Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Nutella Fudge Mini-Cupcakes

Recently, I found a new chocolate love.  I originally saw this product used on Giada De Laurentiis' show on Food Network.  I was always intrigued but I am not really one for hazelnuts. At least not the hazelnut FLAVORED things I have had in the past.  I went out on a limb and decided to try it.  After all, I am Italian.  I instantly feel in love with this stuff.  I put it on everything now.  It is a bit pricier than peanut butter but in my opinion you do not need to put as much on.
This recipe is the first of the Christmas cookies that I have made.  These tasty mini-cupcakes really fit the bill for anyone with a chocolate craving.  I hope you enjoy these.  You can double this recipe successfully.  The original recipe makes 12 mini-cupcakes.

Nutella Fudge Mini-Cupcakes
1/2 cup Nutella spread
1 large egg
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup hazelnuts; chopped

1.  Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Line a 12-cup mini-muffin pan with paper or foil liners.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk the Nutella and egg until smooth and well blended.  Add the flour and whisk until blended.

3.  Spoon batter into the prepared muffin tins (about 3/4 full) and sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts.

4.  Bake until a pick comes out with wet, gooey crumbs, 11 to 12 minutes.  Set on a rack to cool completely.  Serve immediately or cover and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.  You can also freeze them for up to one month until needed.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Red Peppers Stuffed with Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

We had these for Thanksgiving.  I had seen a recipe for red peppers stuffed with rice and I thought that maybe this would work with mashed potatoes instead!  It was a huge hit and the second time we made them.  Definitely a keeper.
Red Peppers Stuffed with Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
4  red peppers; halved from top to bottom and seeds removed
4 medium potatoes; peeled and cubed
1 tablespoons salt
2 garlic cloves; finely minced
1/4 cup onion; chopped
3 tablespoons butter; room temperature
1/3 cup cream cheese; room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup cheddar cheese; shredded plus 1/4 cup for topping
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt; or to taste

1.  Place peeled and cubed potatoes in large pot filled with cold water.  Add 1 tablespoon salt.  Add chopped onion and garlic.  Bring to boil over medium heat until potatoes are fork tender. Drain through a fine strainer so you do not loose the garlic.

2.  Add potatoes, onions, and garlic to large bowl.  Add the butter, cream cheese, heavy cream, cheddar cheese, white pepper, and salt to taste.  With a potato masher mash the mixture thoroughly until the consistency you want. 

3.  Divide the mashed potatoes among the four red peppers.  Top with the 1/4 cup remaining cheddar cheese.  Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes until cheese is melted and peppers are soft.

You can certainly add/remove any ingredients.  Any of your favorite add-ins for mashed potatoes would work.  I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Kevin happens to be a huge lover of Brussels sprouts and though he loves when I make them roasted with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a light dusting of powdered sugar (yes, I said powdered sugar!) I thought I would try something new this year.  

I found this recipe in the Thanksgiving issue of Food Network Magazine.  I made and tested the recipe as printed.  While it was very good, we all agreed that the addition of some fresh horseradish would have been a great enhancement.
2  tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the dish
    Kosher salt
1  pound Brussels sprouts,outer leaves and stems removed
    Pinch of red pepper flakes
    Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs


1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and butter a 2-quart baking 
2.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
3.  Drain the Brussels sprouts and coarsely chop. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and toss with the red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste, then spread out evenly. 
4.  Pour the cream on top, sprinkle with the cheese and breadcrumbs and dot with the butter pieces.
5.  Bake until gratin is golden and bubbly.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Did You Know...Seasoning with Kosher Salt

Since the grains of kosher salt are typically larger than the holes in a salt shaker, you can use the seasoning bottles that have a bit larger holes.  

Did You Know...Salting Chicken