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© 2012 Jessie Kaufman. These photos and content are protected by US Copyright laws. It is unlawful to reproduce, publish, or edit this content without permission.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years Resolutions, a Recipe, and a Recap

I tend to not make resolutions that I know I won't be able to accomplish. Last year I chose to figure out how to make the perfect burger, and succeeded with a little Taste No. 5 and butter, so it seems right that I follow that up with resolving to finally be able to make a great steak.

Theoretically, I'd like to be able to say no more, and cut people out of my life who bring me down- both easier said than done. So, I'll aim for the steak and cross my fingers for the other two.

Do you have resolutions this year? What are they?

I spent Christmas Day cooking with my mom and sister. Well, not all day. We're a very relaxed family. Other than the turkey and desserts everything basically was cooked in the two hours before dinner. We had planned on doing baked potatoes, but my sister suggested we did twice baked potatoes instead. It had been so long since I had spent a holiday with my entire family that I had forgotten about these gems, so I was happy to see them and taste them again.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Jalapeno Poppers and Skillet Bacon Spread Review

When Skillet Bacon Spread asked me to review their product I was a little skeptical. Bacon is so good on it's own, does it really need to be a spread? My mother and I both cooked with it for our Christmas dinner, and were pleasantly surprised with the results. 
For my recipe, I chose to ad it to jalapeno poppers.  This product smells very "thick" so I was expecting it to impart more flavor and chose to use only a little. This resulted in only a slight bacon taste. It didn't overpower anything, which I really liked. I also liked how it didn't have a weird aftertaste like some similar products. I'd definitely like to have some available in my kitchen arsenal. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mini Pies

Aren't these so cute? I got the idea from Pinterest. 

Odds are, if you're getting a gift from me, these are included. 

I made these labels to go on top. I'm probably going to add some ribbon.

I'm making:
Apple Pie
Pear Apple Pie
Cherry Pie
Peach Pie
Coconut Cream Pie!

I'd be so excited to get a basket of these, how about you?

Mini Pies
Pie dough, since I had to make so many I bought refrigerated, to make 12 of these I needed 2 boxes
I used a bigger mason jar, so I needed about 3/4 cup of filling for each jar. I'm not going to give you a filling recipe. Just google for any pie filling if you need one. 

To assemble
First and foremost, put those jars in the dishwasher and run it.
Take the bottom of one jar and place it on your dough. Trace around the bottom with a knife. This will be the bottom of your pie. 
Put it in the jar. 
Use the same jar and roll the dough around it, so you can get an idea for how much you need. Cut it, and put it in the jar. Use your fingers to seal the edges with the piece you put on the bottom. 
Add your filling. (about 3/4 cup for a pint Mason jar.)
Take the jar lid and trace around the dough again. This is your top. Cut a design for this if you want. I made little cherries for the cherry pie and Christmas trees for everything else. 
Place your dough on top of your filling and seal the edges again. 
Sprinkle with sugar. 

Bake the "pie" without the metal lids in a 9x13 casserole dish at 350 for about 35-40 minutes, or until the top is brown. 

Let cool and add a lid. Get creative with your labels. These were so fun. 

You can also not cook these and give them frozen. Just be sure to tell the person you're giving them to to let the jar come to room temperature before they put it in the oven. 

What do you think? Cute? Which pie would you want in your basket?

Sweet Potato Latkes with Pear Sauce

I've been a professional photographer for three+ years, mostly for editorial, so this whole food blogging thing is a little new to me.  I'm no food stylist, so don't judge too harshly on this one. I knew that as soon as I made and taste tested these there was no chance in saving one to recreate a pretty shot in the morning. So I put it on a plate, plopped down the accompaniments, held it up to the not so amazing fluorescent kitchen light and snapped a photo, just so I could share it with you. So nice of me, right? See that blue thing in the background? Totally a towel that I put on the bar to dry dishes b/c our dishwasher is on the fritz. Sexy.

I told my mom about my idea for these last night and she said, "Hmm. You really have to like sweet potatoes, I guess." My mom is famous for her salmon patties so she considers herself the potato pancake authority of the world. Naturally, I took that as a challenge.

I am fantasizing about having a potato pancake throwdown with her while I'm home for Christmas. In my fantasy I win. Then Bobby Flay tells me how amazing I am. I tell him that I  still find him creepy for sleeping with Ari Gold's wife on Entourage. Then it gets awkward.

I'll stop talking.

The pear sauce has a light bay leaf flavor. I got the idea for the flavor combo from Kitchen Mage when I was poaching pears earlier this year.

These are also completely vegan, assuming you don't use the sour cream.

Sweet  Potato Latkes
makes 12 2 inch latkes

4 cups of shredded & peeled sweet potato
1 shredded white onion
1/4 cup of yellow corn meal
1/4 cup of all purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
oil for frying (I used canola)

In a medium mixing bowl,  mix everything together. It's that simple. I know some of you are probably questioning the lack of egg, but the corn meal & flour does a nice job of keeping things relatively together.

heat oil for frying, pick up a small handfull of mixture and squeeze out with your hands. Shape into a patty and fry. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Be careful to flip these only once, otherwise they end up falling apart.

Serve with the sauce below or sour cream. Yum!

Pear Sauce
makes enough sauce for all of those latkes

8 pears, peeled, and cut lengthwise into 1/8 inch pieces
8 bay leaves
4 cups of water
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of sugar

Boil water & 1/4 cup of sugar, add pears and bay leaves. Cover with a coffee filter and simmer on medium for 15-20 minutes, or until pears are soft. Remove filter, bay leaves and water. Add sugar and mash pears with a potato masher.

I prefer to let it cool before putting it on the latke, but if you like it warm-by all means.

I hope you enjoy these, and have a Happy Hanukkah! {on Tuesday Night}

Friday, December 16, 2011

Spinach & Potato Quiche

This is one of those quiches that can be made for breakfast or dinner. We had it for dinner this week because I was craving spinach. I had made potatoes earlier in the week and wanted to use them up and this could not have worked out better. Also, so easy!

Spinach & Potato Quiche
Serves 6-8

For the potatoes
Adapted from Fabio Viviani
You will have extra potatoes, so halve this recipe if you don't want extra

5 red potatoes, sliced
2 tbsp Olive oil
10 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 tbsp fresh rosemary
2 tbsp Parmesan
salt & pepper to taste
1 small white onion, caramelized

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add potatoes and cook until just tender, about 5-8 minutes. Strain and return to pot. Add garlic, olive oil, Parmesan, rosemary, caramelized onion and salt and pepper

5 eggs
1 cup cooked spinach
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 cup of cooked potatoes
1 cup of cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
salt and pepper to taste

Preaheat oven to 350
Beat the eggs and yogurt together, fold in spinach, tomato, potatoes, and 3/4 cup of the cheese. Top quiche with the remainder of the cheese. Cook in a 3qt baking dish for 45-50  minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mini Bread Bowls

Remember how earlier this month I told you I could eat a variation of potato soup every day for the rest of my life and never have a problem with it? Well, add these and I'd be set. I had a dream about these a few weeks ago and have been planning my method of attack since.

These will be gracing our table as appetizers this Christmas. For this batch I chose to fill them with a marinara sauce with a white cheddar garnish, but I think when I make them for my mother's party I'm going to fill them with spinach dip. You can't go wrong here. 

Mini Bread Bowls
adapted from Jim Lahey's No Knead Bread. 
Makes 14-16, 1.5 inch bread bowls

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
Cornmeal for dusting

Mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, add water, stir, and cover for 14-18 hours. 

On a floured surface break dough into 14-16 two inch pieces. Depending on if you weighed your flour or measured it in a cup you may be able to squeeze out a few more pieces of dough. 

Preheat the oven to 450

Lightly dust  each side of the dough with flour and tuck all edges under towards the middle to form a circle. 

Dust the bottom of a deep 9x13 *casserole dish with a lid with the cornmeal, place each dough ball in the pan giving them about one half inch of space in between. These won't rise outwards that much when cooking.

Cook covered on 450 for 20 minutes. Remove cover and cook an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for at least 30 minutes and use a paring knife on a 45 degree angle to cut out the tops. Fill with your favorite soup, dip, or sauce and enjoy!

 *I used Pyrex stoneware with a glass lid, if you have any sort of pan like this, I've even used a roaster with a lid, it'll work

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gingered Pear and Raspberry Yogurt Parfait

When you're not eating meat what do you have to look forward to for Saturday morning breakfast? 


by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson

I've been obsessed with this flavor combination since I've made that recipe, something about it just works

Gingered Pear and Raspberry Yogurt Parfait
Serves 1
3 poached pears with ginger, diced
(I poached  mine with 1.5 tsp ginger using this method)
1/3 cup of fresh raspberries
1/2 cup of vanilla yogurt
2 tbsp old fashioned oats

Layer the parfait any way you like as shown above, eat and enjoy a meatless Saturday!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Nelly's Big Day & The Murray (Nutella) Martini

Today is a very exciting day, my friend Marnely (@nella22) over at Cooking With Books is getting married tomorrow and because she lives all the way in Martha's Vineyard, a few other food bloggers and I are getting together to throw her a virtual wedding shower.

At my wedding one of my favorite things that we did was have an anniversary dance. Couples were invited to the dance floor and then dismissed based on how long they've been married. The three couples that were dancing the longest had all been married for 55+ years, so we asked them for advice.

Couple 1 (My grandparents): "Marc, repeat after me. Jessie, you're right." Ha! I love that one!
-Nelly, please instruct Brian to exchange your name for mine in this advice. :)
Couple 2 (My other grandparents): "Don't fight and always dance." These two love the polka!
Couple 3 (Marc's best friends grandparents): "Take separate vacations." Ha! I love this one too!

I've thought about that advice a few times and chuckled in the 2.5 years that we've been married. But for Nelly & Brian I'd like to offer my own advice.

Be honest with each other. Remember where you both come from, don't expect the other person to know what you're thinking or what your motivations are, and always keep the goal of meeting in the middle in mind. As long as you do that, your marriage will be strong. Also. Vodka helps. :) Joking!

One of Nelly's favorite things in the world is Nutella, so I came up with this just for her.

The Murray Martini
1 ounce of chocolate vodka
1 ounce of chocolate liquor
1/2 ounce of hazelnut liquor
splash of half & half

 Pour liquor and half & half into a martini shaker with ice and shake shake shake. Pour into glass and enjoy.
 Repeat four times, then do the polka!

Love you Nelly! I wish you and Brian the Absolut best!

Other Bloggers Participating in Nelly's Big Day:
(you can also find us on twitter by using the hashtag #NellysBigDay)

[Logo design by @FarmgirlGourmet]

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Herbed Potato Soup

This is one of the recipes that my husband and I first started incorporating into our Meatless Monday adventure.

I personally could eat variations of potato soup every day for the rest of my life and never have a problem with it. I'm very fond of this version because it really incorporates herbs into a soup that you wouldn't typically get it from. It's a nice meal for a cold day and something about it makes it feel like something your grandmother could have made.

If you're still thinking about incorporating one meatless day into your week try this for lunch, and if you like it, have the leftovers for dinner.

Herbed Potato Soup
4 servings

2 medium red potatoes, diced and do not peel
2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of milk
1 large onion, diced
1/4 cup of butter, cut in small pieces
1/4 cup of all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp thyme
1 fresh bay leaf or three dried bay leafs
1/4 tsp black pepper

Place the potatoes, bay leaf, and water  in a large saucepan and cook until tender.
In another saucepan, saute onion with butter until translucent. Stir in the flour, rosemary, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper. Slowly add milk. Bring to a boil and cook while stirring for two minutes. Add potatoes with cooking liquid. Simmer for 5-8 minutes. Remove bay leaves and serve.