Showing posts with label Christmas Eve. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas Eve. Show all posts

Monday, January 3, 2011

Savory Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

On New Year's Day, it's been such a tradition in my mom's and aunt's Hungarian kitchen to have a huge casserole of stuffed cabbage, I have such fond memories from Cleveland, every New Year's Eve was a celebration of family, and friends in our house for the New Year's Eve, in our full "party basement" which most northern houses have...I sure miss that. On New Year's Day, was a huge early dinner celebration at my aunt and uncle's, with our families, siblings, and cousins. Every 1st of the year, my aunt would roast a cute "little" pig...(uggghh) the thought of it now, scares me...I could not be staring the poor innocent piglet in the face...ohh yes, the face, and the poor little mouth with an apple in it!
Anyway, these were traditions of the sixties, and since then, we had our tradition for our children, and times, have changed and we keep moving on with time, moving on to a New Year, and hopefully, a better tomorrow for all!

I have not made Stuffed Cabbage Rolls in several years, simply for the reason that my dear departed aunt
who lived next door to us made it every years, here in S. Florida, as my children were growing up, keeping up with the traditions. It's been over ten years that she's gone, and so have the Hungarian traditions.
But of course, if you live near by here, in S. Florida, and  wish to eat authentic stuffed cabbage rolls, you can visit the Hungarian/American club here, locally, in Lake Worth, where they still keep up with the authentic traditions.

Well, for some reason,  when I saw a  spicy Korean condiment of cabbage called "Kimchi" in my daughter's refrigerator, which I thought was so bizarre, because she is so sensitive to hot spices, and that is one spicy side dish! Of course, I ended up with the Kimchi, but that's another story!

I happened to have ground beef, the 1 1/2 heads of cabbage (really need 2) ...2 lbs of authentic homemade Italian sausage from our favorite Italian market, called Mario's in Delray Beach. I did not use Hungarian sausage because smoked Hungarian, or Polish sausage would be perfect for the cabbage, or use smoked ham hocks, which all have so much sodium nitrate, that again, my daughter cannot have, which unfortunately causes extreme headaches for some people.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday Cheesecake, and Christmas Memories

As the year is dwindling down, and Christmas is over, a New Year is awaiting us to start "anew" with a clean slate of resolutions, and promises. Leaving the old year with fond memories, and some sadness...not just what kinds of gifts we got for the holidays, and what parties or events we attended, but thinking ahead for the coming year, of what we can do for each other, to give, and get more BLESSINGS!
After visiting my new and beautiful friend, Jamie's blog @Mangiabella and reading her inspirational posts, and quotes, reminds me, that life is so precious, and that the true joys in our lives are family, and dear friends... let us not forget our faithful pets, and embrace new friends.
I concluded this thought, after leaving Jamie's blog, that:

"Bringing gladness to the hearts of others, and giving of yourself...is the Greatest Gift of All"...(my quote)

So, I will share my most favorite cheesecake of all, that I make, just about for every special occasion...have memorized the ingredients, and method, to the point that this is seriously a "scientific" method, that you must follow, and not sway from it. It's a New York, or should I say New York Style Cheesecake, that can be left simple, without the sour cream topping, which really gives it a more amazing flavor, and dresses it up, but you can do it without it, because you will not see "cracks" on top of the cheesecake...I promise you that. You can dress this cheesecake up for the summer, with a fresh fruit topping, or for the holiday, as I did, with rainbow, holiday sprinkles, and surround them with handmade chocolate pieces that already has sprinkles on it, from your local chocolate shop, as I did. I'm not going into the "song and dance" recipe, to write it down, I will link the recipe back to this summer, when I made it the last time.
I kid you not...this is a "tried and true" recipe, that you will want to follow, to a T! The only important thing is, you should, and must make it the day before, so it will set nicely. Actually, I made this two days before Christmas, and let it chill nicely in my frig.

So, here's the link, and recipe: New York Style Cheesecake

Monday, December 20, 2010

Goat Cheese with Pistachios, and Cranberries

We had such an eerie week...so glad it's Monday, and in 4 days, Christmas Eve will be here. All last week, my daughter and I were involved with the last of the Christmas presents for our close friends' children, and last of ours, as well. We're still trying to go on with our lives missing Sheryl, knowing how we spent quite a few Christmases together. Her horrific accidental death left such a toll on my daughter-in-law, and son, that it will be such a long healing process. On Saturday, we hosted a memorial for her, at my son's house. Out of respect I only took a few pictures of 2 of my appetizers, and some of the fabulous sweets from Costco.I will share the recipe with you for this awesome cheese ball-which really supposed to be a cheese log, but as usual, I want to adapt it my way.
So, my daughter-in-law requested to make a baked brie, and suggested that I serve it with pepper jelly, which is a great combo with the brie...I suggested to wrap the brie in puff pastry, and just spread the jelly on the top. Not knowing, that there's an actual recipe for it, I proceeded to make it my way, the first thing of course; scraping off the rind from the cheese which comes off so easily, and let the puff pastry thaw out for easier rolling. Also, unfortunately I did not bake it in a high 400 degree temp. I baked it at 350, which is a med. temp. for 35 minutes. Also, I brushed the entire finished crust, before baking it, with an egg wash. Same result, just from memory, of baking with puff pastry. Recipes, to follow!

Goat Cheese with Pistachio, and Cranberries
Adapted from Real Simple Magazine, Nov. 2010

2 tablespoons roasted pistachios, chopped
2 tablespoons dried cranberries, chopped
1 8- to 10-ounce log fresh goat cheese
crackers or bread, for serving

On a large plate, combine the pistachios and cranberries.
Roll the goat cheese in the fruit-and-nut mixture to coat. Serve with the crackers or bread.
note: I rolled the cheese into a ball, and then rolled it in the fruit, and nut mixtures. Serves 8

Enhanced by Zemanta
Baked Brie with Pepper Jelly
adapted from Best Bites

Puff pastry comes with two sheets per box, so remove one sheet and allow it to stand at room temperature for about 40 minutes. Place the remaining sheet in a freezer-safe bag and save it for another use.
When the pastry has thawed, gently unfold it on a very lightly floured surface. If there are any cracks, lightly moisten them and gently press them back together.

Carefully cut the wheel of brie in half lengthwise (it helps if it's cold). Place one half, rind side-down, on the pastry. Spread a layer of pepper jelly over the cheese. Place the other half, rind side-up on the jelly, almost like a brie sandwich (let's not even go there).

If you want, you can spread another layer of jelly on top of the rind.
You'll want 2-3 inches of pastry surrounding the cheese, but any more than that will get bulky, so you may need to trim about 1" of pastry on one or more sides (reserve the scraps for decorations). Carefully wrap the pastry around the cheese, sealing the edges shut so the melted cheese and jelly won't leak out when it's baked.
note:
If you want, you can have a jar of pepper jelly handy so if there isn't enough of that flavor in the baked brie (it actually ends up coming out pretty subtle), you can add a little more. Because it's awesome.

Ingredients, and directions

1 8-oz. wheel of baby Brie
1/2 package puff pastry, thawed for about 40 minutes at room temperature
About 2-4 tablespoons pepper jelly (try to find some without onions, garlic, or other spices; fruit juice is okay; Tabasco is a great, widely available, reliable choice.
1 egg white mixed with about 2 teaspoons cold water
Preheat oven to 400.
Gently unfold the puff pastry sheet, mending any broken spots. Cut the brie in half lengthwise and place one half, rind down, on the pastry. Spread with jelly and then place the other half of the brie, rind up, on the cheese. If necessary, trim the excess pastry and then fold it over the cheese, sealing the edges. If desired, decorate the brie with decorative shapes cut from the excess dough and brush it with the egg white/water mixture
Place the bundle, seam-down, on a lightly greased baking dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve with crackers, bread, and fresh fruit (like strawberries, apples, pears, and grapes) if desired. This is perfect as an easy, elegant holiday appetizer.