Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fresh Fruit Tarts

And now, a dessert thrown in for good measure. These tarts are of the 'almost homemade' persuasion, and very similar to the Coconut Cream Tarts I made last spring. I only exchanged toasted coconut for fresh fruit. These little sweet bites would make a colorful dessert for July 4th. Eating one won't ruin your diet, if you can really eat only one!

Fresh Fruit Tarts

1 pkg. (24) refrigerated cookie dough

1 small pkg. Instant vanilla pudding mix

One and one-half cups whipping cream

One-half cup half and half

1 T almond flavoring

Strawberries capped and sliced vertically


Prepared whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350°.

Spray muffin tins with Pam

Sprinkle flour over counter. Roll each cookie (keep cookie dough very cold) into thin round and place in muffin tin. (You can also flour your hands, and pat each dough piece between palms into rounds.)

Bake for 16 minutes, or until beginning to turn golden.

Leave in muffin tin for a couple of minutes, until firmly set, then remove to wire rack and cool.

Combine pudding mix, whipping cream, half and half, and almond flavoring until well combined and thickened. Place in refrigerator until ready to assemble.

Cover the bottom of each cookie tart with about two teaspoons of pudding.

Fill the center of each tart with blueberries, and add three strawberry slices around outside edge.

Add a dollop (or squirt) of whipped cream and top with one blueberry.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pimento Cheese Rolls

Pimento Cheese Rolls

This is a variation of the mayonnaise rolls my mother-in-law used to make. They were so delicious, and easy. But wait until you try them with added cheese, pimento and a couple of secret ingredients I'm going to share. Add a little butter to the warm roll and they are downright decadent!

Pimento Cheese Rolls

2 cups self-rising flour

One-fourth cup mayonnaise (I use Dukes!)

1 cup buttermilk

2 T finely chopped pimento, very well drained

1 tsp. Smoked paprika

Dash hot sauce (I use Tabasco)

Dash Worcestershire Sauce

1 cup shredded Havarti cheese (or your choice)

Preheat oven to 450°.

Spray muffin tin with Pam.

Combine mayonnaise, buttermilk, pimento, paprika, hot sauce, Worcestershire Sauce and shredded cheese. Add flour and stir make thick batter.

Dip about one-third cup batter into each of twelve muffin cups.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden on top and feel firm.

Serve warm with butter.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Crab Cakes with Mango-Pineapple Salsa

Crab Cakes with Mango-Pineapple Salsa for a Special Birthday!

It's a busy time. May and early June compete with December for the busiest months of the year. If you're entertaining, especially for a brunch, luncheon, or even a lazy Saturday morning get together, I have three recipes you're going to love. This menu would also be perfect for a bridal shower, a graduation celebration--just about any special event.

These are two of my favorite recipes, with a dessert thrown in for good measure. I first made the crab cakes for a special friend's birthday celebration. We combined some of our favorite mild flavors with the crab meat, and left out all the ingredients we don't like in most restaurant crab cakes. I've never understood why Old Bay seasoning and red and green peppers are added to crab meat—a mild, delicately flavored meat that is easily over-powered. And frankly, the salsa combination may be the best blend of flavors I've ever tasted. It compliments the crab cakes perfectly.

Next up: Pimento Cheese Rolls and Fresh Fruit Tarts!

Crab Cakes

(makes 10 large crab cakes or 20 appetizer size)

1 lb. lump crabmeat

1 large egg

one-half tsp. salt

one-fourth tsp. pepper

3 T mayonnaise

1 T grated fresh ginger

3 scallions, finely chopped

one-half cup finely chopped jicama or firm Asian pear, peeled

three-fourths cup small toasted pecan pieces

2 cups breadcrumbs, divided

Peanut oil

Lightly beat egg with salt and pepper. Mix in the mayonnaise. Add ginger, scallions, jicama and pecans. Gently fold in crabmeat and half of the breadcrumbs.

Firmly form into cakes (about one-half cup each), and lightly bread each one with remaining breadcrumbs.

Place crab cakes on covered sheet pan in refrigerator until ready to fry.

Pour about 1 inch of peanut oil into deep sided heavy skillet over medium high heat. Fry crab cakes without crowding in two or three batches for about 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown, turning once. (Fry until firmly browned on bottom, then carefully turn.)

Serve with Pineapple Mango Salsa.

Pineapple Mango Salsa

1 mango peeled and diced

Equal amount of diced fresh pineapple

Juice and zest of 2 limes

2 T finely chopped cilantro

3 T orange marmalade

Mix all ingredients together in food processor. Pulse several times, but leave little solid pieces of fruit. Cover and chill.