Posts

Showing posts from 2015

Last Page of 2015

Image
I always enjoy getting to the last page of a book, the last page brings the story to a close, and mysteries in the plot make sense. There’s also a sense of accomplishment to have gotten to the last page of the book. Since today is the last day of the year, and this is the last page of my 2015 book, I thought I’d reflect on this page-turner! My kids had a very important milestones that brought our family so much joy. We enjoyed a few family vacations, family gatherings, birthdays, anniversaries, and an endless flow of summer activities. The happy moments invited vulnerability, happiness, joy, fear, and empathy into my life. All of those sentiments were received with open arms and without an inch of denial. For the first time in my adult life, I was happily raw and present. There were also a few health scares in our family, the rug got pulled from underneath me and brought on dark and lonely times which set me back emotionally and spiritually, but thankfully my family members bounced b…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

Image

Three Kings Bread: Rosca de Reyes

Image
Recipe courtesy of Ingrid Hoffmann Total Time: 2 hr 15 min
Prep: 35 min
Inactive: 1 hr
Cook: 40 min
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Advanced

Ingredients
1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup dried figs, cut into strips, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup candied orange peel, cut into strips, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup candied lemon peel, cut into strips, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped candied cherries, plus more whole for garnish
2 tablespoons light rum
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, divided
Water

Directions
In a small bowl, combine the yeast and warm water; stir to blend. Let stand until the yeast comes alive and starts to foam, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Put all of the candied fruit in small bowl and drizzle the rum on top. Let stand for 15 minutes to 1 hour to infuse the flavor.

In a small pot, warm the milk…

Quote of The Day

Image

Quote of The Day

Image

White Chocolate Holiday Bark

Image
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen Total Time: 1 hr 35 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive: 1 hr
Cook: 5 min
Yield: About 1 1/2 pounds
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
1 pound finely chopped white chocolate
1 1/2 teaspoons nut or plain oil
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 1/4 cups shelled pistachio nuts, toasted and papery coating peeled

Equipment: Chocolate thermometer

Directions
Tempering the chocolate for the bark requires a double boiler. If you don't have a double boiler, improvise one by using a saucepan and a stainless steel bowl: Nestle the bowl into the saucepan, allowing a few inches of space to remain between the bottom of the bowl and the bottom of the saucepan. Keep an extra bowl of a similar size on hand to transfer the chocolate for cooling. Rest the chocolate thermometer on a towel. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Pour a couple inches of water into the bottom half of the double boiler and heat over medium-low to just below a simmer. Put the chocolate in the top half of the double boiler and…

Santa's Sleigh Cocktail

Image
Recipe courtesy of Sandra Lee Total Time: 7 min
Prep: 7 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

IngredientsWhite sugar crystals, preferably coarse
2 cups store-bought eggnog, chilled
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup amaretto liqueur
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 scoops vanilla ice cream
4 cinnamon sticks

Directions
Dampen the rims of 4 martini glasses and then line the rims with sugar crystals.

Combine eggnog, brandy, amaretto, nutmeg, and ice cream in a blender; process until smooth. Pour mixture into martini glasses and garnish each glass with a whole cinnamon stick.

For more recipes visit foodnetwork.com


PW's Prime Rib with Rosemary Salt Crust

Image
Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond
Total Time: 1 hr 25 min
Prep: 10 min
Inactive: 20 min
Cook: 55 min
Yield: 16 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 whole boneless rib eye (12 to 15 pounds)
Olive oil
1/4 cup tri-color peppercorns
5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup minced garlic

Directions
Watch how to make this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Cut the rib eye in half (roast halves separately for more controlled/even cooking).

Heat some oil in a large skillet over high heat. Sear both rib eye halves until a nice dark golden color, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Place the peppercorns into a bag and crush with a rolling pin. Shred the leaves from the thyme and rosemary sprigs. Mix the salt with the crushed peppercorns, rosemary leaves, thyme leaves and garlic. Pour olive oil over the rib eye and pour on the rub mix. Pat slightly to get it to stick to the meat. Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 275 degrees F and roast until a meat thermometer registers 125 for…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

Image

Quote of The Day

Image

Quote of The Day

Image

Upside-Down Apple French Toast with Cranberries and Pecans

Image
Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence, 2008 Total Time: 50 min
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 45 min
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
French toast:4 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 loaf challah bread, cut into 1 inch-thick slices
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup light brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling, divided
4 Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Confectioners' sugar, garnish, optional
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a flat dish, crack eggs and add milk, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Whisk until well combined then lay challah slices in mixture to coat and absorb it all, turning occasionally.

Set a 10-inch skillet, seasoned cast iron if you have, over medium heat. Add the butter and 1 cup sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar has melted and caramelized, about 8 minutes. While the sugar is melting, peel apples, core and cut into halves. Remove from heat a…

Sugar Cookies

Image
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen Total Time: 3 hr 25 min
Prep: 3 hr
Cook: 25 min
Yield: 24 to 36 cookies
Level: Easy
Ingredients
For the cookies:2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (preferably Meyer lemon)
Vegetable oil or cooking spray, for the baking sheets
Assorted sanding sugar (optional)
For the icing: 1/2 pound white or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon vegetable shortening
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Assorted food coloring (optional) Nonpareils, coconut flakes, assorted sanding sugar, crushed peppermints, sea salt and/or melted chocolate, for topping.
Directions Make the cookies: Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Put the butter, granulated sugar and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer …

Advocating for Love During Difficult Times

Image
In the midst of violence against humanity around the world, those of us who are not physically part of the violence become spectators, and watch in horror as events unfold. These events change us, they alter the composition of our sense of safety. We start to live with a bigger sense of fear, sadness, and anxiety of what the future might hold for our world.

This past Tuesday, perpetrators who disclosed their plans to commit violence against school children of Los Angeles, rocked our sense of stability even more. New York also received the same threats but their school sessions went on, unlike Los Angeles, they chose to take precautions and cancel sessions for the day. I have school age children and I was saddened to face the possibility of senseless acts of violence happening in our community. My childrens' school is not part of Los Angeles so their school day went ahead, but authorities took many precautions throughout the day to monitor and protect our schools. I was on alert a…

Pomegranate Spritz Cookies

Image
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine Total Time: 1 hr 45 min Prep: 1 hr 25 min
Cook: 20 min
Yield: 72 cookies
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 2/3 cup sugar 1 large egg 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses 3/4 teaspoon red food coloring 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest Silver nonpareils, for decorating
Directions Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees F. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg, pomegranate molasses, food coloring and orange zest. Reduce the mixer speed to medium low; beat in the flour mixture until incorporated. (The dough can be made a day ahead; cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before filling your cookie press.)
Fill a cookie press w…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

Image

Quote of The Day

Image

Quote of The Day

Image

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Image
Recipe courtesy of Claire Robinson

Total Time: 35 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 25 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup hot sauce (recommended: Frank's)
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
Crackers, bread or carrot sticks, for serving

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan over moderate heat, melt the cream cheese until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the celery, hot sauce and chicken and mix well. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch pie plate and sprinkle the crumbled blue cheese on top. Bake until hot and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Serve with crackers, bread or carrot sticks.

What Makes This Recipe Really Sing: This has all the great flavors of Buffalo chicken wings without all the fat of the chicken skin and oil. Want to make it lighter? Feel free to use light cream cheese.

For more recipes visit foodnetwork.com



Patience Doesn’t Come Easy During The Holiday Season…

Image
There’s an energetic buzz in the air that starts to become more and more noticeable in November and December. People start to plan for Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, etc. The malls, grocery stores and shops around town start to get busier. And sadly, that’s when you witness the most arguments, honking, and accidents! I never give myself enough time to get to my destination, and neither do most people I know. I start with little time and then I think I’m going to get to my destination within the usual amount of time, but then I get stuck in traffic and I start to get frustrated, just like everyone else on the road, and so it becomes a big stressful mess.
Just the other day, I stopped to let a pedestrian cross the street and the man in car behind me, started to angrily honk his horn. There was nothing I could do so I waited, the man went around me and tried to turn right in front of my car, and almost struck the pedestrian crossing the street. It scared me and I yelled, NO! …

Oven-Baked Short Ribs with Porter Beer Mop

Image
Recipe courtesy of Amy Thielen
Total Time: 4 hr 20 min
Prep: 45 min
Cook: 3 hr 35 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Level: Easy
Ingredients
Ribs:6 pounds beef short ribs, on the bone
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 dried red chiles
1 -inch knob fresh ginger root, smashed

Porter Beer Mop:1/2 to 1 fresh serrano chile (depending on desired heat), stem discarded
1/2 medium sweet onion, cubed
4 inches fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 bottle dark porter beer
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, stems too
Zest and juice of 1 lime (2 teaspoons zest, 2 tablespoons juice)
Directions
For the ribs: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Trim any gristle from the ribs and cut them into two-rib portions. Rub each piece with the salt, and sprinkle with the pepper and thyme. Arrange the ribs in a large roasting pan, add 1/4 cup water, the dried chiles and ginger, cover tightly and bake unti…

Sugar Cookies

Image
Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown
Total Time: 2 hr 24 min Prep: 15 min Inactive: 2 hr Cook: 9 min Yield: about 3 dozen-2 1/2 inch Level: Easy
Ingredients 3 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup unsalted butter, softened 1 cup sugar 1 egg, beaten 1 tablespoon milk Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough
Directions Watch how to make this recipe. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check un…

Life is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

Image

Quote of The Day

Image

Quote of The Day

Image

How to Fry Donuts and Potato Pancakes Plus Emeril's Special Latkes Recipe

Image
TheFood Network Kitchen shares tips and techniques for frying Hanukkah sufganiyots and latkes.

Most experts suggest frying in neutral-tasting vegetable oil for the best results. If you do a lot of deep-frying, invest in a deep-frying thermometer (or a candy thermometer) to gauge the heat of your oil. For doughnuts of all sorts, a temperature between 360 and 375 degrees F will give you the best results.

You're best off frying with fresh oil. Used oil has a far lower smoke point and, more importantly, a dangerously low flash point, or temperature at which it bursts into flames.

A food processor fitted with a (medium) shredding disc takes the labor out of potato latkes and saves you from scraped knuckles. Once grated, place the potatoes in a strainer or a clean towel and squeeze out excess liquid.

Fry sufganiyot or latkes in small batches to avoid lowering the oil temperature as much as possible. Otherwise, everything will end up soggy.

For frying, nothing beats a cast iron pan. It mainta…

We Are All Of The World!

Image
There’s a picture that is being shared on Facebook that says, “It’s not Happy Holidays. It’s Merry Christmas.” When I saw that post on some of my friend’s walls I was a little bummed out, but then I got angry. Here’s my reasoning; besides my own beliefs, there are many people that I personally know that are of different religions and celebrate different holidays, therefore I wish them “Happy Holidays”. I blame my bad memory on being able to remember who celebrates what during the months of November and December, but I want to wish them well, so I go with “Happy Holidays” to be safe.

The reason I was angry that people were defiantly fighting about it on Facebook was because they were saying that Christmas is the only holiday celebrated in December, and therefore, we should use the, one-holiday-fits all, “Merry Christmas,” which is a complete false statement. There’s Chanukah, Kwanza, and many other holidays. The U.S. is made up of so many more cultures, religions and beliefs and so they…

Chanukah: Fried Pastries With Wine Syrup

Image
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine

Total Time: 40 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 30 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
For the Syrup:
2 cups dry red wine
3/4 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
2 strips orange zest
1 bay leaf

For the Pastries:1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Grated zest of 2 oranges
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
Vegetable oil, for frying
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
1 cup pomegranate seeds

Directions
Make the syrup: Bring the wine, sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves, orange zest and bay leaf to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring; cook until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely. Discard the bay leaf.

Make the pastries: Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup water, the egg, orange zest and juice and whisk until just combined. Transfer the batter to a plastic squeeze bottle.

Heat 1 1/2 inches vegetable oil in a shallow pot over medium he…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

Image

Quote of The Day

Image

Quote of The Day

Image

Leftover Thanksgiving Panini

Image
Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond
Total Time: 35 min Prep: 25 min Cook: 10 min Yield: 1 sandwich, which serves 2 Level: Easy
Ingredients 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 2 slices sourdough sandwich bread 2 slices Swiss 1/3 cup shredded leftover roasted Thanksgiving turkey 3 tablespoons leftover cranberry sauce 1/3 cup leftover dressing 2 tablespoons leftover giblet gravy 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
Directions Spread the mustard on both slices of bread, then lay a slice of cheese on each piece. On one slice, arrange the turkey and the cranberry sauce. On the other slice, lay on the dressing and spoon the gravy over the top.
Carefully unite the two halves into one sandwich, then spread the top side of the bread with 1 tablespoon of the butter.
Invert the sandwich, butter-side down, onto a hot panini maker (or a grill pan or skillet over medium-low heat). Spread the top with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.
Close the panini maker and grill the sandwich until the bread is crusty and golden, the …

Crunchy Sweet Brussels Sprout Salad

Image
Recipe courtesy of Sunny Anderson
Total Time: 18 min Prep: 10 min Cook: 8 min Yield: 4 servings Level: Easy
Ingredients 1 pound Brussels sprouts 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 1/2 cup dried cranberries
Directions Shred the Brussels sprouts by removing the core and thinly slicing. Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts, nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring, until the Brussels sprouts are bright and slightly wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the walnuts and the cranberries and toss to combine. Turn out into a serving bowl and serve warm.
For more recipes visit foodnetwork.com

Giving Thanks and Many Thanks More...

Image
I was set to do my grocery shopping for Thanksgiving dinner, big list in hand and a very little patience to go with it, but I was out and ready to get it done. I felt overwhelmed by the task of cooking and cleaning for almost two days for a meal that is consumed in 15-20 minutes, so I was anxious to finish up and get out of the store to beat the big crowds. I asked the produce clerk for fennel because there was none on the shelf, she told me that it was a bad crop and didn’t know when they were going to get a shipment in.
All of the sudden the anxiousness and lack of patience went away, there was a long mental pause that allowed a humbling thought into my head! Those poor farmers that lost their crop, I winced. Big companies aside, there are farmers who didn’t have a crop to pick, therefore not being able to make a living from that crop, and here I was worried about my salad not making it to my Thanksgiving table.I’m accustomed to having groceries I need, available at any time and neve…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

Image

Quote of The Day

Image

Quote of The Day

Image

Sparkling Cranberry Quencher

Image
Recipe courtesy of Sandra Lee
Total Time: 5 min Prep: 5 min Yield: 4 servings Level: Easy
Ingredients 1 orange, cut into wedges 1/4 cup sugar 2 cups cranberry juice 1 liter seltzer 4 ounces vanilla vodka, if desired
Directions In a pitcher add orange wedges and sugar. Muddle until all of the juice has been extracted from the oranges. Add the cranberry juice and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the seltzer, (and vodka if desired), and pour into glasses filled with ice.
For more recipes visit foodnetwork.com