Tomorrow night is the Oscars and a great time to reveal a few celebratory appetizers and cocktails that you may like to try at your Oscar party. The appetizer recipes follow in today’s following posts, the cocktails in Sunday’s posts.
A little dark chocolate cake for St. Valentine’s Day!
Perignotti is an unsweetened, vanilla-flavored, extra-dark cocoa that is Dutch processed, but made in Italy, exclusively sold by Williams-Sonoma. This recipe was published in a Williams-Sonoma catalogue in the 1990s.
While Perignotti is, of course, preferred, this dark pound cake can also be made using another cocoa, such as Hersey’s Special Dark Cocoa, by adding a little more vanilla.
Extra-Dark Chocolate Pound Cake
1½ c. sifted flour
½ c. sifted dark cocoa
Originally saved this truffle candy recipe from the inside of a Philadelphia Cream Cheese box, but it is now readily available at Kraft’s site: http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/simply-sensational-truffles-107529.aspx#. But, since recipes like this come and go, it is repeated here, just in time for St. Valentine’s Day.
Simply Sensational Truffles, by Kraft’s Philadelphia Cream Cheese
5 pkg. (4 oz. each) Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate, divided
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
Here is my Polish grandmother’s signature bread, and no one in the family, no one, had the recipe. She was an elegant lady who also was a fabulous cook, including dishes such as tender venison steak and walnut-stuffed turkey. But she made this always round, hard crust bread almost daily, sometimes adding raisins and topping with sugar. This bread was treasured, especially at my mother’s swanky Christmas parties. And, one summer, a grandson entered her bread at the Wisconsin State Fair, where it promptly won a blue ribbon.
My grandmother never used a recipe for her bread, of course, and would gently laugh while raising her shoulders when we asked how to make it. But we could watch.
This “close-as-we-can-get” recipe comes through my uncle and aunt. He was the second youngest of her nine children, and saw her make bread countless times. I’m so grateful, for as I follow it, grandma comes to life, there in her small kitchen, brewing strong black coffee as she scalds the milk with butter and sugar, then softens yeast for her bread. Then she stops, turns, and in her wonderful Polish accent, asks me to “wait a minute,” as she pulls ginger cookies down from the pantry for me before turning back to her bread.
Bernice Zurawski’s Bread
½ lb. butter, and more to generously grease the bread rising bowl and bread pan
Fancy peanut butter cups, with pecans! A recipe from the early 1980s, and a classic, perfect for St. Valentine’s Day.
2 c. sifted powdered sugar
1 c. graham cracker crumbs
3/4 c. pecans, chopped
½ c. flaked coconut
½ c. peanut butter
A lovely way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
This recipe first appeared in a magazine ad for Grey Goose L’Orange. It has been very slightly revised to add a squeeze of a fresh orange alongside the lime juice, and it is garnished with an orange peel instead of a lime peel. That slightly revised cocktail can be found at http://www.greygoose.com/en/us/cocktail-recipes/cosmopolitan
Since we’ve enjoyed the original, and find it apt for a lovers’ holiday, we post it here:
Grey Goose L’Orange Cosmopolitan
3 oz. Grey Goose L’Orange
1/2 oz. Cointreau, or Grand Marnier (sweeter than Cointreau)
Pretty little melted bon-bon cookies with a crimson cherry in the center.
Belgian Cherry Bon-bons
1 c. butter, softened
2 c. confectioners’ sugar (also known as 10x or powdered sugar)
½ tsp. almond extract (may substitute vanilla)
1½ c. walnuts or pecans, finely chopped
2½ c. cake flour, shifted
2 (3½ oz.) containers candied cherries
This appetizer comes from Fast Appetizers by Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison, published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 1999.
Endive Cups Filled With Cheese, Mango And Toasted Pecans
1/2 c. pecans
1 sm. ripe mango or 1/2 c. mango chutney
2 tbsp. fresh ginger, finely minced
2 tsp. Asian chile sauce, or hot sauce
An appetizer from The Book of Finger Foods by Hilaire Walden and published by the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 1999.
Note: Serve in rolls, or, you could also deconstruct these rolls for a different, new appearance, just spread the cream cheese mixture on a thin slice of cucumber, or rye toast (or both!) and top with smoked salmon and decorate with fresh dill.
Smoked Salmon Rolls
9 oz. smoked salmon, thinly sliced
1 c. cream cheese
2½ – 3 tbsp. fresh chives, finely chopped
This Jack Daniel’s and gingersnap infused truffle recipe literally came in the mail in the 1990’s. It came with a subscription card to Bon Appetit Magazine, saying, “Our Christmas Gift for You; Makes an extra-sweet holiday gift from your Kitchen.”
Bon Appetit advertised, “Gingersnap cookies add an unusual and delicious twist to these chocolate treats. So elegant. So easy! For gift giving, place truffles in small paper candy cups, then arrange in decorattive boxes.”
Chocolate Whiskey “Truffles”
Makes about 2 dozen
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 c. finely crushed gingersnap cookies
3 tbsp. Jack Daniel’s Whiskey
Red Velvet Cake …all the rage now. Writers detail the history; Others debunk the Waldorf Astoria link we believed in. Google “red velvet” and a billion recipes appear. A red impostor cake mix is sold at grocery stores. Ugh.
Well, Mom only made elegant desserts. Since she and dad married in August 1958, she occasionally made this towering, eight thin-layer cake for the very best of celebrations. (The layers in my cake pictured above, should have been split!) Her typed, mimeographed recipe is titled “Rose Cake,” then in parenthesis, the fancier, “Red Velvet.” Still, despite the cake’s opulence, my siblings preferred even another name; we called it “Blood Cake” for the deep red color, and for the looks of horror we incited. This recipe is wonderful. This recipe is not for the faint-hearted. Continue reading
This recipe swaps cheeses with the “Swiss on Rye Chips” posted on Trumpeter Hill, and is served as a dip. But you cannot beat Jarlsberg cheese!
2 c. Jarlsberg Cheese
2 c. Hellman’s mayonnaise
2 c. onions, chopped
Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine all ingredients and bake 20 min. or until golden brown. Serve hot with chips, crackers or bread.
My sister Jo’s magnificent confection. It will leave you speechless.
Jo Ellen’s Famous English Trifle
Crystal trifle bowl (the traditional bowl is footed)
6-8 sponge cakes
1 pkt. raspberry gelatin
3 tbsp. raspberry jam
1 tin pears
1 tin raspberries
Sherry or wine, if liked
½ pint custard (recipe follows)
Ingredients for the custard:
1¼ c. whole milk
1¼ c. double cream
1 vanilla pod, slit in half and seeds scraped out (or, 1 t. vanilla extract)
6 egg yolks
3 tbsp. caster (or, in the U.S., super fine) sugar
1 tbsp. corn starch Continue reading
A traditional, festive recipe from my Irish father.
Dad’s Tom & Jerry
1½ lbs. XXX sugar (powdered or confectioner’s sugar)
Make a batter by first separating the eggs. Beat the whites to a stiff and dry froth, adding about ½ of the sugar to the whipped egg whites. Beat yolks until thick, about 5 min. adding a little sugar. Then mix the whites and yolks together in a Tom and Jerry bowl, adding the remaining sugar slowly and a little at a time until the batter is stiff.
Serve as follows: Fill Tom & Jerry mug with1 – 2 tbsp. of the egg mixture, (about ¼ of the mug). Add 3/4 jigger * rum, ¼ jigger * whiskey to each mug, stir well. Then fill, a little at a time while stirring continuously, the mug with boiling water. Grate nutmeg on top. Serve.
* Note a jigger is about 1½ fluid oz. (U.S.)