Halloween Ghost Meringues

ghost meringues

I have been making a lot of ice cream the last few months, and consequently had a lot of egg whites in my freezer.  Perfect for making these cute little meringues!  My two-year old loved them, but he is a little cookie monster, so that was no surprise.  We brought the majority of them over to the babysitter’s house, and the kids ate them up.  These are pretty easy to make with a few simple ingredients.  The kids love them because they have little faces on them, and adults should like them too because they’re low in calories!  Definitely the healthier option than stealing mini candy bars out of your kids’ Halloween sacks.  Actually, do kids even use sacks or pillow cases anymore?  Or is this too Pinterest-y a world now?  They probably all have custom-made trick-or-treating bags… My kids will probably be using plastic pumpkins for the time being.  I’m too busy trying to make Pinterest-worthy cookies to make Pinterest-worthy bags!

Halloween Ghost Meringues, adapted from Food Network

Halloween Ghost Meringues

Ingredients

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 black food coloring marker or paste

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until frothy. Beat in the sugar and vanilla; increase the mixer speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form, 5 to 6 minutes.

Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe 8 to 10 swirls on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until dry, about 1 hour to 1 hour and a half. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let cool completely.

Once cool and dry, draw on faces. Be careful not to press too hard with the marker, as meringues are very fragile. You could also use food coloring paste that comes in a tube if you cannot find the markers.

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Grape Foccaccia

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If you’ve never tasted fresh concord grapes before, this is where that grape-y flavor that inspires all grape flavored things from your childhood comes from.  I never knew that there were fresh grapes that really tasted like this!  Concord grapes have a pretty short season, so get on over to your local farmers market and grab some before they’re gone.  I think you could also use red grapes for this bread.  They will bake up nicely, just won’t have that strong grape flavor like the concords.

Grape Focaccia, adapted from Lottie & Doof

Grape Foccaccia

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (105° to 110°F)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon dry milk powder
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into bits
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups halved Concord grapes, seeded
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary needles
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado (raw) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt

Instructions

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the water, sugar, and yeast. Let the mixture sit until foamy, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Add the milk powder and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the softened butter to the yeast mixture and mix well. Add the flour mixture and set the mixer to lowest setting. Mix for 2 minutes. Attach the dough hook , raise speed to medium-low, and knead for 8 minutes longer. The dough will seem really wet.

Brush a large bowl with a generous amount of the melted butter. Scrape dough into the buttered bowl and turn to coat with butter. Brush more of the melted butter on top of the dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a cool place (65°F) until the dough doubles in bulk, 1 1/2-2 hours.

Press the dough down with a floured hand. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and form it into a ball. Place it on a large baking sheet brushed with melted butter and brush top with more of the melted butter. Cover the ball with a clean, damp kitchen towel and set aside for 20 minutes.

Divide dough in half and shape into two balls. Dip your fingers in melted butter and press and stretch each ball into a 8-9 inch circle. The dough should be slightly dimpled from your fingers. Brush tops with remaining melted butter, cover with the damp towel. Let the dough rise in a cool place for 1 1/4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 450° F. Top the dough evenly with the grapes, rosemary and the remaining 2 tablespoons of salted butter bits. Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar and the salt. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and puffed around edges. Let cool before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Grape Foccaccia

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Gnocchi, Sweet Corn & Arugula in Cream Sauce

sweet corn arugula gnocchi

This past weekend was the last weekend for the farmers market I go to on a weekly basis.  (sigh) There are a few other ones in the area that don’t wrap until next month, but then it’s back to produce shopping in the grocery stores.  I am always jealous of those who live in places like California where there is a variety of fresh produce growing all year round.  I hope they all know how good they have it!  The only thing local I’m going to be getting in a few months are turnips.  (another sigh)

Good thing you can still snag sweet corn and make this easy pasta dish!  You could even use frozen corn if you can’t find any fresh in your area.  It’ll just make it that much easier too, since you don’t have to cut it off the cob.

Gnocchi, Sweet Corn & Arugula in Cream Sauce, adapted from Baking with Blondie

Gnocchi, Sweet Corn & Arugula in Cream Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 medium-sized fresh sweet corn on the cob
  • 3 C fresh arugula
  • 1 pound potato gnocchi
  • 3/4 C heavy cream
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t fresh basil, julienne
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Instructions

In large pot, boil water and cook gnocchi according to package directions, adding in the corn on the cob in the last 5 minutes. Remove corn, transfer to cutting board. Drain gnocchi, but make sure to reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Don't rinse your gnocchi.

For the cream sauce, combine half and half, cream cheese, salt, garlic powder, fresh basil, and pepper in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium for about 10 minutes, stirring until cream cheese has evenly dispersed throughout sauce. Stir in reserved pasta water.

Slice your corn off the cob.

In a medium bowl, combine your pasta sauce, corn, gnocchi and arugula. Sprinkle with additional salt, pepper, basil, and crushed red pepper if desired.

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