Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tamales with PHILLY Caramel and Reposado Cinnamon Crema

Tamales with PHILLY Caramel and Reposado Cinnamon Crema

This recipe is being shared with "Fall Into PHILLY Recipe Challenge" at Real Women of Philadelphia.  We were given the challenge to create a recipe combining PHILLY cream cheese with one of these seasonal ingredients!

If your middle name starts with A-F: your fall flavor is apple.
If your middle name starts with G-M: your fall flavor is pumpkin.
If your middle name starts with N-S: your fall flavor is caramel.
If your middle name starts with T-Z: your fall flavor is cinnamon.
If you don’t have a middle name: your fall flavor is gingerbread.

My middle name is Sheryl, so I decided to make a homemade Caramel Sauce with a twist.  I went a step further and poured the dreamy sauce over a dessert tamale filled with chocolate, nuts and Agave Nectar! I also used one fo the other Fall ingredients...cinnamon, in my Reposado Cinnamon Crema!
OMGosh...this is the most decadent dessert!!

PHILLY Caramel Sauce

1 cup granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons butter
3 ounces Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese
1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream


  • Before you begin, make sure to have all caramel ingredients ready and next to you by the stove top. Caramel isn't very forgiving so be prepared to stand by the sauce pan for about 5-6 minutes... without distractions.

  • Using and electric mixer, blend 3 ounces room temperature cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream and blend for additional 2 minutes. 

  • The combined the ingredients will be approximately 1 cup in volume. Pour 1/2 cup of mixture into a small cup or bowl and set next to stove, reserve remaining cream to make Reposado Cinnamon Crema

  • For best results use a 5 quart heavy bottom sauce pan. Heat 1 cup sugar on medium high heat in the sauce pan; begin whisking the sugar as it begins to melt,

  • Sugar will start to resemble large crystals, keep whisking until the sugar is completely melted, when the sugar begins to boil do NOT stir.

  • Watch closely, when the sugar turns a deep amber color add butter and whisk until butter is melted.

  • Remove the pan from the burner once butter is melted, slowly add the cream mixture and continue to whisk until cream is totally incorporated.

Note: when you add the cream mixture, the caramel with foam up and double or triple in size, use caution when working with hot caramel as it can cause deep burns due to the high temperatures.

Congratulations...You've just become a master caramel sauce maker!!
Store caramel sauce in a container with a tight fitting lid in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Reheat on stove top or microwave before serving.
2 weeks??? My was gone before the end of the day!

Reposado Cinnamon Crema

1/2 cup remainder cream mixture used to make caramel sauce
3 tablespoons Kraft Original Flavor Cooking Creme
2 tablespoons Agave Nectar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoon Reposado Tequila

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine, refrigerate until ready to use.


1 cup Maseca corn flour
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons Agave Nectar
12 dried corn husks

  • Fill a large mixing bowl with warm water and place corn husks into the water, pressing down so that all husks are soaked.  Allow to rest while making the masa.

  • Pour corn flour into a medium mixing bowl, add water 1/4 - 1/2 cup at a time.  Masa should feel soft and a little wet, add Agave Nectar and stir to combine, cover with plastic wrap and set aside until ready to use

1/4 cup chopped mixed nuts (almonds, filberts, walnuts, pecans)
1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
1/4 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chip

  • Blend all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl, set aside until ready to use

  • Use three of the softened large corn husks to make ties for the tamale packages by tearing them into long strips as pictured above.

  • begin tamale assembly by placing a large husk open on the dish towel, place 1-1/2 tablespoons of masa in the center of the husk and then press masa down with your fingers to spread in an even layer

  • place 1 - 2 teaspoons filling to the top masa, pull one edge of husk over to meet the other edge, gently press together, then roll into a tube shape, tie both edges with strip

place tamales in a large steamer and steam on medium high heat for 35-40 minutes. 

Open tamale and serve with a generous amount of Philly Caramel and Reposado Cinnamon Crema...
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Caramel Sauce Recipe with Philadelphia Cream Cheese

Caramel Sauce Recipe made with Philadelphia Cream Cheese

When I got ready to make this recipe today I began to wonder... how many people fear making caramel sauce at home?  Are you that person?  I remember a time when I was terrified to make caramel sauce but once I tried it I was hooked!  It's not just the flavor that will make you a convert, this caramel sauce is super easy to make!

If you follow my step by step instructions you will become a master caramel maker in just one try!  I've added Philadelphia Cream Cheese to my sauce (as if it needed to be any richer)!  

The final product is super rich and creamy and die for!!

PHILLY Caramel Sauce
1 cup granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons butter
3 ounces Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese
1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream


  • Before you begin, make sure to have all caramel ingredients ready and next to you by the stove top. Caramel isn't very forgiving so be prepared to stand by the sauce pan for about 5-6 minutes without distraction.

  • Using and electric mixer, blend 3 ounces room temperature cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Add 1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream and blend for additional 2 minutes.  Combined the ingredients will be approximately 1 cup in volume. Pour 1/2 cup of mixture into a small cup or bowl as set next to stove, reserve remaining cream to make Reposado Cinnamon Crema

  • For best results use a 5 quart heavy bottom sauce pan.  Heat 1 cup sugar on medium high heat in the sauce pan.  Begin whisking the sugar as it begins to melt,

  •  Sugar will start to resemble large crystals, keep whisking until the sugar is completely melted, when the sugar begins to boil do NOT stir.

  •  Watch closely, when the sugar turns a deep amber color add butter and whisk until butter is melted.

  • Remove the pan from the burner once butter is melted, slowly add the cream mixture and continue to whisk until cream is totally incorporated.

Note: when you add the cream mixture, the caramel with foam up and double or triple in size, use caution when working with hot caramel as it can cause deep burns due to the high temperatures. 

Congratulations...You've just become a master caramel sauce maker!!

Store caramel sauce in a container with a tight fitting lid in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  Reheat on stove top or microwave before serving.

2 weeks???  My was gone before the end of the day!

This recipe is being shared with "Fall Into PHILLY Recipe Challenge" at Real Women of Philadelphia.  The challenge; to create a recipe combining PHILLY cream cheese with one of these seasonal ingredients!  Apple, Pumpkin, Cinnamon, My ingredient was caramel!!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Homemade Butterfinger Bars

Thanks to one of my favorite bloggers, Steph from Plain Chicken, I've just had the pleasure of cooking and eating one of the best confections I've ever tasted!  I was sceptical at first but this simple recipe blew me away with flavor almost exactly like a butterfinger candy bar. 

Who knew that mixing candy corn with peanut butter would replicate almost the exact flavor of the store bought version.  The only real difference between the Butterfinger candy bar and this recipe is the texture. The homemade version has a smoother consistency that refuses to get stuck on your teeth unlike it's candy bar cousin.  I have to admit that I like this version better based on that criteria alone. 

One important note...this sweet confection is begging for a tall glass of cold milk or a nice hot cup of Earl Grey tea!

I didn't have chocolate candy coating in my pantry so I made a few changes to Steph's recipe and I'm happy to say the substitutions were successful! 

I'll be posting Stephs recipe as well as mine so you can try them out to see which version you prefer. Also, you can visit Plain Chicken to view Steph's recipe and blog.

At Home with Rebecka-Homemade Butterfinger Bars

22 ounce bag (4 cups) Candy Corn
48 ounces (5 cups) chunky peanut butter
2 cups Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips
11.5 ounces (2cups) milk chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Steph's Recipe from The Taste of Home forums
post signature

1 lb candy corn (6 ounces)
16 ounce jar creamy peanut butter
16 ounce package chocolate candy coating

  • Melt candy corn in a microwave safe bowl on high for 1 minute.  Stir and continue microwaving in 15-30 second intervals. Stirring after each interval.  Stir in peanut butter and mix well to combined.  If needed, microwave mixture for 30 seconds to help the blending process.

  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, spread mixture evenly onto baking sheet.  Cool completely.  Cut into 2 x 3 inch bars. 

  • Melt chocolate in large microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds. Stir and continue microwaving chocolate in 30 second intervals until smooth, stirring after each interval.  Dip each bar in melted chocolate, allow excess to drain slightly. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet to set.  Store in airtight containers, at room temperature for up to a week. ENJOY!

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Nightcrawler Hunting and Frog Gig-gin - Sunday Reminiscing

Carring on the family tradition with my youngest boy Chris (2 years old) Cane pole fishing 

Nightcrawler Hunting and Frog Gig-gin - Sunday Reminiscing

I think I was born to be a fisher woman and due to the fact that my three older brothers held no interest in the sport, I became my dads little fishing buddy at the ripe old age of two. Since then, I've enjoyed years of family fishing trips filled with memories and a load of fun fish tales all leading to my deep rooted love of the sport!

I have so many fond memories of fishing with my family but a few stand out in my mind like they happened just yesterday.  This tale is spun from fishing expeditions that yearn to be retold. 

Nightcrawler Hunting

On any given summer evening, prior to a weekend fishing trip you could find my three brothers and me standing in the lush street medians between Wood and Cascade Streets in downtown Colorado Springs.  Armed with our flash lights and various worm containers we would comb through the manure laden soil for a host of plump nightcrawlers.  As with any hunter I'd done my research before heading out to capture the elusive nightcrawler!

After years of hands-on field experience, I found that the soil was darker and richer the closer you got to the mountains unlike the clay soil where we lived further East of town. Thus, the soil closer to the downtown area bred bigger and better nightcrawlers.  

photo source

Nightcrawlers are a form of earthworm. Prized primarily for use as fishing bait, nightcrawlers are generally known as either Canadian or European. Canadian nightcrawlers are the larger of the two, measuring up to 14 inches (35.6 cm) when fully extended. Fishermen enjoy the Canadian worm more because of its size. It can be easily secured to a fish hook, and stays lively while submerged in water for up to 5 minutes. The Canadian nightcrawler is used for catching largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, carp, trout, catfish, sunfish, walleye, and other freshwater fish. The Canadian nightcrawler will not survive in temperatures above about 65 °F (18.3 °C). Therefore, bait shops must keep them refrigerated and attention must be given to ensure that the worms are not left to rest in the hot sun while fishing.
Source Wikipedia:

The freshly clipped grass filled our heads with its green scent, the earth gaving off its rich aroma.  Giddy with anticipation, we just knew that the black, rich soil would bring forth hundreds of fat, juicy nightcrawlers.  Stealthily, we would move among the trees and bushes shining our flashlights just in time to glimpse our prey! Almost without breathing and in a lightening move, we would dive and grab whatever portion of the unassuming worm that lay basking in the moonlight; often times coming up empty handed or with half or a quarter of the creature. Hunting nightcrawlers was endless fun!

One thing to note about nightcrawlers...although they have especially tiny brains they are pretty smart when it comes to not being captured! Smooth and fast, a nightcrawler can be back in his muddy home in nothing flat. You have to be patient and cunning to bring home a bucket full of these wriggly worms.

Interesting fact: Nightcrawlers have the ability to regenerate themselves if torn in half, much like their cousins the common earthworm. Now, wouldn't that be an awesome special talent to posses? The good news, fish are not picky when it comes to eating half or whole worms!

I believe fishing is the sum of its many perfect parts! Nightcrawler hunting is only the beginning of the beautiful cycle.  There’s learning how to bait a hook with those gigantic worms. Endless hours of practice casting without hooking oneself, or the trees or your brothers and then finally, mastering the patience to wait long enough for the fish to strike. Of course, our parents taught us that whatever we caught or hunted and killed had to be gutted, cooked and eaten. At that point the sum of the parts became whole, leading to the culmination of fresh pan fried trout by the campfire. You see, all my favorite memories lead me right back to food!!
It doesn't matter if I'm fly fishing a stream, stitting in a boat on a peaceful glacier lake or deep sea fishing; I'm a fisher woman at heart!

Frog Gig-gin

One hot summer my family got together with cousins, aunts and uncles to do some much loved fishing for Brown and Cutthroat Trout. Our favorite place to catch these beauties was in the San Juan River in New Mexico. Miles and miles of quality water teaming with 8-15 pound trout was our playground. A delicious dinner awaited us after a day spent in the sun; our coolers always full to the brim even after eating our share at the campsite. Packed in ice chests for the ride home, the remainder was either frozen or smoked for later consumption.

As we made our way down the fifteen mile river we began planning our evening meal. We made a significant decision that has burned this particular memory into my mind forever. We decided to add frog legs to our dinner of pan fired trout. I've cooked and eaten frogs legs but had never gigged for them until that night. So after a long day of fishing we got ready to go frog gigging. Luckily, my cousin’s son Shane was a master "frog gig-ger".

I was in my early twenties and wearing my famous fishing attire; camo pants, green cotton top, brown leather work boots and a straw hat. Shane was six years old, wearing a giant cowboy hat that dwarfed his tiny body, stomping around in his pointed cowboy boots and tossing rocks into the river, in between being scolded by his father to stop before he scared off all the fish!

Shane was so excited to teach me how "real frog gig-gin" was done. It was dusk when he finally took me by the hand and led me to a brackish pond just a few hundred yards from our deep blue fishing hole. As we approached the pond we could hear a chorus of croaking sounds. The voices of hundreds of frogs gathered together for a night full of insect eating and whatever else frogs do in the wild.

I had already tied a fly to my fishing rod while there was still some sunlight, so I was prepared with the correct bait to catch those yummy frogs. Shane flipped his miniature rod like the seasoned master he was and deftly caught his first green frog. He said, "See, dat's ho it’s done". I followed suit and together we bagged about thirty slippery frogs.

I've never been squeamish about catching and killing fish but by about the twenty fifth frog, I started taking notice of how cute their big brown eyes were and how lovely a shade of green their skin. Something ominous began to nag at the back of my mind.

I've killed and cleaned many fish in my day but never a frog, so on the ride back to our camp it occurred to me that someone was going to have to kill the frogs before I could cook them and I really didn't want that person to be me!! I've never been queasy but watching the frogs wriggle around on the bed of the truck gave me a bit of a chill.

It was dark by the time we got back to camp so my cousins got the fire going and left the frog killing up to me and this very deft six year old boy….Really?

It was kind of surreal as I watch Shane heft the heavy laden bag of frogs from the truck and carry it to the front bumper where the head lights shown brightly. I saw his tiny arm shoot up and motion me over to where he was kneeling. He looked me square in the eye and said..."dis is ho ya kill dem der frogs"! At that moment, I think I swooned a little.

I stood there mesmerized as he reached into the bag and pulled out a plump green frog. He grabbed the frog by both its back legs, swung his arm behind his back like he was about to throw a fast ball and slammed the head of the frog onto the bumper of the truck!

I got a lot dizzy and found myself looking for a place to sit down. Shane then calmly stated, "now dats ho ya kill dem der frogs!" "Wanna do some?" In a weak voice, I declined his invitation and I thanked him kindly. I told him how nice a job he was doing and to please feel free to continue while I got the rest of dinner started. For what seemed like a millennium he repeated this process until all the frogs lay dead waiting to be skinned and cooked.

Needless to say, I cooked dem der frogs but didn't eat one! 

Picture of Everglades Frog's Legs Recipe

Everglades Frog's Legs

Recipe courtesy Jesse Kinnon, 2011
Show: Food Network Specials  Episode: Cooking Channel: Hook, Line & Dinner (Miami The Everglades)
Next weeks post...maybe I'll make you some frogs legs? Until then here's a recipe from the Food Network

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Is Your Batter Better?" Fish & Chips Challenge

"Is Your Batter Better?" Fish & Chips Challenge

With only a few months before I announce the winner of the 2011 Fish & Chips Challenge "Is Your Batter Better?" and only one entry thus far...I need your recipes!   

I like nothing more than to give my dear friend Joy from Kitchen Flavors, the winners bragging rights for her delicious recipe but I think it would only be fair if she had a little competition!! So come on up your recipes!!

Once you've tasted the perfect Fish & Chips the flavors are burned into your flavor receptors forever! Then begins the insatiable desire for deep fried perfection and I can't stop thinking about eating them, until I dust off my Fry Daddy and cook up a batch!
I have a few good recipes for Fish & Chips but I still haven't found the perfect one. So, begins my quest to find the perfect Fish & Chips recipe.

I love eating the crispy, hot and succulent morsels of deep fried goodness but I still haven't found a batter that I can stick with for any length of time. Do you have what it takes to sooth my taste for the perfect Fish & Chips batter? Here's your chance to shine. It's time to link up your most famous Fish & Chips Recipes for the 2011 Fish & Chips Challenge!

Over the course of the next few months I'll prepare each entry and decide who's Batter is Better. The winner will receive bragging rights and a special winners badge to post on their blog. I can't wait to get into the kitchen to whip up your best recipes.

Is Your Batter Better?" Challenge 2011 is on!

Challenge rules include:

  • Link your favorite Fish & Chip recipes to this post, share the challenge badge on your blog, with a link back to my site. Over the next six months, I'll taste test each submission to see who's recipe reigns supreme!

  • Send a photo and your recipe to me at: so I can post all of the entries at the end of the contest with links back to your sites.

  • Tell me all about your favorite family or restaurant recipe or one you've made using a famous chef's recipe. Share anecdotes or fond food memories about eating Fish & Chips, or even write a poem!

My favorite Fish & Chips recipe...thus far!

2 pounds frozen or fresh Cod, Halibut or Sea bass fillets
2 cups flour plus 1/2 cup for dusting
1 bottle Amber Beer
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds large russet potatoes
1 gallon vegetable or peanut oil for deep fryer

I use either Cod Fillets, Halibut or Sea Bass when making Fish & Chips. Cod and Halibut are much more affordable for a large family or dinner party so I generally steer in that direction, but given the right amount of cash flow Sea Bass is my first choice.

Heat oil in a large deep fryer or other heavy sauce pan until oil smokes then lower heat slightly

Cut russet potatoes into shoe string slices using a mandolin or sharp knife, deep fry until golden brown, place in a 200 degree oven on a large baking sheet, Do Not Add Salt to the fries until ready to serve. Salt will make your fries limp and no one wants to eat a limp fry!

Rinse and dry fish fillets with a paper towel, season both sides with salt and pepper, set aside. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, add 1 bottle beer, milk and egg and mix thoroughly, cut fish fillet's into 4-5 inch portions and dust dry fillet's in 1/2 cup flour.

Cook filet's in small batches (3 or 4 pieces). Using tongs, dip floured fillet's in batter and place in fryer, swish the each fillet in the hot oil for one second so they won't stick to the fry basket or bottom of sauce pan. Cook until golden brown.

Salt Chips and serve

My family can't agree on condiments so I serve my Fish & Chips with Ketchup, Malt Vinegar, Tarter and Cocktail Sauce, that way everyone is happy!

Tarter Sauce
1 cup Miracle Whip
1/4 cup Sweet Relish
salt and pepper to taste

Cocktail Sauce
1 cup Ketchup
1 tablespoon horseradish
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

Now it's your turn....I can't wait to taste your Fish & Chips

1 entries so far... you're next!

1. Fish & Chips

You are next... Click here to enter
This list will close in 167 days, 15 hrs, 42 min (3/1/2012 12:59 AM CST)

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Monday, September 12, 2011

What to do with a whole mess of fresh veggies and a lump of grey meat??

Over the past few weeks I've been collecting a beautiful bounty of fresh harvest vegetables.  Today I noticed a few varieties were looking a little peaked, so I decided I'd better put them to use before they were past their prime. While foraging through my fridge for leftover veggies I noticed a poor lump of grey ground beef  hiding behind the creamer.  After close examination, I decided the meat was well within the safety limits for consumption. 

My original plan was to make Ratatouille but with the addition of meat the recipe morphed into a thick rich sauce.

I served the sauce over spaghetti in hopes of throwing the family off the "vegetable scent". I would have never guessed that my son would say, "Mom, I hope you wrote down this recipe because it's now in the top 10 of my new favorite meals!" 

My thirteen year old son doesn't eat many vegetables (he's a lot like his daddy) but he ate this like it was candy!   After hearing his praise I wasn't about to confess to him that he had just eaten three of his least favorite vegetables...squash, zucchini and eggplant! 

1 pound ground beef
1-1/2 cups porcini mushrooms
1 large eggplant
2 zucchini
2 yellow squash
1 red onion
1 large green bell pepper
3 small purple bell pepper
2 small yellow bell pepper
1 cup yellow tomatoes
3 small ripe tomatoes
3 green tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch chives
3 tablespoons fresh basil
1 cup water
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cups olive oil for saute
1/2  teaspoon Lawry's garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste

Wash and rough dice the vegetables, in a large stock pot heat 1 teaspoon olive oil, in separate batches saute the vegetables starting with the mushrooms.  Do not season the mushrooms with salt to keep juices from running, cook for 3-5 minutes until browned,  Add another teaspoon olive oil to mushrooms if the pan becomes to dry.  Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside until ready to use.  

Add 1 teaspoon olive oil for each additional batch of vegetables and season with salt and pepper while you continue sauteing them separately in this order, eggplant, squash, onions, peppers. 

Saute tomatoes with garlic and add chives.  Leave tomato mixture in stock pot and de-glaze pan with water, return cooked vegetables to stock pot, add tomato sauce and cook on low stirring occasionally.

In a medium skillet cook ground beef until browned, season with salt and pepper, remove any grease from meat the add meat to stock pot 

stir in garlic salt, basil and pepper to taste 

Cook sauce covered for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Serve over noodles or with mashed potatoes.

I made such a big batch that we ended up with a large container of leftover sauce. I rarely eat leftovers, so I surprised myself when I ate some of the sauce for breakfast the next day.  A few hours later I spread some between two slices of buttered toast, making a sandwich reminiscent of the Sloppy Joe. However, this sandwich was so much more delicious. Later in the afternoon, my son finished what was left of the sauce as his after school snack. 

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Our First Make to Impress Dessert Winner Announced - I Won!!

Posted by Amy Williams on Sep 5, 2011

Hi Everyone!

The time has finally come – I’m ready to announce our very first Make to Impress winner! I hope you are all as excited as I am!

Our first winning recipe looked amazing and the presentation in her photograph had me craving sweets!
REBECKA EVANS, you are our first Make to Impress winner for your FIG TART with PHILLY FRANGIPANE and STRAWBERRY GINGER CREAM!

The WINNERS GALLERY has another amazing recipe to add to the bunch – see you all tomorrow!

Stay Sweet,


I'm so honored to be chosen as the first dessert winner in the Real Women of Philadelphia Cookbook Competition! My winning recipe: Fig Tart with Philly Frangipane and Strawberry Ginger Cream. I won $500.00 and the honor of having my recipe published in the next edition of Real Women of Philadelphia Cookbook.
Thank you! RWOP ladies and Gents...thanks for your wonderful support and comments! You're what makes RWOP the place to be! A special big thanks to the powers that be for choosing my recipe! I really love you guys! ♥♥♥
If you haven't already checked out the RWOP web site, stop by today and become a member of this amazing cooking community.

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Labor Day Party Favorites: Fresh Peach and Nectarine Pie & Goat Cheese and Marmalade Phyllo Bites

It's that time of year when the sweet and juicy Palisade peaches are in season and fresh peach pie is on my mind.  I made this pie for my Labor Day Celebration as well as a goat cheese and phyllo appetizer that is savory and sweet.

Fresh Peach and Nectarine Pie

1 package pre-made refrigerated pie crust
1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
4 cups fresh peaches
2 cups fresh nectarines
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup butter
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out one refrigerated pie crust into baking dish, in a large mixing bowl combine sliced fruit, flour, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and stir to blend.  Pour mixture into prepared pie plate, dot with butter, cover with remaining pie crust and pinch edges together.  Cut 3 - 4 slits in the top of the crust to allow steam to release.  (optional: decorate with addition pie crust)

brush top of crust with egg wash:
1 cup milk
1 egg
and sprinkle top with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 

Place a foil covered cookie sheet below pie to catch any drips and bake for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.  If edges start to become to dark cover with foil.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving.   

Goat Cheese and Marmalade Phyllo Pastry Bites

These little Phyllo Bites were also a smash hit at the party.  Filled with a mixture of rich Saint Andre` goat cheese, cream cheese and sharp cheddar; the smooth creamy texture of the filling blended with the crunch of the phyllo pastry, the saltiness of prosciutto and the decadent sweetness of my homemade Cots and Quats Marmalade, made them irresistible. 

1-7 ounce tub Saint Andre` Goat Cheese
5 ounces Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup diced prosciutto
1 egg
1 package phyllo pastry
1 stick melted butter
1-16 ounce jar Cots and Quats Marmalade (orange marmalade)
salt and pepper to taste

preheat oven to 425 degrees

Remove phyllo from package and place on a cutting board, cover with a clean damp cloth.  In a Cuisinart, blend together the cheeses until smooth, salt and pepper to taste.

Cut prosciutto into small dice and saute in a dry pan until crisp, set aside until ready to use.  (if pan becomes to dry add a few drops of olive oil)

Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl for 30-40 seconds, set aside until ready to use

Begin making phyllo shells by placing one sheet of phyllo dough onto a second cutting board or other clean surface, remember to cover the remaining phyllo with damp towel, brush pastry with a thin layer of melted butter, add another layer of phyllo and brush with butter, continue this process until you have 6-8 layers of pastry

slice phyllo with a very sharp knife into 4 inch squares, gently press 1 square pastry into small muffin tins allowing a small amount of pastry to drape over the edge, bake on the middle rack of oven for 1-2 minutes or until edges become light brown, remove from oven and fill shell with 1/2 teaspoon cheese mixture, 1/2 teaspoon crumbled prosciutto and then top with 1/2 teaspoon marmalade, bake for additional 3 minutes, cool and serve.

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Vegetarian Slumgullion and Cheesy Chive Grits

It's Veggie Revival Side Dish Week at Real Women of Philadelphia and Paula Deen's Cookbook Challenge. For this weeks challenge I've revived one of my favorite family recipes by adding a bed of Cheesy Chive Grits.
Slumgullion is Cookery Slang that describes an inexpensive stew or a mixture of ground meats and veggies browned in a skillet. You may know this dish by other more common names such as Mulligan stew or Irish stew. Slumgullion has a very old and diverse history. Famous authors, John Muir, and Mark Twain refer to Slumgullion with distaste because it was generally made by the impoverished. My Slumgullion is a vegetarian version based on my mother’s recipe. The intense flavors of dill, red pepper flakes and chive married with the addition of grits bring a new twist to old tradition.
  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes  
  • Total time: 25 minutes
  • Servings: 6
  • 8 ounce(s) of tub Philadelphia 1/3 less fat Chive and Onion Cream Cheese
  • 2 medium yellow squash
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 5 crimini mushrooms
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. of butter
  • 1 cup(s) of quick grits
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. of fresh chopped dill weed
  • 1/2 tsp. of red pepper flakes
  1. Following manufacturer's instructions, pour 4 cups water into a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil
  2. add 1 cup cooked grits and 1 tablespoon butter to boiling water
  3. stir to combine and reduce heat to low
  4. cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally
  5. whisk in 1 8 ounce tub Philadelphia 1/3 less fat Chive and Onion Cream Cheese, cover and set aside until ready to use
  6. heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat
  7. clean vegetables before slicing
  8. add mushroom only to pan and cook without seasoning until golden in color, remove from pan
  9. add 1 tablespoon olive oil to hot pan and saute zucchini and yellow squash for 3-4 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper, remove from pan
  10. saute onions in pan until caramelized but still al dente
  11. return all vegetables to pan, season with red pepper flakes and 1 tablespoon dill weed, cook for additional 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally
  12. season with salt and pepper to taste
  13. pour cooked cheese grits into a large serving bowl
  14. top grits with cooked vegetables and garnish with remaining 1/2 tablespoon fresh chopped dill

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