Thursday, April 27, 2017

Excellent Remake of an Older Appetizer

As I wrote a couple of days ago, when writing about the foods I made for an Open House, some of the foods were remakes of ones I have made many times previously. One of them was a recipe for Millard's Artichoke Quiches. Originally, the recipe was given to me, and all the neighborhood, by a neighbor named Millard. On first reading the recipe, my first thought was that the recipe should not be able to work as written. 

Still, I decided to give it a shot, and amazingly, it not only came out great - it was really fantastic. The first time I made them was with my sister-in-law, Sherri, and we made them as full-sized muffins. Nothing "mini" about them. We ate them with dinner, as a side dish, and wow, they were good. The flavors were so excellent that I tried making them in mini-muffin size for a get together, and again, they are really wonderful this way. My family and I were dripping Sriracha sauce over top of them when we ate them, certainly upping the heat. And then over the last few years I started experimenting with substitutions for the original ingredients. One was Mini Asparagus Quiches with Feta and Prosciutto, where I was pairing them with a Sauvignon Blanc wine. I made crusts for the quiches in this instance, as any bready-type food helps with absorption of alcohol. They can be made equally as well without the crusts if desired. If you read that blog, I explained my logic.
Smoky Squash & Prosciutto Mini Quiches
Smoky Squash & Prosciutto Mini Quiches (shown on a 4-inch square plate)


Another variation I made in past is Southwest Frittata Bites. Same basic recipe, different substitutions, and that was some time back - I cannot even recall why I opted for that mixture, but they were really good also. I guess where I am going is that this basic recipe allows for a lot of leeway in making new flavor sensations. Just try to keep the quantities of the substitutions similar. Keep the basic 4 eggs and 6 saltines. This gives the basic "quiche" base to work from. Then, play with flavor combinations: 
  • Sub out the 8 ounces of cheddar cheese for other varieties of cheese. 
  • Sub out the 12 ounces of artichoke hearts for about 12 ounces of other foods/flavors, like bacon, asparagus, chicken, prosciutto or other ham, OR
  • Sub out the 12 ounces of artichoke hearts for a combination of things, such as a mix of prosciutto and asparagus, or a mix of canned green chilies and bacon.
If you begin to add too much for the basic 4 eggs to handle, just add another egg to balance things out.  I kept the scallions in all the recipes, sometimes adding in even more than the original called for, depending on what mixture of flavors I was working with. 
 
Smoky Squash and Prosciutto Mini Quiches
Smoky Squash and Prosciutto Mini Quiches

A CAVEAT ON RAW FOODS: 

If you should opt for something like fresh sausage, or other uncooked meat, make sure it is cooked well before it is added to this recipe. The baking time is far too short to completely cook through things like fresh pork sausage or chicken or other fresh meats or fish. Do not add anything you could not eat before adding it. The eggs in the recipe have plenty of time to set around the fillings, but the fillings need to be pre-cooked.

Back to the recipe I created last week, this time I wanted something really different. I baked a butternut squash and pureed it, using just ¾ cup of mashed squash. I had been using Smoked Fontina in other recipes recently and it is a really nice cheese for melting, so I thought I would shred the Smoked Fontina for a smoky flavor and use Prosciutto (actually I used Serrano Ham this time, but Prosciutto is more easily found - they are very similar in style). I also opted to add a bit of Pimenton de la Vera, or Spanish Smoked Paprika, just to help out the smoky flavor.

When I went to the store to get the Smoked Fontina - they were entirely out! So I used an 8-ounce block of Smoked Gouda, which worked wonderfully well. In fact, this particular variation may well by my all-time favorite - they were really addictive. I wanted these to look pretty in photos of the Open House, so this time I decided to slice some cherry tomatoes and set one little slice atop each scoop of the mixture before baking. The tomato does not really cook through, maintaining its red color nicely and making them very attractive.

Thoughts on "mini" muffin tins

I have seen all sorts of things being called "mini". Many are nowhere what I would call mini. When I write of mini-muffin tins, I mean the ones with a base of approximately one-inch in diameter, slightly more or less. It gets more confusing when looking at "Mini-Cheesecake Pans, which fall somewhere between these two in size.

Smoky Squash Prosciutto Mini Quiches
Smoky Squash & Prosciutto Mini Quiches
Smoky Squash & Prosciutto Mini Quiches

Makes about 30 to 35 cocktail bites

4  large eggs
6  saltine crackers, crushed
¾  cup chopped scallions
¾  cup cooked butternut squash, mashed
8  ounces smoked Fontina or Gouda cheese
½  cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3  ounces Prosciutto or Serrano Ham, minced
1  teaspoon Pimenton de la Vera/Smoked Paprika (more or less as desired)
Dash hot sauce
-----------------
cherry tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With cooking spray, spray the wells of mini muffin tins, set aside. 

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the first 9 ingredients until well combined. Use a small (about 2 teaspoon) "cookie scoop", or use about 2 teaspoons of the mixture into each mini-muffin well. Slice the cherry tomatoes, discarding the two ends. Place one perfect slice on top of the filling in each well. Bake the quiches for about 18 to 20 minutes, turning the pan halfway through the baking time. Out of the oven, let stand for 2 to 3 minutes, then use a sharp knife to loosen the edges, then lift each of the quiches. Set them onto a rack to cool. 
 
Slice cherry tomatoes, place on unbaked quiches and bake
Slice cherry tomatoes, place on unbaked quiches and bake

They may be served immediately, while warm or at room temperature. They may be wrapped tightly and frozen, for up to 3 weeks. Set them onto a baking sheet to thaw slightly, then reheat at 350 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes.


My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest at AHOFpin. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.

Monday, April 24, 2017

An Open House and new Appetizers

Yesterday afternoon Tetiana Althoff, a realtor with Re/Max Preferred Choice here in town, held an Open House at  2605 Pheasant Run Blvd. I was asked to volunteer some appetizers for this, as one of the "high-end" open houses featuring wine and food. It was a lovely afternoon, and quite a few people came to look through the house and partake of the treats.

Appetizers at the Open House
Appetizers, clockwise from top left: Squash Prosciutto & Smoked Gouda Quiches, Savory Brie & Rosemary Cheesecakes, Cream Cheese & Tart Cherry Filled Apricots, Blue Cheese Wafers

When approached about this Open House, I started looking through recipes to see what appealed to me. I have a stack of folders at least 5-inches thick with all sorts of recipes I have saved, from online or from magazines, and some are scribbled ideas I had at some point. Looking through these folders for ideas, I found a recipe I had printed from the internet for Camembert Cheesecakes and thought, hmmm, maybe it's finally time to try these. I also came across a recipe my sister used for one of our 50th birthday parties. It is similar to my own Pistachio and Almond Paste Filled Apricots, in that it uses dried apricots and has them stuffed with a filling, but this recipe from A Taste of Home) used far more ingredients. They are really good, but I believe I will stick to my original recipe from here on out. For one, it uses less ingredients, and secondly, my recipe is far easier to make. In a comparison, while both are tasty, I think my original recipe is tastier. That does not mean these "new ones" aren't good, because they are delicious (just a bit more fuss to make).
Savory Brie & Rosemary Mini-Cheesecakes
Savory Brie & Rosemary Mini-Cheesecakes

The other two recipes I made were variations on some I have made previously. The Blue Cheese Wafers are a variation on my Savory Blue Cheese Coins with Apricot Jam. In this new version, I used all smoked blue cheese, with no cheddar at all, and almond meal rather than walnuts. For the topping, rather than Apricot Jam, I used the Fig Apricot Preserve I made recently for the little tamales at the "Renaissance Festival." I really love how this Preserve worked on these little savory wafers. The jam in the original recipe tends to bubble up and flow all over the place when baking. This Preserve I had made, is less sweet altogether and it stayed in place, no bubbling and spilling. 

The other recipe variation is the mini quiches. Originally, I got the recipe from a neighbor in Florida, and those, called "Millard's Artichoke Quiches," uses marinated artichoke hearts and cheddar cheese. While they are absolutely fabulous in flavor, I wanted to try something new. In this new version, I eliminated the artichokes and cheddar, then cooked some butternut squash to add in, plus Prosciutto and smoked Gouda cheese. Those were just out of this world!
 
Savory Brie & Rosemary Cheesecakes
Savory Brie & Rosemary Cheesecakes, served at the Open House

I will put the recipes for these last three items in a future blog or two, but in this one I want to concentrate on the little Savory Brie Cheesecakes. I had found this recipe, called Camembert Cheesecakes, online, some time ago I used the recipe, but with some changes. The first and foremost was the use of Brie instead of Camembert. Our local grocery often carries Camembert, but did not have any this time. Brie it was, then. I doubled the recipe, as I wanted more than just 12, but then found I still had enough cheesecake batter for 6 more, so I made an extra half recipe of crust. This turned out 30 little cheesecakes. And, they were really excellent.

Norpro Mini Cheesecake Pan
Norpro Mini Cheesecake Pan
I had just recently created a recipe for Roasted Tomato Pickle, and with these relatively bland cheesecakes (though full of flavor, they are mainly cheese), I thought that maybe a little strip of this new tomato condiment would add some zip. Oh boy, did it ever! Honestly, that Roasted Tomato Pickle is one of my most inspired condiments in a long while! As it turned out, while the cheesecakes puffed up beautifully in the oven, they fell into a significant dip in the center, once they cooled. And, as it happened, that little dip was the perfect place to set the piece of tomato. A good thing all around. 

To make these cheesecakes, I used a Norpro brand mini-cheesecake pan (available on Amazon.com and many other places). It has 12 wells with removable bottoms, making for easy release. These turn out a little cheesecake that is smaller than if made in a regular muffin tin, and more straight-sided, but much larger than if made in the little mini-muffin tins. These are about 1¾-inch diameter at the base. I didn't measure, but I have a good eye for dimensions. If you do not have a mini-cheesecake pan, I truly do not know how to say what I would do in a different sized pan. These might work well in a regular muffin tin, with those new smooth-sided muffin papers, but I cannot say how many would come out, or baking times. If you do have a mini-cheesecake pan, then here is a really great, and beautiful recipe to use.

When making these, I wanted to line the wells of the cheesecake tin, to ensure ease of release from the sides. The original recipe says to run a knife around the edges to release, but too often I end up gouging the sides with the knife, making it very unsightly. These were for a special occasion, and looks were important. It may have been easy enough to press the crust into the pans, but I felt that forming the crust dough into a log and chilling it first would make things easier. I figured this way I would slice the log and set the wafer into the cheesecake well, line the well with paper before the crust was pressed to the edges, then press the crust into the edges to bake. This worked very easily and quickly. I used a 2-teaspoon "cookie scoop" and used two scoops to fill the pans. They puffed up to the top during baking, then fell into a dip in the center. 

Slice crust into pan - line pan - press crust to edges - bake
I have only one of these mini cheesecake tins, so I made these in batches. With the parchment lining the sides, there was no mess clinging to sides. The crust releases very easily; I just wiped each base plate with a paper towel before re-inserting for the next batch.

Savory Brie & Rosemary Cheesecakes

Makes 30 
Savory Brie & Rosemary Cheesecakes
Savory Brie & Rosemary Cheesecakes

CRUST:
1¼ sticks butter (10 tablespoons / 141 grams)
½ cup + 2 tablespoons almond meal (2 ounces / 56 grams)
1¼ cups all-purpose flour (5.2 ounces / 176 grams)
½ teaspoon salt, plus a pinch (0.1 ounce / 2 grams)
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves (0.05 ounce / 1 gram)

CHEESECAKE FILLING:
2 (8-ounce / 226 gram) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 (8-ounce / 226 grams) package Brie, at room temperature
2 large eggs 
2 teaspoons (0.10 ounces / 2 grams) minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon (0.05 ounce / 1 gram) Aleppo pepper, optional
½ teaspoon (0.05 ounce / 1 gram) freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (8-ounces / 300 grams) sour cream 

Make the Crust: Place the almond meal flour, rosemary, salt, pepper and Aleppo pepper into a mixing bowl. Add in the softened butter and cut in with a pastry cutter or two knives until the mixture starts to come together. Using hands, gather the mixture into a ball, then shape into a log, slightly less in diameter than the diameter of the cheesecake wells. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes. 

Cut strips of parchment paper to just overlap inside the wells of the pan and to stand just a little taller than the well's height. The pieces should be just about 7 to 8 inches long by about 2-inches wide. You will need 30 altogether. Set these aside.

Preheat oven to350 degrees. Once chilled, slice the chilled dough into approximately ¼-inch thick coins. Place the coins into the bottom of the cheesecake pan wells. They should not quite touch the edges of the pan, yet. Set the parchment pieces around the sides of the wells, making sure they reach the bottom of the wells. Now, reach in and press the dough into the edges. This holds the parchment in place. Bake the crusts until set, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and allow the pan to cool slightly before filling with cheesecake batter.
Cheesecake batter - filling the wells - baked


Make the Cheesecake Batter: Make sure the cheeses are very much at room temperature. If you are not over fond of the Brie rind, trim some of it off. Place the cream cheese and the soft Brie into a large bowl and mix using a hand mixer until most, but not all, of the lumpiness of the Brie is gone. Beat in the eggs, rosemary, Aleppo pepper, black pepper until combined, then add in the sour cream and beat to mix. Scoop about 4 teaspoons of the mixture into each of the parchment lined wells, on top of the baked crusts. Bake the cheesecakes for about 12 minutes, or until set and just barely beginning to brown. 

Remove from oven and allow the pan to cool enough to handle, then press each cheesecake up from the bottom, remove the base plate and set the cheesecakes aside to cool. Repeat with making the cheesecakes until they are all done. Refrigerate the cheesecakes for at least 2 hours before serving. 

For a wonderful topping, make the Roasted Tomato Pickle. Slice pieces of the tomato and curl on top of each cheesecake. Serve chilled. Decorate with more rosemary, if desired.


My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest at AHOFpin. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.  

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Roasted Tomato Condiment Packed with Flavor

First off, I have to tell a bit of a story. The morning after the Renaissance Festival fundraiser on April 8th, benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of Aberdeen, I was just worn out. My feet hurt, and I had a lot of cooking still to do, with guests at the house. I'd gotten plenty of sleep, but I was on my feet a lot, in heels (which I rarely wear), and a great night's sleep aside, my feet still hurt. So, as head cook and bottle washer in the house, I made an executive decision: "We are going out for breakfast!"

Heidi and Rich
Heidi and Rich
Our guests, Heidi and Rich were here over that Renaissance Festival weekend, and I do a lot of cooking for any guests. I think we may have gone out to eat only once in these years and many many visits we've made between us all. Being a small town, there aren't a huge amount of options for breakfast, so we went to Perkins®. My husband and I went to Perkins® for dinner one evening a few weeks back, and as we often do, we had breakfast. They had some specials going, and I had some sort of "Eggs Benedict," with bacon, avocado and some "slow-roasted" tomatoes, with the usual English Muffin, poached eggs and Hollandaise. Oh, wow, was that ever good. While everything on the plate was fantastic, what really made the dish stand out was those tomatoes. They had some real zip in their flavor, and were almost, but not quite, sweet. 

So, back to our breakfast with friends. I had been really busy these few weeks, so I had forgotten all about that wonderful version of Eggs Benedict, until perusing the specials menu again. When I spotted that dish, I had to have it. Heidi had something called the "Mediterranean". This was an omelette with spinach, "slow-roasted tomatoes" and Feta cheese, topped with Hollandaise. 
Roasted Tomato Pickle
Roasted Tomato Pickle


While eating, I mentioned how much I loved the tomatoes in my dish, only then noticing that Heidi also had them in her dish. I asked what she thought of them, for flavor, and also started looking at them in light of how could I duplicate these, flavor-wise. Rich mentioned that a friend of his makes some roasted tomatoes with red wine vinegar and garlic (for Rich, there is no other main condiment but garlic!). Heidi and I compared pieces of the tomatoes. I was trying to determine if they were sun-dried and then made into this condiment, or were they roasted. I had come to the conclusion they were roasted, because some parts of the tomato still looked like moist tomato, unlike any sun-dried variety I'd ever seen. I set these mental findings aside for the day, but after the guests had left for home, I started thinking again.
Roasted Tomato Pickle, just jarred
Roasted Tomato Pickle, just jarred

I started planning what I wanted to do: first, roast the tomatoes. But then what? Garlic...hmmm. When I steam vegetables, I usually pass a few fresh garlic cloves through my Zyliss garlic press and into a small saucepan. I add in olive oil and a little butter and set the pan on a warming burner, to steep for a minimum of 20 minutes, and up to a couple of hours, depending on the urgency, then pour this over the steamed veggies.. I opted to do this same thing, leaving the butter out. This way, the garlic flavor would be there, but not "in-your-face." Also, I didn't want butter in the mixture at all. 

I thought about the red wine vinegar that Rich had mentioned. But there was also that element of sweetness. I thought of Balsamic vinegar. The tomatoes in the dishes at Perkins® had no other clinging condiments - they were just the pretty red tomato halves. Still, I thought I might add some shallot. And last minute I opted for a few capers, also. My first attempt turned out really good. Tasting the mixture freshly made, it still seemed not quite as I remembered, and definitely lacking sweetness, so I added a teaspoon of honey. That was better. I put them in a jar and in the fridge.
 
Garlic in Oil - Roasted Tomatoes - Sauce
Garlic in Oil - Roasted Tomatoes - Sauce

When I pulled them out a few days later to try, they were SOOOOO good. They may not be a perfect match for those from the restaurant, but they are darned close, and absolutely heavenly. I used some on a grilled cheese sandwich and they took that sandwich to heights heretofore unknown!

Roasted Tomato Pickle
Roasted Tomato Pickle

Roasted Tomato Pickle


Makes about 1½ cups

TOMATOES:
1 pound Roma tomatoes
salt, for sprinkling
fresh ground pepper, for sprinkling
1 - 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
olive oil, for sprinkling 

GARLIC OIL:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 - 3 cloves garlic, through garlic press or minced

SAUCE:
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon nonpareil capers
1 teaspoon honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil, spray the foil with cooking spray and set aside.
Score tomatoes and remove seeds
Score tomatoes and remove seeds

Cut the tomatoes lengthwise in half, then each half lengthwise into halves, making four long pieces from each tomato. Over the sink or over a bowl, using fingers, remove all the seeds and wetter parts of the tomatoes and discard. Using a sharp, serrated knife, score the tomato skins twice on each segment of tomato. Place them skin side upwards on the foil lines baking sheet. Sprinkle each tomato segment with a little salt, a little pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and some of the thyme leaves. Set the pan in the oven and time it for 1 hour. 

Check the tomatoes about halfway through the baking period, and turn the pieces over with tongs. At near the hour, check the tomatoes and remove any that are getting too dark, or are apparently dried and a bit leathery. Continue baking, keeping watch. They may need more than an hour. Some of my tomatoes were very large and took a total of 1 hour 20 minutes.

While the tomatoes are roasting, set a small saucepan on a warming burner or over a small burner at lowest possible temperature. Add in the garlic and allow to steep. If the oil starts to simmer, remove the pan from the heat, or set the pan only partially on the burner. The mixture should steep in hot oil, but not boil or burn the garlic.

In a bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce and stir to dissolve honey. 

Once the tomatoes are done, add them to the sauce and pour the garlic and oil over top. Stir, then pour into a glass jar with lid. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.



My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest at AHOFpin. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.

 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Please Enjoy My April Newsletter

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A Harmony of Flavors April 2017 Newsletter
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Happy Easter, Friend

Easter in my Slovak / Serbian Family was centered around family and traditions. Easter eggs and candy were there, but just as ubiquitous were Beets with Horseradish to accompany the ham, freshly baked rich bread, hard boiled eggs, painstakingly colored, and a quasi-cheese type food called sirets (or ciretz). To this day, ham just doesn't seem right without the beets with horseradish accompaniment. Traditions are wonderful.

Please check "A Harmony of Flavors" website and "A Harmony of Flavors" blog site, continually being updated with new recipes. There is a lot to choose from!
appetizers, wine pairing, wine tasting
This Year's Boys and Girls Club Fundraiser Event . . .

Saturday, April 8th, marked the 5th annual Boys and Girls Club Fundraiser, featuring many wines and spirits, as well as foods offered by various chefs, volunteers and others. As "A Harmony of Flavors," I have contributed to this ever since its first year. My appetizer offerings this year were:
  1. Sweet Potato Bourbon Tamales with Country Ham and Cheese, served with a Terra d'Oro Chenin Blanc/Viognier
  2. Grilled Flank Steak Rolls with Asaigo and Arugula, served with Charles & Charles Red Blend (Cabernet & Merlot)
  3. Mini Greek Lamb Sliders with Tapenade, served with J. Lohr 'Tower Road' Petite Sirah
  4. Brie in Phyllo Cups with Cherry Preserve & Pistachios, served with Stella Rosa 'Black'
I am very pleased to say that my selected wines paired with my foods just perfectly. The goal is that the wine and the food complement each other, making it a most harmonious tasting. I accomplish this by creating a food that falls within the confines of the types of foods that pair best with the particular wine varietal(s). Online, it is generally easy to find suggestions both from the wine makers themselves, as well as various wine sites and wine ratings, where foods are suggested. From there I created a series of tables, with each column focused on one wine varietal, and the foods that pair best.

This month, rather than a bonus recipe, I am making my wine rating sheets available. There is one for red wine and one for white wine. They are created on a legal sized sheet (8 1/2 x 14-inches), so plan accordingly when printing.
CLICK HERE for a White Wine Rating Sheet
CLICK HERE for a Red Wine Rating Sheet
From 2013 . . .

As mentioned above, Beets with Horseradish was one of my paternal grandmother's traditional Easter accompaniment with ham. Grandma and Mom both used plain cooked beets, finely shredded, and adding in a little salt, sugar, and a prepared horseradish to suit their tastes.

As time has passed, I have opted to use pickled beets, whether my own canned beets or store-bought. Pickled beets already have salt, sugar and flavors going on, so no further seasoning is needed but for the addition of the horseradish, the amount of horseradish is entirely up to personal preference. I like it a bit hot, but it can be ramped up or toned down. I use about a tablespoon per jar of beets. Even if you've never heard of such a thing, but you like beets and you like horseradish, I would urge you to five this a try.
beets, pickled beets, horseradish, ham accompaniment
bread recipe, Easter Bread, family recipe
Remembering Mom's Easter Bread

Grandma called her bread Pascha." It can be made in a round pan, or just shaped into a round loaf, then topped with one of various types of a "crown of thorns." In this case, I intertwined long rolled strands of dough and set them atop the loaf before proofing. In Mom's case, generally it was just a braided loaf set in a pan to rise.

To add that "extra special" shine, just before baking, whisk an egg with a bit of water and brush this egg wash all over the top with a pastry brush. Read about how I have updated Mom's bread in my Kitchen-Aid mixer, here.
bread, egg bread, Easter bread
It has been years since I first heard about the little French pastries called Macarons. These are the little sandwiches of meringue type cookie, colored in all sorts of amazing colors and filled with all sorts of flavored and colored fillings. Ever since first seeing photos, I really wanted to try them. Somehow, the time just never seemed right, and so the years have gone by. Now, even here in Aberdeen, SD, I can buy these little pastries at "CJ's Patisserie" in town. And I figured I would try them out. The plan was to make them for the Fundraising event, and to pair them with the Stella Rosa 'Black' wine. And in fact they paired absolutely perfectly with that wine. But these little things are a bit labor intensive, so I threw in the towel on that idea. Meanwhile, we had macarons here at home, for the first time.

My goal was to try making them a bit less sweet, because those I had tasted were so cloying, I couldn't even eat a second one, and I have a very serious sweet tooth.
Read about my recipe development, here.
less sweet macarons, chocolate macarons, chocolate ganache
spice mix, beef, pork, recipe
Beef and Pork Seasoning

I bought a bottle of something called "Beef and Pork Seasoning" a long time ago. It was really tasty, so I looked at the list of spice ingredients and created a version of my own, which I have altered and refined over the years. I love this stuff! It is wonderful on burgers and steak or chops, and can be added to stews or roasts. Just get all the whole spices and mix them in a spice grinder and voila! Read the recipe (and lots of others) here.
author, Chris Rawstern
Happy St. Patrick's Day 2017. I hope you will visit all my sites and try some new (or old) recipes, learn something new about an herb or spice or other subject, or maybe just daydream. However it is accomplished, I endeavor to provide articles of interest. Not everyone cooks these days, due to time constraints. I did cook meals for my family back when I had 4 youngsters and worked 2 jobs, so I know it can be done, though it requires some real attention to detail. Many of my recipes are created now that I am retired and have extra time on my hands, yet many are easy and quick.
Please forward this newsletter to any friends who may find my stories, articles and recipes of interest. Subscribe to this Newsletter by hitting the Subscribe Button below. Follow me on Facebook, check out my A Harmony of Flavors website, and A Harmony of Flavors blog. Find all my food (and lots of other) photos on Pinterest at AHOFpin.
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