Monday, October 31, 2011

Candy Corn Meringue Cookies

I came up with Candy Corn Meringue Cookies, purely by accident.  I was in the kitchen, playing Mad Scientist and creating my Chocolate Spice Pumpkin Souffles when my impatience got the better of me.  I was whipping egg whites for the souffle and decided to use my new hand mixer instead of my stand mixture.  I whipped the egg whites until foamy, and added the sugar.  And I whipped and whipped for what seemed like an eternity, but the egg whites never seemed to get stiff.  I assumed that I had inadvertently gotten some egg yolk mixed in.  So I set that bowl aside and whipped up a new batch in my stand mixer.  And I realized that there was nothing wrong with the original mixture, I just didn't whip it long enough.  Not being one to waste a thing in the kitchen, I sat these egg whites aside until I was finished with the pumpkin/souffle project.  I figured the most simple way to use them would be a meringue-style cookie.  Since I had Halloween on the brain, I tried to think of a way I could incorporate my favorite holiday into my concoction.  And then I thought about candy corn.  I wound up with a very simple, but festive Halloween cookie.  Sometimes mistakes can result in the best inventions!
Happy Halloween!
Place orange-tinted egg white
mixture into piping bag.
Pipe orange dollops onto cookie sheet.
Top orange batter with yellow dollops
that are slightly smaller in diameter.
Top yellow batter with white dollops
to create a candy corn appearance.
Bake for 1 hour.
Turn oven off and leave cookies
in oven to dry out completely overnight.
A perfectly spooky treat
for your trick or treaters!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cardinals Crunch

I've seen lots of variations of popcorn or snack mixes combined with candy on the internet.  You can't beat the mix of sweet and salty.  A perfect example this time of year is candy corn combined with salted peanuts.  A super simple, but tasty treat.  In my quest to keep my husband fueled up to watch his Cardinals play in the World Series, I decided to take my regular recipe for Crack Corn, and jazz it up.  After all, it's not any ol' baseball game we're talking about.  It's the World Series.  Feel free to throw it whatever you like, whether it's M&Ms, candy corn, or something to match your team's colors.  A home run for sure!
A Grand Slam!
The Batting Order...
Place popped corn on a baking sheet.
Add peanuts.
Mix in candy.
Add mini marshmallows.
Stir in caramel bits.
Melt candy coating and oil together in microwave.
Pour over mixture.
Bake in oven until marshmallows
and caramel bits start to melt.
Cool completely before breaking apart.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

St. Louis Slaw Dogs

Nothing says baseball more than a hot dog.  But why have a plain ol' hot dog with plain ol' ballpark mustard when you can have a Slaw Dog.  This slaw not only makes an outstanding side dish, but it's tangy, crisp flavor is the perfect compliment to a juicy hot dog.  It's very simple to make, with a "quick pickling" process.  Just a couple of hours in the fridge, and you're ready for the big game!
Cole Slaw on a Hot Dog???
The Line- Up
Combine sugar and vinegar in
a sauce pan.
Add salt, celery seed and mustard seed.
Place vegetables in bowl.
Season with salt and pepper.
Boil mixture until thick, hot and clear.
Pour hot liquid over vegetables.
Mix well.
Cover and chill several hours.
Taste and adjust seasonings
if necessary.
Trust Me.  It's good.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Peanuts & Cracker Jacks Sundaes

Well it's the all important Game 6 of the World Series tonight, and I've created a monster!  I've been preparing baseball friendly food all week and enjoying dinner in front of the tv, watching my husband's beloved St. Louis Cardinals.  Last night, the teams were on a break and there was no game, so I did not go all out with a themed dinner.  My husband actually asked, "What's for dessert tonight?"  Sadly, nothing.  That's because the night before I had spoiled him with a Peanuts & Cracker Jacks Sundae.  You know what the song says, "Buy me some Peanuts & Cracker Jacks..."  A perfect combination, and with the addition of vanilla ice cream and homemade peanut butter sauce you'll be singing, "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" too!
"Buy Me Some Peanuts & Cracker Jacks"
In a sundae, that is!
The All-Star Line-Up
In a sauce pan, combine brown sugar,
corn syrup, milk and butter.
Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved
and mixture is smooth.
Remove from heat and add peanut butter.
Whisk until smooth and creamy.
Cool slightly.
Crush Cracker Jacks and place in bowl.
Roll scoops of ice cream in
Cracker Jack crumbs.
Place ice cream in serving dish.
Top with roasted peanuts
and peanut butter topping.
Garnish with whipped cream and
a cherry of course!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The History of Puttanesca Sauce

You learn something new every day.  I recently learned the origins of Puttanesca Sauce.  I had seen lots of variations of the sauce.  I've never personally made it because I don't like olives or capers.  Therefore I don't think anyone in my household should like them either.  My Kitchen, My Rules.  Even if it isn't a dish I care for, I'm always interested in the history of food and how recipes evolve or get their name. 

To put it bluntly, Puttana in Italian means "whore."  Whore Sauce?  WHAT!?!
That one sparked my attention, my imagination and my curiosity.  Why would one of the most beloved pasta sauces literally translate to whore sauce?

When I looked into the history of Puttanesca Sauce, I found a couple of different explanations surrounding the name:

One story claims that at the end of the evening, the prostitutes would come begging at local restaurants for leftovers.  This sauce was made of all leftover ingredients.   If there was sauce on the stove, anything that may be going bad was put into the simmering sauce.

According to one story, the name purportedly comes from the fact that the intense fragrance of this sauce was like a siren's call to the men who visited such "ladies of pleasure."

Another version claims the origin of the sauce was created when the prostitutes needed to make something speedy and nutritious between appointments.  A lady of the evening could cook the sauce in the time it took her to take care of a client and enjoy it while recovering from her activities.

No matter the true origin, the sauce is generally served over some type of pasta, usually spaghetti.  It typically contains a combination of tomatoes, onions, capers, black olives, anchovies and garlic, all cooked together in olive oil.

And now you know!  The next time you order something alla puttanesca at an Italian restaurant, you can chuckle to yourself.  Better yet, invite someone you don't like over for dinner.  Serve them Puttanesca Sauce.  You can enjoy the last laugh on that one.  Unless they happen to speak Italian!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cracker Jack Cookies--A World Series Treat!

When you think Baseball, you automatically think Cracker Jacks.  If you think munching on that yummy caramel corn is delicious during a game, then try a Cracker Jack Cookie.  The cookies themselves don't actually contain Cracker Jacks, or popcorn for that matter.  However, they are a  chewy, rich, golden cookie that get a great crunch from oats and puffed rice cereal.  The best part?  They really do taste like a sweet, caramel Cracker Jack treat.  It's my understanding that the origin of this recipe has been around for many years, dating back to the 1930's.  It's quite possible since Rice Krispies were introduced to the public by Kellogg's in 1928.  I can't believe in all of my baseball-watching years, these tasty treats have eluded me.  Until now.  I made up a big batch and gave some to the neighbors to munch on during the games.  Baseball is a BIG DEAL around here.  Enjoy them while you're rooting for your favorite team.  I guarantee your fans will be running for more during the seventh inning stretch!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Toasted Ravioli

There are three regional foods I fell in love with when I went to college in Missouri.  Sauerkraut, St. Louis Style Salad, and Toasted Ravioli.  They even had toasted ravioli at McDonald's when I lived there.  Every time I go to a Cardinals game, I make a mad dash to the concession stand for toasted ravioli.  And after the game when we eat at one of the Italian restaurants on The Hill, we get toasted ravioli for an appetizer.  If you think a plate of ravioli pasta is good, try breading and frying it for an even bigger treat.  Served with warm marinara sauce for dipping, and you have an outstanding appetizer.  AND if you're guests aren't from the St. Louis area, then they will be extra impressed when you serve this!
Toasted Ravioli:  The St. Louis Treat!
The Line-Up
Thaw frozen ravioli
Combine milk and beaten egg.
Combine bread crumbs and salt.
Dip ravioli into milk mixture, and then
coat with bread crumbs.  Fry in oil
until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Serve with warmed marinara sauce.
Serve immediately and enjoy!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Crimson & Cream Whoopie Pies

I think by now most of you have figured out that I'm a Sooner Girl.  And that I have no life outside of football, baseball and golf.  You know if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.  More like if you can't beat 'em, then cook up a bunch of food and spread it out on a picnic table.  At least you won't be hungry while the guys stand around and talk about sports.  So what do you fix when the University of Oklahoma  is playing their arch-enemy Texas in the annual Red River Shoot Out?  Crimson & Cream Whoopie Pies of course!  Not that I make many burnt orange recipes anyway, but this game is the one day of the year you MUST be sporting your Sooner Crimson & Cream.  I have to confess that there are so many yummy Fall desserts out there that I would love to make this time of year, but I would be tarred and feathered at High Noon if I dared make a "pumpkin-colored" dessert to serve during one of the biggest OU games of the year.  I have to say that these were a huge hit.  Not only because they screamed, "School pride" but they also screamed, "I'm stuffed with a marshmallow buttercream filling."  A photo of my Crimson & Cream Whoopie Pies even found their way onto the Golf Pigeon website, which I lovingly refer to as Golf Facebook.  You know it's good when a boy takes a picture of a cookie and puts in on a website for boys and by boys.  Ah...I'm famous!
Boomer Sooner!
The Crimson & Cream Whoopie Pie Line-Up
To dry cake mix add:
vegetable oil
add water...
Add eggs...
Beat until smooth.
Bake about 20 minutes and cool completely.
Beat softened butter and
powdered sugar.
Add marshmallow cream and beat until
smooth.  Place filling on bottom of a cooled
cookie.  Top with another cooled cookie to
create a sandwich.
Watch OU beat Texas on tv and
sit back and enjoy!
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