..Miss Gracie's Sweet Shoppe..
Add a little sweetness to your life!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Beef Empanaditas

These aren't exactly "sweet", but they are still a pastry, and since I have been asked to cater a open house with NOTHING sweet, I had better get out of my comfort zone and start with the "savories". My last week has been spent gathering and trying out savory recipes. The most helpful resource so far is: Martha Stewart's Hors D'oevres Handbook - thanks to the library, but I think I will have to add it to my permanent collection. It has been a nice change of pace from the regular sweets, I will admit.Beef Empanaditas( from Martha Stewart's Hor D'oeuvres Handbook, but with a few changes)

2T olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 t grated fresh ginger
1 lb lean ground sirloin
2 medium tomatoes, seeds removed, cut into small dice
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons chili pwd
1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries, roughly chopped
1&1/3 cups tomato juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
1 T milk
1 recipe Empanada Dough
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. 1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onions and ginger and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cherries, and chili flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is cooked through, about 5 minutes. 2. Add the tomato juice, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 12 minutes over low heat; set aside. 3. Keep your oven at 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, lightly beat together the egg and milk. Set aside. Roll the dough out to a thickness that is between 1/16 inch and 1/8 inch. Using a 3¼-inch cookie cutter, cut out rounds, rerolling the dough one time. Place the rounds onto the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.4. Place scant tablespoon of the filling in the center of 1 circle. Use your finger to brush a little of the egg wash onto the inner rim of the circle. Fold the circle in half, forming a half moon. Pinch the edges together with your fingers, and use a fork to seal the empanadita. Using your forefinger, push the sealed edge of the dough toward the filling to form the fluted edge. Brush the top of the empanadita with the egg wash and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with all of the empanaditas and bake until dough is golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Empanada Dough
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 t kosher salt
1 T sugar
6 T vegetable shortening
12 T (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
1/2 c plus 2 T ice water
In a bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt , and sugar. Add the vegetable shortening and the butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With the machine running, slowly add the water through the feed tube, and pulse until a ball of dough forms. Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap. Use your hands to pat the dough into a 4-inch disk. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour, or overnight, until completely chilled.

Huckleberry-Pecan Banana Bread

Huckleberry-Pecan Banana Bread
~2-3 large bananas
~2 cups (10 oz.) all purpose flour(I have made this with 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour and 1/2 cup all purpose flour with good results)
~2 teaspoons baking powder
~1/2 teaspoon baking soda
~1/4 teaspoon salt
~1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
~1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped, plus a few for the top
~2 eggs
~1/2 cup honey
~3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
~1/2 cup milk
~1 cup huckleberries , fresh or frozen

1)Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and coat with sugar a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

2) Puree the bananas either in a food processor or blender. You should have 1 1/3 cups(10 oz.) Set aside.

3) Whisk together the dry ingredients and nuts. Set aside.

4)Either by hand or in stand mixer, combine remaining ingredients. Beat just until blended. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches alternating with the bananas. Mix on low speed just until combined. Do not overmix.Fold in the huckleberries.

5) Pour the batter into the prepared pan. I like to sprinkle the top with brown sugar and pecans but this is optional.

6) Bake for 55 -60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes , then turn out onto the rack and cool completely.( This is so it will slice better, but we rarely wait 2 minutes before we eat it anyway!)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sorry about the lack of posting right now. Between the basketball, the schoolwork and the stomach flu, I have not had much spare time to think of!
I am making bread pudding this evening for the gaggle of girls that will be coming over tonight to watch Masterpiece Theatre! If you havn't heard about the Jane Austen series they are showing on PBS it's time you did! About 8 girls showed up last week and we had a blast, and the version of Persuasion was excellent. I made a Lemon Tart and I do believe if all my cooking experiences turned out like that, I would totally give up!
Maybe I will post some pictures of our fun...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A good use of a snowy day...

NO, I didn't get around to making bread like I wanted to, but I did make a positively ~shabby chic~ snowlady with my little sister Abigail!

Do I need this cookbook?

I think I do need this book! What about my New Year's Resolution?
I first heard about it on the TODAY show yesterday - the cakes and fillings and everything look absolutely FABULOUS!!!
(Click on the picture to watch the video or read the article!)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Pain au Chocolat

Pain Au Chocolat (French) or just chocolate filled croissants(English). Either way: ~flaky deliciousness with a chocolate filling~
These were my lazy Sunday activity. But considering how many I ate, I probably shouldn't have been quite so lazy. They have quite a bit of butter in them, but I didn't need to tell you that, did I?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

2008 Resolution: Eat MORE Cake!

Lemon Layer Cake
Classic White Cake with Raspberry Filling

Yep, that's it. I need to eat more cake. Well, I really just need to perfect the art of baking and decorating them, but in order to do that you must eat some so you know if you were successful or not! I have had so many people request me to make cakes for them but I have turned them down because I just haven't really done it before. But that has all ended. No longer will I say - "I don't make or eat cake", but will say "YES, I am very confident in my cake baking and eating skills!" Those 2 cakes up there are my(sad) 1st attempts that I baked for a long time friend of the family. I hope they were good!?? Why can't people just ask me to make cheescake or cream puffs or pie or creme' brulee or something SIMPLE?
P.S. Check back in the future to see how my resolution turns out!