Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pomegranate Sparkling Sangria with Asian Pear and November's Funny Food Blogger Posts

Delicious. Easy. Elegant. Oh how I love those three words when it comes to the holiday entertaining roller coaster we all choose to hop on this time of year.

Over the past few seasons I have become a fan of serving a welcoming or special drink when guest arrive.  Sometimes I put it in a pitcher for self serve, sometimes in glasses on a tray for guests to help themselves. 

This cuts down on running around and serving drinks as people walk in the door, freeing me up to spend more time with my guests. Love that.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Galanga Macarons with Speculoos Crunchy Cream Filling - Mactweets Challenge #25

Thailand and Holland collide in this rustic looking macaron. The galanga was purchased in Thailand and the speculoos cream was acquired over the Dutch border.

Here's the shopping trick I learned in Europe when living on the border of another country -if stores are closed for a holiday only celebrated in one country, people hop over the border to shop in the other country's open stores. Back home in Germany one day last summer on a holiday, I rode my bike to the nearest Holland supermarket to pick up a jar of my husband's favorite Dutch mayonaise. After spying speculoos cream on an adjacent shelf, a couple of jars were excitedly tossed in my bag as I had never tried the crunchy variety.

There's no going back people. Seriously, who knew it was even possible to improve on speculoos cream. Well hello sexy crunchy!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Pumpkin Pie Spice Graham Crackers

It's the day after Thanksgiving and most Americans have sworn off food until Christmas. Of course now is the perfect opportunity to tempt you with these delicious graham crackers.

I used Smitten Kitchen's graham cracker recipe found here. Two teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice were added to the recipe. 

Instead of cutting then with a knife I used a cutter to cut out the crackers. I can't draw a straight line with a pen or a knife so I knew using a cutter was my best option.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gingerbread Persimmon Curd Trifle with Star Anise Whipped Cream

This might be the most perfect Thanksgiving dessert I have ever made and I have made a lot of Thanksgiving dessert in my life. Very sweet and tangy persimmon curd plays beautifully off spicy gingerbread. The secret to this treat is to not sweeten the whipped cream layer. Just flavor it with ground star anise powder.

The cream adds a luxurious texture to the whole thing with a pop of added flavor but no additional sweetness. This trifle tastes like fall and Thanksgiving and home and hearth wrapped in a fancy package.

What I also love about this dessert is the persimmon curd and gingerbread can be made several days before the big day. You can whip up the cream and put the dessert together the morning of, adding the last layer of whipped cream for just before serving. Also Instead of individual servings you can make one big trifle to make prep even easier.

You will have gingerbread left over unless you halve the recipe. I made the whole thing and plan to smother it with lemon icing then cut it into pieces to take to another Thanksgiving party.

The persimmon curd recipe is from the San Francisco Examiner and found HERE

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fall Rainbow Sherbet: Cranberry, Butternut Squash and Quince

While sitting on a train recently returning to the barrier island town where I grew up, my mind was wandering backwards. One random memory was the rainbow sherbet of my childhood and how incredible it tasted on those hot long lazy beach days. I remembered standing barefoot in a wet bathing suit, hair full of sea water, legs and feet caked with sand clutching that paper cone of cold rainbow sweetness in my hand. I would diligently slurp as the sherbet melted, the sticky streaks of color running down my wrist. It was heaven. 

Back in the autumn food blogging obsessed present, the idea popped into my head to make an "adult" rainbow sherbet version in fall flavors. 

Quinces and a butternut squash were sitting on the counter from a jaunt to the farmer's market. Very reasonably priced fresh cranberries from Trader Joe's rounded out this trifecta of fall rainbow flavors.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cornucopia Apple Pie Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Caramel Buttercream

It's been awhile since I've sprung an over the top cupcake on you so here's one to make it up to you with. Also, some of you were curious about what I was going to do with that pumpkin pie spice fondant I made several weeks ago. My first idea was to make horns of plenty cupcake toppers.

I bought one of Duff's texture tiles in a basket weave pattern at Michael's.

For the horn of the cornucopia I left the fondant the color of the original pumpkin spice marshmallows.

After rolling out the fondant and spraying the mold with non-stick spray, I pressed it into the fondant for the impression, cut it into triangles and formed the horn. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Butterscotch Pumpkin Pie Spice Chocolate Truffles

I was planning to say I glittered these truffles because they are special for the holidays. The truth is I don't need any excuse to bust out the disco dust and glitter things. I would glitter truffles because it's Wednesday. I would glitter my husband if he let me.

I am sure these would have tasted even better rolled in cocoa powder, powdered, cinnamon or large crystal sugar. But glitter won the day so if you need sunglasses to read this post, I apologize in advance.

In my quest to use up all the pumpkin pie spice in my cabinet by Thanksgiving (you may or may not get very tired of those three words, PPS in the next two weeks), throwing this spice mix into truffles was a no brainer. However, you wonderful souls who actually read this blog deserve more than that. So I raided my liqueur cabinet and pulled out a bottle of butterscotch schnapps I usually use to make butterscotch martinis.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Apricot Sage Whole Wheat Biscuits

Like everyone else, I am mulling over this year's Thanksgiving menu. I recently bought some packaged fresh sage in Trader joe's and inside came a little recipe card for sage biscuits.

I revamped the recipe to make it a tad bit healthier and added whole wheat flour and used a lighter fat percentage buttermilk.

Despite my efforts, these taste decadent. A perfect addition to a Thanksgiving meal or a wonderful way to start Thanksgiving day by serving them at breakfast.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Orange Macarons with Aperol Buttercream - Mactweets Challenge #25

I love Aperol because to me it is multi seasonal. In the spring and summer, there's nothing like sitting outside in the good weather sipping a glass of prosecco with a splash of this tasty orange gold. I also think Aperol is appropriate for fall, the color is perfect and the flavor can be spiced up to suit the season.

These are the plain Aperol version. I made them in Germany back in July while still enjoying cold prosecco in the hot early evenings. However, without adding cinnamon, nutmeg or clove they still make one sexy holiday macaron.

The shells may be grabbing all the attention but make no mistake, the Aperol spiked buttercream is doing all the heavy lifting in the flavor department.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pumpkin Fudge Ripple Ice Cream

Here is a confession. I never liked pumpkin. Ever. Then two Thanksgivings ago I set out to make a traditional Thanksgiving feast for my German family simply because they had never experienced one. I was also a little homesick for the holiday.

I planned and made lists. I re-planned and revised lists. The TV producer in me back-timed a two week schedule of what to make when, what and when to shop for when, etc. For two weeks every day I had a to do list. It was a production. Part of this insanity was sucking up my pumpkin aversion and buying sugar pumpkins for the first time, roasting and pureeing them to make a few dishes for the dinner.

The menu was stellar. The feast was a success and I learned I liked pumpkin. Not that stuff in the can. Fresh roasted pumpkin flavor now had my full attention.

Since then, I snatch them up when I first spy them in the market and roast and one after the  other, toasting the seeds and making and freezing puree for different recipes. I have a whole lifetime of pumpkin hating to make up for.

The last few months I've looked high and low for a good pumpkin ice cream recipe. I kept going back to one at Williams Sonoma. The addition of bourbon gives this ice cream a holiday, decadent sexiness.

Because you all know I can't leave things alone, I fudge rippled it. Oh yeah, I did. This pumpkin fudge ripple ice cream is extremely rich. A little goes a long way.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tomato, Pumpkin, Butternut Squash, Turkey Bacon Stew

This is another unplanned recipe. I needed to un-stuff the overstuffed fridge stat. With roasted pumpkin and butternut squash already sitting there along side a gorgeous orange cauliflower, it was time to get down to some serious stew business.

If making this strew from scratch, I warn you, it's time consuming. I had the advantage of the already roasted butternut squash and pumpkin. I also roasted the cauliflower and after making the turkey bacon, I added a teaspoon of butter and caramelized the onions in the same pan before adding them in.

Pepitas and the seeds I roasted from the butternut squash added crunchy goodness. This stew has delicious bright fall flavors. It was the perfect dinner after a long Sunday walking around the city.

The problem came when I went to photograph the stew. My point and shoot I use for this blog seems to have grown legs and wandered off for an adventure of it's own so I used the camera on Dr. B's Blackberry. Please excuse the photos, they do not do the dish justice.

Tomato, Pumpkin, Butternut Squash,
 Turkey Bacon Stew

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Sticky Rolls

Oh yeah. I went there.

Ever since I developed a serious relationship with these mini peanut butter cups from Trader Joe's I have been waiting to use them in a really good baking idea. It was a case of love at first sight.

The dough was spread with peanut butter and then chocolate ganache and sprinkled with mini peanut butter cups. After baking and cooling it was drizzled with peanut butter and chocolate glazes. Then of course more peanut butter cups were sprinkled on top.

What? I had some left over.

This is a killer decadent pastry for peanut butter cup nuts like me.

Me and mini peanut butter cups won't be breaking up any time soon.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pecan Pesto Hummus with Leaf Shaped Pitas

I hate to go all ho hum hummus on you again with my third hummus recipe posting in as many months. However, this one was so amazing I just had to share.

Pecan Pesto hummus sounds fancy but was actually improvised out of desperation. All set to make my roasted butternut squash hummus as an appetizer for a dinner party, I realized too late the main dish I planned had pumpkin in it. The Mad Hausfrau is many things but she does not like to be a boring menu designer. When scanning fridge for another appetizer inspiration I spied a tub of pecan pesto made a few days before to use up a huge shaft of basil leaves. So I went back to the hummus idea throwing in the pecan pesto and it was divine.

Pesto made with pecans can be a little bitter. I mitigated that with a little agave syrup and it worked like a charm. This is a seriously impressive fancy hummus with wonderful flavor. I recommend making a big batch of the pesto, using some to make hummus and the rest to put on pasta as the pesto itself is incredible.

Trader Joe's was out of their usual mini pitas I prefer to serve with hummus so I was stuck with the big ones, planning to cut them into strips and toast. Then I got the idea to haul out some cookie cutters and leaf those big unwieldy pitas in the dust.