Thursday, December 31, 2015

Most Popular aka Reader Faves for 2015

Well, it's the second to last day of the best of 2015 recipes.  And this time round it's about what my readers liked. 

I didn't participate in yesterday's posting, I did use my crockpot a lot, but didn't make any recipes that were new and exciting and shareable in it. 

I sometimes surprise myself with how many new recipes I actually make during the year.  I'm a member of the Secret Recipe Club, which is a very good thing, cause it means I get to explore a new blog all the time, well, once a month or so.   I've found so many great recipes that way.

Since we're doing a roundup of my most popular recipes of 2015, I thought I'd take a look at them and give you my top picks.   Several of them were also my Secret Recipe Club reveals as well.  
And here they are, a bakers dozen.
Get it?
Never mind.


Mazarin Tarts
 I went to my Danish roots for this recipe.   And they were better than I remember them.
Jordanian Matabaqa  
This was such an intriguing recipe and one I'm going to play with some more.  And tasty.

Apple Crostata
Who doesn't love an Apple Pie? I love freeform galettes and crostata's and this was easy to make.

Potstickers
I came in third in a recipe contest with these, and was totally tickled about it. 

Horseradish Hummus
 For the horseradish lovers.  I took this to a gathering and got raves about it.

Baked Onion Blossoms
A not so guilty indulgence and so good especially when you pair them with the Blossom Dip 

Mini Smorgastarta 
I had fun making these, and watched as people very carefully ate them as well.  I'm thinking they would be fun to make for a high tea? or just for fun. 

Thyme Herb Crackers
I've been making my own crackers all year long and these made it into the regular rotation. 

Golden Girl Granola Katsu Style Pork 
I placed in the top five in this recipe contest.  My challenge was to use granola in a main dish.  I done nailed it.
 
Danish Pastries - Spandaur 
Back to my Danish roots again.  I'm not too sure I like that I now know how to make these, cause, now I can have fresh, home made pastries with not a whole lot of effort and best of all, I don't have to drive anywhere to pick them up.

Home Made Cocktail Sauce
I live in a place where you can buy fresh shrimp, and being able to throw together cocktail sauce at the last minute is a good thing.

Retro- Cream Salad Dressing
Last, but not least.  A blast from the past?  This salad dressing was so good with butter lettuce, tastes wonderful with spring mix and I think it's one I want to keep making and making and making.  And eating of course.

Well, that's it for this round up.  
Thanks Sarah E. for hosting this again. 


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Best Dessert of 2015

I'm back with some more favorite's from this year. 
Today we're concentrating on Desserts.
I have a paucity of desserts on my blog, in other words, I don't make desserts very often or if I do, it's one I've already shared the how-to's on.
Sarah E of  Fantastical Sharing is hosting this year's roundup of  recipes for 2015.  Sarah is also our fearless leader for the Secret Recipe Club, btw.

And as she said, this is also a great way to find some new recipes as we're saying goodbye, so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen to 2015.
The Countdown to 2016 has a slew of #recipes from many food blogs! #Countdownto
2016 #newyear  
Without further ado...

I had to flip a coin between my Coconut Surprise Pie

and the Boston Cream Pie.

And then I said, ah heck with it, I'll put both of them in here.   It was a tie.

Take a look at some of the other great desserts in the links below. 


Monday, December 28, 2015

Best Main Dish of 2015

Find some new recipes to try in the new year, as we say goodbye to 2015. The Countdown to 2016 has a slew of #recipes from many food blogs! #Countdownto2016 #newyear
And today it's my Best Main Dish. 
How do you pick just one?

 Sarah E of  Fantastical Sharing is hosting this year's roundup of  recipes for 2015.  Sarah is also our fearless leader for the Secret Recipe Club, btw.   

 So far we've done a round up of Appetizer/Snack recipes, and then there was the Breakfast recipe round up on Sunday and now we're up to a Main Dish.
Well gee...
Most of the dishes/recipes I make are geared towards appetizers.  I just plain like eating and making them.  But I did make a Duxelle Stuffed Pork Loin recently, and thought it would make a stellar Main Dish, if I ever needed one.
I will be making this again, and will serve it with some Sauteed Swiss Chard  and maybe a roasted potato as well.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Best Breakfasts of 2015

Sarah E of  Fantastical Sharing is hosting this year's roundup of great breakfast recipes for 2015.   Sarah is also our fearless leader for the Secret Recipe Club, btw.    And since it's Sunday, and the 27th, it's time for the Breakfast Recipe Collection.
Find some new recipes to try in the new year, as we say goodbye to 2015. The Countdown to 2016 has a slew of #recipes from many food blogs! #Countdownto2016 #newyear
So I looked through my posts and realized I'd only posted one breakfast recipe for the entire year.   I don't usually eat breakfast stuff for breakfast, with the exception of bacon and eggs on Sundays, when I feel like making them.
But I did do one breakfast post, about how I used cookie cutters to make little tree and star shapes and made not only an "Egg in a nest" but also French Toast.
See, I usually don't eat breakfast stuff for breakfast, I like leftovers from dinner for breakfast.
However, I also made some Danish Pastries called Spandaur
this year and I know you can eat them for breakfast, cause we did, and then proceeded to eat some for an afternoon snack, a mid evening snack, and some just because snacks because they had to be eaten, otherwise they would have gotten stale fast.

Check out what some of our other bloggers came up with for Breakfast.  I know I'm going to be checking them out. 



 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Round up of my Best Appetizers and Snacks of 2015

 Sarah E of  Fantastical Sharing is hosting this year's roundup of great appetizer recipes for 2015.
Is that not a great idea?  I love it, cause now I get to go look and see other bloggers and find more appetizers I can make. 
Sarah said it best:
Find some new recipes to try in the new year, as we say goodbye to 2015. The Countdown to 2016 has a slew of #recipes from many food blogs! #Countdownto2016 #newyear
Check out the links at the bottom of this post for some more great ideas.

I thought I'd start off with January, and kinda go through the year, cause I think I make appetizers a priority in my life.
No, actually, I do make them a priority.
Mainly cause I like  love appetizers.   I only included my faves.
JanuaryDeviled Ham Spread.   I've actually made this a few times throughout the year.  I found out you don't actually need to cook a ham first.  Just cook a ham steak, let it cool, then go have fun with the food processor. 

 February: Seeded Crackers  I'm not too sure just how many times I've made these this year, but they keep so well, that is if you can keep from eating them, sigh.  They go great with dips and spreads, or just as a nibblement all by themselves.   And...  They really are not hard to make at all.
March: Potstickers
I had to include these.  I did come in third in the contest, giggle.  My very first try at any kind of cooking contest as well. 

 Then we skip a couple of months.  I did say these would be my favourite appetizers from 2015, didn't I?

JuneMini Smorgastarta    I brought these to a Boat Club potluck and they were pretty popular.  And fun to make as well.  Even if they were tad messy to put together.




July: Actually there were two note worthy recipes:
  Sticky Wings with Crosse and Blackwell Chutney    And looking at the picture, well, I think I need to make these again, soon.  
Katsu Style Pork made with Golden Girl Granola.   I was one of the top five finalists in this recipe contest.
August:  Apricot Chicken Wings    I think I'm a little wing obsessed, but that's a good thing.  I made these as part of a Secret Recipe Club reveal, and I'm so glad. 


 SeptemberBlossom Dip and Hamburger Spread.  I made this for a potluck, but luckily I made lots.  It was so good. 
OctoberPizza Hummus  Now this is a fun take on Hummus.  It really does taste like Pizza, really.
November: Cocktail Sauce.   Cause you need to have a good Cocktail Sauce recipe, just in case someone shows up at your front door with a couple of pounds of fresh shrimp.
December: Beef Cheddar Pastries.   Just in case you have some leftover Prime Rib and puff pastry floating around, these are soo good.

     

An InLinkz Link-up

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Vaniljekranse (Vanilla Wreaths)

I have my favorite cookies that I make every year or so for Christmas, but for some reason, it's been a few years since I dragged the meat grinder out of the cupboard to make these cookies. 

Yes, I did say meat grinder.

Well, that's what we always used to force the very stiff dough through a little disk to make these stellar cookies.  Vaniljekranse.

If you've ever purchased the 'Danish Cookie' tin of cookies, you've seen them in there, and I have to admit to buying a tin or two of them, just so I could have a taste of this cookie.
This year I wanted some home made Vaniljkranse.
Don't worry if you can't pronounce it, in English they're called Vanilla Wreaths.

And really, they're not that hard to make, provided you  have either a cookie press or in my case, a meat grinder.

My dad actually made the little disk I use to force the dough through with, and using it the other day, make me feel as if my parents were close again.  I have such wonderful memories of baking cookies with them at Christmas.  I only make a couple of different cookies, but as I seem to recall, we made several different kinds. 
Hey, if you're a Dane, I think it's a law that if company comes, you have to offer them a choice of cookies with their coffee.
And we could.
The following recipe is in grams, and it's kind of important to actually weigh out the ingredients.


 I also ground my own almonds, cause ground almonds aren't that easy to find around here.  Basically you pour boiling water over some almonds, let them sit for a few minutes, then take the skins off.  Place them in the food processor and process them until they resemble coarse ground meal.




 
Recipe:  Vaniljekranser   Vanilla Wreaths
Courtesy of my Danish Heritage Cook Book from the Granly Lutheran Church

100 grams Ground Almonds   (About 1/2 cup)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
375 grams Cold Butter
375 grams AP Flour
125 grams Potato Flour  (you can use Cornstarch here, but it's not as good)
250 grams Sugar
1 egg

Mix sugar, butter, almonds, egg and vanilla together, and add flour.  You will have a stiff dough.  Force through a cookie press, or if you're lucky like me, use the meat grinder with a disk that has a cut out.*


Cut into 3 inch strips, and form into rings.  Place on parchment paper,
 My memory says that I used to be able to form really good rings, but you know if they're not perfect, they still taste good.

And believe you me, these taste wonderful.  As you can see, the 'ridges' on the rings stayed pretty distinct as they baked. 
and bake at 375 degrees for about 8-10 minutes.   Cool on a wire rack. 

My dad made this cutout, and using it this Christmas made him feel just a little closer
Of course it is a messy business getting the dough down and into the meat grinder, sigh.  But I persevered.
Along with the Vaniljekranser I also made some French Waffles as well as my Candied Ginger and Lime Cookies.
 I'm ready for company now.  I just have to go and make some more of my Best Ever Frosting for the French Waffles.   I kinda ate the ones in the picture.  But don't tell anyone, K?



Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas Tapas

The presents were wrapped and placed by the tree with care, the food was prepared and consumed with glee, and today, all I have to do is post about it.
Well, I will need to go and pick up some of the decorations later on today.
A friend hosted the Grinch Christmas Tapas last night, and there was lots and lots and lots of great food, and lots and lots and lots of desserts as well.


We did our Grinch Christmas exchange and I scored a giant muffin tin.  I can now bake 24 of them at a time.
I'm so excited.
Anyone want some muffins?  or Cupcakes or Tarts?
No?
Then let me share some of the dishes that were brought and consumed.

And let me tell you, the food was fantastic, as usual.
 Mac and Cheese,
There were several versions last night and each one was soo good.

 Ham, and some Mozzarella and Prosciutto rollups

Just a BTW, these are awesome, sliced thin and put on a flatbread with a little marinara sauce.
Just sayin..
 This pulled pork dish, I don't know what it was called, but it was tasty.
 Green Bean Casserole, I noticed people made inroads on it.
 Baked Beans, I love beans, and love it when someone brings it to a gathering.
 Another Mac and Cheese Casserole,
I got to eat lots of Mac and Cheese last night.
 Spiced Fruit Bake, so simple and so tasty.
 Coleslaw, goes with everything.
Really it does.
 Lasagna, made a lot of people happy, and it was so good.  I'm such a sucker for pasta. 
 Spoon Bread, and look at the little stars on top.  And it was really good as well.
 Okra
 Jamaican Curry Chicken Salad with preserves and cashews
 Cheese Quesadillas, they're so more'ish.
 My apologies, a very blurry picture of a totally delicious Macaroni casserole with ground beef and tomatoes.   A fellow cook used to call this Johnny Marzetti.
I included this bad picture as a reminder to me, take more than one picture of each dish, you never know when you're gonna screw up a picture.
 
Chili, I took this before everyone got to it, I don't think much was left later on.












 Spring Rolls with Shrimp, one of my contributions
Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, and I'll be posting the how to's and recipe soon.










And then there were the desserts.
I kept taking pictures of the table because desserts kept appearing, almost magically...
 From the front, going counter clockwise.
Chocolates, Eggnog cake, Cheese cake, Cupcakes, Spritz cookies, Date Loaf, and Bourbon Chocolates.
 From the left...
Eggnog Cake, Cheesecake, Cupcakes, Cookies, Date Loaf, chocolates.










We also had Pumpkin Pie, an Italian Cream Cake, some Green Tea Ice Cream, a fruit bake with Pecans on top, and I apologize if I didn't get the right names to some of the desserts, please tell me, and I'll fix it.




I just couldn't help it, I had to keep taking pictures of the desserts. 

That's the roundup for this month.   The presents were great, the company was superb and guess what, I don't have to wash wine glasses today.
Just have to bake cookies.