Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Remember the Autumnal Equinox dinner? Well, the time had come to do our Winter Solstice Dinner, and we had a good time. It was an up and down day with plans changing throughout. We went to the store knowing what we wanted and not finding what we wanted, we had to change plans as we went. Then when we got home and got making the food, we found we had forgotten to get a few ingredients. No problem, we thought...we'll make it completely from scratch, we thought...only to find we were out of shortening. After a minor melt down and some frustration, it all pulled together wonderfully and gave us some yummy leftovers for the next day. Mmmm.
Here's what we had (click on the food name to go to the post containing that recipe):
Cajun Pork Loin (this I'm not doing a post of because we just bought it from the store pre-seasoned. We just cooked it).
Roasted Potatoes and Carrots (I'm not posting this either. It's just potatoes and carrots with a little bit of herbed olive oil baked in the oven).
And to drink we had Raspberry Creme Soda (the 2 liter $0.79 stuff from Food Basket....this stuff is amazing).
For the table decorations we used the chimney from a oil lamp as a vase for a bouquet of fake Poinsettias we already had around the house, 5 small tea light candles in these awesome shot-glass style containers given to us by a friend (they were coated with colored foil and gave off the most awesome light). Then we used a light mustardy colored table cloth with a longer piece of maroon fabric in a stripe down the middle of the table. Super easy, but it made the settings look a little nicer than they really were. We pulled out our fun plates and cups from the Equinox dinner to finish it all off.
This was our experiment for the Winter Solstice Dinner. These weren't supposed to be cream puffs. They were supposed to be bacon cheese treats wrapped with crescent rolls, but we forgot to buy crescent roll dough at the store, and we couldn't find a recipe at home for crescent rolls either. So I was going to make biscuit dough and use that, but I found we were out of shortening. So after some searching I found something we could use. I made cream puffs to put the bacon cheese filling in and it turned out fantastic.
Cream Puff Ingredients:
Here's how the bacon cheese treats were supposed to work (we still want to try them):
I LOVE deviled eggs. Love love love them. Love them so much we had them as a part of our Winter Solstice Dinner. Here's my recipe for 12 deviled eggs (1 egg half counts as 1 deviled egg), but you're going to hate this...I don't measure.
miracle whip or mayo
mustard (I used dried mustard, but you can use regular sandwich mustard out of a bottle)
Other spices as desired (this time I added cajun seasoning)
- Boil the eggs until they are hard boiled. A hard boiled egg will spin easily when placed on the counter and...spun. A fresh egg will not spin well.
- After the eggs have mostly cooled, peel them and cut them in half length-wise.
- Remove the yolks, placing them in a bowl to the side. I find it easiest to slightly bend the egg white just enough to loosen the yolk, and then the yolk slips out.
- To the yolks add about 2 or 3 big spoonfuls (just a normal dinner spoon) of Mayo/Miracle Whip, a good squirt of mustard (if you're using sandwich mustard) or about 1 tsp. dry mustard, a small sprinkle of garlic salt, a sprinkle of onion powder and your other optional seasonings if doing so.
- Mix the yolk mixture together with a fork, then spoon into the egg whites.
- Sprinkle paprika over the eggs.
- Refrigerate until time to eat.
This was a spread we made for our Winter Solstice Dinner.
This looks gross...especially with the oils coming out, but it really is quite good and quite simple. The flavor is surprising if you've never had this. There is a sweetness you don't anticipate, even if someone tells you you'll be able to taste a sweetness. Sweet from garlic? Yes! The roasting process caramelizes the garlic. I know it sounds weird, but it's pretty good! Serve this with crackers, toasted bread, meat, etc.
Minced garlic (as much or as little as you want)
Roasted Red Pepper (this is found with all the other seasonings at the grocery store)-optional
- You can either use just plain garlic or you can mix some roasted red pepper in. In the photo, the garlic in front has the red pepper and the garlic in the back is just plain garlic.
- Spread your garlic over the bottom of your cooking pan about in a layer about 1/4-1/2" thick. We used a mini bread pan because it was the right size for the amount we made.
- Pour some olive oil in with the garlic. Our recipe says to just cover the garlic, but as you can see, it was a lot of oil. You could try using less oil, you'll just need to experiment a little bit.
- Place uncovered in the oven (400 degrees) and roast for about 20 minutes.
- The oils from the garlic are great for making garlic toast or just for dipping toast in.
After making the Cream Puffs for the Winter Solstice Dinner, we had 2 oz of leftover cream cheese, so Cameron made up a cheese ball!
2 oz cream cheese
sharp cheddar cheese crumbs (a tablespoon or two or four. You know how he is.)
3/4-1 T. Worcestershire sauce (He just poured some in. Like usual.)
Loaf of Rye bread
Herbs of Choice (i.e. parsley, basil, oregeno, etc)
- Mix everything together except for the pecans.
- Roll into a ball.
- Roll in pecans.
- Mix some olive oil and the herbs together on a baking pan (Cameron used a cookie sheet).
- Cut the rye bread into 2-3 inch pieces (slightly larger than bite size...about 2 bites per piece size should work).
- Place the bread pieces on the pan, making sure to turn each piece so the oil is on both sides of the bread.
- Bake at 350 degrees until toasted to your preference.
I love these. This Christmas was the first I had ever had them and I fell in love with them. They are sweet, but not overpoweringly sweet like most candy. They are super simple to make too. Don't be scared by the fact that these need to be cooked to the soft ball stage. That scared me at first but it was really easy. I promise. All I did was I went to the wonderful world of Walmart, bought a $4.5o candy thermometer and then just cooked the glaze until the little temperature line hit the soft ball stage line. That easy. Nothing to it. You can do it. Don't be afraid. You'll be so proud of yourself afterward too. I was. And then you won't be able to quit eating these...but they're pecans...so it's healthy. :)
1 c. white sugar
1 c. white sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 c. water
2 c. pecan halves (or pieces)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- Before you do anything else, prepare a flat surface to pour the nuts onto. For one batch I put wax paper on a cookie sheet, and another batch I just put the wax paper on the counter. Both worked fine.
- Combine the sugar, cinnamon, cream of tartar and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Cook until it reaches the soft ball stage, stirring to keep from scorching.
- Quickly pour in the vanilla and then the pecans. Stir quickly to coat the nuts.
- Spread the nuts onto a hard surface (as prepared in step #1) and quickly separate with a fork before they harden (and stick together).
- Let cool and then enjoy!
Looking for a cookie that is easy and tastes great, but that isn't uber sweet? This is it! They taste great.
- 1 1/4 cups white sugar
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup eggnog
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I actually didn't have nutmeg I found out when I went to add it to the already mixed mixture, so I put in ground cloves. The cookies still turned out great.)
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).
- 2Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- 3Cream sugar and butter until light.
- 4Add eggnog, vanilla, and egg yolks; beat at medium speed with mixer until smooth.
- 5Add flour mixture and beat at low speed until just combined.
- 6Do not overmix. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- 7Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet 1 inch apart.
- 8Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. (Instead of doing this, I sprinkled them with colored sugar crystals)
- 9The recipe says to bake 20 to 23 minutes until bottoms turn light brown, but I only baked them about 8-12 minutes and they were done.
I found this recipe and was way excited to try it. I ended up tweaking the recipe just a little, and it was fantastic.
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup finely crushed root beer-flavored hard candies (about 10 candies)---I didn't have these, so I didn't use them and the cookies still turned out great
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 eggs
- 1/2-1 tsp of Root Beer Extract -this is my addition, the recipe didn't call for it but it tastes great!
- Root Beer Glaze (below)
- 1 cup confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
- 4-6 teaspoons of milk
- 1 tsp. Root Beer Extract
- Additional finely crushed root beer-flavored hard candies, if desired (again, I didn't have these)
- 1Heat oven to 350°. Grease cookie sheet with shortening. Beat brown sugar and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, or mix with spoon. Stir in remaining ingredients except Root Beer Glaze and additional candies.
- 2Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet.
- 3Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until almost no indentation remains when touched in center and edges are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 20 minutes.
- 4To Make Root Beer Glaze: Mix together confectioner's sugar, Root Beer extract, and milk. Stir until smooth. To make it thicker, add more sugar, to make it thinner, add more milk.
- 5Drizzle Root Beer Glaze over cookies. Sprinkle with additional candies.