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Sherry

Appetizers/ Bread

Rosemary Goat Cheese Biscuits

Another yummy biscuit right out of the oven.

Happy New Year to everyone! I have a short list of New Year’s Resolutions and that is to keep mall walking 5-6 times a week and hopefully add going to the gym a couple of days on top of that. Also and to try new biscuit recipes. 

How many different ways can you possibly make a biscuit? Probably a lot more than I have baked. I love making biscuits and I can almost make them as fast as cracking open one of those tubes from the grocery.  I always cringe when I pop those things open. I seldom buy canned biscuits but when I do and you take that wrapper off and you whack it on the counter I’m always jumping like I’d just exploded a M80 firecracker or something. 

My mother use to make the best biscuits and her’s were thin. I’m sure I said this before but we liked the tops and bottoms because they were crunchy so she would hit them on the counter a few times so they would fall and then not rise as much. These days I like big biscuits but still like a crispy bottom and I finally learned how she got them that way. My mother always used melted bacon fat on the sheet pan and she would take the biscuit and put it on the pan (before baking) and let it touch the fat then flip it over leaving the tops of the biscuits with bacon fat on top too; no brushing with milk/cream/butter. So if you save your bacon fat like I do, use that instead of the milk or butter for brushing the tops of the unbaked biscuits. If you want you can always brush the baked biscuits with some melted butter when they come out of the oven. I brushed these with  butter before baking because I didn’t want bacon taste to the biscuit since I was filling with country ham.

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Bread

Buttermilk Biscuits with Sorghum Butter

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My grandfather would have loved these!

Growing up we always lived right next-door to our grandparents and we ate a lot of snacks/meals at their house. My grandfather had some quirky eating preferences. He liked to have his dessert along with his meal, he would crumble his cornbread in a big glass of Bulgarian buttermilk, and he loved to mix molasses with the butter to put on hot biscuits right out of the oven. And, to this day I can picture him doing those things.

I never thought I would like molasses and back then I’m sure I would have turned up my nose at the thought of molasses mixed with butter. But, when I saw this recipe in Garden and Gun magazine from Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee, I knew I was going to have to try and make these biscuits. I’ll probably never get to Blackberry Farm but at least I can try their biscuits. You have to take a look at their website; over the top luxury that looks fantastic.

How do you think those pioneer women made biscuits? I can picture them standing over a old wooden table with a floured covered apron on dusting the table with flour and cutting out the biscuits. Then I started wondering what they use for baking powder. Baking powder was discovered in 1843, not sure what they would have done before then. Maybe they didn’t even have biscuit cutters maybe they had to form the little balls of dough in your hands and pat them out flat. However they did them I’m sure they were delicious with some fresh churned butter.

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Dessert

Vienna Sacher Torte

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I didn’t have to go to Vienna to try this cake.

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These are the post cards I got from my friend, so I just had to try the cake.

I have a friend, Janet who just spent ten days in Austria with her granddaughter, Sarah, who is in school there for the year studying engineering. I loved getting emails and text from her with their iternary and what they were eating every day.

So on to one of her desserts of the day. I’ve heard of sacher torte for years but never made it. But after getting a post card from Janet with this dessert and the picture of her and her granddaughter Sara eating it. I knew I had to make it and what better reason than another dessert to take to a bunch of ladies who love to try the things I make — good or bad. Usually I don’t take the “flops”, they go in the trash.

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Appetizers

Crispy Asparagus Straws

Asparagus Straws for your next party.

I know Spring has been here and gone and we are looking at a hot dry summer ahead of us. But you can always get fresh asparagus, just not always at the low springtime prices.

(On our way to Chicago to see grandson #4; #3 arrived 2 months ago.)

When we were at the Food and Wine Festival in Austin (Texas) a couple of years ago, one of the caterers had several items made with phyllo. So that got me to thinking about this recipe I have had for a while and not made for several years.

I have always liked working with phyllo and never really understood some people’s “fear” of the stuff.  If it tears you just piece it together and continue on with the recipe. I have made roses with phyllo for a platter garnish, I’ve used it for desserts, I’ve made a Chicken in Phyllo with Lemon Veloute Sauce, there are all kinds of appetizer recipes out on the web just begging for someone to try them. Here is a wonderful dessert I posted a couple of years ago. It looks so elegant and is delicious to boot and really easy — Mandarin Orange Napoleons.

If you have never used phyllo, you should give it a try. Just make sure it is thawed either at room temperature or in the refrigerator and keep it covered with a tea towel while making your recipe and you will have no problems.

Appetizers are one of my favorite things to make and definitely my favorite type party to cater. Sometimes I tend to fill friends up too quickly on the appetizers before getting to the meal and I really need to start reeling myself in when it comes to the amount of food I prepare. Usually I have enough food to feed a small army. An appetizer is suppose to whet your appetite for the food to come, not kill your appetite and I admit, I’m guilty of that.

A lemon dipping sauce would also be great with this recipe.

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Appetizers

Mushroom Asparagus Tarts

Finally this recipe makes an appearance.

I can’t believe I had this recipe ready to post in March 2010 but never got around to trying it. What a mistake, it is a delicious appetizer or even a brunch or main dish item.

Yesterday, I had a guy from our local camera shop come to my house and give me tips for taking better food pictures. (These may not be BETTER yet, I’m a work in progress when it comes to learning new things.) Like this recipe, it took be a year and a half to get around to using a gift card my husband had given me from the camera shop. But, I finally set things up and it was definitely beneficial and I hope my pictures eventually improve.

So, in anticipation for my visit I made these Mushroom Asparagus Tarts, a Sugar Plum Cake (will post that), some Rosemary Blue Cheese Wafers (coming soon), and a red cabbage and fennel salad (also to make an appearance). So I had all this food ready to take pictures of for my lesson and I just wanted to dig in and try some of it.

I could tell from the aroma of cooking the asparagus and mushrooms that this was going to be delicious, and how good they would taste with a glass of wine. I took this to our bunco group last night and everyone loved them. I can’t wait to make them again and may vary some of the ingredients and try tomato and caramelized onion for another time. I had four squares left and brought them home and it didn’t take long for my husband to gobble up a couple of them.

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