Dec 12, 2012

More Chanukah Menus

 This year it seems that Chanukah is extra long because it starts on a Motzei Shabbos and continues all the way until the following Sunday. Well, it’s actually the same number of days every year but this year it feels like we got some extra time to party. If you are running out of ideas all you need to do is stop by The Peppermill for tasty recipes and exciting activities for the kids at your Chanukah party.
For those who do not have the opportunity to visit us personally we’re glad to share some of our latest delicious recipes for you to try at home this week.

Start your Chanukah party with a warm delicious savory tomato soup; ours is topped with unusual croutons!
For the soup:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
4 cups water
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup orzo
1/2 cup heavy cream
For the grilled cheese croutons:
4 slices rye bread
2 tablespoons butter, softened
4 ounces mozzarella or Muenster cheese, shredded

 In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Stir in the water, tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill a medium pot with water, add 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and cook for 7 minutes. (It will finish cooking in the soup.) Drain the orzo and add it to the soup. Stir in the cream, return the soup to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently.
Prepare the croutons:
Heat a medium-sized fry-pan or panini pan. Place the four slices of bread on a cutting board and smear with the butter, being sure to butter the corners. Turn the slices over and pile shredded cheese on two of the slices. Place the remaining two slices of bread on top of the cheese, buttered sides up.
Fry or grill the sandwiches on the pan for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Press down with a spatula or panini press. Place on a cutting board; allow to rest for 1 minute and cut into 1-inch cubes.
Ladle soup into bowls, top with a few croutons and serve immediately.

This savory dish will be an exciting change from your usual vegetable quiche; it’s flavored with basil pesto.

Crust:
1¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, cut into ½” cubes
½ cup sour cream
Filling:
1 box fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup pesto (see recipe below)
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
3 ounces parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper

Whisk flour and salt in a large bowl. With a pastry blender or 2 forks, cut in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add sour cream; stir until dough comes together. Shape dough into disk. On a lightly floured surface, roll out to a 14” round. Transfer to a 9” deep pie plate. Trim overhang and crimp edges. Chill crust at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line pie shell with parchment paper and fill with pieweights or beans. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven, take out pie weights and lower heat to 325 degrees.
Prepare filling:
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté mushrooms until wilted and liquid has evaporated. Place mushrooms into partially baked pie shell.
Combine, eggs, milk, pesto and cheese in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully pour mixture over mushrooms and bake until set, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool a bit before slicing.

Easy Pesto
Use this any time you have a recipe calling for pesto.
2 trays Eden frozen checked basil, thawed
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil

Place all ingredients in a bowl and blend using an immersion blender. Use ¼ cup in the quiche recipe.

No Chanukah party would be complete without a divine dessert! This one combines lots of our favorite flavors--caramel, peanuts and chocolate. It doesn’t get much better than this!

For the crust:
14 chocolate graham crackers, finely ground (2 1/3 cups)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 stick butter, melted

 Caramel layer:
1 1/2 cups dulce de leche caramel
1 cup roasted salted peanuts

 For the Mousse:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream

For the Chocolate Ganache:
7 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons light corn syrup (Karo)
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the chocolate crust: Combine cookie crumbs, granulated sugar, and butter. Press mixture into bottom and halfway up sides of 9-inch springform pan. Bake until dry and firm, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Heat dulce de leche and spread on the crust. Sprinkle with peanuts. Refrigerate.

Prepare the peanut butter mousse:
Beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy.  Add peanut butter and vanilla, and beat until combined. Whisk heavy cream in a separate bowl until medium-stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of the whipped cream into peanut butter mixture. Carefully fold in remaining whipped cream in 2 additions.
Gently spread peanut butter mousse over caramel in an even layer, making sure they don't blend together. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Make the chocolate ganache:
Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour cream over chocolate and let stand for 1 minute. Add corn syrup. Whisk to combine.
Remove tart from refrigerator, and pour in ganache to cover surface. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Wishing all a freilichen, tasty Chanukah!

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