Tiny Bites

Tuna & Bow Tie Pasta Salad

April 10, 2013

Tuna & Bow Tie Pasta SaladTuna & Bow Tie Pasta Salad

Here is a quick and light pasta salad that everyone will love.  If you want to lower the calories then use a low-fat mayonnaise.

INGREDIENTS

8 Ounces Regular or Whole Wheat Bow Tie Pasta

6 Tablespoons Mayonnaise

3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar

3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil or 1 1/2 Teaspoons Dried Basil

2 Chopped Garlic Cloves

2 Sliced Cipollini Onions

1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

12 Ounces Canned Tuna (Drained & Flaked)

1 Cup Thawed Frozen Peas

2 Cups Halved Cherry Tomatoes

1/3 Cup Chopped Red Onion

In a large size pot, filled with salted water, cook the bow tie pasta, over a high heat, to al dente.  Remove from the heat and drain, but DO NOT rinse.  Rinsing pasta is a big No No.  Let the pasta cool for 5 minutes.  In a large size bowl combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, basil, garlic and pepper.  Mix well.  Add the drained tuna, cipollini onions, thawed peas, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped red onion and the drained pasta.  Mix very well and chill for 1 hour.  Transfer to a serving bowl and serve either as a main course or as a side dish.  Serves 4

Easter Hot Cross Buns

March 29, 2013

Hot Cross BunsEaster Hot Cross Buns

As a child I used to sing the song, “Hot Cross Buns” while jumping rope or skipping around the block.  “Hot cross buns!  Hot cross buns! One ha’ penny, two ha’ penny, hot cross buns!  If you have no daughters, give them to your sons.  One ha’ penny, two ha’ penny, hot cross buns.”

Today is Good Friday and on this day the bells are silenced.  In France the children are told that the bells have flown to Rome to return only on Holy Saturday.  In Italy on Good Friday children are even warned not to laugh while playing, because of the solemnity of the day.  In certain places this day is observed by so strict a fast that it is often called the Black Fast, because many do not eat at all until sundown.  However, one article of food is intimately associated with and eaten on this day, and that is the Hot Cross Bun.

Hot Cross Buns originated in England, and more than one nursery rhyme and ballad contain references to them.  Saffron plays a part in the better-class English Hot Cross Bun, but as a rule they are small and plain, well browned and with icing on top in the form of a cross.

INGREDIENTS

1 Package Active Dry Yeast

1 Cup Warm Milk

5 Tablespoons Softened Butter

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

2 Large Beaten Eggs

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cloves

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

3 1/2 Cups Unbleached Flour

3/4 Cup Dried Currants

3 Tablespoons Milk Mixed With 3 Tablespoons Sugar

1 Tablespoon Cold Milk

1 Cup Sifted Powdered Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice

In a small size bowl mix the yeast with 4 tablespoons of the warm milk.  Set aside for 5 minutes.  In a medium size bowl combine 4 tablespoons of the softened butter and brown sugar.  When the yeast looks frothy stir it into the butter and brown sugar mixture. Add the beaten eggs.  Add the nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and salt.  Add the remaining warm milk and mix well.  Beat in the flour one cup at a time until a soft ball of dough can be gathered together.  Place the dough on a floured work surface and lightly knead in the currants, adding more flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking.  Kneading should take no more than a few minutes.  Grease a large size bowl with the remaining butter.  Place the dough in the bowl and turn the dough to butter all sides.  Cover and let sit in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours.  The dough should be doubled.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Punch the dough down and then divide it in half.  Next divide each piece in half again.  Divide each portion of the dough into six equal pieces and shape each into a ball.  Place the balls of dough onto the parchment lined baking sheets leaving 2 inches between them.  Set aside and cover lightly with tea towels or waxed paper for 1 hour.  The dough should double in size.  Preheat your oven to 400º F.  Carefully slash a cross into the top of each bun using a sharp knife.  Cut through the skin of the dough at least 1/4 inch deep.  Try not to compress the bun as you cut.  Place into the oven and bake for 20 minutes until they are lightly browned.  Just before they come out of the oven bring the milk and sugar mixture to a boil in a small saucepan.  As soon as the buns are done brush them with the milk and sugar glaze.  Allow the buns to cool for 30 minutes and then serve them while they are still warm.  If you have not cut the cross into the tops of the buns the cross can be applied with the icing.  The buns must be completely cooled before the icing is applied.  To make the icing: mix the powdered sugar with the cold milk and lemon juice.  Using the handle of a spoon or chopstick spread the icing to form a cross on top or to fill the cross shape cut.  Makes 24

Spicy Chicken Sandwiches

March 9, 2013

Spicy Chicken Sandwiches

The custom of afternoon teas is thought to have been introduced in England in 1840 by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford.  Lunch was eaten earlier then and dinner was not served until later in the evening.  The Duchess became hungry during the afternoon and requested tea, bread, butter and cake to be brought to her room.  This quickly became a habit and she began asking friends to join her. 

INGREDIENTS

1/4 Pound Boneless Cooked Chicken

2 Teaspoons Mango Chutney

2 1/2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise

1/2 Teaspoon Curry Powder

1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

3 Tablespoons Softened Butter

4 Slices Either Whole Wheat or White Bread

Chop the chicken into small pieces and place into a small size bowl.  If the chutney has any large pieces of fruit make sure to chop them into smaller pieces.  In a medium size bowl combine the chutney, mayonnaise, curry powder, lime juice and kosher salt.  Mix well and then add the chopped chicken.  Butter the bread slices.  Place the chicken mixture on the buttered side of two pieces of bread. Put the tops on and press together.  Cut off the crusts from the bread and cut each sandwich into four horizontal pieces.  Arrange on a serving plate and serve with tea.  Makes 8

 

 

Super Chunk Chocolate Chip Cookies

March 7, 2013

Super Chunk Chocolate Chip Cookies

Unless you are allergic or hate chocolate then you will fall in love with these cookies.  Try to eat just one!  For the broken pieces of dark chocolate take a large dark  chocolate bar and break into pieces. 

INGREDIENTS

2 1/4 Cups Unbleached Flour

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Cup Softened Butter

3/4 Cup Sugar

3/4 Cup Packed Dark Brown Sugar

1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

2 Large Eggs

2 Cups Chocolate Chips

1 Cup Broken Pieces Dark Chocolate

Preheat your oven to 375º F.  In a medium size bowl combine the flour, baking soda and kosher salt.  In a large size bowl beat the butter, with an electric mixer, until nice and creamy. Add the sugar, dark brown sugar and vanilla.  Beat for 1 minute.  Add the eggs one at a time.  Beat well after each addition.  Slowly beat in the flour mixture and mix for 1 minute.  Stir in the chocolate chips and broken dark chocolate pieces,  Drop by rounded tablespoon onto parchment paper lined baking sheets.  Bake for 11 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes.  Remove to wire racks to cool completely.  Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies

Mexican Wedding Cookies

February 28, 2013

Mexican Wedding Cookies

These cookies are so scrumptious that you won’t be able to stop eating them.  The secret to the great taste is to use a high quality butter and pure vanilla extract.  Make sure to stay away from imitation vanilla as it is made from glycoside that is found in the sapwood of certain conifers or from coal extracts.

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup Softened Butter

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar

2 Cups Unbleached Flour

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Cup Finely Chopped Pecans

Additional Powdered Sugar For Rolling

Preheat your oven to 350º F.  In a large bowl cream together the butter and vanilla.  Add the powdered sugar and combine well.  Mix the flour and kosher salt together and then add to the butter mixture.  Sprinkle in the chopped pecans and blend well.  Form into 24 balls and very lightly flatten.  Place onto parchment paper lined baking sheets.  Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes until the cookies are lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before rolling in additional powdered sugar. Place onto a pretty cookie plate and serve.  Makes 2 dozen

 

Curried Carrot Soup

February 24, 2013

Curried Carrot Soup

INGREDIENTS

7 Large Peeled & Chopped Carrots

2 Cups Water

2 1/2 Cups Vegetable Stock

1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

1 Teaspoon Curry Powder

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground PepperIn a large soup pot add the chopped carrots.  Add water and bring to a boil over a high heat.  After bringing to a boil turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 30 minutes until the carrots are nice and tender.  Drain the cooked carrots and cool them completely.  Add the cooled carrots and the vegetable stock into either a food processor or blender.  Pulse for 30 seconds until nice and smooth.  Return the mixture to the soup pot.  Add the whipping cream, curry, salt and freshly ground pepper.  Cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes until the soup is heated through.  Make sure to stir often.  Remove from the heat and ladle into bowls or a soup terrine.  Garnish with sour cream, chopped basil or red pepper flakes if you want.  Serves 4

 

Peanut Butter Fudge

February 8, 2013

Peanut Butter Fudge

The blizzard is on its way and time to make fudge.  If you love peanut butter then you will LOVE my Peanut Butter Fudge.  Make lots of extra and give this fudge away for Valentine’s Day.  Stay safe and warm this weekend. 

INGREDIENTS

1 Pound Confectioners’ Sugar

1/2 Cup Milk

13 Ounces Peanut Butter

7 Ounces Marshmallow Cream

In a large saucepan add the milk and sugar.  Bring to a boil and let boil for 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add the peanut butter and marshmallow cream.  Pour into a greased 8×8 inch pan.  Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours.  Slice into fudge size pieces.  Makes 16 to 20 pieces. 

Perfect Lemon Squares

February 7, 2013

Perfect Lemon Squares

You've been good all year so far so it's time for a little lemon treat.  Well maybe you haven't been good, but make these lemon squares and ponder how to be better. 

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Unbleached Flour

1/2 Cup Confectioners’ Sugar

2 Tablespoons Cornstarch

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

3/4 Cup Cut-Up Butter

5 Eggs

1 1/2 Cups Sugar

3 Tablespoons Unbleached Flour

2 Teaspoons Grated Lemon Peel

3/4 Cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

1/4 Cup Half & Half

Extra Confectioners’ Sugar for Dusting

 

Preheat your oven to 350º F.  Line a 13x9x2 inch baking pan with parchment paper.  You will want the parchment paper to extend over the edges for lifting.  In a large size bowl combine the 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch and kosher salt.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender.  You will want the mixture to look like coarse crumbs.  Press the mixture into the bottom of the parchment lined pan.  Bake for 20 minutes until the edges are a very light brown.  While the shortbread crust is baking make the lemon topping.  In a large size bowl mix together the eggs, sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, lemon peel, lemon juice and half & half.  Remove the shortbread crust from the oven and slowly pour the lemon topping over the hot crust.  Place back into the oven and bake for another 20 minutes.  You will want the center set so feel free to bake a bit longer if the center is not quite set.  Remember all ovens bake differently.  Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan.  Use the parchment paper hanging over the sides to lift out of the pan.  Place onto a hard surface and cut into squares.  Just before serving dust powdered sugar over the tops.  Makes approximately 36 cookies. 

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

February 4, 2013

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

This cake is so light and not too sweet that it can be eaten for breakfast.  You could also turn this recipe into muffins. 

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 Cups Unbleached Flour

1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1/8 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 Cup Softened Butter

1 Cup Sugar

1/2 Cup Sour Cream

3 Eggs

4 Teaspoons Lemon Extract

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

3 Tablespoons Poppy Seeds

Preheat your oven to 350º F.  In a large size bowl add all of the ingredients and beat with a mixer on low for 3 minutes.  Stir in the poppy seeds.  Grease and flour a Bundt pan.  Pour into the prepared Bundt pan and place into the oven for 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Invert the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Transfer to a cake plate.  Serves 12

Petite Madeleines

January 11, 2013

Petite Madeleines

Petite Madeleines are traditional small cakes from northeastern France.  They are very small sponge cakes that are baked in special shell shaped pans.  Even if you are on the customary “January diet” Petite Madeleines are a light and refreshing little treat. 

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Unbleached Flour

1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Cup Softened Butter

1 1/4 Cups Sugar

2 Eggs

3/4 Cup Milk

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Tablespoons Lemon Extract

2 Tablespoons Grated Lemon Peel

Preheat your oven to 350º F.  In a large size bowl beat together the eggs and sugar.  Add the softened butter, vanilla and lemon extracts to the egg mixture.  Beat for 2 minutes.  Add the grated lemon peel and beat another minute. In a medium size bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk to the egg mixture.  Continue to beat on low while add the ingredients.  Grease the madeleine pans and spoon the batter into the pans.  Place into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Remember that every oven is different so check at 10 minutes.  The madeleines should be golden brown, but not too dark.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan.  Makes approximately 36 madeleines.

 

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