Party Foods

Seared Scallops

December 24, 2011

Seared Scallops

So easy and so delicious! Perfect for the Feast of the Seven Fishes!

INGREDIENTS

16 Sea Scallops

¼ Teaspoon Sea Salt

¼ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

½ Cup Cold Unsalted Butter (Cut Into Small Pieces)

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

½ Juiced Lemon

1 Tablespoon Flat Leaf Parsley

Season the scallops with the salt & pepper. In a large skillet warm up 1 tablespoon of the butter and the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the scallops. Make sure not to overcrowd them in the pan. Leave them alone until they form a crust on the bottom. Turn them over on the other side and cook them until the crust forms. Remove the scallops from the pan and place them in a baking dish. Place them in a preheated 450° F oven for 5 minutes. Melt the rest of the butter in a separate pan on the stove. Add the lemon juice and parsley. Stir. When the scallops are ready take them out of the oven and place on a serving platter. Add the butter sauce and serve. Serves 4

Yule Log

December 22, 2011

Yule Log

Honestly this cake is easier to make than it looks. It does take some time, but really not that hard. The thin cake is rolled while it is still warm and holds its shape from then on. You can decorate this cake anyway you want to.

INGREDIENTS

Cake:

5 Large Separated Eggs

1 Cup Sifted Powdered Sugar – Plus More For Sprinkling Towel

2/3 Cup Unbleached Flour

¾ Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

¼ Teaspoon Salt

Ganache:

½ Pound Copped Bittersweet Baking Chocolate

1 Cup Heavy Cream

Assemble:

1 Cup Seedless Raspberry Jam

2 Cups Heavy Cream

1/3 Cup Sifted Powdered Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Sanding Sugar (Color of Your Choice) – Optional

Maraschino Cherries – Optional

Decorations of Your Choice – Optional

To make the cake: In a large bowl beat the egg whites, with an electric mixer, until soft peaks form. Gradually add ½ cup of the powdered sugar and beat until the sugar completely dissolves and the whites stand in stiff peaks. In a separate large bowl beat the egg yolks and the remaining ½ cup of powdered sugar until the mixture is very thick and lemon colored. Decrease the mixer speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, vanilla extract and salt. Beat the mixture until well mixed. Using a spatula, gently fold the beat egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Do this one third at a time. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Grease a 15 ½ x 10 ½ inch jelly roll pan or baking sheet and line the pan with parchment paper.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Level out the top with the spatula. Bake for 12 minutes until the cake springs back when lightly touched. Sprinkle the extra powdered sugar lightly on a cloth kitchen towel. When the cake is done, immediately invert it onto the towel. Carefully peel the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake. Start at one narrow end roll up the cake. Use the towel to hold it, but do not roll the towel into the cake. Place the cake roll, seam side down, on a wire rack. Cool completely for 30 minutes. While the cake is cooling prepare the filling.

To make the filling: In a medium size bowl beat the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.

To assemble: Unroll the cake onto a flat surface. Spread evenly with the raspberry jam. Spread half of the whipped cream on top of the preserves. Start at the narrow end. Roll up the cake without using the towel. Place the cake on a wire rack that is set over a baking pan and refrigerate until chilled. Cover and refrigerate the remaining whipped cream until you are ready to decorate.

To make the ganache: You will need a double boiler to melt the chocolate. In the top of the double boiler heat the chocolate and cream together over boiling water. Stir frequently until melted and slightly thickened. Keep warm until you are ready to ice the cake.

To frost: Using a metal spatula, pour and spread the ganache over the chilled cake. Spread the glaze evenly and completely covering the top and sides. When the ganache has set, lightly score the top and sides to resemble bark. Refrigerate until chilled. Remove the cake from the rack and place on a serving platter decorated with greenery and seasonal décor. You can pipe scrolls of the remaining whipped cream over the top and around the base of the cake if you like or decorate with cherries or sanding sugar. Makes one 10 inch long Yule Log. Serves 12

Holiday Spinach Dip

December 21, 2011

Holiday Spinach Dip

This is a quick and easy dip to make when just a few people are coming over or you are hosting a large holiday party. It is best when made one day ahead. Everyone seems to love this Spinach Dip!

INGREDIENTS

2 Large Bell Peppers

¼ Cup Olive Oil

2 (10 Ounce) Packages Frozen Chopped Spinach – Defrosted & Squeezed Dry

1 Cup Ranch Dressing

1 Cup Sour Cream

1 Cup Chopped Water Chestnuts

2 Teaspoons Teriyaki Sauce

1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic

½ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

Turn your oven to broil. While the oven is heating up place the bell peppers on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Rub the bell peppers with the olive oil. Place the baking sheet under the broiler for 5 minutes each side. Remove from the oven and place in a heatproof bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand until they are cool enough to handle. Keeping the peppers whole, peel them, cut off their tops and scoop out and throw away the seeds and ribs. Dice the peppers and keep ½ cup for the dip. Wrap and refrigerate any leftover diced peppers for future use. In a medium size bowl combine the ½ cup diced peppers and all of the other ingredients. Mix well and place in a covered container. Refrigerate at least one day ahead. Makes 3 cups.

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