27 August 2015

Spiced Pumpkin & Pecan Butter

It's happening. I caught a glimpse of a non-green leaf, the sun is looking different, days are shorter and orange is beginning to show up in my garden. No matter how hard I try to resist the pumpkin trends until September, I rarely have enough will power.
This particular recipe came to be after purchasing a jar of a similar nature at a cook/foodie haven; W-S. As I handed over way too much cash, my only thought was "I wonder if they have plastic spoons for the car ride home". I looked up many copycat recipes and made several batches, this is my favorite! I have found Effie's Nutcakes to be the perfect complement as well!


zest of 1/2 lemon and orange, grated finely (I also use candied peel, 1 Tablespoon each orange & lemon, I dare say it may be even better than the zest)
4 cups pumpkin or squash puree ( If using homemade puree, drain in jelly bag a few hours after roasting)
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons orange juice
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Molasses (I use the robust or blackstrap)
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon each allspice, cloves and ginger

Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer. Cook 25-30 minutes until very thick. Taste and adjust seasonings and sugar, keeping in mind the flavors will deepen upon sitting for a few days. Stir in 1/3 cup toasted, chopped pecans. Fill sterilized jars and refrigerate or freeze when cooled. This recipe is not appropriate for canning as the filling cannot reach proper internal temperature. It keep about 3 months+ in fridge, at least a year in the freezer.

10 August 2015

Green Tea Sangria

I'm making the most out of every summer minute! This sangria has been really refreshing and delicious! Maybe we can call it "healthy" and drink more of it?!?!

Make 1 cup of super strong green tea of choice; do not brew longer, instead use more tea leaves; I used a mango flavored green tea which was great and also jasmine green tea

1 cup brewed green tea
1 cup sugar
Bring to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Boil 5 minutes, Remove from heat and cool.

1 bottle White Bordeaux or Sauvignon Blanc of choice
1 cup green tea simple syrup
1 peach, peeled, pitted and diced
a handful of frozen grapes (these work great as they don't water down the sangria!)
1 1/2 cup club soda

Combine and let chill. Enjoy!

23 July 2015

3 Pesto Recipes

Here are the 3 pesto recipes we made at tonight's tasting!  I hope you enjoy making some at home ! 
A few notes about ingredients;
Use the best quality extra virgin olive oil you can afford
Wash and DRY all of the herbs; herbs are strongest in the morning so consider making the pestos early in the day
You can freeze up to 1 year
Pesto lasts about 3 months in fridge, make sure to cover the top with a thin layer of olive oil after each use so it doesn't discolor
I used Parmigiano Reggiano but you could also add some Romano for a nice kick or blend the 2 cheeses
Toast all nuts before using. 300 degrees for 8 minutes 

Sage Pesto
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
2 cups sage leaves
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Parmigiano cheese

Parsley Pesto
1 clove garlic 
1 1/2 cups flat leaf parsley
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup toasted almonds 
1/4 cup Parmigiano cheese

Chervil Pesto
1 cup chervil
1/4 cup Parmigiano cheese cut in chunks
1/4 cup toasted walnuts 
3+ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic

15 July 2015

Tomato Basil Squares

I recently made this recipe after a 10 year hiatus. I can't remember why since it is so fantastic and delicious!! It was originally a Pampered Chef recipe that I made my own with a few tweaks. Hope you enjoy as tomato season is nearly upon us!


1 batch your favorite pizza crust (my recipe is below)
2 cups shredded fresh mozzarella cheese (I used Four Corners Creamery, it takes 1 1/2 mozzarella balls)
¼ cup Parmigianno-Reggiano cheese, grated
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp snipped fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove, minced
4 fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 425°F
Roll out pizza crust on to flat baking sheet to 1 inch of edge. Bake 18-22 minutes until golden brown.
Top crust with 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese; let stand 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Combine Parm cheese, remaining mozzarella cheese, mayonnaise, basil and minced garlic and
mix well.
Slice tomatoes and arrange evenly over crust. Scoop cheese mixture over tomatoes; spread evenly. Bake 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted. Let cool 10 minutes and slice into squares.

(FYI I'm going to try making this with smoked fresh mozzarella next time...hence the photo!)

Pizza Crust
1 cup hot tap water
1 Tablespoon INSTANT yeast (adjust accordingly for active dry)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2-3 cups flour

Throw all of the ingredients together into your mixer with a dough hook attached and mix until dough is smooth and shiny. Let rise 15 minutes and roll out.

07 July 2015

Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette can be so easy and delicious you'll never want to use bottled dressing again. It really comes down to your preference, but you can adjust this recipe to be more tart or sweet by adjusting the vinegar.

1 teaspoon whole grain or dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar (I used the 20 year old we sell at The Market and it's very sweet)
1/3 cup best quality extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Blend mustard and vinegar together in a small bowl with a whisk. Drizzle oil in slowly, whisking constantly until oil is emulsified. Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper.
You can sweeten up really tart vinegar by adding a teaspoon or 2 of honey, or you can tart up a sweeter vinegar by adding a teaspoon of red wine vinegar!

26 June 2015

Coconut Milk Rice Pudding with Strawberries

I fell in love...with Carolina Gold Rice during a Spring vacation to Charleston SC. The affair continues...


3/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup uncooked Carolina Gold or Arborio rice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise
pinch of salt

1/2 quart strawberries, cleaned and quartered
1/2 cup sugar

Place strawberries and sugar in a small bowl and mix well. Let sit at room temperature stirring occasionally while preparing the rice.

In a heavy (use your heaviest) large pot bring cream, coconut milk, water, sugar, rice and vanilla to a boil. Lower heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Gently fluff with a fork when finished cooking. Top a small portion of rice with strawberries and serve immediately. Rice is lovely served just warm, but this refrigerates and reheats really well too!

09 June 2015

Focaccia with Apricot Preserves, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese

I recently picked up a new cookbook (the first in over a year I'll have you know) called "Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry". Technically it's a year-round preserving book, but with lots of little bonus recipes that pertain to preserved goods are included. It's a beautiful book with many unique recipes for typical preserving, but covers many other preservation techniques and I am enjoying the sections on meat preservation!

I was looking to use up last year's apricot preserves before adding additional to the "larder" and this recipe looked fabulous! I only made a few minor changes to suit what I had on hand. I hope you enjoy!


1 cup hot water (hot from the tap is fine, no need to heat)
1 Tablespoon instant yeast (or 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast proofed in water)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

I throw the whole thing in my kitchen aid mixer with the dough hook attached and allow to mix for about 5 minutes until a smooth dough has climbed the hook. Let rise about 20 minutes until nearly doubled. Punch down and place into a olive oil greased 9X13 pan, using your finger tips to make little depressions.

1 cup Apricot Preserves
1 large vidalia onion that you have caramelized
4 ounces goat cheese of choice; (I used Naked Goat which is aged, dry and firm. It was not the best baker, next time I will use ether fresh or a lovely Goat Gouda that we sell at The Boulevard Market)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Spread apricot preserves on dough first, sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper. Add onions evenly across dough and sprinkle on goat cheese. Drizzle entire thing with olive oil. Add toppings and let rise again about 10 minutes. (These rise times are for instant yeast, if you use dry active, you will need to increase rise times)
Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown. The shorter bake time will be a softer crust. For a crispier crust, you may consider using a bit larger flat baking sheet and rolling dough a bit thinner.