Festive Dessert:: Italian Almond Cake

Panforte Ice Cream Affogato with Italian Almond Cake | http://annettejosephstyle.com/
Earlier this week, I shared my recipe for meatless lasagna, my ultimate Italian comfort food! If you’re entertaining family and friends over the next few weeks, the lasagna would be a wonderful dish to serve. Of course, all meals are made even more complete with a fantastic dessert. Pair the lasagna with almond cake. You’ll love this recipe for Italian Almond Cake by Alisa Barry.

Grazie Mille Alisa, molto buono! xx

Italian Almond Cake

You will need:

– 7 oz. almond paste
– 2/3 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup almond meal
– 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
– 1 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla
– 6 eggs
– ¾ cup all purpose flour
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– ¼ tsp. salt

Note: This is one of my favorite (and so easy!) dessert recipes adapted from Chez Panisse Desserts cookbook. I like to add locally milled almond meal for flavor and texture, but you can substitute with all purpose flavor if not available. You can also make it gluten free by using more almond meal instead of flour. It will be more dense, but nonetheless delicious! The beauty of this dessert is that it can be made a day ahead of time, the flavor actually improves as it sits.

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

In a food processor, blend the almond paste, sugar and almond meal until finely ground. Add the butter and vanilla . Process the ingredients until creamed. Add the eggs one at a time with the processing running until the batter is smooth. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the food processor and mix just until combined .

Pour the batter into buttered and floured 8 inch spring form pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for one hour or until toothpick is dry when inserted. Remove from the oven to cool on a rack.

Serve with warm or at room temperature.

Photo Credit: John McDonald

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Easy and Stunning DIY Hanging Wreath

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I first created this easy DIY project a few years ago when I was asked to participate in the Home Depot Holiday Style Challenge, and it’s still one of my favorite projects. I always loved the idea of doing a holiday table under the arbor in our backyard, and this challenge gave me an opportunity to see it through.

Since we usually have mild temperatures for the holidays, consider moving your holiday dinner outdoors. You can recreate this look in your own backyard with just a few supplies, and I promise guests will be super impressed with the finished product: a DIY hanging wreath! It’s easy and really pretty.

DIY Hanging Wreath

You will need:
– 1 6 foot garland
– 3 – 4 ornaments
– Twine for securing the ornaments
– Ribbon for hanging
– Floral wire

To create:

1. Form the garland into a circle.

2. Secure the wreath in 3 places with floral wire.

3. Attach the ornaments with twine.

4. Using 4 pieces of ribbon about 3 feet long, tie the wreath to your light fixture or chandelier. Note: this can be suspended from the ceiling with longer pieces of ribbon or with hooks.

Happy Holidays!

xx Annette

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Hanukkah is here! Time for Latkes!

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Every year my kids look forward to our Hanukkah meal. We light the candles, say a prayer, open little gifts and then sit down together for our traditional meal. I roast free range chicken, and I make homemade sweet potato + yukon potato latkes with homemade applesauce. I also usually toss together a sweet and savory salad with a balsamic vinaigrette. It’s a meal that incorporates all the flavors while bringing back warm memories from the years we’ve enjoyed this celebration of light together.

If you’re celebrating Hanukkah this year, give my yellow and gold latkes recipe a try, and don’t skip the apple sauce. It might be the best part.

Yellow and Gold Latkes
serves 4 to 6
You will need:

– 3 medium size sweet potatoes
– 3 medium size yukon gold potatoes
– 2 eggs
– 1/4 cup matzo meal
– 1 small yellow onion diced
– salt and pepper to taste
– 1 cup olive oil
To prepare:

Prepare a paper towel lined cookie sheet for finished latkes.

Hand grate potatoes, so they are shredded. Add salt and set aside for 10 minutes.

By hand, squeeze liquid out of the potatoes, transfer to another mixing bowl.

Add eggs, matzo meal and diced onion and mix.

Note: if the potatoes still have some water, it’s fine to add 1 more egg and more matzo meal to bind.

In a large skillet put 1/4 cup oil and heat. Drop in latke mix with a spoon forming small pancakes.

Fry in the oil until golden and crispy.

Place cooked latke pancakes on the towels to drain oil, and continue to fry the latkes and drain. You will need to continue to add oil to the skillet as you continue to fry the latkes. Place the cooked, and drained latkes in the oven on low until guests arrive.

Serve with homemade applesauce and sour cream, or non fat plain greek yogurt.

Homemade Applesauce
You will need:
– 3 to 4 lbs of peeled, cored, and quartered apples
– 4 strips of lemon peel – use a vegetable peeler to strip 4 lengths
– Juice of one lemon, about 3-4 Tbsp
– 3 inches of cinnamon stick
– 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
– Up to 1/4 cup of white sugar
– 1 cup of water
– 1/2 teaspoon of salt

 

To prepare:

Put all ingredients into a large pot. Cover. Bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon sticks and lemon peels.

Mash with potato masher.  Place in the fridge. It should last for 2 weeks in the fridge.

Latkes photo by Stephanie Meyer for Food & Wine 
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2018 Holiday Gift Guide

It’s that time of year again – time for annual holiday gift guides! It’s always fun to round-up a few of my favorite items from across the web that I think would make excellent gifts for just about anyone on your list. This year, I’m touching on a few items that I’d love to receive as well as a few items that I’d definitely give to someone else. I’ve even included gifts for pups!

No matter who you’re shopping for this season, enjoy the spirit of giving and the process of finding the perfect gifts for those you love. And don’t forget to put a little effort into wrapping your gift, too. I love this Alpine Ski paper from Dixie Design. Enjoy my 2018 Holiday Gift Guide!

xx Annette HolidayGG2018

Beech Round Pizza Board

Greek Pepper Mills

Pommed Slippers

Stonewashed Linen Napkins

Anatomy of a Bike Kit

HP Portable Photo Printer

Cocktail Italiano

Workshop Gift Card

Leather Bow Tie Dog Collar

photo by me

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Last Minute Recipe:: Kumquat Cranberry Sauce

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you’re spending today surrounded by friends and family eating an incredible meal.

A staple at our Thanksgiving table is cranberry sauce, but I always like to put my own twist on it. Cranberry sauce is a perfect complement to Thanksgiving turkey, but instead of opening a can, give this easy recipe a try instead. Even though the end product is luscious and luxurious, cranberry sauce can be whipped up in a matter of minutes, and this kumquat cranberry sauce is perfection.

Everyone will love the citrus flavors paired with the tart cranberries, and you’ll be the star of the meal. This cranberry sauce is especially good once the flavors come together which makes it perfect for leftovers. I like to serve mine from a jar; it gives it a wonderful homemade quality and is a pretty look for the table. Let me know if you give it a try and what everyone thinks!

Kumquat Cranberry Sauce
You will need:
– 2  cups water
– 1 cup sugar
– 12 kumquats cut into circle slices (cut the kumquat across to create pinwheel like slices)
– 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
– 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
– 1/2 teaspoon cloves
– 2 12-ounce bags fresh or frozen cranberries

 

To prepare:

Combine water, sugar, orange peel, kumquat slices and ginger in heavy medium saucepan. Bring mixture to simmer over medium heat. Simmer 4 minutes to blend flavors.

Add cinnamon, salt and clove and simmer 2 minutes. Add cranberries and simmer until berries burst and sauce is thick, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Refrigerate cranberry sauce until well chilled. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated)

Photo by Stefania Crudeli on Unsplash

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