Monday, November 26, 2012

Cinnamon bread tree

Sharon found a recipe for a festive looking cinnamon bread.

As written the recipe makes four trees each of which would serve 8-10.

I found this approach simpler than the more traditional cinnamon roll.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Crispy Phyllo Spinach Tartlets

First attempt at crispy phyllo spinach tartlets turned out to be "a learning experience" that turned out well enough in the end. I have not worked with phyllo much in the past and didn't realize that it required thawing which takes many hours to do right. I tried to accelerate the process in a 200 degree oven, but I think this resulted in drying out the dough and creating a lot of tearing.

The filling was tasty. I am tempted to try some dried cranberries in place of the sun dried tomatoes next time. I didn't have a good tartlet pan so I used some Corelle bowls. This made four large tartlets, which seemed like two servings worth. Next time I would use the small bowls.

The leftovers were ok, but these were much better fresh.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Roasted Brussels Sprouts -- FAIL

I tried out a recipe for roasted brussels sprouts but something went horribly wrong.

I tossed them in olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them at 400 for 40 minutes. Maybe they were a little smaller and more open than "traditional" brussels sprouts, but they ended up really charred.

I turned them when they still had 15 minutes left, I turned them and they were starting to show some color.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Stuffed chicken thighs

Had a first go at chicken thighs stuffed with a spinach parmesan stuffing.

Overall, I liked how the chicken turned out. It produced a lot of sauce, so it would have been good to serve over something that could use the sauce (rice, pasta, steamed veggies, ...).  I also think it would have presented better sliced in 3 or 4 slices to show off the stuffing.

Persimmon Apple Crisp

I adapted a recipe from Chow for apple crisp to make a persimmon apple crisp that went over very well at a little gathering we had yesterday. I wanted to make this both gluten free and tree-nut free, so I went with oat flour rather than wheat flour in the topping.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Experimental semi-paleo Waffle recipe

Having tried a recipe for almond meal waffles that were only partially successful (didn't hold together well, and didn't have quite the right mouth feel), I decided to experiment today. My dear wife got me Cooking for Geeks and The Science of Good Food for my birthday, both of which I consulted for waffle wisdom. I also googled around a little.
My plan was to try half wheat flour / half almond meal, leaven by whipping the egg whites and yolks (seperately) and a pinch of baking soda / powder,  use bacon drippings for the fat and salt, and experiment a little with the liquid. When beating the egg whites I added a teaspoon of sugar per a suggestion I found online.
So, this is what I ended up with...

Waffles Vorax:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ideas for a holiday party

Starting to plan for a holiday party. 
Here are some ideas Sharon found...

Hot spinach artichoke dip

Beef mole

Whole menu

Make-Ahead Christmas Recipes

Crispy Phyllo Spinach Tartlets -- done

Stuffed Chicken Thighs Braised in Tomato Sauce
Tried this. Worked ok. Would be better served over something that could use the sauce. 

Roasted Fall Vegetables in Cheddar Crust

Make Ahead Sweet Potato Casserole

Apple Sausage Stuffing for Your Turkey
Tried this twice. Pay attention to not letting it burn on top (if cooking on the side).

Chocolate hazelnut snickerdoodles

Rainbow Tie-dye Christmas Wreath Bundt Cake

A Christmas Baking Tradition: Tree Breads -- done

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

Colorful Swirl Cookies

Festive Cabot Cheddar Tree

Reindeer Feed

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

Thursday, November 1, 2012

In the queue: things I want to try ...

Here is a running list of things I want to try sometime soon...

Cooking veggies in the fireplace

Had a fire in the fireplace and decided to experiment with roasting some veggies in the coals.

Scrubbed two potatoes, an apple, and a carrot and rubbed them with some bacon drippings.

Placed them on a sheet of aluminum foil with a couple sprigs of rosemary.

I tried setting the potato in front of the fire, but it didn't really get hot enough.

So as the fire was dying down to coals, I just set the thing in against the inside wall and piled a bunch of hot coals on top.

I should have waited until it reached 210 degrees, but the coals seemed to be cooling off, and I was ready to eat at 204. This left the potatoes a little crunchy, but still cooked. The carrots were ok. But the Apple was amazing with a noticeable hint of rosemary.