thegingerchef

Recipes from My Kitchen

Super Bowl Food

We hosted a small Super Bowl party this year and I love any excuse to try out new recipes and cook for people (and nothing like posting a month or so later :-p)!! Some of these things I’ve made before (the ham-and-cheese tart, Texas Caviar Salsa), but the dessert portion of this night was incredible – this stuff is so addicting, I couldn’t keep my hand out of it (I had plenty of leftovers and took it to work the next day – they also agreed it was like crack – and delicious!).

I made homemade Twix bars.  This is a time-consuming dish, but really pretty easy.  I got the recipe from Annie’s Eats (http://annies-eats.com/2011/09/09/salted-caramel-chocolate-shortbread-bars/) – one of my favorite websites is TasteSpotting.com – and I get a lot of my food ideas there.  When I made these, I stuck the pan in the freezer between layers to help it chill/set.  When you slice it and put the candies on a plate, keep in mind as they come to room temperature they will get gooey (really gooey).  So maybe keep them on ice, or hold a few back in the fridge when you need to replenish the plate.  It make a *ton* so be prepared to feed a lot of people, or have a backup plan.  Here’s some pics of the food – and the recipe follows…

Texas Caviar (mmm, salsa!!)

Bowl’o’Fruit

Ham and Cheese Tart

Salted Chocolate Shortbread Bars (see recipe below)

Anyway – the recipe:

Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars
Yield: about 5 dozen small bars

INGREDIENTS

For the shortbread layer:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar

For the caramel layer:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp. light corn syrup
2 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk

For the chocolate layer:
8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp. light corn syrup
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Fleur de sel or sea salt, for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS

  • To make the shortbread layer, preheat the oven to 325° F.  Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.  In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir with a fork to blend, and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended, about 1-2 minutes.  With the mixer on low speed blend in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and press in an even layer over the bottom of the pan.  Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden.  (If the crust puffs up a bit while baking, just gently press it down while it is cooling.)  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  • To make the caramel layer, combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup and condensed milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted.  Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, stirring constantly.  Continue simmering and stirring until the mixture turns an amber color and thickens slightly.  Pour the mixture over the shortbread layer, smooth the top, and allow to cool completely and set.  (I chilled at this stage to ensure that the caramel layer would not melt when the warm chocolate was added.)
  • To make the chocolate glaze, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.  Pour evenly over the caramel layer and use an offset spatula to smooth the top.  Allow to cool for a minute or two and then sprinkle with fleur de sel.  Chill, covered, until ready to slice and serve.
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Boys’ Night

So, I completely meant to post a picture of the Deer Steak I made from the doe I killed in WV over Thanksgiving break… I took a picture of the deer, took a picture of the meat, and forgot about the dinner.  Drat!!  But I will say that soaking it in milk for a few hours, then in balsamic vinegar, definitely took the gaminess out of it and it tasted great!!  Will try to do better next time 🙂

…ANYWAY!

Tonight was Boys’ Night in the house, where the boys are all watching football (and by watching football i mean watching the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show that we taped from earlier in the week), so I made them a few snacks then went to have sushi by myself 🙂  WIN!

The two snacks I made weren’t anything complicated, but they were well-received and very tasty.  The first was pretty easy and self-explanatory: pigs in a blanket.  I just used the mini-cocktail franks and cut the crescent rolls in half (or smaller) and served them with your choice of mustard (dijon, spicy brown, regular) and ketchup.

The other appetizer I made was a hot ham and cheese.  It’s super easy and tastes good hot or cold.  First thaw out the puff pastry – I just take it out of the packaging and let it set on a plate, usually on top of the stove while it heats up (just speeds things up a bit).  Note:  There are two in a package; if you only want to use one sheet, just cut it in half and halve the rest of the ingredients.

Then I roll it out on a floured mat.  After this, put it in the fridge to stiffen up a little bit – it will make it easier to use later.

While that’s chilling, melt the butter in a pan on the stove.  After it melts, stir in the flour – you are making a roux.  After that’s stirred together and makes a paste, add in the milk.  Simmer on the stove until it thickens, then add a touch of salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Then remove from stove to cool for a bit.

Place the chilled sheet of Puff Pastry on the cookie sheet, and layer on the ham.  I usually buy 1 pound of deli ham (virgina baked is fine) and get it chipped.  The lady at the Deli asked me why I got it that way – I myself prefer it, it’s how my mama always bought it.  It’s also easier to eat in a sandwich when it’s already chopped up and ready to go.  Layer this on the pastry, then add slices (or shredded) Swiss Cheese on top.  Top it with the Roux, then the second sheet of puff pastry.  Seal the edges with an egg wash and rub a little egg wash over the top.  

Bake and slice!!   I forgot to take a photo of the slices before I left, so I texted Tony to take a pic and they were already half gone :-p  Success!!

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