31 October 2010

Happy Halloween!


It's been a chill Halloween day for us. John and I no longer have small children (and the cat holds a grudge if dressed up!) so we live vicariously through our trick or treaters and spent the day doing fall clean up! I am still on "pumpkin/squash status" meaning most everything baked or cooked in our house contains one or both! I have to leave very early tomorrow (at least in my book) and thought I would treat my driver to some breakfast! Since I need every moment to erase sleep creases and puffy eyes, it had to be something I could prepare in advance, be eaten out of hand and complement copious amounts of COFFEE!


2 cups flour
7 Tablespoons Sugar
3/4 teaspoons Freshly Ground Cinnamon
3/4 teaspoons Freshly Ground Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoons Ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoons Ground Cloves
1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree
6 Tablespoons Butter
4 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
1 Large Egg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients and spices. Cut in butter until mixture resembles large crumbs.

In a small mixing bowl, beat egg, cream and pumpkin until smooth. Add all at once to dry ingredients and using a fork, incorporate wet into dry. Try not to over mix, as this adds to a tougher dough.

Flatten into an 8-10" round and cut into 8 equal triangles. Sprinkle each with raw sugar. Place on a parchment lined pan and bake 12 minutes until golden. Watch carefully to make sure dough is completely cooked.

I have successfully added dried cranberries to these and they turn out great! I like my scones a bit less sweet but if you like you can also make a simple glaze of 10X sugar and milk...maybe add some additional spices to your glaze!

Happy Halloween!

21 October 2010

We are in love with Cheese Straws

There is something about puff pastry that is irresistible. Buttery, flaky, light layers of dough that melts in your mouth instantly and comes frozen. I buy very little prepared foods in the grocery, but I have tried making my own puff pastry many times and too rarely get consistent results. Not to mention I have to start it about 4 days in advance of my recipe to account for chilling etc. So I purchase puff pastry with gladness in my heart, that someone thought to put it in a box and sell it! Cheese Straws are the 12 minute beauties that can come from puff pastry any day of the week. We love to eat them instead of bread and dip 'em in various sauces. So simple, so elegant (stand them upright in a clear glass cylinder vase) and so delicious. The sky is the limit on variations, I often wrap with proscuitto, bacon, chopped nuts and fresh herbs. Use whatever cheese you have on hand that melts well and I think the Microplane zester does the best job for grating my cheese really finely for these cheese straws. This week I had a cooking class at The Market and made Cheese Straws with homemade Black Olive Tapenade....yummy. I've made them several times, yet these were a bit of a rush job and I didn't roll out the puff pastry enough, so ugly and yet so tasty. (Note to baker...roll out the pastry at least 2 inches on each side.)

Feel free to get creative with your favorite cheeses and flavor combos, fresh herbs and spices. Enjoy!

2 sheets Puff Pastry sheets, defrosted at room temperature or overnight in the fridge
1 egg
1 Tablespoon water
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
1 teaspoon fresh Thyme, minced
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Freshly ground Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry dough out to 10X12 inches, approx. 2 inches on each side.
Beat egg and water together.
Brush pastry with egg wash and sprinkle evenly with cheeses, herbs, seeds and pepper. Lightly press into dough by running rolling pin over flavorings.
Cut each piece into 1 inch slices. Twist each strip and lay on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned and puffed. Be careful not to over bake. Cool and serve at room temperature.


1 cup Kalamata Olives, pitted
1 clove Garlic
1/4 cup Walnuts
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley

Pop everything into the food processor and pulse until a finely ground paste.

If you are using on puff pastry, you may need to bake straws an additional 2-3 minutes.

18 October 2010

Brie Soup for the Soul

The beautiful bout of Indian Summer here has kept me raking leaves, grilling and enjoying the season's last garden flowers. It saved me from the most hated task of changing the closets and bureaus over to winter!

I did however, have the most lovely weather for The Market's ,Soups and Sandwiches, cooking class. It was windy, drizzle-y and just plain nasty! Thanks Mother Nature! Fall soups aren't as tasty if the weather is beautiful and 80!

It's no surprise I had to throw in a cheese soup recipe but I wanted something a bit unusual. After scouring many recipes, I put together my own! I think it turned out great! It's quick, takes little prep, velvety and not too rich. Elegant enough for a dinner party, yet pleases your palate when you are wanting something more home-style.

A couple notes on the brie cheese; cooking with cheese is like cooking with wine...if you don't like the cheese, it won't taste any better in your cooked dish. Choose a brie that you love, the flavors will be enhanced by the other ingredients! You can purchase brie and it will last about 2 weeks in your fridge, after that, you may not be thrilled with the flavors depending on where you bought it. The bland stuff you get at the grocery will garner a bland soup. You do not have to remove every little bit of the rind, it won't melt and it will strain out at the end!

While I garnished with fresh basil, I can't help but think some pear slices, sauteed in butter, salt and peppered, would be lovely on top of this soup! Enjoy.


3/4 cups Chicken Stock
1/2 cup Dry White Wine
2 Tablespoons Balsamic or Sherry Vinegar
4 cups heavy cream
12 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed cut in 1 inch pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
Sprig of fresh thyme
Sprig of fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Additional basil or thyme for garnish

In a saucepan over high heat, bring stock and vinegar to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes until liquid is reduced to about 1 cup. Keeping on low heat, add rest of ingredients and cook and stir about 8 minutes until cheese is completely melted. Strain using a fine mesh sieve and serve immediately.

If you are interested in joining one of The Market's cooking classes, feel free to contact me via email erika@boulevardmar.com or call 517-423-6000. We have 5 Ingredient Appetizers, Holiday Feast, Gifts from your Kitchen and Easy & Elegant Entertaining coming up! We demo some techniques, talk about wine pairing, enjoy sampling every recipe and more!

05 October 2010

An evening of wine and glitz...

"Ohh...SHINY!" was my very first thought, a little shallow but straightforward! John and I had the pleasure of attending a Diadema wine tasting with US Wine Imports on Saturday night at The Chophouse in Ann Arbor. With bottle prices starting at $100 and ratings at 92-95 points, these are wines that I don't usually splurge on for myself!

Diadema screams Italian from the delicious juice to the extravagant bottle encrusted with Swarovski crystals! Diadema is from Tuscany and you can check out their website at www.diadema-wine.com for fun! We sampled their Champagne, which is actually made for them in Reims France and was the perfect start to the tasting. Brut style (dry) with just the right balance of fruity and toasty, the Diadema Champagne would be a lovely for any occasion. considering the cost, it won't run your more than say Dom Perignon and the bottle is an incredible keepsake of your special time!! I decided to skip the oysters served with the Champagne...oysters just aren't my thing!

The 2009 Bianco is a white blend of Chardonnay, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc which absolutely blew me away with it's elegance! Because of it's Stainless aging, it's very clean with very subtle floral notes and hints of apple and peach. I loved the Scallops that were served with the Bianco, it was a delightful pairing!

The 2007 Rosso Supertuscan was rated 95 points by Wine Spectator for good reason, WOW! A blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah made for a surprisingly elegant and full bodied red wine. A good amount of red berry fruit, but underlaying notes of coffee and maybe chocolate? The Rosso was full of tannins, and with such great structure, it left me wanting another sip!

Diadema owner Alberto, is offering a pretty sweet deal, he will create a personalized label for your wine bottles with a 12 bottle order! Wouldn't you be the most spectacular gift giver ever?! Not to mention, there is no wrapping required as all bottles are in a gift box. Viola! Christmas shopping is finished!

Diadema wines will be available at The Market by special order and you are able to buy by the bottle.