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1 box Simply Organic cocoa cayenne cupcake mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/3 cup water
1 cup chocolate covered-espresso beans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet. With an electric mixer combine cocoa cayenne cupcake mix with softened butter and eggs. Add water. Mix in the chocolate-covered espresso beans by hand. Use an ice cream scoop to get large uniform-sized cookies and flatten. Bake 12 to 14 minutes.
1 cup butter
2 egg yolks
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour, sifted
1/2 cup pecan pieces, chopped very fine
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and egg yolks. Add 1/2 cup of the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extract and sifted flour. Stir in pecan pieces. Roll batter into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until bottoms are lightly browned, about 12-15 minutes. Cool on cooling rack, then roll in remaining confectioner’s sugar to coat.
50 almonds, blanched
1 cup butter
3/4 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grind 12 of the almonds to a fine powder. Cream honey and butter together. Add egg, ground almonds and extracts. In another bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Add gradually to wet ingredients. Knead into a dough. (Add a drop of water or flour one at a time if necessary to make a kneadable consistency.)
Pinch off small balls of dough and place on greased cookie sheet. Press flat into ½-inch thickness. Make an indention in top of each cookie and place a whole almond in each. Bake for 15 minutes.
When time’s really at a premium, your best bet might be to call on a baking mix. There are some high-quality baking mixes nowadays, including natural, whole grain, Fair Trade Certified, organic and gluten-free ones. Look for recipes that do something a little different with the mix to come up with a dessert that’s “holiday special.” Here’s one from Simply Organic that uses their cocoa cayenne cupcake mix and chocolate-covered espresso beans to create a uniquely delicious cookie. It’s one of dozens of quick, easy dessert recipes on the Simply Organic Web site (www.simplyorganicfoods.com) that you can get ready for the oven in just 5 or 10 minutes.
Saute 10 diced carrots, 1 head diced celery and 1 medium yellow onion, diced, in oil over medium-high heat. Add 1 gallon chicken stock, 3 tablespoons salt, 2 tablespoons black pepper and 2 tablespoons granulated garlic to a large casserole dish. Mix in sauteed vegetables. Meanwhile, prepare a roux of 2 sticks of melted butter and 2 cups of flour. Remove from heat and stir into the dish. Add 1 pound bag frozen peas and meat from one cooked rotisserie chicken. Top with puff pastry. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. Makes 10 to 12 servings.
This recipe is from Food Network host Sunny Anderson, and is culled from www.foodnetwork.com.
1 tablespoon water
4 sheets puff pastry, thawed
Flour, for dusting
8 large (21 to 25) shrimp, shelled and deveined
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
6 mushrooms, sliced thin
2 sprigs fresh thyme
½ cup white wine
2 cups heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
3- and 4-inch metal rings (for cutting)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk egg and water until well blended. Lightly dust work surface with flour. Unfold puff pastry and dock dough with a fork. Using 4-inch rings, cut 16 circles. Set 4 circles on a nonstick baking sheet. These are the base of the pot pies. Discard scraps. Using a 3-inch metal ring, cut circles in the center of the 12 remaining circles. Remove 4 of the 3-inch circles to the prepared baking sheet. These are the tops. Brush the outer edge of the 4-inch circles with the egg wash. Lay 1 of the 12 rings on top. Brush egg wash on that ring and place another ring on top. Repeat 1 more time until you have 3 rings stacked on top of each other. Repeat with remaining circles until you have 4 assembled. Brush the edges and tops with egg wash and bake in the middle of the oven until golden, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, season the shrimp with cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Saute the shrimp, 1 minute per side. Remove shrimp and set aside. Add remaining butter to the pan and saute carrots, celery, mushrooms and thyme until softened, about 10 minutes. Add wine, bring to a simmer and cook until most of the wine has evaporated. Add the cream and bring back to a simmer until the sauce thickens to a gravy consistency, about 12 to 15 minutes. Place the shrimp back into the sauce to coat. Remove thyme and season with salt and white pepper. Ladle the shrimp mixture into the pastry puff bowls and top with the smaller puff circles. Makes 4 servings.
From the July 2008 issue of Cooking Light. (Using sweet cherries instead of sour cuts down the amount of sugar needed. Lemon juice is added to give the tang of sour cherries.)
6 cups (about 2 pounds) sweet cherries, pitted (or use frozen)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup all-purpose flour (about 2¼ ounces)
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. To prepare the filling, combine cherries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, juice, almond extract and salt in a large bowl; toss gently. Spoon cherry mixture into an 11-by-7-inch baking dish, coated with cooking spray.
To prepare topping: lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cut in chilled butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in sliced almonds. Sprinkle oat mixture evenly over cherry mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is crisp. Let stand 5 minutes; serve warm. Makes 8 servings.
From the Cherry Marketing Institute
1½ pounds fresh or frozen salmon filet with skin
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 ripe mango or papaya, seeded, peeled and chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen tart cherries, thawed, drained and halved
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, basil or cilantro
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
If frozen, thaw fish. Stir together brown sugar, orange peel and pepper. Place fish, skin side down, in a shallow pan. Rub sugar mixture over fish. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 8 hours. Remove fish from pan, draining off any juices. Place salmon, skin-side down, on gas grill over medium heat or on charcoal grill 4 to 6 inches from medium-hot coals. Grill for 20 to 25 minutes or until fish flakes easily. Do not turn fish.
Meanwhile, toss together mango or papaya, cherries, mint, vinegar and red pepper. Spoon fruit salsa over warm fish. Serve immediately.
From Vegan Soul Kitchen, here’s a simple, cooling salad that can be enjoyed for a light lunch on summer days or as a side to a heavier entrée.
6 medium cucumbers, peeled
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon agave nectar
Freshly ground white pepper
With a Y-shaped peeler cut thin strips from the cucumber, stopping when you get to the seeds (compost the core), and transfer the strips to a medium bowl. Toss the cucumbers with the salt. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. In another bowl, combine the orange juice, lemon juice, lime juice, cilantro, agave nectar and white pepper to taste. Whisk well to combine. Set aside. Drain the cucumbers and transfer them to the bowl with the dressing. Toss well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the cucumbers to a salad bowl and serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
1 cup almond milk (or your favorite non dairy milk)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
cup canola oil
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cups raspberries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin tin. Measure out the milk in a large measuring cup and add the vinegar. Set aside to curdle. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center and add the milk, oil, applesauce and extracts. Stir to combine. Fold in the berries. Scoop the batter into the muffin tin until almost filled to the rim. Bake for 24 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick or butter knife inserted through the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes in the tin before transferring muffins to a cooling rack to cool completely. Makes 12 muffins.