My latest flatbread creation, using ingredients I had on hand. And it may be my new favorite dinner for one!
Prosciutto, Brie & Apricot Flatbread
2 oz cubed Brie
1-2 t fresh thyme
2 slices prosciutto, rolled and sliced into ribbons
6-8 chopped dried apricots, cut into 3-4 pieces
Garlic Aioli (see below)
Crunchy onions, crumbled
Fresh Italian parsley, for garnish
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush flatbread on both sides with olive oil and place into a skillet then into the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and top with a light spread of the garlic aioli, followed by the apricots, brie, thyme and prosciutto. Return to the oven for 6-8 minutes. Remove and add the crunchy onions and parsley. Serve and enjoy!
1 garlic clove
3 T mayonnaise
1/4 t lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Using a micro plane, grate the garlic clove over the mayonnaise, stir in lemon juice, salt and pepper. This is delicious on any number of sandwiches and burgers as well as a base for the flatbread recipe above and is even better made a day or two ahead!
I use a dutch oven pan to create more surface area for warming the berries. Place cranberries, sugar, jam and vinegar in the pan on a low to medium setting, stir. Zest one navel orange and then juice that orange, adding both juice and zest to berry mixture. Stir again
Using a veggie peeler or small sharp knife, remove about 1/2 the peel from the second orange, careful not to go beneath the “orange” peel (avoiding the bitter white part). Chop the peel fine (see below) until you have 1 tablespoon. You may use more peel if you end up with more or freeze it for later use.
Add peel to berry mixture. Cut the second orange in half and then section it, adding the sections to the berry mixture. Squeeze any residual juice from the second orange into the pan.
You will start to hear little pops from the pan, those are the cranberries bursting. Give it a stir, put a lid on the pan, reduce the heat to low. Check back every 15 -20 minutes for another stir, letting it simmer.. After 45 minutes, stir in the Grand Marnier, the berry mixture should be breaking down like a chutney. Continue to cook for 15-20 minutes more. Cool and serve. Makes 2-3 cups of relish. This can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to two weeks and freezes beautifully, simply thaw and serve.
This is delicious as to serve not only with your Thanksgiving dinner but with chicken, pork or even seared scallops (trust me). For a festive appetizer, make a charcuterie platter with cheeses like brie or a spreadable goat cheese or camembert, manchego, sharp white cheddar, cornichons and marcona almonds with sliced baguettes! Get creative…..and always, enjoy!
Looking for other Thanksgiving or Holiday recipes? Here’s links to a few of my best recipes:
On Election Day after many contentious and negativity filled months, I determined that tonight Spence and I would come home after casting our vote and enjoy a quiet dinner while sharing a great bottle of Proscecco. And the “Best of Earth, Wind and Fire” on the stereo…
When I saw Sashimi-grade Ahi Tuna at my favorite market, I devised a recipe after combing Pinteres; the result was outstanding. Here is the recipe, served with buttered garlic crostini and a spinach salad.
Sesame-Pepper Crusted Ahi Tuna
1 T sesame seeds
1 T whole peppercorns (I used a black/pink/green/white melange)
1/2 t sea salt
Place ingredients into a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle.
2 ahi tuna steaks (about 1 lb)
Coat the tuna with the sesame-pepper mixture. Using a cast iron skillet, pour peanut oil onto a paper towel and wipe over the skillet surface. Turn the burner onto a medium high heat and then place the tuna into the skillet to sear for 1 1/2 minutes, turn and sear for another 1 – 1 1/2 minutes for rare tuna. Remove and serve.
The other night I threw a small dinner party. As I was putting together the menu, I thought – how about Wedge Salads? I’ve never made them, but love the crunchy, freshness of the lettuce with all the toppings – plus I’m a bit obsessed with blue cheese. If I may say so, this was a huge hit with my guests! You can certainly use a chunky blue cheese dressing from the store but this simple recipe takes less than 5 minutes to make and it’s worth the effort. For the Wedge Salad, I’ll tell you how I top it and you can decide how many you’re making at a time.
Easy Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing
1 c sour cream
1/2 c mayonnaise
3/4 c chunky blue cheese
1/2 t red wine vinegar
1/2 t lemon juice
sea salt & coarse ground cracked black pepper to taste
Place together in a bowl and stir together until mixed. It’s ready to serve and will be even better in 24 hours.
Iceberg lettuce – cut into wedges (I can get six wedges from a head of iceberg lettuce – remove the core)
chopped crispy bacon (I sprinkle pepper on my bacon before cooking it)
chopped fresh chives
blue cheese dressing
blue cheese crumbles to top
When I served this the other night, I neglected to take a picture. I placed six wedges on a vibrant green platter and then topped them. It was gorgeous and a showy way to present a Wedge Salad for a dinner party. Tonight, I made up two for Spence and I. Here’s what my wedge looks like.
Is there anything much better than fresh tomatoes from your garden or the Farmer’s Market? This summer I’ve been getting the most delicious tomatoes and am constantly building my meals around ways to incorporate them. Here’s my easy Caprese Salad – I’m giving you the ingredients and a photo, just build the amount that you want for this evening’s meal and enjoy!
fresh, sliced tomatoes
fresh mozzarella, sliced
fresh basil – either tear or chiffonade the leaves
good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
sea salt (or other finishing salt)
Assemble the tomatoes, then mozzarella and repeat. Sprinkle the basil over the top, drizzle olive oil over the platter, drizzle pesto and then finish with a bit of salt to taste. It’s just that easy and such a refreshing side salad or meat-less entree.
Spence and I love Spaetzle and I’ve long harbored a desire to make it from scratch. Spence bought me a Spaetzle maker late last year and I set it aside. Till now. Check out this truly authentic recipe from a blogger I follow, incahootswithmuddyboots.com. And wish me luck!
Though I featured this post one year ago, it remains one of my signature recipes and one that we are having again tonight while ringing in 2016. It’s a tradition but also, it’s an amazing and delicious dish and so here it is once again! I hope you’ll try it!
Happy New Year!
Spence and I have spent 24 New Year’s Eves together. At some point I came across this recipe that sounded decadent, festive and delicious. The first few New Year’s Eves I made this as an appetizer/first course, then onto lobster tails and maybe even fondue as the night progressed. Too much food, too rich and the star here was the Scallops Chambord. Fast forward, our holiday routine now firmly established, Scallops Chambord is the whole meal! This year I prepped 4 skewers but decided to prepare two of them first, then about an hour later, two more. This was brilliant as we savored them over the evening with a fire blazing, Prosecco and later a special bottle of Champagne. I use most cookbooks as a “guide” so this represents my version which is better than the original in my humble opinion (patting myself on the back now).
20-24 sea scallops
5-6 slices of bacon (not thick cut)
Rinse the scallops and rest on paper towels, blot the top. Stretch the 5-6 pieces of bacon, just pulling gently to lengthen. Cut each slice in half. Prepare a broiler pan and four skewers. Wrap the bacon around each scallop so that there is a complete wrap with a little overlap. Thread onto skewers, keeping space in between them. Set aside.
1 c seedless black raspberry preserves
1/4 c honey
1/4 c Chambord liqueur
In a small saucepan, add the preserves, honey and Chambord liqueur. Stir together on a very low heat to melt the preserves and honey together and incorporate the Chambord. You’ll want it to reduce sufficiently to coat a spoon. I usually make the sauce earlier in the day to assure the consistency is right.
Set oven to broil. Place the broiler pan with skewers in on an upper rack. Set your timer for 10 minutes but watch the scallops during the process – your oven may be hotter than mine. Remove, flip the skewers and return to the broiler for 3-5 minutes – again, you want the bacon cooked but not burned.
While the scallops are broiling, ladle your sauce onto the plate as shown above. When the scallops emerge from the oven, remove them and set onto the plate. At this point, I pour Spence and I a glass of Prosecco which we enjoy with our plated Scallops Chambord.
Chef’s Note: If you can’t find black raspberry preserves, a perfectly good substitute is seedless red raspberry preserves.
Many years ago when Mom was living in Ft Myers Florida, Spence and I would visit her in the weeks just before and including Thanksgiving. We always made a trip to nearby Sanibel and Captiva Islands, dropping Spence off at the pier near the lighthouse, armed with a cooler and his fishing gear. We went shopping.
I know, you’re thinking “I thought this was a recipe?”
Patience please, I’m getting there.
Our first stop was a favorite little art gallery. They happened to be holding their Holiday Open House which included lovely treats and wine. There were two selections on the dessert table that completely had us “over the moon”; one was Neiman Marcus Bars, the other – Kahlua Cake. So enthusiastic were we that the owner said “write your address on the back of this business card and I’ll mail them to you” (this was in the olden days – before email). We thought it was kind of her to offer and Mom promised to copy the recipes for me if she followed through. Within a few days, they arrived in the mail and these recipes have become family favorites ever since. I promise to post the Kahlua Cake recipe in the near future.
Neiman Marcus Bars
For the crust:
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick softened butter
1 c chopped pecans
Mix together well and press into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.
For the topping:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 lb powdered sugar
Mix these ingredients well and pour over the top of the “crust” mixture, smooth out. Sprinkle with 1/2 c chopped pecans and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Allow to cool completely and then cut into bars. Enjoy!
From my travels to Switzerland, when my cousin Kristin took Spence and I to an “underground” fondue restaurant. “Underground” in the sense that this is a place that locals know of but not “tourists” (as we learned from our tablemates later that evening). Kristin and her husband had lived in neighboring Versoix for a number of years and so she quickly established her credibility. In reality the restaurant sat on a pier, a long stroll out onto Lake Geneva. Kristin placed our order at a walk-up station outside the restaurant. We carried our drinks inside and found seats at one of the long communal dining tables, very rustic. When your number was called you needed to react immediately as the servers were moving rapidly with vats of molten fondue. The fondue was served with bread and a side dish of fruit cocktail. The two men seated next to us (locals) began engaging us in a spirited discussion after dinner including an explanation about Traditional Swiss Fondue and what does (and doesn’t) go into it. There is so much more to the story of that evening and memories of that trip. But since this blog is meant to feature a recipe, I’ll save those stories for another blog or my novel…….
Traditional Cheese Fondue
1 lb of Gruyère
1 lb Emmentaler
1-2 cloves garlic
2 t grated nutmeg
Dry white wine
Shred the Gruyère and Emmentaler cheeses, I do so in my food processor. This will yield 8 cups of shredded cheese. Using a microplane, grate two teaspoons of nutmeg, set aside. Using a garlic press, pulverize the garlic cloves, set aside.
I use an electric fondue pot but have also made this on the stovetop, transferring into an old-school fondue pot with a little can of sterno blazing beneath it. That said, when you are ready to assemble, heat the pot – better low and slow than to risk burning this fabulous cheese mix. Start by pouring in 1/2 cup of wine and the garlic into the fondue pot. As soon as it starts bubbling put in the first two big handfuls of cheese and stir with a fondue fork. Now stir in the nutmeg. By handfuls add the cheese, stirring the unmelted into the melted. Add more wine if needed. At this point add the Kirschwasser. How much is up to you – I use a healthy shotglass full. Stir it in. Serve with wine or beer of your choosing, ready your fondue fork and start dipping, relax and talk with your tablemates.