Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dijon Ham Braid

This is a quick recipe that I’ve been making since I started cooking at about 14. I think it came from my mom’s Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, but I really can’t be sure.  I served it with just a green salad for a light meal.  If you want something a bit heartier, add a simple baked potato.  I love it because it looks kinda fancy, but is so simple!  Puff pastry is your friend - tell us how you like to use it best.

Dijon Ham Braid

½ package (17.5 oz. size) frozen puff pastry
3 oz. cream cheese
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 cups chopped ham
1 cup frozen peas
1 egg yolk

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2) Lay pastry out on ungreased cookie sheet
3) Make 2 inch cuts at 1 inch intervals along the two long sides of the pastry
4) Heat cream cheese, milk, and mustard over medium heat until smooth
5) Add ham and peas to cheese mixture
6) Spoon onto pastry, and fold sides over in a criss-cross pattern
7) Mix egg yolk with water and brush over top.  This will give it a nice golden brown top when it's done.
8) Crack some black pepper on top, if desired
9) Bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Yummy Taste Of Fall

Yesterday I was attending a meeting here on Fort Knox. I asked if I can bring anything. They said I could bring a dessert if I want, so I looked for one that fits the season. I found a really good recipe for a Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting in one of my cookbooks.

It turned out really tasty, though I made some changes. I used a 15-oz can of pumpkin. Somehow recipes always call for 16-oz cans but I've never seen those at a store. Also I used 2 cups and 2 tablespoons of cake flour instead of regular flour. It just makes cakes lighter.

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 eggs
1 c. canola or vegetable oil
1 2/3 c. sugar
1 (16oz) can solid pack pumpkin (not the pie filling)
2 c. flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

For Frosting:

1 (3 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Beat eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin. Stir dry ingredients - flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda, Add to the beaten mixture a little at a time. Beat until smooth. Bake 25 to 30 minutes in ungreased 13x9x2 inch pan. Let cool before frosting.

Frosting: Cream butter, vanilla and cream cheese. Add powdered sugar a little at a time. Beat until smooth.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Couscous Salad

Well, it's been a while since I posted recipes. Either I didn't have the time to do so, or I got my post ready and the computer decided to sabotage me. But now I'm hopefully back on track to give you some tasty recipes.

My husband and I love couscous. We like it just cooked and with some olive oil as a side, but I wanted to try something new. So I searched recipes and found the following recipe for a salad on I hope you're gonna enjoy it as much as we did.

Curried Couscous Salad with Dried Sweet Cranberries (Recipe courtesy Dave Lieberman)

1 (5.8-ounce) box instant couscous
3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 orange, juiced
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 to 4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced on an angle
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/2 lemon, juiced
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (I used almonds)
Freshly ground pepper

Stir the couscous, cranberries, curry powder, salt, and sugar together in a heatproof bowl. Bring water (amount will be listed on package directions) to a boil and pour it over the couscous. Add the orange juice. Give it a big stir, cover the bowl tightly and let it stand, giving it a big stir once or twice, until the water is absorbed and the couscous is tender, about 5 minutes.

Fluff up the couscous with a fork. Add the olive oil, scallions, parsley, lemon juice, and walnuts. Stir around until everything is distributed evenly throughout the couscous. Make up to 2 hours ahead of time and keep at room temperature until you're ready to serve. Check the seasonings just before you serve the salad and add salt and pepper, to taste.

Note: To toast the walnuts, spread them out on a baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree F oven until they turn a shade darker, about 8 minutes.