Easy Grilled Eggplant Tacos

By Isabel Minunni

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Nothing wakes up your taste buds more than the first few springtime recipes! This impressive taco will bring your gatherings to the next level in taste and presentation! It has turned into my families’ favorite; you know you have a hit when you find your daughter making eggplant taco’s to impress her friends! 

Easy Grilled Eggplant Tacos (makes 8 small tacos)

8 baby eggplant
1/3 cup olive oil - divided
1 tablespoon salt - divided
1 tablespoon pepper - divided
1 ear fresh corn
2 cups pea shoots
1 1/2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup sour cream
8 dashes hot sauce
8 small yellow corn tortillas – extra thin
1/3 cup red onion - diced

Preheat grill to medium heat.

Wash and dry eggplant. Brush eggplant with olive oil and season with a ¾ tablespoon of salt and pepper (reserve remaining oil for dressing). Place on hot grill and cook on all sides until browned and soft in the middle (about 5 -10 minutes depending on size of the eggplant).

Place corn on hot grill or grill pan and cook on all sides until lightly charred (a couple of minutes). Remove from grill and cut kernels off cob and set aside.

Wash pea shoots and dry with paper towel. In a small bowl add remaining oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and whisk together. Add pea shoots to dressing and toss - set aside.

In a small bowl mix sour cream and hot sauce and set aside. 

Grill tortillas on the grill on both sides for a minute or two or until lightly charred. 

Place grilled tortillas on a serving dish, top with a grilled eggplant and even amount of diced onions, corn and pea shoots. Drizzle with sour cream and serve. Enjoy! 

     www.bellasbanquet.com

Salted Caramel Pie

By Ami Zarichnak

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Salted Caramel Pie

The first time I served this, my guests swooned.  It is decadent and delicious, and so, so easy! This is the dessert that will wow your guests and offer a satisfying finish to your holiday meal.  

Prep time:  25 minutes
Cook time:  3 hours
Makes 8 – 10 servings

Ingredients
Crust
1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
¼ cup light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

Filling
Two 14 oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
Flaked sea salt, such as Maldon

Topping
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Pulse the crust ingredients in a food processor, then press into a 9” pie pan. Bake for ten minutes or until lightly browned.  Allow to cool.

Take the two cans of sweetened condensed milk and DO NOT OPEN.  Take the label off both cans.  Put the cans into a saucepan on their sides filled with water and boil constantly for three hours, adding water as needed.  ENSURE THAT THE CANS ARE COVERED WITH WATER DURING THE ENTIRE BOILING PROCESS OR THEY COULD BURST.  Set a timer to check every 20 minutes.  Cool to room temperature before opening.  Spread caramel into prepared pie shell and chill for at least 4 hours.

Before serving, make topping by beating the heavy cream with the powdered sugar until firm peaks form. Sprinkle flaked sea salt onto caramel pie surface, then smooth whipped cream topping onto pie.  Add more salt if desired. 

Please note:  If you are not serving the pie all at once, you might want to garnish with whipped cream a piece at a time, because the whipped cream will deflate slightly after a few hours.  It can then be re-whipped again before serving.  

Garlic and Rosemary Rubbed Prime Rib with Au Jus and Horseradish Sauce

By Ami Zarichnak

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My parents were always undecided about what to have for Christmas until I started cooking more, and I felt that the best meal for my red-meat loving family was a prime rib. As it turns out, my mom was just not comfortable preparing such a large (and expensive!) piece of meat, worried that she’d make a mistake, but it’s quite simple.  It’s also extremely delicious and makes for a rich, satisfying holiday dinner when paired with your favorite potato dish – we do either twice-baked or garlic-mashed with the skins on – and a vegetable.  Make Yorkshire puddings as a traditional accompaniment. 

Prep time:  25 minutes
Marination time:  Up to 24 hours
Cook time:  1 hr, 45 mins to 2 hrs 30 min.

Makes approximately ten 1” slice servings of prime rib

Ingredients
1/2 cup rough-chopped fresh rosemary, plus 2 teaspoons minced and reserved
1/3 cup good quality olive oil
10 large garlic cloves, chopped, plus 2 cloves minced and reserved
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 -10lb well-trimmed beef rib roast, tied (bone-in will yield more flavor, but boneless will work)

Method
Add rosemary, oil, garlic, and salt to a food processor and pulse to a chunky paste.  Massage into the beef roast while standing in a roasting pan.  Massage into the bottom of the roast as well.  Cover and chill for up to one day.

Preheat your oven to 450°F. Uncover beef and roast in oven for 30 minutes for a nice crust on your roast.  Turn the heat down to 350°F and roast for another 45 minutes.  Temp your roast by placing a thermometer into the center of your roast (from the top).  Your roast will be around 120°F degrees for rare, 130°F for medium rare, and 140°F for medium.  Add cooking time as needed, but pull the roast from the oven when the temperature reaches the desired doneness.  Reserving all the juice, gently remove the roast from the roasting pan to a large cutting board.  Let the roast stand, loosely covered with foil, for a minimum of 20 minutes for juices to redistribute and for carry-over cooking to allow the roast to reach its desired doneness,  up to 40 minutes.  

Meanwhile, skim all fat from the juice, and simmer lightly in a small saucepan over medium-low heat for 5 – 10 minutes, until slightly reduced.  Taste, and add reserved rosemary, garlic, and salt and pepper as needed.  Beef broth can be added if juice doesn’t yield enough to serve all your guests.

Slice roast into 1” – 1.5” slices and serve with au jus and horseradish sauce (recipe below).

 

Horseradish Sauce

Prep time:  15 minutes
Makes approximately 1 ½ cups

Ingredients
1 ½ cups sour cream
2 tablespoons – 1/3 cup prepared horseradish, to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Chopped chives, for garnish

Method
In a small bowl, mix first three ingredients together.   Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  Serve in small ramekins garnished with a sprinkling of chopped chives.

Dilly Rye Bread Dip

By Ami Zarichnak

Dilly Rye Bread Dip

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My mother has been making this for as long as I can remember.  We have it every holiday season.  I had absolutely no clue where the recipe came from until I moved back home to western Pennsylvania around 2011 and started working at a company about 10 miles from where my mother had worked when I was in high school.  That holiday season, someone I worked with brought in this exact dish for our holiday potluck!  I cornered him and asked where he got the recipe, because it was our family recipe (or so I thought!).  As it turned out, it was also a family recipe of his.  One of his relatives had worked with my mom, and that’s how recipes travel in small towns!  This may possibly have origins in either northwestern Pennsylvania or southwestern New York.  Regardless, dip recipes abound, and this is a particularly good one.  Enjoy!

Prep time:  25 minutes
Makes approximately two cups of dip

Ingredients
1 (1 pound) loaf round rye bread
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (4 ounce) jar dried chipped beef, chopped
1 teaspoon Beau Monde ™ seasoning
2 teaspoons celery salt
3 tablespoons dried dill weed

Method:
Using a bread knife, remove the crown of the bread. Hollow out the inside of the loaf, and cut or tear all the cut-out into bite size cubes for dipping.

In a medium bowl, blend sour cream, mayonnaise, chipped beef, Beau Monde seasoning, celery salt, and dill weed. Mix thoroughly, cover, and chill for at least 1 hour to let flavors mingle.

Spoon the chilled dip into the hollow bread loaf, and serve with cubed bread for dipping.

Holiday Star Fruit Cookie

By Isabel Minunni

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Holiday Star Fruit Cookie

2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
½ cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup pretzels-broken into small pieces
2 Star fruit-sliced
¼ cup brown sugar
Iridescent sprinkles

In separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt together. Cream sugar and 1/2 butter with electric mixer until pale and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla.  On low speed, mix in flour until well blended.  Take 3/4 of the batter and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic foil and place into refrigerator. Into remaining batter mix in pretzel pieces until combined.  Form dough into disk and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.  

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

On a floured surface, roll out the butter cookie and pretzel cookie dough about 1/8 of an inch thick. With the larger star cookie cutter, cut out about 20 stars of the butter cookie dough.  With the smaller star cookie cutter, cut out 20 starts of the pretzel dough. On large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, place the larger stars first and top with smaller stars. Finish by adding a slice of star fruit on each cookie.

In a small sauce pan melt brown sugar and remaining butter.  Brush each cookie with butter and sugar mixture and bake for 10-17 minutes, depending on the size of the cookie.  Take cookies out of oven, let cool for a couple of minutes, sprinkle each cookie with sprinkles, and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.  Enjoy!  

Makes about 20 cookies-depending on size

Artichoke Fritters with Lemon-Thyme Dipping Sauce

By Ami Zarichnak

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I tasted these for the first time at a restaurant in Cleveland during an election party back in 2008.  I was hooked immediately, and then re-created them at home.  That year, I started taking them to an annual New Year’s Eve party at a friend’s house, and while she didn’t like artichokes, she requested that I bring them every year.  Yes, they’re that good!

 

Prep Time:  20 min
Cook Time: 20 min
 Makes approximately  18 each

 

Ingredients
Vegetable or canola oil
1 18-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Method
Prepare a deep fryer for frying, filling with canola oil to fill line.  Preheat to 350.  Or, alternatively, pour 3 inches of vegetable oil into a cast iron dutch oven  or other heavy pot and place over medium heat until a deep fry thermometer reads 350 degrees.

Coarsely chop the artichokes.  Put them into a bowl and add the garlic, scallions, milk, egg, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix the remaining dry ingredients in a separate bowl  until well integrated, and mix into the artichoke ingredients.  Use a 1 oz. scoop or drop by tablespoonsful into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes, turning if needed. Work in batches until all the batter is gone. These will stay warm and crispy in a low oven until ready to serve.  Sprinkle with sea salt and serve with the lemon-thyme dipping sauce, below.

 

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Lemon-Thyme Dipping Sauce
Prep time:  15 minutes
Makes approximately 12 oz. of sauce

 

Ingredients
1 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon zest, or to taste
Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Method
In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon zest and juice, and thyme.  Taste and adjust lemon flavor, if necessary, and then season liberally with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Serve with fresh artichoke fritters.  

Twice Baked Potatoes

By Ami Zarichnak

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Yield:  8 Potatoes heaped high!

6 large Idaho potatoes
½ cup butter, separated into ¼ cup portions
½ small onion, chopped (can substitute four green onions)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup sour cream
1 cup plus 1/4 cup cheddar cheese
1 tsp salt or to taste

1)    Preheat your oven to 400.  Wash and dry potatoes.  Prick all over with a fork.  Coat potatoes in butter and roll in
       flaked sea salt (optional).  Bake until skins crisp up and potatoes feel soft inside when pricked with a fork,  approx-
       imately one hour.

2)    While potatoes are cooking, saute onions in the butter over medium heat until they begin to get soft.  Turn flame to
       medium-low, then add garlic and cook, stirring often so garlic doesn’t not burn.  When the garlic is softened but still
       fragrant, place in a medium-sized bowl. 

3)    Add the sour cream, 1 cup of cheddar cheese, and salt to the bowl.

4)    When the potatoes are done, turn the oven down to 350 degrees.  Let the potatoes cool just slightly, and cut them in
       half longwise into two halves .  Scoop out the potatoes, adding the hot potatoes to the butter, onions, garlic, sour
       cream, cheese, and salt mixture.  The hot potatoes will melt the cheese so it be evenly distributed throughout potato
       mixture.  Do not overmix or potatoes will become gluey.  Adjust salt and sour cream flavors to taste.

5)    Distribute potato filling evenly among potato shells.  Sprinkle with the last ¼ cup of cheese.  

6)    Bake at 350 until hot, approximately 20 minutes.  Potatoes should be lightly browned  on top when done.

DILL PICKLE CREAM CHEESE

By Amy Kritzer

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Tired of your average schmear? Dill Pickle Cream Cheese has all the goodness of your favorite deli side now available in spreadable form!

This recipe probably doesn’t even need words. I could probably just post some bagel porn, the recipe, and call it a day.

But let’s be honest, I’m a talker. (I get it from my mama.) So let’s talk schmear. Do you have a favorite kind? I usually go for savory over sweet (lox, chives, everything bagel flavored. These are my jam.) But you certainly can’t go wrong with a little cinnamon or strawberry every now and again. So when I had leftover horseradish pickles just lying around, taunting me, asking me to chop them up and put them in cream cheese, I had to oblige.

Did you know cream cheese also makes a good face mask? Really clears the pores. (Okay I made that part up, but sounds like it may be true, right?)

Y’all!

I was going to get all crazy with the accouterment, (red onions! lox! avocado!) but then I thought for once in my life, I would take the simple approach. Coco Channel once famously said. before leaving the house, a lady should look in the mirror and remove one accessory. I’m more the type of person who puts five more on, and then throws on some glitter just in case. Is that bad?

Okay, enough talking out of me. I now leave you with bagel porn, and a recipe!

 

DILL PICKLE CREAM CHEESE

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PREP TIME
10 mins

TOTAL TIME
10 mins

Tired of your average schmear? Dill Pickle Cream Cheese has all the goodness of your favorite deli side now available in spreadable form!

Author: Amy Kritzer
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: 1 cup

INGREDIENTS

•   1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature

•   3 medium dill pickle spears (about ⅓cup), finely diced

•   1 tablespoon pickle brine

•   1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced

•   Salt to taste

Red chili pepper flakes to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

•    On a large cutting, place the cream cheese and flatten.

•    Place pickle pieces, brine, and dill on the cream cheese.

•    With a flat spatula, fold the cream cheese over the pickle stuff and pat down. Repeat five times until ingredients
     are incorporated.

Adjust with salt and red chili pepper flakes to taste. Serve on a bagel!