Spiced Cranberry Tart

Hey There,

Although the past year has been a crazy one, I managed to stay motivated and largely on task for most of it however, things have seemed to change just within the past month. Lately, I’ve just been over it all. I’ve lost focus. I’m having a hard time staying motivated and I haven’t cooked in weeks. I hate feeling like I am being unproductive and wasting time (I mean when are we ever going to have this much down time again?!!?), so I am getting myself together and getting back on it. I’m determined to start cooking again and to get back into my routine.

My first day back in the kitchen was this past weekend and honestly it was so relaxing and enjoyable. Besides the fact that I love making things that look and taste good, I think I love cooking so much because I get to use my hands. It’s something so satisfying and gratifying about rolling out dough or mixing up a sauce. You literally feel like you are creating something from nothing (I mean, technically you are). This past weekend’s creation was this perfectly balanced, Spiced Cranberry Tart. I got the idea for this from, The Great British Bake Off. While I haven’t been cooking much, I have been watching copious of “Bake Off”. Recently, I’ve been watching the Masterclass Series and I am more motivated than ever to bake. Of course they make everything look so simple and easy so I decided to try my hand a few of the recipes. This one is a variation of a tart Mary Berry made.

For this, Spiced Cranberry Tart, I made a simple tart shell, filled it with diplomat cream, topped it with the spiced cranberry sauce and garnished it with sugared and fresh cranberries. This was one of the best desserts that I have ever made. It wasn’t too sweet or tart and it really was the perfect festive dessert for the season. This would be perfect to make for either Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Check out the recipe for this tart below and if you are struggling like me to stay motivated, let me know how you are dealing with that. What tips and strategies are you using. And if you are just getting back in the kitchen share what your first recipe will be. I’d love to hear!

See Ya!

Spiced Cranberry Tart

  • Servings: 1 tart; 8 slices
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients


 
Spiced Cranberry Sauce
1. 4 cups whole cranberries
2. 1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
3. 1 cup pineapple juice
4. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
5. 1/8 cup light brown sugar
6. 1 tea. nutmeg
7. 2 cloves (whole)
8. 1/4 tea cinnamon
9. 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin
 
Diplomat Cream
1. 1 cup heavy whipping cream
2. 1 cups whole milk
3. 4 egg yolks
4. 1/3 cup sugar
5. 1/8 cup cornstarch
6. 1/2 envelope of gelatin
7. 1 tea. vanilla
 
Tart Shell
1. 1 1/4 cup flour
2. 1/2 cup powdered sugar
3. 1/4 tea salt
4. 1 stick butter (unsalted)
5. 1 egg
6. 1/2 tea vanilla extract
7. 1/4 tea almond extract (optional)
8. 1-2 table. cold water
.

Directions


Tart Shell
1. Sift together flour, powdered sugar and salt
2. Grate in butter (the butter should be cold or nearly frozen)
3. Using a spoon or a pastry cutter, mix the flour and butter until the consistency of the mixture resembles sand.
4. Beat together the egg and vanilla (and almond extract if using) and add to flour mixture.
5. Combine. If the mixture is too dry, gradually add in water 1/2 teaspoon at at time just until a dough forms.
6. Rolls the dough into a disc. between clear wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
7. After dough has been chilled, remove from refrigerator and roll out.
8. Gently lay dough into the tart pan.
9. Trim the edges, dock the dough and return to the refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes
10. While the dough is chilling for the second time, pre-heat the oven to 350.
11. Once dough has been chilled. blind bake the tart shell for 15-20 minutes or until done.
12. Cool to room temp. While the shell is cooling, make the diplomat cream and cranberry sauce
 
Spiced Cranberry Sauce
1. In a medium pot heat combine all ingredients except for the gelatin and 1/3 cup pineapple juice . Cook for 20 minutes until mixture has thickened.
2. Remove cloves and transfer mixture to a blender. Blend until smooth.
3. Return mixture to the pot.
4. In a small bowl mix 1/3 cup of cold pineapple juice and gelatin. To mix gradually sprinkle gelatin over the juice while constantly and vigorously whisking. Whisk until there are no large lumps in the mixture.
6. Pour the pineapple and gelatin mixture into the pureed cranberry sauce. Whisk until combined.
7. Cover and chill until ready to use. Don’t worry is the mixture congeals, you can easily warm it and return it to its liquid state.
 
Diplomat Cream
1. Gently heat milk and vanilla over medium low heat until hot. Do not scald or bring to a boil.
2. While milk mixture is heating beat egg yolks and sugar in a stand mixer until mixture is a pale yellow.
3. Beat in the cornstarch and gelatin
3.Temper the milk into the egg mixture. To temper, while the mixture is a medium speed, slowly drizzle in 1/3 of the milk mixture. Once fully incorporated add in another 1/3 of the milk mixture. Once that has been fully incorporate add in the remaining 1/3 mixture. Once all combined pour the mixture back into the pot and return to medium heat.
4. Over medium heat continuously whisk the mixture until it begins to thicken. The mixture may thicken unevenly so whisk vigorously and constantly.
5. Once the mixture has thickened (when holding up the whisk the mixture should fall back into the pot in thick ribbons) transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
6. While the cream is cooling, while the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to fold into cream . You may add in powdered sugar and/or vanilla if you wish. I did not add anything to my whipped cream.
7. After one hour gently fold the whipped cream until the cream mixture. You may not use all of the whipped cream. Incorporate just enough whipped cream to create a balanced mixture. I used about 1/3 of the whipped cream.
8. Refrigerate
 
Assembly:
1. Once the tart shell has completely cooled, spoon the diplomate cream into the shell and refrigerate until set.
2. Once tart had cooled. Pour the spiced cranberry sauce over the diplomate cream and return it to the refrigerator until set. Do not pour warm cranberry sauce over the cream. Do not worry if the cranberry sauce has congealed. Simply sit the bowl in a larger bowl of hot water. The cranberry sauce will begin to soften and return to its liquid state. You can also reheat the sauce on the stove for a few minutes until the mixture has liquified.
3. Garnish with cranberries and additional fruit if desired.

.

Fried Cabbage and Spinach Bites

Hey There,

Over the past couple of posts I have been sharing some of my favorite appetizer recipes. Today, I am going to share with you my final appetizer recipe before we move on to my favorite side dishes. Today, we’re talking all things Cabbage and Spinach Bites. These bites are basically mini versions of cabbage roll.

Again this is another recipe that is quick and easy to make and can be easily adapted. You simply fry up some cabbage and spinach, toss the mixture into a wonton and fry it up. Literally the most difficult part of this recipe is folding the wontons and even that part isn’t hard.

What I love about this is that you can do so many things with this recipe. You can throw in a few bacon piece and turn these into cabbage and bacon bites. You can substitute the spinach for shredded carrots or you add in the carrots along with the cabbage and spinach. If your feeling fancy you can throw in some thinly sliced shallots or shaved asparagus. Again the possibilities are endless!

If you do decide to give these a try, let me know! My family and I loved these and I know you will love them too.

See Ya!

Fried Cabbage and Spinach Bites

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients


1. 1/4 small cabbage
2. 1/2 tea onion powder
3. 1/2 tea garlic powder
4. 1/4 tea salt (+/-)
5. 2 cloves garlic
6. 1/4 crushed red pepper flakes
7. 1 1/2 cup fresh spinach
8. 3 table olive oil
9. wonton wrappers
10. oil for frying
.

Directions


1. Shred cabbage into small pieces and mince garlic. Set aside.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium pan
3. When oil is hot, add in cabbage, garlic and all seasonings.
4. Sautee until cabbage is mostly done.
6. When cabbage is mostly done add in spinach. Combine and cook until spinach is completely wilted and incorporated.
7. Remove from heat and set aside to cool
8. Once mixture is cool, place a quarter sized amount of cabbage/spinach mixture in the middle of a single wonton wrappers.
9. Gently brush water around the perimeter of the wrapper.
10.Fold the wrapper diagonally and bring the two opposite corners together to form the wonton. (bring the top left corner down to the bottom right corner and press the two edges together. Rotate the wonton counterclockwise . It should now look like a traditional triangle. Bring the right and left points together and press together so that they form a seal.) When complete lay wontons on a baking sheet and cover with a damp cloth so that they do not dry out.
11. Once all wontons are formed. Heat frying oil in a deep dish pot.
12. Fry wontons until crispy and golden on the outside.
13. Drain excess oil from the wontons.
14. When cool, serve with sweet or spicy chili sauce.
.

Salad Bites

Hey There!

Today’s post is all about salad bites. What is a salad bite you might ask? Well, these bites are basically mini salads on a skewer. They basically consists of cheese, salad greens and meat all wrapped up together and served on a skewer or wooden pick.

These two-bite appetizers are super quick and easy to make and are easily customizable. Your family and guests will love them. Not to mention, the possibilities are truly endless.

For the skewers below, I started off with a crumble of herb goat cheese. I then added some arugula and wrapped everything together with prosciutto. I served these with a herb vinaigrette. These would be a great addition to a platter of charcuterie or as a stand along starter. Below are a few other salad combinations that would be just prefect. If serving these on a platter be sure to include dressings so that your guest can get the full salad bite experience.

See Ya!

Salad Bite Combinations

  1. Goat Cheese, Arugula, Prosciutto (pictured below)
  2. Mozzarella Pearl, Halved Cherry Tomato, Basil Leaves, Salami
  3. Smoked Gouda, Kale, Romaine Lettuce, Bacon
  4. Goat Cheese, Honey Almonds, Kale, Bacon
  5. Pepper Jack Cheese, Arugula, Genoa

Mini Mozzarella Meatballs

Hey There!

Welcome November!! I honestly can’t believe that we’re almost at the end of the year. With everything going on, it’s important now more than ever that we really slow down, enjoy the moments and take full advantage of the extra time we have during this holiday season. I mean when will we ever have a legitimate reason to stay inside and spend uninterrupted time with our families and kids. I know by now, a lot of us had pretty much had our fill of our families but this time of year is special and we should really cherish it, This season, I plan on doing just that. This year, I am going to spend as much time at home as I can doing all of the fun holiday things that I love to do. Of course the thing that I love most is cooking, so I’ll be cooking up a storm and posting one recipe/dish everyday until Thanksgiving. Some recipes will be posted to the blog and others will be exclusively posted on IG, so make sure that you are following me there,

Yesterday, I shared my tips for building the perfect charcuterie board and today I’m sharing my recipe for Mini Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs. If you haven’t guessed, this week’s posts are all about Thanksgiving appetizers and starters and what is a more appropriate starter than meatballs. These two-bite meatballs are flavorful and the perfect appetizer to sit out while your guests and family mingle before they sit down to the main Thanksgiving meal. They are also perfect to serve for Friendsgiving gatherings. This recipe can also be adapted to make larger meatballs which can then be served as a main course dish.

I know that our Thanksgiving gatherings, whether with family or friends, will look a little different this year but that doesn’t change the fact that we can still make great food.

Check out the recipe below and enjoy the beginning of the holiday season!

See Ya!

Mini Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Ingredients:

1/4 onion (diced) 2 cloves garlic (finely minced) 1/2 tea italian seasoning 1/2 tea. parsley 1/2 tea. onion powder 1/2 tea. onion powder 12 oz. crushed tomatoes 1/2 tea. salt (+/-) 1/4 tea pepper (+/-) 1 handful basil 1 lb ground beef 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs 1 egg mini mozzarella cheese pearls 2 table olive oil 1/2 table. water

Directions:

Sauce:

  1. To a medium pan add oil and heat.
  2. Add diced onion, minced garlic and seasonings to the pan. Cook for about 15 minuets making sure to stir occasionally so that the garlic does not burn. Half way through the cooking process add in water and continue to cook until the onions are translucent and soft.
  3. Add in crushed tomatoes and reduce to a simmer.
  4. Tear basil into small pieces and add to the sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Meatballs:

  1. In a large bowl combine, ground meat, breadcrumbs, egg and seasonings (salt/pepper). Mix until will combined.
  2. Encase the mozzarella pearls in a ball of meat.
  3. Nestle the meatballs in the sauce and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
  4. Sprinkle over parmesan cheese and serve.

Charcuterie Boards

Hey There,

Today we’re talking all things charcuterie boards. Now traditionally these boards include, meats (cured), cheeses, jams/jellies, olives, nuts, dried fruits and crackers and bread, but people have really come up with some creative ways to reimage the traditional charcuterie board. I’ve seen some chocolate themed boards and some sweet and salty snack themed boards.

If you are planning to make a board, don’t feel that you have to make a traditional board. Tailor it to your tastes and to your guests tastes and include whatever you like. Look, if you are going to make it and pay for it, you get to set the rules and do whatever you want to do.

These boards are so much fun to build and the possibilities and options are endless. Because these boards can get rather expensive to make, especially if you are making them for a large group of people, I want to share 5 tips that will help you maximize your board.

For the first two tips, check out the video.

Now that you have the first two tips, lets jump into the three remaining tips.

3) To get the most bang for your buck incorporate inexpensive iteems that can be cut or sliced into smaller bite sized pieces.

Fruits like grapes, celery, apples, oranges, pears, cherry tomatoes are a perfect example of items to include. A bag of grapes is sufficient for a group for 6-10 people and when added to a board that includes, tomatoes, blackberries and raspberries, they can really go a long way. One bunch of celery can be cut into enough bite sized pieces to feed 8-10 people and when cut properly about 8 wedges can be cut from apples and oranges. Pears can be cut into fours and small melons, think Honey Dew or Cantaloupe, can be cut into thin wedges that serve large groups.

4) Make sure that the foods included on the board are appropriate for the function.

When creating a board bear in mind the type of function and the purpose of the board. Charcuterie boards can be served as an “starter” or they can be the main food option for a function. If being served as starter, include lighter foods that won’t fill up your guests before dinner. The opposite is appropriate if the board will be the only food at your function. In that case include hearty or large pieces of bread, lots of meats and cheeses and fatty nuts.

5) Don’t forget or skimp on the dips and sauces

Dips and sauces can really help to elevate your board. Mustards and jams pair well with meats and cheese. Herb infused oils are the perfect compliment for breads and crackers. In addition to some of the more traditional dips/sauces, try incorporating a new option or two. Select a unique jam or incorporate homemade garlic and onion infused olive oil.

I hope that these tips help when building a board for your next function. If you use any of them, be sure to let me know and most definitely send me pics.

See ya!