Tapenade Promenade

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I found this recipe on Pinterest, under the category of puff pastry appetizers and it came together in a snap and was unbelievably delicious! And it portions itself!

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Start by processing sundries tomatoes in oil with capers, kalamata olives and a little extra olive oil (about a tablespoon). You don’t want it too wet…

Take a sheet of thawed puff pastry dough and roll it out until you can place a 12″ dinner plate on it. Trim the excess dough so you have a round of dough and place on a baking sheet with silicone mat or parchment to prevent sticking. Top with the tapenade mixture up to 1″ of the edge and sprinkle on a teeny bit of shredded cheese.

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Repeat with a second sheet of pastry dough an press the two together to form a filled pie.

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Lightly press the edges together and place a glass in the middle of the pie. Press down lightly on the dough with the glass to mark the guide. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter ( which I found easier) to cut rays in the dough starting from the circle. Mark 12,3,6 and 9 on the circle first and then cut each of the quarters in half and then half again, so you have 16 cuts all together. Cut the rays all the way through both layers of dough/tapenade, but leave the middle circle intact.

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Beginning with the section closest to you, twist the section once or twice and lay flat. Continue by turning the pan. Bake in a 400° oven for about 20 to 25 minutes depending on your oven. Keep a close eye on it. I put a 12 minute reminder on the timer to check it and then finished it for an additional 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, whip some no fat or lo fat cream cheese with some crumbled feta, a drizzle of olive oil, and juice of half a lemon and zest from same. Season to your liking, I added a little crushed red pepper and some ground black pepper, the feta gives you enough salt. Set this aside as dip for the pull apart of the pastry.img_1860

I cut some stars out of the leftover dough for garnish. Just break off a section to eat and dip in the whipped feta. This works up quickly and easily and really can be used for sweet or savory applications. Enjoy!

Cake for Days….

Literally, it took days to make and as far as I know the remnants are still circulating amongst family members for the past few days. All I know is that I was not taking any of it home with the Hubs and I….

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As you know, I made a batch of whoopie pie macarons last weekend and turned out a bunch of meringues at the same time in festive shades of pink and green….

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Meringues are a whole measure easier than macarons to make and give you almost the same, and I mean almost, satisfaction. It’s egg whites and sugar, whipped to a frenzy and flavored and tinted. And they can also be saved in airtight containers and stay fresh for a long while.

I made a golden cake and upped the game by adding an extra egg, subbing milk for water, and butter for oil. The result is a richer crumb, and softer, richer taste. I made 2 9″ square cakes and filled the layers with buttercream and a little apricot jam for moisture and then frosted the whole cake. You could stop there but as the Hubs said, nothing succeeds like excess, and so I added chocolate ganache, a spill of plain and chocolate macarons, meringues and chocolate dipped strawberries and tiny, edible fairy stars…after all, it’s Christmas!

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Golly Gumdrops

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I have a nephew who is adamantly opposed to chocolate and so I always feel like he’s shortchanged on the dessert front because my family has a definite chocolate bias…so in a pique of holiday baking I whipped up a pan of gumdrop fudge for him.

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Like most fudge, it’s pretty simple to put together. Sugar and cream heated together….

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Marshmallow and white chocolate chips mixed and then pour the heated cream mixture over it until melted and creamy.

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At this point I put the gumdrops in the mixing bowl and stirred them, but on review, I should have poured the white chocolate mix into the shallow pan, partially chilled it and then put the gumdrops into the mixture. They fell to the bottom of the pan…img_1825

As all fudge is, it’s very sweet and if you need a little hit of sugar in the middle of the day, this is the way to go. See your dentist before you eat, so you can put some space between you and your dentist…who would not approve!

Easy Peasy Pizza Pie

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Been hearing a lot about skillet pizzas? Me too! And with good reason! Easy to put together for a quick supper, or an afternoon football party, because…bowl games, or even a treat for after school.

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When the Hubs and I were in Vermont last spring at the King Arthur Flour store, I picked up a bag of this Italian style flour, it’s a little finer than normal AP flour, although that will work fine too. I just followed the directions on the back label. A little flour, a little yeast, a little water, a little sugar and salt…

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A little nap for the dough in a warm place a.k.a the magic folding proofing cabinet…

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Meanwhile back at the cutting board, I prepped ingredients for 2 different types of pie. Top photo is prosciutto, bleu cheese, red onion, fresh figs and a little fresh buffalo mozz. The lower photo is sundries tomatoes, shaved parm, the same buffalo mozz, and giant caper berries that are like giant satisfying salt bombs for your taste buds!

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Oil a heavy skillet and heat. It needs to be very heavy and very oiled and very hot.

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Punch down the dough and form it into a disk that can be cut in half and rolled out into 2 flat 14″ – 16″ discs

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You can make smaller ones by cutting dough into either 4 or 6 pieces also

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Put dough disc into the hot oiled pan and give it about 4 minutes on medium heat. You will be able to lift the pie once it starts to cook to check on the progress. Once the bottom is browned, you can flip it fairly easily and then top with various toppings.

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Let things get a little melty and then add other items as needed. If you want, and you skillet is oven worthy, you can put the pan in the oven to melt everything, but honestly, the cheese melted just fine on the stovetop.

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Once cooked, I topped with fresh arugula and some balsamic glaze from Trader Joe’s. But this would be just as easy with some shred cheese and pepperoni and jar pizza sauce! Mix up your toppings, or if you’re having a party, you know I am a proponent of everyone making their own pizza, so set the buffet of toppings out and let peeps design their own!

Because…bowl games.

Duck, Duck…Potato

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Epic is right.. for good reason! Nothing beats potatoes cooked in duck fat and Whole Foods sells it by the jar in the cooking oils section.

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Slice the potatoes as thin as possible ( a mandolin or food processor helps) and keep in cold water until ready to use.

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Dry thoroughly between layers of paper towels and get batches ready. Heat the duck fat until a drop of water will sizzle when dropped into it. Make sure to use your heaviest and deepest pan and keep the lid handy, in case of a flash. Le Creuset weight is good if possible.img_1872

Cook the potatoes in small batches in the duck fat and get them to a light brown stage. Drain on a paper towel coated platter in a warm oven and season to taste with salt and pepper. img_1873

The absolute best potatoes other than your mother’s ! Epic!

Making Whoopie..


You’ll see these again in another application, but I ginned up a batch of macarons recently. Actually, I made two kinds, by splitting the batter and in this case, adding black cocoa.



The result was a chewer macaron that tasted, most definitely like a Whoopie pie. Filled with buttercream and garnished with edible glitter stars, a festive gift, no matter the season.

Quick Christmas Kraft…

How’s that for alliteration….


If you need a holder for a gift card you can easily whip one up with 4″ wide ribbon, a hot glue gun and a coordinating ribbon or cord. Oh, and scissors.


Cut a 6″ length and fold so that there is a 1″ flap and folded almost in half, like an envelope.


Run a bead of hot glue or tacky fabric glue on the side edge and press together to make a pouch. Press and hold.


Use Anne a to or scissors to cut 2 vertical slits, 2 inches apart, all the way through the flap and both pieces of pouch.

Insert gift card and then feed ribbon or cord through slits so you have two ends.



Tie and go!

Sometimes, simple is best…

Three cheers for the simple, satisfying, looks great but is do easy it’s almost cheating dessert known as meringue. Egg whites, sugar, whipped to a frenzy and stiff peaks, then piped into little elf hats…easily tinted with gel and flavored as you like. Four eggs will produce a couple of dozen so you can package in cello with a luxurious ribbon for a quick hostess gift. And in anticipation of New Years, they pair nicely with sparkling wine, cava, prosecco or champagne!