Fudge Quick and Easy

December 27, 2008

rrchocolatepowdercan
Got a bunch of children hanging around your home this holiday week? Set them to work making fudge. This microwave variety is so easy even a small child can proudly say, ‘I made this!’

1 (1-pound) box confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 stick salted butter, melted (8 tablespoons)
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped raisins or candied fruit

In a microwave-safe dish, stir together the sugar, cocoa, butter, and milk. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Beat with a pastry fork until smooth. Add vanilla and fruit. Pour into a lightly greased 8- x 8-inch pan. Chill until firm.
Makes sixty-four 1-inch squares.


Rosemary Pecans

November 9, 2008

rrpecans
Easy and so, so good you’d better have carryout bags for your guests. The basic recipe works with just about any kind of nuts. Just make sure you don’t burn them. Use your nose. When they start to smell toasty, they’re roasted.

PS You can get Szechuan peppers from mail-order houses like Penzys. Trust me, they’re worth the extra effort.

8 ounces unsalted pecan halves [or English walnuts]
1 T melted sweet butter
1 tsp sweet curry powder
1/4 tsp Szechuan peppers, crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 tsp honey
2 T finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp sea salt or to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degree F. Spread the nuts in one layer in a 9- by 13-inch baking pan and roast until fragrant and beginning to change color, 8 to 10 minutes. In a small saucier over very low heat, melt the butter. Add the curry powder, peppers, honey, and rosemary. Add the warm nuts and salt and toss until thoroughly coated.
Makes 1 1/2 cups.


Baked Roasted Pepper Pasta

May 28, 2008

2 ounces log chevre
2 ounces water
1 bay leaf
2 ounces uncooked small pasta
1 large roasted red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1/8 cup plain breadcrumbs plus 2 teaspoons, divided
2 teaspoons grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons olive oil
sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees (325 F convection). Lightly grease a small, 7-inch gratin dish and set aside.

In a small sancier over very low heat, melt the chèvre with the water and bay leaf. Remove the bay leaf. Add the pasta, pepper, 1/8 cup breadcrumbs, and salt. Pour into the prepared dish and sprinkle with remaining breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and olive oil. Tent with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes (40 convection). Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer or until browned.
Makes 2 servings.


Tired of Scrambling to Throw Together a Last-Minute Salad?

April 27, 2008

This 24-four-hour wonder is more than a great time-saver—it’s always a big hit with family and friends.


Twenty-Four-Hour Salad

April 27, 2008

This is one salad you have to make the day before … which frees you up for all kinds of dinner-party fun. SAM

1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
2 cups stemmed and chopped fresh spinach
1 (10-ounce) package frozen green peas, thawed
2 cups mayonnaise
Sea salt and Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cooked and crumbled bacon

Lightly grease a 9 x 13 x 2-inch cake pan. In the pan, layer the lettuce, celery, bell pepper, onion, spinach, and peas. Do not stir. Spread the mayonnaise over the salad, then the salt, pepper, Parmesan, and bacon. Cover tightly and chill in the fridge for 24 hours. Cut into squares to serve.
Makes 16 servings.


Blond Brownies

April 17, 2008

No chocolate? That’s right. With these ‘blondies,’ you may never crave chocolate again! SAM

1/4 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans or English walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the sugar, egg, and vanilla. In a medium bowl, mix the flour baking powder, and salt and add to the egg mixture. Add the pecans. Spread into the pan and bake for 30 minutes. Cool slightly in the pan before cutting into squares.
Makes 16 brownies.


Easy Spinach Casserole

April 10, 2008


The only caveat with this recipe is to wring the spinach dry. If you thaw it slightly in a microwave, wringing out the water is easy. SAM

1 (10-ounce) package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and wrung dry by hand
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, melted and divided
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Paprika

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a small casserole dish. In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, cream cheese, 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons butter, salt, and pepper. Spoon into the casserole dish and sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs, paprika, and remaining butter. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
Makes 2 servings.