Sophie’s Kohlrabi And Fig Salad With Balsamic-Lemon Vinaigrette

A crunchy, sweet salad with an acidic vinaigrette that pairs very well with it and might be worth trying for Thanksgiving.  Enjoy.

1 bulb Kohlrabi, Washed And Diced

Salt and Pepper, to taste

4 Black Figs, Washed And Sliced

Pomegranate Seeds

Craisins

Walnuts, Roasted, Salted, And Chopped or Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds), Shelled And Salted

Goat Cheese, Crumbled

Gorgonzola Cheese, Crumbled

Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Lemon Juice

2 Tbsp Honey

2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled And Grated

Dijon Mustard

Fennel Seed

1. Oil a pan, and sauté kohlrabi for a few minutes until slightly cooked. Season with salt and pepper, pour into a bowl, and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine cooked kohlrabi, figs, pomegranate seeds, craisins, walnuts or pepitas, goat cheese, and gorgonzola cheese.

3. In a small bowl, combine, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, honey, grated garlic, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, and fennel seed.

4. Pour over salad, and toss to coat. Pile some into a bowl, and enjoy.

Yields: 5 servings

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Sophie’s Caramel Corn Brownie Bars

A slightly unexpected, yet delicious combination of sweet and salty flavors in the form of a bar.  Enjoy.

2 Cups, plus more All Purpose Flour

1 1/3 Cups Granulated Sugar

2 Sticks Butter or Margarine, Softened

1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Dulce De Leche, Softened

Popcorn, Crushed

1 package Fiber One Chocolate Fudge Brownies, Broken Into Bits

For the vanilla shortbread crust:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together 2 sticks of butter, 1 1/3 cups of granulated sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.

3. Pour in flour a little bit at a time, and let the mixer go until everything is incorporated.

4. Press the dough into a well greased rectangular baking tin, and bake for 40 minutes.

5. Remove from oven, and set aside.

For the finished bars:

1. Pour softened dulce de leche into crust, and spread it out. Sprinkle on crushed popcorn and brownie bits, and place in the refrigerator to set.

2. Remove from refrigerator, remove from tin, and place on a cutting board. Cut into thirds lengthwise, cut widthwise into rectangles, and enjoy.

Yields: 2 dozen bars

Sophie’s Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms With Cheesy French-Fried Onion Topping

A yummy appetizer with a substitute for breadcrumbs that you’ll absolutely love in the topping.  Enjoy.

5 Stuffer Mushrooms, Washed, Stems Removed

1 Tbsp Butter or Margarine, Softened

Red Grape Tomatoes, Washed And Diced

2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled And Minced

Olive Oil

French’s Crispy Fried Onions, Ground Into A Fine Powder

Parmesan Cheese, Grated

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F on broil.

2. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, and cook the mushroom caps all the way through on both sides.

3. Remove from pan, and set aside.

4. Oil the same pan, and add garlic. Sauté until slightly browned, and add tomatoes. Let cook, and spoon the mixture inside the mushroom caps.

5. In a small bowl, combine crushed French-fried onions and some grated Parmesan cheese.

6. Oil the same pan again, and toast topping, stirring occasionally.

6. Sprinkle on stuffed mushrooms, and sprinkle on some more grated Parmesan cheese.

7. Bake on the top rack until the grated cheese is melted.

8. Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy.

Yields: 5 tomato stuffed mushrooms with cheesy French-fried onion topping

Sophie’s Brownies

A delicious classic.  Enjoy.

6 Tbsp Semisweet Chocolate or Chocolate Chips

1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour

3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar

1/4 tsp Salt

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

2 Sticks Butter or Margarine, Softened

1/4 Cup Whole Milk or Half And Half or Heavy Cream

3 Whole Eggs, Beaten

Confectioners’ Sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Set up a double boiler to melt the semisweet chocolate and butter. On the bottom, place a pot filled with water over the stove. On the top, place a small bowl filled with the semisweet chocolate and butter.

3. Once the chocolate and butter have melted, remove from the double boiler, stir in whole milk and granulated sugar.

4. Pour some of the hot melted chocolate into the egg mixture to temper them, and add the chocolate-egg mixture to the rest of the hot chocolate mixture so that the eggs do not scramble, stirring the mixture until everything is incorporated.

5. Add flour, salt, and baking powder.

6. Pour into a well greased baking pan, bang it before putting it in the oven to release the air bubbles, and bake for 22-25 minutes.

7. Remove from oven, and let cool. Sift Confectioners’ sugar over them, cut, and enjoy.

Yields: about 20 brownies

Eat, Drink, and End Hunger at the NYCWFF

OMG!!!!!  I’m finally going to get to tell you about the best day of my life: today, I went with my mom to the New York City Wine And Food Festival sponsored by Food Network and Cooking Channel.  All proceeds go to the Food Bank For New York City and No Kid Hungry.  It was their 10th anniversary, and for the first time, there was a section of events for families for the first time this year called Family Fun!, so people of all ages could go; you didn’t have to be at least 21.  The event that my mom and I went to was Culinary Demonstrations Only at the Grand Tasting presented by Shoprite.  There were tons of food to eat, people to see, books to sign, and so much more!!!!!

I started off the day at 12:30 seeing a cooking demo by Jason Smith, the most recent Holiday Baking Champion and Food Network Star.  He made pan-seared pork chops with apple chutney, that, of course, included bourbon.  His Southern charm makes everyone smile, and I was so glad when I got the opportunity to have him sign my NYCWFF shirt that I bought and take a picture with me.

Next was Debi Mazar and her husband, Gabriele Corcos.  They have a show on Cooking Channel that I don’t really watch because I’m more into Food Network, so I didn’t go to their demo, but I love seeing Debi play Maggie on one of my favorite TV shows, Younger.  I went to their book signing where they, also, signed the back of my shirt and took a picture with me.

Then, Alex Guarnaschelli, The Queen, if you will, as the other superstars refer to her on Guy’s Grocery Games during his Superstar Tournaments.  I mean, she’s the Iron Chef, ICAG they called her (short for Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli), she’s a Chopped judge, she’s just a legend in the cooking world.  I had to choose between her and Marc Murphy’s demos because of the conflicting times, but I planned to go to both of their book signings anyway, so I went to Alex’s demo.  She made some chicken breasts with a sauce and pineapple upside-down cake with pink peppercorn caramel.

I was going to Marc Muphy’s book signing, another Chopped judge, but a guy said that he already left, and Alex’s started a little bit early, right after her demo.  Since I was going to Alex’s signing anyway, I still went to hers, and as I expected, the line was really long, but my mom and I still waited in it because I really wanted to meet her (oh, and she was wearing an ICAG shirt, from, of course, Guy Fieri, and a family of three was also wearing #ICAG shirts: lolz).  She, too, signed my shirt, and we took a picture together.  She also signed a piece of paper for Gabby because we were talking yesterday, and she asked me to try and get a signature from Alex for her.

Valerie Bertinelli: what can I say about her?  I think she’s one of my new favorite chefs on FN, as I mentioned in one of my previous posts, and, I mean, she went from actress to Food Network chef, and even though I didn’t see her act on any shows, I really enjoy watching Valerie’s Home Cooking.  Her fights with plastic wrap always get me riled up.  Lolz.  She’s also a co-host of Kids Baking Championship, which I love to watch.  Anyway, my grandma got me one of her old books, which I think at the time had been her most recent (her latest book was just released a few days ago), so I brought it for her to sign in addition to my shirt.  For her demo, she made scalloped potatoes.  When she asked if we wanted to have some, I went up, but by the time I got up there, they’d unfortunately ran out of it.  Once again, she signed my copy of her book that I told you I got, and just like everyone else, she signed my shirt, and we took a picture together.  And, just like Alex, my other friend, Hannah, wanted a signature from her, so she wrote one on a piece of paper for her.

Finally was Katie Lee, Southern gal and co-host of The Kitchen.  She made cauliflower chicken fried rice with a little help from her Z100 friend, Elvis Duran.  I went to her book signing, and she was so sweet, not that everyone else wasn’t.  She signed my shirt, took a picture with me, and then, that was the end of my day.

During each demo, people had asked questions that were answered by the chefs that were cooking, and in between each event, we, of course, walked around and sampled food, everything from spinach and kale pesto to cheesecake to arancini balls and pizza.  It was all sooooo good!!!!!

I thanked my mom over and over again because it was truly an amazing experience to get to meet all my favorite chefs, and I just had such a great time.  I was even put on the NYCWFF website!!!!!  Oh…and I forgot to tell you guys, at each person’s book signing, I gave them my business card.  Yeah, I have a business card that I created for this blog.  It’s in the collage that I used for this post’s picture.  Anyway, that was my unbelievable day!!!!!  Next year, I hope Gabby can come with me; I think she would’ve really enjoyed this.  Bye.

Sophie’s Tuna Or Salmon Salad With Lemon-Crème Fraîche Dressing

A classic salad with a nice, creamy dressing inspired by the one from Bagel Boss.  Enjoy.

1 can Solid White Albacore Tuna In Water or Wild Salmon, Drained And Mashed

1 stalk Celery, Washed And Diced

1 Cup Carrots, Washed, Peeled And Diced

1/4 Red Onion, Peeled And Diced

1 can Artichoke Hearts, Drained And Sliced

Crème Fraîche

Lemon Juice

Mayonnaise

Dijon Mustard

Salt and Pepper, to taste

1. In a small bowl, combine mashed tuna or salmon, celery, carrots, diced red onion, and artichokes.

2. In a small bowl, combine crème fraîche, lemon juice, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper.

3. Stir dressing into salad, and enjoy.

Yields: 1 serving

Sophie’s Jerk Chicken With Roasted Garlic Mole Sauce

Two dishes with similar sweet and spicy flavored profiles that fused together to create a Carrihean-Mexican match made in heaven.  Enjoy.

8 Bone-In, Skin-On Chicken Thighs

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Onion Powder, to taste

Garlic Powder, to taste

Brown Sugar

Ground Cinnamon, to taste

Ground Nutmeg, to taste

Allspice, to taste

Ground Cloves, to taste

Ground Ginger, to taste

Mexican Chocolate, Melted

Unsweetened Chocolate, Melted

Piquillo Peppers, Washed

Green Peppers, Washed

12 Roasted Garlic Cloves

Sweet Chili Sauce

Hot Water
For the original chicken:
1. In a small bowl, combine salt and pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, allspice, ground cloves, and ground ginger.
2. Season chicken with the jerk seasoning mixture.
3. Oil a cast iron skillet, and sear chicken on both sides, skin-side down first, making sure they are almost cooked, covering if necessary.
4. Uncover, remove from skillet, and set aside.

For the mole sauce:
1. Char the piquillo peppers and green peppers on all sides by using tongs to hold them over a flame on the stove set to medium heat.
2. Place charred peppers in a resealable plastic bag (such as Ziplock), seal it, and let sit to let the steam escape.
3. Open the bag (it will be hot), remove the charred peppers, and let cool. Use a knife to cut open the peppers (if you do not want a lot of charred flavor in the mole sauce, you can scrape off some of the charred skin of the peppers, and discard it), scrape out the seeds, and discard them. Slice the peppers.
4. Place melted Mexican chocolate and melted unsweetened chocolate, charred peppers, roasted garlic, and sweet chili sauce into a blender, and pulse the mixture with some hot water until smooth but slightly chunky.
5. Pour into the same skillet that you cooked the chicken in, and heat.

For the finished chicken:
1. Add chicken back into the same skillet, skin-side up, and let finish cooking in the sauce.
2. Remove from skillet, and put a piece of chicken on a plate, skin-side up. Spoon on some more mole sauce, and enjoy.
Yields: 8 servings

Sophie’s Pistachio-Lime Sablé Cookies

A simple crunchy French butter cookie made with a combination of granulated sugar and Confectioners’ sugar and egg yolks instead of whole eggs.  Enjoy.

2 Cups, plus more All Purpose Flour

1 Cup Granulated Sugar

2 Cups Confectioners’ Sugar

1/4 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

2 Sticks Butter or Margarine, Softened

2 Egg Yolks

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Pistachios, Shelled, Salted, And Crushed

Lime Zest

Green Sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter, granulated sugar, and Confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy.

3. Add egg yolks, one at a time, and vanilla.

4. In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, salt, and baking soda.

5. Pour in dry ingredients a little bit at a time, and let the mixer go until everything is incorporated, and fold crushed pistachios and lime zest.

6. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for about 1 hour in the refrigerator.

7. Remove from refrigerator, and unwrap. Press down, and flatten out the dough on a clean work surface that has been sprinkled with some flour to prevent it from sticking. Roll it out thin, and use a fluted round cookie cutter to cut out the cookies.

8. Place onto two well greased baking sheets.

9. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

10. Remove for oven, sprinkle with green sugar, and enjoy.

Yields: about 2 dozen cookies

Sophie’s Bean And Broccoli Slaw With Mascarpone-Mustard Dressing

A new and inventive idea for coleslaw incorporating grated broccoli instead of cabbage, chickpeas for protein, and a tangy creamy dressing with mascarpone cheese instead of mayo.  Enjoy.

1 Cup Broccoli, Washed And Grated

1 can Chickpeas, Drained

Mascarpone Cheese

Dijon Mustard

Milk

Lemon Juice

Salt and Pepper, to taste

For the original coleslaw:

1. In a medium bowl, combine grated broccoli and chickpeas.

For the mascarpone-mustard dressing:

1. In a small bowl, combine mascarpone, Dijon mustard, milk, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.

For the finished coleslaw:

1. Pour dressing over slaw, and toss to coat. Pile some into a bowl, and enjoy.

Yields: 3 servings

Sophie’s Spiced Lemon Olive Oil Cake With Mascarpone Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

A vibrant citrusy cake full of color and flavor.  Enjoy.

1 Cup All Purpose Flour

3 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar, Divided Use

3/4 tsp Salt, Divided Use

1 tsp Baking Soda

Ground Cinnamon, to taste

Ground Nutmeg, to taste

3/4 Cup Olive Oil

5 Egg Yolks, Divided Use

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Lemon Zest

3/4 Cup Lemon Juice

6 Egg Whites, Divided Use

1 tsp Cream Of Tartar, Divided Use

Yellow Food Coloring

1/2 Cup Water

2 1/2 Sticks Cold Butter or Margarine, Softened, Divided Use

1 Cup Mascarpone Cheese

Raspberries, Washed

1 Fresh Mint Sprig, Washed

For the lemon curd:

1. Set up a double boiler to create the curd. On the bottom, place a saucepan filled with water over the stove. On the top, place a small bowl filled with the lemon juice, 1 cup of granulated sugar, and 2 egg yolks.

2. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, and it reaches a temperature of 160 degrees F, and turn off the heat.

3. Stir in 1/2 stick of butter cut into cubes, one cube at a time, letting each one melt before adding the next.

4. Remove bowl from saucepan, and set aside.

For the original cake:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining egg yolks and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar until thick and pale yellow in color.

3. Stir in oil and vanilla.

4. Sift flour, 1/4 tsp of salt, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg over the mixture, fold in lemon zest, and stir in yellow food coloring.

7. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip 3 egg whites, 1/4 tsp of salt, and 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar until frothy and foamy, slowly add 3/4 cup of granulated sugar and lemon curd, and continue until stiff peaks form.

8. Slowly fold it into mixture.

9. Pour the cake into a well greased round small springform cake pan, making sure the latch on the metal ring is closed, and bake for about 35 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean when the cake is done.

10. Remove from oven, and let cool. Run a serrated knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it, open the latch on the metal ring, and slowly lift it to remove it from the base.

For the mascarpone Swiss meringue buttercream frosting:

1. Set up a double boiler to kill the salmonella in the meringue. On the bottom, place a saucepan filled with water over the stove. On the top, place a bowl filled with remaining egg whites, 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, remaining salt, and remaining cream of tartar.

2. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves, and it reaches a temperature of 160 degrees F.

3. Transfer the cooked meringue to the bowl of an electric mixer, and whip it until stiff peaks form.

4. In the same bowl with the mixer, cream together Swiss meringue and remaining butter, adding one cube at a time, on medium-low speed until everything is incorporated, and the frosting is light and fluffy. Add mascarpone, and let the mixer go until everything is thoroughly combined.

For the simple syrup:

1. In a saucepan, dissolve remaining granulated sugar in water, and bring to a boil. Bring the simple syrup to a simmer, and set aside.

For the finished cake:

1. Cut the domed top off of the cake, and discard it. Brush the simple syrup on it, and spread the mascarpone Swiss meringue buttercream frosting all over it including the top and the sides, smoothing it out as you go. Decorate with raspberries however you would like, and garnish with a fresh mint sprig. Cut, and enjoy.

Yields: 1 spiced lemon olive oil cake with mascarpone Swiss meringue buttercream frosting