Attending cocktail parties is the best part of my job (more…)
Month: December 2013
If someone brought a panettone to your Christmas party, here’s the BEST thing you can do with it.
French Toast Recipe serves 8 people
1 Panettone cake about 26 ounces or 16 slices of bread
2 cups half and half
6 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of one orange about 1 Tablespoon
4 ounces of butter
Equipment: Griddle or wide shallow pan, 2 sheet pans, 2 wire racks, 1 pie plate
Slice the pannetone serving sizes about a 1/2 inch thick
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Beat half and half, eggs, sugar, vanilla and orange zest in a bowl. Pour batter into a pie plate.
Dip panettone slices (or bread) into the batter for about 15 seconds per side. Cook the French toast in about one tablespoon of butter on griddle set to medium heat (325 degrees on an electric griddle). Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove cooked French toast to a wire rack placed over a pan. When all of the French toast is finished on the griddle, place the French toast (still on the pan on the wire rack) into the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
Serve with butter and syrup.
During our stay at Callaway Gardens we dined at The Gardens Restaurant, the most upscale of the many dining options at Callaway. So upscale in fact that my husband made sure to teach our kids to eat like sophisticated people, both pinkies out please.
Let’s start with the appetizers:
On to the entrees
Drinks and Dessert
Chef de Cuisine Peter Stiles did a fantastic job. Service was smooth, warm and friendly all in all we had a great evening
I love the weeks leading up to Christmas, I love driving around and seeing the neighborhood light displays. This weekend we saw one of the 10 best Christmas light shows on the planet (according to National Geographic). The Christmas light Show to beat ALL Christmas light shows the Festival of Lights at Callaway Gardens (Pine Mountain, GA). Pictures don’t do it justice, parts of the tour have animated light themes … it’s just great….but wait, there’s more. After you finish the Festival of Lights you have the Christmas Village.
Thankfully we had a cabin waiting for us
Still more stuff to show you…and remember this is in the late fall, almost Winter. I’d love to go back when it warms up in the Spring and the azalea’s are blooming.
We woke up pretty late the next day and were in no hurry to get moving so we had breakfast in the cabin. I brought cheese, crackers, grapes, cereal, milk and juice with us so we had plenty to eat. We finally got it together and headed out to the Birds of Prey (Raptor) show. All of the birds in the show were rescued in some way or another. Several were human imprints (some well meaning folks tried to raise the birds but now they can’t survive on their own ) and one that was hit by a truck and is blind in one eye. Now in the care of the center we can get a good look at them up close
Then the horticultural center, I could have stayed in there all day.
Yes, there’s still more
I still haven’t covered it all. There are bikes to rent and trails to hike and golf and a tree top obstacle course and ziplines. The kids were tempted to try the Tree Top Adventure but there was a bit of rain. They’ve been wanting to zipline for a while now, they thought long and hard about it. Some guests were up in the trees on the obstacle course in the rain but my kids decided against it.
Then there was dinner at The Gardens Restaurant inside Callaway Gardens. Dinner deserves it’s own post so stay tuned!
Three cookies recipes: One no bake, one bar cookie and one traditional rolled out and fully decorated cookie.
DULCE DE LECHE COCONUT PECAN KRISPIE BALLS (I’m gonna have to come up with a shorter name)
Dulce de Leche coconut balls recipe (makes 45 balls)
1 ½ cups shredded sweetened coconut
1 ½ cups pecans
½ cup dark chocolate chips
14 oz dulce de leche (in your grocery store near the condensed milk)
1 cup rice krispies
Finely chop coconut and pecans in a food processor
Mix with chocolate chips, dulce de leche and rice krispies. Scoop into small balls, I used a 025 ounce scoop.
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
½ cup pecans
Roll the balls the topping mixture
BROWNED BUTTER BLONDIES
Browned Butter Blondies (makes 16 blondies)
1 stick butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Cane Syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
spray and 8*8 inch pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Brown the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan for about 4 minutes. When it’s ready the butter should smell nutty and be golden brown. Let the butter cool.
Beat butter sugar, cane syrup eggs, vanilla and salt in the bowl of a mixer. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Add flour and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
Pour into prepared pan and bake at 325 degrees for about 35-40 minutes.
let cool completely and cut into 16 squares
Sugar cookie recipe for rolling (makes about 30-40 cookies depending on the size of your cookie cutters)
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 stick soft butter
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups All-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon your favorite spice like cinnamon, or garam masala (optional)
2 tablespoons colored sugar (optional)
I use a stand mixer, but this sugar cookie dough is easy to make by hand with a wooden spoon.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
In a bowl mix butter, powdered sugar , egg , salt and vanilla thoroughly in a bowl until combined (about 2 minutes on medium in a stand mixer)
Stir in the flour and optional spices and mix until well combined but not over mixed.
Divide dough in half, form each half into a disk and wrap each disk in plastic. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for about a half hour.
Spread a thin layer of flour on your counter and put one disk of cookie dough on it ( leave the other disk in the fridge until you are ready to use it) Roll out your dough with a floured rolling pin to about 1/8 inch thick. I use rolling pin bands to help me roll the dough evenly; no more guessing about what 1/8 of an inch is or struggling to keep the dough at an even thickness.
Pre heat your oven to 350 drgrees
Dip your cookie cutter in flour and cut out your shapes. Use a thin metal spatula ( dusted with flour) to lift the cookies off the counter and place them onto the parchment lined cookie sheet. If you are not decorating your cookies with frosting you can sprinkle them with white or colored sugar before you bake them
Bake the cookies for 10-12 (depending on the size of your cookies) until they are just very slightly brown around the edges. Let them cool to room temperature before you frost them.
You can re-roll the scraps of the cookie dough that are left over after cutting out your cookies. Just gather the scraps, form them into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for a half hour before rolling)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 ½ tablespoons pasteurized egg whites
You can find pasteurized egg whites in the dairy section of your grocery store
Mix Powdered sugar and egg whites together. Add more egg white to make a runnier consistency, add powdered sugar to make a thicker consistency. Add food coloring one drop at a time until you reach the desired color.
Using a disposable pastry bag (cut a tiny bit off of the tip to make a small hole) pipe an outline with royal icing. Thin the icing slightly with a drop or two of egg white. Use this to fill in the outlined area.
Christmas Cookies Easy and Delicious Recipes
I’m usually on the other side of the chef’s jacket, but not this night. This time instead of teaching a cooking class I got to take one from fantastic chef and food stylist Nancy Waldeck (TasteandSavor.com ) at COOKS WAREHOUSE Merchants Walk Nancy had great ideas about using unusual items to present your food. She told us a story about how once she and her assistant bought tons on mushrooms from the grocery store just for the cute boxes they were in ( I’m sure she did something wonderful with all those mushrooms). Her recipes were lovely, light and healthy appetizers great for any party.
Mini Potato Cakes with Kale, Broccoli and Bacon ( makes about 15 potato cakes)
1 and 1/4 cups diced Yukon gold potatoes boiled and mashed
1/4 cup finely chopped kale
1/4 cup finely chopped broccoli
1/4 cup diced cooked bacon ( save a few pieces of bacon for garnish if you like)
2 garlic cloves grated
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup mayonnaise (or light mayonnaise)
2 tablespoons butter or canola oil
2 tablespoons sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
Mix mashed potato, kale, broccoli, bacon, garlic mayonnaise and salt together in a bowl. Scoop about a tablespoon of the mixture and form into a small scallop shaped disk.
Heat a skillet on medium with butter or canola oil. Brown the potato cakes on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Serve on spoons (Chinese soup spoons or regular tablespoons)
Garnish with a dollop or sour cream or Greek yogurt and top with a piece of bacon
It’s time to restock my prop closet, so I headed to Goodwill on Monday to pick up some inexpensive items. Everything on the table (except for the tablecloth and the food) is from Goodwill. These items will be great for styling my blog and great for parties.