Roasted Pear Salad

I was in the produce department and picked up a few Bosc pears, baby spinach, and goat cheese. I then thought I would create a roasted pear salad. I have baked pears previously, however this time I thought a salad with a warm pear would be delicious. I am writing this the morning after I served this salad, it was so good, I don’t want to forget how I made this salad. The goat cheese melts on the warm pear and the result is wonderful.

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Roasted Pear Salad
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Bosc pears
  2. 1 tablespoon honey
  3. 1 teaspoon bourbon (optional)
  4. 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  5. 1/8 -1/4 teaspoon roasted red pepper flakes (add amount according to your preference)
  6. 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  7. fresh baby spinach
  8. Goat cheese crumbles
  9. Dried cranberries
  10. Maple dressing
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Cut pears in 1/2 and remove core. Place flat side up in a baking dish. Mix honey and bourbon together and drizzle over pears. Drizzle butter and sprinkle with red pepper and cinnamon. Bake 15 minutes, turn pears over and bake and additional 5 minutes.
  3. Prepare salad plates. On plates put a layer of spinach leaves. Top with warm pear, goat cheese crumbles and dried cranberries. Drizzle with maple dressing. Salt and pepper, if desired.
Notes
  1. Maple dressing
  2. 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  3. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  4. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  5. 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  6. Salt and pepper
  7. Mix well.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Shrimp Scampi with Pasta

When I was sorting my hundreds of recipe cards, many from my mother, friends, and former co-workers, I came across this classic pasta dish.  Yes, that is correct, I have hundreds of handwritten 3×5 recipe cards.  Many date back over 50 years, all with delicious and classic dishes.  I even have cards listing menus served at various parties throughout the years.  I forgot to also add, I have printed invitations that were sent for various events.  A true treasure trove, that I am fortunate to have.  Anyway, I saw this recipe and had all of the ingredients on hand.  I made this and it was a good, if not better, than any restaurant version I have tasted.

shrimp scampi  

Shrimp Scampi with Pasta
a classic recipe that will wow your guests
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Ingredients
  1. 1/3 cup butter
  2. 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  3. 1/4 cup italian parsley, chopped
  4. 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  5. 2 # medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  6. 1/4 cup dry white wine
  7. 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  8. salt and pepper, to taste
  9. parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  10. 1/2 # linguine, fettuccine or spaghetti
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add red pepper flakes, parsley, and garlic. Continue to cook over medium low heat until the garlic has softened (do not let the garlic brown or you will get a bitter garlic taste) Cook pasta according to package directions, al dente.
  2. After approx. 5 minutes, increase heat to medium - medium high and add your shrimp to the sauce. Cooking stirring occasionally until the shrimp is just cooked and has turned pink. (Overcooking shrimp will make the shrimp tough) Add wine and lemon juice, reduce heat to medium-low. Taste sauce and add salt and pepper, to taste. Add cooked pasta to the sauce and combine. Cook for approx. 5 minutes over low heat until the sauce has been absorbed by the pasta. Continue stirring pasta with tongs to coat all strands of pasta with the sauce. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.
  3. This recipe will serve 3 - 4
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Holiday Greetings/Table for 21

/Christmas Eve

Holiday Cheers!  After a delightful couple of days of celebrating, I have finally gotten back into a routine.  The above photo was taken on Christmas Eve, when we host our annual fondue party.  It is always a fun evening with friends and family.  I hope you enjoyed a festive celebration this holiday week.

Here is our Christmas Eve menu

Appetizers

Oysters, pate, cajun dip and savory rugelach

Dinner

Beef tenderloin fondue with teriyaki and curry dipping sauces

Caesar salad

Rolls

Four cheese pasta

Ice cream sundaes and assorted Christmas cookies for dessert

 

Nancy’s Christmas Trifle

I have had a busy weekend with friends and family, celebrating the holidays.  I always love the Christmas season because I get a chance to visit with friends that I do not see on a regular basis.  Another highlight is to see beautiful homes decorated lavishly with wonderful holiday decor.  Oh and did I mention, wonderful food!  Yes, this is the time of year that I get inspiration from others and relish tasting new food creations.  One of the best this weekend was my friend, Nancy’s, gingerbread trifle.  I had to take a photo since it looked fantastic and it tasted even better.

 

 

Nancy's Christmas Trifle
Serves 1
Trifles: Easy, delicious, and elegant.
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon of bourbon
  2. gingerbread
  3. 1 dollop of lemon curd
  4. whipped cream
  5. raisins (optional)
Instructions
  1. Using parfait glasses, pour 1 tablespoon of bourbon in each glass and swirl. Then crumble pre-made gingerbread into each glass. Add one dollop of lemon curd (you can purchase in most grocery stores) and then additional dollops of whipped cream. It also might be fun to soak a few raisins in bourbon and add to each trifle.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Red Truck Stollen

I read the Washington Post everyday and especially on Wednesday, when the Food Section is included.  My interest was peaked when I read the article below about the Red Truck Bakery in Warrenton, VA.  Since I love to try new recipes, I decided to give this one a try.  It sounds like a perfect treat to serve this festive week of Christmas.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/pb/recipes/red-truck-bakerys-almond-stollen/14425/

All of the ingredients were easy to find in my local grocery store.  I must admit that being a avid bread baker, this was the first recipe I encountered that required a step to make a pre-ferment sponge.   The directions were very easy to follow, if you are seasoned baker.  I must say, if you are a novice baker, this recipe could be challenge.  I highly recommend using a  Kitchen Aid Mixer with the dough hook attachment. Don’t let that stop your interest in making this stollen.  Give it a try, that is how you learn.  I even used a ruler when shaping these loaves, just as instructed.  The stollens are absolutely beautiful and delicious.  The photos of my stollens are below.

Red Truck Stollen               stollen photo

If you don’t have time to make this delicious stollen, you can order them online; check out their website.

http://redtruckbakery.com

15 minutes

Getting ready for the holidays and entertaining can be a daunting task.  This weekend when visiting Philadelphia we stopped at Di Bruno Bros. and I picked up a great assortment of meats and cheeses.  One of my go to appetizers is a meat and cheese tray that you can put together in 15 minutes.   Below is just a sampling of items I purchased.

Interesting cheeses Rosemary Manchego and Drunken Goat cheese;  Fig and Acacia Honey Jam, Hot and Sweet Soppressatas and Pepperoni.  I combined these items with things I had on hand; crackers, bread sticks, dried fruits, nuts, fresh rosemary and orange slices.

appetizer ingredients

15 minutes later…

meat cheese photomeat cheese 2

Be creative and add any type of meats and cheeses that you have.  I added the fresh rosemary to add color, grapes are also a wonderful addition.

Open a great bottle of wine – let the holidays begin.

Food Finds in Philadelphia

After exploring the food scene of Philadelphia, I can definitely say it is a great town for foodies.

First stop, Steve’s for a cheesesteak. Leaving the Ritz Carlton we asked the bellman where he would recommend we go for a cheesesteak. He directed us to Steve’s. What a great tip. The sandwich was loaded with thinned sliced steak, perfectly grilled onions, and Cheese Wiz, all piled on a delicious bun. I would highly recommend their sandwich to anyone.

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MC900432617  Entertaining Idea
I immediately thought of how I could transform this experience into a fun entertaining experience. Serving cheesesteaks Philadelphia style would be a great entree and very fun to serve family and friends. Adjust amounts to the number of servings you are planning.  For one sandwich I would sauté  1/2 cup chopped onions until they are carmelized, in a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat sauté 4 – 6 ounces thinly sliced lean beef seasoned with Montreal steak seasoning in 2 tablespoons of melted butter.  Heat  1/2 cup of Cheez Wiz. Pile all of the above on a crusty roll, wrap in parchment and serve your guests your version of a Phildelphia cheesesteak. Thinking this would be perfect football viewing food. What fun!

 

Chip Nut Meringues

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A wonderful cookie for the holidays.  When you bite into the cookie, the center is unbelievable.  Gooey chocolate and nuts, a wonderful combination. Perfect for gift giving and very easy to make.  Store in an airtight container.

Chip Nut Meringues

Preheat oven 350°

With a whip attachment on your mixer

Beat 2 egg whites

Gradually add 2/3 cup sugar

Beat until stiff

Fold in

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup coarsely chopped nuts

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto foil lined cookie sheet.

Put in oven and immediately turn your oven off.  Crack the door open approximately  1 – 2 inches.  Leave in the oven for 6 hours.  Do not open the open door during this period.

Enjoy!

My Pantry

There are a few things that you will always find in my pantry. These are items that I usually have more than one on hand. Many are perfect for that unexpected night of entertaining.

Jack Rudy Small Batch Tonic
If you are a lover of Gin and Tonic (as I am) this is the best tonic I have tried. You will not be disappointed.

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Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Crisps and Luxardo Cherries
Both are pretty self explanatory. Dark Chocolate for that chocolate craving and Luxardo Cherries to add to a great cocktail.

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Amy’s Organic Soups – Chunky Tomato Bisque

Since childhood, I have had a love for tomato soup.  This soup is by far the best tomato soup I have tasted.  Wonderful with a grilled cheese sandwich or cut the grilled cheese sandwich into cubes and add as croutons.  Childhood memories.

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Wickles Pickles
Two words – try them. They are fantastic.

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Wausome Wafers
One of the most unique and additive foods I have found. One ingredient, Wisconsin Cheese!
You must try these. When I serve them, everyone is intrigued and want to know how they too can get some. Check out their website, they will ship to you.

Wausome Wafers

Popcorn Soup

Rose's Luxury

One of the most amazing foods I have tried recently is the Popcorn Soup at Rose’s Luxury in Washington, DC. This restaurant is currently the number one restaurant according to Bon Appetit Magazine. So, we headed to the restaurant and after waiting outside for a little over an hour (no reservations accepted) we were seated at a cozy window seat. You feel like you are having dinner at your grandmother’s house, just delightful. From the vintage drinking glasses to the mismatched silver, the atmosphere is very warm and inviting.

Now to the Popcorn Soup, one of the first things we ordered. It arrived in an oversized shot glass with popcorn floating on the top of the soup. The closest description I could glean was a combination of movie theater style popcorn soaked in cream, strained and heated. Sounds too simple for such a delicious soup. I am sure I missed something in the description because this soup was one of the most wonderful things I have tasted. Just delightful. Instead of trying to recreate this at home, I will head back to Rose’s anytime for this pot of deliciousness. What a treat!