Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tomato Tulips

One of the things I love most about having a potluck or going to a potluck is that I get to play with food.
And this month for Tapas I decided to try something fun.
I actually saw this in Women's World Weekly recently, and my mind went OOOOH!!! that looks like a fun thing to do.
So I did it.  Well, I made the basic recipe and then I modified it. 
I made Tomato Tulips. And since I've got this lovely rectangular platter it worked out so well.
Stuffed Grape Tomatoes
They were a little messy to make, but turned out so well.   And best of all, most of them were eaten.

I just love having food you can pick up, and pop into your mouth without having to cut it first, especially at Tapas.

Yield- about 30-35 tulips
1-2 containers of grape tomatoes, the larger the better.
1 container (5 oz.) Boursin Herb Cheese
1/2 tsp. fresh Tarragon, chopped
1 tsp. Chopped Chives. 
3 oz. plain Goat Cheese
2 green onions, cut lengthwise, into quarters. 

Mix the cheeses together, and then add the chopped Tarragon and the chopped chives.   (I love  my Tarragon plant, it was a gift from a friend, and the poor thing gets ummm, pruned? a lot.  What can I say,  I love Tarragon.)
Take out the tomatoes, rinse them, then the fun begins.
Cut a little slice off of the stem end, then turn the tomato around and cut an X across the top, cutting into the tomato.  Remove the innards, with either a spoon or just just squeeze it out.
It gets a little messy here.   As you can see.
With a sharp paring knife, scoop out just a tad of flesh from the end you cut off, you're trying to make a little divot or hole you can place a piece of green onion into.  
Place the cheese mixture into a piping bag, and cut a small hole in the end.   Take each tomato, and squeeze the filling into the X and fill up the tomato.  Set aside.
Then take the prettiest of the ones you piped the filling into, and place a piece of onion into the divot.

Arrange on a plate, take pictures, then realize afterwards that they're blurry.
Arrange the remainder of the stuffed tomatoes on the plate, place in the fridge until about ten minutes before you're ready to serve.
Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes

And just a couple more shots... On the table at Tapas

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Yummly and more

I've been busy and my head is spinning with all the new stuff I've been learning lately.

I'm trying to get my head around HTML code, and it's not working.

Thank heavens there are people out in the world who can understand that stuff. 

Give me a recipe, even if it contains esoteric instructions or ingredients and I'm fine.  

Good to go in fact. 

I've been trying to reach out a little more, and connect with the World Wide Web lately, and been posting recipes on Yummly, I have a few on there now with more to come. 

Lots more to come.   I have over 600 recipes on here I want to share with everyone.     And it may take me a couple or three hours to type it all out, but I'll be continuing my efforts.  

To that end, I've got a little button on the left of my blog and if you click on that when you see a recipe you like, you can save it, to your own Yummly account.   

I've been using Yummly for years, just never realized til recently that I could share my recipes on there as well.  

It took me awhile, OK?

But I'm on there now, and ready to go. 

In fact I just shared this awesome recipe for my Cranberry-Partridge Berry Cheesecake Tarts there.

Just try saying that fast, never mind typing it all out.

And coming up in the next couple of days, I'll show you how to make these, Tomato Tulips.   I actually made them for Tapas this month.

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Tapas Night for March

As I write this, it is pouring down rain, and is gray and gloomy outside.
And I'm probably the only person in the vicinity who's enjoying it.
Apart from the frogs and other aquatic and amphibious critters outside.

It rained last night and we had a change in venue for Tapas, and since it is also Easter weekend, we also had a lower than usual turnout last night, but that's OK, I still had fun.   Not the cleaning the house part, but the cooking part, and also the entertaining bit, and getting to visit with all kinds of people. 


I love the rain, it makes me want to grab a stock pot and start making soup.   Actually that's just what one of our guests did.  She was my co-host this month and she made an incredible Minestrone soup. 

Minestrone Soup
 There was lots of great food as well.

There was this great Seafood dip (which I kept dipping into...)  My friend makes this, and the first time I tried it, I fell in love with the taste.  It uses Alfredo Sauce, and shrimp and I'm not too sure what else, but it tastes wonderful.

And then there were these other dishes.
These are deep fried dough bites, and for the life of me I cannot remember the name.   They were good.
 Pickled Peppers (and no, Peter didn't pick them)
 Chopped Salad, so good.
 Quiche - two ways... Veggie
 And with meat.
 Philly Cheese Steak Sliders, I didn't get a chance to taste them, they disappeared fast.
 Salad, and it looked so pretty.  And it tasted good as well.
 Radishes and Liptauer cheese on pumpernickel.   So good.
 Tabbouli, this one had what looked and tasted like Kalamata olives in it.   I do love a good Tabbouli.
 Deviled Eggs with Caviar.  I actually got to eat a Deviled Egg last night, usually they're gone before I can get to them.  Totally decadent and good.
 I made some No-Knead Rolls and served them alongside some of my Home Made Butter.   And also made some of my Seeded Crackers.
I also had fun making some Tomato Tulips... I'll be detailing how I did that in another post.
stuffed tomatoes
 I also made a Ham and served it alongside the No-Knead rolls
 Awhile back I made a baked Mushroom and Garlic dish with Capers, well I like it well enough, I made it again last night.
 Another overview of the table.  My Danish side totally took over, and lit all kinds of candles.  It made it look so Hygglig.  There is just something about candles which make a table look so welcoming. 
And we did have lots of Desserts as well.
There were Cupcakes, look at how cute they were decorated.   One of our guests last night was celebrating a birthday so I stuck a candle in the middle of one of the yellow flowered cupcakes and we all sung Happy Birthday to her.  
 Another shot of the cupcakes, and some totally yummy popcorn.  It's got caramel and chocolate on it, and is one of those more'ish types of food, there were also some bunnies.
 See...  Look at how cute.  They were made from Cinnamon Rolls, but I am totally going to steal this idea.  And if you notice, the 'grass' at the bottom.  This was a nod to it being Easter.
 And I finally got a chance to taste a 'Popcorn Cake'.    There wasn't much left at the end of the night, and I got to keep a slice for my breakfast today.   I don't want to learn how to make this.  Mainly because I don't think I could share. 
Popcorn Cake

That's it for this month,  I had fun.  
And now the clean up begins.  Just kidding, all I have to do is wash a few wine glasses and think back on the conversations I had and then I'm going to sit on the couch and enjoy the rain. 

So long as it stays outside.

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Cranberry-Partridge Berry Cheesecake Tarts

 I would say I'd been remiss in posting this, but the truth is, I was waiting for Camilla's anniversary to post these Cheesecake Tarts.   I actually made them for our Boat Club Potluck this month.

Cranberry Cheesecake Tarts
Last year she asked for some of her blogging friends to post some cheesecakes for her 15th Wedding Anniversary.  They did, well, they posted way more than 15 cheesecakes.
This year I asked if I could join in.    She was shooting for 16 cheesecakes this year, cause it's her 16th anniversary.
Something tells me she's getting more than that.

I hope I'm forgiven for making tarts, but I do love my finger food, even when it's a dessert.

BTW, Happy Anniversary Camilla.

Here goes.  
I used my Boozy Cranberry Sauce and amped it up with some Partridge Berries a friend gave me, and the combo was fantastic.
Even if I do say so myself.
Step One:
1 cup Boozy Cranberry Sauce with Partridge Berries.  (I added in a couple cups of Partridge Berries to the basic recipe)
1/2 cup Sugar
Heat the sauce up a little and add the sugar, stir until dissolved.  Set aside to cool, while you make the pastry dough and the filling.
Step Two:
Pie Crust
2 cups flour
1/2 lb. Butter
2 tablespoons ice water  (Use more if needed)
Rub or cut the butter into the flour, until the butter is the size of small peas.  Then add the water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, and form into a ball.  You do not want to work this very much.  Divide the ball into two pieces and let it rest for about 40 minutes.  (I say that cause that's how long I let it rest).
Roll out and cut your tart shapes.  Set aside for a couple of minutes while you get the filling together.

Tart Shells

Step Three:   
Cheesecake Filling

2 packages Cream Cheese,  room temp 16 oz. total
2 large eggs
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon Homemade Lemon Extract
1 tablespoon Lemon Zest
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier

Add all the ingredients together in the Kitchenaid Mixer and mix until the mixture is nice and smooth.

Using a scoop, (I used my smallest scoop here),  scoop some of the filling into each of the tarts, the filling will poof up a little, so don't fill to the top.  Add just a little spoonful of the Cranberry sauce to the top.
Tart Shells filled with Cheesecake

Filled Tarts
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until the filling is set and the pastry is done.
I left some plain, and just dolloped a little Cherry Jam on top of those.  Cause I could.   And took them with me to the Boat Club Potluck.

An InLinkz Link-up
And since so many have 'loved' my little tart pans, here's a link to where I found some more on Amazon.

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Irish Apple Cake

I made this cake recently.
Irish Apple Cake
And it wasn't even a Danish cake.
Nope, I made an  Irish Apple Cake which was supposed to be authentic.

I don't know if it was, but it sure tasted good.

Although I did fancy it up, just a little teeny bit.

I just think Caramel Sauce goes so well with Apple Cake of any ethnic persuasion.

The recipe did take some deciphering, but that's OK.  I also made it almost exactly as written, cause it looked right.  

Luckily for me I have a scale and can figure out what a 'stiff' batter is.

So here goes.  The weighed out amounts are to the left, and the cup measures are to the right, so use either one you want.  Although, if you have a scale, that is more accurate. 

Recipe:  Irish Apple Cake
Oven: 375 degrees    Bake one hour
8 oz. Flour            2 cups minus 1 tablespoon AP flour         
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
4 oz. Sugar            1/2 cup sugar
4 oz. Butter
3 or 4 apples, peeled and sliced
Milk   ( I used about 1 cup)
1/4 cup sugar for topping
Caramel Sauce for drizzling on to before serving.

Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar up in a bowl.  Roughly chop the butter (I actually diced the butter), mix in, but do not cream it or rub it in.  Leave it as is.   Really.  (when it's baking the butter kind of bubbles up and looks so good, but the end result, works.)
Add the peeled and sliced apples to the mixture,  (I used Braeburn apples cause that's what I had.)

then add the beaten egg and enough milk to make a fairly stiff batter.

 This will look really lumpy, with the apples and the butter but it should.    Pour into a greased pan, I used an 8 inch Springform Pan.

 Bake it for about an hour in a moderately hot oven, set at 375 degrees.  Take out and let cool for just a couple of minutes, then release it from the pan.
 ** Halfway through the baking time, sprinkle the top with 1/4 cup sugar, and continue to bake.  This makes a nice light sugary crust on top.

I made a little Caramel Sauce to drizzle on top, cause I thought it would go well, but you can also serve this hot out of the oven with some cream, or ice cream or custard.

Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 -3/4 cup heavy cream

Heat the sugar in a pan until it melts, add the butter and stir it around, then add the cream and continue to cook and stir over medium heat until the sugar crystals have dissolved.  Serve immediately.   

I have to say what I liked best about this is that it's not a modern recipe, it is an older recipe and as such, of much more interest to me.
Besides which, it just plain tasted great.

*** Hint*** place a sheet pan underneath the Springform pan.  I did get some butter on the bottom of my oven, and well, let me just say this... My smoke alarm works great. sigh.   Just wanted to make a heads up here.  
If you shop Amazon, they do have some great products and by going to the Amazon website you help to support this blog.   Thanks in advance.

Just wanted to add...  I was featured on Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage.  
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage

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