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Memorial Day Recipes

Karyn’s Pasta Salad with Sundried Tomatoes, Feta, and Basil

“ This recipe combines similar flavors, but it is a nice alternative if you don’t want sandwiches for your picnic. “ – Karyn Brooks

PRINT RECIPE Karyn’s Bowtie Pasta Salad with Sundried Tomatoes, Feta, and Basil (1)

8 oz farfalle (bowtie) or rotini pasta, cooked to package directions
3 oz sundried tomatoes, julienne cut (I like Mariani. They are simple sundried tomatoes with no added oil. They come in a plastic package usually located with other tomato products in the grocery store.)
1 cup packed fresh basil, chiffonade cut
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled (also try this with the sundried tomato-basil feta)
2 oz fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
½ c light olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
½ c Kalamata olives, pitted and quartered (optional)

Toss first 6 ingredients together, adding Kalamatas at the end. This keeps well for three or four days in the refrigerator. If you are eating this after refrigeration, you made need to toss in a little more oil to revive. This salad is delicious hot or cold, and it is safer for picnics than mayonnaise-based pasta salads.

Chicken BBQ Sliders
Makes 24 sliders

PRINT RECIPE BBQ CHICKEN SLIDER

2 lbs rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce

Combine the Chicken and BBQ Sauce in a medium saucepan. Heat to a slow simmer.

24 rolls or slider buns
Olive oil or butter

Preheat a grill pan or broiler on high heat. Brush each side of the buns with olive oil or butter. Grill or broil for about 1 – 2 minutes.

2 cups Jo Ann’s Slaw (recipe below)
Monterey Jack Cheese, sliced

To assemble:
Place cheese on bottom bun. Top with ¼ cup chicken and some slaw. Serve immediately.

Jo Ann’s Slaw Recipe

1 medium cabbage, shredded fine
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 cup sugar
1 cup white vinegar
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon salt


Put cabbage and onion in a large bowl; top with the sugar.
In a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, oil, mustard, celery seed, and salt. Bring to a boil. Pour hot mixture over cabbage and cool. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or up to 2 days.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart

PRINT RECIPE Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

2 Whole Vanilla Beans
1 teaspoon natural fruit pectin
¼ cup sugar
2 ½ cups whole milk
3 tablespoons milk powder
½ cup sugar
¼ cup Raw Honey
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
2 egg yolks

Slice the vanilla beans in half and scrape the seeds from each half into a large saucepan. Add the beans, combine the pectin and ¼ cup sugar in a bowl and mix to combine.

Add the milk and milk powder to the saucepan. Add ½ cup sugar, the honey, cream and egg yolks. Add the pectin mixture. Cook over medium heat to a maximum of 185 degrees, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and cool in an ice bath until the mixture reaches 39 degrees.

Chill covered, for 12 hours. Strain the mixture and pour into an ice cream freezer container. Freeze using the manufacturer’s directions.

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Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Buttercream Frosting

Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting

PRINT RECIPE

PREP TIME: 25 Minutes DIFFICULTY:Easy COOK TIME: 18 Minutes SERVINGS: 12 Servings

1-1/2 cup All Purpose Flour, Sifted

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/4 teaspoon Salt

4 Lemons, Zest Freshly Grated

1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature

1 cup Sugar

1 Large Egg

2 Large Egg Whites

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 teaspoon Lemon Extract (optional)

1/2 cup Milk

1/4 cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

FOR THE LAVENDER FROSTING:

3/4 cups Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature

3-1/2 cups To 4 Cups Powdered Sugar

1 teaspoon Dried Culinary Lavender, Finely Chopped

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Tablespoon Milk Or Cream If Needed

1 drop Purple Food Coloring (optional)

Fresh Lavender, For Garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a cupcake tin with liners.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Zest the lemons and set the zest aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add in the sugar and beat on medium speed, scraping down the sides if needed and increasing it to high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until the sugar and butter is fluffy. Beat in each egg and white until incorporated, then add the vanilla and lemon extract (you can also use a lemon baking emulsion) and lemon zest until combined. Beating on low speed, add in half of the dry ingredients until combined, then add in the milk and lemon juice. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and beat until combined.
Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measure, scoop the batter into the liners filling them 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 16–18 minutes, or until the tops are set. Let cool completely.
For the lavender frosting:
Add butter to the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until creamy. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar and lavender. Increase the speed of the mixer, scraping down the sides if needed, beating the frosting until fluffy and combined. Beat in the vanilla extract.
If the frosting seems too thick, beat in the tablespoon of milk. If it seems to runny or too thin, you can beat in more powdered sugar ¼ cup at a time. Once the frosting is a spreadable consistency, drop in the purple food coloring and mix until evenly colored. Frost the cupcakes and top with a few lavender flowers if you wish.

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Our Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipes

Thumbprint Cookies

PRINT RECIPE

1 pkg.  (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened

3/4 cup  (1-1/2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup  sugar

2 tsp. Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon vanilla

2-1/4 cups  flour

1/2 tsp.  baking soda

1 cup  Chopped Pecans

1-1/4 cups fruit preserve (we like Stonewall Kitchen’s Holiday Jam)

HEAT oven to 350°F. Beat cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add flour, baking soda and pecans; mix well. Refrigerate 30 min.

SHAPE dough into 1-inch balls. Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets. Indent centers.

BAKE 10 min. Fill each cookie with about 1 tsp. preserves. Bake 8 to 10 min. or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets 2 min. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

PRINT RECIPE

Ingredients

1/3 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon Nielsen Massey vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup white baking chips

Directions

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, salt and baking soda; gradually add to butter mixture and mix well. Stir in cranberries and chips.

Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 1 minute before removing to wire racks. Yield: 2 dozen.

Gingerbread Men Cookies

PRINT RECIPE

3 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 large egg

1 cup molasses, warmed

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons warm water

Combine dry ingredients.

In large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, beat in the egg, beat in the molasses.

Dissolve the baking soda in the warm water and add the wet ingredients.

Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Cover and chill for several hours.

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease baking sheets.

On floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness.

(If you like softer, thicker cookies you can roll dough thicker)  Using cookie cutters,

cut out cookies and place 1 1/2 inches apart on cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until dry-looking and firm to touch.  Don’t over cook, edges do

not need to be brown.  Let cool before frosting.

Royal Icing

3 T. Meringue powder

4 c. powdered sugar

6 T. warm water

Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a high powered mixer)

*Icing must be kept in airtight containers prior to use

Glaze for Decorated Cookies

2 1/4 c. powdered sugar, sifted

2 T. corn syrup

2 T. milk (may need to add 1 t. more)

Food coloring (optional)

Mix all ingredients and frost cookies.

*Glaze will dry with a film on top.  Keep air tight prior to use

 

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Cranberry Sauce with Balcones Texas Rumble Whiskey

Cranberry Sauce with Balcones Rumble Whiskey

PRINT RECIPE

Serves 10                               

2 – 12 oz bags fresh Cranberries

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

2 tablespoons Balcones Rumble Whiskey

1 teaspoon Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract

In a medium saucepan, add the cranberries, sugar and water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens a bit. Turn to low and add the whiskey and vanilla. Cook for  another minute , remove from the heat and serve warm.

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Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

This decadent pie is remarkably simple. It’s a great dessert for Thanksgiving, but we think it’s okay to make any time of the year. It’s great as a last minute dessert that requires no cooking!

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

PRINT RECIPE

Serves 6 to 8

1 jar (11 oz.) New Canaan Farms Pumpkin Butter

1 5.85 oz Instant Vanilla Pudding

1-pt. heavy whipping cream

1 graham cracker-pie crust

Garnish: whip cream, ground nutmeg, toasted pecans (chopped)

In a 2-quart bowl, mix pumpkin butter with vanilla pudding mix. With electric mixer, slowly add whipping cream to pumpkin-pudding mixture. Beat until mixture forms stiff peaks. Spread into piecrust and chill at least one hour before serving.

Garnish with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg and pecans.

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Lemon Trifle

Lemon Trifle

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1/4 cup granulated sugar
12 -ounces cream cheese, softened One 8-ounce jar prepared lemon curd
2 cups heavy cream 22 hard ladyfinger cookies
3 cups mixed raspberries and sliced strawberries Powdered sugar, for garnish
Whipped cream, for serving

 

A clear trifle bowl with layers of lady fingers, raspberries and lemon cream

In a small measuring cup, mix the lemon juice with the sugar and 1/4 cup water until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Place the cream cheese, lemon curd and heavy cream in a food processor and process until smooth and a bit fluffy.

To assemble the tiramisu, place half the ladyfingers in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish, breaking a few to fit, and drizzle with half of the lemon syrup. Top with half the lemon cream and 1 cup mixed berries. Repeat the layers, using the remaining ladyfingers, syrup and lemon cream.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 8 hours or overnight. Before serving, top with the remaining 2 cups of berries and dust with powdered sugar. Serve with whipped cream on the side.

 

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Making Marshmallows

The Making of Marshmallows & Memories – Family Holiday Traditions

By Karyn Miller

Reprint from October 2013

 

The scents of the cool fall air always spark different emotions and trigger memories for me. As a child, once the Trick-or-Treat candy was consumed (or otherwise mysteriously disposed of), my family got to work on the next series of events. Football, Homecoming, a few fall birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day inspired us and gave us all something pleasing to anticipate.

My father owned and managed retail businesses during my youth. He worked six days a week as long as I can remember, holidays being the rare exception. Mom taught high school homemaking and was a foodie before the word existed. While she managed to deliver some amazing meals for us despite the limited help from her industrious husband and her three indolent children, her magic really sparkled when the cool weather and fall fog rolled into town. From homemade hot chocolate to the best pralines ever, from candied orange peel (still not my favorite) to sand tarts and divinity, Mom’s greatest gifts flowed forth from kitchen. For our family, holiday traditions focused on these sweets and other favorite foods.

My daughter and I rely happily and heavily on those holiday traditions from my mother’s kitchen. With the first breath of chilly air, we make homemade hot chocolate just like we did when I was a kid – that perfect combination of chocolate with the tiniest pinch of salt and spice. After I pour it into mugs, my daughter Molly mounds marshmallows so high that it takes half an hour to get to the beverage. By the time the marshmallows are gone, she and I are halfway through another longstanding family holiday tradition, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” Never a drop of hot cocoa remains in either of our cups by the end of the show.

One of our newer traditions is to make our own marshmallows – not for the ordinary cold night hot chocolate, but as holiday gifts for teachers and friends, and of course, as a gift to ourselves. The recipe isn’t difficult, but it is time-consuming and messy. And worth every bit of waiting, togetherness, powdered sugar, and fun. That time together is the stuff that holidays are made of, the stuff I remember as a kid with my brother and sister.

Thanks to a mother who was and is a fabulous cook, both of my siblings and I love cooking and eating good food, bantering and being silly with each other; so, what many might view as an onerous tasks in the kitchen I see as luxurious indulgences when we truly take the time to create good food and good memories. I savor the hours “slaving” in the kitchen, even if I complain about how little time we have to sleep, to relax, and to relish the season. Despite my family’s mutual admiration of all things food and all things cooking, our holiday season typically starts with the same friendly sibling argument:

“What are we doing for Thanksgiving this year?”

“I don’t know. I don’t even know what I’m having for dinner tonight.”

“How about turkey?”

“I don’t want turkey this year.”

“How about ham?”

“I don’t like ham.”

“Fine. I’ll ask Gary.”

“Gary, are you and Beth in town for Thanksgiving this year?”

“I think so. I don’t know. You’ll have to ask Beth.”

Aaaaarghhhh! Thus the holiday tradition in the Miller family begins. Eventually my sister and I will congregate over a glass of wine and talk about our plans through the season. We ponder over recipes, menus, new and old favorites. Finally we emerge with our Thanksgiving dinner plan, typically a mix of a new twist on a turkey we likely found in Bon Appetite, our grandmother’s traditional Southern Dressing, Gary’s Potatoes Dauphin, Beth’s rolls, something green (changes every year), a variety of pies, and of course, Mom’s pralines. Perhaps we should just keep that same menu every year, but then we would lose the traditional pre-holiday argument I have come to anticipate and enjoy.

I “interviewed” my daughter before writing this article to find out what she considers her favorite family holiday traditions to be. Without any prompting she said, “Grandma’s pralines. Grandma makes the best pralines ever.” Next she mentioned hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows. She even mentioned how her Aunt Caryl and I have to wrangle over our holiday dinners and gatherings.

She mentioned how she loves for our whole family to get together, usually after New Year’s, to have our official family Christmas where each family member gets to open his or her gifts one by one for all to see. I don’t know why, but it surprised me that Molly defined her holiday traditions and memories so similarly to the way I define mine.  I realized we all have our own traditions – an imperfectly perfect blend of all the traditions that have graced and cursed us through the years. I can only hope she is so lucky with her own family someday.

Mollymallows

Molly and Karyn’s traditional homemade marshmallow recipe for gift-giving and hot cocoa.

4 envelopes unflavored gelatin

1 ½ c water

2 ½ c white sugar

½ c brown sugar

1 ¼ c light corn syrup

¼ t salt

½ t cinnamon

2 t vanilla extract

½ c confectioners’ sugar

½ c cornstarch

Combine confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.

Line a large jellyroll pan with lightweight foil. Spray with vegetable spray and dust pan lightly with sugar-cornstarch mixture.  Set pan aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, soften gelatin with ¾ c water.

Place the white and brown sugars, corn syrup, salt, cinnamon, and ¾ c water in a heavy saucepan. Stir to mix well. Bring to a boil and cook over high heat until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage (234-240°F). After it reaches the soft-ball stage, remove pan from heat and add vanilla. The mixture will be dark at this stage.

With the whisk attachment and the mixer at high speed, slowly pour the hot syrup mixture into the gelatin until the mixture is very stiff. This takes about 15 minutes. The mixture will fluff up and turn almost white.

Pour the mixture into the foil-lined pan and smooth the top with a well-oiled spatula. Allow the mixture to sit, uncovered, at room temperature for several hours, overnight it usually best.

Light sprinkle some of the cornstarch-sugar mixture over a cutting surface. Turn the stiffened marshmallow mixture out onto the cutting surface. Dip a slightly oiled cookie cutter into the remaining cornstarch-sugar mixture, and cut the marshmallows into shapes. Drop freshly-cut marshmallows into cornstarch mixture, then store in an airtight container.

These make beautiful homemade gifts, especially when combined with a cup of homemade cocoa mix and a peppermint stick in a mug.

Variations: Chocolate marshmallows, chocolate-cayenne, peppermint marshmallows, coconut marshmallows. Call me for more ideas or for specific recipes for these. Enjoy.

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Nothing Sweeter than a Little Tart

Yesterday, Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef Megan Lasiter conducted a fun pre-Easter class for us, “Nothing Sweeter than a Little Tart.” What a refreshing breath of air for Spring! Although her recipes are tried and true, she added just a bit of pinache to keep her audience interested. Among her recipes in this demostration class were pate sucre ( translates, “sugar paste” but is actually a slightly sweetened pastry tart), whiskey pecan tart, lemon meringue tart with Italian meringue, pastry cream for fruit tarts, and good ‘ole fruit cobbler.

All of the recipes were hits with the class, but the whiskey pecan took the cake – or the pie – in my opinion. Maybe it’s the Southern Girl in me. Perfect with a cup of coffee. The fruit tart, however, was the most beautiful of all. A sip of champagne really completes it.

Below is her pate sucre recipe as well as the pastry cream recipe. Topping this with colorful fresh berries makes a lovely Spring presentation. Please see our Facebook page for pictures. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Waco-TX/Gourmet-Gallery/78558491610.

Happy Cooking!

Pate Sucre

(Gourmet Gallery Chef, Rachel Solano says that this pastry is a bit more forgiving than a traditional pie crust. Don’t use it for your chicken pot pie, though!)

7.5 ounces unsalted butter
3 ounces sugar
.06 ounces salt
3 ounces eggs
12 ounces pastry flour

Baking Temperature 375 degrees.

1. Cream butter and sugar.
2. Add eggs.
3. Add flour, salt and vanilla.
4. Roll out on floured surface to desired thickness.
5. Place into pie plate or tart pan and press into edges.
6. Bake at 375 degrees until lightly browned.

Pastry Cream
1 quart milk
4 ounces sugar
3 ounces egg yolks
4 ounces whole eggs
2.5 ounces corn starch
4 ounces sugar
2 ounces butter
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1. Mix milk and first sugar.
2. Bring to a scald in a medium saucepan.
3. While milk is cooking, mix the following: eggs, egg yolks, second surgar, and conrstarch.
4. Temper milk into egg mixture.
5. Add whole mixture back into saucepan.
6. Whisk until thickened to desired consistency.
7. Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla.

Spoon into tart shell (pate sucre). Top with fruit or enjoy by itself.