Thanksgiving 2013

Need some inspiration for future dinner parties? Or a way to showcase Catherine's delicious recipes? Here's a peek at the table setting Catherine created for her most recent Thanksgiving.

Catherine's Fudgy Brownies

These are dark, dense and not a cake brownie. I frosted with a fun flower and leaves.

Sift these together:
2/3 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

In a mixing bowl:
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
½ cup melted butter
3 squares unsweetened baking chocolate (melt in microwave with the butter or on top of the stove)
3 Tablespoons Cocoa
1 teaspoon Vanilla
¾ cup nuts OPTIONAL

Beat the eggs and sugar. Add the melted butter and chocolate. Add the cocoa. Add the dry ingredients just to blended. Grease: 8x8 inch pan. Put batter in pan and smooth out till even. Bake: 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes till knife comes out clean.

Chocolate Caramel Mousse Pie

Note: This isn’t all that hard and is so decadent, you will want to make it for more than special occasions and holidays.


6 oz. graham crax. Crumbs

½ stick salted butter

3 T. sugar

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Melt butter in microwave add sugar and crumbs. Press into bottom of a pie pan or tart pan with removable bottom. Chill five minutes. Bake five minutes. Set aside.

Caramel Pecan Sauce:

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 stick salted butter

¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons whipping cream

1 cup chopped pecans

Make Sauce: Stir sugar and butter in a sauce pan over medium heat till sugar dissolves. Stir in the cream. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer till thicker and sauce coats the back of a metal spoon. Pour half the sauce into a dish and add the pecans. Pour this mixture over the crust. Refrigerate till caramel sets.



2 large egg yolks

¼ cup sugar

3 T. strong brewed coffee or espresso

2 sticks salted butter

3 large egg whites

2 teaspoons lukewarm water

MOUSSE: In a food processor grind the chocolate to bead consistency. Add egg yolks and blend. In a saucepan over medium heat melt butter, coffee, sugar. Let sugar dissolve. Heat to simmer. Slowly add this mixture to the chocolate in a steady stream with processor running. Process 5 minutes. Put this in a mixing bowl. Whip the egg whites till fluffy. FOLD into the chocolate mixture. Refrigerate till nearly set. Spread mousse over chilled caramel and crust. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Just before serving warm the rest of the caramel sauce and spoon over each piece. Garnish with pecan halves for drama.

Zucchini Bread

I baked this in a pumpkin shaped baking mold I got from William's Sonoma. I love it. It makes two loaves of bread, which is the yield of this recipe.

Beat until thick:
1 cup oil
3 eggs
2 cups sugar

Sift together and add to wets:
3 cups flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Add to batter:
1 8 ½ oz. can of crushed Pineapple
2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
1 cup nuts
1 cup chopped Dates

Place batter in loaf pans. BAKE: 350 for one hour to one hour and 15 minutes until knife comes out clean.

Yogurt Dip for Fruit

2 packages cream cheese
4 small vanilla yogurt packages
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Beat the cream cheese till smooth. Add yogurt. Add rest of the ingredients. Chill. Serve with fruit.

Catherine's Tortilla Soup

6 Tablespoons vegetable oil
8 Corn tortillas, cut in strips
6-10 cloves garlic, sliced
1 medium onion chopped
1 bunch chopped fresh Cilantro
8-12 quartered fresh Roma Tomatoes
2 T. ground cumin (I add more to taste)
2 T. chili powder
3 Bay leaves
6-8 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
6 chicken breasts cut up

Heat the oil in the bottom of a soup kettle or deep soup pot. Add tortillas, garlic, onion and brown. Add the cilantro. Saute about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and boil. Add all the seasonings, bay leaves and chicken stock. Bring back to boil. Add chicken. I cook on medium low for 2 hours. However, the soup is ready to eat after chicken is cooked through in about 30 minutes. Take out Bay leaves. Serve. Garnish with slices of Avocado, sour cream, grated cheese and tortilla chips.

Catherine's Christmas Chocolate Tea Cakes

1 cup brown sugar
½ melted salted butter
½ cup milk
1 ½ cup flour
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon soda
¾ cup pecans
6 tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa

With a mixer, blend the melted butter and sugar, add egg, vanilla then the alternate the flour sifted with soda/ and the milk to make a smooth batter. Add the cocoa last. Chill dough one hour. Drop by teaspoonfulls the size of walnuts onto greased cookie sheets. If you use parchment paper, spray it with Pam. Bake 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes. The cookies should spring back when touched in the middle with your finger like a cake. Watch them carefully. Cool on racks.

Ice with Catherine's icing
½ stick butter
1 box powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons or more to make spreadable the secret: FRENCH VANILLA COFFEEMATE….don't use the fat free. It's too thin and has a funny metal taste to it.

Ice top of cookies when cookies are cold. Decorate with sprinkles, colored sugar, or fun decors of the seaso. I color the icing, too.

Bishop's Bread

2 ½ Cups Flour
½ cup Crisco or margarine, I use real butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups brown sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. Baking Powder
Mix together: ½ tsp. soda, ¾ cup butter milk (if no buttermilk, use 1 cup milk add 1 tsp. lemon juice and it makes "fake" buttermilk)
1 egg
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans if desired.

MIX: 2 cups sugar with the Crisco. Add flour, salt. SAVE: ¾ cup of the crumble mixture to make crumble top. ADD: Baking powder, Egg, Buttermilk (which has soda mixed into it). Cinnamon. BEAT: Till smooth Pour into greased pan. Use a bundt pan, angel food cake pan or 9 x 13 pan. Cover with crumble mixture and chopped nuts. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Valentine Cut Out Sugar Cookies

1 cup salted butter (must be real butter)
½ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups flour

Beat butter till creamy. Add sugar and vanilla. Beat. Add flour. Chill Dough 2 hours. Roll out dough on floured surface and cut with heart shaped cutter. Bake 350 for 8-10 minutes until bottoms are gold and centers are firm.

Frost with icing:
½ stick real butter
2 cups powdered sugar
French Vanilla Coffee Mate ¼ cup or more till consistency is spreadable.
¼ teaspoon ALMOND extract
1 teaspoon VANILLA extract.

Parcel out 1/3 the icing for piping names and cute sayings on the cookies. I like: Be my Valentine; Flirty Girl; Sweetie Pie; UR4 Me; Heartbreaker: Kiss; Hug. (You get the idea) Red food coloring. For the rest of the icing. Frost cookies and then write the sayings. Give the cookies to your favorite "Sugar".