Archive for January, 2015


Posted on January 22, 2015 - by

Hot Pepper Jelly Cheese Puffs

LUCY BURDETTE:  I have a new obsession in Key West–this is hot pepper jelly made by the Pickle Baron, a local company here on the island. They also make bacon jam (bacon jam!!), and all kinds of pickles.

one of the Pickle Barons

John and I put the jelly on our sandwiches all week–it has just the right smoky heat to raise cold cuts to the next level. Then I remembered of my favorite hors d’oeuvre–a recipe for hot pepper jelly cheese puffs that I got years ago from my good friend Cathy Crook.

These puffs are positively decadent and delicious. There’s one drawback: They look like little thumbprint jam cookies so it takes a while for the party guests to catch on that you’re talking cheese, not sugar. Once a few people taste them, however, word spreads like wildfire and the plate will be snatched clean. So gobble a couple before you put them out.

HOT PEPPER JELLY CHEESE PUFFS

1/2 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup flour
Hot pepper jelly

Mix the first 3 ingredients until they hold together in a ball–either by hand or using food processor. Wrap in parchment paper or Saran wrap and chill 1/2 hour.

Roll into small balls (no bigger than an inch thick.) Bake at 400 degrees for five minutes. Remove them from the oven and make depressions in the top of the puffs with the back of a spoon.

Fill with Pickle Baron’s Habanero hot pepper jelly (or other jelly, or mild pepper jelly if you can’t take the heat.)

Return puffs to the oven and bake until golden. (5-7 more minutes.)

And watch them disappear off the plate!

 

Lucy writes the Key West food critic mysteries:

DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS is here now!

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Posted on January 15, 2015 - by

Gingerbread Roll-Up Cake #recipe

 

LUCY BURDETTE: Say it’s the pit of winter and the short days and cold temps are bringing you down. Nothing cheers me up like a new dessert:). So I started to think about my favorite gingerbread recipe which I found many years ago in Moosewood’s Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbook. Three things made it special: fresh ginger, molasses, and honey.

Could I transform this into a rolled cake stuffed with cinnamon-scented whipped cream that would appear fancier than gingerbread and fit for a party or a special family meal? Taste testers said I did–here’s the new recipe:

Ingredients for the Cake:

4 eggs, separated
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1-2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp powdered mustard
2 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar

Whipped cream filling:

1 pint heavy whipping cream
3 Tbsp sugar, or to taste
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Grease a 15 X 10 inch baking pan, then line it with parchment paper; butter the paper and set aside.

Saute the grated ginger in the butter. Cool.

Let eggs stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Separate the whites from the yolks.

With your stand mixer or mixer, beat egg yolks on high speed until thickened, about 3 minutes.

Beat in molasses, honey, vanilla, and butter. Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, mustard and cinnamon,) and beat these until well combined.

In a small bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites on medium speed. Add a pinch of cream of tartar and continue beating on high until soft peaks form. Fold the whites into yolk mixture.

Spread batter into prepared pan and bake in a 375 pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes.

Prepare a clean dish towel by sprinkling powdered sugar over it.

Turn the cake onto the towel, peel off the parchment, and roll the cake up in the towel.

(You are rolling the towel right in with the cake–which I found fun and amazing…)
Cool completely.

In a mixing bowel or cuisinart, combine the cream and vanilla and beat. When this begins to thicken, add cinnamon and sugar to taste, then beat until thick.

Unroll cake and spread the filling to within 1/2 inch from the edges.

Roll up the cake again. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve the cake slices with dollops of leftover whipped cream—or in the case of my family, with ice cream AND whipped cream. (ALWAYS ice cream, and preferably chocolate:).

DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS is in stores now!


Posted on January 8, 2015 - by

The Many Layers of Baklava #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Our daughter and son-in-law visited Turkey this fall and look at what they brought back to us: samples of one of my favorite desserts, baklava. Isn’t that the best gift ever? Those tasty nuggets inspired me to try making it–again.

Quite a few years ago, I was asked to help our son’s elementary school class make baklava. (They must have been studying food from various countries around the world.) Though I’ve always been a fan of this pastry, I had never had the nerve to try making it myself. Believe me, if a group of schoolkids could make it, anyone can:). The only problem we had was discovering occasional brush bristles in the finished pastry–this I blame on poor quality pastry brushes and intense paint strokes…

Ingredients

1 pound package of phyllo dough, thawed overnight, then brought to room temperature

1 pound walnuts or mixture of pistachios and walnuts (I used 1/3 salted pistachios and 2/3 walnuts)

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 sticks unsalted butter, melted

12 ounces honey

Chop the walnuts and pistachios finely in a food processor and then add the sugar and cinnamon and pulse to combine these.  Set this aside.

Remove the phyllo dough from the package and unroll it on a clean counter. Butter a 13 x 9″ baking dish and layer in 8 of the phyllo sheets, one at a time, buttering each sheet with a pastry brush dipped in the melted butter.

As you work, cover the remaining sheets of phyllo with a damp towel so they don’t dry out. (Don’t sweat any little tears–they won’t show up in the end.)

Pour 1 cup of the nut mixture over the eight layers of phyllo and spread this evenly to the edges. Continue to layer eight more sheets of dough, painting each with melted butter.

Spread another cup of the nut mixture over the top. Repeat the layers and the nut mixture until all the nuts are used, ending with phyllo.

With a sharp knife, cut the baklava into diamond shapes. Bake at 325° for 45 minutes or until golden.

Remove the dish from the oven and drizzle honey over the dough until it does not absorb any further. To the left is the honeyed pastry before it has soaked in. (I used a full one pound jar of local honey.) Then sprinkle with some ground up pistachios if you like that look. (I did.)

Let cool and sit for six hours or overnight, then serve at room temperature, well wrapped. Oh the agony of waiting! But it’s worth it. My guests told me this was the best baklava they had ever eaten. My hub and I had to agree.

These little squares could make a splendid addition to an party cookie platter!

 

Question:  How is a good mystery like a piece of baklava?

Answer: Many layers!

DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS is here now!

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Posted on January 1, 2015 - by

Welcoming the Year at the Wiener Dog Parade

There are lots of unusual events that take place on the island of Key West, but perhaps none so silly and fun as the dachshund parade.

This has been occurring on New Year’s Eve day for the past eight years, much to the chagrin of the Key West police, who have plenty on their hands already, getting prepared for New Year’s Eve on Duval Street.

John and I and Tonka attended in 2012, and ended up falling in with the dachshunds and the dachshund wannabes. After seeing the sights, I vowed that we would come in costume next time around.

I was planning to sew a costume like this for Tonka. But then I checked on ebay as time grew short–and became the winning bidder on this costume.

And then I found hats for me and John–a hamburger and a hot dog. Weren’t they such good sports about dressing up as lunch meat? We marched from the Courthouse, up Southard Street to Duval, then right on Duval to Appleruth Lane. (Dachshunds have short legs so it was a short route:).

There were dogs dressed as lobsters….

and dogs with their mothers in funny hats…

 

 

And dogs in disguise

 

 

And dogs in blue tutus just like their owners

 

 

And this is my good friend, Officer Steve Torrence, who is also a character in the Key West mysteries. (He’s a good sport even though he isn’t a fan of this parade:).

And here is a family portrait
Leading off the parade were three mounted police and a small van with great speakers that played classics like “Who Let the dogs out?” and “Ain’t Nothing like a hound dog.” A truly amazing way to end 2014…or any year!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uaPs8sxqB0

And if you think this is material I can’t use, you haven’t read the fifth Key West mystery, DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS!

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you’re out there doing something fun and even a little bit silly!  xo Lucy and all the Key West gang



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