Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Raisin Scones

Now that I have an abundance of  Home Made Strawberry Jam my husband made a request that I make Scones for Christmas Morning.  If you know me at all, you know that if my husband makes a request for something from my kitchen...the man gets what he wants. 

So, I skipped the gym on Christmas morning, woke up and made him some Scones.  I am starting to think he is a little spoiled.
I did not have to look too long for a traditional scone recipe.  This recipe is adapted from a website called whats cooking america.

Here is what you'll need:

  • 3 cups flour 
  • 3 tbsp sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 cup cold butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup golden raisins 
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk

In a large bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. 

Cut the stick of butter into small cubes.

With a pastry knife, cut the cold butter into flour mixture until it becomes crumbly looking.

This is a pastry knife, it allows you to cut the butter into the flour.  If you don't have one, you can use two knives in a criss cross fashion.

In a separate bowl, beat two of the three eggs and then add the milk.  

Now add the egg/milk mixture to the flour and mix.

Once combined fold the raisins into the batter.

Now place the batter onto a floured surface.

With some flour on your hands flatten the dough to about a 1/2 inch thick.

Using a large drinking glass with a rim that is at least 3 inches in diameter begin to cut out your scone shapes.  
Make sure you flour the rim or the scone will stick to the glass and will be one sticky mess.


Place the cut out dough onto a well greased baking sheet.

Beat the last egg and using a pastry brush, brush the scones with the egg and sprinkle some sugar on top.

 Place the scones into a preheated 450 degree oven for 15 - 18 minutes.

Look at how golden brown they came out!


Serve with some fresh Strawberry Jam!

 Click below to see my prior post on how to make Strawberry Jam.

You could always package up the scones and the Jam and give as a gift.
It could be given as a housewarming gift, get well soon gift, a gift for a new Mommy and Daddy etc....

Beef Tenderloin with Caramelized Shallots and Red Wine

I love to make a nice roast for Christmas Eve.   Since I made the Gnocchi for the appetizer, I was looking for a simple piece of meat to make for the main course.  I came across this recipe at finecooking.com and thought this would be perfect:

Here is what you'll need:

  • 3 lbs beef tenderloin, wrapped and made into a roast.
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 3 shallots slice thin, (about a cup)
  • 1 cup red wine, I used a Cabernet
  • 1 tsp crushed rosemary
  • 3/4 cup beef broth.
Let the roast come to room temperature, about two hours on the counter will be fine.  Place the room temperature roast in a roasting pan covered with tin foil.  I rubbed the roast with a nice amount of olive oil  and then I seasoned the roast with salt and pepper.

Now place in a 450 degree preheated oven for approx 30 -35 minutes.  You want your meat thermometer to read 120 - 125 for medium rare meat.  If you want your meat cooked a little more let it read 125-130.  

**The meat will rise 5 degrees as it sits, so make sure to remember that when looking at the thermometer.**

I took the roast out when it read 120.  I then wrapped the roast in the tinfoil it cooked on.  

Let the meat rest for at least 10 - 15 minutes, this helps the juices redistribute.

Now is when you start the sauce:

  In a fry pan melt the butter.

Now add the shallots and let them cook until they are soft, about 10 mins.

Next add the red wine, crushed rosemary, salt and pepper.  Let the wine reduce by half a cup, about 3 - 5 minutes.  Now add the beef broth and let simmer for a few more minutes.  

Add the cold butter to the reduction and stir frequently.

Now that the sauce is complete you can slice the meat.

Once sliced you can add it to a plate and spoon some of the shallot red wine mixture over the meat.

Serve with garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed baby spinach!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Garlic mashed potatoes

I don't know anyone who does not like mashed potatoes.  I LOVE mashed potatoes and love garlic mashed potatoes even more.   I make these all the time and wanted to share this with you.  It is so easy!

Here is what you'll need:

  • 2 lbs potatoes
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • salt and pepper
Bring the potatoes to a boil and let boil for 50 minutes. 

 Let the potatoes cool and then peel off the skin of the potato.  Quarter the peeled potato and add to a medium bowl.

In a medium pan heat up the butter and add the minced garlic.

Saute for about 3 - 4 minutes.  

Mash the potatoes up with a large spoon and then start to beat with a hand mixer.

(there is that crazy kid again!)

Now add the melted butter and garlic to the bowl.  Heat up the cream and milk in the microwave for about 15-25 seconds. (this is a trick my Dad taught me, it helps prevent lumps)

Continue beating while slowly adding the cream/milk.  Once all the cream/milk is added continue to beat until you have a nice creamy consistency.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  

There you have Garlic Mashed Potatoes!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mushroom Cream (Ragu) Sauce

I made Home Made Gnocchi for Christmas Eve and thought this sauce would go great with it. Here is the recipe for the Gnocchi : Gnocchi Recipe 

I love Cream Sauce and  I love mushrooms so I searched for the perfect recipe to go with the Gnocchi.  The below recipe is adapted from a great cooking blog called the Taste of Sweet.

This Mushroom Cream (Ragu) Sauce would also go great over Linguine or even chicken cutlets.

Here is what you'll need:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups chopped mushrooms ( is used mini baby portobello's and regular mushrooms)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • 1 tbsp chopped sage leaves
  • 2 chopped shallots
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
Heat the oil in a fry pan.  Add the mushrooms and without stirring allow the mushrooms to caramelize in the oil for about 8 minutes. 

Add salt and pepper and stir for another minute. 

Now add the sage and shallots and stir again. 

 Next add the wine and reduce by half, this should take a few minutes.  
Once reduced halfway add the cream and let simmer for a few minutes.

Now you have a beautiful mushroom cream sauce. 

Cut up some fresh Parmesan Cheese and Romano Cheese and place over the sauce and let is get soft!  Sprinkle some fresh parsley and fresh ground pepper as well.

Here is the sauce over home made Gnocchi!

Gnocchi (Potato Pasta)

As a little girl I used to go with my parents to their friend Joanne's house who they grew up with.  Joanne's Mom lived with her and made the BEST home made gnocchi.

When her Mom made the Gnocchi it was a celebration and we all would congregate at her dining room table and eat until we could eat no more.

I love gnocchi and have always wanted to make it.  I have heard so many mixed stories about the difficulty level of making this.  Well, since Christmas Eve was around the corner I decided what a perfect time to try it out.

I did not find this to be very hard just time consuming.

Here is what you'll need:
  • 2 lbs of russet potatoes
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 beaten egg
Boil a large pot of water and add the potatoes and let boil for approx 50 minutes.  You will be boiling the potatoes with the skin on and not cut up, so it will take some time for the potatoes to cook.

When the potatoes are cooked allow them to cool down enough so you can hold them in your hands.  Once cooled, start to peel the potato, you can use a fork to get the peel to move off the potato.  The peel should come off very easily.   

When done peeling cut the cooked potato into quarters and then run through a potato ricer.

This is a potato ricer. 

Yes, you need this.
 I have done a lot of reading to see if I could have avoided buying one. 
There is no avoiding it, you need it!
So I bought it from bed bath and beyond for 20 bucks... plus a 20% coupon.

Put all the potatoes through the potato ricer.  
Place all the riced potatoes into a large bowl.

Now add the salt, egg and flour.  Mix together with your hands into a large ball.

On a floured surface place the ball.  Now take a decent size chunk out of the ball and roll into a long log about 1 inch thick.

Now with a sharp knife you will cut 3/4 inch pieces off.

When all the pieces are cut you will use the back of a fork and roll the small piece down the fork.  The fork will make indentation's on the gnocchi.

(i totally forgot to get a picture of this process)

See the indentations!

Once you are done rolling all the gnocchi you can place the pasta onto a lightly floured plate and put in the fridge for a few hours.

When ready to boil the pasta take out of the fridge.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Slowly drop the past into the boiling water.  
Do not add too many pieces of pasta to the water as it will overcrowd the pot and prevent the pasta from floating to the top.
Once you have added about 15 or twenty pieces stir gently and wait for the pasta to float to the top. 

When floating remove the pasta immediately with a hand held strainer.

There you have home made Gnocchi (potato pasta)

You can serve this with a simple marinara sauce.

You can also serve with a meat sauce or like I served on Christams Eve...
 Mushroom Cream Sauce.


please don't use my photos without asking...