Monday, February 22, 2010

Strawberry and Cheese Danish

I was lazily watching the Barefoot Contessa awhile back and saw her make Cheese Danish's. I dreamt of the yummy ones they sell at Costco, and since I had everything on hand to make some, I decided to try it.

It is quite easy and pretty tasty, I added strawberries to the mix and made a few changes based on other peoples input from the Food Network Website. I have to say they aren't that pretty to look at, but they sure are delicious!

The most important this is to refrigerate the filling for about an hour before assembling the pastry.

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese (I used fat free sour cream)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons, I used one)
2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
10 large Strawberries, rinsed, and diced small


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F

Use a silpat or grease your non stick sheet pan

Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream them together on low speed until smooth. With the mixer still on low, add the egg yolks, ricotta or sour cream, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest and mix until just combined. Don't whip!

Mix in the strawberries and place in the refrigerator

Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured board and roll it slightly with a floured rolling pin until it's a 10 by 10-inch square. Cut the sheet into quarters with a sharp knife. Place a heaping tablespoon of cheese filling into the middle of each of the 4 squares.

Brush the border of each pastry with egg wash and fold 2 opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners of each pastry so they firmly stick together. Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash.

Place the pastries on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and refrigerate the filled Danish for 15 minutes.

Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and brown. Serve warm.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Almond Roca Cookies

I found a new flavor of Almond Roca cookies this year Mocha Rocha, YUM. I thought they would be a really great ingredient in a cookie. I searched the web for Almond Roca Cookies recipes and the only ones I found did not actually have Almond Roca in them? what is the point!

I decided to go "Rogue", and make my own recipe! If you have a serious sweet tooth, these cookies are for you, they bake up thin and crisp and the flavor is outstanding! Seriously, bake some up today!

1 can Brown and Haley Mocha Roca (unwrapped)
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks butter)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup regular sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375

Place your Roca in a freezer quart bag and beat it with a heavy bottom pan until they are broken up into bits (I was missing about 5 Roca's so I added some chocolate chips which would be optional if you had an entire can of Rocha's)

Place flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and mix well

Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla till creamy

Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well between each

Gradually beat in the flour mixture, till well combined

Add your Roca chips and chocolate morsels (if desired) into the batter and mix well

Place 1 scoop at a time (I use a small ice cream scoop), on a cookie sheet (use a silpat if you have it), and bake for 10 minutes, the cookies spread quite a bit, so I could only fit 6 on a pan

Remove from oven, let cool for 10 then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling

The cookies will firm up when totally cool

Monday, February 8, 2010

Crock Pot Pork with Root Beer Sauce

One of my friends gave me this recipe years ago, I made it once, loved it, and forgot about it and how good it was. I tried to find the recipe again recently, and it seems I had lost it in the intervening years. It is so delicious and I really wanted to try it again so I searched the web and found a few different versions and of course had to tweak it for my preferences.

It turned out even better than I remembered! The pork is so moist and the sauce is a bit on the sweet side with a bit of tang from the Dijon and Hot Sauce, YUM!

3-4 lbs Pork Butt (I used a leaner choice)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced thickly
2 cups Root Beer (not diet and I used A&W)
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tbl honey

Root Beer Sauce Ingredients

1/2 tsp root beer extract (if you have it, I did not)
3 cups Root Beer (not diet)
1 bottle Chili Sauce (I used Heinz)
1-2 tsp hot sauce (I used Tabasco)
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tbl Dijon Mustard

Remove pork roast from the packaging and pat dry (this helps with the browning)

In a large skillet brown roast on all sides in the 2 tbl vegetable oil, the pan will need to be screaming hot

In the meantime, place the sliced onions in the bottom of your crock pot, add the garlic

Add the roast and pour enough Root Beer to almost cover the top of your pot roast

Cook on low for 7-8 hours, turning the roast about half way thru, when done pour off almost all the cooking juice reserving about 1 cup

Shred the meat with two forks and serve with the Root Beer Sauce

*****The Root Beer Sauce takes approximately 1 hour to cook, so keep that in mind*****

Root Beer Sauce Instructions

In a medium saucepan combine the 3 cups Root Beer, Chili Sauce, Garlic, Hot Sauce, Dijon Mustard and 1 cup of reserved cooking juice from the crock pot (if your roast is still cooking simply a cup worth out of the crock pot), simmer on low for an hour until the sauce reduces by half. Keep tasting and add more hot sauce and Dijon to your liking

Serve on Hamburger buns with whatever condiments you wish

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chocolate Chip and Pecan Cookies

I would have to say Chocolate Chip cookies are my favorite, especially with a cold glass of milk! Nestle Toll House Cookies are the ones I always make!

I was in the mood for cookies one rainy day and decided to make Chocolate Chip cookies with Pecans. They were delish I must say, I have always made them with Walnuts, but change can be a good thing and in this case it was!

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels (I used extra)
1 cup chopped Pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.

Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Gradually beat in flour mixture.

Stir in morsels and nuts.

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

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