Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Crescent Moon

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Confectioners' sugar
How to make:
  1. In nonstick skillet, lightly toast walnuts over medium heat, shaking skillet frequently, until nuts are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Transfer walnuts to food processor, and add 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Process until finely ground. In large bowl, with mixer on high, beat butter and remaining granulated sugar until fluffly, about 3 minutes. Gradually add flour, sour cream, vanilla, salt, and walnut mixture until well combined. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into disk. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 1 hour.
  3. Heat oven to 350 degree F. Flour hands lightly. Working with  half of dough at a time, shape heaping teaspoonfuls into crescents. Place crescents on baking sheet, 2" apart. Bake 18 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheet 3 minutes. While cookies are slightly warm, dredge in confectioners' sugar to coat. Cool completely on wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough and sugar. Store cookies in airtight container. Makes about 6 dozen.

Sweet Stockings

Dazzle those kids and beloved family to you this holiday season with these easy-to-make-and-beautiful-to-behold sweet Xmas stocking cookies.


1. Sugar Cookie Dough
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
2. Decorations
  • Royal Icing (recipe below)
  • Green and red food coloring
  • Green, red, and white sprinkles
3. Royal Icing
  • 1 box (1 lb.) confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoon powdered egg whites
  • 5 to 6 tablespoon water

How to make:
  1. In large bowl, with mixer on medium-high, beat butter and sugar until fluffly. Beat in eggs, corn syrup, and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, and beat in flour. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into disk. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 1 hour.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degree F. Roll dough to 1/4" thickness on floured surface. Using 4" stocking-shaped cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Transfer to baking sheet, 1" part. Using drinking straw, punch hole in top corner of each stocking for hanging. Bake 16 minutes, or until golden. Cool 1 minute. Transfer cookies to wire rack, and cool completely.
  3. To decorate: Put 1/2 cup icing in bowl. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use. Divide remaining icing into two bowls, and tint one batch green and the other red. Transfer 1/3 cup each to resealable plastic bags.
  4. Thin each remaining colored icing with 1 tablespoon water. Using tip of index finger, spread green or red icing over cookie, leaving top 1" uniced. Let dry 30 minutes. Spread reserved white icing on top part of cookie, and cover with colored sprinkles. Snip off corner of icing bags. Decorate stockings with contrasting icing as shown on picture above. Makes about 2 dozen.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

St. Nick Cookies

Baking cookies at Christmas is a tradition for many people. It brings families and friends together with the warm goodness of cookies fresh from the oven. Try this tasty St. Nick decorated cookies.

  • 1 batch sugar-cookie dough (recipe below)
  • Royal icing (recipe below)
  • red food coloring white sprinkles
  • black tube icing
  • hot cinnamon candles
Sugar-cookie dough
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, with mixer on medium-high, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, corn syrup, and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, and beat in flour. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into disk. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 1 hour.

Royal icing
  • 1 box (1lb) confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons powdered egg whites
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons water
In a large bowl, with mixer on low, beat together all ingredients until well combined. Increase speed to high, and continue beating until stiff peaks form. If not using immediately, press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of icing and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. (Bring icing to room temperature before using.)

How to make the St. Nick cookies:
  1. Heat oven to 350 degree F. Roll dough to 1/4" thickness on floured surface. Using 3" santa-face cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can. Carefully transfer to baking sheet, 1" apart. Bake 14 to 18 minutes, or until golden. Cool 1 minute. Transfer cookies to wire rack, and let cool completely.
  2. To decorate: Thin 1 cup royal icing with 1 tablespoon water, and tint red with food coloring. Using tip of index finger, spread red icing over hat, let dry 30 minutes. Spread white icing on pom-pom and bottom edge of hat. Cover with sprinkles. Spread santa's beard with white icing, and fluff with tip of spoon. For face, pipe black-icing eyes and attach cinnamon-candy nose. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Crab Cakes

You know when you're eating a great crab cake: Chunks of meaty crab accented with ingredients hand-picked to bring out the crustacean's sweet and briny flavour almost melt in your mouth. Here's how you can make a batch at home. Repeat with us: Toss, pat, fry ...toss, pat, fry; no overmixing allowed. Then, and only then, will your delightful cakes reach that impeccable balance between tender center and crunchy exterior.
Hold that thought, and walk with us through the steps to crab-cake mastery. You start by mixing together everything but the crab. When that's all well combined, carefully toss the crabmeat with the mayonnaise mixture, just until the meat is moistened. Bring your bowl of potential crab cakes to the stove, heat your pan, and start forming. Shape them by gathering the mixture into a ball in your hand. Pat the ball into a patty. Then press on bread crumbs. To get evenly sized cakes, scoop the crabmeat mixture into your hand with a half-cup measure.
If you'd rather go freehand, just scoop up an amount that looks right to you, shape into a cake, and cook as directed. (Make sure they're about 1/2 inch thick so cakes will be cooked through by the time they're browned.)
As you finish forming each cake, lower it gently into the hot pan. When the cakes are fried to a nice toasty color (about the shade of a pancake), serve them with the Tartar Sauce we provide (recipe below), your favorite cocktail sauce, mustard, or just a wedge of fresh lemon

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook: 6 minutes

  • 1 6- to 8- oz. pkg. fresh or frozen lump crabmeat or one 6- ounce can crabmeat, drained, flaked, and cartilage removed
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 6 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped carrot
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion (green part only; chop and set aside the white part for the Tartar sauce (see recipe below)
  • 2 tablespoon mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon bottled hot pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil
  • Lemon wedges (optional)
  • 1 recipe Tartar Sauce
How to make:
  1. Thaw crabmeat in the refrigerator, if frozen; drain. In a medium mixing bowl combine egg, 4 tablespoons of the bread crumbs, the carrot, celery, onion, mayonnaise, dry mustard, salt, and hot pepper sauce. Gently stir in crabmeat just until combined. With wet hands, gently shape mixture into four 1.2-inch-thick patties, about 3 1/2 inches in diameter.
  2. Place remaining crumbs in a shallow dish. Coat both sides of the patties with crumbs.
  3. In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add crab cakes. Cook about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and heated through. Serve immediately with lemon wedges, if desired, and Tartar Sauce. Makes 4 servings. *When using canned crabmeat, omit the e1/4 teaspoon salt.
Tartar Sauce:
In a small bowl stir together 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon chopped celery leaves, 1 tablespoon sweet or dill pickle relish, 1 tablespoon capers, and 1 tablespoon chopped white ends of green onions.

  1. To keep the crab intact, add it last so you'll have lots of big savory chunks to bite into.
  2. Pat lightly into shape; cakes will seem too crumbly at this  stage, but cooking will firm them up.
  3. The crabmeat is already cooked, but the eggs aren't, so keep cakes on the heat until they are a nice golden brown. An instant-read thermometer should reach 160 degree F with the tip of the probe inserted sideways into the cake.

Nutrition facts per cake and 1 tablespoon Tartar Sauce: 298 calories, 26 g total fat (4 g saturated fat), 119 mg cholesterol, 560 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrate, 0 g dietary fiber, 11 g protein.
Daily values: 25% vit. A, 3% vit. C, 7% calcium, 6% Iron.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Apple-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Tart apples and sweet apricot preserves jazz up these chicken breasts.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

  • 3 teaspoons butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 (Granny Smith) apple, peeled and grated (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon apricot preserves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 bone-in full chicken breasts
How to make:
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. In saucepan, melt 2 teaspoons butter over high heat. Stir in onion and cook 3 minutes. Stir in apple, apricot preserves, salt, and cinnamon. Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Cool 5 minutes.
  2. Peel skin off chicken breast, leaving it attached at wing joint. Place half of apple mixture on each breast; fold skin back over filling and secure with toothpick. Melt remaining 1 teaspoon butter and brush over tops of chicken breasts. Place in baking pan, and bake 45 minutes.
  3. Let chicken rest 10 minutes. Peel breast meat away from bone and slice.
Nutrition per serving: 414 calories, 55 g protein, 17 g fat, 7 g carbohydrate, 31 mg calcium, 1 g fiber.

Patwork Pie

Let your child help you cut the patch-work pieces of dough for these savory pies while you make the filling.

Prep time: 12 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon each pepper and thyme
  • Pinch nutmed
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1 package (1 lb.) frozen Italian style mixed vegetables, defrosted
  • 2 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1/2 (15 oz.) package refrigerated piecrust (1 crust)
How to make:
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large saucepot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Stir in flour, pepper, thyme, and nutmeg. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Whisk in chicken broth and half-and-half. Bring to a boil, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly for 3 minutes. Stir in mixed vegetables and chicken. Divided mixture among 8 one-cup baking dishes, or spoon into 2-quart baking dish.
  2. Unfold pie crust; use fluted pastry wheel or pizza cutter to cut pastry into randomly shaped pieces. Place pieces over top of filling, overlapping edges to create a patchwork pattern. Bake 30 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown.
Nutrition per serving: 272 calories, 10 g protein, 15 g fat, 21 g carbohydrate, 23 mg calcium, 2 g fiber.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Honey Drumsticks

Made for little hands, these sweet drumsticks will have everyone licking their fingers.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 10 chicken drumsticks
How to make:
  1. Heat oven to 400 degree F. Line large bakin pan with aluminium foil.
  2. In bowl, combine honey, ketchup, soy sauce, and ginger. Add drumsticks and toos to coat. Place drumsticks on baking pan, and bake 30 minutes.
Nutrition per serving: 148 calories, 14 g protein, 6 g fat, 9 g carbohydrate, 8 mg calcium, 0 g fiber.