Archive for category Cooking

Smoked Almond Turtles Recipe

I whipped these up for Jason one day on a whim using my favorite caramel recipe and Emerald smoked almonds that I got really cheap with coupons.  Sweet + salty + smokey + chocolaty= WIN!

Ingredients:

1 c. smoked almonds, coarsely chopped
1 c. milk or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 ½ c. caramel

Coat a mini muffin tin with a good dose of cooking spray, butter or shortening. (tip: cut a 1/2″ x 3″ strip of of parchment paper and set in the bottom of the cup for “handles” to remove the turtles with later) Sprinkle the smoked almonds evenly among each cup (~2 tsp. each).  Prepare the caramel as directed below and while hot, cover the almonds with about 1 tbsp. of caramel per cup. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Microwave chocolate chips on half power for 1 minute. Stir and then continue microwaving in 30 sec increments until melted and smooth. Drizzle about 2 tsp. of chocolate over each turtle. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set.  Pop out of tins, arrange on a platter or in a little gift box and enjoy
(makes 24 turtles)

My favorite soft chewy caramel of all time that I use for everything:

1 c.+ 2 tbsp. sugar
¾ c.+ 2 tbsp. heavy cream
2 tbsp. honey
tsp. light corn syrup
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Stir together the sugar, cream, honey and corn syrup and slowly bring to a boil. Cook over medium high, stirring occasionally until golden brown (temp reaches 250F measured by a candy thermometer). Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Pour the caramel into the prepared muffin tin as directed above.

Recipes adapted from here & here.

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Asparagus Swiss Quiche Recipe

UPDATE: This is a tried and true recipe!  I added some action photos and tweaked the instructions a bit to make it easier to understand.

I was going to wait to post this until I had time to make it this weekend and share a picture with you. But if I share it now, you could have it on your plate this weekend instead of in your browser, so here goes!

I’m not a big breakfast eater. Usually I stick to a bowl of cereal – nothing too heavy.  But on weekends, I like taking the time to whip up a batch of scones, an omelet or a BLT once in a while.   There’s just something relaxing about making a mess in the kitchen on Saturday morning and then sharing a delicious meal with the people you love.

Quiche is one of those things that many people order out, but are intimidated to make at home.  My favorite recipe is both easy and it tastes so heavenly you will look forward to Saturdays from now on!  There are a few shortcuts you can take to make it faster, or if you are en experienced cook or want to experiment you can opt for the all homemade method. Look for little tips throughout my recipes that you can apply in your kitchen too!

Crust:

¼ c. Parmesan, grated
1 tsp. dried basil
1 ⅔ c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
1 stick cold butter, cut into ¼ in. pieces
2 tbsp. solid vegetable shortening
3 tbsp. ice water

Pulse the first 6 ingredients in a food processor several times until small uniform granules form.  (What, you don’t have a food processor?  OK fine, mix with a fork or pastry cutter forever and you’ll get the same result).  Add water and pulse until just incorporated. Form into a ball, cover and chill for 30 minutes before rolling out. (time saver: use a refrigerated store-bought crust and add in the Parmesan and basil as you roll it out instead)

Spray a pie pan with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 425F. Roll out your pie crust to a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. (tip: to transfer from work surface to pan, roll the dough up around the rolling pin, move it and then unroll right where you need it. This will prevent stretching or holes from forming during transport.) Place the pie crust in your pie pan and form it up the sides. Line the crust with heavy duty foil and bake for 8 minutes, remove the foil and bake another 5 min.

Filling:

3-4 slices of bacon, cooked & crumbled (tip: I cook a whole pack of bacon in advance on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.  10-15 min in the oven at 375F, drain on paper towels and you have perfectly crisp bacon without the splatter!  Use the leftovers on salads or in other recipes. It will keep for 5 days in the fridge )
¼ c. Parmesan, grated
2 tsp. dried basil
½ c. onion, chopped
5 eggs (or 1 ¼ c. of egg substitute)
½ c. milk
Pinch of nutmeg (tip: buy dried Nutmeg whole and then grate it right when you need it – stays fresh!)
⅛ tsp. salt
1 ½ c. Swiss cheese, grated
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
12 spears of Asparagus trimmed to 5 inch spears. Chop remaining ends into ¼ in. thick medallions.

While the crust is baking, cook onions, asparagus medallions and tips on medium heat until tender. Separate the tips and reserve for later. Toss the Swiss cheese and flour together and then combine with all the filling ingredients, including the onions and asparagus medallions. Pour the mixture into your half-baked pie crust and then lay the asparagus tips on top in a wheel pattern from the center of the quiche. Reduce the oven temp to 350F. Bake for 35 minutes and allow to cool for 10 more if you can wait that long!

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