Monday, November 5, 2012

Sandy Tart or Everything But the Kitchen Sink

Hurricane Sandy has left her mark in small ways and devastating ways.  While most of the country is focusing on tomorrow's election, I cannot think about anything but the devastation we have seen here in New Jersey and New York.

My town is wrestling with no power--a minor inconvenience--while so many others have lost so much more.  We are gathering supplies for Shore towns, wondering whether to skip the postponed trick-or-treating altogether, helping neighbors.  I am cooking and baking and hoping feeding people will offer them some comfort.

With gas and groceries in limited supply, "use what you have" is the name of the game.  This is my Sandy aka Everything but the Kitchen Sink tart.  I found puff pastry in the back of the freezer.  Hardy sage still standing in my garden. Bacon, roasted butternut squash and some cheeses in the refrigerator.  Some pistachios sitting on the counter were not be left out.  Why not?  I'm hoping to share with some neighbors who are sitting in their cold, dark houses.  Maybe for a brief moment they will be warmed and taken care of.  I wish I could do the same for everyone.

When this comes out of the oven, add a drizzle of balsamic glaze or vinegar or even maple syrup or honey would be nice.  Keep in the spirit of "use what you have".  And share with a neighbor.

Kitchen Sink Tart
Serves 4

1 sheet of puff pastry
2 cups cubed, roasted butternut squash*
4 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
1/4 cup of cheese (I used ricotta salata and parmesan)
2 T chopped sage
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
1T balsamic glaze (or truffled honey or maple syrup)

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Place thawed puff pastry sheet on a baking sheet.  With a sharp knife, score the tart on all 4 sides 1/4 inch from the edge.  Do not cut all the way through the dough.  This will form the edge of the tart.
3. Top with butternut squash, bacon, cheeses, pistachios and sage.
4. Bake for 20 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes. Cut and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

*To roast squash: Cube and toss with 2T olive oil, salt and pepper and 1T maple syrup.  Bake on baking sheet at 400 for 20 minutes or until squash is golden and tender.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Creating Frosting Creations

I have been working on a big project that was very hush hush until now.  I had the pleasure of creating recipes for a new product that Duncan Hines has created--Frosting Creations.

These are specialty flavored frostings.  You buy the base frosting and then choose a flavor packet and mix them to create unique flavors such as: Cinnamon Roll, Bubble Gum, Chocolate Mint, etc.

I have created 24 recipes for them which can be seen here.

 If you're feeling creative Duncan Hines is currently having a contest where you can submit your own recipes using Frosting Creations with a chance to win a trip to the test kitchens and take a baking class with a Duncan Hines chef.  Click here!

Birthday Cake Shots

 Who says you can't have your cake and drink it too?  Not me.  Birthday Cake Shots.  Yes, I said cake and shots.  I've been up to my elbows in cake for the past year, creating recipes for Duncan Hines.  So cake is sort of my life right now.

I'm sure you've heard of all the flavored vodkas out there but now you can find cake flavored vodka and whipped cream flavored vodka as well.  I first spotted some of these recipes on the Pinnacle Vodka website as well as on Sweetapolita.  Now while you probably wouldn't want a whole martini glass of one of these, the shots do make a festive way to celebrate with your friends. 

I don't like cocktails that are super strong so I have altered the alcohol amounts to make it a little smoother.  A final note: I do not recommend testing this recipe right before you go pick up your children from school.  It's only one shot but still...people may talk.

Bottoms up!

Birthday Cake Shots
Adapted from Pinnacle Vodka Website & Sweetapolita
Yield: 1 shot

1/2 ounce Cake Flavored Vodka (I used Three Olives brand)
1/2 ounce Whipped Creme Flavored Vodka (I used Pinnacle)
1 ounce half-n-half
1 teaspoon dry cake mix (I used yellow)
2-3 ice cubes
whipped creme
sprinkles or nonpareils

1. Combine vodkas, half-n-half, cake mix and ice cubes in cocktail shaker and shake until well mixed.
2. Strain into a shot glass and top with whipped creme, sprinkles and straw.