Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Leftover Panettone Eggnog Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding!!!



Panettone is without a doubt Italy’s national Christmas sweet. In 1919 Angelo Motto started mass producing his cakes out of his Milanese bakery, revolutionizing this cake by giving it it’s now traditional dome shape. Due to so much competition in the Panettone world the price of these got so low, that by the end of WWII anyone could afford it. This is the beauty of this cake, it is delicious, a tradition, and a national sweet that anyone can afford.

Panttone is such a staple in the Quintano household this time of year, that without fail there are at least three left over. What Michael and I decided to do, besides eating it every day, giving some to the neighbors, and to the dogs…is to take our leftover panettone and leftover eggnog and make a bread pudding out of it. This recipe is made to feed about 15 people, though the photo shows a small one, we baked ours in a huge pan for a Christmas party we had. So feel free to divide by whatever you want to suit your needs!

Here is our massive Christmas leftover chocolate chip eggnog panettone bread pudding!

Ingredients: serves 15

Use a bake safe pan about 12” across, preferably a circle

15 cups Panettone (about 2 large ones)
14 eggs
1 ½ cups melted unsalted butter
3 cups sugar
3 cups eggnog
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups chocolate chips


 
 



 
Preheat the oven 350 degrees.

To start cut all the crust off of your Panttone, rip in to medium to small sized pieces, and measure out to 15 cups and place in a large bowl. Pour melted butter in one cup at a time, folding it in after each cup. In a medium bowl, whisk together all of your eggs, sugar, and cinnamon. Pour the mix in parts over the bread while folding it all together, until all the mix is used. I used my hands, it is a bit easier to make sure all of the bread soaks up the delicious flavors. For the last part mix in your chocolate chips for last umph of flavor.

Spray your baking pan with a little non stick spray, pour the batter in and let cook for about 1 ½ to 2 hours depending on how well your oven works. Just watch it towards that last half hour, and check it with a pick. It is the same as any cake, if crumbs stick, let it bake longer!

Enjoy your leftovers made into pudding to become better leftovers!!!! Yum!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Eve Lamb Leek Mushroom Lasagna!


Christmas Eve at my house is left to last minute gift wrapping, dogs eating bottom branches of the tree, running out to CVS at midnight, and on the less stressful note watch a classic Christmas film and eat some delicious food. Traditionally in Italy one only eats fish because we are technically “fasting”….but since eating 7 courses of fish isn’t technically fasting, I will neither be fasting nor eating only fish. So Michael and I have prepared a festive Christmas Eve lasagna filled with tomato sauce, ground lamb, leeks, mushroom, and delicious ricotta cheese.

Enjoy this lasagna with your loved ones, maybe around the fire place and next to the tree!

God Jul!
Joyeux Noel!
Buon Natale!
Mele Kalikimaka!

Ingredients: use a 9”x13” baking tray

1 box oven bake ready lasagna pasta sheets
5 cups diced tomato in their juice
8 oz. tomato paste
3 cups sliced button tomatoes
2 lbs. ground lamb
2 medium leeks
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt
1 lb. ricotta
2 cups shredded mozzarella





Preheat oven to 350 degrees and get all of your mise en place set up. Start by chopping the leeks. To do this cut the root off, then cut where the light green starts to turn dark. Cut the leek in half lengthwise and take one layer off. Holding the halves intact, run them under water to get all of the dirt out. Now placing the cut side down, thinly slice the leeks into half-moon pieces. Next pull the stems out of your mushrooms, rinse, and slice into ¼ inch slices. Lastly dice up as finely as possible all of your garlic.

In a large sauce pan heat your olive oil. Once the olive oil gets to a searing temperature, put all of your ground lamb into the pan and cook all the way through, about 7 mins, stirring with a wooden spoon. Now take your meat out of the pan and drain all the fat through a colander, and place the meat back in the pan. Add leeks, cook about 5 minutes, next add garlic. Once the garlic starts to brown a bit add all of your tomato paste and stir, cook for one minute. Add tomatoes and their juices along with salt, and lower the heat to medium and let cook for about 25 minutes.

Mix ricotta and all but a ¼ cup of mozzarella together in a small mixing bowl.

Once your meat mix is done cooking, and your cheese is mixed, begin your assembly of the lasagna. Start by laying some meat sauce down, then cheese, then evenly lay out the raw mushroom. Top with pasta sheets. Repeat with meat, cheese, mushrooms, pasta two more times. Once you are done layering your ingredients take the last ¼ cup of mozzarella and sprinkle over the top layer.

You are now ready to cook. Cover the lasagna with a sheet of aluminum foil and place in oven and cook for 50 minutes. After the 50 minutes are up, remove the foil and cook for another 15 minutes to allow the cheese to create a nice brown crust!

Your wonderful lasagna is ready to be eaten! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Holiday Spicy Chocolate Truffles


During this time of year it is always wonderful to make small sweets that you can just pop in your mouth while wrapping some presents or to give as gifts. We decided to make some chocolate truffles. They are fun to make and there are so many options of how you can flavor them and decorate them. A huge problem we had while making them is they kept getting eaten before I could photograph them!

These truffles are a rich and creamy cinnamon and cayenne spice chocolate treat, with two kinds covered in sprinkles, one in coconut flakes, and one in chopped hazelnuts.

Enjoy, and happy holidays!

Ingredients: Makes about 2 dozen at about 1 ½ inches in diameter, takes about 2 hours

8 oz cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar sifted
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper




In a large bowl beat the cream cheese until really smooth. One half cup at a time, add the sugar to the cream cheese until it is completely blended.

In a medium sauce pan melt the chocolate constantly stirring. The second all the chocolate melted take it off the burner, because chocolate will burn and dry out in a heartbeat! Don’t fret though, just stir and keep an eye out, should take about 5 minutes.

Stir the melted chocolate and vanilla into the cream cheese. Next add the spices and make sure you evenly blend so there is no one part that is spicier. Now place in the fridge for an hour to let set a little.

Once your hour is up, set up 4 small plates up with your decorations. Using a spoon, spoon out about one heaping tablespoon of chocolate, and using the heat of your palm form a ball. It takes love and patience!

Now to decorate you can either roll your chocolate truffles in the sprinkles etc… or a tip that I found to be useful is to pour some of your toppings into your hand and roll it in your hand so that you can evenly press the toppings into the chocolate.

You can serve right away, or refrigerate for another hour to let harden! You will adore these chocolates, and they are festive and super sexy!!!

Voila!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday Spiced Rum

I first made this for Michael’s birthday last year as part of a prohibition era party I threw him, where we fermented our own liquers, made gin, and this delicacy….spiced rum. It seems only appropriate that we would yet again, make this drink during the winter month, where a warm spiced drink can warm your shivered bones, and bring a smile to your face!

This spiced rum is very simple, and is great to drink straight, and in our case we like to add a little water and warm it. Enjoy and get creative, you will figure out how you prefer to spice it!

Ingredients:
750 ml dark rum
1 vanilla bean
2 large strips of orange peel
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg



This is such a painfully easy recipe. Basically you want to pour the rum out into a large pitcher (keep the bottle to rebottle the liquor), and put your ingredients with it. For the orange peel, use a peeler to take the skin off, just make sure that you get rid of the pith, which is the white part, the pith will make your drink bitter. With the vanilla bean, take a knife and run into down length wise to open it so all the lovely flavor can come out. Once all the ingredients are in the pitcher, place plastic wrap on top, and let sit in a cool dark area for 3 days. Once a day stir the mix, and reseal, and let sit.

After the third day, strain out all the spices, and rebottle! Now enjoy, you can spike some hot chocolate, drink warm, or on the rocks. Enjoy and be safe!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Potato and Leek Latkes with Apple Chutney! Yay!





What a glorious time of year this is! Today is the second day of Hanukkah and Michael and I celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas so we get to be super festive the whole month. Every year Hanukkah falls on a different date, because it follows the Jewish calendar. Last year Hanukkah and Christmas overlapped, but this year it falls earlier on in the month.

It is a wonderful thing that Michael can teach me his family traditions, and I can teach him mine, and now we can share both together…and twice the amount of awesome food!!

That being said, we are making potato and leek latkes for the holiday with a sweet apple chutney to accompany it. An interesting fact about why latkes are a holiday staple and are loved in the Jewish community (besides being tasty), is that the oil used to fry the latkes is representative of the oil used to provide light miraculously for eight days!

The glorious thing about this dish, whether you call them latkes or potato pancakes, is that they are marvelous year round and are so unbelievably delicious I am hungry just typing this! So enjoy and happy holidays!

Ingredients:

Latkes: 4 medium sized ones

2 large russet potatoes
1 large leek
1 egg
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup olive oil

Apple Chutney:

3 granny smith apples
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup apple juice
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter




We start with making the apple chutney because it is best served at room temperature, so start by peeling and dicing the apple into same sized pieces depending on how large or small you would like your pieces. Melt butter in a sauté pan, and then add apples. Cook until apples soften, then add apple juice and cinnamon and cook until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from pan, and let sit at room temperature.

To make the latkes, peel the potatoes, and using a cheese grater with the largest size holes grate both of them. Place the shreds of potato into a bowl of water. Now take your leek, cut the end off where it forms a bulb, and then cute where the white starts to turn into green. Next cut in half length wise, take the outer two leaves off, and rinse the stalk under flowing water. Now laying the cut side down, thinly slice the whole leek into small strips.

Take the potato, and place in a strainer and run cold water over until all the foamy starch washes off. Lay a towel out, and place potato on top and ring out as much of the water as you possibly can. Place potatoes back in a large mixing bowl, mix in leeks, salt and the egg (lightly beaten). Be sure to mix thoroughly so all the parts are coated in egg because this is your binder.

In a large sauté pan heat your olive oil until it sizzles when you put a drop of water in it. Take about 3-4 Tablespoons of your latke mix and place in a circle in the pan, using a spatula push down to spread it out evenly. Put as many as you can in the pan, and flips them when one side becomes golden brown. When they are done, they should be golden brown on both sides, take them out and let them sit on a plate with a piece of paper towel on it to absorb excess oil.

When they cool serve with the apple chutney and any other toppings you like! Don’t just make these for the holidays, you can make these year round!

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Winter is Upon Us...soon



Winter is about to appear! It is a hectic time of year for us….we have anniversaries, birthdays, Hanukkah, Christmas… the whole shebang. That being said, we are ready for some delicious treats! We are offering drink, snacks, holiday meals, and hors d’oeuvres!

Be sure to brighten up anyone’s day this winter, with some holiday cheer and a little Food Nasty! Not to forget the beautiful new colors we will be hosting!
Check them out at http://www.pantone.com


and....don't forget to buy your fill of holiday cards, here are some of our faves...!! xx



http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheReimaginedPast

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Spiced Chocolate Ganache Fig Tart

D Ed

I hope that everyoneefd dcr had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We had a glorious time, friends, family, neighbors, everyone united around two table put together to enjoy a magnificent feast that my father put together. My mother had us decorate the table with porcelain statues of turkey, oyster bowls full of grapes, and mismatched vintage table cloths. In true holiday spirit Michael and I helped out with the meal, but made our own personal contribution of dessert.

We are so accustomed to pumpkin pies or pecan pies this time of year, that we decided upon making a simple cold chocolate spiced dessert, in the form of a spiced chocolate ganache tart topped with caramelized figs. I don’t think it gets more decadent than this!  

*To cheat on the crust, you can also buy pie crust mix, and add one egg, and three table spoons brown sugar.

*Take about 2 and a half hours.

Pie Crust:

3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
6 to 8 Tablespoon ice water

Ganache:

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Caramelized Figs:
8 medium to small sized figs
½ cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons honey






This tart is incredibly easy, and it is velvety and delicious. It is nothing short of decadent. You will make the tart in three steps; start with the pie crust, the ganache, and then caramelize the figs.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a food processor pulsing to mix. Next add cold butter and mix about 8 times until butter is broken down. Now add ice cold water 1 tablespoon at a time, then brown sugar, then egg. Take dough out of processor and flatten and then place in refrigerator for up to one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, remove dough from refrigerator, and roll out until it is about an 1/8 of an inch thick. Lay over a 9 inch round tart pan, and press down to fit the fold, piercing the bottom about 10 times with a fork to allow steam to release from underneath the dough. Place in oven and bake about 15-20 minutes or until the dough turns golden brown.  Once done, remove and let cool completely.

For the ganache, place cream in a medium sauce pan and chocolate in a large bowl. Boil the cream, once boiled pour the cream, through a sieve (or strainer) into the chocolate. Mix together until there are no lumps in the chocolate. Next add vanilla and cinnamon, and make sure to mix together completely. Next pour the chocolate into your cooled pie crust, and place in refrigerator and let set for about an hour.

For the figs, slice cut both ends of the figs off, and then split into quarters. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a bowl, mix together the figs, honey, and half of the brown sugar, making sure you coat all of the figs. Now lay the figs out on a baking sheet evenly, and sprinkle the rest of the brown sugar on top, and place in oven. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until the figs are soft to the touch. You can even taste one, and test for sweetness, and no bitterness. Once the figs are done, remove from oven and let cool completely.

To serve all you need to do is pile the figs up in the middle of the tart and take out of the tart mold. Enjoy! The mix of the chocolate, cinnamon, and figs is a combination that will be a crowd pleaser and hopefully will become a tradition for years to come!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Open Face Thanksgiving Melt




Some of the best parts of Thanksgiving are the leftovers! Yum! Instead of making your usual boring Turkey sandwich, or just reheating your food, try a diner lovers version of Thanksgiving, pack all the deliciousness in one, and eat this Thanksgiving open face diner melt. No need to follow our recipes for stuffing or any of that good stuff, the beauty is, you already have everything you need, your own stuffing, and turkey, and cranberry sauce etc…..
Happy Thanksgiving!

Ingredients:

Sourdough bread
Swiss cheese
Cranberry sauce
Stuffing
Turkey






This sandwich is so simple and damn is it an amazing dish! You can either buy slices of sourdough bread, or a loaf which we did. In that case slice the loaf with crust side down, so you get an allover good crunch. Take a heaping spoonful of cranberry sauce and spread over your bread, now layer your stuffing, and turkey on top. Take two slices of swiss cheese lay on top. Turn your broiler on in your oven, place the sandwich under the broiler flame and let the cheese melt, about 5 minutes.

Now it is ready to serve, if you like a sweet and savory you can add another small dollop of cranberry sauce, or make a savory one all the way, add some gravy, or eat the way we do, as is!!!

Voila!

You won’t be bored with your Thanksgiving leftovers!

Happy Anniversary!


Though November is a food month, mostly due to Thanksgiving, Michael and I took a little time off from posting anything, we celebrated our anniversary (today actually) with a lovely day trip up to Santa Barbara where we dined on wonderful seafood from a place we now will go back and visit, called Brophy Brothers. We enjoyed some of our favorite Prosecco, Freixenet, and dined on a hot seafood platter, some chowder, salmon, and yummy seafood pasta. And for dessert, we headed down state street for some Café Mocha and pumpkin bread pudding! Delish!
 
We are so very in love and in love with food, so now back to the blogging and eating good food!!!



Look at those clams!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween








On the final night of Halloween Michael and I have made for you a devilishly delicious spiced black velvet cake oozing with a red strawberry cream cheese frosting. Make this if you dare, for you are doomed to eat the whole thing at once!!!

Ingredients:

Cake:
Vegetable oil for the pans
2 oz Black food coloring
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 oz black gel food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting:
1 oz red food coloring
1 cup macerated strawberries
4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter
8 oz cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract







To start make your cream cheese frosting, because you want it to harden a bit in the refrigerator. We made two frostings, one to hold the cake together, and the other to create the eerie drips. In a large bowl whip together 2 cups of powdered sugar, ½ a cup of room temperature butter, 8 oz of cream cheese, 1 oz red food coloring, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Now macerate your strawberries and add them to the frosting, this will make it soupy, and this will be the frosting you use to make the drips.

In another bowl, beat the rest of your butter and powdered sugar together, adding about a cup of the soupy frosting mix, to make a thick frosting you can use to hold the layers of cake together. Refrigerate and use after you bake the cakes.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, spice, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.

Using a hand mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.

Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the oven evenly spaced apart. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking, until the cake pulls away from the side of the pans, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Remove the cakes from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. One at a time, invert the cakes onto a plate and then re-invert them onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Let cool completely, if you don’t, even your stiff frosting will be runny.

To assemble the cake, us the cake layers as is, cake layers are rounded and usually you cut them to perfection, but we left them as is to create this morbid beast of a looking cake. So place the first layer on your plate or cake stand, cover the first cake layer with the stiff frosting, then dollop a large spoonful of soupy frosting and spread around letting some drip down the sides. Place the second cake layer on top, smooshing it down a bit to stay, and repeat. Once you have the final layer, really lay on top that soupy frosting to get that gory effect. This cake without fail will be the spookiest thing in the room with the harsh black cake up against the oozing red frosting!

Happy Halloween!!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Perfect Pumpkin Parfait


When I first met Michael, because he was working as a chef, I would try and make things for him to impress him. One night when we first started dating he went to a concert at the Greek theater, and afterwards was going to come over. I decided that I wanted to make him a dessert which I had never done, so I made him a parfait. Though it was a pretty ghetto store bought pudding and cool whip parfait (I think I even through jam in there), I find that there is something very sensual about the layering of mousse or pudding and some amazing whip cream. This parfait is a beautifully smooth pumpkin mousse, cinnamon chip, and homemade whip cream layering that is so wonderful, and has a beautiful look that will add some sophistication to your Halloween celebration. There is only three days left until Halloween, so make it count!!

*Make mousse the night before you make your parfait.  
Ingredients:

Mousse:
Cinnamon chips
Cinnamon stick
5 large egg yolks
¾ cup =+2 tablespoons sugar
1 ¼  cup heavy cream
1 small can pumpkin puree
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½  teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon bourbon
1 teaspoon powdered gelatin

Whip cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract




For this recipe measure out everything to start, and have all of your tools ready so you don’t need to scramble or worry.  Fill a large bowl half way with ice water and set to the side. In a bowl whisk together egg yolks, and ¾ cups plus two tablespoons of sugar and ¾ cup heavy whipping cream. Heat on a medium low heat while stirring constantly for about 10 minutes until the sauce thickens in a medium sized sauce pan, or until the sauce covers a wooden spoon. Be sure not to turn the heat above this, because your eggs will scramble and you don’t want that. Transfer sauce to a medium bowl, and place in the ice water to let cool.

While cooling mix in the pumpkin, vanilla, spices and salt. In a separate small bowl mix together 1 teaspoon gelatin and bourbon until the gelatin completely dissolved, and then whisk into pumpkin mix.

In a separate bowl, beat ½ cup cream until it stiffens, and then fold into the pumpkin mix. Pour the pumpkin mix onto a shallow dish and refrigerate overnight.

To make the parfait the next day, make the whip cream by whipping all the ingredients together and layering your ingredients in a cup. We started with a layer of pumpkin, then cinnamon chips, then whip cream, repeat one more time, then do a small layer of pumpkin, whip cream then a few chips  and a sprinkle of cinnamon and a cinnamon stick. This parfait is one smooth dessert that is a delicious layering of fall flavors and smooth whip cream.