Millionaire’s Shortbread

Millionaire’s Shortbread

Ingredients

Shortbread Layer
2 cups all-purpose flour (240g)
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (226g)
½ cup granulated sugar (100g)
1 egg yolk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
Caramel Layer
14 oz sweetened condensed milk (1 can)
½ cup unsalted butter cut into tablespoon size pieces (113g)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed (200g)
¼ cup light or dark corn syrup (60ml)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
Chocolate Ganache
1 ½ cups high quality semi-sweet chocolate chips or bar broken into pieces (240g)
cup heavy cream (80ml)
1 pinch Maldon Sea Salt Flakes to sprinkle on topMaldon Sea Salt Flakes

Directions

Shortbread Layer

Preheat oven to 350F with the rack in the middle, line a 9×9 inch baking dish with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and egg yolk then mix until combined. Gradually add the flour and salt, and beat on low just until the mixture is evenly combined and the texture of coarse sand.

Tip mixture into prepared pan, and press down firmly into an even layer. Bake until top is dry and light golden brown about 22 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Caramel

While the shortbread is baking, make the caramel. This is easiest with an instant read candy thermometer, but can be done without. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, sweetened condensed milk and corn syrup. Cook mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly. Mixture will thicken & change from a softer yellow color to a darker one, this taking about 6 minutes minutes. The thermometer should read 220 degrees to 225 degrees. Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the bottom from scorching. You will see the caramel start to thicken and pull away from the edge. Immediately pour the caramel over the baked shortbread crust and spread it into an even layer making sure to reach the edges. Chill for about 10 minutes so the caramel sets.

Ganache

Chop chocolate & melt with cream either in a double boiler or in the microwave. For the microwave melt in short 20 second bursts stirring in between. Spread the ganache in an even layer over caramel. Chill until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes. Transfer the shortbread to a cutting board, carefully removing parchment paper. We found that chilling this recipe overnight made it easiest to cut. Cut into 24 small bars or any size you wish.

TIP: To easily cut into squares or bars….
Run a chef’s knife under hot water. Dry the knife then make the cuts while the knife is warm. You might need to do this a few times until all the bars are cut.

~ Marla Meridith

Blissful Pear Martini

Blissful Pear Martini

Ingredients

4 fl oz pear juice
splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice
splash of unflavored sparkling water
sparkling sugar to rim glasses

Directions

Rim the edge of a chilled martini glass with water. Add the sugar to a bowl. Tilt the glass at a 45 degree angle and roll it in the sugar.

Fill a martini shaker with ice. Add the pear juice, vodka and lemon juice. Shake it to combine. Strain into sugar rimmed martini glass. Top with a splash of sparkling water and garnish with pear zest.

NOTES:
I have used unflavored Pellegrino and Pear Sparkling Water in this martini. Both are wonderful. The drink is a little less sweet with the unflavored water though.

~ Marla Meridith

Simple Couscous Soup with Wagyu Meatballs

Simple Couscous Soup with Wagyu Meatballs

Ingredients

Wagyu Meatballs
1 lb ground wagyu beef
a few pinches garlic powder, salt, black pepper
Couscous
2 cups pearl couscous
Soup
4 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and black pepper, to taste
2 pinches ground allspice
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
3 cups packed baby spinach
10 cups low salt vegetable broth
¼ cup chopped italian parsley

Directions

Meatballs

Pre heat the oven to 400˚F with the rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. In a large bowl, combine the ground Wagyu and seasonings. Roll into 1 inch meatballs and place in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Set aside when done.

Couscous

NOTE: This step can be taken out, toasting couscous first gives it a bit more flavor.
Add the last tablespoon of olive oil to a frying pan on medium heat. Add the dry couscous. Stir and cook for 5 minutes until slightly toasted. Set aside.

Soup

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the chopped onions. Cook for a few minutes until translucent. With a spatula spoon mix in the garlic. Cook a few more minutes until fragrant. Add the carrots and celery, cook for 5 minutes until slightly softened. Mix in the salt, pepper and allspice. Add the broth to the mixture, raise heat to high and bring to a rolling boil.

Add the toasted couscous and baby spinach. Reduce heat to a lively simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes adding the meatballs during the last 5 minutes. Top with the Italian parsley. Serve immediately with shaved parmesan cheese on the side.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Ingredients

4 tbsp unsalted butter
cup wing hot sauce (we love Frank’s RedHot)
cup crumbled blue cheese, plus more for serving
1 pinch Kosher salt and black pepper
cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup celery rib, chopped
½ cup finely chopped carrot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 large egg
1 lb ground chicken
extra virgin olive oil
sliced green onion
Italian parsley

Directions

Preheat oven to 425º. Heat the butter, hot sauce, blue cheese, salt and pepper in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to combine well, cook about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Mix together bread crumbs, salt, celery, carrots, garlic, egg, and shallots in a bowl. Add the chicken and half of the hot sauce mixture. Mix until just combined, do not over mix.

Coat a 10 inch cast-iron skillet with olive oil, using a paper towel or brush. Form 1 inch meatballs and place in the prepared skillet in a single layer. Drizzle with some more olive oil. Bake until the meatballs are lightly golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes.

Warm the rest of the sauce and drizzle over meatballs. Top with green onions, parsley and some blue cheese. Serve on toothpicks or small cocktail forks.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Vegan Creamy Coconut Carrot Shake

Recipe: Vegan Creamy Coconut Carrot Shake

Ingredients

Roasted Carrots
1 bunch carrots peeled (6-8 carrots)
1 tbsp melted unrefined coconut oil
1 dash ground cinnamon, cardamom & nutmeg
1 pinch fine sea salt
For the Shake
8 fl oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 fl oz unsweetened coconut milk
2 oz roasted carrots
2 vanilla stevia drops or agave to taste
4 oz ice
Optional Toppings
coconut whipped cream
shredded coconut
chopped nuts
crystallized ginger
graham cracker crumbles
ground flaxseed

Directions

Roast Carrots

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix spices into melted coconut oil. Toss and coat carrots in oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Roast on a baking sheet for 25 – 45 minuted depending upon the size of your carrots. Flip once during baking time. They should be soft and slightly browned when done.

Make the Shake

Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender. Add a splash of water or additional almond milk if needed to blend. Serve with any desired toppings.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: 3-Ingredient One Pot Barley with Mixed Veggies & Pesto

Recipe: 3-Ingredient One Pot Barley with Mixed Veggies & Pesto

Ingredients

1 lb pearl barley, rinsed and drainedhttps://rstyle.me/+g-udBeZWYAZCeSq9ATEuQA

Directions

Cook barley to package directions.

At the last 10 minutes of cook time mix in the frozen vegetables. Add some more water if needed.

Mix in the pesto before serving.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Brown Butter & Summer Veggies

Recipe: Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Brown Butter & Summer Veggies

Ingredients

1 lb refrigerated or shelf-stable store bought gnocchi
3 shallots, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 ½ cups sliced zucchini (1/2 inch slices)
10 oz grape or cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernals
¼ cup olive oil
½ fresh lemon, juiced
1 stick salted butter
salt & pepper to taste
sliced fresh basil

Directions

Pre heat oven to 425˚F with the rack in the middle. Line a 18×13″ sheet pan with tin foil. Slice all the vegetables making them fairly uniform in size so they cook evenly.

Place the gnocchi, chopped shallots, garlic and vegetables onto the sheet pan. Toss with the olive oil, lemon juice & pepper. Spread the mixture in a single layer on the pan, this will ensure it all cooks evenly. Roast for 25-30 minutes, tossing half way through cooking time. Gnocchi should be golden and starting to crisp, most of the tomatoes have burst, and shallot is golden.

While the gnocchi is cooking. Place the butter in a small, light colored skillet over medium heat (slicing it will make it melt more evenly) Bring to a boil, mixing frequently, the butter will froth then the bubbles will subside. Continue cooking and stirring, brown flecks will appear. Another prompt to stop cooking is a delicious nutty aroma. If the butter turns black it has cooked too long. Be sure to watch (and smell) carefully. Immediately transfer the brown butter to a glass bowl or pitcher so it stops cooking. Be sure the brown flecks transfer over as these add the wonderful flavor you are looking for.

Drizzle the brown butter over the roasted gnocchi & vegetables. Toss again before serving. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Top plates with fresh basil.
Refrigerate & store in an airtight container if you happen to have any leftovers.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: 20 Minute Acini de Pepe with Broccoli & Shrimp

Recipe: 20 Minute Acini de Pepe with Broccoli & Shrimp

Ingredients

1 lb Acini de Pepe pasta
2 tbsp olive oil
½ red onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
¼ cup dry white wine
1 lb frozen, cooked shrimp (26/30) no tails
2 broccoli crowns, florets cut into small pieces
salt
hot pepper flakes
serve with parmesan cheese

Directions

Cook Acini de Pepe to package directions. Drain and set aside, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid.

While the pasta is cooking, add the olive oil to a large skillet and sauté the onions a few minutes over medium heat until soft and fragrant. Add the garlic, cook another minute.

Add the wine, stir, then the broccoli. Cook a few minutes until the broccoli turns bright green, add a splash or two of pasta cooking liquid to speed things up. Add the shrimp, stir all the ingredients together. Season to taste with salt and pepper flakes. Cook for a few minutes until shrimp is hot.

Add the cooked Acini de Pepe to the skillet and toss with the shrimp mixture. Cook until everything is hot. Serve with parmesan cheese.

~ Marla Meridith

Irish Apple Cake

Irish Apple Cake

Ingredients

For the Streusel Topping
6 tbsp cold salted butter, cut into small cubes
¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup rolled oats
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
For the Cake
1 stick salted butter, room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
cup salt
3 tbsp milk
2 granny smith, pink lady or gala apples sliced thin

Directions

Preheat oven to 350˚F with the rack in the middle. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter & parchment to line the bottom.

Assemble the streusel topping. In a medium bowl mix together the flour, oats, sugar and salt. Rub the butter into the flour mixture until the streusel resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

For the cake: Using a stand mixer & paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light & fluffy. Add the vanilla, then beat in the eggs one at a time. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. With a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet along with the milk.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Layer the apples over the top, then sprinkle the streusel over the apples.

Bake the cake for 60 to 70 minutes. The top should be golden brown and crisp. A toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake should come out virtually crumb free. Remove from the oven, let cake cool a bit before flipping it onto a cooling rack or cake platter.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Cointreau Orange Salad with Coconut Yogurt Sauce

Recipe: Cointreau Orange Salad with Coconut Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients

10 navel oranges (or any seedless variety)
Cointreau (or Grand Marnier) liquer
seeds from 1 pomegranate
a few fresh mint leaves for garnish
Yogurt Sauce
1 cup unsweetened coconut yogurt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp pure maple syrup (or to taste)

Directions

Slice the rinds off the oranges and discard. Cut the oranges into 1/4 inch slices. Place on a serving platter. Top with pomegranate seeds and drizzle the fruit with Cointreau. Garnish with fresh mint leaves. Serve with chilled Coconut Yogurt Sauce.

Yogurt Sauce

Combine the yogurt with the cinnamon and maple syrup. Serve with chilled Coconut Yogurt Sauce.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Moroccan M’hanncha (The Snake) Cake

Recipe: Moroccan M’hanncha (The Snake) Cake

Ingredients

6 oz (12 tbsp) butter, melted plus another cup for brushing phyllo dough
4 oz (1 cup) sliced almonds, toasted
4 oz (2/3 cup) granulated sugar
11 oz (2 3/4 cups) almond meal
2 oz (1/2 cup) powdered sugar
1 egg lightly beaten
1 ½ tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp orange flower water, divided
12 oz phyllo dough
1 egg yolk lightly beaten with some water
¼ cup honey

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit with the rack in the middle. Let the phyllo dough thaw if you have not already.

Place the sliced almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat, mix often and toast until the nuts are golden fragrant, about 5 minutes. Watch carefully as the almonds can burn easily. Transfer nuts to a heat safe bowl to cool.

Pulse the toasted almonds with the granulated sugar in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. The sugar will help prevent the nuts from turning into almond butter. Add the 6oz melted butter, almond meal, the whole egg, powdered sugar and cinnamon to the food processor, keeping almond/sugar in the bowl. Process until the mixture is well combined, scraping down the edges as needed.

Grease the 12 inch cast iron skillet with butter. Unroll the phyllo dough, place on a large clean work surface. Have the 1 cup melted butter handy. While you are working, keep the stack of unrolled phyllo dough lightly covered with a clean damp cloth or plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. Carefully take one sheet of the phyllo dough and place it longways in front of you. Lightly brush with a layer of the melted butter. Continue to layer in this way with two more sheets, brushing butter in between each layer and on the top most layer.
Roll a golf ball sized piece of the almond mixture in your hands until you have a 1/2 inch snake. Piece the snakes together until they are long enough to fit the entire length of the stacked phyllo sheets. Place the almond snake at the edge of the phyllo dough, lay the snakes across the dough so they fit end to end. Starting at the side closest to you, roll the dough until you have a long coil. Continue to make these coils in the same way until you have enough to make a single layer in the skillet. They will resemble cinnamon buns. Place the coils in the skillet, they can and will touch.

Brush the tops of the pastries with the egg yolk wash. Bake for about 30 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Gently heat the honey and the 1 tbsp of orange flower water, drizzle it over the pastry. Serve warm or at room temperature.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Orecchiette with Sausage & Spinach

Recipe: Orecchiette with Sausage & Spinach

Ingredients

1 lb Orecchiette, cooked to package directions
1 lb ground sausage (breakfast, sweet Italian or Andouille)
1 tbsp olive oil
½ chopped red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups baby spinach
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
splash dry white wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 oz high quality crumbled feta (I prefer sheep feta for it’s deep, tangy flavor)

Directions

Cook the pasta to package directions in plenty of salted water. Drain and return the pasta back to the cooking pot, set on the counter.

While the pasta is cooking make the sauce. Heat a 10 inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground sausage and break apart with a wooden spoon. Cook until no pink remains, about 7-10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a bowl.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the olive oil and onions to the skillet. No need to rinse the skillet, leave a small amount of sausage grease in the pan to enhance the flavor of the onions. Cook the onions for about 5 minutes, until fragrant and translucent. Add the garlic at the last 30 seconds of cooking the onion. Add the spinach, wine and lemon juice to the skillet. Cook a few minutes until the spinach is wilted. Transfer the sausage back into the skillet. Cook until all is hot, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the sausage mixture into the pasta and toss to combine. Transfer to a large serving dish and top with crumbled feta cheese.

~ Marla Meridith