Microwave Fudge

December 9, 2007

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Flavor this super-easy fudge with your favorite liqueur—or substitute vanilla or almond extract. SAM

1 (1-pound) box confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa
8 tablespoons butter, melted (1 stick)
1/4 cup cream
1 teaspoon liqueur
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

In a microwave safe dish, combine the sugar, cocoa, butter, and cream. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Beat with a fork until smooth. Add the liqueur and nuts. Pour into an 8 x 8-inch pan and chill until firm
Makes 64 1-inch squares.

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Deli Deviled Eggs

December 8, 2007

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You can serve deviled eggs anytime but they’re especially welcome at holiday meals. The size of the egg makes a big difference. If your eggs are smaller, cut back slightly on the measurements, tasting the mixture until you get it right. A note of warning: make more than you think you’ll need. Deviled eggs never last long at big gatherings. SAM

6 large eggs, hard-cooked, peeled, and halved
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
Pinch of sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
Chopped chives for garnish

Carefully remove the egg yolks and mash them with a fork in a small bowl. Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, horseradish, sugar, onion, salt, and pepper and stir until creamy. Spoon evenly into the egg white halves and garnish with chives.
Makes 12 deviled eggs.


Winter Veggie Sandwiches

December 7, 2007

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Looking for an unusual cold-weather lunch? Try these hearty sandwiches. You can make them vegetarian or add your favorite ham or turkey. Either way, add some chips or a cup of soup and you’ll have a great meal. SAM

1 1/2 cups cold Roasted Winter Vegetables
10 teaspoons mayonnaise, divided
8 large slices French or Italian bread
8 teaspoons spicy mustard
8 slices Swiss cheese
8 slices thinly sliced ham or smoked turkey (optional)
8 marinated sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
8 large leaves Bibb lettuce

In a medium mixing bowl, mash the vegetables with 2 teaspoons mayonnaise. Spread 4 slices of bread with mustard and 4 with mayonnaise. On the mustard slices, layer the vegetables, cheese, ham or turkey, tomatoes, and lettuce. Top with the mayonnaise slices and cut the sandwiches in half.
Makes 8 half-sandwiches.


Garlic Croutons

December 6, 2007

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Add these to your Winter Veggie Salad and you’ll have a meal to remember! SAM

PS Really, they’ll turn any salad into a meal.

1/2 cup butter or olive oil
4 cups cubed French bread or Italian bread
6 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon snipped fresh rosemary
4 (3-inch) sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the garlic, sautéing until soft, not brown. Add the rosemary and thyme and remove from the heat. Let cool for 15 minutes. Add the bread, tossing to coat evenly. Place a single layer of cubes on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, stirring 3 times, until croutons are golden brown. Remove from the oven, discard the thyme, place in a large bowl, and toss with the cheese.
Makes 4 cups.


Winter Veggie Salad

December 5, 2007

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Cold roasted vegetables in a winter salad? You bet! SAM

1 cup cold Roasted Winter Vegetables
1 large marinated artichoke heart, shredded
2 tablespoons cold cooked couscous
4 ounces mixed salad greens
4 ounces Mustard Vinaigrette
Oil-cured or niçoise olives

In a salad bowl, toss together the vegetables, artichoke, couscous, and greens. Dress with vinaigrette. Serve with black olives.
Makes 2 main or 4 side servings.


Roasted Winter Vegetables

December 4, 2007

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Sweet, spicy, nutty, and wonderful! SAM

1 pound winter squash, peeled, seeded, and sliced into 1-inch dice
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 medium onion, quartered
2 ounces pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, pressed
4 (3-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons toasted, ground cumin seed
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place a heavy baking sheet in the oven to heat. In a mixing bowl, combine the squash, Brussels sprouts, onion, pine nuts, garlic, rosemary, cumin, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper, tossing gently to coat. Spread in one layer on the hot baking sheet and roast on the upper shelf of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, turning occasionally with a wide spatula, until vegetables are tender and browned. Remove the rosemary sprigs. Serve on couscous or as a side dish or in a salad.
Makes 4 servings.


Poached Salmon

December 3, 2007

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Timing is the key to this simply perfect Poached Salmon. SAM

1 pound fresh salmon
3/4 cup dry white wine (1/4 inch in pan)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (1/2 small lemon)

In a large chef’s pan over medium heat, bring the wine to a simmer. Place the salmon, cut-side down, in the wine. Simmer 3 minutes, lowering heat to medium-low when bubbles rise. Gently flip the salmon. Sprinkle with lemon juice and simmer 10 minutes, basting frequently. Flip again and simmer 2 minutes. Flip again, and simmer until salmon is pale pink inside and juices are reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Remove to plates or a storage dish and cover with the remaining juices. Serve as filets or crumble for paté, salad, or pasta.
Serves two as a main course.