Category Archives: Party Food

Handheld Spinach & Artichoke Dip Bites

I’m not sure why I didn’t post this recipe and accompanying photos earlier, that WILL make you drool I promise you!  I made this for a cocktail party that we were invited to back in on New Year’s Eve, and I just plum forgot to share, shame on me.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip Bites

Handheld Spinach & Artichoke Dip Bites

Yield: 48 pieces

Dip Ingredients:

1 (8 oz.) Package of Cream Cheese, room temperature

¼ C. Mayonnaise

½ C.  Grated Parmesan Cheese

2 Garlic Cloves, finely minced

1 (15 oz.) can Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped (not the marinated ones though)

1 C. Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed and drained well

Bite Ingredients:

2 tubes of Pillsbury® Original Crescents

¼ C. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (more or less, it’s up to you)

Pre-heat your oven to 375⁰

In a large bowl mix together the Dip Ingredients (I used my Stand Mixer); set aside for now.

Take the dough from one of the tubes of Crescents and gently pull off just half of it.  On a lightly floured surface, press together all of those little breaks in the dough, to make one big square.  Using a pizza wheel, cut the dough into 12 pieces as equally as you can.  Spray a mini muffin tin, lightly, and press each dough square into a cup, gently; repeat until all the cups are stuffed.

Now for the Dip part.  Use a teaspoon to add the filling to the dough cups, don’t over fill them; top with the Mozz, as much or little as you like.  Bake for approximately 12 minutes, the tops will be puffy and golden.  Let them cool on a rack until you can handle them.  Pop each lovely morsel of gooey deliciousness out on to another rack to cool slightly… and serve.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip Bites, well maybe 3 bites

They wouldn’t be around for very long.

ENJOY!

Mexican Themed Foods Continued

Somehow, growing up in the Middle of the Pacific Ocean, I was exposed to a lot of Mexican Foods.  My Dad loved it!  He made it all the time for us, maybe because it was so inexpensive.  The one thing that he never made himself was Chips and Salsa, I LOVE CHIPS!

Not so long ago, I found a large quantity of Corn Tortillas in our freeze, with many packages having expiration dates long past due.

¡CHIPS!

I stacked up my stash of tortillas; cut them into quarters and heated a high-sided pot of Vegetable oil to 375⁰.  How do I know it got to that temperature?  * Cooking Tip – If you dunk the end of a wooden spoon into the hot oil and it bubbles profusely, it’s ready.

Homemade Tortillas Chips, not Salsa though

Fry the tortillas (remembering not to crowd the pan) to GBD (golden brown and delicious); carefully remove to a paper towel lined sheet pan and salt immediately.

Esto es muy picante!

Esto es muy picante!

Serve warm with your favorite dip and as always …

ENJOY!

Tunnel Of Fudge Cake, Oh My!

I’ve fallen behind on my blog, I know I know, so to make this is up to you I give you,

CAKE!

I love a good cake, really, but not the ones with oodles of icing on it or that are overly sweet.

I think I told you folks that I ordered The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook.  Fabulous!  I watched the episode where they made this cake; I was drooling the entire show.  This recipe makes a large, rich, moist, over the moon, delicious chocolate Bundt cake with a ganache like glaze dripping down the sides.  I did have to share some of this cake with neighbors, as well as freeze a huge hunk of it, just to keep both my husband and I from devouring it.  And I’ll be honest with you, as the cake sat on the counter, it got better.  After the second day, I put it in one of those Dollar Store plastic cake carriers, they’re great.  Then I stashed the whole thing in the `fridge.  On the fourth day, I cried uncle and froze the last of it.  About a week or so later, I defrosted the cake in the `fridge for a couple of days and it was FANTASTIC!  I will be making this cake again.

Tunnel Of Fudge Cake

For the Cake:

2 ¼ oz. Dutch-processed Cocoa plus extra to dust the pan

½ C. Boiling Water

2 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped

10 oz. All purpose Flour

2 C. Pecans (or Walnuts), chopped fine

8 oz. Confectioner’s Sugar

1 tsp. Salt

5 Eggs, room temperature

1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract

20 Tbsp. (2 ½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened

7 oz. Granulated Sugar

5 ¼ oz. Light Brown Sugar

For the Glaze:

¾ C. Heavy Cream

¼ C. Light Corn Syrup

8 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped

½ tsp. Vanilla Extract

Preheat your oven to 350⁰, with the rack at to the lower-middle position.  Grease a 12 cup Bundt pan and dust with some cocoa powder.  Set aside.

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl and then pour the boiling water over it; whisk gently until it’s smooth.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, nuts, confectioner’s sugar and salt.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla.

In your stand mixer fixed with the paddle, beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium-high until it’s light and fluffy, this will take about 2 minutes.  Turn it down to low; add the egg mixture and beat just until combined.  Add the chocolate mixture and beat until incorporated.  Beat in the flour mixture for about 30 seconds, don’t over work it.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it out with an off-set spatula.  Bake until the edges start to pull away from the pan, about 45 minutes.  Testing for doneness with a toothpick won’t work here, because the cake is so fudgy.  If the cake springs back when you press gently with your finger, it’s done.

Cool the cake in the pan, set on a wire rack for 1 ½ hours, then turn it out on to a serving plate and let it cool completely for at least 2 more hours.

(I made the cake one day then glazed it the next.)

For the Glaze: Heat the cream, corn syrup and chocolate in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it’s smooth.  Off heat, stir in the vanilla and set aside to thicken, about 30 minutes or so.  Spoon the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it flow down the sides.  Let the glaze set for at least 10 minutes before serving.

This cake will keep at room temperature for 2 days, but that’s about when it really gets good, I think anyways.

CAKE!

CAKE!

Sliced Tunnel of fudge cake

*I’m sure that you noticed that this recipe uses weight rather than volume (ounces vs. cups) for some of the ingredients.  It’s much more precise this way and your baked goods will come out perfect!

I do think that the next time I make this cake, I’ll make only ¾ to ½ the amount of glaze though.  You see how it’s puddling a bit?  But, yeah, I mean, aren’t you drooling now too?

Please let me know if you try this recipe by taking a photograph and posting it on whatever social media site you use, with the hashtag, #mykitcheninthemiddleofthedesert.  I’d love to see what you’re making in your kitchen.

ENJOY!

St. Patrick’s Day Dessert, Texas Sheet Cake

That’s right, I made an appetizer, an entrée and I even made a dessert for our neighborhoods’ block party celebration.

I recently ordered The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook; I saw this recipe and have wanted to try it ever since I saw them make it on the show.

 

Texas Sheet Cake

For the Cake:

2 C. (10 oz.) All Purpose Flour

2 C. (14 oz.) Granulated Sugar

½ tsp. Baking Soda

½ tsp. Salt

2 Large Eggs + 2 Large Egg Yolks

¼ C. Sour Cream

2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

8 oz. Semi-sweet Chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Baking Chips)

¾ C. Vegetable Oil

¾ C. Water

½ C. (1 ½ oz.) Dutch-processed Cocoa

4 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter

 

For the Chocolate Icing:

8 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter

½ C. Heavy Cream

½ C. (1 ½ oz.) Dutch-porcessed Cocoa

1 Tbsp. light Corn Syrup

3 C. (12 oz.) Confectioners’ Sugar

1 C. Pecans, toasted and chopped

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a half sheet pan (18X13 inch).

 

Start with the cake assembly:

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt, set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks, sour cream and vanilla until smooth.

Place a large saucepan on medium heat, add the chocolate, oil, water, cocoa and butter.  Stir constantly until smooth, about 3-5 minutes.

Whisk this mixture into the flour, then pour into your prepared sheet pan.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire rack.

 

Let’s make that Icing:

About 5 minutes or so before the cake is done, heat the butter, cream, cocoa and corn syrup in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Stir occasionally, until everything is nice and smooth.  Add the vanilla, off heat and spread this as evenly as possible over the cake that has just come out of the oven.  *This is a key part of the recipe to ensure a moist cake, you must ice the cake as it comes out of the oven.

Make sure to cover every little bit of the cake by using an offset spatula.

Sprinkle the chopped pecans all over.

Cool the cake to room temperature on the rack for about an hour.  This may be tricky, but place the cake, still in the half sheet pan, into the `fridge to set, for at least an hour.  I had to do quite a bit of rearranging to make this happen.

Cut the cake into 3 inch squares to serve 24.

This cake can keep in the refrigerator, covered,  for up to 2 days.

 

 

This is a VERY CHOCOLATE-Y cake. Folks at the party thought that this was a tray of Brownies, NOPE!  Its cake alright, a very dense, fudge-y, cake.  It was delicious, and a lot of it, so this is why I was waiting for an occasion just like this to try this recipe.

ENJOY!

St. Patrick’s Day Green Chile Relleno Casserole

I wanted to share what else I made for our neighborhood block party on St. Patrick’s Day, Hatch Green Chile Relleno Casserole, really good!

This recipe is a riff off of a pal of mine (Mahalo Kathy) from one of the Food Forums that I follow.

Hatch Green Chile Relleno Casserole

1 ½ 27oz. cans Hatch Whole Green Chiles
4-6 C. shredded Colby Jack Cheese
1 C. Whole Milk
¼ C. Flour
¼ tsp. Baking powder
5 Large Eggs
8 oz. Hatch Green Chile Enchilada Sauce
½ tsp. Cumin powder
½ tsp. Oregano, crush with fingers

Preheat the oven to 350⁰.

Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 pan.

Reserve 1/2 cup of cheese for the top.

Layer the pan, alternately with Chiles and Cheese, creating three layers, ending with Chiles.

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In a bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder; then whisk in the milk and eggs until smooth. Pour this mixture gently into the pan and bake for 30 minutes.

029

Remove from the oven, and pour Green Enchilada sauce evenly over the top. Sprinkle the cumin and oregano on top of the sauce, and cover with reserved cheeses.

Return to oven, and bake an additional 20 min, until the cheese on top just bubbles.

Allow the casserole to rest of 15 minutes before serving.

035

Enjoy!

Stromboli or Rolled Calzone

A while back, I posted my SIL’s version of what she called Rolled Calzone, that I have now come to find is actually called Stromboli, I mean DE~LI~CIOUS~NESS!

We were invited to a St. Patrick’s Day celebration in our neighborhood, basically a block party, and I decided that this would go over well as an appetizer, so I made two.  One of our neighbors asked if I share my recipes, OF COURSE! so Debra, this is for you.

I got Trader Joe’s refrigerated Garlic and Herb Pizza dough and a plain one as well (I like this better than Pillsbury Pizza dough).  I rolled each out on a floured surface to about a 14” X 10” rectangle; I don’t like it doughy, yaknow? But if you do, make it smaller.  Now, of course you could make your own Pizza dough as we have discussed previously, but, in this instance, well, I wanted quick and easy.

I spread about 2 ounces of jarred Pesto out, leaving a 2 inch boarder on the top and bottom edge.

Preheat the oven, by the way, to 400⁰.

Now comes the goodies.

Take about a quarter pound each of your favorite cheese and Italian deli meats ( I use sharp Provolone, Boar’s Head brand Pesto Ham, Genoa Salami and Hot Capocollo) and layer each evenly, again leaving a two inch boarder on the top and bottom edge.

I also like to use jarred Roasted Red Peppers, cut into strips and diced Hot Cherry Peppers for some heat.

Here we go…

Starting from the edge closest to you, roll it up as tightly as you can, tucking as you go so that the fillings stay inside.

When you get to the end, pinch the edge to stick to the roll and seal it; tuck the ends under the log.

On a parchment lined half sheet pan, sprinkle some cornmeal and place the roll (I put both on one pan), seam side down.  *Edit: oops, I forgot, at this point brush the Stromboli with a beaten egg white.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until just browned.

Cool on a rack to room temperature and slice as desired.

Stromboli or Rolled Calzone

*note: this tray is less eight, yes 8 slices that my husband had to test taste!

This makes a great appetizer or a light lunch with a nice green salad.

ENJOY!

Our New Year’s Day Feast

Fried Saimin

Okay, so in my last post, I was telling you about how we eat noodles for good luck on New Year’s; here’s what else we had with our noodles.

NYD Sushi platter

I’ve got this thing for I don’t know how many years now, that we have a sushi platter on New Years.  Now that we live in the middle of the desert, I’ve had to learn how to make this; pretty good, huh?

Limu Ahi Poke Bowl

Limu Ahi Poke bowl, yes again.  My favorite place to buy fresh fish, still had fresh Ahi Tuna on sale for $8.99 per pound, so I figured, why not.  This is simple, make the Poke of your choice and serve it over hot steamed rice.

Chicken Katsu

Chicken Katsu, MMM!  This dish is a snap, think Fried Chicken, but with a twist.  Just pound out a boneless/skinless Chicken Thigh, or Breast, thin; dredge it in Mochiko or Rice Flour, dip in an egg wash and then roll it in Panko Bread Crumbs.  I like to press the Panko into the flesh firmly and leave to rest a few minutes on a rack.  Then just shallow fry the meat until GBD, golden brown and delicious!  Cool on a rack and slice; serve warm or at room temperature.

Noodle Plate

Look at that beautiful crust, Come on man!

YUM!

Cheers!

I wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year,

E Hauoli Makahiki hou!