Monday, December 16, 2013

Santa's Secret Martini

If you've ever wonder how Santa keeps warm while flying around the world on those snowy Christmas Eve nights, I may have the answer.

Phillip Ivey, longtime bartender at Carolina Crossroads Restaurant and Bar, shared his holiday cocktail dubbed Santa’s Secret Martini. It should put a jingle or two in your step in addition to warming you up.

Santa’s Secret Martini

1 oz. Domanie de Canton
1 oz. Stoli Vanilla
½ oz. Kahlua
½ oz. Bailey’s
Splash of Cinnamon Schnapps ~ Just a Splash!
1 oz. cream

Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously.
Pour into a martini glass rimmed in colored sugar and cinnamon.
Garnish with a cinnamon stick.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Wow them with Sweet Potato Cake

Sweet Potato Souffle is a favorite component of holiday meals but may I suggest you go above and beyond with a Sweet Potato Cake?

Not just any cake, but a visually stunning ensemble creation from Executive Pastry Chef Sara Thomas of The Carolina Inn/Carolina Crossroads Restaurant, Chapel Hill, NC.

Sweet Potato Cake

Roasted Sweet Potato Ice Cream
 Yields 2 Quarts

12 oz. roasted sweet potato
½ tsp. cinnamon
Pinch ginger
Smidgen Nutmeg
Smidgen cloves
1 1/4 cup (250 grams) sugar                                           
2 1/8 cup (500 grams) heavy cream
2 1/8 cup (500 grams) milk
1 vanilla bean
1 1/2 cup plus a heaping TBSP. (100 grams) corn syrup
1 tsp. Maldon salt (flaked sea salt)
1 cup (240 grams) egg yolks

1. In a saucepan, heat up the sweet potato, all the spices and sugar. Mix everything together.

2. Add the heavy cream, milk, vanilla bean, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil. 

3. Temper the egg yolks with the hot mixture until you can combine the cream mixture and egg yolks completely.

 4. Place in an ice bath until cool. Place mixture in a container and refrigerate overnight.

5. Pull that vanilla bean out and spin mixture in an ice cream machine.

  Brown Butter Sweet Potato Cake
6 oz. melted brown butter                 
1 ½ cup  sugar              
2/3 cup brown sugar               
2 eggs            
1/3 cup buttermilk                     
1 ½ cup sweet potato puree               
9 oz. all-purpose flour            
1 ½ tsp. baking soda             
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon                 
1 tsp. ginger              
¼ tsp. cloves             
¾ tsp. salt                  

1.     Place butter in a pan on medium heat and cook it until it starts to brown – a medium dark color. Place in a container until cool.
2.     In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, cream together sugar, brown sugar and eggs.
3.     Add the buttermilk and sweet potato puree. Then add all the dry ingredients.
4.     Add the brown butter until all ingredients have been incorporated.
5.     Pour mixture in two 10” cake pans.
6.     Bake at 350° (F) for approximately 10 to 15 minutes or until done.
7.     Completely cool cake. For best results refrigerate cake overnight.
8.     Slice the cake into 3 layers.
9.     Place a layer of cake on a plate and add a thin layer of icing on top.
10.  Add another layer of cake and add a thin layer or icing; repeat one more time.
11.  Refrigerate cake for approximately 2 hours.
12.  Cut cake into 12 – 16 slices.
13.  Add Toffee Sauce on plate.
14.  Place slice of cake on the plate and add a scoop of Roasted Sweet Potato Ice Cream.

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Icing

12 oz. brown butter              
24 oz. cream cheese            
1 tsp. Maldon salt       
1 cup brown sugar      
10 oz. powdered sugar         
1 TBS. vanilla extract     
1 cup pecans ~ toasted and chopped

1.     Brown the butter the night before and set aside to room temperature.
2.     In a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and salt until creamy.
3.     Add the brown butter and mix until completely incorporated.
4.     Add the brown sugar, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.
5.     Finally, add the chopped pecans. 

Butterscotch Sauce
 Yield 12 Cups

6 oz. brown butter
3 ¾ cups sugar
2 ½ cups corn syrup
2 ½ cups heavy cream
1 ¾ tsp. salt

1.     Place butter in a pan on medium heat and cook it until it starts to brown – a medium dark color. Place in a container until cool.
2.     Add the sugar and corn syrup; bring to a boil.
3.     Add the salt and heavy cream; bring to a boil again.
4.     Refrigerate.
5.     Store in the refrigerator. Butterscotch Sauce will last for about one month.

Serve on the condition someone else does the dishes!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hot recipe competition

Sherry Stoppelbein
If you are one of the some who like it hot, enter your favorite "Spicy Holiday Heat" recipe for an appetizer or dessert in the contest and perhaps win a stay in St. Augustine, America's oldest city.

The grand prize winner receives

•  2-nights at the St. Francis Inn
•  lunch at the Hot Shot Bakery
•  two tickets aboard the Old Town Trolley
•  two tickets to the St. Augustine Lighthouse
• a case of assorted Datil B Good jams, condiments and hot sauce
• your prize-winning recipe into one of the restaurant's menus.

You must be 18 years of age or older to enter and all recipes become the property of Hot Shot Bakery and will not be returned.

Judging will be done by Sherry Stoppelbein, owner of Datil B Good and the Hot Shot Bakery.

Send your Spicy Holiday Heat recipe via email to Leigh Cort Publicity, by Dec. 30, 2013.

• recipe and its name plus list of all ingredients and preparation instructions
• a brief (100 words max) story about the recipe
• your name, address, telephone and email
• a photo of the dish

Winner will be notified by January 15, 2014.

Sherry's already come up with the recipe for Chocolate Covered Datil Peppers.

Monday, September 23, 2013

St. Francis Inn Pear Custard Pie

We may be thinking of fall and Halloween but Inn and B and B owners are lining up their treats for Christmas.

St. Francis Inn, St. Augustine, FL.
In St. Augustine, Florida, the nation's oldest city, the historic  St. Francis Inn (circa 1791) is gearing up for its 12 Days of Christmas tradition, a dessert for every verse of the popular carol.

Janice Leary.
Chef Janice Leary, who prepares the daily Southern breakfasts, catered events and sweet treats, has her dishes in a row, from the partridge in a pear tree to all of those drummers drumming.

With pears lusciously in season, we're sticking to tradition and starting with Pear Custard Pie.

I think it works as well for fall.

St. Francis Inn Pear Custard Pie

1/2 cup Original Bisquick® mix
1/4 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 TBS. butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup Original Bisquick® mix
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 TBS. butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
3 medium fresh pears, peeled, sliced (about 3 cups)

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray. In small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup Bisquick mix, the oats, brown sugar and nutmeg. Cut in 1 TBS. butter, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until crumbly. Set aside.

In small bowl, stir 1/2 cup Bisquick mix, the oats, brown sugar and nutmeg. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter, using pastry blender (or puling 2 table knives though ingredients in opposite directions), until crumbly. Set aside.

In medium bowl, stir all pie ingredients except pears with wire whisk or fork until blended. Pour into pie plate. Arrange pears evenly over top.

Bake 25 minutes. Sprinkle streusel over pie. Bake 12 to 15 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on cooling rack 30 minutes. Serve warm. Store in refrigerator.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Indian Tacos Made for Good Stop in S. D. Badlands

Badlands of South Dakota. Photo © by Judy Wells.
Combine Indian fry bread and taco filling for a satisfying treat.

At the beginning of the 2012 inaugural Good Girls in the Badlands Road Trip, Debi Lander and I were so busy photographing the eerie landscapes (and wiping away the sweat from 105-degree temps) we forgot to photograph our first lunch in the Badlands of South Dakota. In our defense, we were also very hungry.

Which is a long way to explain why there's no photograph of Indian Tacos. A shame because the Cedar Pass Lodge Restaurant produces a great one that looks as good as it tastes. Theirs is made with buffalo meat, which I recommend, but beef can be substituted.

Cedar Pass Lodge Restaurant Indian Tacos
Serves 4

Fry Bread
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
1 cup water (or enough to make a soft dough)
Mix ingredients together. Using a big spoon, drop dough onto a floured surface and pat down to about an inch thick. Fry in 1 to 2 inches of oil at 350 degrees (f) until golden brown. Drain.

32 oz. refried beans
1 lb. ground buffalo meat or beef
1-2 pkgs. Taco seasonings
Brown meat, stir in refried beans and taco seasoning. Spread meat on top of fry bread. Top with cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. Make it even better by adding guacamole, sour cream and salsa.

Note: Get ready for some good Southern cookin' recipes because the Good Girls are invading Georgia this year.
Sunset in the South Dakota Badlands. Photo © by Judy Wells.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ruth Pretty's Roasted Mushroom and Lemon Thyme Pie

Super chef and caterer from New Zealand, Ruth Pretty, created this intriguing supper dish and recommends accompanying it with a salad and pinot noir.

American cooks, please taste as you go; some amounts in this recipe have been translated from the metric system to ours.
Ruth Pretty's Roasted Mushroom Pie

Ruth Pretty's Roasted Mushroom and Lemon Thyme Pie

Serves 6

8 Portobello mushrooms, thickly sliced
28-32 Swiss Brown mushrooms, thickly sliced
24-28 white small button mushrooms, halved
1/2 cup olive oil
4 TBS. (1/4 cup) finely chopped lemon thyme leaves
flaky sea salt and ground black pepper
flour for rolling pastry
1 pound to 18 oz. puff pastry, the most buttery version you can buy
1/2 cup cream cheese, diced
4 TBS. finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 TBS lemon juice, finely grated zest of one lemon
3 spring onions, white parts roughly chopped
1 egg, separated
shaved Parmesan to garnish (optional)

• Pre-heat oven to 400-degree (F)

• Toss mushrooms in olive oil and thyme. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and place on a low sided baking tray. Place in oven and roast for 8-10 minutes until mushrooms are soft and juicy. Drain the cooking juices (discard or save for another use) and cool mushrooms. Taste for seasoning.

• Very lightly sprinkle flour onto pastry bench and roll out pastry to a 18-20-inch round. Place round onto a low sided baking tray and place into refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

• Place cream cheese, Parmesan, egg, lemon juice, zest and spring onions into a bowl and using a wooden spoon combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

• Spread cream cheese mixture onto the center of the pastry round leaving an 3/8-inch border. Pile roasted mushrooms on top of the cream cheese mixture.

• Place egg white in a bowl and loosen with a fork. Brush egg white around pastry border and fold pastry, pleating as you go, to partially cover the mushrooms.

• Rest pie for 30 minutes in the refrigerator, or overnight.

• Whisk the egg yolk with a tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Brush outside of the galette with egg wash and bake for 25-30 minutes until cooked and golden brown.

• Serve hot, warm or cold. If you wish garnish with shaved Parmesan.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Level 8 bar snacks: Most addictive ever

Chef Chris Leynes at Level 8. Photo © by Judy Wells.
Chef Chris Leynes is diabolical, having produced the most irresistible bar nut mix at Level 8 atop the Hotel Duval in Tallahassee, FL. His other bar fare is great, too, but it was the nut concoction that caught my attention.

Fortunately, the diabolical chef is also generous. Here's his recipe.

Bar Snax Photo © by Judy Wells.

 Level 8 Bar Snax

1 lb. peanuts
1/2 lb. walnuts
1/2 lb. cashews
1 lb. pretzels
1/2 lb. pretzel loaf, sliced (Chris makes his own pretzel loaf but you can substitute miniature Melba rye or other bread)
1/2 cup fresh rosemary
1/3 cup lemon zest
1 lb. butter
1/2 lb. bacon (optional, says Chris, necessary say I)

Melt 1/2 lb. of the butter and brush onto the pretzel loaf or miniature breads and toast.
Zest the lemons and chop the rosemary.
Combine all the ingredients except bacon and toss.
Cook bacon to crisp and chop.
Bake the other mixed ingredients at 350 degrees (F) for 10-14 minutes.
Toss with chopped bacon and serve.

Try to eat just one handful.

NOTE: To read more about Tallahassee and what it has to offer, go to Travel on the Level.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Chocolate lovers' One and Only heaven

If your sweet tooth is asking for better treats than chocolate bunnies, here's the recipe, thanks to the One&Only Capetown, South Africa. (Ingredient amounts have been translated from the metric system.)

Lindt Piccolli Brownie

• 9-10 oz. butter

• 9-10 oz. Lindt "excellence Surfin" chocolate

• scant 2/3 pound super-fine sugar

• 4 Eggs

• 2 tsp. Vanilla extract

• 12 oz. (3/4 lb.) cake flour

• 2 oz (scant) cocoa powder

• 14 oz. Lindt white chocolate, chopped

• scant 1/2 pound Lindt milk chocolate, chopped

1. Set oven to convection and preheat to 320 degrees F

2. Melt butter and dark chocolate in the top half of a double boiler, with water simmering in the lower portion.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla until foamy.

4. Add the melted butter and chocolate to the egg mixture.

5. Fold in the chopped white chocolate and the flour.

6. Coat pan with a non-stick baking spray and spread the batter evenly in the pan.

7. Top with the chopped milk chocolate pieces.

8. Bake for 20 minutes.

9. Remove from oven. Let cool in pan for approximately 20 minutes. Cut into rectangles, and then turn over onto cooling rack/tray.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Another version of Quebec City Caribou

Caribou is a favorite at Quebec City's Winter Carnival. Photo © by Judy Wells.
Like poutine, another traditional winter treat, Quebec City's Caribou has more than one version.

According to the official website, this is the first.

"Caribou, a feisty alcoholic beverage, became popular in the early Carnivals. The recipe was created by Ti-Père, a business that was first established on Ste-Thérèse Street in the lower city, then, more recently, in Old Québec. Suffice it to say a typical caribou contains brandy, vodka, sherry and port… Wow!

Ti-Pere Caribou

10 servings

3 oz. Vodka
3 oz. Brandy
12 ½ oz. Canadian Sherry
12 ½ oz. Canadian Port

Mix together and heat before serving.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bread pudding extraordinaire

Miss Olivia
Miss Olivia doesn't tolerate dumb people or bad recipes, one reason her eponymous tea room in Maryville (pronounced Muryvl by the natives), Tennessee, is so popular.

Another reason to love Miss Olivia, this long-time food writer and beloved local TV personality shares her recipes.

Thus, I give you, Miss Olivia's extraordinary bread pudding. Hint: the secret's kin the bread for as Miss Olivia says, "stale bread, stale pudding."

Miss Olivia's extraordinary bread pudding

2 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
8 eggs
1 qt. half and half
1 TBS pure vanilla extract
7 cups cut-up croissants

Mix well first five ingredients in large bowl. Soak croissants in the pudding mixture overnight in the refrigerator or for at least one hour (longer is better).

Pour into whatever size baking dish (s) you prefer.

Note: Miss Olivia uses "small or medium-sized doo-dazzlers (ramekins!).

Place filled container in a water bath and cook at 350 degrees (f) until puffed and golden browns, 30 minutes or so.

Caramel Sauce topping
1 cup brown sugar
1 cip butter
1 cup whipping cream
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Bring sugar and water to a hard boil, stirring for exactly two minutes. Add whipping cream, boil one more minute without stirring. Add tsp. vanilla.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Quebec City's Bonhomme Caribou

Quebec City
Winter days hover around freezing with nights in minus single and double-digits, yet residents of Quebec City embrace winter, holding the world's largest winter carnival. Thousands of outsiders, many from much warmer climes, join them in life-sized foosball games on ice,  sleigh rides, hot tubs, white knuckle-fast toboggan runs, ice carving contests and spending nights on slabs of ice in Hotel de Glace.

Drinking - but not hot caribous - from ice glasses is a winter tradition.
All of that comes with rib-sticking treats like beaver tails, maple candy and a sure warmer, the Caribou.

I found Quebec restaurateurs and chefs jealous guardians of their recipes, but one Quebecois shared his for the Caribou.

The photograph isn't the best - no fancy stemware in the Bistro - and is a bit fuzzy - did I mention how cold it was? - but pretty is as good tastes and this tastes good.
A steaming hot Caribou, just the ting for a cold night or day.

Carnaval de Quebec Caribou

Star anise or cinnamon

Mix two-thirds Merlot with one-third brandy. Heat, seasoning with star anise or cinnamon, to taste.

Can also be served cold but I wouldn't recommend it during Quebec winters.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hooray, Hooray, Today Is National Pie Day

Entries in the 2012 Crisco National Pie Championship. Photo © by Judy Wells.
According to the good people at the National Pie Council, January 23 is National Pie Day and I for one plan to celebrate.

Why don't you join me?

Here's a winning recipe from the 2012 Crisco National Pie Championships.
As presented to the judges. Photo © by Judy Wells.

  The Apple of My Eye Pie
 2012 Amateur Apple Pie Winner, Created by John Sunvold, Winter Springs, FL

Use 9/9.5 inch plate.
Serves eight.

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 TBS sugar
5 TBS. butter, melted
Mix all ingredients together and press mixture into pie plate. Chill for 10 minutes. Bake in a 375 -degree oven for 10 minutes, or until brown. Allow to cool down to room temperature before filling.

8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
8 oz. Cool Whip*
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Beat vanilla, cream cheese, and powdered sugar until smooth. Fold in the Cool whip. Gently spread into crust and chill.
* Note: Judges thought it would be even better with real whipped cream instead.

4 cups apple slices
3 TBS butter
5 TBS brown sugar
1-1/2 TBS. cornstarch
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup apple juice
2 TBS. apple butter
Mix apple juice and cornstarch and set aside. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan and cook on the stove over medium heat until apples are appropriately tender. Once apples are tender, then add the apple juice mixture. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and cool. Double this topping, if needed. When cooled, generously top the pie with the apple topping, leaving some room for your favorite whipped topping.

Whipped cream, nut granola, caramel sauce
Top with favorite whipped cream or topping.
Top with a simple granola (nuts are OK, but no fruit), to taste (Just enough to add some crunch and texture to the pie). Drizzle with caramel sauce, if desired. Chill.

Is there anything better than pie?