A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:24:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.6 81864171 Tomato and Red Wine Skillet Chicken http://apassionforentertaining.com/tomato-red-wine-skillet-chicken/ http://apassionforentertaining.com/tomato-red-wine-skillet-chicken/#comments Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:24:46 +0000 http://apassionforentertaining.com/?p=3889 I am definitely a spur of the moment cook. Last week was a very busy week and I was planning on making baked chicken in a herb sauce.  Thinking I had chicken broth at home I started to gather my ingredients for dinner, but to my surprise I did not have the chicken broth that […]

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I am definitely a spur of the moment cook. Last week was a very busy week and I was planning on making baked chicken in a herb sauce.  Thinking I had chicken broth at home I started to gather my ingredients for dinner, but to my surprise I did not have the chicken broth that I thought I had on hand.  So, time to conjure up a new recipe.  I think this one is a real winner.  Just like our grandmothers, you make dinner with what you have available.  One look around my kitchen and I came up with an onion, garlic, red wine, chicken breasts, crushed tomatoes and a few other additions and an hour later, one of the best chicken recipes I think I have made!

Tomato and Red Wine Skillet Chicken

  • 2-4 chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh basil, minced
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Salt and pepper chicken.  In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat add olive oil and butter.  When hot, place chicken in skillet skin side down, cook until skin is golden brown.  Remove chicken from skillet.  Add remaining ingredients and cook 1 – 2 minutes, add salt and pepper, to taste. Nestle the chicken into the sauce.  Place skillet in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes.  Remove from oven, top with fresh basil and serve from the skillet.

    Serve with a side of pasta, if desired.   

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Interesting Find – Red Rocker Candy http://apassionforentertaining.com/interesting-find-red-rocker-candy/ http://apassionforentertaining.com/interesting-find-red-rocker-candy/#respond Fri, 15 Sep 2017 10:45:33 +0000 http://apassionforentertaining.com/?p=3841 You just never know where I am going to find my next Interesting Find.  This time, it was in the pro-shop at my favorite golf course, Laurel Hill Golf Club in Lorton, VA.  Candy in a pro-shop, absolutely, what better energy snack during a round of golf!  The PGA, Director of Golf at Laurel Hill, […]

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You just never know where I am going to find my next Interesting Find.  This time, it was in the pro-shop at my favorite golf course, Laurel Hill Golf Club in Lorton, VA.  Candy in a pro-shop, absolutely, what better energy snack during a round of golf!  The PGA, Director of Golf at Laurel Hill, Gene Orrico knowing I am a food blogger told me I must try Red Rocker Candy.  What a wonderful surprise of outstanding flavors, all packed in cute tins with resealable tops.  After I sent an inquiry to the owner, Sue Chaney, she generously sent me a wide selection of their products to sample.  What a great treat for on the course or off – a great hostess gift or tailgate snack.

 Below is a bit of history on her company:

Red Rocker Candy is based in the small town of Troy, Virginia. What started as a desire to make toffees and brittles as gifts for friends and family turned into the fulfillment of a life-long dream. “My vision is to create a company based on the old-fashioned values of family, quality products and a personal relationship with my customers”.

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Herb Roasted Tomato Halves http://apassionforentertaining.com/herb-roasted-tomato-halves/ http://apassionforentertaining.com/herb-roasted-tomato-halves/#respond Tue, 12 Sep 2017 10:51:42 +0000 http://apassionforentertaining.com/?p=3803 I am pretty sure that I have mentioned in previous posts that I could eat tomatoes every day.  Well, during peak season, I think I could eat tomatoes three times a day!  Especially farm fresh tomatoes from the Farmers’ Market!  This time I made Herb Roasted Tomato Halves to serve with grilled pork.  The herb […]

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I am pretty sure that I have mentioned in previous posts that I could eat tomatoes every day.  Well, during peak season, I think I could eat tomatoes three times a day!  Especially farm fresh tomatoes from the Farmers’ Market!  This time I made Herb Roasted Tomato Halves to serve with grilled pork.  The herb crust with Parmesan cheese is so good combined with the sweet tomato.  These are perfect to serve along side any grilled meat or fish.

 

Herb Roasted Tomato Halves

  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon Herb De Provence
  • 4 cloves roasted garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, minced
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Core tomato and slice in half.  Place tomato in a baking dish.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl.  The mixture should hold together when mixed, add more olive oil if needed.   Cover tomato halves with the herb mixture.  Bake for 30  minutes.  Serve hot.

    Roasted Garlic

    To roast garlic, cut the top 1/4 off of a head of garlic.  Place garlic on a square of foil, drizzle with olive oil.  Wrap completely in foil, bake for 55 minutes at 350 degrees.

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Parmesan Bread Puffs http://apassionforentertaining.com/parmesan-bread-puffs/ http://apassionforentertaining.com/parmesan-bread-puffs/#comments Fri, 08 Sep 2017 16:24:31 +0000 http://apassionforentertaining.com/?p=3868 Looking for a new side dish to serve?  Parmesan Bread Puffs are something new and different to try. They are savory puffs perfect to serve with grilled meats or along side your favorite roast.  I have even served them as an appetizer.   These puffs are a unique version of that classic baked strata, my […]

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Looking for a new side dish to serve?  Parmesan Bread Puffs are something new and different to try. They are savory puffs perfect to serve with grilled meats or along side your favorite roast.  I have even served them as an appetizer.   These puffs are a unique version of that classic baked strata, my version is not for breakfast or brunch any more!

P

Parmesan Bread Puffs

  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon Italian parsley, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups Italian bread, cubed into 1/2 inch cubes
  1. Grease 8 muffin cups or ramekins.  Divide bread cubes evenly between the well greased cups.  Heat milk in a microwave safe container for 2 minutes on high.  Put garlic in warm milk and let sit for 15 minutes.  Whisk eggs, parsley, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Strain milk and then slowly add to egg mixture while whisking.  Pour egg mixture over bread cubes – cover and refrigerate until ready to bake 1 – 24 hours.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake puffs for 45 minutes, remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes.  If using muffin cups, carefully remove from cups by running a knife around edges.  Serve warm

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Hummus/Interesting Find – Lebanese Bistro, Burke, VA http://apassionforentertaining.com/hummusinteresting-find-lebanese-bistro-burke-va/ http://apassionforentertaining.com/hummusinteresting-find-lebanese-bistro-burke-va/#respond Tue, 05 Sep 2017 10:37:27 +0000 http://apassionforentertaining.com/?p=3849 We recently ate at a Lebanese restaurant in Burke, VA, Lebanese Bistro. It is a gem tucked away in a strip shopping center.  Roland and Maria, the owners, invited us for an unbelievable dinner.   It was so fun, I never saw their menu since they ordered all of their specialties for us to try.  Every […]

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We recently ate at a Lebanese restaurant in Burke, VA, Lebanese Bistro. It is a gem tucked away in a strip shopping center.  Roland and Maria, the owners, invited us for an unbelievable dinner.   It was so fun, I never saw their menu since they ordered all of their specialties for us to try.  Every bite from every dish was just great.  I must admit I ate myself into a “food coma”  you know what that is – when everything is so good you just cannot resist a bite.  Maria graciously shared her Hummus recipe with me after I mentioned how delicious their hummus was.  One note, she never uses canned chickpeas.  This was not new to me since I have made other recipes with dried chickpeas, but you might not be familiar with cooking with dried chickpeas.  Similar to other dried beans that you cook, you soak them overnight and then simmer them until done.  I think this step is the key to her wonderful hummus.  

Photo of the hummus served at the Lebanese Bistro 

 

Hummus- Lebanese Bistro

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup tahini sauce
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Process all ingredients in a food processor – Voila – exceptional hummus thanks to my friend Maria and the Lebanese Bistro, Burke, VA.

    To cook chickpeas – cover dried chickpeas with water to cover plus a few inches.  Cover and let sit overnight.  Drain and rinse.  Place in a saucepan and cover with water, plus a few inches, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 1/2 – 2 hours until soft.

 

Below are a few photos I took during dinner…

                                        

 

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Blackberries, Blackberries, Blackberries http://apassionforentertaining.com/blackberries-blackberries-blackberries/ http://apassionforentertaining.com/blackberries-blackberries-blackberries/#respond Fri, 01 Sep 2017 10:45:15 +0000 http://apassionforentertaining.com/?p=3823 How could I pass up beautiful blackberries this week at the Farmers’ Market.  Well, as you can tell I didn’t pass them by.  I headed home and made two of our favorites;  Blackberry Breakfast Bars and Blackberry Custard Pie.  Both so easy to prepare and both recipes highlight the taste of these exquisite berries.   […]

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How could I pass up beautiful blackberries this week at the Farmers’ Market.  Well, as you can tell I didn’t pass them by.  I headed home and made two of our favorites;  Blackberry Breakfast Bars and Blackberry Custard Pie.  Both so easy to prepare and both recipes highlight the taste of these exquisite berries.  

 

 

Blackberry Breakfast Bars

  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons water mixed with 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
  1. Prepare the filling:  in a medium saucepan combine the berries, sugar, water, lemon juice and cinnamon.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat continue boiling for 8 minutes, stir occasionally.  Add cornstarch water mixture, return to a boil and boil an additional one minute, stirring constantly.   Remove from heat.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and butter.  Stir until well combined.  Reserve 1 cup of mixture for the topping.  Press the remaining into a parchment lined 9 inch square baking dish.  Bake crust for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, spread with blueberry filling and crumble remaining 1 cup of oat mixture over the top.  Bake an additional 25-25 minutes.  Cool, cut into bars.

Blackberry Custard Pie

  • 1 unbaked pie shell
  • 3 cups fresh blackberries (you could also use peaches)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Arrange blackberries in pie shell.  Mix remaining ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined.  Pour over berries.  Bake 10 minutes, reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake an additional 30 – 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool prior to slicing.  Top with whipped cream, if desired.  Store pie in the refrigerator.

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Frozen Chocolate Crepes with Rum Butter Sauce http://apassionforentertaining.com/frozen-chocolate-crepes-rum-butter-sauce/ http://apassionforentertaining.com/frozen-chocolate-crepes-rum-butter-sauce/#respond Tue, 29 Aug 2017 10:47:27 +0000 http://apassionforentertaining.com/?p=3787 All I can say about this recipe – one of my favorites and you just have to try them.  You can make ahead and freeze the filled crepes, trust me on this one – a real winner!   Chocolate Crepes 1 cup flour 1/2 cup sugar 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 2 cups milk 2 […]

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All I can say about this recipe – one of my favorites and you just have to try them.  You can make ahead and freeze the filled crepes, trust me on this one – a real winner!

 

Chocolate Crepes

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender; blend on low for 30 seconds  Allow batter to stand at room temperature for one hour prior to cooking.  Heat crepe pan or 7 – 8 inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Grease pan lightly.  Pour about 3 – 4 tablespoons batter into the pan, tilting pan to spread evenly.  When crepe is light brown and set, flip to brown other side  Remove from pan and cool on rack.  Cover and refrigerate cooled crepes until ready to fill.   Makes 20 – 22 crepes.

 

Chocolate Mousse Filling

  • 1 12oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream, heated to boiling
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 egg whites, beaten until stiff
  1. Place chocolate chips, salt and vanilla in blender, blend on low speed 30 seconds.  Add boiling cream; blend 30 seconds.  Add egg yolks all at once, blend 5 seconds.  Add a small amount of the chocolate mixture to the beaten egg whites.  Carefully fold in remaining chocolate mixture.  Refrigerate filling 2 – 3 hours or until set.  To assemble crepes, place 1 heaping tablespoon of filling on the center of each crepe.  Fold side over.  Place on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet, cover tightly.  Freeze until ready to serve.

 

Butter Rum Sauce

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons light rum
  • whipped cream
  • shaved chocolate
  • chocolate syrup
  1. Combine brown sugar, salt, half and half, corn syrup, butter and run in a medium saucepan.  Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  When ready to serve, reheat sauce in the microwave, spoon 2 – 3 tablespoons of sauce on dessert plate, top with one crepe (let sit at room temperature approx. 25 minutes prior to serving), garnish with a dollop of whipped cream, drizzle with chocolate syrup and top with shaved chocolate.

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Grilled Lebanese Style Burgers http://apassionforentertaining.com/grilled-lebanese-style-burgers/ http://apassionforentertaining.com/grilled-lebanese-style-burgers/#comments Fri, 25 Aug 2017 10:24:07 +0000 http://apassionforentertaining.com/?p=3817 We have a favorite Lebanese cafe near our home where we love to stop to pick up great Lebanese dishes.  One of our favorites are Sambousek’s; small pastries filled with seasoned beef and spices and then fried.  We always comment on how delicious the meat filling is with spices including cinnamon.  After seeing all of […]

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We have a favorite Lebanese cafe near our home where we love to stop to pick up great Lebanese dishes.  One of our favorites are Sambousek’s; small pastries filled with seasoned beef and spices and then fried.  We always comment on how delicious the meat filling is with spices including cinnamon.  After seeing all of the interesting hamburger varieties at the meat counters, I decided I wanted to recreate our favorite Lebanese flavors in a burger.  After a bit of experimenting, I think I have the perfect combination of flavors.  I served these with warm pita bread, assorted greens, fresh sliced tomatoes, and a cucumber yogurt dressing.  Let’s just say the flavors danced in our mouths!  

Grilled Lebanese Style Burgers

  • 1 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper
  1. Combine egg, onion, garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice, salt, pepper and spices in a medium bowl.  Stir well to combine.  Crumble in ground beef and combine all ingredients together until all is evenly incorporated.  Form into 4 patties.  Grill over medium heat (350-400 degrees) 12 – 15 minutes on the first side, flip and grill an additional 8-10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

    Serve with desired condiments – pita bread, hummus, cucumber yogurt dressing, lettuce, and/or tomatoes.

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Corn, Goat Cheese and Tomato Salad http://apassionforentertaining.com/corn-goat-cheese-tomato-salad/ Tue, 22 Aug 2017 10:33:46 +0000 http://apassionforentertaining.com/?p=3810 What do you do when you have fresh corn, tomatoes, basil, and goat cheese?  Here is quick answer – Corn, Goat Cheese and Tomato Salad.  Super easy to make and one of those delicious side dishes that you are amazed is so easy to make.  I cut the corn of the cobs, diced the tomatoes […]

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What do you do when you have fresh corn, tomatoes, basil, and goat cheese?  Here is quick answer – Corn, Goat Cheese and Tomato Salad.  Super easy to make and one of those delicious side dishes that you are amazed is so easy to make.  I cut the corn of the cobs, diced the tomatoes and shortly after I had a fantastic salad.

Corn, Goat Cheese and Tomato Salad

  • 2 ears fresh corn, kernels cut off
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat.  Add onion and cook for 4 – 5 minutes or until transparent. Add corn and stir until tender, approximately six minutes.  Spoon mixture into a serving bowl.  Toss with vinegar, salt and pepper.  Top with goat cheese.  Serve warm

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Devil’s Food Cake http://apassionforentertaining.com/devils-food-cake/ http://apassionforentertaining.com/devils-food-cake/#comments Fri, 18 Aug 2017 10:19:11 +0000 http://apassionforentertaining.com/?p=3749 Every once in awhile, I bake a cake.  I must admit vary rarely, however, always for birthdays and then it is usually a carrot cake.  So, baking a Devil’s Food Cake is a real treat.   I never use cake mixes, I guess I am a purist and I always want to know what is […]

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Every once in awhile, I bake a cake.  I must admit vary rarely, however, always for birthdays and then it is usually a carrot cake.  So, baking a Devil’s Food Cake is a real treat.   I never use cake mixes, I guess I am a purist and I always want to know what is in the food we eat.  Additives and preservatives – I avoid at all costs.  I know sometimes I cannot avoid then, but when I have the choice, I prefer to bake from scratch.  I know this a holdover from my mom and happy to say I can continue her traditions.   This cake is just divine and easy to prepare.  I topped mine with Seven Minute Fluffy Frosting and it is excellent.  

 

Devil's Food Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs divided, separate yolks and whites
  • 1 1/2 cup cold water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two nine inch cake pans.  In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Add the 1 cup sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffly.  Add the egg yolks, one at a time and beat well after each addition.  Add dry ingredients and water alternately, ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix until all dry ingredients are incorporated.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Slowly add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, beat until stiff peaks form.  With a spatula, fold the egg whites into the cake batter.  Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans.  Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Cool cakes for 10 minutes prior to removing from pans.  Cool completely, frost.

 

7 Minute Fluffy Frosting

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. For this recipe you will want to use your electric hand mixer. 

    In a stainless heavy bottom saucepan combine all ingredients except the vanilla extract.  Place pan on burner over medium low heat.  Beat with electric hand mixer on high speed for 7 minutes, while the burner is on.  Remove the pan from the burner, mix in the vanilla.  The frosting should be light, fluffy and stiff peaks form.  Frost middle and sides of cake.  For decorative chocolate drizzle, melt 1/2 teaspoon shortening and 1  1-oz. block of unsweetened chocolate, drizzle over sides of cake.

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