Cannibal Mushrooms

Appetizers

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These are really just a slightly adjusted version of Ina Garten’s Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms, but my friend Grob has decided that they are cannibalistic because the stuffing also includes mushrooms…he may have had bit of wine while we were cooking…What you want to call them is up to you, but I can guarantee that they’ll be a crowd-pleaser.

  • 32 extra-large white mushrooms
  • 10 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
  • 5 tablespoons red wine (Marsala wine or medium sherry preferred)
  • 1 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from the casings
  • bundle of scallions, white and green parts, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/3 cup panko crumbs
  • 10 ounces mascarpone cheese, preferably from Italy
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • A sprinkling of your choice of herbs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop them finely. Set aside. Place the mushroom caps in a shallow bowl and toss with 6 tablespoons of the olive oil and wine. Set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, crumbling it with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook the sausage for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until it’s completely browned. Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in the scallions and garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the panko crumbs, stirring to combine evenly with all the other ingredients. Finally, swirl in the mascarpone and continue cooking until the mascarpone has melted and made the sausage mixture creamy. Off the heat, stir in the parmesan, herbs, and season with salt and pepper, to taste, Cool slightly.
  4. Fill each mushroom generously with the sausage mixture. Arrange the mushrooms in a baking dish large enough to hold all the mushrooms in a snug single layer. Bake the stuffing for 50 minutes, until the stuffing is browned and crusty.
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Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing

Christmas

Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing

Though Santa was generous this year, he brought me neither a set of fine motor skills nor a competency in food photography (so imagine your cookies looking much better than those in the picture)!  However, regardless of how they are decorated, these little guys are always delicious, so enjoy the yuletide yumminess!

For the Gingerbread Cookies (originally from The Best Recipes Cookbook):

  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 12 squares
  • ¾ cup light or dark molasses
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • royal icing for decorating
  1. With an electric mixer, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt at a low speed until all combined, about 15 seconds. Stop the mixer and scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and mix at med-low until the mixture is sandy and resembles very fine meal, about 90 seconds. Reduce the speed to low, and with the mixer running, gradually add the molasses and milk. Mix until the dough is evenly moistened, about 20 seconds. Increase the speed to a medium and mix until thoroughly combined, about 10 seconds.
  2. Scrape the dough onto a work surface; divide it in half. Working with one portion at a time, roll the dough ¼ inch thick between 2 large sheets of parchment paper. Leaving the dough sandwiched between the parchment, stack the dough on a baking sheet and freeze until firm, 15-20 minutes (or refrigerate 2 hours-overnight).
  3. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Remove 1 dough sheet from the freezer and place on the work surface. Take off the parchment. Cut the dough into 3-5 inch shapes, transferring to the prepared baking sheet with a metal spatula and keeping them ¾ inch apart.
  5. Bake the cookies until set in the centers and the dough barely retains an imprint when touched very gently with a finger tip (8-11 minutes), rotating the baking sheets front to back and switching top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Do not over bake. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 2 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and cool to room temp.
  6. Store up to 1 week in Tupperware with parchment between layers.

For the Royal Icing (modified from Tips from a Typical Mom):

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tsp milk
  • 3 tsp corn syrup
  1. Put powdered sugar in a mixing bowl and start mixing on low with the wire whisk attachment.
  2. Slowly add the milk and corn syrup and whisk until smooth with the consistency of white glue.
  3. Scoop into a plastic bag, snip off the corner, and decorate cookies!

Eggnog Cookies & Peppermint Pudding Cookies

Christmas

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness, but fatliness is next to saintliness…so bring on the cookies!”

                                                                    -Santa Claus, DFA

Peppermint Pudding Cookies

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  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (5.1 oz) package vanilla pudding mix
  • 3/4 cup white or vanilla cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 package (12 oz) white chocolate chips (the ones with cocoa butter)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup crushed candy canes (approx. 6) for top of cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Stir together flour, salt and baking soda and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together. Add in pudding package and cake mix and beat until well blended.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add flour mixture slowly until well incorporated. Add in the entire bag of white chocolate chips and mix.
  4. Scoop out 1″ balls onto a greased baking sheet. Flatten and sprinkle with candy canes before baking. Bake at 350 for 10 – 15 minutes.  Makes about 40 cookies.

Eggnog Cookies

(originally from tidymom.net)

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  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, slightly softened
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup alcoholic eggnog (or add 1-2 tablespoons rum if using non alcoholic eggnog)
  • 1-3 tbsp eggnog and approximately 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar for the glaze
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In another mixing bowl, mix sugar and butter together. Add egg yolks and vanilla to the mixture and beat until smooth.
  4. Finally, add eggnog (and rum if using) and mix on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Slowly add flour mixture into eggnog/sugar mixture until completely combined, but be careful not to over-mix.
  5. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a prepared cookie sheet and bake for 20-22 minutes. Remove immediately, and move to a cooling rack.
  6. Once cookies have cooled, mix together the eggnog and powdered sugar until the consistency of paste.  Brush glaze onto cookies and sprinkle with nutmeg.  Makes about two dozen cookies.

Thanksgiving Leftover Empanadas

Tapas

Empanadas

Ah, Black Friday! A day to buy the half-priced stretchy pants you realized you needed about halfway through last night’s dinner; a day to plan what you’re going to do with all of your leftovers. Below is a simple recipe for empanada dough (originally from this recipe for breakfast pockets).  Make a filling by combining leftover mashed potatoes, turkey, corn, and/or whatever else needs to get eaten up (right out of the fridge–don’t heat it up!), then enjoy your hand-held Thanksgiving feast with leftover cranberry sauce or gravy for dipping!

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, chilled
  • 10 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
  • water
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  1. Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.  Cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or with two knives, until well blended.
  2. Whisk the 2 egg yolks with 1 1/2 cups water. Stir the water/egg mixture into the dry ingredients a little at a time until the dough starts to come together.  Keep kneading the dough, adding more water/egg a little bit at a time as necessary, until the dough is smooth.
  3. Cover the dough with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 375.  On a floured surface, roll or press out the dough to about 1/3 of an inch and cut into 5-inch circles. Let circles rest for 5 minutes, then stretch them out a little more.
  5. Spoon your filling of choice into the circles, leaving plenty of room to fold and seal the pockets.  Take a fork to crimp around the edge, and if the empanadas aren’t sealing tightly, dip your finger in water, run it on the edge of the dough, and try again.  Place empanadas (you’ll probably have between 14 and 18) on a couple of parchment lined baking sheets.
  6. Whisk an egg with a tablespoon of water, then brush the tops of the empanadas with the egg wash.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool till you can pick them up.

The Cold Snap

Drinks

 

The Cold Snap

The Cold Snap

It’s almost Thanksgiving, and you know what that means: pumpkin pie spices and pre-gaming to make those family get-togethers less awkward (just kidding, keep me in your wills).  The Cold Snap (slightly adapted from Rachel Ray’s Ginger Snap Cocktail) is an easy-to-make drink that gets you in the holiday mood as easily as its namesake gets you into a sweater.  Cheers!

  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce Domaine de Canton (ginger liqueur)
  • 3 ounces seltzer
  • 1/4 teaspoon agave syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • Pinch grated nutmeg
  • Ice

Mix alcohols, agave, and spices in a cocktail shaker (or a jar if you’re feeling particularly lazy). Pour over ice and top off with seltzer.