Turkey Tea Sandwiches

18 Dec

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I threw a baby shower for a friend recently and these babies were on the menu.   They were divine.  The basil really makes them superior, so don’t skip it.  I used about 4 leaves per whole sandwich (1 leaf per tea sandwich).

The recipe calls for Raisin Nut bread, but I couldn’t find any without cinnamon, so I substituted Cranberry-Orange bread with great success.  Any non-cinnamon fruit bread should do the trick.

TURKEY TEA SANDWICHES

Ingredients

Scallion cream cheese:

  • 3/4 pound (12 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup minced scallions (white and green parts)
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Sandwiches:

  • 16 thin slices of dense raisin-nut bread (or any fruit bread without cinnamon)
  • 8 thin slices fresh or smoked turkey breast
  • Fresh basil leaves

Directions

For the scallion cream cheese, combine the cream cheese, scallions and the salt and pepper in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Do not whip.

Lay out 16 slices of bread and spread them all with a thin layer of scallion cream cheese. Place a single layer of turkey on half the slices, cutting the edges to fit the bread. Place the basil leaves randomly on top of the turkey. Top with the other 8 slices of bread, cream cheese side down. Lay the sandwiches on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, cover with damp paper towels and wrap the sheet with plastic. Refrigerate until the cream cheese is cold and firm. Place the sandwiches on a cutting board and, with a very sharp knife, cut off the crusts. Cut each large sandwich in half diagonally, twice, to make a total of 4 small triangles. Serve chilled.

Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa cookbook.

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Ginger Pineapple Sparkling Punch

28 Apr

This is one of the best punches I’ve had lately.  I made it for a friend’s baby shower, and it was thankfully a bit hit.  The ginger syrup and fresh citrus juices really make it special.

Ginger Pineapple Sparkling Punch

Ingredients

For ginger syrup

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup thinly sliced unpeeled fresh ginger (1/4 lb; from two 5-inch-long pieces)

For punch

  • 3 cups unsweetened pineapple juice, chilled
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (3 to 5 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (4 to 6 limes)
  • 3 cups sparkling water, chilled
  • 4 cups ice cubes

Make ginger syrup:
Bring water, sugar, and ginger to a boil in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes, then remove from heat and steep, uncovered, 15 minutes. Pour syrup through a sieve into a bowl, discarding ginger. Chill, covered, until cold, about 2 hours.

Make punch:
Stir together ginger syrup and fruit juices in a punch bowl or pitcher. Stir in sparkling water and ice.

Cooks’ note: Ginger syrup keeps, covered and chilled, 2 weeks.

Serves 10

Source: Gourmet, December 2004

Three Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

30 Aug

Three cheese scalloped potatoes edit3

Wow, oh wow!  These potatoes are unbelievable.  I first made them as part of our Easter dinner this year, and they did not disappoint.  Even my friend Timm, who doesn’t care for blue cheese, had a second helping.  The recipe is perfect as written, so I didn’t make any modifications — a rare thing these days.

Scalloped Potatoes with Three Cheeses

  • 3/4 cup (packed) grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled Danish blue cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 1/4 ounces)
  • 4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3 cups whole milk

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Mix cheddar cheese, blue cheese and Parmesan in small bowl.

Arrange half of potatoes in prepared baking dish, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle onion over, then flour. Dot with 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle half of cheese mixture over. Top with remaining potatoes, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 2 tablespoons butter. Reserve remaining cheese.

Bring milk to simmer in medium saucepan. Pour milk over potatoes (milk will not cover potatoes completely). Cover baking dish tightly with foil. Bake 45 minutes. Uncover dish (liquids in dish may look curdled); sprinkle potatoes with reserved cheese mixture. Bake uncovered until potatoes are tender and cheese is deep golden brown, 30-45 minutes longer. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Cover and rewarm in 375°F oven about 20 minutes.) Remove from oven; let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 12 servings (only 8 at my house)
Source: Rick Rodgers – Bon Appetit, November 1999

Mulled Apple Cider

15 Dec

Mulled cider 009

I love unpasteurized, unfiltered apple cider.  There is a great apple orchard/stand in Utah where we used to buy it, but unfortunately we haven’t found anything like that where we live now.  We managed to get some decent cider at Trader Joe’s and used this recipe to help ring in the holidays.  It was the best mulled cider I’ve had yet!

Mulled Apple Cider with Orange and Ginger

  • 8 cups unpasteurized apple cider
  • A 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 navel orange, peeled and sliced crosswise
  • A 2-inch piece of peeled fresh ginger, cut into 6 slices

In a large saucepan combine the cider, the cinnamon stick, the cloves, the orange and the ginger and simmer the mixture for 20 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a heat-proof pitcher and serve the mulled cider warm.

Source:  Gourmet, Oct. 1991

Sour Cream Pound Cake

13 Dec

Sour cream pound cake (2)edit

 This cake is great topped with berries, lemon curd, whipped cream, or a combination of the three.  I even love it plain.  The recipe fills a 10-inch bundt pan, but you could easily halve it and use a loaf pan.

Sour Cream Pound Cake

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  1. Cut butter into 1-tablespoon pieces and place in bowl of standing mixer; let stand at room temperature 20 to 30 minutes to soften slightly. Using dinner fork, beat eggs, sour cream, and vanilla in liquid measuring cup until combined. Let egg mixture stand at room temperature until ready to use.
  2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Generously butter a 10-inch bundt pan; dust pan liberally with flour and knock out excess.
  3. Sift flour and baking soda together in small bowl.
  4. In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter and salt at medium-high speed (Kitchen Aid mixer: #4) until shiny, smooth, and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping bottom and sides of bowl once with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to medium; with mixer running, gradually pour in sugar (this should take about 60 seconds). Once all sugar is added, increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture is fluffy and almost white in color, 5 to 8 minutes, scraping bottom and sides of bowl once. With mixer running at medium speed, gradually add egg mixture in slow, steady stream; this should take 60 to 90 seconds. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl; beat mixture at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes (mixture may look slightly broken). Remove bowl from mixer; scrape bottom and sides.
  5. In 3 additions, sift flour mixture over butter/egg mixture; after each addition, fold gently with rubber spatula until combined.
  6. Transfer batter to prepared bundt pan and smooth surface with rubber spatula. Bake until golden brown and wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 60 to 700 minutes (internal temperature: 212 F). Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes; invert cake onto wire rack, then turn cake right side up. Cool cake on rack to room temperature. Slice and serve.

16 large or 24 medium servings

Make ahead: Once cake completely cooled, wrap in cling wrap, then heavy foil.  Freeze.  To thaw, place wrapped cake at room temperature 10 hours before needed.

Source: adapted from Paula’s Home Cooking and Cooks Illustrated

Lemon Curd

12 Dec

Lemon curd (1) edit

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes.  Not only is it delectable, it’s one of the simplest ways I’ve found to make lemon curd.  I use it to top pound cake, toast, English muffins, pancakes, waffles, yogurt….the possibilities are endless.

Plain yogurt w/ lemon curd and berries

Lemon Curd

  • 3 lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.

Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10-15 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate.

Yield: about 3 cups

Source: The Barefoot Contessa by Ina Garten

Cranberry Relish

7 Dec

My sister-in-law introduced me to this new take on the classic cranberry sauce.  It’s now a staple at our holiday meals.

1 bag (12 oz) cranberries
Juice of one orange
1 cup sugar

Simply blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until finely chopped.