Mexican Flan

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Ingredients: 

3/4 cup sugar (can use 1 cup)
3 eggs
3 egg yokes
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla (Madagascar)
3 ounces of packaged cream cheese
1 (14 oz.) can condensed milk
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk

Directions: 

Serves:8

Caramelize sugar; pour into pie dish and swirl onto sides and all over bottom. It will harden very quickly, so spread it fast.

Mix all other ingredients together in food processor; do not over whip or mix.

Add liquid to dish and place over hot water bath.

Bake at 350 degrees on middle rack for 60 minutes.

Remove from oven and water bath; allow to cool then refrigerate.

Invert to serve. Bueno.

~I made flan for the first time and it was wonderful! A very rich refreshing dessert.

Madagascar Vanilla (purchase at Chefs Catalog) Of all the vanilla's I've used this is my favorite. Once you've tried it you won't go back!

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Vegetable Samosas

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Ingredients: 

Dough:
4 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup margarine
5/8 cup water
Filling:
1 tbsp. ghee or vegetable oil
pinch of asafetida powder
2 tsp. mustard seeds
1 lb. potatoes, parboiled and diced
1 cup cooked peas
3 cups cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 fresh green chiles seeded and chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pomegranate seeds (optional, I used pomegranate powder)
2 tsp. garam masala
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 tbsp. milk (for brushing on dough)
oil for deep frying
chutney, to serve

Directions: 

Dough:

Mix flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut margarine into small pieces and rub into flour with a pastry cutter until crumbly. Add water. Mix well with hands until a smooth dough forms, cover with a damp cloth.

Filling:

Heat the ghee or oil in a skillet and add the asafetida powder, mustard seeds, potatoes, peas, chiles, salt and pomegranate seeds, if using. Stir well over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Add peas, potatoes and cauliflower. Cover the pan, reduce heat, and cook gently for 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat and add the garam masala and chopped cilantro. Stir well and then leave the filling to cool before using to stuff the samosas.

Dough:

Divide the samosa dough into 12 equal portions and roll out each one to a thin circle, about 7 inches in diameter. Cut each circle in half with a sharp knife and then cover the semicircles with a damp cloth while you fill them one at a time.

Brush the edges of the semicircle with a little milk and spoon some of the filling on to the center. Fold in the corners, overlapping then to form a cone. Fold over and seal the top to make a triangle. Deep fry in hot oil in batches, until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towels and serve hot with chutney!

Very Yummy!

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Strawberry Shortcake

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Ingredients: 

4 cups strawberries quartered strawberries
1 cup sweetened whip cream
2 1/3 cups Original Bisquick
1/2 cup milk
3 tbsp. sugar + 1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp. margarine or butter, melted

Directions: 

Shortcakes:

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix bisquick, milk, sugar and margarine until a soft dough forms. Drop by 6 spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown. Split when warm.

Strawberries:

Cut strawberries into quarter sections, add 1/2 cup sugar and then smash with a potato smasher. Spoon over shortcakes and top with whip cream.
Enjoy!

Eggplant Adobo

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Ingredients: 

4 cups eggplant, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup vegetable or corn oil
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium works really well)
1 tbsp. finely minced garlic

Directions: 

~Serves:4

Fry eggplant cubes in oil until brown. Set aside on paper towel to absorb the oil. In a sauce pan (I used a frying pan) bring vinegar, soy sauce and garlic to a boil and simmer for 6 minutes. Add fried eggplant to mixture and cook for 5 minutes more, turning eggplant several times. Serve hot.

~We loved this dish! It is so fast and yummy. The one thing that we would change is to use low sodium soy sauce to cut down on some of the salt. A wonderful appetizer...

Calphalon One Infused Anodized Fry Pan (purchase at Chefs Catalog) I use this pan for a lot of frying. I love the Calphalon pans. The special thing about the Infused pans are they can also be put in the oven and used with the broiler. Wonderful!

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Fresh Lumpia (Fresh Egg Roll)

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Ingredients: 

Filling:
1/2 lb. shrimp
1/4 lb. ground pork
1 can of bamboo shoots or hearts of palm
10 lettuce leaves (green leaf lettuce)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 med. onion diced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
fresh Lumpia wrapper
Wrapper:
1 cup flour
1 egg
1 cup water
Sauce:
4 tbsp. cornstarch
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 cup water

Directions: 

Filling:

Devein shrimp and cut into small pieces. Cut bamboo shoots or hearts of palm into thin long strips.

Saute garlic, diced onion, shrimp and ground pork for about 10 minutes. Then add bamboo shoots or hearts of palm, salt and pepper to taste, then cook for another 5 minutes. Drain well.

On a plate, lay wrappers flat, place a segment of lettuce leaf on wrapper, then put about 2-4 tbsp. of filling on top of lettuce and roll wrapper. Seal with a little water along the edge and place edges down. Serve with lumpia sauce.

Wrapper

Mix all the ingredients until very smooth. Lightly grease a non-stick pan and heat. Brush mixture onto pan. When dough starts to come away from the pan, lift wrapper out carefully. It will not lift out if mixture is not done. Do not cook other side.

Sauce:

Combine cornstarch, sugar, soy sauce and water. Cook 5 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. When done serve with the wrappers.

Calphalon One Infused Anodized Fry Pan (purchase at Chefs Catalog) I use this pan for a lot of frying. I love the Calphalon pans. The special thing about the Infused pans are they can also be put in the oven and used with the broiler. Wonderful!

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Dolmades me Avgolemono (stuffed grape leaves)

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Ingredients: 

Grape Leaves:
1 1/2lb ground beef or lamb
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 c. raw converted rice (I use minute rice)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. of dill or 1/4 c. fresh dill
1/4 c. water
1- lb jar grape leaves (these can usually be found in the vegetable isle where the pickled items are in your local grocery store)
3 1/2 cups hot chicken stock
Avgolemono Sauce:
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
6 tbls. lemon juice
1 cup boiling chicken stock

Directions: 

Combine meat, onions, rice, salt, pepper and dill. Add water and mix well. Using your hands works very well. Drain the brine from the jar of grape leaves. Use a 9" by 13" baking pan and line the bottom of the pan with about 4 to 6 of the grape leaves. Put 1 heaping tablespoon of meat and rice mixture in center of the leaf. Starting at the stem roll once then tuck the sides in and finish rolling the grape leaf, then set in pan. Lay a couple grape leaves in bottom of the pan and when you filled the pan with the stuffed leaves start one more layer on top. When all the meat is used up and final leaves are placed on top Poor the hot chicken stock gently over the top. The rice will soak up most of the liquid while cooking. Cover with tin foil and place in the oven at 350 for 2 1/2 hours.

The sauce is a key ingredient to this yummy recipe. Avgolemono (meaning egg-lemon) is the favorite sauce of Greek cookery. It is used in soups and stews and over meats and vegetables.

Avgolemono Sauce:

In a sauce pan beat eggs until frothy. Gradually add lemon juice and hot chicken stock, stirring constantly. Simmer over low heat stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened. Do not allow to come to a boil. I've found that if you take a 1/4 cup of the hot liquid and add a tsp. of corn starch, mix until all the lumps are gone and pour slowly back into the cooking egg mixture it thickens much better and quicker.

Blender or Food Processor method: (this way is quite a bit faster)

Add eggs to food processor and blend on high for about 2 minutes until frothy. Add salt and lemon juice and blend 1 minute longer. With motor running slowly add the hot chicken stock. When all liquid is blended return to pot a simmer on med heat until thickened.

~When you start to smell this amazing dish you will understand why I think it's food for the Gods!

~This is a easy recipe. Enjoy!

~This is a great recipe to have with Cheese Pie

Here's a couple nice food processors.

Cuisinart Food Processor (purchase from Sir La Table) and this one Cuisinart Food Processor (purchase at Chef's Catalog)

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Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients: 

1-8 oz. package cream-cheese softened
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup strawberry preserves
1 tsp. vanilla (Madagascar)
4 cups powder sugar

Directions: 

In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese and butter at medium-high speed with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Add strawberry preserves and vanilla, beating until well combined. Add powder sugar, beating until smooth. If too runny add more powder sugar, if too thick add a touch of milk.

~ This would be wonderful on white cup cakes among many other cakes.

Madagascar Vanilla (purchase at Chefs Catalog) Of all the vanilla's I've used this is my favorite. Once you've tried it you won't go back!

Strawberry Preserve Cake

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Ingredients: 

Cake:
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup strawberry preserves
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla (Madagascar)
1/2 cup buttermilk
red food coloring
Strawberry Cream-Cheese Frosting:
1-8 oz. package cream-cheese softened
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup strawberry preserves
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups powder sugar

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350

Cake:

Line the bottom of 2 (9 or 8 inch) pans with parchment paper. Lightly coat each pan with Pam spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda together; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat butter and sugar at med. speed with an electric mixer for about 4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add preserves and then add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl and add vanilla and enough food coloring to achieve desired color. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture, alternately with buttermilk, ending with flour mixture. Divide batter equally with prepared pans and spread evenly.

Bake on the middle rack of oven for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Spread icing between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish with strawberries if desired.

Icing:

In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese and butter at medium-high speed with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Add strawberry preserves and vanilla, beating until well combined. Add powder sugar, beating until smooth. If too runny add more powder sugar, if too thick add a touch of milk.

~This was a wonderful cake!

Madagascar Vanilla (purchase at Chefs Catalog) Of all the vanilla's I've used this is my favorite. Once you've tried it you won't go back!

Candy Bar Squares

Ingredients: 

1-12 oz. bag semi sweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup coarsely chopped peanuts
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1-7 oz jar marshmallow cream (about 1 cup)
1 tsp. vanilla (Madagascar)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped peanuts
1-14 oz. bag of caramels
2 1/2 tbsp. water

Directions: 

Heat both chips in a microwaveable bowl in the microwave. Heat in 30 second cycles and stir in between each one until chips are all melted. Spread 1/2 of the mixture in a 9x13 inch greased or foil-lined pan. Let stand until firm.

Heat and stir sugar, margarine and milk in heavy medium saucepan on medium heat until boiling. Boil for 5 minutes stirring often. Spread evenly over chip layer.

Sprinkle first 1/4 cup peanuts over top.

Heat peanut butter in microwave until melted. Add marshmallow creme and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Spoon mixture in dabs, using a tsp. for each dollop, over peanuts.

Sprinkle second 3/4 cup peanuts over top.

Heat and stir caramels and water in microwavable bowl. Heat until smooth. Spread over peanuts. Reheat remaining 1/2 chip mixture if necessary until spreading consistency. Spread evenly over caramel layer. Chill until firm. Cut into squares.

~ These are yummy but very rich and I recommend cutting them into small squares.

Madagascar Vanilla (purchase at Chefs Catalog) Of all the vanilla's I've used this is my favorite. Once you've tried it you won't go back!

Cheese Pie

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Ingredients: 

1/4 lb. feta cheese
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 egg
1 tbsp. fresh parsley (1/2 tsp. dried)
pepper to taste
filo pastry sheets
1/4 cup butter

Directions: 

~I find a Quisinart works best for this.

Put the cheeses, pepper, parsley and egg in the food processor and mix until blended. About 10-15 seconds. Not long.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

When using filo dough the sheets you aren't working with at the moment need to be kept covered, so they don't dry out. (plastic wrap works well for this) Put 2 filo sheets on a cutting board and brush butter over the surface of the top one. Slice the sheets in half lengthwise. Drop 1 tbsp. of cheese mixture in one corner of the dough strip. Fold corner of dough over the filling. Turn triangle over and over to the end of the strip. Put on cookie sheet and brush top with butter. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake in oven for 12-15 minutes or until crisp and brown.

~I love feta so always add a bit extra.

~This is wonderful with Dolmades me Avgolemono (stuffed grape leaves)

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