Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pear apple hand pies

Fall time offers up some of our favorite smells. Nothing quite captures the season like the lingering smell of warn cinnamon and fresh apples in the crisp air. Jen spent the other day stealing picking apples and pears from her sister's backyard. These hand pies later emerged from the oven to cool on the stove top alongside pots of lemon spiced pear-apple sauce.

  • 2-3 medium sized apples
  • 2-3 large pears
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 roll jumbo refridgerated biscuits
  1. Peel, core, and dice apples and pears and toss in a bowl with lemon juice. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  2. On a floured board, roll out biscuits into oval shapes approximately 6 inches.
  3. Pile in 1/4 -1/2 cup of apple pear mixture on one half of biscuit. Fold over the other half and seal edges tightly with fingers.
  4. Place folded pies onto cookie sheet and brish top with butter. Sprinkle each with brown sugar.
  5. Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Lemony lemon goodness

Since it isn't socially acceptable to drink margaritas at all hours of the day, I've been forced to find alternate uses for citrus fruits. In my latest lemon adventure I combine my sour friend with butter. Mmm... butter. These shortbread cookies smell delicious while baking and taste so great you won't be able to stop eating them. You can make them large (as seen here) or into smaller cookies (allowing you to justify eating 10-12 at a time).

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoon grated lemon peel, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4-5 teaspoons lemon juice

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, 1 tablespoon lemon peel and vanilla until well blended. Beat in flour, baking powder, and salt on low speen until blended.
  3. Drop dough by level 1/4 cupfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Flatten dough until 3 inches in diameter with bottom of glass that has been dipped in sugar.
  4. Bake 12-14 minutes or until cookies are just set and edges are golden brown. Cool on cookie sheets 2 minutes; transfer to wire racks. Cool completely.
  5. Combine powdered sugar, lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon lemon peel in small bowl; drizzle mixture over cookies. Let stand until icing is set.

Baked Pumpkin French Toast

Believed to be native to North America, the oldest pumpkin seeds have been traced to Mexico and dated back to 7000 BC. While we didn't have to travel all the way to Mexico, our own pumpkin cravings led us to many a grocery store in search of Joe's most favored seasonal item. After countless trips to the canned food aisles of Safeway, our fall time favorite has returned. Without further delay I give you a breakfast concoction so sugary sweet you WILL develop diabetes. You can thank me later.

Look at all that caramel on the bottom. Mmmm.... breakfast caramel.


1 loaf french bread

2 1/2 cups lowfat milk
1 Tbl flour
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbl sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs

1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup light-colored corn syrup
1/4 cup butter (half a stick)

  1. Cut the bread into thick slices.
  2. Combine milk, flour, vanilla, sugar, pumpkin, spices, and eggs.
  3. In a saucepan, combine the butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly till bubbly (about 5 minutes).
  4. Pour caramel into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan. Place bread in a single layer over the caramel (squishing if necessary). Pour egg mixture over bread.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove plastic wrap and sprinkle Cinnamon/Sugar mixture over the top (2 Tbl sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon).
  7. Bake for 50 minutes and let it stand for 5 minutes before serving. It will be big a puffy at first and slowly settle down.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Molten Spiced Chocolate Wine Cakes

  • 4 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 Tablesppon red wine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 6 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Butter 4 (6 ounce) souffle dishes.
  2. Microwave chocolate and butter until butter is melted. Stir until chocoalte is melted and smooth.
  3. Stir in wine, vanilla, and sugar until blended. Whisk in eggs and yolk. Add remaining ingredients. Pour batter evenly into souffle dishes.
  4. Bake 13-15 minutes or until sides are firm but centers are soft. Let stand 1 minute. Carefully loosen edges with a knife and invert onto a plate.
  5. Serve immediately with a red wine such as Tempranillo.

Artichoke dip

  • 1 (14 oz) can of artichoke hearts, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup parmasean cheese

Mix all ingredients and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips or melba toasts.

Feastgiving sweet potatoes

  • 4 sweet potatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups miniature marshmallows

Drop potatoes in boiling water. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain water and peel potatoes (skins will slip right off, this is easier than peeling before boiling). Melt butter and add remaining ingredients, except for marshmallows. Pour butter mixture over potatoes and mash until smooth. Place in casserole dish and top with marshmallows. Bake at 325 for 1 hour.

Mandarin orange salad

  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 bag romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1 can mandarin oranges
Dressing ingredients:
  • dash Tobasco
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 Tablespoon parsely
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar

In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, heat almonds and sugar until sugar dissolves and coats almonds. Stir constantly to prevent burning.

Mix dressing ingredients and pour over remaining ingredients in a large bowl.