Thursday, September 22, 2011

Prosciutto Mozzarella Pinwheels

I am sharing a recipe from one of Giada's books that I made this past weekend. It was simply delicious and so very easy. Giada is one of my favorite cookbook authors and I do have all her books. Seldom if ever have I cooked from any of her books that I was disappointed.

Prosciutto Mozzarella Pinwheels

Serves 6 to 8

Flour for dusting
1 purchased pizza dough
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
7 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
1 cup coarsley chopped baby spinach (about 1 1/2 ounces)
1tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425* and position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pizza dough into a 12-to 14-inch circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella over the dough. Arrange the prosciutto over the cheese in a single layer. Sprinkle with the chopped spinach, then top with the remaining cheese.

Roll the dough into a thin cylinder, gently tucking in the ends. Brush the entire roll with the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Place the dough, seam side down, on the baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Cool the roll for 3 or 4 minutes, then use a serrated knife to cut it into 3/4-inch wide slices.

We are fortunate enough to have a wonderful Italian deli where I got my pizza dough all ready to roll out but while there I also got some of their Marinara Sauce to dip the rolls in for some added flavor and I didn't have any homemade sauce at the time.

My husband and I made a meal off of this pared with a Mixed Green Salad. These were fantastic and I think would make for a great appetizer when you are preparing an Italian dinner as I often do. They would make a very impressive tray of appetizers.

Have I mentioned that it was delicious. I sent some over to my son's and my daughter in law called and told me, "I don't know what that was but it was FABULOUS"!!! The combination of the flavors was awesome. I obviously didn't have any parchment paper but sprayed my sheet pan with a nonstick spray.

It is once again Friday and I am sharing this recipe with others participating in Foodie Friday, our host is Michael Lee at Designs by Gollum. Take a look at some of the other recipes by clicking here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

YaYa Dinner Party

A year ago twelve very good friends organized this dinner party group for just the girls. On occasion we include our husbands but I think we have come to cherish these once a month evenings. You see, when we get together for lunch we are there for a very brief time and then we run off for the next appointment. For dinner we are not likely to do that and we really have the opportunity to chat it up. We call ourselves the YaYa's being the Southerners that we are, well most of us anyway. It just seemed to fit.

My friend whose home it was in most recently has a dining room certainly able to accommodate all of us as you can see. What a lovely dining room it is as well.
This particular evening it was decided to have two hostesses. The gorgeous blonde was the friend whose home we were in and the other gorgeous lady is our New Yorker friend. She is always loads of fun.

They chose to mix up the dinner place settings using two different fine china patterns.  I think they did a fabulous job.

It was an elegant garden themed dinner party with touches of whimsy in this extraordinarily formal dining room. What I like to call casual elegance.
 Now I ask you, how cute is that? Simple but yet elegant with the moss covered wheel barrow and bird to the side with just a few blooms for added color. I also thought our hostesses tablecloth was exquisite so I asked her where she had gotten it. It came from one of her trips to Venice and was simply the most beautiful tablecloth I had ever seen.
We began our dinner with a Black Bean Soup topped with Shrimp as a garnish. It was so very good and I had hoped to include the recipe but it has not been sent to me yet. This was a recipe I am anxious to make myself since the flavor combination was outstanding. I will post the recipe when I make it myself for the first time.

Dinner was excellent but more importantly the bonds formed with our dinner group is just amazing. We always laugh and laugh lingering after dinner with our dessert and coffee and I didn't get home until 11:00. Our YaYa dinner group, it's a Good Thing. Our hostesses just outdid themselves. Thank you again from me for the time, care, and love that you so obviously put into making sure that your guests thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Today I am joining Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday. Have a wonderful day.

I am also linking this post to Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch.

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Favorite Fall Dessert

It is Fall even here in North Florida since we are enjoying cooler temperatures in the morning and late evening, almost dusk. We are still experiencing some pretty high temperatures in the 90's in the middle of the day but I do enjoy these cool mornings and evenings.

When it's Fall my head wants something delicious using pumpkin and my favorite are these Pumpkin Bars. They are sooooooooo yummy. You can't eat just one.

Pumpkin Bars

2 cups sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temp.
2 cups canned pumpkin (1 15-oz can)
4 eggs, room temp.
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. each of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 15 X 10 1/2 X 1 pan.

Sift flour, baking soda, spices, and salt together; set aside. Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add pumpkin and eggs; beat until smooth. Add dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Spread mixture into pan. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely and frost.

3 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
1 stick butter, room temp.
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Beat together until smooth. Frost the cooled pumpkin bars and then cut them into squares.

I always cut them in half, length wise and width wise. then cut them into fourths and go from there to get more even sized bars.

They are a very moist cake like bar and the pumpkin with the spices, wellllllllllllll, they are delicious. It goes together so qucikly but it does make a lot of bars. 
I hope you will try this recipe and come to love them as much as I do. I made these a couple of weeks ago to take to a Garden Center function in our little town but saved out a couple for my husband and myself. I'm thinking I need to make them again soon.

Enjoy and have a wonderful day.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Quiche Maraichere

Chari at Happy to Design encourages bloggers to do a repost of one of their favorite posts. I have recently been looking through Dorie Greenspans most recent book for dinner inspiration and saw this recipe once again. It was soooooooo delicious and I plan to make it again this week. I have also served it as an appetizer at a dinner party served on some little appetizer plates and my guests thought it to be wonderful. I thought it would be a good time to repost this recipe. Thank you Chari for hosting your blogging party, Sunday Favorites.


I have been working my way through Dorie Greenspan's newest book, Around My French Table.  I have to say this is an excellent book and one I highly recommend. I have not prepared a single recipe that I didn't think was outstanding.

Yesterday I prepared Quiche Maraichere and it was a simple recipe with lots and lots of flavor. Loaded with fresh ingredients with very little custard which was very different for a quiche.

Quiche Maraichere

When you see the word maraichere, you know market-fresh produce is in the mix. Here it's in a quiche packed to the brim with celery, leeks, carrots and little squares of red pepper. It's an unusual quiche in that it's got lots more vegetables than custard, and the cheese is on top of it, not inside.

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 stalks celery, trimmed and cut into small dice
2 slender leeks, white and light green parts only, quartered lengthwise, washed and thinly sliced
2 slender carrots, trimmed, peeled, and finely diced
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely diced
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 (9 or 9 1/2") tart shell, partially baked and cooled*
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2/3 cup grated cheese, preferably Gruyere (cheddar is good, too)

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat in a large skillet. Toss in the vegetables and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes, or until they are tender. Season with salt and pepper, then scrape the vegetables into a bowl and let cool.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the crust on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Spoon the vegetables into the tart shell and spread them out--they will just about fill the crust. Whisk the cream, egg, and egg yolk together, season with salt and pepper, and carefully pour over the vegetables. Depending on how your crust baked, you may have too much custard -- don't push it. Pour in as much custard as you can without it over flowing and wait a few minutes until it's settled into the crannies, then, if you think it will take it, pour in a little more. Very carefully slide the baking sheet into the oven. (If it's easier for you, put the quiche into the oven without the custard, then pour it in.)

Bake the quiche for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and, most important, the filling is uniformly puffed (wait for the center to Puff), browned, and set. Transfer the quiche to a rack, remove the sides of the pan, and cool until it's only just warm or until it reaches room temperature before serving.

In Dorie's book she also gives a recipe for a tart dough but because of time I used a store bought pastry dough and also did not use a pan with a removable bottom. Instead I used a fluted pie plate. She also mentions in the book that this is a recipe for a light dinner pared with a salad which is how I served it but also mentions that it can be served as an appetizer at room temperature. It just happens that I am having a dinner party next Thursday evening and have decided to serve this recipe as my appetizer along with some fabulous Pomegranate Cosmopolitans. I liked this recipe that much, I actually thought it to be amazing. The absolute BEST quiche I have ever prepared.

This was such a simple recipe to put together but also has so very much flavor. I particularly liked the use of the leeks.

I did not have any Gruyere and I always use a French Gruyere but did use an English Cheddar. I actually think that the English Cheddar was better. Just so you know, there is a huge taste difference in a domestic and English Cheddar but I think Dorie would suggest to use what you have.

This made an amazing light dinner pared with a Mixed Green Salad.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Best Blueberry Muffins

Not too terribly long ago a fellow blogger and a very dear long time friend shared this recipe for Blueberry Muffins. She is Martha at Lines from Linderhof. First of all I have made many recipes of hers and they are always excellent but this Blueberry Muffin recipe is quite frankly absolutely the BEST.
The Best Blueberry Muffins


1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/3 cup regular milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 tsp. lemon zest (optional)

Crumble Topping

1/3 cup white or brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a small bowl combine all crumble ingredients and with a dough knife or by hand crumble everything until it resembles sand. Set aside. In a large bowl stir all ingredients, excluding blueberries by hand until just mixed through. Carefully fold in blueberries and scoop into muffin pan, filling 2/3 way full. Top with crumble and bake for 20 minutes on 400. Allow to cool slightly and enjoy!

I used fresh blueberries but rinsed them, let them completely dry and then place on a cookie sheet to place in the freezer. The blueberries will distribute evenly by doing this rather than sinking to the bottom.

I am of the opinion that anything cake like using buttermilk has to be good but aside from that the lemon zest gives these muffins a freshness that is divine.

The recipe easily makes a dozen and they keep for several days. I am not a big breakfast eater but one of these little morsels hits the spot and they are delicious.
Thankfully it is Friday and a long holiday weekend at that, Labor Day. I am linking to Michael's blogging party, Designs by Gollum. Enjoy your weekend.