Thursday, October 28, 2010

Versatile Cranberry Sauce - not just for Thanksgiving

This is my tasty and delicious recipe for Cranberry Sauce that will compliment your Turkey and all the trimmings for Thanksgiving. My motto is "say NO to the can!"   It's also very versatile and can be used to compliment many other dishes such as Roasted Chicken, Pork and Cheese.   Try it and see!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 bag cranberries
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1/2 C. brown sugar
  • 1/2 C. orange juice
  • 1/2 C. water
  • 1/4 t. cinnamon
  • zest of one orange
  • fresh juice of 1/2 orange

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the sugars in the juice and water. 
Add the cinnamon and then the cranberries. Add the zest and fresh juice and stir.

Cook the cranberry mixture until they start to pop, about 10 - 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat, transfer to a serving bowl and let it cool. 
The Cranberry Sauce will thicken on its own as it cools.

I like to put it into small jars to give as gifts... then store it in the refrigerator.

Tangy and thick, jars like this don't last very long in our home.

This is not just for Thanksgiving either. A spoonful of this great Cranberry Sauce over a warm wedge of Brie with bib lettuce and bread make for a delicious snack or appetizer!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Crown of Comfort Food - Apple and Cranberry Dumplings

As Autumn rolls into season, comfort food always comes to my mind. I have created a yummy Apple and Cranberry Dumpling recipe that will compliment any meal. Enjoy!



2 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
2/3 c. butter (still cold)
1/2 c. milk

4 large apples
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
6 T. white sugar
3 T. ground cinnamon
2 t. fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 c. dried cranberries (optional)
zest from 1 large lemon

1 1/2 c. white sugar
1 1/2 c. water
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 F. Peel apples and, using a kitchen gadget or sharp knife, remove all of the cores. Slice off just a small amount at the top and bottom of each apple to flatten them out so they’ll wrap in the dough easier. Rinse the apples in apple cider vinegar and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter, using your hands to squish everything together, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pour in milk all at once and stir to form a dough. Add a little more flour if needed to make the dough less sticky. Do not overwork the dough as you want it to remain light and tender. Split the dough ball in half and on a floured surface, roll out one half to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into two 6″ squares.

Place a whole apple in the center of a dough square. Mix together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg listed under “Apples” above. Generously dust each apple with this mixture and fill the core with cranberries and a little more sugar mixture. Top with a little lemon zest.   Moisten the edges of the pastry square with a finger dipped in cool water and bring the corners together at the top of the apple. Press edges together to seal and pinch together any tears in the dough around the apple.

Repeat the rolling out of the second half of the dough and creating the other two dumplings. Place all four dumplings in a baking dish, one inch apart, and decorate with dough cut-outs of leaves or any other creative flare you can think to use.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the ingredients listed under “Syrup” above. Bring to a boil then remove from heat to cool slightly. Pour the syrup over the dumplings and sprinkle with additional sugar (this forms a delectable golden crust once baked). Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, until apples are tender (use a fork poked into them to test) and dough is nicely browned.

Best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Can be stored in fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven at 200 F for 15 minutes.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Boo" said the sugar cookie

I have found the best sugar cookie recipe and must give credit to Martha Stewart.   She has perfected the recipe in her Martha Stewart Cookbook and nothing will compare however, being me, I changed it up as I prefer a slight lemony flavor to mine.   I used Royal Icing to decorate and always use meringue powder instead of raw egg whites for safety.   This will satisfy all your goblins, both little and big!

Halloween Sugar Cookies

  • 4 1/2 C sifted flour
  • 4 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 lb unsalted butter
  • 2 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • zest from 1 lemon
Directions:   Preheat oven to 375 degrees.   Butter your baking sheets and sift together your dry ingredients.   In a food processor, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the eggs and mix well.   Add the dry ingredients a bit at a time, alternating with the milk and vanilla.   Finally add the lemon zest and beat well.   Wrap and chill for an hour.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces.   Roll 1 piece at a time on a floured board and cut with cookie cutters.   Bake 8 minutes and cook on racks.

Royal Icing

  • 2 C confectioners sugar
  • 2 egg white or use meringue powder (2 t powder with 2 T water = 1 egg white)
  • 6-8 drops of fresh lemon juice
  • Food Coloring
Directions:   Mix the sugar, egg white (or substitute) and lemon juice in a medium sized bowl.   It should have the consistency of heavy cream.   Add your choice of food coloring in batches to decorate your cooled cookies.   I made happy pumpkins and used silver dragees for the eyes.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Great side dish - Mixed blend rice with artichokes

I think I'm having an artichoke experience as many of my recipes call for this wonderful vegetable.  Obviously I love the taste but I also love how versatile they are.   This is one of my off the cuff recipes where I just started cooking and this is what evolved.   It was delicious so I knew I needed to share...

Mixed blend rice with artichokes

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 C Royal Blend Rice (Texmati white, brown, wild and red)
  • 3 C chicken stock
  • 1 can artichoke quarters, drained
  • salt and pepper
Directions:   In a large saute pan, heat your olive oil over med high heat and saute the shallots until soft, about 5 minutes.   Add the uncooked rice and saute for an additional 3 - 4 minutes or until you hear crackling sounds.   Add the 3 C chicken stock and reduce the heat to med - low.   Add the quartered artichoke hearts and continue to cook until 97% of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.   Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A few changes... new url

Come Monday, October 18th my blog will have a new url.   Sorry for the confusion but I maintain (sort of) two sites, one is and the other this blog.   I'm being prompted to roll it into one, so I'm going to delete the website and use that url as my blog site.   So, bookmark and check back for updates.

Thanks for following!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Roasted Acorn Squash Soup

I know I've mentioned before that FALL is my favorite season of all and that I love all the wonderful vegetables that are available during this season.   I purchased an acorn squash the other day and made a delicious soup with it.   I included roasted onions and garlic and finished it off with a dollop of sour cream, a drizzle of olive oil and freshly grated nutmeg.   Serve with a crusty loaf of bread and enjoy this warming meal!

Roasted Acorn Squash Soup

  • 1 large acorn squash
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 1/2 C chicken stock
  • 3 T butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • nutmeg
  • sour cream
  • olive oil
Directions:   Cut the squash into quarters and remove the seeds.   Cut the onion into quarters as well and put the vegetables onto a baking sheet.   Add the whole cloves of garlic, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.   Roast in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour or until roasted and tender.   Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle.

Scrape acorn squash flesh from skin and place into a blender with roasted onions and garlic.  Add 1/2 C chicken stock and puree until smooth.   In a pan on the stove, add remaining 2 C chicken stock and heat over medium low heat.   Add the acorn squash puree mixture to the chicken stock and stir well.   Add the butter.   Season with sea salt, pepper and a touch of freshly grated nutmeg.  Simmer over medium low heat until ready to serve.

To garnish, add soup to the bowl of your choice.   Slowly add a small dollop of sour cream to the center of the soup, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and finish with a touch of freshly grated nutmeg.   Serve with bread!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Tuscan Toast featuring Nature's Pride Bread

I created an incredible appetizer using Nature's Pride Bread as my base.   It's an incredible explosion of layered tastes in your mouth.  Try it today!

Tuscan Toast featuring Nature's Pride Bread

  • 4 slices Nature's Pride Nutty Oat Bread
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 4 T Mascarpone 
  • 2 T Capers
  • 4 T fresh Basil, chopped
  • Fresh Parmesan, grated
Directions:   Remove the crust from each piece of bread to form the best square you can.   Brush each piece of bread with olive oil on both side and saute in fry pan until browned on both sides.   Slice each piece of toasted bread diagonally to form triangles.

In a bowl, mash the capers flat then combine with the Mascarpone and stir to mix together.   Spread 1 -2 t of caper mixture onto each piece of toasted bread.   Top with fresh chopped basil and a healthy amount of freshly grated Parmesan and serve immediately.   Makes 8 servings.