Posts by tag: sponsored

  • Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney

Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney

Posted on November 17, 2016

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Stonewall Kitchen. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands and companies that help to keep my little kitchen afloat!

It’s no secret that I love appetizers. Just sit me down in front of a spread of bite-sized foods and I’ll be pretty happy. I can easily skip the main event all together. Cocktails, finger foods and desserts are where it’s at, in my humble opinion. No need to go to all the trouble of roasting up a whole turkey just for me!

And you know what? I kind of have an inkling that you all might be feeling exactly the same way. So today, I’m bringing you these adorable Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney for all your snacking pleasures. You’re welcome.

Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney | www.floatingkitchen.net

My go-to appetizer is usually some kind of toasty bread piled high with cheese and ALL THE toppings. But this year, I really wanted to create something gluten-free. And while I certainly could have just used gluten-free bread, that seemed like a bit of a cop-out. Then I remembered my friend Sarah’s polenta bites from the Summer, and I decided to try my hand at creating a festive Fall/Winter version that would be appropriate for Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday entertaining. My rendition has whipped ricotta cheese with fresh herbs, a flavorful chutney, a few crumbles of bacon and everyone’s favorite seasonal vegetable – brussels sprouts.

There are a few separate steps required to make these polenta bites. But none of them are particularly taxing or time consuming. The polenta gets baked in the oven (no stirring required!), and can be prepared up to a day or two in advance, which is a huge time saver. And you can even separate out the brussels sprout leaves ahead of time as well, storing them in your refrigerator until you’re ready to crisp them up.

I should warn you that these crispy brussels sprout leaves are highly addicting. Once you start munching on them, it’s hard to stop. You’ll be amazed at how quickly an entire pan can disappear!

Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney | www.floatingkitchen.net

But the real star of the show is the Holiday Chutney from Stonewall Kitchen. With it’s blend of fruits (including pears, cranberries and rhubarb) and warming spices, it provides the perfect tart-sweet balance to offset the other savory-salty ingredients in this recipe. Which ultimately makes these polenta bites one heck of a well rounded appetizer.

Both literally and figuratively. You know, because they are round.

Ugh. I’m the worst. Sorry.

Stonewall Kitchen’s Holiday Chutney is also a great addition to any charcuterie or cheese plate (these Simple White Crackers are my favorite!). And it’s a wonderful topping for baked ham, pork or chicken. I like to keep a jar on hand at all times, because it totally helps me bring my A-game to the table around the Holidays!

Cheers,

Liz

Recipe inspired by The Kitchn

Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney

Yield: Makes 16-24 bites, depending on the size

Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney

Ingredients

  • For the Polenta
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups polenta
  • 1 tsp. salt

  • For the Toppings
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 4 cups loosely packed brussels sprout leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • About 1/2 cup Stonewall Kitchen Holiday Chutney

  • For the Whipped Ricotta
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. To prepare the polenta, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Generally grease an 9 X 13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Whisk together the water, polenta and salt in your prepared baking pan. Then transfer the pan to your pre-heated oven and bake until the polenta is firm, about 50 minutes. Remove the baking dish from your oven and set it on a wire rack to cool. Then transfer it to your refrigerator to chill for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.
  2. Add the chopped bacon to a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until crisp, stirring frequently. Transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Reserve the bacon fat.
  3. To prepare the brussels sprout leaves, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Add the brussels sprout leaves to a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil, then use your fingers to rub the olive oil over the leaves, making sure to separate any leaves that are stuck together. Spread the brussels sprout leaves out onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with the salt and black pepper. Bake in your pre-heated oven until slightly crispy, about 10-12 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  4. Cut the chilled polenta into appetizer-sized bites. You can use a round cookie/biscuit cutter to make circles. Or use a knife to slice it into triangles or squares. Arrange the polenta bites onto a baking sheet. Brush the tops with some of the reserved bacon fat. Then transfer the polenta bites to your pre-heated oven and bake until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the whipped ricotta. Add the ricotta, cream cheese, milk, salt and black pepper to a medium bowl. Beat with your hand mixer until well combined and smooth. Fold in the fresh herbs. Set aside.
  6. To assemble the polenta bites, first spread some of the whipped ricotta onto the surface of the warmed polenta. Top with the Holiday Chutney, a couple pieces of bacon and a few crispy brussels sprout leaves. Serve and enjoy!
http://www.floatingkitchen.net/polenta-bites-with-crispy-brussels-sprout-leaves-ricotta-and-chutney/
  • Cranberry Pecan Braided Bread

Cranberry Pecan Braided Bread

Posted on November 10, 2016

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Rodelle. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands and companies that help to support Floating Kitchen!

On Tuesday, I made bread. In the morning, my hands gently worked the dough. I kneaded it, rolled it, shaped it and braided it. I made it pretty. I watched as the heat from my fireplace helped it to rise to it’s full potential. And I watched my social media feed fill up with announcements from friends who had voted. The hashtag #ImWithHer seemed to dominate the landscape.

That afternoon as my bread baked, my house filled with warm, comforting smells of vanilla and cinnamon. I audibly squealed as I removed the braided loaf from my oven, absolutely delighted over just how beautiful it looked. The swirl was somewhat hypnotic. While the blushing sweep of cranberries provided just the right pop of color. It was perfect.

I anxiously awaited for it to cool. I snapped my photos and took my first bites. I felt happy and accomplished.

Cranberry Pecan Braided Bread | www.floatingkitchen.net

But as the day wore on, I struggled to hang onto those feelings. The election coverage that evening caused me to stress eat almost half the loaf, sending me into some kind of a carbohydrate-induced downward spiral. And eventually, I found myself too mentally and emotionally exhausted to even stay awake for the duration of the reporting. I went to bed not knowing the final outcome. In the morning when I checked my phone, I cried. And then I called my Mom and cried some more.

Pajama-clad, I re-warmed some bread and ate it reluctantly. Later, I shared a slice with my neighbor in his backyard. And we both tried to breath.

Cranberry Pecan Braided Bread | www.floatingkitchen.net

I think it’s safe to say we’ve got some work to do. Although, I have to admit that I’m not 100% sure what that means or where to even start. But for now, I bake. And listen. And love. And vow to not grow weary.

This Cranberry Pecan Braided Bread certainly won’t solve our problems. But maybe make yourself a loaf and find some comfort and solace in that action. Share a loaf with a friend (or perhaps an enemy). And take care of yourself and the people around you. It’s the least we can do for one another.

Cranberry Pecan Braided Bread | www.floatingkitchen.net

I’ve partnered with Rodelle to bring you today’s recipe. Rodelle’s vanilla extracts and other baking essentials are top notch, and I’ve been using them exclusively in my kitchen for years now (did you know they also have a line of savory products!). When I’m cooking and baking with Rodelle ingredients, I’m completely confident that my recipes will turn out to be total show stoppers. And that’s an awesome feeling to have.

I’m also proud to work with a company that not only supports their farmers and growers abroad, but also derives 100% of their energy from wind power and other alternative sources. I hope that more companies will follow their lead.

Cranberry Pecan Braided Bread | www.floatingkitchen.net

This Cranberry Pecan Braided Bread might just steal the spotlight at your next Holiday gathering. And as your guests “ooh and ahh” over it’s festive presentation, you’ll be secretly smiling on the inside knowing that it actually wasn’t all that difficult to bake (I promise it’s not nearly as intimidating as it looks!). So be sure to stock up on some essential Rodelle baking ingredients this season, and let’s rock this whole Holiday entertaining thing!

Cheers,

Liz

Recipe adapted from my Braided Cinnamon, Apple and Pecan Bread

Cranberry Pecan Braided Bread

Serves about 8

Cranberry Pecan Braided Bread

Ingredients

  • For the Dough
  • 3 – 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup milk, warmed to 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. Rodelle Pure Vanilla Extract

  • For the Filling
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 Rodelle Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean

  • For the Glaze
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 tsp. Rodelle Pure Vanilla Extract

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together 2 cups of flour, the sugar, salt, cinnamon and yeast. Add the warmed milk, butter, beaten egg and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients. Then using your dough hook attachment, beat the mixture on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Once well combined, slowly add in more flour (you’ll need somewhere between 1 and 1 1/4 cups) until the dough is soft, easy to handle and easily leaves the side of the bowl.
  2. Continue mixing the dough on low-medium speed for about 5 minutes, stopping to pull the dough down off the dough hook as needed. The dough should be smooth and elastic. Alternatively, you can knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured countertop for about 5 minutes.
  3. Using your hands, shape the dough into a ball. Transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat the dough on all sides with a thin layer of the oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough has roughly doubled in size.
  4. Once the dough has risen, gently punch it down to deflate it. Remove the dough from the bowl and transfer it to a floured countertop. Shape it with your hands into a rectangle. Then using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 24 X 12-inch rectangle. This will take a little bit of time and effort because the dough is fairly elastic. If the dough is too “springy” let it rest for a few minutes and then try rolling it out again.
  5. Spread the remaining 4 tablespoons of softened butter out into an even layer over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch boarder around the edges. Add the cranberries, pecans, sugar and cornstarch to the bowl of your food processor with the blade attachment. Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add the scraped seeds to the other ingredients in your food processor. Then pulse everything together until a course meal has formed. Spread the cranberry-pecan mixture out in a thin layer over the buttered dough. Then beginning at one of the long edges, tightly roll up the dough into a log. Pinch the edges of the dough together to seal it as best you can.
  6. Spray a baking sheet and the ring of a 9- to 10-inch spring form pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  7. Using a sharp knife, slice the roll lengthwise, creating two equal sized long halves, but leaving one end still attached by about 3/4-inch at the very end. Slightly rotate the halves outwards so the layers are facing upwards. Then starting from the end that is still attached, cross the two halves over each other. Continue doing this until you end up with a single twisted/braided rope. Pinch together the end of the rope.
  8. Gently slide your rope onto to your greased baking sheet. Then starting with one end, spiral the rope into a closed circle. Place the ring of your greased spring form pan over/around the circle. Cover with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Position an oven rack in the middle position.
  10. Remove the towel from the dough, but leave the spring form pan in place. Transfer the baking sheet to your pre-heated oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and puffed. Remove the baking sheet from your oven and set it on wire rack to cool for about 10-15 minutes. Then gently slide the bread off the baking sheet and directly onto the wire rack to continue cooling.
  11. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners sugar, water and vanilla extract until smooth. Then drizzle the glaze over the bread. You can slice and serve this bread while it’s still slightly warm, or let it cool completely to room temperature before serving. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about 2 days.

Notes

1. The butter for the dough and filling needs to be very soft. I microwaved mine to the point of almost melting right before using it.

http://www.floatingkitchen.net/cranberry-pecan-braided-bread/

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