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  • Have a Spooky Halloween!

    Cheddar Witches Fingers - Cheese straws in the shape of fingers, complete with a black almond "finger nail." Delicious and totally spooky.

    Candy Apples - You don't need to go to the fair to get my favorite treat because you can make these at home. Black food coloring gives them a festive touch.

    Pumpkin Caramel Sauce - Having a not-so-scary Halloween party? Serve ice cream with this pumpkin infused caramel sauce on top.

Monthly Archives: November 2008

Mini Chicken Pot Pies with Bacon and Marjoram

Cool weather is finally here in Florida! We were teased with it a few weeks ago, but it quickly went back up to the mid eighties. Of course we had to celebrate by having some cold-weather food. These mini chicken pot pies were just what we needed for a chilly night! The filling in this pot pie has such a great depth of flavor. The puff pastry topping is light and flaky. If you’re looking for something to warm you up, I would definitely suggest making this.

Mine ended up looking a bit more rustic than Eric’s. He followed the directions about folding the corners down onto the rims of the dishes. Obviously, I did not. :)

Mini Chicken Pot Pies with Bacon and Marjoram

3 applewood-smoked bacon slices
3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
6 ounces peeled whole baby carrots (about 1 1/4 cups)
5 ounces trimmed haricots verts or other slender green beans, halved crosswise
1 1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram leaves
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons low-salt chicken broth
1/3 cup crème fraîche, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons for topping
1 1/2 cups coarsely shredded chicken from 1 small purchased roasted chicken (skin removed)
1/2 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

-Preheat oven to 450F.
-Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium heat until crisp.
-Drain on paper towels, then chop.
-Add onion to drippings in skillet; sauté until tender and golden, about 8 minutes.
-Add next 3 ingredients; stir 1 minute.
-Add broth; bring to boil over high heat.
-Reduce heat to medium-high and boil until vegetables are almost tender and some liquid is reduced, about 4 to 5 minutes.
-Stir in 1/3 cup crème fraîche, chicken, and bacon.
-Bring to simmer.
-Season with pepper.
-Divide among two 2-cup soufflé dishes.

-Unfold puff pastry onto work surface; roll out into rectangle large enough to cover both
soufflé dishes .
-Cut into 2 equal squares.
-Top filling in soufflé dishes with pastry; fold edges down onto rims of dish.
-Brush top of crusts (not edges) with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons crème fraîche.
-Cut small X in center of crusts; pierce all over with fork.
-Bake until crusts are golden brown and filling is heated through, about 18 minutes.

Adapted (to make two) from Bon Appetit

Chicken Enchilada Dip Roll Ups

I found this recipe on Amy’s blog, Sing for Your Supper. I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am that I tried this recipe. This stuff is seriously amazing. I will definitely be making this again and again. Did I mention that it’s also super easy? That’s my kind of recipe. Tasty and simple!

This recipe can definitely be adapted to your tastes. We used jalapeno cheddar tortillas, but you could use plain flour tortillas. We also used a chipotle lime flavored rotisserie chicken, but you can use any flavor you like. You could also use boneless, skinless breasts like the original recipe calls for.

Try this! You won’t be disappointed.

Chicken Enchilada Dip Roll Ups
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 teaspoon garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
cayenne pepper to taste
salt to taste
1 small, southwest flavored rotisserie chicken, skinned and shredded
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
10-oz. can Rotel tomatoes
1 package jalapeno cheddar tortillas

-Mix cheeses together until well blended.
-Add all remaining ingredients and mix well.
-Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
-Place one heaping spoonful onto tortilla.
-Spread to edges using a metal spatula.
-Roll and cut into slices.

Adapted from Sing for Your Supper

Fried Pickles

Growing up in Alabama, I learned that anything and everything can be fried. I have lots of fried favorites – fried okra, fried crab claws, hushpuppies, corn fritters. My all time favorite, by far, is fried pickles. I haven’t found anywhere in Orlando that has fried pickles on their menu. After being in Alabama recently, Eric and I had dinner at Wing’s. Their fried pickles are my absolute favorite. Instead of using pickle chips, they use the sandwich slices.

This recipe was our attempt to bring some of that fried goodness to Florida. The batter was very light, almost like a tempura batter. However, this could have been because we forgot to get cornstarch and had to substitute it with more flour. I’ll have to try again with the cornstarch. The pickles still tasted delicious, though. We found that they were best eaten almost immediately. By the time I had taken pictures, a few of them had already gotten a little soggy. These are great served with some Ranch dressing for dipping.

I’m submitting this recipe to Joelen’s Culinary Adventures for her latest blogging adventure, which is featuring foods unique to cities, regions or countries. I’d say fried pickles are definitely unique to the south, so I’m excited about submitting this recipe.

Fried Pickles
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup ice water
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons dill pickle juice
4 cups dill pickle slices, drained
vegetable oil for frying

-In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center.
-All at once, add the water, egg yolk and pickle juice.
-Stir the mixture with a wire whisk to make a smooth batter.
-Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
-In a deep fryer or large saucepan, heat at least two inches of oil to 375°.
-In batches, dip pickle slices into batter, lightly and evenly coating them.
-Without crowding, place coated slices in the hot oil.
-Fry until golden and crisp, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
-Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

Source: Science of Cooking

Pumpkin Mousse Cheesecake

I have a special place in my heart for pumpkin cheesecake. For me, its arrival on menus always signals the start of fall. I’ve never made a cheesecake before. Frankly, I was too afraid I would mess it up. And you know what? I did. The great thing about it is that I don’t even care. That’s what trying new recipes is all about.

It being my first cheesecake, I had no idea when it would be done. The center is supposed to be wiggly, but I didn’t know how wiggly. The center wasn’t liquidy, but it just wasn’t quite as firm as it should have been. It did not go to waste, however, because the majority of it is still good. It tastes quite amazing, too. For my first try, I’m not too disappointed.

Don’t let my mess up deter you from trying this recipe. Some of the wonderful ladies on the cooking message board I post on gave me some pointers for next time. Katie (from Good Things Catered) suggested that I use an instant-read thermometer until I make enough cheesecakes to know what the appropriate jiggle looks like. The center of the cheesecake should be about 145°-150°. Thanks, Katie! :) I was also told that cooling the cheesecake in the oven will prevent it from cracking. There are lots of tips out there; just Google them if you want to know more.

Pumpkin Mousse Cheesecake

For the crust:
2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
1/2 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (Do not use pumpkin-pie filling.)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 pounds (4 regular sized packs) cream cheese
1 cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
For the topping:
powdered sugar

-Preheat the oven to 325°.
-In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs and butter until crumbs are moistened.
-Press into the bottom of a 9-inch round cheesecake (springform) pan.
-Freeze, uncovered, until filling is ready.
-In a medium bowl, stir together pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice until just combined. Set aside.
-Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed for 3 minutes.
-Add the brown sugar and continue to beat for 2 minutes.
-Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
-Add the pumpkin mixture to the cream cheese mixture; mix on low speed until incorporated.
Pour the batter over the crust, smoothing it out to touch the sides of the pan.
-Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until the cheesecake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan but is still a bit loose in the center.
-Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours.
-Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before decorating or serving.
-To decorate, use a fine meshed sieve to dust the top with powdered sugar and cinnamon. I made the star on mine by using leftover cookie crumbs.

Good Housekeeping