Hungover Breakfast

December 31st, 2012

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After a late night of ringing in the new year with noisemakers and champagne, one needs a little aspirin, fountain soda, and a breakfast that will warm your bones and quell that fuzzy forehead feeling.

Ingredients:

1 cup of leftover mac and cheese
1/2 tbsp of butter
1 egg
salt and pepper
hot sauce (optional)
ketchup (optional)

Directions:

Heat butter in a small pan at medium high. Add macaroni and cheese and stir until edges are light brown. Add egg and stir until fully cooked, for around 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper, and hot sauce  and ketchup if you prefer.  Best with a fountain coca-cola and 2 advil :)

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Happy New Year everyone!

Here are a few favs from 2012

The “I should be sick of this song by now but I still love it” song:

The “guilty pleasure/singing your ass off in the car” song:

just love:

And goodbye 2012:

rum milk punch

December 26th, 2012

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This is a great holiday party recipe.  It’s a fantastic alternative to the thick-as-molasses eggnog drinks for those of us who want to avoid diabetes for a little longer.

Cook time: 5 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

6 oz. light rum (can also be made with bourbon)
3 cups of 2% milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
cinnamon and nutmeg, for garnish

Directions:
Combine milk and rum in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and stir occasionally for 5 minutes. Take off heat and let sit until cool.  Pour rum punch into four chilled glasses and garnish with cinnamon and nutmeg.  Serve!

*Extra credit: Put tinsel on top of a cocktail straw.  My old roommate Lizzie, who I miss terribly, used to do this for holiday parties and it’s as dorky as it is adorable.

Enjoy!

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A few months ago, Patrick and I went to the Park Avenue Pub to celebrate his mom’s birthday.  This was the risotto we had and it was incredible, so I made a note of it to make later.

Risotto is what I’d consider a culinary labor of love, in that I’d probably only make it for people I really like-  if I think you’re okay, you’re not getting risotto. It’s not necessarily difficult, but it commands your undivided attention for an hour and involves stirring constantly for what feels like an hour.

Risotto certainly lives up to its reputation for being a pain in the ass to make, but my god it is worth it.

Ingredients:

1  cup arborio
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup blanched almonds
2+2/3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup diced onion
1/3 cup white wine
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup shredded romano
honey
balsamic glaze (you can buy or make)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Toast almonds for 8 minutes. Let cool and set aside. Steam broccoli (I used a steamer bag) and set aside.

2. Heat the chicken stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat so that the stock just stays hot.

3. In a large saucepan, heat the oil and 1 tbsp of the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the chopped onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until it is slightly translucent.

4.  Add the rice to the pot and stir it briskly with a wooden spoon so that the grains are coated with the oil and melted butter. Sauté for another minute or so, until there is a slightly nutty aroma. But don’t let the rice turn brown.  Add the wine and cook while stirring, until the liquid is fully absorbed.

5.  Add a ladle of hot chicken stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice appears almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process.

Note: It’s important to stir constantly, especially while the hot stock gets absorbed, to prevent scorching, and add the next ladle as soon as the rice is almost dry.

6. Continue adding ladles of hot stock and stirring the rice while the liquid is absorbed.  Add stock, a ladle at a time, for 20-30 minutes or until the grains are tender but still firm to the bite, without being crunchy. If you run out of stock and the risotto still isn’t done, you can finish the cooking using hot water. Just add the water as you did with the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring while it’s absorbed.

7. Stir in the remaining tbsp butter, romano cheese, broccoli, and almonds. Season to taste with salt.

8. Drizzle honey and glaze on an empty plate and spoon risotto over it. Serve!

blanched almonds

 

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adapted from this basic  risotto recipe

Jim Gaffigan on holiday traditions:

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This right here is my post for kitchendaily and JELL-O.  This was such a fun project and super easy to make.

I really enjoyed using JELL-O. I was impressed with how versatile it can be. Mixing it with cold milk and Cool Whip gave it this airy, mousse-like consistency that totally blew me away.  It was so fluffy and I only stirred it for a minute or two.  The pudding truly works with you, rather than fighting with sugar, cream, and egg at various temperatures to make chocolate mousse.

I was immediately drawn to this recipe. I don’t think I’m alone in loving chocolate, peanut butter and pretzels.  Adding jelly, jam, or preserves to it added a sweet tartness that gave the bars a little more depth.

I think this recipe is interesting because it’s nostalgic.  JELL-O pudding and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are like the sandbox soul foods of our youth.. this dessert takes you back.

Ingredients:

BARS
2 cups finely crushed pretzels
2/3 cup butter
2 tbsp sugar
2 pkg. (3.9 oz. each) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
2 cups cold milk
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1-3/4 cup thawed Cool Whip
1 cup jam or jelly
1/4 cup water

TOPPING
24 miniature pretzel twists
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
3 tsp jelly or jam

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a food processor , FINELY crush pretzels (think sawdust)
NOTE: You will need 6 cups of pretzel twists to make 2 cups of crushed pretzels
2. Mix pretzels, sugar, and butter until well blended. Firmly press onto bottom of 13×9-inch pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely
3. Meanwhile whisk dry pudding mixes, milk and 3/4 cup peanut butter in medium bowl until well blended, then stir in 3/4 cup Cool Whip. Set aside.
4. Mix 1 cup of your favorite jam (I used raspberry) with 1/4 cup of water and lightly spread over crust
5. Spread chocolate pudding mixture over crust
6. Beat remaining peanut butter and half the remaining Cool Whip in separate medium bowl until well blended. Stir in remianing Cool Whip.  Spread over dessert.  Refrigerate 2 hours.
7. Microwave 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter on HIGH for 60 seconds or until melted.  Stir chocolate. Dip 24 miniature pretzels one at a time and place them on parchment paper.  Let cool for 20+ minutes
8. Right before serving, drop 1/8 tsp of jam in the center of each bar and top with pretzels. Enjoy!!

 

View slideshow here

 

 

 

Dirty Shirley

December 10th, 2012

“Hey barkeep, I’ll have a Shirley Temple on the rocks.. 8 cherries..extra syrup.”

As a kid, one of my favorite things about holiday parties was the Shirley Temple aka the kiddie cocktail.  I felt like such a grown up ordering from the bar. This drink tastes exactly like a Shirley Temple (i.e. a little dangerous!) and takes me back to the good old days of wearing a dress that matched my Madeline doll, tights, and patent leather mary janes while getting hopped up on sugar cookies and cherry syrup.. ahhh memories.

Ingredients:

1.5 oz. cherry vodka
5-6 oz. Sprite Zero
a dash grenadine
marschino cherries

Pour ingredients over ice. Stir and serve.

 

 

Gingersnap Truffles

December 3rd, 2012

 

Ingredients:

1 box of Pepperidge Farm gingerman cookies
6 oz. cream cheese (3/4 of a package), softened
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 cups white chocolate wafers

Directions:

1. Finely crush cookies using a food processor or whatever you have available.  Put crumbs and cream cheese and cinnamon in medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until well blended.

2.  Using your hands, roll batter into balls roughly 2 inches in diameter.  Place on parchment paper and freeze for 30 minutes to an hour.

3. On low heat, melt white chocolate wafers in a small pan. Individually dip each truffle in the chocolate with a spoon and roll around until completely covered.  Place back on parchment paper and decorate if you want.  Let sit for at least 20 minutes.  Best if kept refrigerated.

Real talk: I almost posted title as Gingerman Balls. One lightning speed redaction and five minutes of snickering by myself later, we have Gingersnap Truffles.

Hilarious near-miss aside, these are incredible.  They will definitely be a mainstay for all our future holiday parties!