This is by no means a food blog and I am by no means a chef. But, I’m a decent enough home cook and I’ve had to make some recipes on camera during a couple of media appearances for the launch of Where Women Cook the last few weeks. The segments are short and so I did a handful of my easiest, quickest and most tasty recipes that I use during the holiday season and I thought I would share. (Because really, can one have too many easy and quick ‘go-to’ recipes for the holidays? Right? Right.)
One of the segments I did was with my fabulous-TV-chef-friend, Bryan. I’ve known him since college days when we used to sing together in the top choir at USU. Bryan and I have cooked together many times and I always have fun. (This was my second appearance with my pal. He was kind enough to have me on to make my huge family ‘fry up’ when I was the lead story in Parents Magazine last year.)
As an aside, my OTHER fabulous chamber-choir-singing-pal, Erin of “Saucey Frocks” made me another ADORABLE apron to wear. (Seriously, people, you should buy one of these from her. They are INSANELY well priced at $35 and so. dang. cute. This one is adorable in photos but you should see it in person because it’s even better!)
This segment is on KUTV’s website and if you so desire, YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE.
First up is my recipe for Baked Brie. This is a WINNER, people. It is easy peasy and is so delicious and impressive to serve to your guests. There are so many variations on it you simply can’t go wrong serving it.
1 roll of puffed pastry or phyllo dough
1 wheel of Brie (about 8 oz)
Jam or preserves (I love raspberry or raspberry jalapeño)
Chopped nuts (I prefer pecans, but you can use any you prefer)
Melted butter (if using phyllo dough)
1 Egg (If using puff pastry)
Bakers twine (if you are using puff pastry)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
On a stick-free cookie sheet, lay out the puff pastry or phyllo dough flat. (If you are using phylo dough, take melted butter and brush on liberally before adding another layer. Repeat until you have 6-or 7 layers stacked together. ; place brie round on in the center of the dough.
Spoon jam liberally on top of the Brie, add chopped nuts, bring the dough up like a package. IF you are using puffed pastry, tie with bakers twine and arrange the top to look like the “bow” on a present. If you are using phyllo dough, fold over, using melted butter to help it stick in place. You can also take an additional sheet of dough and put it on top of the brie like a blanket and tuck it around the bottom for a more finished look. Brush the top of the dough with butter for phyllo dough and an egg wash for puff pastry.
Bake at 350º for 25-30 minutes, pastry should be golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Serve warm with crackers and apple slices.
Next up is a recipe for cocktail nuts that are so tasty and addictive I almost fear making it because I could eat the entire bowl in a sitting, it’s THAT yummy. I took an existing recipe, tweaked it and added an killer secret ingredient to it .
Sweet n’ Spicy Mixed Nuts
1 large can (16-18 oz) lightly salted mixed nuts
2 generous tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 generous tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2-3 pieces of bacon-cooked and finely chopped (I said one piece on the news. I usually add more, though. It’s up to you and your level of Orthadoxy regarding the worship of crispy pork goodness.)
Melt butter in a microwaveable bowl. Add and toss the nuts until they are coated. Add rosemary, cayenne, sugar, and bacon. Thoroughly toss and serve warm.
2 cups milk
3 1/2 ounces best-quality dark chocolate, bittersweet or semisweet, as preferred
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla
2 tablespoons dark rum, or to taste (Optional)
Put the milk into a saucepan and break the chocolate into pieces and add to the milk along with a cinnamon stick, honey, and sugar and heat gently until the chocolate is melted.
Add the vanilla and mix with a small hand whisk and still whisking, add a spoonful of the rum first and taste to see if you want more. Add more sugar if you want this sweeter, too. Take out the cinnamon stick and pour into 2 cappuccino or caffe latte cups.
I came up with this recipe when trying to figure out how to inhale even MORE of the homemade marshmallows my friend, Kim, taught me to make. (If you have never tried them? HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS ARE HEAVENLY, PEOPLE! They revolutionized my holiday world.) I got the idea when I was roasting them over my gas range last winter with my boys. We love making S’mores in the summer, so why not make them with a holiday twist in the winter? This recipe can be made very quickly and easily by using pre-made ingredients, toiled over a little longer by homemaking the primary ingredients or, as in this case, a combination of both. (ALL three options are DELICIOUS.)
1 Marshmallow (You can use store bought for this but I SWEAR by homemade marshmallows. You can see my friend, Kim’s, tutorial on it here. Well worth the trouble, peeps.)
2 Gingerbread cookies (These are best when the cookie is firm but chewy and not overly thick. I made these s’mores with homemade gingersnaps and about died of happy. However, I used storebought little gingerbread men for my appearence and they worked just fine.)
Nutella (You can also use hot fudge here, but man…Nutella is DIVINE.)
3. Carefully slide roasted marshmallow off your fork and onto the cookie and top with a second cookie, making a sandwich.
4. Gobble up with glee, lick your fingers, wash your hands and make another one or five.
Now that I’ve shared my favorite ‘quick & easy’ go-to recipes for the holidays I’d LOVE to hear some of yours!