Caramel Cashew Cookies & Pistachio Lemon Drops

CARAMEL CASHEW COOKIES AND PISTACHIO LEMON DROPS
So, when you can’t pick between recipes, why not just make both? This was the enforced motto at our house this past weekend. These two recipes – Caramel Cashew Cookies and Pistachio Lemon Drops – contain cashews and pistachios which are two nuts that I don’t often eat, but I believe that are completely under-utilized. And, after this weekend, I’m so glad that we still have leftover cookies to hold us over for awhile.

The first recipe, Caramel Cashew Cookies, are a decadent dessert. The batter contains a creamy cashew mixture and also contains loosely chopped cashews to add for an even more intense flavor. I love the fact that these cookies are drizzled with a dab of caramel on the top. It provides the perfect amount of ‘sweet’ to counteract the saltiness of the cashews.

The second recipe, Pistachio Lemon Drops, were such a nice change of a way to use pistachios in a dessert that didn’t involve ice cream or gelato. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore pistachio ice cream, but now I’m glad I’ve found yet another way to use pistachios in a dessert.

Call us nutty (so punny, I know), but making two types of cookies was definitely a nice way to end a busy Sunday and beat the dreary cold of Winter!

Cheers!

CARAMEL CASHEW COOKIES AND PISTACHIO LEMON DROPS 2

CLASSIC POTATO GRATIN

Classic Potato Gratin

CLASSIC POTATO GRATIN

Cream, cheese, potatoes, thyme – repeat. That’s how this Classic Potato Gratin rendition from Bon Appetit was made (well, kinda). While this particular dish was made for a Thanksgiving feast, I’m quite surprised that I’ve not incorporated more of these types of dishes throughout the year. Ignoring the caloric value, this particular dish is just absolutely delicious, feeds EVERYONE and is a great for a ‘make ahead’ option.

Here are a few tips if ever making a Potato Gratin recipe:

  1. Use a Mandolin: If you don’t already own one, I’d highly recommend purchasing a Mandolin. They are so incredibly convenient and made the entire arduous potato process just that make quicker.
  2. Always add more Garlic and Herbs: I added copious amounts of garlic and thyme to this recipe. The result? A kitchen that was not short in flavor.
  3. Be Meticulous with the Potatoes: Arrange the potato slices carefully in the dish. Large gaps can absorb the cream mixture and just create a soup-y mess.

Cheers!

CLASSIC POTATO GRATIN

CARAMEL PUMPKIN PIE

Pumpkin Caramel Tart

CARAMEL PUMPKIN PIE
I’m not quite sure my attempt at spelling ‘Give Thanks’ is too clear in this Caramel Pumpkin Tart, but at least know that the effort was there! While this particular tart was made for the Thanksgiving Holiday, this dessert can definitely be made throughout the winter season and is a perfect staple for a weekend get-together. Its clever use of hazelnuts for the crust creates a nutty flavor that is tough to beat, but happens to combine nicely with the (surprisingly) light tasting pumpkin-caramel filling.

Here are a few tips for making this tart:

  1. Careful with the Caramel: Making caramel is a form of art. The best advice I would give is to follow the recipe, have a buddy help if you can and carefully watch the color as the sugar cooks. It’s amazing how quickly the caramel mixture will turn from a tasty concoction to a completely burnt mess in just seconds.
  2. Hazelnuts Crush Quickly: Hazelnuts will quickly turn into a paste (not what you’re looking for in this recipe) if you leave them pulsing in the food processor for too long. Just keep an eye on it.
  3. Always Fresh Ginger: It’s amazing how quickly I can tell if fresh ginger has been used in a recipe. If you can, I’d highly recommend to use fresh ginger. A good tip is to buy some and store in the freezer so that it can be used at any time.

Cheers!

CARAMEL PUMPKIN TART

Decorative Fall Apple Pie

Decorative Fall Apple Pie

Decorative Fall Apple Pie

I will definitely be one of the first to admit that I was so incredibly excited the minute October 1 came this year. While I absolutely adore Summer, I love all of the weather, traditions, and most importantly, the FOOD, that are associated with Fall. I can’t help it – it’s just contagious!

No Fall would be complete without at least one Apple Pie. This time I decided that I really wanted to go ‘all out’ with its design and make it not only taste well, but look cool too. In previous pies, I’ve free-hand cut leaves; however, that was absolutely too tedious. I stumbled upon these cute fall leaves cookie cutters from Williams-Sonoma and absolutely fell in love. They are adorable, easy to use and produced fantastic leaf-shaped cut-outs – perfect for a Fall pie!

I made this exact Apple Pie in a previous post; however, this time, I opted to make it again and instead amp it up with some decorative pieces. Here’s how I made it:

Step 1: Make Dough, Roll Out Dough,
Place in Pie Dish, Cut Out Fall Leaves
with Cookie Cutters, Place Around Rim

DECORATIVE FALL APPLE PIE

Step 2: Peel Apples, Slice Apples

Decorative Fall Apple Pie

Decorative Fall Apple Pie

Step 3: Combine Spices, Sugars and
Lemon Juice with Apple Slices

Decorative Fall Apple Pie

Step 4: Place Apples in Pie Dish;
Place Extra Apple Cut-Outs on Top

Decorative Fall Apple Pie

Decorative Fall Apple Pie

Step 5: Bake and Eat!

Decorative Fall Apple Pie

While this pie did take a long time to make, it was completely worth it in the end. Apple pie is always such a nice Fall treat, especially when used with tart, tart apples. For next time… I believe a pumpkin pie would be in our future.

Cheers!

Decorative Fall Apple Pie

GRILLED PIZZA

Grilled Pizza


GRILLED PIZZA
As with many other people, I’d have to agree that one of my favorite foods is the pizza. While I definitely still love a classic pepperoni pizza, I more so enjoy pizzas with unique tomato sauces, different types of cheeses, various types of meats and plenty of veggies and other toppings.

I don’t often make pizza at home; however, my fiance had the brilliant idea to combine two of my favorite things – grilling and pizza – for a fun idea for a lazy Sunday. The particular recipe he chose was Grilled Pizza with Hot Sausage, Grilled Pepper and Onions and Oregano Ricotta. This pizza pick was a great choice for many reasons; however, I especially loved it because it not only was a grilled pizza, but the ingredients on top of it – peppers and onions – were also grilled separately and then added on top of the dough later to add to the overall grilling experience.

What’s your favorite type of grilled pizza?

Cheers!

 

 

Pineapple and Mint Popsicles

Pineapple & Mint Popsicles

Pineapple and Mint Popsicles

For me, dessert in the Summer is a simple equation: copious amounts of fruit + other fabulous ingredients + blend + freeze = cold, fruity heaven. I love the fact that popsicles are a great cool item that doesn’t feel too indulgent and often helps with the heat during Summer.

I also love the fact that these can be made on-the-go, don’t require too much planning and can be modified for many different purposes. I don’t have the exact recipe with quantities for these Pineapple and Mint Popsicles because I made these in a hurry and just taste-tested from the blender until I found the right flavor. But, the main point of this particular post is just here to inspire and celebrate Summer!

As you can see from this blog, I love desserts and have tried a few different recipes that I’ve documented here:

What’s your favorite popsicle recipe?

Cheers!

Halibut with Red Chermoula

Halibut with Red Chermoula

Halibut with Red Chermoula

It wouldn’t be a true Sunday if I wasn’t trying a new recipe at our house and this past weekend was no different. Since our Summer has been so busy with literally every weekend booked with activities (‘yay’ for fun times, not ‘yay’ for productivity), it was nice to have a slow Sunday and have the time to bust out a new recipe (or two!).

Prior to this weekend, I had no idea what Chermoula was; however, after reading about it in the latest issue of Bon Appetit Magazine, I just knew I had to make it. Beyond the fact that I was immediately drawn to this recipe just purely because of the beautiful burst of colors from the tomatoes, I loved the fact that Chermoula uses plenty of paprika and cumin combined with cilantro. The original recipe – Slow Roasted Cod with Red Chermoula – uses cod, but I opted to use halibut. All in all, this recipe provided a great flavor with the spices from the Chermoula, the fish was well cooked through the roasting process and the marinade only amplified the tomatoes for an overall fantastic meal.

Unfortunately I don’t have any photos to document making this recipe, but here are a few facts about Chermoula:

1. It is a marinade used in Algerian, Libyan, Moroccan and Tunisian cooking.

2. It is highly versatile. It is most often used for seafood; however, it can be used for other meat and vegetables.

3. There are many different varieties of Chermoula that use plenty of different spices (my advice would be to pick one based on your spice preference and try it with your favorite seafood!).

Have you ever used Chermoula?