Saturday, January 23, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Brick Oven is Corey's (my husband) favorite restaurant. And his very favorite thing there is the roasted red pepper pasta sauce. I love Brick Oven too, but I think their roasted red pepper sauce is kind of hit and miss. Sometimes it's phenomenal: flavorful, thick, creamy, with just a touch of spice; other times it's thin and flavorless. I've been trying to duplicate the sauce (and improve upon it) at home. This time it turned out the best it has yet. I'm sure I'll still experiment more (that's just what I do) but I had to write down how to make it this time before I forget. Serve this over any type of pasta of your choice. I prefer it with shells, bow ties, or penne. Enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

1 - 2 Tb. onions or scallions, minced
1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tb. olive oil
1 jar roasted red peppers, or 4 - 5 red peppers, roasted and peeled
1 can (8 oz.) no-salt-added tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 - 1 1/2 cups cheese (muenster, smoked Gouda, Romano, Parmesan, or a combination)

1. In food processor or blender, blend roasted red peppers until finely blended.
2. In large saucepan heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for one more minute. Stir in roasted red peppers, tomato sauce, and spices. Simmer 5 minutes. Stir in heavy whipping cream and cheese until melted and thoroughly combined.
3. Carefully pour mixture into blender or food processor and process until smooth. Serve over pasta and sprinkle with cheese and grilled sliced chicken (if desired).

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hot Spiced Punch

This is a classic Monson recipe. We have had it every winter since I can remember. It's a great hot punch (kind of like a wassil) that is fantastic served with fresh cinnamon rolls, poppy seed cake, or with a couple of Christmas cookies. It makes even the coldest winter day seem a little bit better. It makes a ton, so if you're not planning on serving it to a big group, I'd recommend at least halving the recipe.

Hot Spiced Punch
Serves about 30

5 Quarts Water
1 tsp. ground cloves
2 sticks cinnamon
4 cups sugar
6 lemons, juiced
6 oranges, juiced
1 large can pineapple juice

Boil water, sugar, cloves, and cinnamon together for 5 minutes. Add teh juices. Cook until heated through. Serve hot or cold. Keep refrigerated.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Oreo Truffles

I made these last year for Christmas, but in the midst of the 45 or so other things I cooked for our massive holiday party, they kind of got lost in the mix. I found Oreos for a great deal and decided to whip some up for New Year's Eve this year...and then wondered how I ever survived without them for so long. They were gone quickly, and I found myself making another batch just two days later because I didn't get enough of them the first time. They are super easy and have only three ingredients, you can't go wrong here! I adapted the recipe slightly from Kraft Foods; I added extra cream cheese because I like the truffles soft in the center so they're melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

Oreo Truffles
Makes 50-60 truffles

1 package Oreos
1 1/2 pkg. (12 oz. total) cream cheese, softened
12 oz. chocolate (I used half milk chocolate and half semi-sweet chocolate, I also did some with white chocolate and they were all great)
1 oz. white chocolate

1. In bowl of food processor, finely crush Oreos. Mix thoroughly with cream cheese until all the crumbs are mixed in and no white streaks are visible. Form into small balls (I used a small cookie scoop and then rolled them into balls) and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
2. Melt 12 oz. chocolate over double boiler, stirring constantly. Dip each truffle into chocolate using a spoon, being sure to tap against the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate. Drop onto parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining truffles.
3. Melt 1 oz. white chocolate. Pour into ziploc bag and make a tiny hole in the corner. Drizzle over chocolates. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 72 hours (if they last that long!)
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