Monthly Archives: November 2010

Caramel Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family!  Hope you guys had a wonderful Thanksgiving and long weekend as well!  I made this pie for Thanksgiving because I wanted to bake something a little different.  My sister made a creamy pumpkin pie and my mom made a delicious apple cranberry pie, so I wanted to make a pie that wasn’t fruit-based.  This caramel peanut butter mousse pie came out amazing!  It has a layer of peanut butter and then a layer of browned caramel sauce that is mixed with salted peanuts.  This pie is definitely not low-fat, but it’s so delicious and rich.  The flavor combination of peanut butter and caramel gives you that sweet/salty combination that is to-die-for.

What was your favorite Thanksgiving pie?  Do you like to stick to the classics or try something new?

Crust
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 7 tbsp ice cold water
Filling
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp plus 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 3-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

Topping

  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 4 tbsp whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup roasted peanuts

For crust:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat flour, salt, and shortening until smooth.
  2. Add butter chunks and water to mix and beat until a dough forms.
  3. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Cut dough in half. You can wrap the other half in plastic wrap and freeze for future use.
  6. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to an 11″ round. Transfer dough to 9″ tart pan with removable bottom. Trim edges and poke holes in the bottom and sides of the pan with a fork.  Bake until crust is golden, about 15-20 minutes. Cool completely on rack.

For filling:

  1. Combine 1/3 cup sugar, 3 tbsp cream, and butter in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and butter melts. Pour into medium bowl and cool to room temperature.
  2. Add cream cheese, peanut butter, and vanilla to brown sugar mixture and using electric mixer, beat until smooth.
  3. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup cream with remaining 2 tbsp brown sugar in small bowl to stiff peaks and fold into peanut butter mixture.
  4. Spoon filling into tart shell and smooth top. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

For topping:

  1. Stir first 4 ingredients and 2 tbsp cream in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves.
  2. Increase heat to medium and stir slowly, about 8 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and add 2 tbsp cream and nuts. Let stand just until cool, about 20 minutes.
  4. Spoon over filling and chill until set, at least 2 hours or overnight.
  5. Top with whipped cream.
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13 Comments

Filed under Desserts

Cranberry & White Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

I had some fresh cranberries that I wanted to use in a festive dessert to share with my co-workers.  I generally equate fresh cranberries with Thanksgiving pies or relishes, but I found this recipe for a cranberry oat bar and decided to make it.  I made a few changes to the original recipe including adding white chocolate chips to the batter.  This recipe is easy and straightforward, and the flavor combination of cranberries and white chocolate chips is amazing.  If you’re looking for a festive, non-pie dessert to share with family and friends on Thanksgiving Day this year, definitely try this recipe.  Your guests will be happy you did!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×9 inch baking pan, line with foil, then grease the foil.
  2. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cranberries, white sugar, and orange zest. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until the mixture has softened and reduced to about 1 cup.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter using your hands or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (Make sure to cut in butter well so entire mixture gets butter cut in it.)
  4. Fold in the white chocolate chips.
  5. Press half of this mixture firmly into the pan. Spread the cranberry sauce evenly over, then crumble the remaining oat mixture over the top.
  6. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

11 Comments

Filed under Baked Goods, Desserts

Braised Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Onions, Lemon & Thyme

I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year, and I love brussel sprouts, especially with bacon, so what better green vegetable to make as an accompaniment than this dish.  It’s delicious and is braised on top of the stove instead of baked in the oven, so there’s more room for Tom the turkey to cook!  The mix of bacon, onions, thyme, and lemon added to the brussel sprouts is amazing and will surely make your kitchen smell like goodness.  This dish is light, but packs a great flavor punch.  I was thinking about making a brussel sprout gratin, but with all the other casseroles and heavier side dishes, I decided this would be light and perfect.

What green vegetable dish are you making for Thanksgiving this year?

Ingredients:
  • 4 slices bacon or pancetta (about 1/2 cup), cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup small-diced carrot (2 small)
  • 1/3 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed, cut lengthwise through the core into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest

Directions:

  1. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon in the olive oil, stirring frequently, until the bacon has rendered much of its fat and is nicely browned, 4-5 minutes.
  2. Increase the heat to medium high, stir in the carrots, onions, and red pepper flakes and cook to soften the vegetables, 2 minutes.
  3. Add the sprouts, season lightly with salt and pepper, stir to coat with the fat, and cook, stirring, until the sprouts wilt slightly, 3 minutes.
  4. Add the broth and thyme, cover with the lid slightly ajar, and adjust the heat to a lively simmer. Cook the sprouts until they’re just barely tender, about 6 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid, increase the heat to medium high and cook, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has evaporated and the sprouts are quite tender, about 3 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

11 Comments

Filed under Side Dishes

Cranberry & Pineapple Relish

This cranberry and pineapple relish is one of my family’s favorite recipes to make every Thanksgiving.  I honestly don’t even know where we found this recipe, but it’s delicious and has been one of our Thanksgiving staples.  What’s great about this dish is that you can make it a day ahead and just store in your refrigerator until you’re ready to eat.

Last night I was hankering for something sweet, so I pulled a little bowl of this stuff out and topped it with some whipped topping.  I added some lemon zest and almonds to the whipped topping for some extra citrus flavor and crunch.  It was delicious and very dessert-like, so if you’re looking to go the sweeter route and serve this as a dessert, you have the option!

What’s your favorite cranberry relish recipe to make?

Ingredients:

  • 1 12oz. package of fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Water to cover cranberries (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 3oz. package of raspberry gelatin
  • 1 can of crushed pineapple, with juice
  • whipped cream (optional)
  • nuts for sprinkling (optional)

Directions:

  1. In  a saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar, zests, and water, and bring mixture to a boil. When mixture comes to a boil, turn heat down and boil until cranberries pop (about 8-10 minutes).
  2. Pour cranberry mixture into a baking dish or deep casserole dish and add the crushed pineapple with juice, stirring to combine.
  3. Sprinkle the packet of gelatin over the cranberry mixture, stirring to combine thoroughly.
  4. Cover and refrigerate until set.*
  5. Top relish with whipped topping and sprinkle with nuts.

*Please Note:  This relish will not set as firmly as a jello mold.  If you’re looking for a jello consistency, add more gelatin.

7 Comments

Filed under Side Dishes

DC Metro Cooking & Entertaining Show Recap

This past weekend I attended the DC Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show as an official Foodbuzz Foodie Correspondent.  It was very cool – I even got my own press pass!  The main exhibit hall was huge and had numerous exhibitors giving away samples and tastings.  There were a ton of different exhibitors featuring homemade bbq sauces, cakes, whoopie pies, spice rubs, and various other food-related goodies.  Take a look at a few of my favorites!

Emily G’s Jam of Love

Holly’s Au Natural Oatmeal

Grama’s Best Apple Caviar

Wanna Hava Cookie Whoopie Pies

Beautiful cake (I can’t remember who made this!)

Rub Joe Meat Killer Coffee & Spice Rub

Gia Michael’s Gourmet Garbage

Bobby Flay

I watched Restaurant Eve’s Chef de Cuisine Jeremy Hoffman and Sommelier Tod Thrasher cook up beef wellington and make homemade mulled cider respectively.  There was also a Foodspring.com tasting contest; we tasted 15 different items that included marinades, sauces, ginger beer, curry ketchup, toffee, etc.  My vote went to an amazing sticky toffee pudding by the Sticky Toffee Pudding Company.  It was amazing, and I could have eaten about five more samples!  There were also Food Network celebrity events going on all weekend that included cooking demonstrations and book signings by Paula Deen, Bobby Flay, and Rachel Ray.  I was lucky enough to be at the show for Bobby Flay’s cooking demonstration.  I took some cool photos of Bobby Flay in action.  He’s exactly like he is on TV;  an extremely personable and cute Irishman with an affinity for Southwestern cuisine and a NY accent.

Overall, this was a great event that featured unique exhibitors and restaurateurs from all over the country. Be sure to check out the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show website for future locations and dates.  I’m happy to have been a Foodbuzz correspondent!

6 Comments

Filed under Misc.

Homemade Granola Bars & Share Our Strength

This past weekend, I decided to bake my own homemade granola bars since I spend money every week at the grocery store buying them.  I found a recipe from Alton Brown and just added a few of my own goodies I had on hand.  I used shredded coconut, butterscotch chips, and flax seeds – not exactly a healthy granola bar, but a yummy one!  What’s nice about baking your own granola bars is that you can use whatever goodies you prefer (chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, nuts, dried fruits, etc.)  This is a simple recipe to make and definitely more cost effective than buying granola bars each week!

In other news, I recently started volunteering for Share Our Strength.  Many of you have probably heard of this organization, but if you haven’t, they are a non-profit that works to help end childhood hunger in the U.S.  In particular, every year they host an event called Taste of the Nation DC in which DC-area restaurants and chefs gather to raise money and awareness for this great cause.  100% of the proceeds go to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, which includes support for local beneficiaries Capitol Area Food Bank, DC Hunger Solutions, and Mary’s Center.

Why am I telling you this?  Well, this Monday, November 15th is No Kid Hungry Day.  Select food trucks in DC including Bada Bing, CapMac, Choupi Crepes, DC Empanadas, DC Love Bites, Eat Wonky, Red Hook Lobster and Takorean will offer their eats the entire day and then donate a percentage of the proceeds to Taste of the Nation DC.  There’s also a happy hour at The Passenger (1021 7th Street NW) from 5-8pm where 10% of the proceeds will also be donated to Taste of the Nation DC.

Be sure to grab some local, food truck eats and a few cocktails at The Passenger today!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips (you can use chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, etc.)
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 by 13″ baking dish.
  2. Toss the oatmeal and coconut together on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.
  5. Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the butterscotch chips and mix.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
  8. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

10 Comments

Filed under Baked Goods, Misc.

Sweet & Spicy Rubbed Salmon with Lentils & Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette

In an effort to eat less red meat and more lean proteins and seafood, I decided to purchase some salmon fillets for a nice mid-week meal.  Salmon is such a versatile fish that can be cooked multiple ways.  I sometimes forget I own a grill pan, so I decided to create a sweet and spicy rub and then grill my fillets.  What to serve my salmon with?  Well, the options are endless, but salmon with lentils du Puy is a popular French dish that I decided to do a spin-off of.  I made my lentils with a Dijon mustard vinaigrette.  They came out tender and delicious and were perfect underneath my sweet and spicy rubbed salmon!

What’s your favorite way to prepare salmon fillets and/or lentils?

Lentil Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup lentils
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Sea salt and ground pepper for seasoning

Lentil Directions:

  1. Combine lentils and 2 1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, 5 minutes.
  2. Add onion, cover, and continue cooking until lentils and onions are just tender, 15-25 minutes.
  3. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid and transfer lentils to a bowl.
  4. In another bowl, whisk 2 tbsp reserved cooking liquid with vinegar, oil, mustard, garlic, and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Toss the dressing with the lentil mixture.
  5. Serve salmon atop the lentils.

Salmon Rub Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Coat a grill or grill pan with cooking spray and preheat over medium heat.
  2. While the grill is heating, combine the brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.
  3. Brush each fillet with the oil and then rub each fillet with the spice mixture, coating both sides.
  4. Grill the salmon, flesh side down, until charred, 4-5 minutes.
  5. Flip the salmon and cook another 5-6 minutes for medium doneness. For well done fish, cook another 1-2 minutes.
  6. Serve salmon over a bed of lentils.

6 Comments

Filed under Main Course, Side Dishes