Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cranberry Orange Bubblies

I love trying new ingredients in champagne - this one is no different.  Sure - there are TONS of varieties of orange and cranberry flavors mixed with champagne, but here is my take on it!  Shortest. Post. Ever.

Cranberry Orange Bubblies
Serves 4

4 tablespoons cranberry juice concentrate, thawed
4 tablespoons Grand Marnier
Bottle of your favorite dry bubbly (I used Depreville Extra Dry)
4 chilled Champagne flutes
Cranberries and orange peel for garnish

Add 1 tablespoon of each the cranberry juice concentrate and the Grand Marnier to each Champagne flute.  Fill with your favorite dry bubbly.  Garnish and serve.

It's that easy.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Spicy and Garlicky Brussels Sprouts

While scouring through my cookbooks this year, I found what looked to be an easy and tasty side dish for our Thanksgiving this year in my Food & Wine 2011 Annual Cookbook. I have several of these cookbooks - do you have any?  They are pretty awesome.

After making this dish, I made a few modifications - adding more "spicy" and more "garlicky".  You can certain add more/less of the garlic and/or the crushed red pepper to suit your taste buds.  They were delicious.  This is something you can make just before dinner is ready - it's quick and will be a hit with your Brussels sprouts loving guests!

Spicy and Garlicky Brussels Sprouts
Serves 8
Adapted from Food & Wine 2011 Annual Cookbook

12 cups halved Brussels Sprouts
4 tablespoons olive oil
12 -14 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 teaspoons of black pepper
1/2 - 1 tablespoon of crushed red pepper flakes
Salt, to taste

Boil the Brussels sprouts in salted water for 2 minutes.  Drain and pat dry.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the smashed garlic and the Brussels sprouts.  Cook for a couple of minutes undisturbed.  Add the black pepper and the crushed red pepper flakes.  Season with salt to taste.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender for 3-5 minutes.  Serve warm.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Roasted Cranberry Apple Brie Crostini with a Kahlúa Glaze

We are rapidly approaching the holiday season and all of the parties, family gatherings, memories, and delicious food that goes with it.  I love to cook and entertain – so each year, whether it is in my own home or when I’m an invited guest to holiday get-togethers, I’m always game to make a few yummy dishes!

This is the perfect appetizer to serve at one of your upcoming dinners – it has just the right amount of crunchiness, tartness, sweetness, and creaminess all built into just a few bites!  This one doesn’t take long to make and tastes great at room temperature, what more could you want?  The roasted cranberries that top this crostini might be my favorite part, super easy while adding that extra special touch to the dish. 

Once you do give this dish a try, I’d love to hear your feedback!  I know this will be on our menu for Thanksgiving Dinner this year!

Roasted Cranberry, Apple, Brie Crostini with a Kahlúa Glaze
Makes 16 Crostini, serving 6-8 as an appetizer

Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper
½ Honeycrisp apple, cut into 16 slices (slice more for garnish)
16 slices of Brie cheese, cut to fit baguette slices
1 cup fresh cranberries
½ tablespoon granulated sugar
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
¼ cup Kahlúa
¼ cup chopped hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  On a cookie sheet, arrange baguette slices, brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. 

Increase oven to 400 degrees.  In a small bowl combine the cranberries and granulated sugar.  Arrange in a single layer on a piece of foil on the cookie sheet.  Roast for 8-10 minutes, remove from oven and let cool slightly.

In a small saucepan, add brown sugar and Kahlúa.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for a few minutes until combined.  Remove from heat while mixture is still thick. 

On each baguette slice, add a piece of Brie cheese, spoon on some of the Kahlúa brown sugar mixture, add an apple slice, add a few roasted cranberries, drizzle on a little bit more of the Kahlúa brown sugar mixture, and top with a few chopped hazelnuts.

Serve immediately.