Monday, December 31, 2012

Cheddar Gougeres

Cheddar Gougeres
Cheddar Gougeres are deliciously light  French puffs.  These are a wonderful savory appetizer to serve at any get together.   This recipe is not difficult to make.  The key thing to remember is to have everything ready to go before you start. Begin by bringing the water, butter and salt to a boil.  You add the flour and stir until a smooth ball forms.   Let the dough rest for  5 minutes.  Then add the eggs one at a time.  Then stir in the cheese and chives.  Drop by tablespoon onto a greased baking sheet - I lined my baking sheet with parchment paper and baked until they are golden brown.
To me, it was love at first bite.  I loved the light pastry that had the flavorful taste of the cheddar cheese with  chives.








Cheddar Gougeres
From Taste of Home Magazine

Ingredients:
1 cup water
1/4 cup butter, cubed
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup minced fresh chives
2 garlic cloves, minced

Directions:

1. In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil.  Add flour all at once and stir until a smooth ball forms.  Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny.  Stir in cheese, chives and garlic.
Water, Butter, and Salt Coming To A Boil




Soft Ball





Smooth





Cheese and Chives Added 

2. Drop by tablespoonfuls 1 inch apart onto greased baking sheets.  Sprinkle with remaining salt.  Bake at 375 degrees F for 14-16 minutes or until golden brown.
3. Serve Warm.
Yield: 3 dozen










Friday, December 28, 2012

Go-With-Everything Celery Root Puree

Celery Root Puree
This week in French Fridays With Dorie we made Celery Root Puree.  Let me admit - I wasn't sure about this recipe.  Whenever I would see Celery Root in the store I would ask my self who would want to eat that.  After making this recipe, I would that is who.  I love Celery Root.  It is so delicious.  I love its' a mild celery flavor.  In this recipe celery root was boiled in milk and water with a potato, and a small onion.  All of the veggies were drained and then pureed.  Once the veggies were smooth, butter was added to the veggies.  Season with salt and white pepper and if you want garnish the Celery Root Puree with snipped  fresh chives, pistachio oil, or browned butter.  I served mine with snipped chives.

The family enjoyed this recipe a lot.  They loved the flavor and the texture of the puree.  This recipe is a keeper for the Saucier Family:)

This recipe can be found on page 354 in "Around My French Table."


Pureed Veggies




Tasty


























Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup


Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Split pea soup is a perfect soup for the winter.  It is filling, flavorful, and easy to make.  In this recipe, you just put all of the ingredients in a slow cooker and set the temperature.  I used 2 cups diced ham for the recipe but feel free to use a meaty ham bone or ham hocks.  If you are using a ham bone, remove the bone from the soup after it has finished cooking. Remove the meat from the bone and dice up the meat. Return the meat  to the soup. In addition to the ham, I use dried green split peas, onion and garlic powders, a bay leaf, sliced carrots, salt, pepper, ground allspice, and chicken broth.  I like my soups thick, so I pureed 1 cup of the soup mixture after it was done.  I then stirred the puree into the soup.  If you like the soup the thickness it is, ignore the puree part in the instructions.
This soup is rich and hearty.  It goes well with a piece of rustic bread or whole grain crackers.  You can eat this soup for supper or serve it in a cup for lunch or a starter.




 Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Special Equipment:  Slow cooker

Ingredients:

1 (16 ounce) package dried green split peas, rinsed and drained
1 meaty ham bone or 2 ham hocks or 2 cups diced ham
1 cup sliced carrots
1-tablespoon onion powder
1-teaspoon salt
1 Bay Leaf
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
6 cups chicken broth


Directions:

1. Layer the ingredients in a slow cooker in the above order (starting with the split peas and ending with the chicken broth).
2. Do not stir the ingredients.  Cover and cook on high 4-5 hours or on low 8-10 hours or until the peas are very soft.
3. Stir the soup and discard the bay leaf.   Remove 1 cup of the soup and puree in a food processor.  Return the puree to the soup and stir.
4. Taste and adjust seasoning if need.  Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

Makes 8 servings




Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and your family and Very Merry Christmas.  


Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Mint-and-White-Chocolate Milk Punch

Mint-and-White-Chocolate Milk Punch
I like to have a nice warm drink for the family as we are decorating the house or setting up the Christmas Tree.  It makes everything feel special.  I saw a section of recipes for Milk Punch in the December issue of Southern Living magazine.  The recipe that caught my eye was the Mint-and-White Chocolate Milk Punch.  I love mint during the Holiday time.  To me, it is a holiday flavor.  I like any type of chocolate.   I made this drink for the family the other evening as we were busy doing holiday stuff.  It was rich, creamy, had a hint of mint with a touch of vanilla.  MMM  was  it  ever so good.

To make this delicious drink you start with heavy cream and 2% reduced fat milk.  To the milk add sugar and a  split vanilla bean.  You bring the liquid to a simmer, stirring often.  Remove the milk from the heat and add fresh mint.  Cover the pot and let the milk "steep" for 8 minutes.  You remove the mint and the vanilla bean.  Add the white chocolate to the milk and cook it until all the chocolate has melted stirring constantly.  Pour into mugs and enjoy.
This milk punch is going to be a tradition in the Saucier Household.  Everyone really liked it:)

Mint-and-White Chocolate Milk Punch
From Southern Living Magazine

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream
1 quart 2% reduced-fat milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
3 fresh mint sprigs
1 (4 ounce) white chocolate baking bar, chopped
Mint, for garnish

Directions:

1. In a large saucepan, bring the heavy cream, reduced-fat milk, sugar, and vanilla bean to a simmer over medium heat.  Stir often.


2. Remove the milk mixture from the heat and add the mint sprigs.  Cover and let stand 8 minutes.


3.Discard the mint and vanilla bean.  Add  the white chocolate to the milk and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, 2 minutes, or until the chocolate is melted.



 4. Pour into mugs and garnish with  fresh mint  if desired.


























Friday, December 21, 2012

Cheez-It-Ish Crackers


Cheez-It Ish Crackers



These little crackers are bursting with flavor. Light and buttery with a nice cheese flavor. They practically melt in your mouth.  The little gems are not difficult to make.  The dough is made in a food processor-three cheers for the food processor.  The dough consists of unsalted butter, Gruyere cheese, salt, white pepper, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.  Once the dough comes together you can either divide the dough in thirds or in half.  For thirds, you shape each piece into a log. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and chill for 3 hours.  You're making slice and bake crackers - this is the method I chose. If you decide to divide the dough in half, shape the dough into a disk and chill for 1 hour.   Once the dough has chilled, you either slice the logs to a 1/4- inch thickness or roll out the dough to a  1/4- inch thickness. You then cut the dough with a  small cookie cutter about a 1 1/4 inch diameter.  Bake the crackers in the oven until they are firm to the touch and lightly golden.  Cool and they are ready to serve.

This recipe is one I am going to make over and over.  It is easy and delicious.  Next time I may try Cheddar Cheese.
This recipe can be found on pages 10-11 in "Around My French Table."


Butter and Cheese Getting Ready  To Be Mix Together




Combined Butter and Cheese


Moist Dough Curds









                                                   





Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Layered Chocolate Cookie Mix





My daughter, Christie, who just got finished with finals told me her brain was mush.  I told her she needed to engage in some Holiday Baking Therapy to recharge her brain.  Being she did not want to do anything "complicated," I made her a Layered Chocolate Cookie mix.   This year, I found this great mix idea in Family Circle  magazine.  I put together one last night especially for Christie. It is easy to put together. You layer  flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, brown sugar, granulated sugar, M&M candies (the recipe calls for red, but I used red and green), chocolate chips and white chocolate chips in a 2 quart container.  The  recipient has little to do - just add butter, eggs, milk ,and vanilla extract to the  mix.  Then just bake, cool, and eat.  What could be easier.
This would be a great gift from your kitchen for friends, colleagues, neighbors, etc.  It is nice because after eating a lot of goodies they can engage in some Baking Therapy during the holiday break with their families.

Layered Chocolate Cookie Mix
From Family Circle Magazine

Ingredients:

1  2-quart jar
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup red M&M Candies
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine 1 3/4 cups of the flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In a small bowl, blend cocoa and remaining 1 cup flour.
2. Begin layering:  Spoon half the flour-cocoa mixture into the jar.  Press down to flatten (a small spice jar works well).  Spoon half the plain flour mixture over cocoa layer; compact.  Repeat. Top with brown sugar layer and granulated sugar layer, compacting each.  Spoon M&M's over sugar.
3. Toss together both kinds of chips in a small bowl and add to jar.  Attach a note with baking instructions:  In a large bowl, combine 1 cup (2 sticks) cooled, melted unsalted butter with 3 eggs, 1/3 cup milk and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.  Stir in contents of jar just until mixed.  Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 13 minutes or until firm.  Cool on sheet on wire rack for 1 minute.  Remove directly to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies





Monday, December 17, 2012

Gingerbread

Gingerbread
I love Gingerbread during the holidays. It goes back to my childhood days.  Ginger cookies or bread or both were always baking around the holiday time.    The spices and the smell as it is baking reminds me of Christmas.  I found this recipe for Gingerbread on the King Arthur Flour Website.  This Gingerbread is very moist and flavorful.  It has a nice gingery taste without being overpowering.  When I was making my gingerbread,  I did not add the crystallized ginger.  I have made other recipes adding t crystallized ginger and it was just too much ginger for my taste.   This recipe is nice because you can make it with white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour.   In addition to flour you need ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, butter, molasses, an egg, buttermilk, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  The wet ingredients are added to the dry ingredients and mixed together until moistened.  The batter is poured into a 9-inch square pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cake pulls away from the edge of the pan.  The gingerbread is then cooled 15 minutes before slicing.  I serve my Gingerbread with whipped cream.  A delicious holiday treat.


Gingerbread
From  King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups King Arthur white whole wheat flour, or 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon each ground cloves and nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup water
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup diced crystallized ginger (optional)

Directions:

1. Grease and flour a 9-inch square pan.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.


3. Melt the butter in a heatproof measuring cup.  Add the molasses to the cup, and pour into the dry ingredients in the bowl, mixing to moisten.


4. Add the water, stirring until everything is moistened.  Whisk together the egg and buttermilk.  Stir into the batter until it's evenly combined.  Stir in the crystallized ginger if using.

Buttermilk and Egg
Gingerbread Batter
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cake just begins to pull away from the edge of the pan.


6. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes before slicing; gingerbread is best served warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Makes 16 servings






Delicious and Moist




Friday, December 14, 2012

Blondies

Blondies
Blondies are one of my favorite bar cookies.  They are irresistibly delicious.  There are alot of Blondie recipes out there but one of my favorites is from Simply Recipes.  These Blondies are very easy and quick to make.  You start by whisking together melted butter and  dark brown sugar.  According to Simply Recipes, the brown sugar is what flavors the Blondies.  To this mixture you add an egg and vanilla extract.  Then you mix in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and butterscotch chips.  You pour the batter into a lightly buttered and floured pan and bake for about 25 minutes.  Let the Blondies cool and cut into squares and serve.

Butter and Sugar
Egg and Vanilla Extract Added to Butter and Sugar
Don't let the simplicity of these Blondies fool you - they are delicious.  They are moist, chewy, and have the perfect thin layer of "crackle" on the top. To me, this is the only Blondie recipe you'll ever need.  You can find the recipe here.




Blondie Batter
Ready for the Oven




Delicious Blondies

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chocolate-Cherry Banana Bread

Chocolate-Cherry Banana Bread
This is a lovely banana bread for the holidays.  It is your basic banana bread with yummy ingredients added for that special holiday flavor.  I am thinking of the  dried cherries, chocolate, and amaretto, brandy, or orange juice. The cherries are simmered in one of these liquids of your choice.     I simmered the cherries in orange juice.  After you have simmered the cherries, you set them aside and proceed by combining the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the eggs, bananas, sugar and oil.  Mix until wet.  Fold in the cherries and pecans.  Bake and cool.   You will be tempted to eat the bread after it cools, but let it sit overnight.  It is well worth the wait.







Chocolate-Cherry Banana Bread
From Better Homes and Gardens

Ingredients:

1/2 cup snipped dried cherries
1/4 cup amaretto, brandy, or orange juice
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (4 to 5 medium)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of two 7 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 2-inch loaf pans; set aside.  In a small saucepan combine cherries and orange juice (or other liquid of your choice).  Heat over low heat just until mixture comes to a simmer (do not boil).  Remove from heat; cool to room temperature.
2. In a large bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; set aside.
3. In a medium bowl combine eggs, bananas, sugar, and oil.  Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture.  Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy).  Fold in soaked cherries and pecans.
4. Spoon batter into prepared pans; spread evenly.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  If necessary to prevent over browning, cover loosely with foil for the last 15 minutes of baking.
5. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove from loaf pans.  Cool completely on rack.  Wrap and store overnight before slicing.

Makes 2 loaves, 20 servings












Monday, December 10, 2012

Nestle Toll House Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookies

Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookies
I was at the grocery store the other day and I found Holiday Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels with Red & Green Colored Morsels.  I put them in the cart and decided I would make some Toll House Cookies with a Holiday Twist.  I used the recipe on the back of the package.  It was your delicious Toll house Cookie recipe using butter, flour, eggs, sugar, nuts and chocolate  chips.  Being that it is Christmas time and I am doing alot of baking, I line my baking sheets with parchment paper.   As I expected, the cookies were yummy.  The kids were eating them up as fast as I could take them out of the oven.  I had to shoo them out of the kitchen to save some for the spouse and myself.   They were delicious and easy to make:)


Nestle Toll House Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
 1 2/3 cups (10-ounce package) Nestle Toll House Holiday Morsels, divided
1 cup chopped nuts


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine 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.  Stir in 1 cup morsels and nuts.  Drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.  Top dollops with remaining morsels.







3. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on baking sheets on wire racks for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 4 1/2 dozen cookies















Friday, December 7, 2012

Creamy Cauliflower Soup Sans Cream

Creamy Cauliflower Soup Sans Cream
Let me begin by saying - this soup was wonderful.  It was easy to make and very tasty.  All of the ingredients blended together very nicely to make this tasty soup.   The ingredients are your basic soup ingredients,  butter, olive oil,onions, garlic, celery,  and salt.   Add some fresh thyme, cauliflower, chicken or vegetable broth,  and white pepper.  Cook the ingredients until the cauliflower is very soft, blend and serve.  I served mine with some Walnut Oil, but you can serve it plain or with a topping like grated cheese, crushed walnuts, sour cream.  This soup lends itself to your imagination.    For my family this recipe is a keeper. You can find this recipe on pages 68-69 in "Around My French Table."

Veggies Coated With Oil and Melted Butter

Cooking Away

Delicious Soup