Archive for December, 2011

by Sarah Steimer

Deviled eggs are great to take to a party - but fancy deviled eggs are even better.

To hard boil eggs

Place eggs in a medium or large saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover eggs by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Cover the pot and remove from heat. Let stand 13 minutes. Drain and transfer eggs to ice-water bath until cold.

Roasted red pepper deviled eggs

  • 12 eggs
  • 5 roasted red peppers – from a jar or from scratch
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cook eggs according to directions above. Once cooled, slice in half and remove the yolks, mixing with a fork until smooth.

In a food processor, chop the red pepper into very small pieces. Using the tines of a fork, drain most of the liquid out.

Mix the pepper with the yolks, garlic powder, vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Fill the egg whites with the mixture and refrigerate.

It's nice to balance something hot/spicy (wasabi) with something milder (red pepper) so you can please different tastes.

To garnish, slice very thin pieces of the roasted red pepper and place on the filling of each egg.

Makes 24 deviled eggs.

Wasabi deviled eggs

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 or 2 teaspoons of wasabi paste (depends on how hot you like it)
  • 2 teaspoons unseasoned rice-wine vinegar
  • 2 large scallions, minced (3 tablespoons), plus extra for garnish
  • salt

Cook eggs according to directions above. Once cooled, slice in half and remove the yolks, mixing with a fork until smooth.

Combine the yolks with the wasabi paste (start with less then add more as you taste), vinegar, scallions and salt. Fill the egg whites with the yolk mixture.

Garnish with the extra scallions.

Makes 16 deviled eggs.

Both recipes adapted from: Martha Stewart (red pepper and wasabi)


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by Caitlin Saniga

I wanted a thicker glaze for this cake, so I used less juice and added some zest. P.S. My mom has mini-Bundt cake pans, so that's what I used. (But a lower cook time is definitely needed. I'd say 40 minutes or so.)

For the cake:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for the pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated tangerine zest, plus 2/3 cup tangerine juice (from 7 tangerines)
  • 3/4 cup orange-flavored yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoons tangerine zest, plus 2 tablespoons tangerine juice (from 1 tangerine)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt cake pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until it’s light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the tangerine zest and juice. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions yogurt, and beat to combine; beat in the vanilla. Transfer batter the pan, smooth the top with the back of a spatula, and firmly tap pan on a flat surface to remove air bubbles.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 30 minutes. Invert the cake onto a rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and let cool completely. (With a serrated knife, trim cake to sit flat, if necessary.)

Make the glaze by whisking together the confectioners’ sugar and tangerine juice until smooth. Spoon the glaze over the cake and let set 1 hour. Store covered at room temperature until you serve it.

Makes 12 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Everyday Food

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by Sarah Steimer

This is my first time making these cookies, but they may make my yearly Christmas cookie list. They would probably rule with a chocolate drizzle, too.

  • 2 cups cranberries
  • 2 cups pecans (could substitute walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 3 cup flour

In a food processor or blender, add cranberries, pecans and brown sugar – I doubled this from the original, by the way, so you can cut this in half if you so please. Blend well until only small pieces remain. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add baking powder, salt, eggs and orange zest. Beat for about 1 minute. Add flour a little at a time, mixing on medium speed. Cover and chill for at least one hour.

Divide dough in half. On a floured surface, roll dough out to a rectangular shape until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Lift the dough as you roll to make sure it does not stick to the surface. Spread half of the cranberry-pecan mixture on the dough, stopping 1/2 inch from the edges of the dough.

Begin rolling from one of the short ends, making sure to seal it at the ends. Wrap in plastic wrap and repeat with the other half of the dough and cranberry mixture. Chill for at least 24 hours. Every once in awhile roll the logs to avoid a flat end.

Slice the logs into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place on a lined cookie sheet 1 to 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 for eight to 10 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies begins to brown. Let cool for five minutes on the sheets then transfer to cooling racks.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Recipe adapted from: Baked by Rachel

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by Sarah Steimer

Bacon-wrapped water chestnuts are a gift from the holiday party gods.

  • 1 can water chestnuts
  • about 8-10 pieces of bacon
  • soy sauce and/or teriyaki sauce – whatever you use, shoot for reduced sodium as you’ll get enough salt from the bacon
  • sugar

I’m not sure if this is the norm, but the water chestnuts I’ve been finding are sliced and not whole. If this is the case, stack slices three at a time and place in any dish or pan that has sides – i.e. a cake pan, cooking dish, etc.

These are absurdly good. I don't even know what to say. They're easy to put together and they make your home smell great and you'll eat 15.

Add either the soy sauce and/or teriyaki sauce (I actually had both so I combined the two) so the sauce(s) come about halfway up the chestnuts. Place in the refrigerator and let sit for about 30 minutes.

Roll the chestnuts in sugar to coat. Wrap with bacon and trim the excess bacon off – you should be able to wrap about two chestnuts with each strip of bacon. Skewer with a toothpick and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. The cooking time varies depending on the bacon. I used a thicker cut so it took more like 20-plus minutes.

Allow the chestnuts to cool slightly before serving.

Makes about 20.

Recipe: Jacob Yundt via Emily Wolfe

*Throughout December, “Merry and Bites” will feature finger foods with seasonal flair. All of them can be found here. Happy holidays!

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by Caitlin Saniga

Relieve holiday stress by creating cookie art and splashing white chocolate on every surface of your kitchen.

Relieve holiday stress by creating cookie art and splashing white chocolate on every surface of your kitchen.

  • 1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • 12 ounces white chocolate baking squares, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • red food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons shortening (not sure if you really need this)
  • white nonpareils or other sprinkles

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread the cherries on paper towels to drain well.

In a large bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the drained cherries and 2/3 cup of the chopped chocolate. Stir in the almond extract and, if desired, food coloring. (I used a few good squirts.) Knead mixture until it forms a smooth ball.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Place the balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar, flatten the balls to 2-inch rounds.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are set. Cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

In a small saucepan, combine remaining 8 ounces white chocolate and the shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted.

One the cookies have cooled, spread them on wax paper. Dip a spoon in the chocolate and drizzle it in a back-and-forth motion over the cookies. Sprinkle the nonpareils over the wet chocolate. Place cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set.

Makes about 36.

Recipe adapted from: With a Grateful Prayer and a Thoughtful Heart

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by Caitlin Saniga

The last time I was at my grandparents' house, my grandpa asked my grandma, "Trisha, when's the last time you made Gus puffs?" which basically means he's crazy for these things. P.S. Grandma calls these Gus puffs.

  • 1 ounce Parmesan, grated, plus more for topping
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup minced onions
  • 6-7 slices soft bread (I used a soft wheat, but white or Italian would work wonderfully.)
  • 2-3 chives, snipped into 1-inch segments
These crispy little puffs can be ready in no time! The most time-consuming part is cutting out the circles.

These crispy little puffs can be ready in no time! The most time-consuming part is cutting out the circles.

In a small bowl, mix the Parmesan, mayonnaise and onions.

Use a small glass to punch out circles of bread (avoid the crust!). Put the circles on a baking sheet.

Turn the broiler on low, and position an oven rack about 8 inches from the broiler.

Place the bread under the broiler, and toast until it turns golden-brown, 2-3 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven. Spread a heaping teaspoonful of the onion mixture on the untoasted side of a piece of bread. Repeat until all of the bread is topped with the mixture. Sprinkle a pinch of Parmesan cheese over the topping. Return the baking sheet of bread to the oven, and cook until the onion mixture puffs up and turns golden brown, 6-8 minutes.

Remove puffs from the oven and top with a few chives.

Serve warm.

Makes dozens. (Depends on the size of the bread slices and the size of the glass you use. My 1 1/2-inch glass with 6 slices of Pepperidge Farm wheat bread made 36.)

Recipe: Patricia Janis, my grandma

*Throughout December, “Merry and Bites” will feature finger foods with seasonal flair. All of them can be found here. Happy holidays!

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by Sarah Steimer

A lot of people probably assume that eating local and in season means giving up a nice, fresh salad when it gets cold out. Not so with kale and sweet potatoes - both of which I grabbed at a winter farmer's market.

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh kale, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (I did have this in mine but forgot to photograph the salad with them – whoops)
  • 2 tbs onion, minced
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp raw honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Boil the sweet potato in a pot of lightly salted, boiling water until tender. Allow to drain.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, sweet potato, sage, kale and cranberries. In a small bowl, add the onion, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt and pepper, stirring to combine. Drizzle over the quinoa salad, tossing to coat (I added even a bit more balsamic to mine).

Serves four, with the sweet potatoes warm or cool.

Recipe adapted from: Domestic Fits

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