Thursday, September 29, 2011

Spiced Hot Apple Cider

It wouldn't be fall without hot apple cider! This grown up version is perfect to serve for one of those last outdoor get-togethers! You can throw this together over the stove or more conveniently in the crock-pot!

Spiced Hot Apple Cider
recipe by Sabrina W. for eat.drink.and be merry.
serves 8
1 gallon apple cider
2 cups spiced dark rum
4 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon nutmeg
20 whole cloves
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

In a crock pot or stock pot over the stove, heat apple cider with rum, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves, and orange juice. If using a crockpot heat on high for 2 to 3 hours and then turn down to low. If heating over the stove, bring cider to medium high heat until just before it boils and then bring down to low.

For the cinnamon sugar rimmer: Mix together cinnamon and brown sugar in a ramekin. Wet the rims of each glass with water and dip in ramekin.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Apple and Butternut Squash Soup

This is my go-to recipe for a cozy fall soup.  I've made it a few different ways in the past. Once roasting the squash with brown sugar and a little maple syrup and another time with smoky chorizo. This time I kept it simple so the butternut squash and apples could 
stand out.

Apple and Butternut Squash Soup
recipe by Sabrina W. for eat.drink.and be merry.
serves 6-8
4 tablespoons butter
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
4 apples, peeled and diced (golden delicious work best but I just used what I brought home from the orchard)
2 teaspoons each salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin 
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
3/4 cups apple cider
2 cups vegetable stock

1 medium onion, diced
In a large stock pot, add 2 tablespoons butter. Add diced onion and a little salt and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add butternut squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the apples and spices and stir until everything is coated. Pour in the vegetable stock and apple cider and bring to a boil. Reduce, and let simmer 25 minutes. Puree with a hand blender until creamy and smooth. Add in the last 2 tablespoons of butter before serving.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Salted Caramel, Apple, and Cheese Danishes

 I can never decide which I like more: apple or cheese danishes. So I opted to make a combination of the two! And a winning combination it is! Especially when topped with the salted caramel sauce! These little pastries were amazing warm from the oven and smothered in the rich caramel sauce! I unfortunately only made 9 of them, but I've doubled the recipe here for future reference. I won't be making that mistake again!

Salted Caramel, Apple, and Cheese Danishes
recipe by Sabrina W. for eat.drink.and be merry.
makes 18 danishes
3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
1/4 butter, at room temperature
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed 
1 egg plus 2 tablespoons water (egg wash)

for the salted caramel:
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon salt

To make the danishes, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Mix together butter, cream cheese, flour, lemon juice, sugar, and vanilla and set aside.

On a floured, clean surface. Cut each thawed puff pastry dough into 9 even squares. You should end up with 18 squares total.

Brush each edge with egg wash and fold pastry an 1/8 of an inch in on each side to form an edge. Poke holes in each pastry with a fork and sprinkle with sugar.

Drop 1 teaspoonful of the cheese mixture and spread out evenly in tarts. I used my fingers here to spread it out, it was way easier than working with the spoon.

Arrange sliced apples on top of cheese mixture. Brush the edges with the egg wash and carefully transfer the pastries to a greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in the pans.

To make the salted caramel, mix sugar and water in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Once the sugar clumps together to form small looking rocks, add in the cream, stirring constantly. At this point it looks as if you have ruined your caramel, but just keep stirring and the rocks with dissolve as the liquid bubbles. Once melted, add in the butter and salt. Drizzle over pastries and enjoy!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Apple and Goat Cheese Triangles

Saturday was the perfect day to head up to the apple orchard. It was bright and breezy and the trees were overflowing with apples!

Needless to say, I came home with a giant bag of apples and a gallon of fresh apple cider. To use this all up, I have planned out a few great apple recipes to share with you this week so stay tuned! :)

First up are these cute little puffed pastry triangles that are stuffed with apples, walnuts, and goat cheese. These sweet and savory little bites are a perfect fall snack or appetizer. I found this recipe at the Rainy Day Gal website. I changed them up a bit by substituting goat cheese for blue cheese and adding a few teaspoons of honey to the mix to sweeten up my apples.

Apple and Goat Cheese Triangles
original recipe from
adapted recipe by Sabrina W. for eat.drink.and be merry.
makes 20 to 25 triangles
1 medium apple, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon minced rosemary
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
2 teaspoons honey
1 egg
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium sized bowl, combine apples, walnuts, cheese, rosemary, and honey. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roll out your pastry until it reaches a 14in x14in square. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, slice 5 even horizontal slices and then 5 vertical slices to create 25 squares.

Spoon a teaspoonful of apple mixture into the center of each square and fold pastry dough over to form triangles. Seal edges with a fork. Make an egg wash by beating together the egg and water and brush over each triangle.

Butter 2 baking sheets and transfer the triangles over to the pans. Bake for 15 minutes or until light golden brown.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Angel Hair with Roasted Tomatoes and Fontina Cheese

mmm comfort food!

To me comfort food is not only warm, delicious, and filling, but it also has to be quick and easy. The faster   I can be on my comfy couch and wrapped in my comfy blankets the better!

This recipe looks simple but its actually loaded with flavor. I personally like how simple it is but if you'd like to make this a bit fancier you could add anything like shrimp and asparagus, or sauteed salmon. 

I used campari tomatoes in this recipe. I have fallen in love with them. They are never mealy and always sweet! And since they are grown in greenhouses they are always fresh and available throughout the winter months. 

Angel Hair with Roasted Tomatoes & Fontina Cheese
recipe by Sabrina W. for eat.drink.and be merry.
yields 4 servings
1/2 lb angel hair pasta
1 lb campari tomatoes, halved
3 garlic cloves left in their skin
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon butter
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup pasta water
3/4 cup fontina cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Half your tomatoes and arrange them skin side up on a foil-lined baking sheet with the 3 garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Carefully toss so they are covered with oil and vinegar, making sure to leave them with their skin side up before roasting them in the oven.

Roast for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove tomato skins carefully with tongs. They should pop right off. Remove garlic from their skins as well. The garlic should squeeze right out and be nice and soft. Set them aside on the baking sheet.

In a medium saucepan, heat 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil with 1 tablespoon butter. Once melted together, add garlic cloves and break them up in the oil with a wooden spoon. Let the garlic infuse the oil for 3 minutes over medium heat. Add in the tomatoes along with all of the juices from the baking sheet and simmer for 5 minutes. Bring heat up to medium high and add white wine. Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 more minutes.

Meanwhile, boil pasta according to al dente directions. Reserve a 1/2 cup of pasta water and drain. Add pasta to a bowl and add in tomato sauce with pasta water. Toss in fontina cheese until melted.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

It has been way too long since my last post! Life has been super busy between work and play that I    have had no time to cook or bake! It's so very upsetting!

The plan is to post a few recipes this week and with a planned trip to the apple orchard this weekend, I will have  plenty of apple recipes to share with you!

This past weekend was my sister-in-law's bridal shower and for favors we decided to make homemade candies. We made two variations: Dark Chocolate Nutella Truffles and Peanut Butter Cups! Unfortunately the truffles didn't photo well so I'll just have to make them again so I can share them with you!

Before now I had never made candy. I always thought it was a long and tedious process, but with help from Martha I was able to pull these off in 30 minutes. They are perfect to bring to a party or to give as a gift.     The trick is to use your favorite high-quality chocolate. We used milk chocolate Lindt bars and Ghirardelli     white chocolate chips. It makes all the difference.

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups
original recipe by Martha Stewart
adapted recipe by Sabrina W. for eat.drink.and be merry.
makes 24 
4 ounces white chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
16 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped

Line two 12 cup mini muffin tins with mini muffin cups and set aside.

Melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute. Stir in peanut butter and microwave for an additional 30 seconds if needed. The mixture should only be half melted so it kind of stays together when you are layering it between the melted chocolate. Make sure to use potholders when grabbing the bowl from the microwave. my bowls were so hot I almost dropped one!

Next, melt the milk chocolate in 30 to 40 second intervals until creamy and smooth. Stir out all the lumps or bubbles.

Drop chocolate evenly along the 24 cups, reserving half the chocolate for the top layer.  Shake the pans a little to even out the first layer. Next drop in a layer of the peanut butter mixture into the center of the chocolate. I used about a 1/2 teaspoon full to 3/4 of a teaspoon full. Then top off cups with remaining chocolate and chopped peanuts and put into the freezer for 15 minutes. They will be perfectly formed and ready to serve!

You can keep these little guys in an air-tight container for up to two weeks!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

PB and J Muffins with Berry Compound Butter

This is a great recipe to get you into the back to school spirit! 

I really wasn't even planning that either. I was really just looking for something to make for breakfast yesterday morning. With bare cabinets and a bare fridge, I was surprised I was even able to make anything at all. 

I remembered watching an episode of Paula Deen during my lunch break and they were making these fabulous muffins with a sweet compound butter. 

I ALWAYS have peanut butter and jelly! 

I had to make a few changes to accommodate my barren fridge. I had no milk but had buttermilk from a birthday cake I made last week and I didn't have honey roasted peanuts so I had to make my own.  I almost didn't make the compound butter but I'm so glad I had enough butter to make it because It's totally worth it!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins
adapted recipe by Sabrina W. for eat.drink.and be merry.
original recipe by Paula Deen
makes 12 muffins or 6 large muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup thick jam, such as seedless raspberry
  • 1/3 cup peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon of your favorite berry preserves 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper muffin cups.
    First make the compound butter: Mix together the 1 stick butter that is at room temperature and a tablespoon of your favorite berry preserves. Refrigerate.
    In a food processor, pulse peanuts, honey, and brown sugar a few times until they are chopped.
    Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. With electric beaters, mix in the peanut butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the buttermilk, egg, and butter and beat until combined. Gentle mix in jam with a spoon.
    Spoon mix into muffin pan and top with the chopped peanuts. Bake until the muffins are light golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or allow to cool completely. Spread on compound butter.


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