Saturday, April 26, 2014

Bleu Cheese & Pear Puff Pastry Bites


1 lg red onion - sliced into quarters then thin sliced
2 lg Red d'Anjou pears - peeled, cored and diced into 1/4" cubes
1 pkg puff pastry
1 1/2 T fresh thyme leaves
2 T olive oil
4 oz bleu cheese, crumbled
1/2 c + 1/2 c apple wine (I prefer Springgate Vineyard's Golden Apple Wine)

Heat skillet and add olive oil.  Saute onions until browned.  Add thyme and saute until fragrant.

Deglaze with 1/2 c apple wine making sure to scrape browned onion layer from pan.

Add diced pears and blend, heating.

Add other 1/2 c apple wine and gently heat the entire mixture for a few minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool before using.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare two baking sheets adding a layer of parchment paper.

Gently roll out puff pastry per the package instructions.  Cut with a 1 1/2" diameter cutter or suitable cup or glass.  This should yield about 48 circles.  Place circles onto baking sheets.

Put about 1 t of pear/onion mixture on each circle.  Follow by a bit of the crumbled bleu cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until puff pastry is cooked through.

Serve and enjoy!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Robin Egg & White Chocolate Chip Cookies


4 3/4 c white flour
2 t baking soda
2 t salt
4 sticks softened unsalted butter
3 c brown sugar
2 t vanilla extract
4 lg eggs
4 c broken Robin Egg (malted milk) candies pieces
2 c white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375° F. Add parchment paper to at least two baking sheets.

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.

Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 

Gradually beat in flour mixture. 

Gently fold in candie and white chocolate chips by hand

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto baking sheets

Bake for 9 minutes or until golden brown. Do not over bake.

Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Bacon Bleu Cheeseburger Potato Skins

10 lb medium Russet potatoes
1 lb ground beef
1 lb bacon slices
1 c chopped onion
1 c chopped green pepper
1 c Chambourcin or other rich red wine
8 oz bleu cheese
8 oz gouda or other melting cheese

Wash and pierce the potatoes.  Place on a cooking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 60-70 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

While the potatoes bake,  saute onions and peppers in olive oil until soft deglaze with Merlot and cook until the wine is reduced.  Set aside mixture in a bowl and add ground beef to the pan.  Brown beef. When done, add onion & peppers to the mixture.  Set aside to cool.

Crumble bleu cheese into small pieces.  Dice Gouda into small pieces.

Bake or fry bacon until done.  Cool & crumble or chop into pieces.

When potatoes are cool, slice each into thirds lengthwise.  Set aside the middle third - it will not be used for this recipe.  Scoop out all but 1/4" of the potato center from each of the other thirds making a cavity for filling.

Place parchment paper on two baking sheets.  Brush surface with olive oil.  Place potato sections open side down on the paper.  Brush or spray the back sides with olive oil.  Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes until edges begin to brown.  Cool.

To assemble, place a tablespoon of ground meat in the potato cavity.  Sprinkle some of the bleu cheese and gouda pieces on top. Then add some of the bacon pieces.  Repeat for all of the potato skins.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-30 minutes until cheese melts and potatoes heated through.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Chicken, Cremini & Asparagus Alfredo Dip

1 c chopped onions
1 c chopped sweet green pepper
2 T + 2 T olive oil
1/2 t dry rosemary
1 t oregano
2 x 1 c Chamborcin or Merlot
1/2 lb Cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced into 1/8" slices

1/2 large chicken breast cut into 1/2" strips.

4 T unsalted butter
4 T flour
1/2 T dry rosemary
1/2 T oregano
1 1/2 c skim milk
1 c heavy cream
1 1/2 c grated Parmesan (plus more to coat the top of the casserole dish)

Preheat oven to 375.  Butter bottom and sides of a large casserole dish.

Place an oven-safe saute pan on high heat and add olive oil.  Add onions and peppers.  Saute until onions are clear.  Add rosemary and oregano and continue to stir.  Add Chamborcin to deglaze.  Simmer until liquid is evaporated.  Put mixture in a bowl and return saute pan to heat.  Add chicken strips browning on both sides.  Add second cup of Chamborcin, sprinkle with a bit more rosemary and oregano and put the pan in the oven to braise for 30 minutes.

Place a large sauce pan on medium heat. Add 4 T butter and 4 T flour.  Heat and mix to make a rue. Continue to heat until the rue is a pale tan color.  Add skim milk, cream, oregano and rosemary.  Stir with a whisk to blend well.  Continue to whisk and heat until bubbles form on the edges and sauce begins to thicken. Add Parmesan and whisk well heating and whisking until the sauce is creamy and thick.  Remove from heat.

Remove chicken from the oven and remove chicken pieces to a cutting board to cook. (Leave the oven on - we still need it!) Put saute pan back on the stove on high heat and add bowl of onion & pepper mixture.  Reduce liquid until gone again.  Push the vegetable mixture to the side and add the sliced mushrooms.  Suate until mushrooms lose their liquid. Continue to heat and reduce the liquid to a minimum.  Put the vegetable and mushroom mixture into a large bowl and set aside.

On the cutting board, shred all of the cooled chicken into small pieces.  Add this to the large bowl with the vegetables and mushrooms.  Add the Alfredo sauce as well and fold the mixture together.  Now place the mixture in the casserole dish, leveling with the back of a spoon.  Coat the top of the mixture liberally with Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes at 375.