Monday, November 30, 2015

Coconut Snowball Truffles for SRC Holiday Treats reveal.

I love these out of the ordinary themed reveals.   Wait a minute, hmmmm, that didn't come out right.
Let me try again.
I'm a member of the Secret Recipe Club, which is divided up into four groups, A, B, C and D.  Group A posts recipes on the first Monday of the month, from their assigned blogs.  B posts the second Monday and so forth.  No one knows who got their particular blog until the 'Reveal' day and then we find out how who got our blog, and which recipe caught their eye on our blog.  It's always fun to see how another cook re-imagined a recipe.
Then we have months with 5 Mondays and no one to fill the last, lone Monday.  
So our fearless leader said that we would have a themed reveal for that lone, orphaned Monday, and we would be assigned a blog from any one of the 4 groups, not just the one we're a member of.   
Well, I got Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm.  She's a retired cop, who moved to the countryside and found out it wasn't boring at all.   I could have told her that, I did grow up on a farm after all.  Wendy  not only farms, but also dives as well. 
So I went exploring, dived right into her blog and got distracted. sigh.

I forgot to say that our Themed Reveal for this Monday is Holiday Treats.

Coconut Snowball Truffles
I found a recipe for Mexican Fritters, and I've bookmarked it.  But I'm waiting to make it til we have company so I don't eat it all.  It was a no-brainer since I love Mexican food. 

I also found a recipe for a no bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie but decided to wait until it was a little closer to Christmas to make it, or maybe I'll just wait until summer when no one wants an oven on and then make them.  Doesn't matter, they're bookmarked now.

And finally decided on Linda's Coconut Snowball Truffles.   I put my changes over to the right in parentheses. 
Tis the season after all, for snow and truffles and all kinds of good fattening stuff.
Recipe: Linda's Coconut Snowball Truffles
1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk ( I used a 1/2 cup Evaporated Milk with 1/2 cup sugar cause the can of Sweetened Condensed Milk in my pantry, disappeared, where I have no idea.  And the pumpkin pie isn't talking)
1 lg. bag Flaked Coconut (14 oz Sweetened Flaked Coconut)
2 sticks margarine, softened  ( I used 8 oz. Butter)
2 lbs. powdered sugar (8 cups)
I also roasted some almonds and put one inside of each 'snowball'.  Cause I could. 
12-20 roasted Almonds (optional, cause gee, why not?)

Large package milk chocolate chips  (Chocolate Melting Wafers and Milk Chocolate chips)
The original recipe called for wax, but I can't stand the stuff so I didn't use any.
3/4 of 1 bar of wax from box  

Mix first 4 ingredients and chill for about 2 hours.

In double boiler melt chocolate and wax.  (Melt the Chocolate Melting Wafers and Milk Chocolate separately and set aside to cool for just a few minutes.

Roll coconut mixture into 1" balls.  (I use one of my small ice cream scoops, which has been greased, and use it.)
Coconut Snowball Truffles
Insert almonds into some of the truffles if you want to.
Dip balls with toothpick into warm melting chocolate.  Or do as I did, dot a little chocolate onto a parchment sheet, place the truffle on top, then enrobe the truffle with the chocolate.
Coconut Snowball Truffles
I tried dipping, but the truffle fell off the toothpick. sigh.

Place on parchment paper to harden.

Coconut Snowball Truffles
Cover toothpick hole with seasonal candy garnish. or...
Pipe a little design on it with some frosting or royal icing.

*** I made up about half the recipe into balls and then stuck the rest in the fridge in a sealed container so I could make fresh 'snowballs' for friends.  I think you could also use white chocolate and fancy them up with some seasonal colors.
Coconut Snowball Truffles

Coconut Snowball Truffles

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Pork Loin with Duxelle (Mushroom) Stuffing

The Pork Loin I served at Tapas was so good, I want to do a repeat where I don't have to share with everyone.

Just kidding.

But if you want to elevate your next Pork Loin roast, try stuffing it with the Mushroom Duxelle.

To start with...

Get a nice pork loin with a little bit of fat on top.

Then butterfly it.
I'm not talking the little flying insects here either.

You cut the roast so that it can lay out as a nice flat piece of meat.

Here I'll show you.

First, wash your hands.

Then take the roast in your left hand, a very sharp knife in your right  (if you're left handed, then the roast goes in your right hand and the knife in your left).

About a third way down on the roast cut a slit, lengthwise, almost all the way through.
Don't slice it through.

Then, lay that part out and cut again, length wise, as if you were unfolding a letter that had been folded in thirds. 

Ta Da!
Then, get one of your gloves out of the cupboard and place it on your hand.  You know which one you will use.
Take some of the Mushroom Duxelle you just made, a nice little handful, then put it on the butterflied roast.
What you're doing here is re-folding the roast.   Just like a letter you've put a love note inside.   Fold the first third (which was the last third you cut), over the mushroom filling.
Then continue on until you've used all the mushrooms.

See, a lovely layer of mushrooms.
Now it's fun time.
You need to tie the roast.  Basically you've created a rolled roast, and while it might be fun to see, it will unfold in the oven if you don't secure it.
I got out some twine and proceeded to have fun.  It's been a few years since I've tied off a roast so I was fumbling a little.
You don't want to tie it so tightly that the filling leaks out.  The whole point here is to roast the meat with the filling inside.
Hopefully it will look a little like this.  I think I could have chopped the mushrooms up a little more, but that's OK,  it worked.

I admit I wasn't to sure of my wrapping ability so I secured it with a few toothpicks as well.  I seasoned the top with some salt and pepper and put it into the oven for about 2 hours.  Because it was stuffed, I wanted the interior to come to a temp of 165 deg.  The mushroom stuffing kept the inside nice and moist and seasoned.
After cutting the twine, I started to carve the roast.  As you can see the inside was perfect.
I layered the slices on a platter, and took the au jus that was left in the roasting pan, reduced it on the stove and then drizzled it back over the meat.  I did serve this warm, but even at room temp, it was so good.  I got some herbs out of my little garden, well, OK, my pots out back, and placed them on the platter.   There was some Rosemary, Oregano and Tarragon.
I'm think about making some Beef Wellington soon.   I've always wanted to make one, but now I have a really tasty and easy Duxelle recipe to use. 

BTW - if you haven't got that turkey ready yet, you need to get a move on.  Or... you could try making this for dinner tomorrow.
Just saying.


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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mushroom Duxelle

I was watching Martha Stewart on The Kitchen a couple of weeks back when she showed how to make some stuffed mushrooms and then said it was basically a Duxelle she'd made.
That was a new word for me so I promptly looked it up in my Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cooking.  ( I love these books, and one of these days I'll manage to find the missing volumes so I can have a full set.)

Well, gee, Duxelle was basically a cooked mushroom dish that you used in making Beef Wellington.
I decided to use it to stuff a Pork Loin for Tapas.

But first I had to make the Duxelle.

You could say I cheated a teensy bit here, and I wouldn't argue with you either, but my little cheat worked so well, I'm going to do it again and again and again.
At least every time I make it from now on.

I started with a 12 oz. package frozen mushroom mixture from Trader Joe's.   Sauteed that in the pan with some butter, then added an 8 oz. package of button mushrooms, I'd washed and chopped up.

I let them cook over a low heat for about a half hour.
Really, that long.
I was cooking out the moisture because you want the duxelle to be quite dry.   I took it off the heat after the 30 minutes, and let it cool for a few more minutes then I dumped the mushroom mixture into the food processor and chopped it up a little.  I didn't want a paste, just a finely chopped mixture.


1 12 oz. package frozen mushroom mixture
8 oz. fresh button or baby bella mushrooms, sliced and chopped a little.
2 Tablespoons finely chopped shallots (I had some in a jar in the fridge)
2 tablespoons butter.

Saute in pan over medium-low heat until the moisture from the mushrooms has cooked off.
Process in food processor a little until it is finely chopped


2 lbs. Fresh Mushrooms, mixture of button and baby bella mushrooms
1 shallot, finely minced or 2 Tablespoons jarred shallots
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
2-3 tablespoons butter or olive oil

Saute the mushrooms and shallots over medium low heat until the mushrooms release their moisture, then add the thyme and the white wine.  Cook for another 10 minutes or until the liquid is reduced, then add the garlic and cook for just another 5 minutes.  Take off the heat and process the mixture until it's finely chopped in a food processor.

Use to coat a beef tenderloin for Beef Wellington or stuff some chicken or do as I did, stuff a Pork Loin.

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Tapas for November

The year is winding down, and I'm still trying to figure out how it got to be November.
Turkey Day is next week!

And it's Tapas Time again.

We had a few newbies, some familiar faces that we've been missing and are back for a few months, and lots and lots and lots of great food. 
And this wasn't even all the food. sigh...

This is actually a before picture, I just had my offerings on the table.  Well, a couple of them, I also made a cake, and some bread.
 I love this kind of salad.  I don't dare make it, I'd sample it too much and then there wouldn't be enough to share.
 Chicken Salad.  I love this kind of salad as well.  And I really don't know why I don't just make it for myself, instead I wait until someone brings some and then I eat it. 
 A casserole, and pardon me, but my mind can't remember just what kind it is. sigh...
 And Tapas was just last night.
 Cheese and Crackers are always good.   And I love the plate.
 Another lovely salad, this one uses Kale.  And look at the pretty bowl it was presented in.
 This is a Potato Casserole, and it was lovely.  Nice and cheesy.
 There were wings, and I do love a good wing.

Come to think of it, I found a few frozen wings in the freezer the other day, I think I need to cook them.
 I love a pretty dish, and this is a fun one.

And the dip and crackers weren't bad either.
 One of the wonderful things about Tapas is the wide variety of dishes people make and bring.
These are Crawfish Pies.   
And ...

They were so good, spicy and rich and totally awesome. 
 The birthday girl, brought this green bean dish.  There were all kinds of aromatic spices, coriander and cumin and turmeric.   Really lovely.

 You can't have a gathering without Deviled Eggs, and these had Bacon on them.  A win win in my book.  
 Stuffed Potato Skins.
Do I really need to say more? 

OK, I will, they were delicious.
 A molded Salmon Mousse. 

Look at how pretty.   And it tasted wonderful.

There wasn't much left of it at the end of the night.

And ummm, klutz me, managed to accidentally dump the remainder on the driveway helping to carry it to the car, it slid right off the plate, whoosh and onto the driveway.  I could have cried.   I felt so bad.

 We also had some olives and tomatoes and stuffed grape leaves. Which were a lovely end to the meal.

If you go home hungry from Tapas, it's your fault because there is always something for everyone.

 and if you were wondering what I made,
I put together some Spring Rolls.  This time I used some Napa Cabbage inside and I liked that a lot. 

These are so easy to make, and if you eat a few, you don't need to feel at all guilty.  

 I also made a Duxelle stuffed Pork Loin, I'll be sharing the recipe and the how-to's later on.  I have to say, this was spectacular.     And the herbs decorating the platter, were from my garden.  Some Rosemary, Oregano and Tarragon.   
I also made a loaf of my No-Knead bread.    I don't dare make this often, cause we can eat the whole thing in one day. 

And then there were desserts...

I made a Boston Cream Pie for a friend's birthday, and it was so good, I finally got 'THE' recipe.  I'll share it later on this week.  

And the custard filling, well, it had a neat twist as well. 
 There was a Carrot Cake, which just happens to be right up there as one of my favourite cakes.
 Brownies and some Chocolate Crinkle cookies.

The shot I took of the cookies was too fuzzy to use.
 Some Monkey or Pull Apart bread.

I love this stuff.

It's been years since I've made some, maybe it's time again?
 And last and not least, a lovely little cake decorated with fresh raspberries and blueberries.

When I tasted the raspberries, I got transported back to my youth, picking fresh raspberries in the summer on the farm.  
Good days.

If you're still with me, I just want to say that it's past time to get the turkey out of the freezer and into the fridge so it can start thawing for Turkey Day.   I always figure on 24 hours for every 4 pounds of turkey.  

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