October Edition is ready for you!

October Edition is ready for you!

The October Edition is up and ready for you to devour some new recipes!

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Sweet Palmiers

Sweet Palmiers

These sweet, airy, crisp pastries are easily assembled with little fuss in your kitchen.  Sweet Palmiers are the perfect accompaniment to a morning or afternoon cup of tea or coffee, and keep for about a week in a air-tight container.  Be sure to bake them until they are a deep, golden brown; under-baking causes them to be soft and limp, not at all what we want in this yummy bit of sweetness.

Equipment needed:  Half sheet pans     Chef's Knife    Bench Scraper     

  Rolling Pin  Silicone baking mats      Cutting Board       Spatula

1 sheet of frozen Puff Pastry, defrosted in the refrigerator until completely thawed.

1/2 cup of white sugar

2 teaspoons orange zest

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.

Combine the sugar, zest, and cinnamon in a small bowl and stir until well combined.

Unfold the pastry on a large cutting board or counter top.  Using the pastry as a guide, spread half of the sugar mixture on the counter or board, approximating the size of the sheet of pastry.  Lay the puff pastry on top of the sugar mixture.  Sprinkle the remaining sugar mixture over the top of the pastry evenly.  Using a rolling pin, roll al over the pastry to evenly press the sugar into the pastry, and also even out and thin the pastry just a bit.

Fold the short ends of the pastry over to the center of the pastry sheet.  Scrape up any loose sugar with a bench scraper and sprinkle it over the top of the partially-folded pastry.  Repeat the fold again from the short end of the pastry.  Now fold the two halves onto each other.  Press together well and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.  (See video for demonstration of how to fold the pastry!)

Line 2-3 sheet pans with silicone baking mats.

Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and, using a very sharp knife, slice into 1/4-inch slices and place on the prepared baking sheets, at least an inch apart.

Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven and flip the pastries over.  (The sugar will be extremely hot, take care not to touch it.)  Continue baking an additional 6-8 minutes, or until a deep golden brown.  (Check frequently, as ovens vary!  Use your eyes and nose!)

Cool completely on a cooling rack before serving.  Store in an airtight container.

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Cheese Straws

Cheese Twists on the buffet of a benefit where I demonstrated how to make them!  Watch the video for a little help with shaping them. 

Puff pastry is my favorite prepared food to have on hand for last-minute appetizers, entrees and desserts or pastries.  This recipe can be tailored to your personal tastes; change up the cheese and size of the cheese straws, add poppy or sesame seeds, or herbs; this is the basic method and recipe.  My husband, Barry, loves these, and calls them "Cheese Poles" because they remind him of barber poles.  I'm good with that!

Equipment needed: Pastry brush, baking sheets, parchment paper, rolling pin, pizza cutter

1 package frozen puff pastry

1 egg

1/2 cup finely-grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup finely-grated Asiago cheese

1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425-degrees.  Line 3 half-sheet pans with parchment.

Lightly dust a board or the counter top with flour. Lay the pastry out on the floured surface, then dust the pastry lightly with flour.  Roll lightly with a rolling pin to even out. 

Beat egg with 1 tablespoon of water until completely homogeneous.  Brush liberally all over the puff pastry, making sure to cover every single bit of the pastry.  Combine the cheeses and black pepper well and sprinkle generously and evenly over the pastry (you may not use it all).  Lightly run the rolling pin over the cheese mixture to secure it to the pastry.

Using a pizza cutter or large chef's knife, cut the pastry in half, then quarters, then eighths, then into 24 strips. (You make them thinner or thicker, if you desire, just don't make them too thin or they won't be sturdy enough. Remember, they puff up a lot in the oven.)  If you want shorter twists, cut the pastry in half horizontally, doubling the number of twists you will get.

Lift each strip and gently twist from both ends until they look like a barber pole.  Lay on the prepared sheet pans, pressing the egg-washed side of each end down to hold the twist in place.  Repeat with all of the pieces. 

Bake for 20 minutes, or until a deep golden brown (your oven may heat and bake differently, so use your eyes and nose!).

Cool completely and serve.  These can be made 3-4 days in advance and stored in a air-tight storage container or extra-large plastic zip bag.

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Savory Stuffed Mushrooms

Savory Stuffed Mushroom

Savory Stuffed Mushroom

This recipe is the result of a visit to a vegetarian restaurant.  The mushroom stuffed with ricotta cheese and herbs, dusted with bread crumbs and baked was a totally satisfying entree, so I came home and set about re-creating the dish.  This recipe is super-easy and fast to make, so it's perfect for a last-minute dinner.  Enjoy!

For each serving:

1 large Portabello mushroom, brushed clean, stem and "gills" (inside the cap, scrape out the black gills with a 1/2 measuring spoon)

1/3 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

3 Tablespoons grated Asiago cheese

1/4 teaspoon each finely minced fresh rosemary, sage, thyme and parsley (substitute 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs de provence if no fresh herbs are available.  Fresh are best!)

pinch each of salt and pepper

2 Tablespoons fresh bread crumbs

1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

1 Teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.

Place the clean mushroom on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.

Combine the ricotta, Asiago, herbs, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well.  Mound the cheese into the mushroom cap and spread evenly.

Mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and olive oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the cheese.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the mushroom is soft, the cheese is heated through, and the bread crumbs are brown.

Let rest for about 5 minutes before serving.


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Chocolate Sauce

Chocolate Sauce

Better than anything available for purchase, this chocolate sauce is EASY!

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Autumn Cole Slaw

It is understood that kale is exceptionally nutritious. It needs some TLC, though, to prepare it in a way that is truly enjoyable.  This salad is bursting with kale TLC; it is as delicious as it is healthy.  It is best if it is allowed to sit for a few hours in the refrigerator before serving, (while the dressing works its magic), so be sure to make it ahead of time.

5 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced thin (can use a thin blade of a food processor)

6 ounces of kale leaves, center rib removed, cut into julienne, massaged with your hands while adding to the bowl

2 cups of thinly sliced or shredded radicchio (or red cabbage if you find radicchio too bitter)

4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 cup dried cranberries

4 ounces Parmesan shards (or large shreds)

Combine all of the vegetables in a large bowl.  Whisk together juice, oil, salt, pepper & sugar.  Add to the greens along with the cranberries and cheese and toss well.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours.

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Stuffed Pepper & Beef Soup

Stuffed Pepper & Beef Soup

Stuffed Pepper & Beef Soup

This soup tastes like stuffed peppers!  It is filled with ground beef, red and green peppers, tomatoes, rice, and lots of flavor.  Serve this when you need something hearty!  Bonus; it's super easy to make!  Serves 8

1 pound lean ground beef

4 medium or 2 large green bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (See Video)

2 medium or 1 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 cups chopped onion

4 cups beef broth

2 cups water

1 cup uncooked rice

28 ounces canned diced tomatoes, undrained

4 teaspoons dried basil

3 cups good-quality or homemade marinara sauce

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salt & pepper, to taste

In a large soup or stock pot, brown the beef over medium-high heat, breaking up any chunks with a potato masher.  Cook until well browned.

Add the peppers and onions; season with a bit of salt and pepper.  Cook and stir until softened and beginning to brown.  Stir in the broth, water, rice and basil.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer about 20 minutes, until the rice is tender.

Stir in the tomatoes, marinara, and vinegar.  Bring back to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for another 15 minutes.  Adjust the seasoning to taste.


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Farmers Market Barbecue Sauce

A BBQ Beef Brisket Sandwich with Sweet Potato Strings.  The beef is bathed in Farmer    's Market Barbecue Sauce!

A BBQ Beef Brisket Sandwich with Sweet Potato Strings.  The beef is bathed in Farmer's Market Barbecue Sauce!

This sauce is so named because it was developed as a part of the BBQ Beef Brisket that was sold by the pound at our Farmers Market Booth in South Bend, IN.  It was a huge seller, particularly popular during football season.  This is a complex sauce with quite a few ingredients, but it is well worth making. (While I am content with the sauce as is, it can be made spicier to suite your heat-loving taste by adding more or different peppers, and leaving the seeds and membranes in the peppers.  Additional cayenne or hot sauce will up the heat quotient, as well.)  After tasting the brisket, a new customer exclaimed, "Honey, you've got soul!"  Enough said.

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup finely chopped yellow onions

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup chili sauce

3 cups ketchup

1/2 cup dry red wine

3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 Tablespoon minced fresh garlic

1 Tablespoon minced Jalapeno, with or without seeds and membranes, hotter with

1 teaspoon hot sauce (like Frank's or Tabasco)

1 teaspoon Creole seasoning (I use Tony's)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan.  Add the onion and garlic and saute until the vegetables are soft.  Add the remaining ingredients, bring up to a simmer and allow to cook, covered, for about 15-20 minutes.

Cool completely before storing in the refrigerator, or proceed with the recipe for BBQ Beef Brisket.

Sauce will keep for about a month in the refrigerator

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Caramel Dip

Carmel for Dipping!

Carmel for Dipping!

Nothing quite compares to the flavor of crispy, sweet apples dipped in caramel in the fall!  But, they are really difficult to eat, and half of a caramel apple is probably the ideal portion.  To make enjoying those awesome flavors easier let's turn it all into a an easy-to-eat dip.  The base of this dip is Caramel Candy (click on the link in the recipe), and the surprise ingredient is a bit of sour cream to balance all of the sweet going on in this recipe! Use your imagination; try dipping mini cookies, pears, chocolate, nuts or marshmallows in addition to apples. This dip deserves a place at your next tailgate or autumn get-together!

12 ounces Caramel Candy cut into small pieces (in a pinch you can use purchased caramel candies)

2 Tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter

2 Tablespoons heavy cream

2 Tablespoons sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

Put about an inch or two of water in the bottom of a medium saucepan or double-boiler and bring the water to a simmer.  Place a bowl or the top of the double-boiler over the pot of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water in the saucepan) and add the caramel, butter, and heavy cream.  Allow everything to warm, stirring occasionally, until the caramel is completely melted; stir until well-combined.

Off the heat add the sour cream and vanilla and whisk until completely smooth.  Allow to cool before serving.  Serve with apple slices.

Refrigerate leftovers, and warm or allow to come to room temperature before serving.

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Sweet Potato Strings

Sweet Potato Strings

Sweet Potato Strings

French fries are the perfect accompaniment to your favorite sandwich.  I predict that once you try these sweet potato strings you will be clamoring for more of these crisp, salty, orange mini-fries on a regular basis.  So yummy!!  Serves 2-3

1 large sweet potato, peeled, rinsed, and dried

1 Tablespoon flour

Salt, to taste

Vegetable oil for frying

Place a large, heavy pot on the burner and fill with vegetable oil to about 2-3 inches deep. Heat the oil over medium-high heat to about 350-degrees.  Also, preheat the oven to 200-degrees.

While the oil and oven are heating, use a mandolin to cut the sweet potato into matchsticks.  Place them in a large bowl, sprinkle the flour over them, and toss to coat.  Line a baking sheet with a couple of layers of paper towel and have ready to place the cooked strings on.

When the oil is hot, add about a quarter of the sweet potatoes to the pan, separating the strings with a slotted spoon or spider.  (Don't add too many at once, as it will cool down the oil and create a situation where the oil could rise up over the edge of the pan, which is a fire hazard!)  Fry until they turn a golden brown color, then scoop them out with a spider or slotted spoon, allowing the oil to drip off into the pan.  Place on the paper towel lined pan and sprinkle with salt.  Place them in the oven to keep warm while frying the remaining potatoes, adding each new batch to the pan and returning to the oven.

Serve immediately!



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Barbecue Beef Brisket Sandwiches

Barbecue Beef Brisket Sandwich with  Sweet Potato Strings  and Fresh-Pack Dill Pickle

Barbecue Beef Brisket Sandwich with Sweet Potato Strings and Fresh-Pack Dill Pickle

This beef brisket is amazing!  At the South Bend Farmers Market we sold it by the pound, and we ran out every week.  It is one of my favorite sandwiches.  Cooked low and slow until the meat falls apart, it is bathed in Farmers Market Barbecue Sauce, resulting in a complex, tender, addictive barbecue.  This is a must try!

6 pounds Beef Brisket, flat half, trimmed of excess fat

3 Tablespoons Creole seasoning (I use Tony's)

4 teaspoons Kosher salt

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

4 cups+ 2 cups Farmers Market Barbecue Sauce

2 cups low-sodium beef broth

Onion or regular buns

Preheat the oven to 325-degrees.

Combine the salt and Creole seasoning in a small bowl.  Rub both sides of the brisket liberally with the salt mixture.  Cut the brisket into 8-10 pieces.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over fairly high heat.  Brown well all of the pieces of brisket on both sides.  Place in a large, lidded container that is oven-proof. 

Combine 4 cups of the barbecue sauce and broth in a large bowl.  Pour over the brisket, cover the pan tightly with foil, and put the lid on the pan.  Bake for 2 1/2 hours.

Remove the meat from the oven and turn all of the pieces over, cover again, and continue cooking for an additional 2 1/2 hours, or until the brisket is fork tender.

Remove from the oven and let stand for 15 minutes.  Slice the pieces thinly against the grain and place in a large pot or crock pot.  Add the remaining barbecue sauce and enough of the cooking liquid to nearly cover the meat.  Simmer for an additional hour, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the meat is shredded and tender and the liquid has reduced.

Serve on toasted onion or regular buns.  (In the South, cole slaw is served atop the sandwiches-so tasty!)

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Fudge Brownies

Delectable Fudge Brownies

These seriously good brownies are perfect on their own, or as an accompaniment to ice cream (drizzled with some hot fudge and a dollop of whipped cream would be even better!).  This is not the same recipe that I made at the cafe, as I think it is a bit too gooey and doesn't hold up as well as this recipe.  This is my version of a recipe from King Arthur.  You will love it!

4 extra large eggs

1 cup cocoa powder

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 teaspoon powder

1 teaspoon espresso powder

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter

2 1/4 cups sugar

11/2 cups unbleached flour

2 cups mini-chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.  Grease a 9"X13" pan.

Place the eggs into the bowl of a mixer, turn the mixer on to a medium-low speed, and add the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla, then beat and for about 4 minutes. (Let the mixer run while you melt the butter and chocolate.

In a medium saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate, then add the sugar and stir to combine.  Continue to heat until the mixture is hot (110-120 degrees), but not bubbling.  Stir, and it will become more shiny as the heat dissolves more of the sugar.

Add the hot chocolate mixture to the egg/cocoa mixture, beating until smooth.  Mix the chips and the flour together in a bowl, then add gradually to the batter.

Spoon the batter into the pan and smooth with an offset spatula.

Bake for about 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.  A cake tester should come out fairly clean, or with only a few crumbs clinging to it.  The edges should feel set, and the center should look moist, but not uncooked.

Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack completely before cutting.


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Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins     

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins


These moist, delectable muffins taste like autumn!  Pumpkin, spices and fresh cranberries all combine for a muffin that is literally bursting with fall flavors.  They are also very easy to make; no mixer required!  I got this recipe from a cookbook I picked up in Vermont, and not long after, discovered my mother's new "favorite" quick bread was the same recipe!  The final vote for this muffin was cast by cafe customers; this was a best seller!

Equipment needed: #10 Scoop              Food chopper                 Muffin Pans                  4 Quart Mixing Bowl

1 1/4 cups sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups unbleached flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 large eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin

3/4 cup chopped fresh cranberries (I use a chopper and can even chop them frozen when I can't get fresh!)

1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.  Spray the cups and top of 24 standard-sized muffin cups, or line with paper liners, then spray the top of the tin lightly.

Mix together the sugar, salt, flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl beat together the water, oil, vanilla ,and eggs until well combined.  Stir in the pumpkin and mix well. 

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients; mix gently but thoroughly until well-combined.  Fold in the cranberries and nuts.

Fill the muffin tins about 1/2 full.  (Using a #10 scoop insures all of the muffins will be the same size. If you have additional batter, fill more muffin tins or mini-loaf pans. Don't over-fill the muffin tins.)

Bake for 15 minutes, rotate the pans and bake for 5 more minutes.  Check for doneness with a cake tester or tooth pick in the center of a muffin.  Bake until the pick comes out clean. 

Cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.


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