Warning: this layered shrimp dip is addictive.
Be prepared to embarrass yourself at parties by hovering over it. Or at least that’s me when my sister would make this wonderful party-friendly layered shrimp dip. Imagine me sitting in front of it on the porch of our old house in North Carolina with scoops in my hand shoveling it into my mouth during summer family gatherings.
Worst part is it is so simple to make with basics being salad shrimp cream cheese, cheddar cheese, cocktail sauce, salsa, and green onions. This dip is very giving in terms of ingredients. You can customize it to suit your tastes. While I am a hardcore fresh salsa maker, I suggest using whatever red salsa out of the jar you fancy from mild to spicy. Same goes from the cocktail sauce, jar works perfectly and you can select the heat level. Canned or defrosted salad shrimp are interchangeable based on what is easier for you to find. Same goes the cheese having just cheddar or a Mexican mix. You can add olives or chopped fresh peppers. We eat ours with just green onions. Whatever takes your taste buds.
Layered Shrimp Dip is perfect for parties or a party for one.
- - 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- - 1/2 cup jarred salsa, divided
- - 1/2 to 1cup cocktail sauce
- - Package, salad shrimp, defrosted or 3 cans (6 ounces each) small shrimp, rinsed and drained
- - 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- - Sliced green onions
- - Tortilla chips or Scoops
- - Combine cream cheese and half of the salsa
- - Spread into a pie plate
- - Combine cocktail sauce and remaining salsa; spread over cream cheese.
- - Arrange shrimp evenly over top.
- - Sprinkle with onions.
- - Chill.
- - Serve with tortilla chips or Scoops
Don’t regift that Panettone or Pandora Breads
Ever since watching the British Bakeoff Master Classes where Paul made the Italian sweet yeast dough, Pandora Bread, I wanted to make it since it looked tasty and lovely. It is a rich bread made with what flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. What has kept me from making with I lacked easy access to the tin star mold. Panettone with the fruit and raisins are common finds, but the plain one was very hard to find.
Right before Christmas, I stopped in RI Job Lots – a store I can not describe – and there was a shelf full of them. I had to buy it. And I couldn’t wait until Christmas to eat it. That night the box was opened and the Pandora was taken out of the bag. We all were looking forward to it. Well there was quite a lot of disappointment. It was dry and had a flavor we couldn’t figure out. Was it alcohol? We didn’t know.
The Pandora, which was quite large, sat on the counter top. I torn clumps of it as I walked by and I wasn’t putting a dent in it. Something had to be done with it, but what?
I made a Mary Berry Christmas Pavlova for a friend on Christmas Eve. It needed six egg whites. I kept the yolks not wanting to waste them. As I put them in the fridge, the thought came to me: bread pudding. I can make bread pudding with them since it takes six egg yolks. While you could toast the bread or batter them for French (or Italian) toast, I like the option for bread pudding better. It is warm and moist with tons of flavor. And it was a hit.
So don’t throw out your Panettone or Pandora or regift it, but instead make bread pudding with it. Tear it apart soaking it in an egg sugar cream mixture and bake. Sprinkle it with powder sugar and, as we say in this house, “Bob’s your uncle.”
Italian Pandora Bread Pudding
- - 6 large egg yolks
- - 2 cups whole milk
- - 1 cup heavy cream
- - 1 cup granulated sugar
- - 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- - 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- - 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- - Pandora Bread, roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
- - 1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped white chocolate
- - Heat oven to 375° F.
- - Butter or spray a shallow 2-quart baking dish.
- - Whisk together the egg yolks, milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl.
- - Add the bread and chocolate and mix to combine.
- - Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and bake until set and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean in 40 minutes.
- - Serve warm or at room temperature.
Cranberry Chutney – A Multipurpose Condiment
Most American holiday tables from Thanksgiving to Christmas have some sort of cranberry dish. I grew up the jellied kind that came out of a can. Just slice it up and serve it. Sometimes my Mom would make a cranberry mold. All of it was good. It felt like I was eating dessert with my main course.
I never got my Mom’s cranberry mold recipe before she passed and she never wrote her recipes down so I had to make my own way. And maybe why it is important to me to write this blog for my son’s sake. I want to preserve and share family favorite recipes. I want my son to be able to have access to them to make for his friends and family when I am gone hopefully passing them on family traditions.
In our first year in Newport, we hosted a Thanksgiving dinner. And what is a Thanksgiving dinner without a cranberry product? Not Thanksgiving that’s what.
As I wandered through BJ’s, I came across a huge bag of cranberries from New England. On the back of this bag of Cape Cod Select cranberries was a recipe for a cranberry chutney. Why not I thought. Let’s just go for it. The huge bag of cranberry was in my cart.
This is a super easy recipe. A tart apple like a Granny Smith is best, I use Gala or whatever apples I have on hand. I recently made a batch and added overly ripe pear with the apple to the mixture. And very versatile. While you can serve this with turkey, you can serve it with other food. Warm some brie up and top it with this cranberry chutney. You can serve it with roasted pork. Top plain yogurt for an added punch to breakfast
- 4 cups cranberries
- 1 large apple
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1. Chop up an apple. A tart apple is recommended, but use whatever you have on hand.
- 2. Combine all ingredients in saucepan.
- 3. Bring to a boil stirring along the way.
- 4. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes. Apple should be tender and the mixture thickens.
- 5. Serve warm or chilled.
The Ultimate Brunch Dish: Eggs Benedict
Stay in your PJs and don’t bother to brush your teeth by bringing the ultimate brunch dish of Eggs Benedict to your table. No need to go out and spend $15 when you can make this at home. For us this is a holiday dish I usually make at Christmas or New Year’s.
The biggest challenge with Eggs Benedict is getting everything done at the same time. I have included my suggested process for preparation. Do whatever works for you. The goal is to get it hot to the table.
Eggs Benedict Recipe
Make Hollandaise Sauce
- 1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Cut the butter into four pieces and place in a 1-quart glass measure or bowl.
- Microwave, covered with a paper towel, on high, until almost melted (about 45 seconds to 1 minute).
- Remove butter from the microwave and stir until completely melted.
- Separate eggs, placing the yolks in a small bowl and setting the whites aside for another purpose.
- Beat the yolks well with a whisk or fork, then add to the butter and stir well.
- Add cream, lemon juice, and sugar to egg mixture and stir well.
- Microwave mixture, uncovered, on high, until just slightly thick, about 1 to 2 minutes, stopping every 20 seconds to stir with a fork.
- Remove sauce from microwave and stir in the mustard.
For Poaching Eggs
- Heat water, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 teaspoons white vinegar and bring to a simmer over medium heat in a skillet with a lid.
- crack each cold large egg into a custard cup or small ramekin.
- Drop each egg into the simmering water.
- Cover with lid and turn heat off.
- Cook for 5 minutes.
Heat Canadian Bacon
Toast English Muffins
Assemble starting with the English muffin, then Canadian Bacon, then Poached Egg topping it off with Hollandaise sauce.
Making of the Lux French Macarons
I seem to be on the French cooking spurt with the baguettes and now macarons. Perhaps that’s telling me I need to plan a trip to France. Who wants to send me there for a month or so? For Well Worn Apron of course! For the art of food, so I can write about the food experience.
Back to macarons. They are like this mythical treat. Epic with their own cult following. I have to admit I have never had a French macaron until I made these ones. Crazy, I know, but true. I am now a fan.
They are beautiful… crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The flavors and fillings can be anything. I made two types: coffee with Nutella filling and lemon with lemon buttercream. I am going to share the coffee recipe since it was the easiest and quickest to make. If you want me to post on the lemon ones, let me know in the comments or on Facebook. Best to make them 24-48 hours before you plan on sharing them. Allows them to develop their flavor and texture. Fair warning macaron making is an afternoon baking session so unlike cookies you cannot just whip these up last minute.
If you have noticed, recently I have been using weight measurements for baking. I am finding I am getting better end results. Baking is more science than art. Worth investing in a scale.
Coffee Nutella Filled French Macarons
- 120 grams almond flour
- 200 grams powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso granules
- 100 grams egg whites or whites for 3 eggs, room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- pinch of kosher salt
- 30 grams granulated sugar
- Nutella spread
- Measure the almond flour, powdered sugar, and espresso powder into the bowl of a food processor.
- Pulse the mixture to a fine powder, and sift.
- Whip the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on medium speed until frothy.
- Slowly add the granulated sugar (about a teaspoon at a time), while continuing to whip. Once all the sugar has been incorporated, turn the speed up to high and whip until the meringue looks glossy and holds stiff peaks.
- Dump all the almond flour mixture into the meringue at once.
- Fold together until the batter falls from the spoon.
- Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip, and pipe rounds about 1 inch in diameter onto parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Slam the baking sheet on the counter to force out any large air bubbles allowing to dry for 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- Bake for 15-16 minutes.
- Cool completely on the baking sheet
- Sandwich with Nutella.
Mary Berry’s Christmas Pavlova
Mary Berry’s Christmas Pavlova is truly a holiday show stopper. While I am not a huge watcher of cooking shows, I enjoy watching The Great British Bake Off. It is a friendly and fun competition. Not like the cooking competition shows in the US where they are cut-throat with yelling and meanness rule. That is not my thing. I like niceness and kindness. Any way back to the pavlova, I saw this on the Master Class program where Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood create desserts by showing you how to make them. The Christmas program was my favorite. A couple recipes I want to try and this was one of them.
I was intimidated by this recipe at first. I have never made a pavlova; however, in Ireland they are a very common dessert. My Auntie Carmel is known to make a pretty amazing one. The recipe is using British ingredients with American English equivalents and measurements. I purchased vanilla bean paste and caster sugar through Amazon. I only converted the oven temps from celsius to fahrenheit. When baking, I am finding it is better to weigh your ingredients than using cups. Baking is more science than art. It is worth investing in scale that does grams and ounces.
Mary Berry’s Christmas Pavlova
- For the pavlova
- - 6 large egg whites
- - 350g/12oz caster sugar or super fine sugar
- - 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- - 1 tsp cornflour (corn starch)
- For the filling
- - 600ml/20fl oz double cream or whipping cream
- - 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- - 50g/1¾oz icing sugar or powdered sugar, sifted
- - 200g/7oz strawberries, hulled and quartered
- - 300g/10½oz raspberries
- - 200g/7oz blueberries
- - a few mint leaves, to decorate (optional)
- - icing sugar or powdered sugar, for dusting
- - Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/Gas 3 or 285F.
- - Line a large baking tray with baking parchment and draw a 30cm/12in circle in the middle of the paper.
- - Put the egg whites in a clean mixing bowl and whisk with an electric whisk until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed.
- - Gradually add the sugar a little at a time, whisking on maximum speed until they are stiff and glossy.
- - Mix the vinegar and cornflour in a cup until smooth, then stir into the egg whites.
- - Spoon the meringue onto the ring drawn on the baking parchment.
- - Using a large spoon make a shallow trench in the meringue for the cream and fruit to sit in.
- - Transfer to the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 140C/120C Fan/Gas 1 or 250F. - --- Bake for 1 hour–1 hour 15 minutes, until the outside is hard but still white.
- - Turn the oven off and leave the pavlova inside for an hour or overnight to cool and dry.
- - To assemble, whip the cream, vanilla paste and icing sugar until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed.
- - Spoon the cream into the trench in the meringue.
- - Arrange the strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and pomegranate on top and decorate with a few mint leaves, if using.
- - To serve, dust with icing sugar and cut into wedges.