Friday, January 9, 2009

red hot christmas slush, cranberry-orange scones and mediterranean hummus bars

Yes, I've been a slacker this week and only done two posts so far. Somehow the week got away from me and before I knew it, it was late Thursday night and food for thought friday was around the corner. This is one of my favorite posts of the week because I enjoy cooking good food almost as much as eating it!

Last week I featured three of my favorite recipes from our church's annual holiday bake-ff and today I have three more (and then next week three more...). Soon we'll get to the main dishes and desserts, I promise! Until then here is another punch recipe (okay, I didn't try it but everyone else said it was really good...if you like the taste of red hots candies), a yummy scone recipe and a wonderfully fresh appetizer. Enjoy!

Red Hot Christmas Slush
1 frozen orange juice concentrate
1 frozen lemonade concentrate
1/2 bottle cranberry juice
1/2 can pineapple juice
1 pkg. Red Hots candies
1 c water
2 2-liter bottles 7-up

Dissolve Red Hots in water on the stove, allow to cool. Mix orange juice, lemonade, cranberry juice and pineapple juice with cooled Red Hots. Refreeze into rings. Pour 7-up over rings when ready to serve in punchbowl.

Cranberry-Orange Scones
2 c all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 T sugar
5 T unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
1 c heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones
1 c dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift together the dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using 2 forks or a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough. Fold the cranberries into the dough. (Dough is dry and crumbly.)

Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12x3x1 1/4 inches. Cut the rectangle in 1/2 then cut the pieces in 1/2 again, giving you 4 (3-inch) squares. Cut the squares in 1/2 on a diagonal to give you the classic triangle shape. Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until beautiful and brown. Let the scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze.

Orange Glaze:
1/2 c freshly squeezed orange juice
2 c confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 orange, zest finely grated
1 T unsalted butter

Mix the orange juice and confectioners' sugar together in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the orange zest and butter. Nuke it for 30 seconds on high. Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps, then drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones. Let it set a minute before serving.

Mediterranean Hummus Bars
2 pkg. refrigerated crescent rolls
1 lemon
1 container (7-8 oz.) original hummus
1/4 c sour cream
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 small can sliced olives
1/2 medium cucumber, cored and coarsely chopped
1/4 medium red onion, chopped
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 T olive oil
1/2 c feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 c fresh basil, snipped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll one package of crescent rolls and lay across one end of jelly roll pan with longest side of dough across width of pan. Repeat with remaining rolls on other half of pan. Seal all seems and press dough up sides to form a crust. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.

Zest lemon to measure 1 teaspoon of zest. In small bowl combine zest, hummus, sour cream and garlic. Whisk until smooth. Spread hummus mixture evenly over crust. In another bowl, mix olives, cucumber, red onion, tomatoes and oil. Spoon veggie mixture evenly over crust, leaving excess liquid in bowl. Sprinkle with feta and basil. Cut into squares.
"It's so beautifully arranged on the plate--you know someone's fingers have been all over it." ~Julia Child

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