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Dec 29, 2008

Simply Sensational Truffles


From Kraft Foods

2-1/2 pkg. (20 squares) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, divided
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
decorations: chopped PLANTERS COCKTAIL Peanuts, multi-colored sprinkles
Make It

MELT 8 chocolate squares in double boiler. Beat cream cheese with mixer until creamy. Blend in melted chocolate. Refrigerate until firm.

SHAPE into 36 balls. Place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet.

MELT remaining chocolate. Use fork to dip truffles; return to baking sheet. Decorate, then refrigerate 1 hour.

My Notes: I made these for the holidays and people raved over them. I had leftover chocolate at the end and dipped pretzels then sprinkled red and green sprinkles over them.

Dec 8, 2008

Guinness and Onion Soup with Irish Cheddar Crouton


From Michael Chiarello

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 8 cups thinly sliced onions
  • Gray salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups dark beer (recommended: Guinness)
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 6 slices country bread cut 1/2-inch thick, toasted
  • 1/2 pound Irish Cheddar, sliced thin

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add garlic and cook briefly to release aroma. Add onions, season with salt and cook for about 5 minutes stirring often. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are golden brown.

Add the thyme, vinegar, and beer. Reduce beer by half and add the beef stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Transfer soup to an ovenproof serving dish or individual ovenproof soup bowls. Top with toasted bread slices and sliced Cheddar. Broil until cheese melts and starts to brown slightly. Serve piping hot.

Shepherds Pie with Scallion-Cheese Crust


From Michael Chiarello

Directions

For the filling:

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound minced British lamb
  • 1 pound minced beef
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped very small
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms
  • 1 level tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 level tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh beef stock
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the crust:

  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup scallions, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 cup mature Cheddar, coarsely grated

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or deep saute pan. Brown the lamb and beef. Remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon. Add the onions to the pan and saute until the onions are tinged brown at the edges - about 5 minutes. Add the chopped carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, tomato puree, thyme, parsley and cinnamon. Stir and saute for 2 minutes. Next, stir in the flour, which will soak up the juice, then stir in the wine and the beef stock. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed. Return the meat to the pan and bring to a boil. Cover, turn down the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes until the lamb is fully cooked.

Peel the potatoes, cut them into large even-sized pieces and place into a pot of cold, salted water. Bring the water to a boil and cook potatoes until they are tender, about 10 minutes. (Potatoes are done when a knife can easily go through.)

When the potatoes are done, drain off the water, return them to the saucepan, cover with a clean tea cloth to absorb the steam and leave them for about 5 minutes. Next, add the butter and mash them to a puree. Season with salt and pepper. When the meat is ready, spoon it into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and level it out with the back of the spoon. After that, spread the mashed potato evenly all over. Sprinkle the scallions on top of the potato, scatter the cheese over the scallions and bake the pie until the top is crusty and golden, about 25 minutes.

MY NOTES: This recipe was AMAZING! But it really took me a long time to make. The cinnamon is awesome.