Monthly Archives: November 2011

Pear and Sparkling Cider Cocktails

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Yesterday I made special Turkey Day cocktails which celebrated some of autumn’s delicious flavors. These Pear and Sparkling Cider Cocktails contain pear nectar, sparkling apple cider, seltzer water, and a little bit of bourbon. I poured myself one of these early Thanksgiving morning and enjoyed it’s refreshingly light taste. I gave this cocktail to my family who all agreed that this would be ideal for a brunch (we drank the whole pitcher before noon!). I love the flavor of the pear in this drink but if you can’t find pear nectar (I searched three grocery stores before I finally found it tucked away in the international foods section of my local store), this cocktail would also be good with mango or peach nectar. No matter how you make it, this fizzy little beverage is one to try, holiday or not.

If you like this, check out Ginger Apple Bourbon.

The ingredients:

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It


Triple-Chocolate Cake

In some homes, chocolate cake may not be a traditional Thanksgiving dessert but in my home, chocolate is always a welcome addition.  I came across this recipe for Triple-Chocolate Cake in Cooking Light Magazine last month and knew right away I’d be making it for Turkey Day.  This cake has cocoa, bittersweet chocolate, and milk chocolate and yes…it’s chocolatey!  The cake is made with egg whites instead of whole eggs and the middle layer of filling is made with whipped topping so the overall cake is light and moist.  The top glaze of bittersweet chocolate and cocoa is the richest of all layers but it doesn’t overpower this delicious cake.  I plan on saving a little bit of room after dinner tomorrow and sitting down with small plate of this cake and a little glass of milk.  I’ll be honest, this might even be my breakfast on Friday.  😉

The cake ingredients:

Combine boiling water, cocoa, and bittersweet chocolate in a bowl and mix until chocolate has melted.  Cool to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together sugar, butter, and vanilla.  

Beat in egg whites one at a time, mixing thoroughly.  Add in sour cream and beat well.

In a smaller bowl, combine cake flour, baking soda, baking flour, and salt.  Alternate adding flour mixture and chocolate mixture into sugar mixture.

Pour batter evenly into two cake pans sprayed with non-stick spray and lined with wax paper.  Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.  Cool on wire racks.

The filling ingredients:

In a small saucepan, combine milk, sugar, and cornstarch.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook for one minute.  Remove from heat and add chopped milk chocolate.  Stir until chocolate is melted.  Cover and cool.

Once the milk chocolate mixture has cooled, fold in the whipped topping.

The glaze ingredients:

In a small saucepan, combine powdered sugar, milk, cocoa, instant espresso, butter, and a dash of salt.  Cook for two minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove the cooled cake from the pans.  Top one layer of cake with the filling and spread, leaving a small border.

Carefully place the other layer on top of the filling.

Pour the warm chocolate glaze over the top of the cake, spreading to cover the top.  Let glaze drip over the edges if necessary.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Roasted Red Pepper and Smoked Gouda Crostini

I came up with this appetizer, Roasted Red Pepper and Smoked Gouda Crostini, while trying to think of a flavorful appetizer I could offer on Thanksgiving. The result is a tasty bite with layers of delicious flavor. Baguette slices are toasted and topped with basil, roasted red pepper, smoked gouda, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. This is an appetizer that can be made quickly if you are having a party or need a bite in a pinch. Come Thanksgiving, I hope I can steal a couple of minutes with the oven to make this because it is so tasty. I used roasted red peppers to save time but if you have fresh peppers on hand, roasting them is super easy (see below). When it comes to cheese, smoked gouda is my favorite hands down but any other smoked cheese will work here as well. This crostini is versatile too – consider tomato and mozzarella or apple and Gruyère here in place of the red pepper and gouda to make for an equally delicious appetizer. I have no doubt these will be a hit with both your vegetarian and meat-eating guests at your next get-together.

Roasted Red Pepper and Smoked Gouda Crostini (makes 12 appetizers):

  • 1/2 French baguette
  • 12 pieces jarred roasted red peppers (about 1 1/2 inch in size)
  • 12 small fresh basil leaves
  • 12 smoked gouda cheese slices cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lemon

Note: To make your own roasted red peppers, cut fresh red peppers in half, remove seeds and ribs, flatten, and broil for 15 minutes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place blackened peppers in a sealed zip-top plastic bag seal and let stand 15 minutes. Remove from bag, peel, and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces.

The ingredients:

Preheat the broiler. Cut bagette into 1/4 inch slices and put into a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and place under broiler for a few minutes until golden brown.

Meanwhile, pour balsamic vinegar into a small pan and bring to a boil over medium-heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until liquid reduces by half (about five minutes).

Remove bagette slices from the oven and top each piece with a piece of roasted red pepper and basil.

Cut lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the basil. Top each basil leaf with a slice of gouda cheese.

Place under the broiler until cheese melts (about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes). Move crostini to a plate and, using a spoon, drizzle balsamic glaze over each crostini. Serve warm.

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Me! 🙂

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