Saturday, November 18, 2017

Taste of the Seasons Recipes

About 4 years ago my dear friend, Blake, asked me to help him with an event for the Brownstown Fund for the Arts, where he was a board member, and because it was Blake, I said, "Sure."  I prepared and demo-ed 3 appetizers and 3 cocktails for about 50 people.  It was fun, and we repeated the fun for three years.  Last year he took a break, but this year, my friends in the Psi Iota Xi Chapter in Brownstown wanted to revive it, both for their chapter anniversary party and as a fund raiser -- and they said they would give the proceeds to the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts where I am a board member.  So I said "sure" once again.
I didn't do a recipe book (both to save a little money and because my computer and printer weren't talking to each other); the event chairwomen Andrea and Jeanna (amazing, fun and hard-working Psi Ote sisters) suggested posting the recipes online, so here they are:

Herb Roasted Nuts
Although I called them "herb" roasted on the menu, I actually made "spice" roasted nuts.  I adapted this recipe from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook.  If you are in Savannah, be sure to go to this adorable vintage bakery.   

2 T. butter
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
1 t. cumin
1/8 t. cayenne
4 cups unsalted mixed nuts (any that you like -- I used almonds, cashews and walnuts)
1/4 cup sugar

Melt butter in a large skillet over low heat.  Stir in spices and continue to stir, cooking for about 2 minutes.  Add nuts, and stir for 5-6 minutes.  Sprinkle sugar over all, and cook another 3-4 minutes, or until you can't see the sugar any longer.  Pour nuts onto parchment-covered cookie sheet, and sprinkle with salt.  You can vary this recipe any way you like, with any spices or herbs that you enjoy.  There are lots of great spice mixes that would work perfectly.

French Mule Cocktail
We had this delicious cocktail at a French luncheon last month at Epcot.  This is a fairly close copy, I think.

For each drink:
2 oz. Chambord Liqueur (although I used my homemade blackberry liqueur)
1 oz. vodka
Juice of half a lime
1 can of cold ginger beer or ginger ale

Mix all and pour over ice.  Add a raspberry (or blackberry) and a sprig of mint.

Homemade Fruit Liqueur
Just because

Lightly fill a quart Ball jar with fresh, clean fruit -- berries, peaches, plums, cherries.
Pour vodka over fruit, filling the jar almost to the top, with a little room to stir.
Cap the jar, and place in a cool, dark place for a month to 6 weeks, stirring (or shaking) once a week.
When ready, make a simple syrup (1:1 sugar to water, boiled until clear and cooled completely).  Strain the fruit through a sieve or cheesecloth.  Add simple syrup to the jar, making it as sweet as you like.  I store it in the refrigerator.  This is great with some club soda or 7-Up, and I've been told it's pretty delicious on ice cream, as well!

Pam's Cheese Balls
This recipe is from my dear friend, Pam, who won an appetizer contest with these.  Someone Thursday night suggested they were "praline cheese balls" -- I think she was right.  I thought this recipe was perfect for a Beta Mu event -- those sisters had just made over 1700 of their famous cheese balls the weekend before for their annual fundraiser! 

8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons grated onion
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried dill

Mix all together and form into small balls (I used a cookie scoop); refrigerate while you make the sauce:

4 Tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon mustard
1 cup chopped pecans

Mix all the above and spoon over cheese balls.  Refrigerate until serving.

Whipped Goat Cheese on Puff Pastry
This was another French Epcot dish. They didn't give us recipes, but again, I think this is close to what we enjoyed there.

4 ounces plain goat cheese
2 Tablespoons whipping cream
2 teaspoons lightly chopped rosemary
Frozen puff pastry

First, defrost puff pastry according to package directions, and cut into small squares (I did mine about 1" x 2"); place on a parchment-lines (or lightly sprayed) cookie sheet and bake according to package directions.  Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, beat the goat cheese and whipping cream together with an electric mixer until smooth; (you might need to add a little more cream to make it pipe-able); mix in rosemary.  Transfer cheese to a piping bag and squeeze onto the puff pastry squares.  Top with a dot of honey.

Christmas Margarita

1 ounce tequila
3 ounces cranberry juice
1 ounce lime juice
1 ounce orange liqueur
1 ounce club soda

Shake the above ingredients together, pour over ice and serve with a lime wedge and pomegranate seeds (arils).

This recipe is from my favorite magazine, Southern Living, and I think it is just delicious. Click the link above for the recipe.  For Thursday evening, I reduced the jalapenos to just 1, and omitted both the hot sauce and the horseradish. 

This is another great Southern Living Recipe.  We cooked the pork in an electric pressure cooker (InstaPot).  I will confess that the biscuits we served Thursday evening didn't have any BBQ sauce, as I had left it in my refrigerator.

This is the third recipe from SL.  The changes I made to this recipe were: 1) I used a brownie mix; and 2) I omitted the peanut butter from the chocolate mousse.  Just make sure you whip the cream to stiff peaks, and this will set up beautifully.  

Holiday Sangria
This is my recipe, inspired by lots of other winter sangria recipes.  Omit the wine and brandy for a more kid-friendly punch bowl!

1 gallon apple cider
1 cup brandy
Spice ball

Mix cider and brandy in a punch bowl or other large container.  For the spice ball, combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 cinnamon sticks, a teaspoon of whole cloves and a slice of fresh ginger in a cheesecloth square; tie up into a ball and immerse in the cider for a few hours or overnight.

Before serving, prepare fruit.  Chop or thinly slice an apple and a pear, and slice an orange thin.  If you're serving from a punch bowl, add the fruit to the bowl.  Or, add fruit to the indivual glasses. 


4 cups of orange juice
12 ounces of club soda
1 bottle of dry white wine

I had such a great time at the Taste of the Seasons; I think there are plans to do it again next November!  Thanks to my friends Lori and Jenny for coming over Thursday afternoon to help me get ready, and to Clay, Maggie and my sister, Karen, for helping to prep and serve.  And thanks to the women who attended!  

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