Cranberry and Apple Cake 6-8 servings
This is an easy and fairly healthy dish to make when the holidays are here. Actually, it’s good for anytime of the year. You can vary it as to how you think that you want to enjoy it. I personally like less cake so I cut the cake ingredients in half (shown in my picture). There are other options as well. It’s all up to you. I like versatile recipes like that. So, bon appétit and Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.
Step # 1Ingredients for the filling:
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over for stems if necessary
- 1 Granny Smith or other good kind of cooking apple you like, cored and diced (I diced mine in the food processor).
- 4 ounces Sun Dried Cherries (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of grated orange rind/zest (about 1/2 of 1 large orange)
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice from that 1 large orange you just used
- Orange segments from that 1 orange after you’ve juiced it. I put the segments in with the apple and diced it all together.
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or some other similar spice that you enjoy
- Some ground black pepper if you wish or even some pepper corns
Step #2 Ingredients for the cake (for more cake like, use the amounts I have listed; if you wish more of a topping like effect, as in my picture, use half of the amounts of these ingredients which also means less calories. )
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or any other extract you like or even brandy (I used brandy)
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Step # 3 Topping ingredients for the end result:
- Some Turbinado Sugar to lightly sprinkle over all before placing in the oven
- Some more cinnamon, whatever also to sprinkle over all before placing in oven
- Pre-heat oven to 325F
- Slightly oil or butter a 10-inch glass pie plate.
- Step #1: Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Let sit while you do Step #2.
- Step #2: In another bowl, on medium-high, beat with an electric beater the eggs for 2 minutes. Then, on medium, add the remainder of the ingredients except for the flour and beat until just combined. On low speed, slowly add the flour and salt till well combined.
- Step #3: Pour the cranberry mixture into the pie dish. Spread the batter with a spatula over the fruit covering it as completely as you wish. Top with ingredients listed in Step #3.
- Bake in oven for about 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the fruit is bubbling around the edges.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. Cool Whip, whipped cream or ice cream makes for a nice accompaniment.
Sautéed Apples—serves up to 4
I served this often to my B&B guests and they loved it. It’s so easy to make and is so much better than store bought syrup to use for pancakes or waffles and you get the apples as well. But don’t stop there, it’s great over ice cream as well.
- 1/4 cup (or a bit more if you wish) butter
- 2-3 large tart apples cored and sliced in large segments
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 to 1 cup hot water
- 1/4 -1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or another flavor if you wish
- Raisins (optional)
- In a large skillet or saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; add apples. Cook, stirring constantly, until apples are almost tender, about 6 to 7 minutes.
- Dissolve the cornstarch, brown sugar and cinnamon In hot water in a microwaveable dish. Place in micro for 1 or more minutes.
- When apples are just about tender, pour heated liquid into the pan along with the optional raisins if you wish and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Hints: I started out with the lesser amounts of the hot water and brown sugar. After micro-heating and placing in pan with apples, you can always add more hot water. If you wish to have more sugar, dissolve the sugar first in hot water and then add to pan. But truthfully, I found that 1/4 C. brown sugar was plenty sweet enough.
Margot Van Horn
Shortbread Cookies—–Warning—- Dangerous: Can’t Stop Eating These
Easy to make and they are the freezer kind, but of course are called refrigerator cookies. Shouldn’t they be called Freezer Cookies? Go figure?!!!!
So, once you make the dough (in your processor or if you prefer, in a bowl with your electric mixer) you roll the dough into two logs and freeze them for at least 2 hours or up to one month. One roll makes at least 30 delights so I bet you’ll easily have some cookie dough left over to make into yummy cookies some time later unless you are baking for a large crowd. Below, look for variation possibilities.
Ingredients: makes 60 cookies
- 2 Cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 Tsp. coarse salt
- 1 Tblsp. plus 1 Tsp. lemon zest (or whatever you choose)
- 1 Tsp. fresh lemon juice (or whatever you choose)
- 1 Cup (2 sticks) sweet butter, cut into pieces
- 2 egg yolks
- Granulated sugar (maybe 1/4 C?) for rolling the dough in before baking
Directions (easy and if you don’t have a food processor, you can use a bowl and electric beaters):
- In a food processor, pulse the flour, confectioners’ sugar, salt and lemon zest until combined.
- Add the butter pieces and process till crumbly.
- Add the egg yolks and lemon juice.
- Pulse until dough comes together. (If it hasn’t done that to your satisfaction, use your hands to form the dough into a cohesive ball)
- Divide the dough in half and form with your hands each half into a 1 ½ inch wide log.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until firm—- 2 hours or up to 1 month.
- Pre-heat oven to 350F.
- Place parchment paper on your baking sheet(s).
- Spread granulated sugar on a paper towel and roll the log(s) in the sugar. If you still want more sugar on the log, use your hands to place more on the log.
- With a sharp knife, slice the log(s) into 1/4 inch thick slices and arrange them about 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. These cookies really don’t spread so you are safe from their melding together.
- Bake until the cookies are golden brown around the edges (about 15 minutes). They’ll be sort of white on the tops but as long as they have some brown edging, they’ll be perfect. If you are using more than one baking sheet, rotate them half way through the baking cycle.
- Transfer the baked cookies to a wire rack or onto paper towels to cool.
- To store, cover and keep at room temp for up to 5 days. They also freeze well.
- Hint: want orange flavored cookies? Use orange juice and orange zest. How about lavender buds, crystallized ginger, ground almond, ground pecans? Use your imagination to alter these cookies to your very own taste and make sure to comment on what you have invented. I can’t wait to hear.
Bon Appétit: From Margot’s Table to Yours
Want some more recipes? Easy to find on Margot’s blog: http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com Want someone to help you with small time entertaining or cooking?—email me at: email@example.com
GUAC: JUST IN TIME FOR THE SUPERBOWL –The Basic Plus 14 Fresh Ways
Skiing on Big Game Day in Sun Valley is usually superb because you mostly have the mountain and trails to yourself. The rest of the folk are prepping the chicken wings, guacamole and wondering about “flat footballs”.
You’re on your own for the chicken wings but here’s a little help for the Guac and believe me that will NOT be flat. Frankly, I like a good tasty strong Bloody Mary to go with any one of these recipes—but if beer, wine or a margarita is your preference, go for it.
And just in case you’ve bought too many avocados, next week I’ll have a nice little breakfast oven baked avocado/egg recipe just so those extra avocados won’t go to waste. It’s easy, delicious, healthy and not flat either.
The Basic GUAC’ for 8 (Way # 1)
- 2 to 3 ripe avocados
- Juice of 1/2 to 1 whole lime (taste as you add)
- 1/2 to 1 Tsp. ground cumin (taste as you add)
- 1/2 C. diced tomato (fresh and drained canned)
- 2 Tblsp. chopped/minced fresh cilantro
- 1/4 C. diced/minced red onion
- S & P, to taste (can be as much as 1/2 to 3/4 Tsp. salt)
- Hot sauce, to taste or 1/2 to 2/4 Tsp. red pepper flakes (taste as you add)
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- Slice avocados in 1/2; remove the seed; spoon flesh into a medium sized bowl.
- Using a fork, mash the avocados until the consistency of your desire has been reached. If you wish a rougher chop, use a knife to slice through the avocado flesh and then a fork. And you might add the lime juice to the pulp to start with so that the avocado doesn’t brown.
- Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
- Serve immediately.
14 Fresh Ideas For A Switch On The Ole’ Basic GUAC’
- Fast and Dirty: In place of the tomato, cilantro and red onion, stir in 1/2 C. of your favorite jarred salsa, 1 Tblsp. olive brine and 2 Tblsp. chopped green olives.
- Mango-Balsamic: In place of the tomato, stir in the diced flesh of 1 mango. Use scallions in place of the red onion and 1 Tblsp. balsamic vinegar in place of the lime juice.
- Chipotle-Corn: Stir in 1 minced chipotle and 1 Tblsp. adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo. Add 1/2 C. corn kernels (fresh, defrosted frozen or drained canned)
- Tzatziki: Use 1 C. finely diced seedless cucumber in place of the tomato and red onion. Use dill in place of the cilantro. Stir in 2 minced garlic cloves.
- Roasted Garlic and Poblano: Roast a head of garlic wrapped in foil with a little olive oil until tender and brown, about 30 minutes at 400 F. Roast a poblano pepper under the broiler, turning frequently, until the skin is charred. Carefully remove the charred skin from the pepper (with gloves maybe), then chop the flesh. Squeeze the garlic pulp from the skin and mash. Mix both into the guacamole, omitting the onion.
- Minted Cotija: Follow the basic recipe but add 3 Tblsp. chopped fresh mint instead of the cilantro and add 2/3 C. crumbled cotija cheese. Season with S&P.
- Maple-Bacon: Follow the basic recipe but use 3 avocados, 2 Tblsp. white wine vinegar, 2 Tblsp. soy sauce, 2 Tblsp. maple syrup, 2 chopped scallions and 1/2 C. chopped cooked bacon. Season heavily with black pepper.
- Ginger-Hoisin: Add 2 Tblsp. grated fresh ginger and 2 Tblsp. hoisin sauce to the basic recipe.
- Citrus Tabbouleh: Replace the tomato and onion with 3/4 C. purchased tabbouleh and the zests of 1 lemon, 1 lime and 1 orange. You can also add 1/3 C. pomegranate seeds. You’ll love the color of this version.
- Shrimp Scampi: Use lemon juice in place of the lime juice and basil in place of the cilantro. Omit the cumin, tomato and onion. Stir in 1 C. chopped cooked shrimp, 2 cloves minced garlic and 1/3 C. shredded Parmesan cheese.
- Pico de Gallo Guac: add 1/2 C. of chunky tomatoes, 2 Tsp. of minced jalapenos and 2 Tbsp. of chopped green peppers to the basic recipe. Don’t like green pepper, choose the milder red, yellow or orange one.
- Calorie Conscious Guac: Delete one of the avocados and add 1/2 C. of LIGHT sour cream or LIGHT plain yogurt. Here you’ll have a creamy and fluffy guac minus some calories. You may like to do this even with 2 or 3 avocados because it’ll be a bit different.
- Greek Guac: Add 1/4 C. of chopped Kalamata olives and red peppers and instead of the cilantro and lime, add basil and lemon juice.
- Guac in those little peppers: Yes, you know those cute little peppers in all colors, all ready in a package. Serve a tray of those, cut in half and filled with your favorite Guac. Fun, easy and colorful. And you still can have chips and drinks on the side.
SLOW COOKER ONION SOUP (6 Servings)
Here’s a yummy soup that will warm your bones, body and soul
January here in our snowy valley is always a good time to have a repast to warm up the bones, body and soul. After a hard day’s skiing either on our BCRD cross country trails or down-hilling on Mt. Baldy, a delicious hot soup that is easy to make because most of it will be cooking while you are skiing is very desirable indeed. And by the way, you can also after caramelizing your onions, take half of them out and freeze for future use on pizzas, etc. and so just make half of this recipe for your soup.
For the caramelized onions:
- 8 cups thinly sliced yellow onions, (about 2 very large onions or 4 medium sized ones)
- 10 to 12 clove garlic, minced or 8 garlic minced garlic gloves and 2 thinly sliced shallots
- 4 tablespoon olive oil or peanut oil and 2 tablespoons melted sweet butter
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
For the soup:
- 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 1/4 cup white wine or white vermouth
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- Sprig fresh rosemary
- 4 cups good beef broth (I like the Better Than Bouillon brand but there are others however, of course, the best is the one you’ve made with beef bones, etc. at home)
- 1/2 to 1 cup mushroom broth which is different than most recipes but I like it in this soup (optional)
- 2-3 cups water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (a last minute deal option—I like it)
- 3 egg yolks (a last minute deal option and it will make your soup a bit creamier—I like this too)
- 6 or more thin slices baguette, toasted in a 400 degree oven until golden and quite dry and more slices for your bread basket—and you could just toast it in your toaster to make things easier.
- 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, Parmesan, Romano, Swiss or any kind of the MUST cheese you can envision for this dish.
- Serving idea: This wonderful soup plus a green salad, a basket of more baguette slices and a side board filled with an assortment of good cheeses and dried meats would make a great meal at any time of the day—even one to break the day’s fast.
- Coat a 4-quart or larger slow cooker with some melted butter.
- Add the onions, (shallots), garlic, oil and melted butter.
- Toss well, and then season with a bit of salt and pepper.
- Cover and cook on low for about 5 hours, until the onions are richly colored and sweet. After the first hour toss the onions and you can do this one another time in about 3 hours if you wish. I also place a paper towel under the lid to absorb the extra moisture.
- Once the onions are ready, sprinkle them with the flour and stir until well-combined. Then add the sherry and vermouth or white wine.
- Then add the bouillons & water (which should be well heated in the micro) and the herbs; cover and cook for another 4 hours on low or 2 hours on high.
- Optional: Once the soup is done, stir in the lemon juice and adjust the seasoning.
- Optional but very good: Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk in one ladle full of hot soup and then whisk in another ladle full in that bowl. Then add this concoction to the soup.
- Set broiler to high when ready to eat. Ladle the soup into broiler-safe serving crocks. Top each crock with a thin slice of the toasted baguette and a heaping tablespoon of Gruyere. However, see below for additional hints
- Hints: If you wish, you can place the toasted baguette on the bottom of the crock, ladle in the soup and then top with your choice of cheese; then place it under the broiler for a moment or two. Or you can just add croutons to the top of the soup, plus the cheese and broil it. Or leave out the bread and just top with cheese however no matter what you choose broiled cheese on top is a must. Decisions, decisions, decisions—and don’t forget to remove your herb sprigs before serving.
- Place the filled crocks on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a bit of foil for easy cleaning and broil just until cheese is golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Do not leave the crocks under the broiler unattended as they will burn quickly so watch carefully.
- Serve with more toasted baguette slices or even just oven warm slices, a side board of assorted cheeses, dried meats and a green salad and of course, a cupo of vino or yes, even a good glass of bierre. Voila—magnifique!!!!
Don’t forget to check in on Margot’s blog: http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com for more than 200 recipes.
Nut Delight Cookies (makes 3-4 dozen cookies) Extra Delicious and Easy.
The holidays are almost upon us and before you know it, they’ll be over and gone. However, even so it’s never too late for a fast and easy cookie making. Why? Well, here are 3 reasons for the baking of this particular lacy and delicate treat.
- They are a cinch to make
- They will fill your home with a magnificent scent
- They are versatile as to the ingredients and therefore I bet that you have them all in your pantry/refrigerator—so no shopping.
- They are perfect to take for your cross country ski outing on our BCRD (Blaine County Recreation District) trails now that they and the weather are getting rather perfect.
- One cup all-purpose flour
- Half teaspoon coarse salt (regular is fine as well)
- One cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temp or if you only have the salted kind, omit the half tsp. salt
- Three-quarters cup packed brown sugar—dark is better but if you only have light, that’s OK
- One egg yolk
- Two-thirds finely chopped nuts of your choice (I used almonds and I lightly toasted mine. I also used my small Cuisinart to finely chop them.)
- Nut halves and larger pieces for last minute before baking décor.
- Pre-heat oven to 350.
- Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper if you have that; if not, try to use a Teflon sheet and if you don’t have that, lightly grease your sheet.
- Cream the butter with the sugar in a medium sized bowl. When the batter is nice and smooth mix in the egg yolk till well combined. I used my electric beaters to do all of the aforementioned and then, you will be using something like a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to add in the well chopped nuts. Stir again till well combined.
- In a separate bowl, sift and flour and salt or put the flour and salt in a sifter and add the dry ingredients to your creamed butter concoction; mix till well combined.
- The dough will not be really thick and that’s OK because you are going to drop medium size spoonfuls onto your lined cookie sheets— 3 horizontally and 3 inches apart because they do tend to spread and onward down on whatever size sheet that you are using. When your sheet has the spoonfuls of dough on it, place a half nut or some smaller slices of nuts into the top of each spoonful.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes; if using two cookie sheets, rotate them half way through.
- You want to watch carefully at the 12 minute point to see that they don’t get too brown.
- Let them rest for a minute or so on the cookie sheet and then place the cookies on a rack to cool.
- Store in an airtight container if need be—however, I bet they’ll all be gone before you have a chance to do that.
Need help for parties? Need a recipe? Call Margot 208-721-3551, email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out her more than 200 recipe blog: http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com
Above on your left is the tart decorated for Lois A. 90th B-D. Besides the bought decorations I used some violets from my garden.
The middle picture shows the crust, pierced and ready to go in the oven briefly.
The right picture shows the tart undecorated.
Chocolate Pear Custard Tart
This is truly DELICIOUS. It’s hard to stop eating it. It’s somewhat time intensive to make, but truly worth it. If you don’t decorate it, it looks a little bland so I do suggest placing some little eatable flowers on top or something else to make it look a bit more appealing. I have doubled this recipe and used a 13X9 Pyrex dish; it worked out just fine but I did bake it somewhere between 45 to 60 minutes. Remember, I am in altitude so for your first baking it’s a watch and see mode.
HINT: Poach the pears first; then do the custard; then make your crust; then put the whole deal together and bake; then cool. Told you it’s a bit time intensive but believe me it’s worth it.
Ingredients and hints for the pears:
For the pears that will go on top of the crust please do the following and do this before making the crust:
- 6 (or more) UNPEELED Bartlet pears, halved, cored and sliced into half-inch slices. The pears can be semi-ripe but not mushy!
- Poach 4 of the pears according to my recipe on this blog. Use the method on top of the stove and I did put in currents.
- Save the extra 2 sliced unpeeled and un-poached pears for the last topping to go on top of the poached pears before you pour the chocolate custard sauce over all.
- Also, what I did was to buy extra pears and I poached them as well. So, when I served the tart, I also served a separate bowl of poached pears for those who are gluten intolerant. Of course I also served my no-churn homemade ice cream. YUM!!!!!
- Mix some sugar and cinnamon together to sprinkle on the extra 2 pears you will be placing on top of the poached pears before you pour the chocolate custard sauce over all.
Ingredients for the chocolate custard:
- 1/3 C. semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 Tblsp. unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 C. plus 2 Tblsp. whole milk
- 1 Tsp. almond extract
- 1/2 Tsp. salt
- 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
- 3 Tblsp. granulated white sugar
- 3 Tblsp. all purpose flour
- 2 Tblsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (I always buy the best for this)
Directions for the custard:
- Combine the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low hear, stirring until totally melted. Sir in the milk, almond and salt. Set aside.
- Combine the egg, yolk, sugar, flour and cocoa powder in the food processor or mixer bowl and process for about 2 minutes. Pour in the milk and chocolate mixture and continue to process until smooth and completely incorporated. Set aside for a bit.
Ingredients for the Crust:
- 1 package of Walker’s plain shortbread cookies
- 1 large egg
- 4 Tblsp. butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 C. all purpose flour
- 1/3 C. granulated white sugar
- 1 Tsp. almond extract
- Prepare the crust:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Place shortbread cookies in food processor and process until finely ground.
- Add the egg, melted butter, flour, sugar, salt and extract and process again until a soft, buttery dough forms.
- Remove dough, roll into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill in frig. for 20 minutes.
- Press the chilled dough into a greased 13” by 4” or a 9” round tart pan and score all over with a fork.
- Place tart pan on a cookie sheet and blind bake in the oven for 7 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool.
- Now you can place the poached pears on top of the crust and after you have done that, place the last 2 sliced unpeeled pears skin side up in a nice pattern. Sprinkle those with a bit of your mixed cinnamon/sugar.
- Pour the custard over all.
- Bake in your still heated 350 degree oven on the cookie sheet for 25 minutes or till the custard is set, firm and the crust is slightly golden.
- Let cool completely before serving.