I like to make a French Glace Strawberry Pie to kick-off summer and then again just when it’s ending, right around Labor Day. I made the first one mid-June and decided to switch out my batch of strawberries intended for jam this weekend, to making strawberry tarts instead. Pie crusts can sometimes be hit or miss – sometimes they turn out great and other times they are dry and crumbly – this frustrates a lot of bakers, myself included.
If you enjoy garlic bread, and I mean really, really like garlic, then you will adore this recipe. Because the garlic is very prominent I don’t use regular sized slices of french bread, but rather demi baguettes, (slices are a bit larger than a long baguette loaf.) The flavor of the garlic is toned down by using the cream cheese and the slice of grape tomato. Unfortunately these breads don’t hold their crispness to the next day, but if tossed in a fry pan with olive oil for a minute or two, (don’t put in microwave) they bounce back and work well broken up and used as garlic croutons in a salad. They are the best!
Watercress with cream cheese and pimento has become a standard for us at Christmas time and New Year’s Eve. We originally had this canape years ago from a catering company called If you are from the Bay Area, you might remember their Pink Bakery Boxes tied with pink curling ribbon that held the canapes – absolutely the best canapes from any caterer in the Bay Area, bar none. Unfortunately they closed their business in the mid-80’s. So sad…but I digress… I love this canape in large part to the contrast of flavors between the pungent red pimento against the peppery tones of the watercress. When you take that first, one perfect bite…. heaven. For New Year’s Eve I also make them with black caviar on top.
Mushrooms, mushrooms, mushrooms. I add them to sauces, soups, chinese food, atop pizzas, sliced raw in salads, chicken casseroles, beef bourguignon, and on and on and on. They are minced, sliced, cubed, chopped, braised, stewed, fried, sautéed, used in place of beef (the Portobello is perfect for this) and they are even mashed if you are making Mushroom Pate. They are one of the most versatile vegetables, though technically they are really a fungus. And today I stuffed them with cream cheese, vermouth, bread crumbs and herbs in the traditional manner.
I don’t know if the Russians consider Beef Stroganoff comfort food or not, but in my house, it sure is. Although the recipe originated in St. Petersburg in the 19th century, it became popular throughout Europe in the early 20th century and landed in American cookbooks mid-1930s. Because red meat was rationed during WWII in the 1940s, this recipe was considered a “gourmet” dish served by those who had money. Legend has it that the recipe was named after Count Alexander Stroganov. His chef created this dish since the Count had lost all his teeth and could no longer chew steak. He then submitted his new recipe in a culinary competition and won first prize in 1891. But wait……there is a recipe
These are a whole lot of chocolate with a surprise center: cream cheese and teeny chocolate chips. Two of my favorite combos, and one of my father’s two favorite desserts (the other being Pineapple Upside Down Cake). My father passed away quite a while ago, but I was thinking of him yesterday on Father’s Day and decided late last night to whip up a batch of Black Bottom Cupcakes, his way. Most Black Bottom Cupcakes do not have frosting or icing on top, as the cream cheese rises to the top while baking and serves as the frosting. But my Dad really liked chocolate and he adored chocolate frosting in particular – so I always frosted these cupcakes to make them special for him. You can make the cupcake batter from scratch, but a cake mix off the shelf can be awfully tasty when you are rushed, or as in my case it is 11:30 at night when I started baking.
There’s an Irish saying that dates back to the 16th century that goes… “April showers bring May flowers”. It also brings thoughts of other showers, as in bridal and baby showers. The first question when planning a shower is, what to serve? If you have a couple of hours (yes this takes a little bit of time) and want to offer your guests a really great lunch, that is both light and easy to handle (since you might be balancing your plate on your lap as we often do at these functions), then try serving a Sandwich Loaf the next time it is your turn to host the shower.
When I buy the 18 count egg box I feel happy to have been economical. And a week later when I keep staring at all those eggs I panic on what to do with them before they go bad. My first reaction is Meringue Cookies, but they don’t always turn out the best in wet weather and work better in dry, hot weather. But a good egg salad sandwich, made on a Sunday, means extra salad fixings for sandwiches later in the week at work. Here is my version…