Sunday, June 24, 2018

Barefoot Contessa- pavlova fruit tart

  • 4 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Sweetened Whipped Cream (see recipe)
  • 1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/2 pint fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 pint fresh raspberries
  • Triple Raspberry Sauce 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.  Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan.  Draw a 9-inch circle on the paper, using a 9-inch plate as a guide, then turn the paper over so the circle is on the reverse side.  (This way you won’t get a pencil mark on the meringue.)
Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat the egg whites on high speed until firm, about 1 minute.  With the mixer still on high, slowly add the sugar and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, sift the cornstarch onto the beaten egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla, and fold in lightly with a rubber spatula.  Pile the meringue into the middle of the circle on the parchment paper and smooth it within the circle, making a rough disk.  Bake for 1½ hours.  Turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven, about 1 hour.  It will be crisp on the outside and soft inside.Invert the meringue disk onto a plate and spread the top completely with sweetened whipped cream.  Combine the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in a bowl and toss with about ½ cup of raspberry sauce, or enough to coat the berries lightly.  Spoon the berries carefully into the middle of the Pavlova, leaving a border of cream and meringue.  Serve immediately in large scoops with extra raspberry sauce.
Sweetened Whipped Cream (Makes 2 Cups)
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extractWhip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer).  When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until firm.  Don’t overbeat!
Triple Raspberry Sauce (Makes 2 Cups)
  • ½ pint fresh raspberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup seedless raspberry jam (12-ounce jar)
  • 1 tablespoon framboise liqueur
Place the raspberries, sugar and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes.  Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and framboise into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth.  Chill.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Cream puffs from Joy of Cooking

I used Joy of Cooking’s recipe for cream puffs on my sister’s recommendation. It’s really easy, and they were delicious! I made them 2 weeks before the party and froze them in plastic ziplock bags. I removed them from the bags (so condensation wouldn’t make them mushy) and defrosted them the morning of the party. Using a serrated knife, I sliced off a cap and stuffed them with chicken salad. They were fabulous!

You can stuff these with ice cream and top with chocolate sauce too!

Preheat oven to 400

2 dozen 3” puffs

Sift before measuring:
1 cup AP flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbl sugar (if you’re filling with something sweet)

Place in a heavy saucepan:
1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
Bring to a boil, add flour mixture in one fell swoop and stir quickly with a wooden spoon. It looks rough at first, but suddenly becomes smooth, at which point you beat faster. In a few minutes the paste becomes dry and does not cling to the spoon or sides of the pan, and when the spoon is pressed on it lightly, it leaves a smooth imprint. Remove immediately from heat (if you overbeat or over cook it will not puff). Cool 2 minutes. Add one at a time, beating vigorously after each addition (use your hand mixer):

4-5 room temperature eggs
Beat each time until the dough no longer looks slippery. When the last egg has been incorporated, a small amount of the paste will stand erect if scooped up of the end of the spoon. Use the paste immediately.

I used a 1 tbl ice cream scoop to scoop these out onto parchment lined baking sheets. You can also use 2 spoons or a piping bag with a plain tip.

Before baking, sprinkle a few drops of water over the puffs (as you would if ironing). Bake for 10 minutes at 400, reduce heat to 350 and bake 25 minutes longer.  Remove from pan to cooling rack and let cool away from drafts. To fill, cut horizontally with a serrated knife. Remove any damp dough inside.

Freeze in ziplock bags without slicing or filling. Remove from bags to defrost.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Sip and See Menu

This is the menu for a party that I did for a dear friend’s newest grandchild. It could also be used for a bridal or baby shower. I made everything, but the dessert. For that, I bought cupcakes from the best bakery in town.

Chicken salad in cream puffs
Mini tomato tarts
Pimento cheese tea sandwiches 
Deviled eggs
Gorganzola truffles 
Caprese skewers with balsamic glaze 
Fruit skewers with amaretto creme fraiche 
3 dozen assorted mini cupcakes from magpies 

2 weeks before 
Order cupcakes 

2-3 days before
Make amaretto creme
Wash basil
Toast and chop pecans 
Chop celery and chives 

Day before 
Make deviled eggs
Make gorgonzola truffles 
Make filling for tomato tartlets
Make chicken salad
Make fruit skewers 

Day of 
Fill deviled eggs
Fill and bake tomato tartlets
Fill cream puffs with chicken salad
Fill and cut sandwiches
Make caprese skewers

Set table

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Zucchini Enchiladas

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Spanakopita tarts

  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1- 10 oz. package spinach, thawed, chopped and squeezed of moisture
  • 6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Large pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 lb. phyllo, you may not use it all
  • 8 Tbsp. of butter, melted
  • 1 cup Parmesan, grated

48 Frozen Phyllo tartlets

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Butter a 24 mini muffin pan and set aside.
  2. Heat the 1 Tbsp. of canola oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, add both the onions and cook until soft.
  3. While the onions are cooking, mix together the spinach, feta, ricotta and egg. Add in the cooked onion. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Combine well and set aside.
  4. Take the phyllo tarts  out of the package.
  5. Place a tsp. of the spinach mixture in each cup and then top with a pinch of Parmesan.
  6. Bake for 15-20 min. until golden brown. Serve immediately or let cool and freeze.
  7. Note: If frozen, reheat in a 350F oven for 15-20 min. or until heated through. Will freeze well for 1-2 months if properly se

Curried Shrimp from Hank’s in Charleston

Hank’s is one of my favorite restaurants in Charleston, and this is my friend’s favorite dish. Unfortunately, Hank’s has removed this from the menu.

Serves 6

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 cup diced leeks
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons curry paste
2 tablespoons hot Madras curry powder
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup store-bought mango chutney
1 banana, peeled and mashed
1/2 cup diced Granny Smith apple
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 pounds large (21-25 count) white shrimp, peeled and deveined
Rice pilaf for serving (recipe follows)

In a 4-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion, leeks, carrots, celery and garlic, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the curry paste and curry powder and cook for about 2 minutes on medium heat. Add the chicken stock, increase the heat and bring to a boil. Add the chutney, mashed banana, apple and coconut milk. Simmer this over low heat for about 15 minutes, reducing slightly. Add the shrimp and simmer until the shrimp are just cooked through, 3-5 minutes. Serve over rice pilaf.

Rice Pilaf

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
2 cups long-grain white rice
3 cups chicken stock
1 sprig thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
1/2 bay leaf


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a 4-quart oven-safe saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 1 minute. Add the rice, stirring to coat with the butter, and cook 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, thyme, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, cover and place in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Fluff the rice with a fork, remove the thyme and bay leaf, and keep covered until ready to serve.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Pasta fagioli

I really don’t have a recipe for this, but I don’t think you really need one. The key is a delicious stock. So, here’s what I did.

For the stock

3 tbl of extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 inch slice pancetta, diced
1 onion diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 of a small cabbage, chopped roughly (optional)
2-4 cloves garlic, minced fine
Big handful of parsley
1 big carrot, cut in 2 pieces
2 pieces of the rind from the parmigiano reggiano
1 Tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp dried basil 
1 big bay leaf
1 15 oz can chopped tomatoes 
2 packets Goya cubitos en polvo caldo de pollo
6 cups water 

Heat the oil in a heavy dutch oven and saute the pancetta til brown. Add the red pepper flakes, onion, celery, and cabbage, and sauté til the onions are translucent. Add the garlic, parsley, marjoram, and basil, and sauté another minute or so. (You could put it in a slow cooker at this point.) Add the water, tomatoes, bay leaf, and parmigiano rinds. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let simmer 2 hours or more. 

For the soup
1-2 carrots chopped 
2 cans canellinni beans 
1 tsp dried rosemary 
1/2 lb small pasta like ditilini or mini farfalle
1 cup grated parmigiano (don’t buy pre-grated. It has no flavor!)
2-3 cups fresh baby spinach (Optional. I just happened to have some)

Add the chopped carrots, beans with their liquid, and the rosemary. Bring up to boil, reduce heat, and simmer partially covered 20-30 minutes.  Bring back to the boil and add more water if it’s too thick.  Add the pasta and cook til almost done. Add the spinach and cook another minute. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese. Keep stirring until it’s well incorporated. You don’t want it to fall and stick to the bottom.