Rustic Style Roasted Potatoes with Roasted Garlic Chips and Sea Salt
2 large potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled, and cut either into 1-inch triangles or medium diced, then par-boiled in lightly salted water
5 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Fresh or dried herbs like thyme and rosemary (optional)
cracked black pepper
coarse sea salt
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
sour cream (on the side and optional)
Preheat oven to 375’F. Line a baking sheet with either foil or parchment paper (for easy clean-up).
-In a mixing bowl, place par-boiled potatoes, thinly sliced garlic, extra virgin olive oil and season with cracked black pepper. Toss everything together until all the pieces of potatoes and slivers of garlic are coated with the olive oil.
-Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.
-Roast for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden, and the slices of garlic turn into crunchy chips.
-While still fairly warm, sprinkle chopped parsley and season (to taste) with coarse sea salt.
Makes 3-4 servings
Pretty In Pink Dinner Mints
4 1/2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup softened unsalted butter
1 teaspoon peppermint extract (I used peppermint oil)
1 drop of red food color (or whatever color you prefer to make two-toned marbled mints)
In a mixing bowl, mix together sifted confectioner’s sugar, heavy cream, butter and peppermint extract. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until it forms into a soft dough.
Divide the sugar dough into two, one half will be tinted with a drop of red food color to produce a pink colored dough and the other half will remain white.
Individually roll out the white and pink sugar doughs then place the pink rolled out dough over the white one. Fold into thirds like a book (left, middle and right), fold the right side over the middle then fold the left side over the right. Roll the now two-toned dough into a fat cylinder and cut into 3. Roll each third into 3/4-inch (diameter) ropes then cut into 1/2-inch pieces to which you either shape the pieces into pillows, squares or balls.
Place the shaped dinner mints on a baking tray and air dry overnight.
Store in tins or loose lid jars.
Tip: I placed the mints on a baking rack to dry so that the air can also circulate from under making the candy dry out evenly.
Makes about 3 1/2 dozens
Orange, Maple and Walnut Bread Pudding
8 slices Egg & Milk Loaf bread (can also use brioche), sliced into triangle halves
4 large eggs
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup half and half (1:1 milk + cream)
1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
zests of 1 orange
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup light brown sugar + 1 teaspoon cinnamon (to sprinkle over bread pudding before baking)
- Preheat oven to 350’F. Brush butter onto an oven/baking dish.
- Layer and overlap the bread slices in the buttered baking dish.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs, maple syrup, sugar, half and half, melted butter, vanilla, orange zests, salt and walnuts.
- Pour the egg mixture over the arranged slices of bread in the baking dish. Let the bread soak up the egg mixture, about 30 minutes.
- Mix the light brown sugar and cinnamon together. Sprinkle the mixture over the unbaked bread pudding. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until bread pudding is puffed-up and golden.
- Serve warm.
Makes 5-6 servings
Spicy Onion Rings
2 large yellow onions or if Vidalia Onions are available, those are much preferred, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch slices
1/2 cup tempura (batter) flour, for dredging the onion rings
2 cups tempura (batter) flour, this can be purchased at Japanese or Asian food store
1 teaspoon cayenne powder
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cups ice cold water
1 qt. canola oil, for deep frying
- Separate the onion slices into rings. Place the 1/2 cup of tempura flour in a ziploc bag. Put the onion rings inside the ziploc and shake to evenly coat the onion rings.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the tempura flour, cayenne, sweet paprika and salt. Add the ice cold water into the spiced flour mixture and whisk until the batter is free of lumps.
- Put the oil in a large heavy pan with high sides and heat to 375’F. Place paper towels all over a baking sheet.
- Remove the onion rings from the ziploc bag and shake off excess flour.
- Dip onion rings in the spiced tempura batter a handful batch at a time.
- Use a kitchen tong to pick up each ring from the batter to place in hot oil (do not overcrowd the pan to avoid the oil from dropping its temperature).
- Use a slotted (or perforated) spoon to fish-out the fried onion rings.
- Place on the baking tray lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.
- Place in a basket lined with parchment paper/paper towels.
- sriracha hot sauce
- Asian sweet-chili sauce
- sriracha + mayonnaise
- sour cream + onion soup mix
- mayonnaise + lemon juice + tiny pinch of saffron powder
- curry powder + mayonnaise + mango chutney
- sour cream + chopped chives
- queso fundido or nacho cheese sauce
- nacho cheese sauce + salsa
Makes 3-4 servings
Pavlova with Whipped Lemon Curd, Cream and Balsamic Macerated Strawberries
For the Meringue Base
4 egg whites (from large eggs)
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons raspberry or sherry vinegar
2 Tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
* half of a lemon (unsqueezed, to rub the mixing bowl with before whipping the egg white, makes the egg whites aerate better)
- Preheat oven to 400”F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Start with a very clean, grease-free mixing bowl. Rub the lemon along the inside of the mixing bowl. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the mixing bowl. With an electric mixer (hand or tabletop) whisk on medium speed until egg whites form firm peaks.
- With the mixer still running, gradually add the confectioner’s sugar. turn the mixer speed up to the highest setting until the meringue is white and glossy (5-7 minutes).
- Decrease the speed of the mixer and mix-in the vinegar and cornflour until well incorporated.
- Place all the meringue on the prepared baking sheet lined with parchment. Make an 8-inch round, 2 1/2-inch thick mound and smooth the surface of the meringue with an off-set spatula.
- Bake at 400’F for 12-15 minutes or until meringue puffs up and gets lightly browned on the outside. Then decrease the oven temperature to 350’F and bake for 20-25 minutes more. Turn off oven and leave the meringue inside until the oven gets cool (the baking at high temperature for the first 15 minutes of baking time and leaving the meringue inside a turned-off oven is crucial so that the outside is crunchy and the inside to be soft and marshmallowy).
For the Lemon Curd
4 egg yolks (from large eggs)
1 cup granulated sugar
juice of 2 lemons
zest of 2 lemons
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
- With the exception of the butter, put all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk.
- Place the mixing bowl with the egg yolk-lemon mixture over a double boiler. Make sure that the bottom of the mixing bowl does not touch the boiling water under it or else you will scramble the eggs. Add the cold cubes of butter while whisking the lemon curd.
- Whisk until the mixture thickens (8-10 minutes) and becomes light yellow in color.
- Place the bowl of lemon curd over a bowl of ice water. Continue whisking the mixture until it cools and becomes whipped. Chill in the fridge. Just before assembling the Pavlova, whip again with a wire whisk.
For the Whipped Cream Topping
4 cups whipped cream
For the Macerated Strawberries
4 cups sliced strawberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
- Combine all 3 ingredients and let the strawberries macerate in the the balsamic vinegar and sugar.
To Assemble Pavlova
- Turn the meringue upside-down.
- Spread the well chilled whipped lemon curd on the bottom. Then spoon and spread the whipped cream.
- Top with the balsamic macerated strawberries. And garnish with whole strawberries.
Makes 8 servings.
Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Baked Pears with Walnuts
Peel, core and slice the pears into quarter-inch slices. Place the slices on a parchment lined baking tray and sprinkle with a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon. Bake in a 375’F preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until the brown sugar gets caramelized and make these slices of pears almost like toffee candy.
Serve baked pear slices with chopped walnuts and honey-yogurt (optional).
Mango and Almond Muffins
Preheat oven at 375’F, line a 12-cup medium muffin tin with baking paper.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup mangoes, small diced
2/3 cup dried mangoes, chopped
2/3 cup flaked almonds
1/4 cup melted butter
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon zest
-Sift together all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the diced fresh mangoes into the flour mixture and gently stir until mangoes are coated with flour.
-Mix together the dried mangoes and flaked almonds. Put half of it into the flour mixture and save half of it to top the muffins before baking.
-In another bowl, mix melted butter, egg, sour cream, evaporated milk, vanilla and lemon zest.
-Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and lightly and briefly mix.
-Use a large ice cream scoop to fill each muffin cup with batter.
-Sprinkle the remaining half of the dried mango-almond mixture over each unbaked muffin.
-Bake for 20-25 minutes or when cake tester or toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean.
Makes 12 muffins