Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Celebration with Cab Franc....#WinePW

We had our first dinner party of the season last night.  And so it begins....we will be entertaining and/or being entertained nearly every day from now until the 6th of January when we celebrate the Epiphany which ends our Christmas season.  Then I am leaving to sunny California on the 7th to relax and recoup from the whirlwind of activity.


Christmas isn't the only thing we celebrate during the month of December.  December 4th is Cab Franc day so we celebrate by drinking this varietal and our friend, Lori, of Dracaena Wines invited us to join her this weekend to drink and chat.  You are welcome to join our discussion of this wonderful varietal at 11 am EST on twitter.  You will find us by looking for the #WinePW attached to our comments.  You can learn more about this event and who is participating by going to Lori's preview post.

So I went into the city and bought a couple of bottles of Cab Franc from South Africa.  These bottles came from the Raatz family winery and has gotten wonderful ratings.  I think this is the first time I have had a pure Cabernet Franc.  I normally drink Cabernet Sauvignon, whose grandfather is Cab Franc and grandmother, is Sauvignon Blanc.


I planned my menu around the wine.  We started with a mushroom soup, followed by a chopped salad.  Our entree was a prime rib roast served with fully loaded potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts and cranberries.

Cabernet Franc is a very food friendly wine.  I set my table, started my dinner and greeted my guests. As they enjoyed cocktails and appetizers, I finished up some last minute things in the kitchen and decanted the wine.  Then I joined them for cocktails and the merriment began.  As so often happens when I entertain...that was the end of the photo taking.

We all enjoyed the wine very much.  It paired as easily with the soup as it did with the roast.  It is a smooth, medium bodied wine that was less harsh than the Cabs I normally serve making it a perfect dinner wine for guests who may not care for as heavy a wine as we like.  

Please stop by and enjoy the Cab Franc's the others have chosen to share with you today.


  • Nancy from PullThatCork chose to have An Elegant Cabernet Franc Pairing for #WinePW
  • Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla decided to make Apple-Braised Duck Legs + Dracaena's Cab Franc 
  • Michelle of RockinRedBlog has a Bountiful of Cabernet Franc 
  • Lori of DracaenaWines will be examining Cabernet Franc; the Versatile Cab 
  • Cindy of Grape Experiences will Wine and Dine: Cabernet Franc and Roasted Red Pepper Soup
  • Jeff of FoodWineClick declares Cab Franc: Never Say Never 
  • Gwendolyn of ArtPredator found some Cabernet Franc Winners With Osso Bucco, Squash Casserole
  • Lauren of the SwirlingDervish created a Super Fast, Super Good: Sausage and Potato Pan Roast with Dracaena Wines Cabernet Franc
  • Jade of TastingPour will be talking about Leah Jorgensen Cellars: Faces of Cab Franc 
  • David of CookingChat will be preparing Roasted Sirloin Steak with Avocado Sauce for #CabFrancDay 
  • Wendy of A Day in the Life of on the Farm will be having a A Celebration with Cab Franc
  • Martin of enofylzwineblog has found A Captivating Cab Franc Paired with Sushi

Christmas Around the World. Palmiers (French Cinnamon Cookies) #ChristmasCookies

Well, for all the fuss about French pastries and as delicious as they are, I thought these cookies were going to be very labor intensive.  Nope, easy peasy and delicious.  The perfect recipe.  Of course, I cheated and used frozen puff pastry but during this busy time of year and it being the 10th day of our 12 Days of Christmas Cookies event, I'll take any shortcut I can.


I served up these delightful little cinnamon scrolls last night alongside the Creme Brulee that was the finish of my first dinner party of the Christmas season.



Welcome to the 12 Days of Cookies, hosted by Family Around the Table and Cooking With Carlee. We are filling the season with all kinds of delicious cookies.  Be sure to check out some of the recipes below or you can follow along on Facebook or Twitter by searching #ChristmasCookies.  We also have a 12 Days of Cookies Pinterest board where you can see all of the goodness!  May your holidays be sweet!

I have been traveling the globe during this fun event.  I hope you have joined me each day.  It has been a blast.  Today we are visiting France, where they serve up these wonderful cookies called Palmiers at their Christmas celebrations.

I found this recipe at about.com.  It was written by Rebecca Franklin, French Food Expert.  It contains only 5 ingredients and takes only a half hour from start to finish.  Perfect for busy holidays.


Thaw and roll out a sheet of frozen puff pastry.  Spread a cinnamon sugar mixture over it.  Roll up one side to the middle.  Roll up the other side to meet the first side.  Trim the ends, cut into 1/4" slices and bake.  That's it.  Merry Christmas.


Palmiers
Source: Rebecca Franklin, French Food Expert

1/3 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
3 T. butter, melted
1 sheet store bought puff pastry, thawed if frozen

Stir together the sugar, cinnamon and butter.  On a lightly floured surface or on a sheet of parchment paper, roll the pastry to a large 12"x15" rectangle.  Spread the cinnamon sugar paste in an even layer over the pastry.  Starting at one of the long ends of the pastry, loosely roll it until it meets the middle. Repeat on the other side.  Trim the ends and cut the pastry crosswise into 1/4" slices.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 400* oven for 12-15 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Print Recipe

Let's see what the others brought to the 10th Day of #ChristmasCookies


Homemade Jingles from Jolene's Recipe Journal
Kolacky from Cooking With Carlee
Norwegian Pecan Cookies from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Palmiers from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Peanut Butter Marshmallow Cookies from Cindy's Recipes and Writings 
Peppermint Kiss Blossoms from Family Around the Table
Toffee Shortbread from The Chef Next Door
Turtle Chocolate Chip Cookies from Palatable Pastime




Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas Around the World. Pryaniki (Russian Spice Drops) #ChristmasCookies

Today is Day 9 of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies.  We are 2/3 of the way through with this wonderful event.  I have been traveling the world to bring you a different country's cookie each day. It has been a lot of fun and I want to thank you for joining with me on this world tour.  I love learning of other cultures through their foods and traditions.



Welcome to the 12 Days of Cookies, hosted by Family Around the Table and Cooking With Carlee. We are filling the season with all kinds of delicious cookies.  Be sure to check out some of the recipes below or you can follow along on Facebook or Twitter by searching #ChristmasCookies.  We also have a 12 Days of Cookies Pinterest board where you can see all of the goodness!  May your holidays be sweet!

Today we are visiting Russia.  Our very first exchange student, Marina, came to us from Russia. My Marina was delightful and started us on a path of many years of exchange students.  We maintain contact with all of our "kids" and pray that one day we can have all of them together with us over the holidays.



I already visited Poland during this tour and almost skipped Russia because their food is so similar but then I found this recipe for a spice cookie that sounded so wonderful I couldn't resist.


This recipe, like many during this event, comes from Barbara Rolek, Eastern European Food Expert over at About.com.


Pyraniki
adapted from Barbara Rolek, Eastern European Food Expert

1 egg
2 egg yolks
6 T. butter, melted
3/4 c. honey
3 c. flour
3 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cardamom
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. cloves
dash of salt
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 T. water
colored sugar


In large bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat together the egg, yolks, butter and honey.  Add the flour, baking powder, spices and salt, mix at low speed until combined.  Increase speed and mix until well incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Roll chilled dough into smooth balls, using a cookie scoop so portions are even.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350* oven for 16-18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time.  Cool cookies completely on a wire rack.

Combine powdered sugar and water in a shallow bowl until smooth.  Dip each cookie into the icing and sprinkle with colored sugar.  Print Recipe


Let's see what the other's baked up today!

Chestnut Praline Latte Cookies from A Palatable Pastime
Coffee Cake Cookies from Jolene's Recipe Journal
Lightened up Peanut Blossoms from Simple and Savory
Muddy Snowballs from Family Around the Table
Peppermint Meringues from Feeding Big
Toffee Shortbread from The Chef Next Door
Welcome Home Chocolate Chip Cookies from Cooking With Carlee

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Christmas Around the World. Kourambiedes (Greek Butter Cookie) #ChristmasCookies

Welcome to Day 8 of my Christmas Around the World party.  I am baking and sharing cookies every day for 12 Days and each day I am bringing a Christmas Cookie from a different country.  I started out with Italy, headed northeast to Poland and then traveled to the Mediterranean to visit Lebanon.

I traveled back northwest to visit Germany, Denmark and my Grandmother's birthplace, Czech Republic.  Yesterday, I recouped here in the USA and presented you with a Classic American Sugar Cookie.  Today we are heading back to the Mediterranean and visiting Greece where we will enjoy a Greek Christmas Cookie called Kourambiedes.



I found this cookie on food.com submitted by evelyn/athens who states "These, with Melomakarona, are found in every Greek home during the Christmas Holidays".  They are a butter cookie that contain almonds and are flavored with rose water.  I think they might be found in this American home during the Christmas Holidays from now on.



Kourambiedes
adapted from Food.com

1 c. butter, room temperature
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
dash of salt
1/2 T. brandy
1/2 t. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. sliced almonds
rose water
Powdered sugar for sprinkling

Cream the butter and sugar in large bowl of stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, for 15 minutes or until it begins to turn white.  Mix in the baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the egg yolk, brandy and vanilla.  Gradually add the flour until well combined and then stir in the almonds.

Using a cookie scoop, portion the dough into small rounds.  Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.  Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 15-20 minutes. While cookies are baking place a small amount of rose water into a shallow bowl.  Immediately upon removing the cookies from the oven, dip your fingers into the rose water and shake them over the hot cookies.  Sprinkle the cookies, while still hot, with powdered sugar and let cool.   Print Recipe




Welcome to the 12 Days of Cookies, hosted by Family Around the Table and Cooking With Carlee. We are filling the season with all kinds of delicious cookies.  Be sure to check out some of the recipes below or you can follow along on Facebook or Twitter by searching #ChristmasCookies.  We also have a 12 Days of Cookies Pinterest board where you can see all of the goodness!  May your holidays be sweet!

Day 8 of 12 Days of #ChristmasCookies






Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Christmas Around the World. Classic American Sugar Cookies #Christmas Cookies


Today I have decided to stay right in the good ol' USA and am bringing a recipe for Classic American Sugar Cookies provided by Betty Crocker.  




Welcome to the 12 Days of Cookies, hosted by Family Around the Table and Cooking With Carlee. We are filling the season with all kinds of delicious cookies.  Be sure to check out some of the recipes below or you can follow along on Facebook or Twitter by searching #ChristmasCookies.  We also have a 12 Days of Cookies Pinterest board where you can see all of the goodness!  May your holidays be sweet!

Classic American Sugar Cookies
source: Betty Crocker

1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 c. butter, room temperature
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond extract
1 egg
2 1/2 c.. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cream of tartar
colored sugar

In large bowl of stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, vanilla, almond extract and egg.  On low speed stir in the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar until moistened, increase speed and mix well.  Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Roll the dough, on a lightly floured surface to a 1/4" thickness.  Cut into desired shapes and sprinkle with colored sugar. Place cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 375* oven for 7-8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Print Recipe

More #ChristmasCookies as we celebrate the 12 Days.



Roasted Maple Glazed Carrots for #FoodieExtravaganza


The Foodie Extravaganza is a monthly party hosted by bloggers who love food! Each month we incorporate one main ingredient or theme into recipes to share with you. We take turns hosting and this month it's Lauren of Sew You Think You Can Cook.

December 17th is National Maple Syrup Day and Lauren challenged us to bake with, cook with, or make a beverage with maple syrup. (For some international bloggers who can't find maple syrup, they'll be joining the fun with honey as a substitute.)


December is a very busy month for everyone so I wanted to share a recipe that is quick, easy and perfect to serve during the holidays.  I love serving glazed carrots as a side to so many dishes. Almost everyone loves carrots and glazing them with a little sweetener is always a winner.  I normally just do my carrots on the stovetop with butter, olive oil and brown sugar.  The other night when I was going to serve carrots as a side for the meatloaf I had made for dinner I remembered that we were celebrating Maple Syrup this month and decided to change things up.


I tossed the carrot slices with some olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper and put them in the oven to roast while my meatloaf was baking.  It doesn't get any easier than that.  The carrots took about half an hour at 350* which is what my oven was at to bake the meatloaf.  You can adjust the time according to any oven temp.  If just roasting them on their own use a hot oven, 425*, for 15-20 minutes.  I was only feeding 2 of us, feel free to adjust the ingredients according to the number you are feeding.

Roasted Maple Glazed Carrots

3 carrots, peeled and slice into 1/2" diagonal disks
1 1/2 t. olive oil
1 1/2 t. maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients together in a shallow baking pan and roast at 350* for 30-40 minutes, until tender and browned in spots.  Print Recipe


foodieextravaganza-300



 If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you! If you’re a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE.




Don't forget to check out all these other maply recipes:

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas Around the World. Susenky (Czech Foundation Cookies) #ChristmasCookies

We are halfway through the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies event.  I decided to travel the World and I am having a blast.  I hope that you are as well.



Welcome to 12 Days of Cookies, hosted by FamilyAroundTheTable and CookingwithCarlee. We'll are sharing delicious cookie recipes all week long in celebration of the holiday season. Perfect for your holiday cookie trays or party dessert table. Search #ChristmasCookies to see all the goodies these 12 days. Follow the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies Pinterest board for more cookie ideas. 

Today I am off to the birthplace of my maternal Grandmother, Czechoslavakia.  I don't remember my Grandma ever making cookies.  I remember her raisin bread and her blueberry pie.  I remember head cheese and tongue.  I remember stews and soups.  But I don't ever remember homemade cookies.

Not having a "hand me down" recipe from Grandma's home country, I did the next best thing.  I headed over to About.com where Barbara Rolek, Eastern European Food Expert posts all kinds of great recipes. That is where I found this recipe for Susenky.




This recipe is perfect today, December 6th, as it is St. Nicholas Day.  Today is the day when those of us who have Czech heritage, begin the celebration of the Christmas season.  We are going to my daughter, Amy's, for dinner tonight as we have for the past 3 St. Nick Days.  I am bringing these cookies to share.



This cookie is, thus far, the most time consuming. Mostly because it is a butter cookie that need to be rolled thin and then cut into your desired shape.  The cookies are very buttery so you....
  • Roll them between 2 sheets of parchment
  • Remove the top parchment
  • Cut into desired shape
  • Remove scraps from between cookies
  • Add a "window" to half of the shaped cookies
  • Bake
  • Cool
  • Sprinkle the window cookies with powdered sugar
  • Spread jam on the bottom cookie
  • Top with the window cookie
Each batch was only 6 -8 cookies so this took a while.  It was not difficult, just time consuming, so plan it on a day when you have a lot of free time, turn on the Christmas music and enjoy.  I chose to make mine with a window and jam but you could also sprinkle with colored sugar or frost them with cookie icing.  The only adaptation I made to this recipe was to add a pinch of salt as I used unsalted butter. 

Susenky 
slightly adapted from Barbara Rolek, Eastern European Food Expert

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
pinch of salt
4 c. flour
Strawberry jam (or your favorite flavor)
Powdered sugar

In large bowl of stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Mix in the vanilla.  Add the salt and 1/2 c. of the flour, mix at low speed until combined. Gradually mix in remaining flour until you have a smooth dough.

Roll dough between two pieces of parchment paper to a thickness of 3/16" if sandwiching cookies and/or 1/8" if sugaring or icing the cookies.  Remove top piece of parchment and cut cookies into desired shapes.  Remove scraps from between cookies and return to unrolled dough.  Cut a window into half of the cookies. Place the parchment onto a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350* oven for 8-10 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sprinkle the cookies with a window with powdered sugar.  Smear a small amount of jam onto each bottom cookie and top with the sugared cookie.  

Repeat until all dough is used.  Print Recipe  


Here are the other offerings on Day 6 of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies