Category Archives: Seasonal

Happy Halloween 2018

 

Photo Oct 31, 10 06 50 AM INTRO

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Hi Everyone, 

Well, it’s that time of year again, hard to believe that Halloween is here!

I feel as if I just packed all the Halloween boxes for storage in the attic and now they are downstairs once again in my living room for me to browse through and see if I can make a different tablescape than last year.

From this point on, my holidays become a blur. The day after Halloween, I start to write my Thanksgiving menu and then I “stress eat” the leftover Halloween candy until the menu is complete.

(I am trying to save a few Almond Joys for this very occasion).

I still decorate outside for Halloween, to entertain the little trick or treaters, but I have limited my decorating inside, except for my tablescape.

I always have to have a tablescape to put me in the mood for Halloween.

The big challenge is to make it look different from year to year. 

This year the tablescape is all about the “haunted house”. I was in Pier 1 (my home away from home) and there was the cutest haunted house cookie jar.

I don’t know why I now have an attraction to cookie jars. First the vintage red truck and now this haunted house.

I bought the cookie jar with the intention of leaving it out on my kitchen counter for decoration and then the more I looked at it, a tablescape in my head was born.

So, let’s start a tablescape…

The tablecloth is orange with black bats, spider webs and of course spiders. I love the pattern but the material is a little hard to work with. It is rayon and tends not to stay in place. It gets stuck on everything and always bunches up. Keep that in mind if you ever buy this material.

Photo Oct 30, 5 59 20 PM HALLOWEEN TABLECLOTH

The placemats this year are one of my favorites. Black woven placemats with an orange, black and white braided border. They bring out the best of any Halloween plate.

Since the border is so pretty, there is no need for a charger plate.

Photo Oct 30, 6 01 34 PM PLACEMAT

 Solid orange ceramic dinner plates along with a paper Halloween dinner plate on top.

If I use a paper plate for anything other than cake or a sandwich I like to have some support from another sturdy dish underneath to hold my food and prevent the weight of the food from going through the paper plate.

This particular paper dinner plate was a perfect design, since it featured the haunted house.

Photo Oct 30, 6 02 44 PM PLATES

Napkins are the standard black cloth and I chose to roll the napkins this time and not use a napkin ring. I just placed the dinner fork on top and added a decorative plastic spider climbing on the fork.

Thinking about it now, that spider on a fork isn’t very appetizing.

Photo Oct 30, 5 59 43 PM NAPKIN

Flatware is black matte.

Very simple and perfect for this tablescape and Halloween in general.

Photo Oct 30, 6 00 40 PM FLATWARE

Now, the glasses. I have six different designs of Halloween glasses with witches and ghosts and candy corn and somehow I always come back to this glass. I guess you could say it is my favorite Halloween glass.

It has it all the designs I want on one glass, the witches, ghosts, candy corn, pumpkins and the added bonus of a haunted house to carry out my theme this year. I added a black & orange paper straw for some fun.

Photo Oct 31, 10 09 21 AM GLASSES

The centerpiece. As much as I love the haunted house cookie jar, I felt it needed a little boost as a centerpiece so I used a cake stand to give it some height. I continued to shop the boxes of decorations for anything else I could use to enhance the centerpiece and there it was…

In one of the boxes, I found a metallic Halloween wreath. Solid black jingle bells alongside orange pumpkin jingle bells- perfect.

Photo Oct 30, 6 09 24 PM hALLOWEEN JINGLE BELLS

I used this wreath to circle the cookie jar and now I was happy.

Photo Oct 31, 11 25 29 AM CENTERPIECE APART

A little Halloween paper shred to hide the white cake stand and the centerpiece was complete.

Photo Oct 30, 6 09 04 PM CENTERPIECE

Completed Centerpiece…

Photo Oct 30, 6 13 18 PM EXTRA

The top of the cookie jar has a black crow perched on the roof so I wanted to add more crows to the table and used two black glitter pumpkins with crows perched on top to anchor the centerpiece.

(You probably remember these crows from last year).

Photo Oct 30, 6 07 57 PM BLACK CROW RIGHT

Photo Oct 30, 6 08 23 PM BLACK CROW LEFT

I wasn’t done yet. Bob and I went to a local craft fair and I bought two galvanized haunted houses, so I added them to the corners of the table.  

Photo Oct 30, 6 11 11 PM GALVANIZED HOUSE 2

Photo Oct 30, 6 11 36 PM GALVANIZED HOUSE 1

I found one more haunted house in my box of decorations. This is a tealight holder, and I thought we could have it lit during dinner with the lights dimmed since I didn’t use any candles on the table this year.

Photo Oct 30, 6 05 52 PM TEA LIGHT HOUSE

Of course, I had to add my favorite table accent and that is a salt and pepper shaker. A ghost and pumpkin and a black cat and pumpkin.

Photo Oct 30, 6 07 22 PM SP SHAKERS

And if you have been following DishingwithDiane for the past few years then you know of my love for my ceramic Frankenstein mug or as we call him “Frankie”.

Frankie held a floral arrangement back in the day, that was a very thoughtful gift and since that time he has always been highlighted on all of my Halloween tablescapes.

Instead of flowers, Frankie now holds pretzel rods with witches fingers every year. If you look at any of my past Halloween postings, you will find Frankie somewhere on the table.

Photo Oct 30, 6 10 21 PM frankie

I have two traditional food items for my Halloween tablescape every year.

First, I use my metal spider cupcake holders and add a Halloween cupcake with google eyes as a treat, besides all the candy.

I think this just reminds me of when my son was small and how he got the biggest kick out of these cupcakes and holders. So this is for my son.

Photo Oct 31, 10 21 40 AM CUPCAKES

If you recall the story, when my son was small, after trick or treating I would have some of his friends and their parents in for Halloween dinner.

It was always a Halloween punch and pizza for the kids and turkey and three bean chili with sour cream cornbread for the adults.

Well, this tradition never stopped and Bob and I have this for dinner every year on Halloween.

Photo Oct 30, 9 00 05 PM CHILI AND CORNBREAD

(Recipes to follow).

Place setting

Photo Oct 31, 10 10 05 AM PLACE SETTING

So that is my tablescape for Halloween 2018.

I hope you and your friends, family and children have a wonderful and safe Halloween.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well, 

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog and please spread the word and ask your family and friends to join DishingwithDiane and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, I LOVE hearing from you.

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Recipes

Turkey and Three Bean Chili

Ingredients

1 onion diced (1 cup)

1 tbsp olive oil

4 garlic cloves- minced

1 ½ red or green bell peppers-diced

3 carrots- diced

2 pkgs. of ground turkey (ground beef can be substituted)

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons cayenne

2 teaspoons garlic powder

½ teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and fresh ground pepper

1 capful of “Revenge. Pit Bull hot sauce”

4 teaspoons green chili’s (fire roasted in a can)

2 cups water

1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes

1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15.5 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15.5 oz) can pink beans (or pinto beans), drained and rinsed

½ cup green scallions….

 

  • Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over moderate heat.
  • Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper and carrots, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes
  • Add the cumin, chili powder, cayenne, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper and cook, stirring for 1 minute
  • Add the ground turkey, raise the heat to high and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink
  • Stir in the tomatoes, water, green chili’s, hot sauce and scallions.
  • Cook partially covered, stirring from time to time for 30 minutes
  • Stir in the beans and continue cooking, partially covered, 20 minutes longer. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper
  • (Additional peppers ie: adobo sauce and hot peppers can be added or jalapeno or red hot pepper)

 Garnish with shredded Hot Jalapeno cheese and sour cream, plus corn bread

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SOUR CREAM CORNBREAD

INGREDIENTS:

1 Cup all purpose flour

¾ cup yellow cornmeal

¼ cup sugar 

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp baking soda                                                             

½ tsp salt

1-cup sour cream

¼ cup milk

1 egg (beaten)

2 TBSP melted butter

Directions:

 Preheat oven to 425 degrees

 In a bowl, mix 1-cup all-purpose flour, ¾ cup yellow corn meal. ¼ cup sugar, 2 tsp baking powder and ½ tsp each baking soda and salt. Stir in 1 cup sour cream, ¼ cup milk, 1 beaten egg and 2 TBSP melted butter.

 Pour into a greased, 8-in square pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until a pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cut in 16 squares. Best served warm.

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin & Apple Picking Time…

 

Photo Oct 21, 12 25 58 PM APPLE FEATURE

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Hi Everyone,

Well, I am slowly coming to grips with the fact that it’s Fall and the time of year for pumpkin and apple picking.

Two things I normally enjoy unless it’s 56 degrees and there are 100 people around me with the same idea. That is what happened to me.

This weekend was the weekend that everyone in the tri-state area decided to get a pumpkin and some apples. The farms near me where packed! Even the small farms that I thought were a hideaway and no one knew about, I found out they did… I was kidding myself thinking this was going to be a quiet leisurely day.

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It is a Fall tradition that every year in October (hopefully before Halloween) that everyone has a pumpkin or two or three displayed on their front steps or walkways with some Mums or other fall decorations, so off we went as hunters and gatherers out past the corn maze and hay rides to find the perfect pumpkin.

I won’t even start listing all the pumpkin items on the market (lattes, ice cream, cereal) and now the farm-stands are going pumpkin crazy with pumpkin everything as well. I’ll move on, I can’t take it.

I like a good pumpkin pie and some pumpkin muffins, but I can’t have pumpkin every day. (No offense to all the members that are pumpkin lovers).

The line at the farm was so crazy for a homemade pumpkin pie that we skipped that idea and went straight to the fields to look around and find the pumpkin we wanted. And there it was, clustered with other pumpkins but looking as if it would look so much better back home on my front steps.

Goal number one completed, we had our pumpkin.

Photo Oct 21, 11 31 45 AM APPLE PLAQUE

Now on to the apples … 

I think I can eat apples in many forms every day and be a happy girl.

Although, here is a little bit of info about me… I love apple pie, baked apples and apple strudel but not apple crisp. There is no specific reason why, I have always been like this. If someone has an excellent apple crisp recipe, send it my way and maybe you can change my mind.

My first stop before I head out to pick even one apple, is the line for apple cider donuts.

For this I have a lot of patience while I take in the apple donut aroma. I have to say that the line was moving pretty quickly. The servers had an assembly line moving and before you knew it, I had a warm bag of donuts in my hand covered in cinnamon and sugar.

Another deep breath to take in the aroma before Bob and I went outside with the donuts and some coffee and sat on a bale of hay to enjoy our snack. I took one bite and had my first taste of Fall– pure sugary caloric heaven.

The apple cider donut put me in the mood for apple cider, so I went back inside the farm stand to buy some fresh apple cider, and I noticed they were putting out candy apples and caramel apples. Caramel apples were another favorite of mine as a child, but now I am afraid I would lose a tooth so I passed them by.

I went back outside and Bob was finishing his coffee and donuts and we were ready to pick apples.

We put the apple cider and the rest of the donuts in the car and we were ready for the apple orchard with our bushel.

I have to say that I am the last person who knows what varieties of apples are good for what, except that grandma always used Granny Smith apples for apple pie, so we just got an assortment and then we were on our way home.

In the car, we couldn’t stop talking about the apple cider donuts since we could still smell them. I told Bob about the caramel and candy apples, and caramel apples were one of his favorites too.

Right then and there on the ride home, I decided I was going to try to find some new apple recipes and one of course, had to be apple cider donuts. I have a donut pan just sitting in my pantry that I never used. So it was off to Pinterest for ideas.

Since I am not the baker, below is my attempt at baking.

All recipes are at the end of the post!

I started my baking with the apple cider donuts. Not bad for a first try. I found the secret to a moist apple cider donut is to boil the apple cider down to almost a syrup and of course the more sugar and cinnamon, the better.

Photo Oct 21, 11 31 55 AM APPLE CIDER DONUTS

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I didn’t want to make caramel apples, but I wanted the flavor so I searched Pinterest again and found a recipe for caramel apple cupcakes. Now this I could do. The taste of the caramel apple on a stick and I would still have all my teeth.

This was a very easy recipe and I had to buy the Popsicle sticks for the effect of a real caramel apple .

Photo Oct 21, 12 37 24 PM CARAMEL CUPCAKES 2

Now we needed some mulled apple cider and we were all set, so I found a recipe for that too. We enjoyed the cider with our dessert.

Photo Oct 21, 1 07 00 PM CIDER AND CUPCAKE

Now that Bob and I have had all our apple favorites, I can finally adjust to Fall but just not the cooler temperatures rolling in so fast in the northeast. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready for that….

I hope you try these recipes and enjoy every bite.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to join Dishing with Diane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post. 

Sign up via the homepage or Facebook.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, I LOVE hearing from you.

*******************************************************

  Recipes...

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Apple Cider Donuts

Courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)*
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon apple pie spice*
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Reduce the apple cider: Stirring occasionally, simmer the apple cider in a small saucepan over low heat until you’re left with about 1/2 cup. Start checking at 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, etc until you have 1/2 cup. Mine takes about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray donut pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.

 

  1. Make the donuts: Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, apple pie spice, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Whisk the melted butter, egg, brown sugar, granulated sugar, milk, and vanilla extract together. Pour into the dry ingredients, add the reduced apple cider, and whisk everything together until smooth and combined. Batter will be slightly thick.
  3. Spoon the batter into the donut cavities—for ease, I highly recommend using a large zipped-top bag. Cut a corner off the bottom of the bag and pipe the batter into each donut cup, filling about halfway.
  4. Bake for 10-11 minutes or until the edges and tops are lightly browned. To test, poke your finger into the top of the donut. If the donuts bounces back, they’re done. Cool donuts for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack. Re-grease the pan and bake the remaining donut batter.

 

  1. Coat the donuts: Combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and apple pie spice together in a medium bowl. Once cool enough to handle, dunk both sides of each donut in the melted butter, then generously in the apple spice topping.
  2. Donuts are best served immediately. Leftovers keep well covered tightly at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Make ahead tip: You can freeze the donuts, coated or not coated in the toppings, for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm up to your liking in the microwave. I usually just zap ’em for a couple seconds.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Note on the apple spice: Do you have apple pie spice where you live? It’s pretty standard here in the US. If you don’t have access to store-bought apple pie spice, you can make your own with cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. – SEE BELOW
  2. I usually use buttermilk, but I’ve found that any milk (dairy or nondairy) works pretty well. For a denser crumb, you can use 1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream instead.
  3. Don’t have a donut pan? Make donut muffins in your standard 12-cup muffin pan. Grease your pan or use muffin liners, fill each 3/4 full, then bake at 350°F (177°C) for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Makes about 10-12 apple cider donut muffins.
  4. Want to make mini donuts or mini donut holes in a mini muffin pan? Grease your pan, add the batter to the pan only about 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350°F (177°C) for about 8-9 minutes.

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I found a recipe for apple pie spice…

Apple Pie Spice
  1. 4 tablespoons ground cinnamon.
  2. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg.
  3. 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice.
  4. 1 teaspoon ground ginger.
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom.

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Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Courtesy of Momontimeout.com

Prep Time – 10 mins    Cook Time- 25 mins     Total Time 35 mins

There is no better way to usher in fall than with these delicious Caramel Apple Cupcakes. Moist cupcakes loaded with apples and applesauce for double the apple flavor. A decadent caramel frosting top them off beautifully. 

Course: Dessert  Servings: 12 cupcakes  Calories: 244 kcal   Author: Trish – Mom On Timeout

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce OR vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded apple Rome, Granny Smith, or other baking apple or combination of two varieties

Caramel Frosting

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Line a muffin tin with parchment baking liners and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth.
  4. Whisk in the applesauce and vanilla extract.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  6. Stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture until combined.
  7. Stir in the shredded apples.
  8. Evenly divide the batter between the 12 cups.
  9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Caramel Frosting

  1. Unwrap caramels and place in a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Stir in heavy cream.
  3. Microwave at 50% power for 1 minutes. Stir. Repeat int 30 second intervals until caramels are melted and smooth.
  4. Spoon frosting onto the top of cooled cupcakes and spread. You want a nice thick layer. If the caramel starts to thicken, microwave for another 30 seconds at 50% power, stir, and spread on cupcakes.
  5. Popsicle sticks are optional 🙂

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Hot Mulled Apple Cider

Courtesy of Tonkcats at Genius Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine brown sugar, allspice, 1 teaspoon cloves, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and apple cider in large saucepan.
  2. Bring to boiling.
  3. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Strain to remove spices.
  5. Serve in mugs with clove-studded orange wedges.

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Soft Shell Crab Recipes…

live-soft-shell-crabs in bucket 2

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Hi everyone, 

Well, it’s that time again. The beginning of the season for soft shell crabs –  May through September. Outside of blue claw crab sauce over linguine, this is my favorite crab meal.

Soft shell crabs remind me of my Dad. He was always the first one to bring me a soft shell crab sandwich at the beginning of the season – never failed. It was piled high with lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce and served with French fries and Cole slaw.

It was our tradition.

After our first soft shell crab sandwich of the season, there were many days that my Dad and I would go and have lunch at all the waterfront restaurants near my home and order soft shell crabs to see who prepared them the best. You would think we would get tired of them, but we never did.

Now you know just how much I love soft shell crabs. 

After all these years, I still can’t decide which way I like them better. I like a sandwich of fried soft shell crab with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce on a kaiser roll (traditionally served on toasted white bread), and I like sauteed soft shell crabs in garlic, white wine, lemon and butter sauce with steamed vegetables.

For those of you not familiar, a soft shell crab is the blue claw crab in its molted state, when they shed their hard shells to reveal a paper thin shell. This thin shell hardens within 2-3 hours so there is a brief period to harvest the soft shell crab .

bal-bs-disc-1-023-20130605-- soft shell crab shedding shell photo judy brunk

Eating a soft shell crab is a little difficult for some people to wrap their head around, because you eat the entire crab. That includes claws, head, legs and shell (minus the eyes and the lungs). Your fish monger will clean them for you. Buy live, fresh crabs and have them cleaned before you prepare them. If you see crabs wrapped in cellophane in a grocery or fish store, pass them by, they were frozen. 

If you prefer to clean the crabs yourself, here are some basic instructions:

  1. Remember you are starting with a live crab…
  2. Get a good sharp pair of kitchen shears and cut across the front of the crab, behind the eyes and mouth to remove them (approximately a 1/2 inch cut). This will kill the crab.
  3. Squeeze out the yellow contents of the sack located directly behind the cut you just made. This yellow sack is part of the digestive system and can be eaten – personal preference. ( I choose to remove it. Research shows that chemical contaminants, such as dioxin and mercury can accumulate in this area).
  4. Once you get over the trauma of killing the crab, lift one pointed corner of the top shell and remove the gills by pulling them out of the base. The gills are beige and feathery. Now repeat on the other side of the shell.
  5. Turn the crab over and there will be a flap called the apron. Lift the apron with your fingers and pull it off the body.
  6. Rinse the entire crab removing any more yellow “mustard” from the crab and pat dry.
  7. You are now ready to cook your crab. Enjoy!

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There are many different recipes for preparing soft shell crabs, but this is how I prepare them, both fried and sauteed. 

Start both recipes with cleaned and rinsed crabs patted dry…

Photo May 11, 3 24 55 PM - DEEP FRIED SOFT SHELL CRAB

Fried Soft Shell Crabs

Ingredients:

1 cup AP flour

¼ cup cornstarch

Salt and pepper

2 eggs

½ cup milk

1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (or homemade)

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 tbsp. minced parsley

Grated cheese – to taste

To Serve:

Lettuce

Tomato

White toast or roll

Tartar sauce or mayonnaise

Cole Slaw

French Fries

Lemon wedges

Directions:

  • Heat 1-inch oil in a 12-inch skillet (I use olive oil, or you could use a neutral oil like canola or vegetable) over medium high heat until shimmering hot. Oil must be very hot, or the crabs will be soggy.
  • SET UP A BREADING STATION…
  • In a bowl combine 1 cup flour, ¼ cup cornstarch, salt, pepper, 1/2 tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning – set aside
  • In another bowl, beat 2 eggs with ½ cup milk – set aside
  • In another bowl, combine 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (or homemade), 1 cup panko bread crumbs, grated cheese, minced parsley, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Pat crabs dry
  • Toss in seasoned flour
  • Dip in egg & milk
  • Toss in bread crumb mixture
  • Repeat with remaining crabs
  • Place crabs in oil, shell side down
  • Be careful, the crabs can pop and spatter
  • Cook turning once, 3 minutes a side until golden
  • Transfer to paper towels to drain and sprinkle lightly with salt
  • Ready to eat…

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 Sautéed Soft Shell Crabs

Photo Jul 19, 7 15 18 PM.jpg SOFT SHELL CRAB

Ingredients:

¼ cup olive oil

1 ¼ cup AP flour

3 cloves of minced garlic

4 tbsp butter – divided

½ cup white wine

Juice of 2-3 lemons

2 tbsp minced parsley 

½ tbsp. Drained capers

SEASONING FOR FLOUR

1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. thyme

Salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a 12-inch skillet (I use olive oil, or you could use a neutral oil like canola or vegetable) with 2 tbsp. butter over medium high heat until shimmering hot. Oil must be very hot, or the crabs will be soggy.
  • In a bowl combine 1 cup flour, 1 tsp of each: Old Bay Seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, thyme- set aside
  • Pat crabs dry and season with salt and pepper
  • Toss in seasoned flour and shake off excess
  • Repeat with remaining crabs
  • Place crabs in oil, shell side down
  • Be careful, the crabs can pop, and spatter so stand back or use a splatter shield
  • Cook turning once, 3 minutes a side
  • Remove crabs from skillet and set aside
  • DO NOT clean out the pan.
  • To the skillet, add 2 tbsp. butter. Let the butter melt and turn a little brown
  • Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute
  • Add capers and white wine and cook for 1- 2 minutes until slightly reduced
  • Add lemon juice and parsley and cook for 2 minutes
  • Pour sauce over crabs

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I hope you try one of these recipes and enjoy Soft Shell Crab Season.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well, 

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to become members of DishingwithDiane.

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments & emails, I LOVE hearing from you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Joseph’s Day 2017

photo courtesy of zazzlefeast_day_of_st_joseph_card_march_19-r5ffbc83794be45c1a16d208c74e4073e_xvuat_8byvr_400 HAPPY FEAST OF ST JOSEPH

Hi Everyone,

 Every year on March 19th we pay special tribute to St. Joseph.

I am posting this a day early, just in case you want to look over and include one of the traditional recipes for your St. Joseph’s Day dinner.

There really is no tablescape to set for St. Joseph Day, so I am re-posting about the history of this holiday and all the traditional delicious food on the St. Joseph’s Day menu.

Especially the sfinge di San Giuseppe and zeppole pastries many people are familiar with. Enjoy !

All recipes are at the end of the post…

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(Click PHOTOS to enlarge and then back arrow to return to original size)

happy-st-josephs-day

Saint Joseph is the patron saint for my family, so instead of a tablescape, I decided to share with you some of my family traditions and customary foods for this special holiday.

Before we start, a little background for Saint Joseph or San Giuseppe that might help you understand the holiday a little better. Saint Joseph was the husband of Mary. It is in Sicily where Saint Joseph is regarded as their patron saint for preventing a famine during the Middle Ages. There was a severe drought and the people prayed to Saint Joseph for rain. They promised that if he answered their prayers and the rain came they would prepare a feast in his honor.

Well, the rain came and the people prepared a large banquet. Legend has it that the fava bean was the crop which saved the population from starvation and that is always part of the Saint Joseph day dinner.

Some people keep painted fava beans as a good luck charm.

DSC00639 PAINTED FAVA BEANS FOR ST JOSEPH for blog

When I was younger (much younger), on Saint Joseph’s Day my Grandmother would take me to bring food to the Saint Joseph’s Day altar of her local church after Mass. Many of the older generations set up altars in their homes, but we did not. We always wore red to honor Saint Joseph, in the same way that green is worn on Saint Patrick’s Day.

The altars are quite a sight to see and they have 3 tiers to represent the Holy Trinity. The top tier holds the statue of Saint Joseph surrounded by flowers (especially lilies). The reason is that – “The lily is associated with Saint Joseph, spouse of Mary, through an ancient legend that he was chosen from among other men by the blossoming of his staff like a lily”. 

 The other tiers hold candles, figurines, special breads, pastries, lemons for luck, fava beans, pineapple for hospitality and wine. There is also a basket on the bottom tier where you can place prayer petitions.

 Here is a picture I found of of a Saint Joseph’s Day altar just to give you a better idea. Definitely wouldn’t work in my dining room.

5547597178_9560e0b681_z- st joseph altar USE

(photo credit-isitsauceorgravy.com)

 In my family, my Grandmother (even though we are not Sicilian) believed deeply that praying to Saint Joseph would protect her family and she bought all her grandchildren, at a very young age, a statue of Saint Joseph.

This is a photo of mine that I proudly display in my bedroom today. It is over 50 years old. In fact, my son’s middle name is Joseph to honor Saint Joseph.

st joseph statue

In addition to the celebration of Saint Joseph’s Day, I have always enjoyed the FOOD for Saint Joseph’s Day.

Many of you know this day only by the pastry (zeppole or sfinge di San Giuseppe) but we had a fantastic meal before the pastry.

(There were no words to describe how fantastic these pastries are).

2015-03-07 23.40.39 - St joseph pastry for blog

Purchased at Alpine Bakery- Smithtown, NY

My family (especially my dad) would make the pilgrimage each year to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx because we wouldn’t run the risk of buying ingredients at a local grocery store and be disappointed. No, ingredients had to be Italian and imported. No questions asked.

If you ever have the chance to visit Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, NY you will be thrilled. The food is so fresh and it is like stepping back in time with the mom and pop shops. But Arthur Avenue isn’t just shops, it’s restaurants as well and the food is fabulous.

A real Little Italy.

Different regions celebrate Saint Joseph’s Day differently but all involve meatless foods (because this holiday always falls during Lent), minestrone soup and pasta with breadcrumbs (The breadcrumbs represent saw dust since Saint Joseph was a carpenter), seafood, and fava beans for luck and for dessert, the star of the show, zeppole and sfinge di San Giuseppe.

Here is a picture of my minestrone soup.

Photo Mar 20, 9 44 10 PM.jpg MINSTRONE FOR ST. JOSEPH.jpg WITH BLOG NAME

In my family, we made minestrone soup followed by bucatini with anchovies and breadcrumbs. (For those of you who are not familiar, bucatini is basically a larger spaghetti with a hole inside. Another pasta that is traditional is mafaldine; this looks like thin strips of lasagna noodles). Sicilians usually make the dish with sardines (Pasta con Sarde) instead of the anchovies.

Here is a picture of my bucatini with breadcrumbs.

Photo Mar 20, 8 09 49 PM.jpg BUCATINI WITH ANCHOVIES.jpg WITH BLOG NAME

The Saint Joseph’s Day bread was another special part of the meal and my Dad would buy the bread and have it blessed before he brought it home.

It is a round crusty loaf scored with a cross and flavored with anise.

joebreadsm2- ST JOSEPH BREAD

(photo credit-bennisoncakes.com)

And now back to the pastries. They are called zeppole or sfinge di San Guiseppe and I am sure you have all seen them. It’s a sweet dough like a big cream puff split and filled. They can be filled two ways. One with cannoli cream with tiny chocolate chips and candied fruit and also with custard cream; both topped with powdered sugar and a cherry and both delicious. Every year I always have to have one with each filling.

A fine tradition I passed along to my son.

st joseph's pastries 2

(photo credit-homestyledessertsbakery.com)

A lot of the old traditions unfortunately are not practiced as much today. Grandparents and parents have passed on and lives have become much busier, but I try to keep as many traditions going in my family as I can. I do make the bucatini with anchovies and the minestrone soup, but I buy my pastries because baking is just not my thing. (I have included the recipe at the bottom of the post, in case you want to take the baking challenge). I personally don’t make the fava beans for this holiday either, but I wanted to mention it again because it stands for “good luck” in case you wanted to include them on your menu.

All in all this holiday brings back great memories for me when I was younger and my family was still here with me, enjoying each others company and a great meal together.

Here is a picture of me (I am the toddler) with my parents, grandmother and two older sisters. All of my family have passed on now and all are missed every day. I keep the traditions alive to honor them; and thank them for all they have taught me about traditions and being proud of my heritage. 

Squeglia Family

I don’t have many photos for this holiday but at the bottom of this post, I will leave you with some traditional recipes if you want to celebrate St Joseph’s Day with your family.

It has been my pleasure to share my traditions with you for this special day. I hope this post gave a few of you some inspiration to try some new Saint Joseph’s Day holiday recipes.

Until my next post, stay well and make every day a celebration!

Diane

Saint Joseph’s Day is also the birthday of my dear friend Sue Tetonic.

Happy Birthday Sue!

RECIPES

Toasted Fresh Bread Crumbs

Warm 2 tablespoon olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat.  Add 3/4 cup of fresh breadcrumbs and stir to coat with oil.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the crumbs are golden brown and crunchy, about 5 minutes. I add a little grated cheese to the breadcrumbs as well. You can never have to much cheese.

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Bucatini with Anchovies and Breadcrumbs

Revised

Ingredients:

12 anchovy fillets in olive oil, finely chopped with the oil from the can (small can- 2 oz.)….for a stronger anchovy flavor add two cans.

Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound bucatini

1/2 cup olive oil + 3 TBSP

4-6 large garlic cloves, sliced and divided

Large pinch of red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Grated cheese

1 and 1/3 cup toasted fresh breadcrumbs (1 cup for sauce * 1/3 cup for garnish)

 Directions:

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve pasta water.

In a small skillet, add 3 TBSP of olive oil and approximately 3 cloves of sliced garlic and warm on a very low temperature (you want to flavor the oil)

While the pasta is cooking, heat ½ Cup of the olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat

Add 3 cloves of sliced garlic, red pepper flakes, and the finely chopped anchovies. 

Cook, stirring until the anchovies dissolve. (Be careful of splatters)

Remove from the heat. 

Add 1 cup toasted breadcrumbs and stir for 1 minute to combine the oil and breadcrumbs

Add 3 ladles of pasta water to make a sauce 

Return to the heat on low and stir in the parsley

Add the drained cooked pasta to the pot with the anchovy sauce. Toss until the strands are well coated

Slowly add the warm garlic oil with sliced garlic and mix well.

Season with salt & pepper

Transfer the pasta to individual serving bowls.

Top each serving with a sprinkling of the reserved breadcrumbs and grated cheese.  

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Minestrone Soup

Ingredients:

¼ cup olive oil

1 cup onion, finely chopped

½ cup celery, with leaves, chopped

1 carrot, sliced thin

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

1 (28 oz.) can of whole tomatoes, with juice

1 large can of cannellini beans

5 cups of beef or vegetable stock

½ cup flat parsley, finely chopped

1- 2 cups finely sliced, then roughly chopped spinach

2 zucchini, unpeeled and cut into little cubes

½ cup small pasta (like ditalini)

Freshly grated Parmesan or Locatelli cheese

1 tsp. dried basil (optional)

1 tsp. dried oregano (optional)

pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

Sauté the onion, carrot and celery in the olive oil until soft. Toss in the garlic and stir for another minute.

Cut up the tomatoes and add them to the pot and cook down for 15 minutes.

Stir in the beef or vegetable stock and the bay leaf and beans and bring to a boil. Add half the parsley, dried oregano, dried basil, pinch of red pepper and lower the heat and cook for about 30 minutes

Add the spinach, zucchini and pasta and cook at a gentle boil until the pasta is tender. * If you are not serving the soup immediately, make the pasta separately and add to the soup when serving otherwise the pasta will absorb all the soup if left in the pot to sit.

When ready to serve, stir in the rest of the parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve with the crusty bread and topped with grated cheese

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Fava Beans
(I do not remember who gave me this recipe).

Ingredients:

1 lb. dried fava beans
1 bunch green onions
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves
chopped parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook dried fava beans in boiling water until tender, adding more water as needed. Sauté seasonings in olive oil ’til tender, then add to beans. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in soup bowls.

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Zeppole di San Giuseppe

Recipe credit-mangiabenepasta.com)

(Makes about 12 (2-1/2-inch) zeppoles

Ingredients:

 Pastry:

1 cup water

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Pinch of salt

1 cup flour

4 eggs

Filling:

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup whole milk

2 egg yolks

1/2 tablespoon dark rum

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup heavy cream, whipped

 Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Maraschino cherries

 Directions:

 To make the pastry:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

 In a medium saucepan, combine water, butter, sugar, and salt. Bring to a

boil.  Remove from heat.  With a wooden spoon, beat in flour all at once.

Return to low heat.  Continue beating until mixture forms a ball and leaves

side of pan.  Remove from heat.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating hard

after each addition until smooth.  Continue beating until dough is satiny and

breaks in strands.  Allow the mixture to cool.

 Transfer the dough to a pastry bag with a large star tip.  For each pastry,

pipe a 2-1/2 -inch spiral with a raised outer wall on the baking sheet.  Bake

for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.  Remove and allow to cool before

filling.

 To make the filling:

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan.  In a bowl, whisk together

milk and egg yolks  Whisk milk mixture into sugar mixture.  Place the

saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking

constantly.  Boil for 1 minute; remove from heat.  Stir in rum, orange zest,

and vanilla.  Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl. Place a piece of plastic

wrap directly on the surface. Allow to cool for 30 minutes and then

refrigerate until cold.  Fold in the whipped cream.

 To assemble the zeppole:

Cut the pastries in half horizontally.  Transfer the filling mixture to a pastry

bag with a star tip.  Pipe some of the filling onto the cut side of the bottom

half of each pastry.  Place the top half of the pastry on the filling.

Pipe a small amount of the filling into the hole in the center of each pastry.

Place a maraschino cherry in the middle.  Dust the pastries with

confectioners’ sugar.

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Fig Cookies (Cuccidate)

Courtesy of Paula Carbone Gati from facebook page- Born Again Italian

Dough:

4 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups of butter, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup of Crisco, cold and broken into small pieces
2 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
2 tsp vanilla

Filling:

One 12 oz pkg of dried figs, I use either mission or calimyrna
1/2 cup almonds… chopped,,,not to fine,,,more on the course side
1/2 cup of dates -no pits
1/2 cup of raisins
1/3 cup of honey
1/4 cup of orange marmalade
1/4 cup whiskey
1 tsp of good cinnamon

Icing:

4 cups confectionary sugar
a few table spoons of milk
nonpareils

Directions:

In stand mixer…mix all dry ingredients, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt set aside….to this add butter pieces little at a time, then cold Crisco, then have all wet ingredients mixed and slowly add this to the flour until a nice smooth dough forms…after the dough comes together..put on table and knead a few minutes till the dough is smooth, add more flour if necessary… make a smooth ball and cover in saran and refrigerate …while you prepare filling

I double this recipe..because I make a big batch and for the amount of work that goes into this its best to do it at once…it makes approx 5 doz cookies for this recipe…. which is a good amount..but you can freeze these cookies..I usually pack 6 at a time in a Ziploc then put in glad ware container and take out as needed..they freeze really good.

I remove the dried stems from the figs, and put all the dried fruits through the meat grinder
when all the fruit is ground up I add the rest of ingredients,,, and mix really well…I usually let this sit over night for all the flavors to really marry.

Start the assembly…taking a piece of dough at a time roll out to make approx a 3 inch by 12 inch rectangle..cut with knife to square off…then take the fig filling and make a log approx 12 inches long….place this log onto the rectangle of dough and roll and have seam side down….cut approx 1 1/2 inch pieces and place on parchment lined cookie sheets…..350 degree oven for approx 15 minutes, till bottoms are slightly golden…
Make icing and after cookies are cool….spread a little icing onto each little bundle and sprinkle with some nonpareils…

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Happy Mardi Gras 2017

mardi gras for blog-- intro

Hi Everyone,

Happy Mardi Gras 2017 !

from DishingwithDiane.com

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This year Mardi Gras seemed to sneak up on me.

So while I am busy making my “Lasagna di Carnevale” for the occasion, 

here are a few photos from my Mardi Gras (Feb 17, 2015) post.

If you want to read the entire original post and view the photos, just enter “Mardi Gras” in the search box in the right column.

I’ll be back soon with a new tablescape and more recipes!

(Click PHOTO to enlarge and then back arrow to return to original size)

2015-02-17 17.45.42 - BUFFET

In my house, I set the table in the Mardi Gras colors.

Purple for Justice,

Green for Faith and

Gold for Power

2015-02-17 18.12.15 - CENTERPIECE2015-02-15 15.33.34- place setting2015-02-17 16.30.43 - CAKE

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If you don’t want to order a King Cake and want something you can do with the kids, I saw this on Pinterest and thought this would be a great project.

You can make or buy cupcakes, some white frosting and colored sugar (Wilton brand colored sugar is great and it is sold at Michael’s Arts & Crafts or Party City ) and create your own

Mardi Gras designed cupcakes.

mardi-gras-cupcakes - mardi gras cupcakes

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

Please spread the word and ask your family and friends to “follow” and “like”  DishingwithDiane.com  to become members.

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Holiday Cookies & Recipes

(Click PHOTO to enlarge and hit back arrow to return to original size).

Hi Everyone,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I hope your holidays have been wonderful so far. Among all the gatherings and traditions, there is so much food, so much dessert.

Which brings me to today’s topic- Cookies.

Usually I make my three standard Christmas cookies every year which are the Chocolate Crinkle, Sesame (Regina) and Grandma’s honey bow ties. Everyone knows by now that I am not the baker and I rely on the local bakery to fill in my Christmas dessert tray.

Well, I was inspired by all the food groups on Facebook so I decided to give baking another try and I got carried away. I made a total of eight varieties of cookies and fudge; yes I said eight…

This year was the first year that my son was not home for Christmas. I wanted to send a little “taste” of home to him for Christmas so I asked what cookies he would like and the list kept getting longer and longer.

I decided to send a care package to him and also to the other residents that are working with him in the hospital on the dreaded Christmas Eve through Christmas Day shift. And so the baking began.

I wanted to share my results with you along with the recipes.

The standards…

Chocolate Crinkle

2016-12-10-20-05-33-chocolate-crinkle-cookies

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

5 ounces UNSWEETENED chocolate, broken into pieces

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ tsp salt

4 large eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Confectioner’s sugar

  1. Melt chocolate and butter together in the top of a double boiler over simmering water or in a microwave until about ¾ melted. Remove from the heat and stir until completely melted and smooth,
  2. Meanwhile, stir together (or sift) flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on hand, beat eggs, granulated sugar and vanilla extract until creamy, about 2 minutes. Whisk chocolate –butter mixture until smooth, and beat into egg mixture until smooth. Add about 1/3 of flour mixture and mix on low. Gradually add remaining flour, mixing just until blended. Dough may be thin; that’s OK because it will firm up upon cooling. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to roll into balls, at least 6 hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the cookie sheets with parchment paper. Sift some confectioners’ sugar into a wide shallow bowl. Roll dough between your palms into 1-inch balls, and then roll in confectioners’ sugar. Place balls 1-inch apart on cookie sheets.
  5. Bake until puffed and crackled in appearance, and surface is dry to the touch, about 12 minutes; centers will still feel somewhat soft. Slide parchment paper onto racks to cool cookies completely. Makes 80 cookies.
  6. Store at room temperature in airtight containers.

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Sesame (Regina)

2016-12-11-04-04-51-sesame-cookies

Sesame Cookies- by my friend Paula Gati


1 lb. Crisco vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar

4 1/2 cups flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tablespoons of vanilla
4 lg eggs
approx. 2 cups of toasted sesame seeds
1 cup of milk

1. Cream Crisco and sugar add eggs and vanilla, add flour and baking powder. A little at a time…till soft dough forms…
2. Turn on floured board. And just mix all well. Break off in small amounts like the size of a walnut then make into log shape…

3. roll in milk then seeds and bake 12 minutes till bottom is light brown 350 degree oven

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Grandmas’s Honey Bow ties
2016-12-21-08-38-50-use-this-for-facebook-with-date

2016-12-21-08-31-35-bow-ties-fb-1-with-date

Grandma’s Honey Bow ties

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ lb all purpose flour
  • 8 or 10 eggs (depending on size)
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 oz vanilla extract *
  • 1/2 oz rum extract *
  • 1/2 oz lemon extract *
  • 1/2 oz orange extract *
  • 1/2 oz almond extract *
  • Honey (large jar) –approx 4 cups
  • Confetti sprinkles
  • Vegetable or Canola oil
  • Water – approx 1 cup
  • Sugar (optional)

Make a well with the flour on a large pastry board. Beat the eggs and place in the well. Next add the 1-½ tsp baking powder and ½ oz each of the 5 extracts (1/2 a small bottle each or 3 tsp) and some cinnamon and sugar.

Work all this together and knead the dough. When the dough is ready for cutting and shaping the dough should have bubbles in the center (cut the dough to see if it ready).

When ready, cut into pieces and roll like a hot dog, and then run the dough through the manual pasta machine on the following settings:

First on # 1 then # 3 then # 4 then # 6

Cut in strips with a pizza cutter and shape into bow ties

After shaped, fry in Wesson vegetable /Canola oil until gold in color and drain (very quickly-be careful not to burn them and make them too dark)

Next, prepare the honey and water mixture (1 jar of honey to ½ jar of water) on a low flame to thin out the honey a bit. Place 4 bows at a time in the honey and dip the cookie. Layer the dipped cookies on a platter and sprinkle with the cinnamon and sprinkles. Continue this process layer after layer. (Store in aluminum foil in a cool place)

* ½ oz = 3 tsp

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And now the new additions…

Pistachio Cookies

2016-12-14-18-25-14-pistachio-cookies

Pistachio cookies

PISTACHIO COOKIES by way of my friend Michael Gottuso…

The recipe:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup water
1 egg
1 large package instant pistachio pudding
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups flour
Roll in balls. Bake 350 degrees. 13 – 15 minutes.
Drizzle with melted white chocolate and sprinkle with crystals.

Cook’s Note: I added chopped pistachios meats to the batter.

Cooks Note: I used a confectioners sugar glaze instead of chocolate.

Powdered Sugar Glaze

1 ¼ cups powdered sugar

3 tbsp. milk

½ tsp vanilla extract

Step 1

In a medium bowl, stir milk into sugar. Add vanilla. Drizzle on your favorite dessert.

Step 2

May be thickened with confectioners’ sugar or thinned with milk or other flavored liquids.

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Pignoli Cookies and Chocolate Almond Cookies

2016-12-15-00-55-22-pignoli-cookies-use-this

Pignoli Cookies and Chocolate Almond cookies

  • 1 lb. almond paste
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 2 lemons, zest only
  • ¼ lb. pine nuts
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar, or as needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper

Crumble almond paste in bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix until finely crumbled.

Sprinkle the sugar and lemon zest over the almond paste and continue to beat until incorporated

Beat in the egg whites, one at a time and continue beating until the batter is smooth (not too wet or loose).

Spread pine nuts on a plate

Break off a tablespoon size piece of dough and roll to form a ball.

Roll the ball in the pine nuts and place on baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned

Remove and cool completely on wire racks and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

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Chocolate Almond

This was my own creation by adding 1/2 cup cocoa powder to the pignoli dough and adding chopped almonds

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Rainbow Cookies

2016-12-15-23-10-49-rainbow-cookies-a

Rainbow Cookies

 Rainbow Cookies by Marlene Scire by way of Paula Gati

1 (8 oz.) can of solo almond paste (I use different brand of almond paste I get from restaurant supply which =1 cup)
1 cup butter (recipe calls for margarine or butter… I use butter)

1 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
4 egg whites
2 cups of sifted flour
20 drops red food coloring
12 drops of green food coloring
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1 6 oz. bags of chocolate chips= 1 ¼ cups

Preheat oven to 350. Grease pans and line with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer add almond paste and bread up with paddle attachment, add butter, sugar, egg yolks and beat till light and fluffy

Add flour and mix well…

In a separate bowl beat egg whites till soft peaks form and fold gently into flour/almond mix

Remove 1 ½ cups of batter and add red food coloring, do the same for green
should have 1 ½ cups of white batter left.

I use specific pans that I purchased 3 pans just for these cookies. Got a Wm Sonoma…they measure 9 x13 and they are approx. 1 inch high. You can use a 1/4 cookie sheet pan also…

Spread batter in prepared pans and bake approx. 10-12 min….do not overcook…edges should be just turning golden…remove and completely cool each pan.

Put sheet of parchment or foil on table and remove green layer and place on parchment and spread with raspberry preserves, top with white layer and top that with apricot preserves. Then top with red layer.

Pick up parchment and place these three layers back into baking pan, which has been clean. Make sure you leave enough parchment to overhang so you can easily remove after.

Cover top red layer with a sheet of parchment or wax paper and either use a thin cutting board or one of those flex type ones on top of the wax paper/parchment and put something slightly weighted on top to weigh down and compress the layers…and then put in fridge overnight.

The next day remove. Cute edges to square off and give nice even layers. Melt chocolate and spread on top and let harden. When chocolate is hard….cut into rectangles…. (If while cutting through chocolate. And if it’s too hard. Dip knife in hot water and then cut. Wipe off any water before cutting, this will help knife cut through chocolate enabling you to have nice clean cutting lines)

Cook’s note: add 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil to chocolate to make it more pliable to cut.

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Chocolate Biscotti

christmas-fudge-2-biscotti-122116

Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Biscotti by my friend Michael Gottuso

Oven – 350 degrees
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup nuts, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
Beat butter and sugar until light fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla to butter mixture and beat until well combined.
Gradually stir in flour mixture.
Add nuts and chocolate chips.
Scoop onto lined baking sheet, making two rough logs.
With lightly floured hands, smooth dough into log shapes, about 2 inches wide by 12 inches long. Slightly flatten logs.
Sprinkle tops of logs with confectioners’ sugar.
Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until logs are slightly firm to the touch. Do not overbake.
Let logs cool for at least 30 minutes.
Cut biscotti into 3/4 inch wide slices. Arrange slices standing up on lined baking sheet.
Bake until crisp, about 10 minutes.
Cool completely.

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And Peppermint Fudge

christmas-fudge-122116

Peppermint Fudge 

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, about 1 ½ cups
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup candy cane crunch
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  • Combine the chocolate chips, milk, and marshmallows in a medium size saucepan over medium heat.
  • Stir frequently as the chocolate melts. Add the candy cane crunch and vanilla. Stir to combine
  • Remove from the heat
  • Lightly grease a 10-inch square pan or line with parchment.
  • Pour the fudge into the pan and spread with a spatula.
  • (optional- I decorated with additional candy cane pieces)
  • Chill in the refrigerator until firm
  • Slice into 1-inch pieces and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator

Cook’s Note: This fudge can be made ahead of time and kept in the freezer for several months. Thaw in the refrigerator when ready to serve

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Well, I have to say that this was a labor of love.  I had some failures along the way, but all in all I was happy with the results and most importantly, my son LOVED them.

I hope you give theses cookies a try or file the recipes with your holiday baking list for next year.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

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And share this post with your family and friends.

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

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Good Bye to Summer 2016…

(Click on PHOTO to enlarge then hit the back arrow to return to original size).

Hi Everyone, 

Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is my

“Photo Tribute”

to say good bye to my  Summer 2016 on Long Island as I prepare for Fall this week.

6359827257422308901231023530_6358825248226733632106411457_li- Greetings from LI POSTCARD

2016-06-19 13.50.33 CAPTREE BRIDGECaptree Bridge- Long Island, NY

CRABSStuffed blue claw crabs

2016-07-04 19.49.03 SCALLOPSBroiled Bay scallops with capellini

Late Aug 09 268- JONES BEACH INTROJones Beach – Long Island, NY

2016-07-04 19.49.40 PAELLAClam Bake- corn, potatoes, shrimp, clams and mussels

2015-06-13 19.08.46- GULLSeagulls at Robert Moses State Park, NY

2016-06-22 18.36.53- LOBSTER ROLLLobster Roll with Old Bay fries

2016-06-19 13.51.56 MARINA - FERRYFire Island Ferry – Long Island, NY

beach-sign2-2-beach-sign-2-for-blog

2014-09-01-15-47-16-jones-beach-boardwalk

2016-07-04 18.14.54 MUSSELSMussels and Clams

2016-07-24-22-53-27-watermelonHomemade Watermelon Italian ice

2016-06-22 18.38.04 - SOFT SHELL CRABFried Soft shell crabs

CLAUDIOS REST JAKERAJS.PHOTOSHELTER.Claudio’s Clam Bar- Greenport, Long Island

2016-07-06 14.35.15 WATERMELONSummer fruit

2016-07-19-19-34-05-cherries

2015-07-22 18.35.33- SPAGHETTI WITH CLAMS  for blogLinguine with clams

dsc_0708-lavender-farm-for-blog-iiLavender By the Bay- East Marion, NY

dsc_0700-lavender-for-blog

2016-08-29-18-22-55-fried-seafood-platter-for-blogAnnual fried seafood platter

2016-06-22-19-44-29-1Soft serve ice cream

clams on the half shellClams on the half shell- a Long Island staple

a4ef88b6-a493-40bb-ba9c-781edec72fdf- captree fleet - useCaptree State Park fishing fleet

dsc_0636-south-shore-market-for-blogFarm-stand Produce

dsc_0643-peaches-for-blog

dsc_0646-peppers-for-blog

dsc_0648-more-peppers-for-blog

dsc_0649-eggplants-for-blog

651-zucchini-for-blog

dsc_0652-eggplant-and-cucumbers-for-blog

dsc_0653-heirloom-tomatoes-for-blog

dsc_0656-melons-for-blog

dsc_0654-tomatoes-for-blog

dsc_0657-sunflowers-for-blog

dsc_0675-harbes-for-blog

tumblr_m9q4s31kpa1r3sm6co1_500-hello-autumn-for-blog

And now I am ready for 

apple cider donuts

dsc_0667-apple-cider-donuts

and everything PUMPKIN…

pumpkin-for-blog

Until my next post, make every day a celebration !

Diane

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