Tag Archives: holidays

Cranberry and Apple Cake 6-8 servings

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Cranberry and Apple Cake 6-8 servings

cranberry-apple-cake

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

Directions:

  • 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.

 cranberry-apple-cake

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Cassoulet, the easy way     serves 6-8 finis Originally the cassoulet originated in the South of France and was named after the traditional earthenware pot, a casserole vessel that was used specifically for it.  It was a “peasant’s” dish and utilized all sorts of left-over’s.  It was a slow cooking dish that traditionally contained pork, sausages, goose, duck, mutton, pork skin and white haricot beans.  But it has transformed itself by cooks worldwide to now even containing fish.  This is such a versatile dish and it can be quite healthy.  It can be a little time consuming due to the chopping of the veggies and the browning of the meats so give yourself a minute or two to this creative dish.  The end result will be well worth it.  Also, if you wish to vary the meats such as using pork, go for it. The fun thing with this dish is that you can make it your own by using your imagination with many different kinds of variations.

Ingredients for the cassoulet pictured above:

  • 2 lbs. lamb shoulder slices (bone in)
  • 1 ½ lbs. organic chicken thighs-skin on
  • 12 ounces Cajun Style Andouille Smoked Pork Sausages-cut crosswise in large 1 inch or more slices
  • Bacon-chopped about 1/4 cup or so.
  • 1 shallot, 1 yellow onion, 2-4 garlic cloves–all finely chopped
  • 2 large peeled carrots, 1 large peeled turnip, 1 large peeled rutabaga, 1 large peeled parsnip, several celery stalks with their tops all chopped in large chunks
  • 1-14.5 ounce can of chopped tomatoes—do not drain and 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 or more 15 ounce cans of cannellini white beans—drained, placed in a colander and well rinsed with cold water
  • 1-3 cups of organic chicken (or beef) stock (I used chicken but beef is good too.)
  • At least 1/4 cup white wine or white vermouth (taste as you go)
  • Seasonings: use as you please and pinches only: all spice, cardamom, coriander, nutmeg, paprika, cayenne, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, a pod of anise.
  • Herbs: sprig of Rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, chopped parsley or even dry parsley flakes
  • Olive oil—could be up to 1/2 cup

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350F
  • Place your 10 inch cast iron skillet on top of the burner
  • Place all of your meats in a separate bowl—if you wish you can S&P them.
  • Place your finely chopped shallot, onion and garlic cloves in a small bowl or maybe like I did you’ve made it easy for yourself and used your Cuisinart.
  • Place all of your chopped root veggies in a bowl
  • Open your chopped tomatoes can and remember the 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.
  • Drain and rinse the cannellini white beans and place in a bowl.
  • Heat the skillet over medium heat and cook the bacon in it (about 5 minutes). When the bacon is done, scoop the bacon bits out but leave the bacon drippings in the pan.
  • Over medium heat, add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to the bacon drippings and gently sauté the onion, shallot and garlic (about 5 minutes) till softened. Remove the ingredients to a separate dish.
  • Now, still over medium heat, add to the skillet the chopped veggies and sauté them till slightly brown—stirring every now and then.
  • Remove the veggies to its separate bowl.
  • To the skillet, still over medium heat, add the meats (maybe in several sessions) and brown, turning every now and then (about 10 minutes)
  • Remove the meats to its separate dish.
  • Over medium heat in the skillet add the chopped tomatoes with its liquid, the tomato paste, the onion, garlic, shallot and 2 cups chicken broth and bring to a slight boil. Add which ever spices you like tasting as you go.  Add the white wine or vermouth.  Keep on tasting.  Add the herbs.  If you like the sauce—go for it.
  • At this point add the beans, meats and veggies. Now if you need some more liquid add some more stock but you don’t want the mixture to be drowning in the liquid.  If you have too much liquid, spoon it out.
  • Place the whole skillet, UNCOVERED, in the pre-heated 350F oven and bake for 1 hour. Watch every now and then to see that your liquid has not evaporated.  If so, add some more chicken stock.
  • Serve with crusty French bread and wine of course.

veggiesmeat-browningbefore-the-oven

 

 

Nuts, Nuts, Nuts to the Holiday

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spiced nuts 1

spiced nuts 2

 

 

 

Nuts, Nuts, Nuts to the Holidays—

Spiced nuts are so easy to make; they are an easy, lovely little treat to give to someone you like for the holidays. Here are 3 simple recipes that you can make in a jiffy and of course, if I were you, I would keep some of these nuts for myself because of course I hope that you like to treat yourself as well. Any kinds of nuts would suffice for these recipes; however, I have mentioned the ones that I like the most for each individual recipe.

Nuts Recipe #1:   Sugar and Spice Nuts (This is very tasty with raw cashews and raw almonds)

  • 3/4 C. sugar
  • 1 Tblsp Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbslp chili powder
  • 2 Tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 large egg white
  • 4 Cups raw cashews and almonds

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 300.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the sugar with the salt, chili powder, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
  • In a large bowl, beat the egg white until frothy.
  • Add the nuts to the egg white along with the sugar combo.
  • Mix well until all the nuts are well coated.
  • Spread out on a parchment covered cookie sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  • Cool the nuts and store in an airtight container.

Nuts Recipe # 2: Curried Nuts (this is very good featuring raw cashews)

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tblsp. lemon juice
  • 6 Tblsp. curry powder
  • 4 Tsp. Kosher salt
  • 6 C. nuts

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 250
  • Whisk lemon juice, curry powder and salt in a large bowl. Add nuts, toss to coat and spread in an even layer in 2 lined with parchment paper baking sheets
  • Bake, stirring every 15 minutes for about 45 minutes.
  • Let cool completely and store in an airtight container for about 3 weeks.

Nuts Recipe #3:   5 Spice nuts (this is very good featuring raw pistachios)

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tblsp. orange juice
  • 6 Tblsp. Chinese Five-Spice Powder
  • 4 Tsp. Kosher salt
  • 6 C. nuts

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 250
  • Whisk orange juice, 5-spice powder and salt in a large bowl. Add nuts, toss to coat and spread in an even layer in 2 lined with parchment paper baking sheets
  • Bake, stirring every 15 minutes for about 45 minutes.
  • Let cool completely and store in an airtight container for about 3 weeks.

 

 

Guacamole with Toronja (grapefruit)

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Guacamole w. grapefuit

Toronja (grapefruit) Guacamole with Oven Baked Tortilla Chips

Serves 4-6

2 for 4—that is at Atkinsons’ Market in Ketchum, ID. I bought 2 delicious large avocados for $4.  They come from Mexico and truly are so tasty and sweet, it’s hard to believe that they arrived here in that condition.  YUM!! So, here’s a new twist to the ole’ guacamole and I think that it’s really good to eat with chips, or as a veggie wrap or with fish tacos. You can store the guacamole in the refrigerator for several days but here’s a tip: forget the old tradition of putting the pit in the avocado to keep it from turning brown.  What makes the avocado turn is oxygen (air).  So, if you wrap it thoroughly in wrap or in a container so that NO AIR can reach it, it’ll stay green.   As well, I’ve included an easy way of making your own tortilla chips.  Buenos apetito!!!

Ingredients:

  1. 2 large ripe avocados or 4 small ripe avocados
  2. 1 medium grapefruit—I used a ruby one
  3. 1 small onion, diced
  4. 1 jalapeno, seeds taken out and minced
  5. 1/4 C. chopped fresh cilantro
  6. 1/4 Tsp. salt
  7. A bit of diced garlic and a splash of lime if you wish

Directions and put the following ingredients in a medium size bowl:

  1. I processed the onion and jalapeno into dice chop. But you can hand dice as well.
  2. Cut the grapefruit crosswise; serrate and cut out and drop the individual sections over the bowl—so as to catch the juice as well.  Remove whatever seeds fall in.
  3. Cut the avocados in half, length wise; remove the pits; remove the flesh and put in bowl.  You can do this with a spoon but I cut the flesh criss-cross wise and scoop it out that way.
  4. Add the chopped cilantro and salt.
  5. Mash it all with a potato masher or a fork.
  6. Serve it immediately or store in refrigerator till ready to serve. I think that it gets better when refrigerated for a bit.

Oven Baked Tortilla Chips

 

 Ingredients:

  1. 12 corn tortillas—white or yellow
  2. 1-2 Tbsp. safflower or other like kind oil (can be optional)
  3. Fine or Sea Salt to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. Brush BOTH sides of the tortillas with the oil.
  2. Stack the tortillas and cut the pile into sixths or whatever size you wish for your chips.
  3. Spread the chips in one layer out on parchment lined cookie sheets and season with salt to taste.
  4. Bake until golden brown and crisp for 12-15 minutes.  Rotate the sheets half way through this time period.
  5. Place on a paper towel to drain and then store in a paper bag.
  6. You can also bake the chips without any oil.  They just might not be quite as tasty, but certainly will contain fewer calories.
  7. And of course, you can go the full route, and deep fry them.

For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com  Call Margot for personal cooking help or hosting

 @ 721-3551.

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.

(Guacamole Recipe inspired by Garden Betty)

Marmalade Drop Cookies–Quick, Easy and Yummy

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marmalade drops with almonds and powder sugarmarmalade drop cookies

Marmalade Drop Cookies

24 cookies

Here is an easy and yummy cookie to make for your family and friends.  They also look pretty.

Ingredients:

  1. 1/2 C. unsalted butter (1 cube), softened
  2. 1/4 C. sugar
  3. 3 Tblsp. sugar on a plate for dipping the dough
  4. 1 egg yolk, beaten with the following:
    1. 1 Tblsp. lemon juice
    2. 1 Tsp. grated lemon peel
    3. 1 Tsp. vanilla extract
    4. 1/4 Tsp. almond extract
  5. 1 C. plus 1 Tblsp. flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet
  3. Beat  softened butter and 1/4 C. sugar with electric beater and when smooth, add the egg yolk mixture.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, place the flour and then mix the butter mixture into it until a smooth dough forms.
  5. Form the dough into about 24 small balls and roll in the plated sugar before placing them on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Lastly, make an indentation in each ball with your finger or thumb.
  6. Place on middle oven rack and bake until tops are lightly golden, about 24 minutes.
  7. Cool on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before removing to a platter.
  8. Place some marmalade or jam of your choice in each indentation. If you wish, you can further decorate with some powdered sugar and sliced almonds.

Roasted Turkey Thigh

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roasted turkey thigh

minnestrone cup Roasted Turkey Thigh

One Serves Two

 

 

Who says that turkey is just for Thanksgiving.  I love it year round. However, remember that if for a Thanksgiving dinner there are just 2 of you (or maybe even just your lonesome) this is a an easy turkey dish to make and have and still celebrate that turkey day without having to deal with the whole bird. But I divert. This is the day before spring and when I discovered this lovely 1.69 Lb. turkey thigh for $3.19 at Atkinsons’ the other day turkey sounded good to me so I bought it and had that evening a delicious and economical meal.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 Turkey Thigh (or more if you are serving more than 2)
  2. 1/4 C. olive oil or butter if you don’t mind the extra cholesterol
  3. 1 Tsp. salt
  4. 1/4 Tsp. ground pepper
  5. 2-4 cloves of garlic—peeled or unpeeled-whole or roughly chopped
  6. 1 large carrot chopped in large hunks
  7. 1/2 onion sliced
  8. 2 celery stalks roughly chopped
  9. 4 sprigs of thyme
  10. 4 basil or sage leaves
  11. 1/2 C. turkey or chicken broth

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Olive oil spray an ovenproof dish to accommodate your thigh(s) and veggies.
  3. Place the veggies and broth on the bottom of your dish.
  4. Gently loosen skin from the thigh and spread some olive oil over the meat; then insert the spices and garlic cloves. Smooth skin back over and spread the rest of the olive oil over the thigh.You can also use your olive oil spray to do this instead of using the 1/4 C. olive oil. Now salt and pepper the thigh.
  5. Place the thigh in the dish over the veggies and broth.
  6. Bake in the oven for 45 to 60 minutes or till a meat thermometer registers 175 degrees.
  7. Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  8. I sided this dish with a ramekin filled with freshly made thick minestrone topped with Parmesan and a fresh salad.  For desert, I served roasted pears.
  9. If you wish gravy, when you’ve removed the thigh and the veggies, thicken the drippings/sauce stove top in a pan over medium high heat with a bit of luke warm water in which you have well stirred a tablespoon or more of cornstarch.

 

For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com  Call Margot for personal cooking help or hosting

@ 721-3551.

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.

 

Pommes de Terre a la Provence

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Pommes de Terre a la Provence

One medium sized one will fill two 4 inch ramekins and will serve 2

Many of you may already know this, but Pommes de Terre in French literally means apples of the earth—and so what would that be?—a potato of course.  I just have always thought that’s such a cute name.  This is a very delicious dish and so easy to fix.  I’m sure it’s not light in calories or cholesterol, but every now and then a splurge is OK.

 

Ingredients:

  1. 1 medium sized baking potato (Idaho of course), peeled and sliced relatively thin.
  2. Crème Fraiche- 1/2 C. total will do.  *see below for recipe you can make yourself–much better and more economical however you have to start making this the day before making this dish.
  3. S&P to taste.
  4. Chopped Italian Parsley for topping.

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pam oil or butter spray the ramekins
  3. Place some of the potato slices on the bottom layer. It’ll probably be around 3 slices.
  4. Spoon the Crème Fraiche over this layer, sprinkle lightly with S&P and continue doing this for however many layers will fit in the ramekin. You might need to make some more Crème Fraiche.
  5. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for approximately 1 hour.
  6. Top with chopped parsley.
  7. If you wish to add a cheese to this mixture to accompany a meat or fish dish that has no sauce involved so that it wouldn’t conflict with a more complicated potato sauce, that would be very easy to accomplish.  You might think of Parmesan, Cheddar or Blue Cheese mixed in with the Crème Fraiche. You don’t need much to make a culinary imprint.  Also, spread a little on the top before putting in the oven.

 

You can also make this dish with other types of potatoes and/or just using  one large dish.  You will have to adjust your cooking times of course and I think for a larger dish, it could be as long as 2 hours or until tender.

  • Creme Fraiche-homemade: Easy but start making it the day before you make this dish. In a small bowl whisk 1/2 cup heavy wipping cream with 1/2 cup sour cream.  Cover well and leave out in a warm place for 12 hours.  Then stir and place in the refrigerator for another 12 hours.  At this point it should be perfect–thick, creamy and delicious.
  • Fresh Herbed Cream Sauce: No cooking here — simply blend 1/2 cup creme fraiche with 1 teaspoon each finely sliced chives and fresh tarragon. Add about 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Serves up to 6 people. Streak a little over pieces of grilled, baked or poached salmon, sole, or scallops. Herbs could be pureed with a little shallot and stirred into the cream for a pale green color.
  • Pan Sauces: Stir a generous tablespoon into defatted pan sauces after pan grilling poultry, fish or vegetables. Bring to a simmer, taste for balance, and pour over foods.
  • Soups: Reduce the amount of cream called for in your favorite creamed soup by half and substitute creme fraiche.
  • With Fruits: A few spoonfuls of creme fraiche lift fruit flavors. Try over berries, ripe peaches or nectarines, or on sauteed pears. The cream could be lightly sweetened, flavored with a little lemon, orange or vanilla.
  • Imagination is everything. Try creme fraiche in other dishes as well. Streak it over mousses and jelled sweets or savories. Finish an appetizer plate of marinated leek or grilled scallions and asparagus with a zig zag of creme fraiche. It is classic in Beef Stroganoff instead of sour cream.

 

Bon Appetit