsboro, NC some 40ish years ago today.  So, this is my menu with a blessing to my roots (and my parents, of course).  And yes, I am taking pictures, editing, writing and blogging on my birthday, because I love my little space herešŸ˜Š.

Pecans... Do you say PEE-CANS or PUH-KAHNS?šŸ¤” I know, terribly exciting recipe to share, but the are really an important element to my recipe cachĆ©.  They are delicious on their own as an addictive snack or well received when given as a gift for the holidays.  But I also use them in sweet and savory dishes, like ice cream, salads or as a garnish to just about anything.  The real beauty of these pecans is they can be customized to your taste buds or to whatever you are serving them with.  Instead of cinnamon, how about cumin or a chipotle pepper spice blend?  What about pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice?  The possibilities are endless! As I say-Make it for you, make it your own! Happy Sunday!

*Note-I do prefer the silicone mat when baking the pecans because the stickiness of the mat the baking sheet makes it easier to stir the pecans.

10/14/2021

JalapeƱo-Peach Poppers

 


Sorry for the brief absence. I have been busy with a few house chores and tending to our new family member (I still need to tell you about her. Hint-she's small, black and furry).  

So, let's see...where did I leave you drooling? Ah yes, it was THIS Sunday Dinner.  Before I get to some weeknight dinners (I have quite a few in the queue) and Fall recipes, I need to back track and share this absolutely delicious appetizer.  

You may be familiar with that classic appetizer or dip, JalapeƱo Poppers, and this my dear readers is a kicked up version of that-cream cheese with lots of sweet and savory flavors.  Speaking of sweet, peaches may scream summer to you, but let me point out that you can use frozen peaches, so this canapĆ© can be enjoyed all year long. The original recipe called for baking the filled wontons, but c'mon. Let's face it, they are better fried.  Trust me, I tried it both ways and the fried version won hands down!  The recipe can easily be halved or doubled, so it is perfect for a small gathering or a crowd.  

*Note- How many recipes do you have that actually use all of the wonton wrappers in the package? I have zero unless I quadruple a recipe. So, what can you do with those leftover wonton wrappers? Make these Shrimp and Ginger Dumplings.