Friday, October 26, 2007

Witches Brew - Crystal & Sunny - Oct. 2007

Witch's Brew! (Sunny & Crystal)

We hope that you all had as much fun as we did. You were a crazy group of witch's. This is going to be so much fun. Here are the recipes:

Baked Brie with Apples & Cranberries

½ cup chopped Granny Smith apple

¼ cup sliced almonds

¼ cup dried cranberries (Craisens)

1 T. brown sugar

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1 T. butter (melted)

1, 8 oz. disc of Brie (I shaved the rind stuff off of it, but you can leave it on)

1 baguette, sliced

Combine apple, almonds, cranberries, brown sugar and cinnamon together. Pour melted butter over the top and mix in. Slice Brie in half. Place rind side of Brie down in baking dish. Place ½ of the mixture on top of the Brie. Place other half of Brie on top of the mixture, rind end up. Pour remaining mixture on top of Brie. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes (I did about 18 min.); until Brie is melted. Spread the baked Brie mixture on a baguette slice. Wow! So good!

Vegetable Pot Pie

(As found in the Barefoot Contessa Parties cookbook)

12 Tbsp. unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks)

2 cups sliced yellow onions (2 onions)

1 fennel bulb, top and core removed, thinly sliced crosswise

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 ½ cups good chicken stock

Pinch of saffron threads (We found these in the grocery store in the spice section, but they can be hard to find. They are very expensive, but you only use a tiny bit and we determined that it really is worth it.)

1 ½ tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

3 Tbsp. heavy cream

1 ½ cups large diced potatoes (1/2 pound)

1 ½ cups asparagus tips

1 ½ cups peeled, ¾ “ diced carrots (4 carrots)

1 ½ cups peeled, ¾ “ diced butternut squash

1 ½ cups frozen small whole onions (1/2 lb.)

½ cup minced flat-leaf parsley


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

¼ lb. cold unsalted butter, diced

½ - ¾ cup ice water

1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp. water for egg wash

Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and fennel and saut̩ until translucent, 10 Р15 minutes. Add the flour, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock, saffron, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the heavy cream and season to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned.

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Lift out with a sieve. Add the asparagus, carrots and squash to the pot and cook in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Add the potatoes, mixed vegetables, onions and parsley to the sauce and mix well.

For the pastry: Mix the flour salt, an baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Divide the filling equally among 4 oven proof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8” circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to ½ “ larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the sides, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

Honey Butter

1 stick butter

2 T powdered sugar

½ cup honey

Whip ingredients together with hand mixer until desired consistency.

Autumn Salad with Cumin-Toasted Pumpkin Seeds


4 tsp. sherry wine vinegar or red wine vinegar

¾ tsp. ground cumin

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/8 tsp. salt


2 medium heads of red leaf lettuce, torn (about 12 cups)

3 medium seedless tangerines, peeled and sectioned

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

2 medium avocados, halved, seeded, peeled and chunked

8 Tbsp. cumin-toasted pumpkin seeds (see recipe below)

Dressing: Whisk vinegar and cumin. Gradually whisk in olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Add salt and pepper. (We didn’t love this dressing, so we used a store-bought dressing.)

Add lettuce, tangerines, onion, avocados and 6 Tbsp. of pumpkin seeds to bowl. Toss lightly to coat with dressing. Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds. Serve immediately with a good balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Makes 8-10 servings.

Cumin-Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds or shelled sunflower seeds (easiest to buy them at the store)

2 tsp. cooking oil

½ tsp. ground cumin

½ tsp. salt

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. If using seeds straight from a pumpkin, rinse pumpkin seeds in water until pulp and strings are washed, drain.

  2. Spread seeds on a parchment paper, lined, 8x8x2” baking pan. Bake, uncovered for 1 hour. Remove parchment paper. Add oil, cumin and salt – stir to coat.

  3. Bake uncovered, 10-15 more minutes (or until toasted), stirring once. Transfer seeds to paper towels to cool. Makes about 1 cup.

Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp

(As found in the Barefoot Contessa Parties cookbook)

5 lbs. McIntosh or Macoun apples (or another kind that is in season)

Grated zest of 1 orange

Grated zest of 1 lemon

2 Tbsp. fleshly squeezed orange juice

2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

For the Topping:

½ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup light brown sugar, packed

½ tsp. kosher salt

1 cup oatmeal

½ pound cold, unsalted butter, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 14 x 2” oval baking dish.

Peel, core and cut the apples into large wedges. Combine the apples with the zests, juices, sugar and spices. Pour into the dish.

To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt oatmeal and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Scatter evenly over the apples.

Place the crisp on a sheet pan and bake for one hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm.

Pumpkin Caramels

1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
1 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon pumpkin or apple pie spice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2/3 cup canned pumpkin puree, room temperature
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Special equipment: Candy thermometer

Line an 8 by 4 inch loaf pan with waxed paper or aluminum foil. Brush the sides, but not the bottom lightly with butter and sprinkle the pumpkin seeds in the bottom.

Whisk the maple syrup, brown sugar, cream, corn syrup, pie spice, lemon juice, and salt together in a heavy bottomed medium saucepan. Brush down the sides on the saucepan with water to remove every grain of sugar. Set the candy thermometer into the sugar. Cook the mixture over medium heat, without stirring, until the mixture reaches the firm ball stage, 248 degrees F, about 18 to 20 minutes.

Carefully stir in the pumpkin puree. Return to the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the caramel reaches the soft ball stage, 240 degrees F, about 15 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in butter and vanilla.

Pour the caramel over the pumpkin seeds in the prepared pan. Smooth to an even layer. Cool to room temperature.

When fully cooled peel from the waxed paper or foil and cut into 24 (1-inch) squares. Wrap individually in parchment or waxed paper and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Cook’s Note: We found that it is much easier to cut these with 2 people!

Mulled Cranberry Drink

Yields: 24, half-cup servings

1 12 oz. pkg. fresh cranberries

8 cups water

1 ½ cups sugar

2 T. grated orange peel

Cinnamon sticks

12 whole cloves

4 cups orange juice

1 cup lemon juice

Thin lemon slices

Combine cranberries, water, sugar, orange peel, cinnamon sticks and cloves in a large pan and cook until cranberries are soft, about 15 min. Strain. Add juices. Do not boil, but keep warm until ready to serve. Float thin lemon slices in each cup.

Green Witch's Brew
Yields: 12-16 servings

1 (6 oz.) package lime gelatin
2 cups boiling water
3 cups chilled pineapple juice
1 (2 liter) bottle chilled ginger ale or lemon-lime soda

Pour gelatin mix into large bowl. Slowly stir in the boiling water. Stir at least 2 minutes, until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir in the pineapple juice. Let cool to room temperature. Add the ginger ale (or lemon-lime soda), stir gently to mix.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Here is the schedule we decided on. Please remember when your month is and send out an email about a month in advance so we can "save the date".

October 25: Crystal & Sunny (Crystal's House)
November 28: Heidi & Melissa (Melissa's House)
January: Shelly & Lindsay
March: Reggie & Ashley
May: Amber & Michelle
June or July: Judith & Holly