December 3, 2011

'Tis the Season for Kitchen Creations

There's something about the start of the Christmas season that has gotten me all jazzed up about cooking and baking. I do feel inspired to make holiday treats, but not only that. I just feel like all of my creative juices are flowing and calling out to be released in many forms of deliciousness in the kitchen.

In the past few days, I have tried several new things in the kitchen and am happy to report that they were scrumptious:
~Spiced cinnamon cooked apples
~Pumpkin Leek soup {my first recipe using a whole sugar pumpkin}
~my own version of a Southwestern salad of sorts: seasoned, blackened chicken, sweet corn, black beans, a sprinkling of colby jack cheese, crunchy Santa Fe tortilla strips, and a chipotle dressing atop a bed of leafy greens

On the menu in the near future:
~Homemade hot chocolate from scratch {can't wait to try this out and share it with you}
~A beef, onion, and mushroom tart
~Grandma sent us home with quite a lot of leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, so I'll make a cranberry relish to accompany it
~Roasted red skinned potatoes with rosemary

I also made this:

Almond biscotti and egg nog!

Almond Biscotti

5 1/2 oz almonds, toasted, and finely chopped {I toast mine on the stove, but don't walk away...they burn quickly!}
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups flour
2/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs and extracts together. Set aside.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; mix with a mixer until well combined. Gradually add the egg mixture and beat until a dough forms, adding the almonds about halfway through. On a lightly floured surface, press the dough into a 5 x 12 inch log {approximately}. Transfer the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until firm to the touch.

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Transfer log to a cutting board and cut {diagonally} into 1 inch thick slices.

Arrange evenly on baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes, turn slices over, and bake another 10 minutes or until firm to the touch.
*Baking time may need adjusting according to your oven. Biscotti should be completely firm and crisp.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Enjoy!
{store in an airtight container}

Egg Nog {non-alcoholic}

6 eggs, beaten
2 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tsp. sugar
pinch of ground nutmeg*

In a large saucepan, combine the eggs, milk, and sugar. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture coats a metal spoon. Remove from heat. Cool quickly by placing in a bowl or sink full of ice water and stirring 1-2 minutes. Add the vanilla. Chill 4 to 24 hours.

Before serving, whip the cream and 2 teaspoons of sugar until soft peaks form. Transfer cream to the egg nog and fold in. Add a sprinkling of nutmeg and serve immediately.

*I like my egg nog with quite a bit of nutmeg incorporated into it, so when I folded in the whipped cream, I also added about 2 teaspoons of nutmeg. You can leave it out entirely or season to your taste with the nutmeg.

What delicious things are you inspired to make in the kitchen this time of year?

1 comment:

Meg said...

Yum! Your lucky husband! I hope you're sharing. :)


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