Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Savory Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Crostini

2 French baguette, cut into diagonal 1/2 inch slices
extra virgin olive oil
2 lg Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate bars
sea salt

Preheat broiler (High setting) and set the oven rack on the top level. Line two baking sheets with foil.

Arrange baguette slices in a single layer on the baking sheet. Place under broiler until golden (watch carefully the burn easily). Turn each slice over and broil until reverse side is golden. Turn off broiler.
Turn each slice over again; drizzle with olive oil. Push chocolate piece into the center of each slice and return baking sheet to oven for 2 more minutes. Remove from oven and lightly sprinkle each chocolate piece with sea salt.

(based on recipe found on AllRecipes)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sweet Pepper, Onion and Potato Soup

8 lg Bell Peppers (late season are red for me)
1 lg sweet onion (Vidalia or similar)
Olive oil

6-8 medium russet potatoes, peeled, diced and boiled until firm but cooked

1 can Low-fat/low-sodium chicken stock
2 cans Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup
2 cans water (reconstitute soup)

Chili powder

Cut and clean seeds & stems from peppers, dice into ½” pieces.  Peel and dice onion into ½” pieces.  Heat a large skillet (high) and add liberal coating of olive oil when hot.  Immediately add onions and stir fry for 5 minutes.  Lower heat to medium high and add diced peppers.  Continue to cook for 20 minutes until onions are clear and peppers have softened.  Remove from heat.

In a stock pot on medium heat, add chicken stock, Cream of Chicken Soup, water and potatoes.

Put onions and peppers into a food processor or blender and puree until it has the consistency of ketchup.  Add to the stock pot.

Stir/whisk until well blended (it’s okay to break up some of the potato chunks).  Add Chili powder, Sage and Thyme (judiciously) to taste.

Heat to simmering and serve.

(I like it to have a bit of a peppery bite [read: chili powder], but not too spicy)

Mini-Quiche with Caramelized Onion Garnish

Caramelized Onion Topping
2 large sweet onions, sliced thinly.
Olive Oil

Heat a large saute pan on medium heat.  When hot, coat the bottom of the pan with Olive Oil.  Place onion slices on the bottom layering.  Keep cooking and stirring onions until softened transparent and caramelized to a light mahogany color.  Remove from heat.

Pastry Dough
2c flour
2T baking powder
1/4t cream of tartar
1/2c shortening
1/4t salt
2/3c milk

Whisk dry ingredients.  Cut in shortening with a pastry blender to texture of coarse breadcrumbs. Make a well and add milk, mixing lightly.  Turn out on floured surface and kneed lightly to blend. Form into balls and press into mini muffin tin cups.  Make sure the pastry walls are about ⅛” thick or the pastry cup will be too large.

Quiche Filling
¼ lb grated swiss
1 pkg frozen spinach
8 eggs
1c milk
½t nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  

Whisk eggs, adding milk and nutmeg.

Cut spinach into 1/2t sized chunks and put one in the bottom of each shell.  Add a small amount of grated swiss cheese.  Pour over approximately 1T egg mixture in each shell.  Bake 20-30 minutes until egg mixture is cooked through and a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Repeat process of putting dough in cups, add filling ingredients and bake.  When done, place on serving tray and place a small curl of caramelized onion on top of each pastry shell.

recipe by Jay Mumper

Apple-Cheese Hors D'oeuvres

1c white sugar
4T lemon juice
1/2c water
1t butter
2c Granny Smith Apple strips (about 2 apples)
20 “Hint of Salt” Ritz crackers
8oz extra sharp cheddar cheese

4T lemon juice to 1c water to keep apple strips from browning.

Prepare apple strips
Using an apple peeler with the slicer/coring cutter removed, peel apple and discard peeling.  Make additional passes on the peeler removing strips of apple.  Place immediately in bowl with cold water and lemon juice to prevent browning.

Cooking apples
Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Melt butter and coat skillet.  Blend sugar, lemon juice and water.  Cook stirring constantly until sugar begins to caramelize to a light brown color.  Drop in drained apple strips and continue stirring.  Once most of the apples are transparent with a few opaque pieces, remove the apples and sugar from the skillet into another heat resistant container or heavy bowl.  Allow to stand.  Apples will finish cooking as they stand.

Slice cheese
Slice cheese into ⅛” slices and then into 1” squares.

Assemble hor’s d’oeurves

Lay out crackers on a serving tray.  Place one slice of cheese on each.  With a fork get about 1/2T of apple slices (still warm) and place on top of the cheese.  Place a second slice of cheese on top.

Hot Mustard

½ c dry mustard
½ c cider vinegar

⅓ c sugar
½ t salt
1 egg

Whisk dry mustard and vinegar and set aside.
Whisk egg thoroughly.  Add sugar and salt, whisk until blended.  Add mustard and vinegar mixture and whisk until combined.  Put mixture in a saucepan on low heat and cook stirring constantly until thickened to a light pudding consistency.

Set aside and cool to room temperature.

Blend in equal volume of Miracle Whip dressing.  Refrigerate.

Serve cold.

Recipe from Sue Crawford Hewer, Pickford, MI.

Prosciutto and Apple Smoked Gruyere (Tourbillon Pâtisserie Jambon et Gruyère Fumé Pomme)

2 tubes crescent rolls (uncut crescent sheets if you can find them)
½ lb grated Apple Smoked Gruyere Cheese (see
¼ lb thinly sliced of Prosciutto

Preheat oven to 375°

Spread dough, sealing pre-cut seams

Add a thin layer of grated Apple Smoked Gruyere. Place slices of prosciutto. Roll the topped pastry starting with one long side, rolling evenly to the center and then the other side, so that the two sides meet at the center.

Cut slices of dough stuffed with 1/4 inch thick, with a sharp knife to form swirls. Place the swirls on a parchment covered or non-stick pan and bake 12-15 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Adapted from French recipe by Jay Mumper - August 2013

Asian Pear Tart Tatin

All-purpose flour, for rolling
2 sheets frozen puff pastry (from a 17.3-ounce package), thawed
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
24 firm, ripe Asian pears (1 ½”-2” dia typ.), each peeled, quartered, cored

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured work surface, roll puff pastry sheets into an 9x13 rectangle. Refrigerate until ready to use.

In a medium cast-iron or ovenproof nonstick skillet, combine sugar, vinegar, and 6 tablespoons water. Cook over medium heat, without stirring, until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in butter. Butter pyrex 9x13 glass dish. Cover bottom with parchment. Place pear wedges in skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until pears are crisp-tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Move pears to glass pan, placing larger pieces around perimeter - pears should form a uniform layer.

Drape chilled pastry over pears, tucking edge under. Place second sheet over the first, again tucking edges under. Bake until pastry is golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Let tart cool in pan, 15 minutes. Run a knife around edge of skillet, and carefully invert tart onto a serving plate. Serve warm.

Hot Fudge Sauce (just added - Merlot Wine-based version)

2 cups sugar
12 tablespoons cocoa
6 tablespoons cornstarch
4 dashes salt
2 cups water
8 tablespoons butter
4 teaspoons vanilla

Mix dry ingredients.
Stir in room temperature water.
Microwave 90 seconds--stirring every 30 seconds.
Blend in butter and microwave 30 seconds more and stir.
Continue to alternate microwaving for 30 seconds and stirring until it reaches desired thickness. (The longer you cook it, the thicker it gets.).
After microwaving stir in vanilla.

Serve warm.

Merlot variation:
Replace the 2 c water with 2 c Merlot and prepare as above.

Black Bean Goat Cheese Dip

1 tablespoon olive oil , plus more for brushing (optional)
1 small onion , chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic , minced
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin (preferably whole seeds, freshly toasted and ground)
2 cans (15.5 to 19 ounces) black beans , drained and rinsed
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper , to taste
2 large poblano peppers
1 bunch scallions , sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 log (11 ounces) fresh goat cheese
6 whole grain tortillas , cut into wedges

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cumin and cook 30 seconds. Add 1 can beans and lightly mash using a potato masher. Stir in chicken stock and remaining can of beans. Simmer until very thick (but not pasty), 5–7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool.

Meanwhile, place poblano peppers directly on a burner over a medium-low gas flame. Turn regularly with tongs to blacken skin, 10–15 minutes (if you don't have a gas stove, you can blacken peppers on a sheet pan under a broiler, turning regularly, about 15 minutes). Place peppers in a paper bag; seal and let sit (and steam) until cool enough to handle. Peel peppers, removing as much of the charred skin as possible without rinsing. Seed and coarsely chop. Transfer to a small bowl and toss with scallions and cilantro.

Preheat oven to 375°. In the bottom of a 1- to 1 1/2-quart soufflé or baking dish, spread half of bean mixture. Top with half of cheese, crumbled, and half of pepper mixture. Repeat layering once more, ending on pepper mixture. Place dish on a sheet pan and bake 30–35 minutes, until top is bubbling. Meanwhile, arrange tortilla wedges on a large baking sheet in a single layer. Place in oven with dip and bake 10–12 minutes or until crisp. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt, if desired. Serve hot with tortilla chips on the side.

Blueberry Topping

1qt blueberries
2c sugar
1/2c lemon juice
Zest of one lemon + juice of the lemon

Place all ingredients in a saucepan.

Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until sauce comes to a simmer. Continue stirring, smashing some of the berries. Simmer 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, place in a container and refrigerate.


1 doz large eggs
2c chopped asparagus
½c chopped onion
olive oil
½c milk
ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Liberally grease a 9/x13 glass pan.

Whisk with 1/2 c milk and ground pepper and set aside.

In a skillet or saute pan, saute 2 cups of asparagus and 1/2 c chopped onion in olive oil to start cooking.
Spread sauted asparagus & onion on the bottom of the pan.
Gently pour over egg mixture (rearrange asparagus & onion if the move around and become uneven)
Dot top with cheese to form a sparse layer
Bake for 40 minutes.
Serve warm (warming tray is nice to use for parties)

Panko and Mustard Crusted Rabbit (Chicken)

1/2c unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2c Dijon mustard
2 1/2c panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1/4c fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 (2-3lb) fryer rabbits, rinsed and cut into finger sized pieces (sub. 3 whole boneless chicken breasts)
1t kosher salt
1/2t fresh ground black pepper
1/4c extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cover two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together mustard and butter.

In a large bowl, mix panko and thyme.

Season pieces of rabbit (chicken) with salt and pepper, then brush individually with mustard-butter mixture and toss in panko to coat.  Place on baking sheet.

Drizzle pieces with olive oil.

Bake 15 minutes to sear, then reduce heat to 350°F. Bake until crust is golden and juices run clear when meat is pricked with fork, about 10 minutes more.

Teriyaki Chicken

6 half boneless chicken breasts
1 - 20oz pineapple chunks
1 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
4 cloves minced garlic
6 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp ginger

Slice chicken breasts in thin strips, set aside
Mix the rest of the ingredients with a whisk until well blended
alternately add sauce and chicken to crockpot to ensure coating all of the chicken.  Chicken should be covered by liquid.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours, stirring every one-to-two hours

Serve over rice with steamed vegetables.