Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Rumballs

Christmas Rumballs
Our friend Rita who grew up in Dahn Germany, which is in the Black Forest, is sharing one of her favorite Christmas recipes. Rita has created this recipe from one that was shared with her many years ago.
1 box chocolate brownie mix
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup chopped hazelnuts
3 Tablespoons golden rum
3 Tablespoons Kahlua
1/4 cup Swiss cocoa mix or 1 package chocolate drink mix
1/4 cup splenda
1 tub chocolate strusel
Bake brownies according to directions. Cool. Use only 2/3 of baked brownies, tear into small pieces.
In a large bowl, add chocolate mini chips, hazelnuts, splenda, cocoa mix, add rum and Kahlua. Mix well. Add torn brownies to mixture and stir to mix well.
Roll into 1" balls and roll into chocolate strusel until ball is well covered. Place Rum ball in sealed container in layers of waxed paper. Store in refrigerator or can be frozen. If balls are to dry add more rum or a little water to dough.
Thank you Rita.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Butterscotch Refrigerator Cookies

Butterscotch Refrigerator Cookies
This Christmas season I did not bake any traditional "Christmas cookies". With a 50Th wedding anniversary, birthday, Christmas, a cruise to celebrate the anniversary all within a four week period along with time constraints, I thought I could fore go the cookie baking this year.

My thoughts often turn to my mother at this time of the year remembering how she loved to make such a happy Christmas for the family.

This is a recipe that my mother received as a young married. The cookies were requested often in my youth. The taste conjures a special memory of by-gone times. How I still miss my mother.
1 cup butter
3 cups packed brown sugar
4 eggs separated 
5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup chopped nuts
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking soda and cream of tartar; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in chopped nuts. In a small bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into the dough. Shape into four 9 inch rolls; wrap each roll in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
Unwrap and slice into 1/4 inch slices. Place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove to cooling rack.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Market Day

Market Day
Last year at this time we were in Italy for the holidays. Friday is Market Day in our daughter's neighborhood. It is a very entertaining event. Everyone comes out to shop. Vendors set up booths with the freshest meats, cheeses, sausages, flowers, textiles, toys, hardware, kitchenware and window coverings. It is a fun experience to observe as well as shop.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hazelnut Cinnamon Rolls

Hazelnut Cinnamon Rolls
This is a recipe from the files of Giada. I like the fact that it has a shortcut with frozen bread dough. Sometimes you just get caught short on time and these short cuts make all the difference.
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 (1-pound) loaf purchased frozen white bread dough
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon buttermilk
Brush 1 tablespoon of melted butter over the bottom and sides of an 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. 

Mix the nuts, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves in a small bowl. 

Roll out the thawed dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12 by 9-inch rectangle. Brush 1 tablespoon of butter over the dough. Sprinkle the nut mixture over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border along the top and bottom sides. 

Starting at 1 long side, roll up the dough jelly-roll style, forming a log. Pinch the seam to seal. Cut the log into 9 equal pieces. Arrange the rolls, cut side down, in the prepared baking dish, spacing evenly. 

Cover the dish with plastic wrap. Let the rolls rise in a warm draft-free area until puffed, about 45 minutes. 

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.  

Bake the cinnamon rolls uncovered until the tops are golden brown, about 25 minutes. 

Meanwhile, whisk the powdered sugar, mascarpone cheese, and buttermilk in a medium bowl until smooth and creamy. Brush the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter over the baked cinnamon rolls and then drizzle the mascarpone cheese mixture over top.  Serve warm.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I received this recipe forty-five years ago. We then had milk delivery from a local dairy. At Christmas time we would receive a calendar from the dairy with a recipe on the calendar page each month. This was the December recipe and a long time holiday favorite at our house..
12 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup Kentucky Bourbon
4 cups whole milk
1 pint whipping cream
Grated nutmeg
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Beat yolks with sugar until creamy, add Bourbon to yolk mixture which serves to "cook" the yolks. Add milk, stir. Fold in the egg whites, the the whipped cream until smooth, but do not stir too vigorously. You need to keep the air in the egg whites in order to maintain the light fluffy consistency of the drink.
Use a ladle to pour into wide mouth glasses. Sprinkle with fresh nutmeg.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Early Morning Clouds

The Early Morning Clouds
Following three days of rain, the sun rose this morning with low clouds making the view of the canyon quite spectacular. We were hoping for four days of rain but it is not on the radar!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Delectable Cookies From Germany

Christmas Cookies From Germany
Many of us admire the European Bakeries when we travel and must admit the baked goods are a picture. Today I am offering a recipe from Melanie living in Germany. Our son and his wife had an au pere twelve years ago. They were blessed to have Melanie with them for one year. They have remained in contact with Meli. Actually she and her new husband visited California while they were on their honeymoon. Meli posted on her Facebook that she baked Christmas cookies. I requested the recipe and she obliged. Thank You Melanie. I have posted the recipe as she sent it. The converted measurements are in italics. Enjoy!
300 grams of flour
2 1/2 cups flour
180 grams butter
3/4 cup butter
100 grams vanilla sugar
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
1 egg
a bit of salt
my guess 1/2 teaspoon salt
two handsful chopped nuts
my guess 1/2 to 3/4 cup of chopped nuts
* lf vanilla sugar is not available to you, you may use granulated sugar and add the vanilla flavoring.
Mix ingredients quickly with hands. Let cool for 30 minutes. roll out dough to 3 millimeters (1/4 inch) thick. Cut out little circles with a glass. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Cookies don't have to be brown.
When cool place jelly between two cookies. When finished you can sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

yield: Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies 

For cookies:
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts (9 ounces), toasted , loose skins rubbed off in a kitchen towel while still warm, and nuts cooled completely
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch 
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon hazelnut-flavored liqueur (preferably 

For icing:
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon hazelnut-flavored liqueur

Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in middle.
Butter a large baking sheet.

Pulse hazelnuts, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves in a food processor until nuts are finely chopped, then add butter and zest and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Add juice and liqueur and pulse until dough comes together into a ball but is still crumbly. 

Form level tablespoons of dough into balls and flatten to about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, arranging 1 inch apart on baking sheet.

Bake cookies until puffed and slightly cracked, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Make icing while cookies cool:
Whisk together all icing ingredients until smooth. Dip tops of cooled cookies into icing and transfer to a wax-paper-lined baking sheet. Let stand until icing is set, about 1 hour.

Note: Cookies keep, layered between sheets of parchment paper, in an airtight container at room temperature 4 days.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Individual Brie & Fig Strudels

Individual Brie And Fig Strudels
From LCBO Holiday 2008 edition, Food And Drink
Fig Compote and brie make perfect partners in these inspired strudels. Serve them at the beginning of the meal over a bed of peppery greens, or sprinkle them with a little coarse sugar befor baking a not-too-sweet dessert.
6 oz. dried figs, stems removed and chopped
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
8 phyllo pastry sheets
1/4 cup butter, melted
8 oz. brie, rind removed and sliced
Preheat oven to 375ºF.

In a heavy saucepan, combine figs, onion, water, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, raisins, garlic, ginger, orange zest, salt and cayenne over medium-high heat; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer until most of liquid has been evaporated, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in pine nuts. Let cool.

Place 1 sheet of phyllo on a work surface, keeping remaining sheets covered with damp tea towel to prevent drying out. Brush sheet lightly with some of the butter. Fold in half lengthwise; brush lightly with some of the butter. Arrange 2 slices of Brie along 1 narrow end of the phyllo, leaving a 1-inch border. Top with ¼ cup of fig mixture and top with another slice or 2 of the brie (use 1 oz. per strudel). Fold sides over to enclose filling and roll up.

Place seam side down on parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Brush with butter. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 7 more strudels. Using the tip of a sharp knife, make diagonal slits about 1 inch apart in the tops of the strudels.

Bake in the center of the oven until pastry is golden, about 13 to 16 minutes. Serve warm with sliced apples and pears.
Makes 8 servings

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Day At Balboa Park

The Spreckles Organ Pavilion
Dedicated In 1918
Santa With Reindeer The Merry Tree Old Globe Theatre Piazza The Entrance To Balboa Park The Chinese Gardens
A Day At Balboa Park
The Crown Jewel of San Diego is Balboa Park. The Park was developed from a grant of 1400 acres of prime land by three very generous citizens. The architecture was dedicated in 1915 celebrating the Panama Exhibition.
We spent the day at Balboa Park in the Museum of History. John Shelton's photography of The California Baja Peninsula was especially interesting. Having traveled there several times some of his sights were identifiable but many were inspiring and educational0. Another museum display of Dinosaurs was interesting but probably more so for the youth. The Park was getting decked for the holidays and the big weekend Festival of Lights.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Stuffed Pork Tenderloins With Fresh Cranberry Compote

Stuffed Pork Tenderloins with 
Fresh Cranberry Compote
This recipe is shared by the LCBO.

For a festive meal, serve this dish with roast potatoes, squash and green beans almandine. Both the compote and stuffed loins can be prepared earlier in the day.

Cranberry Compote:
⅓ cup finely diced red onion

2 tbsp water

2 cups fresh cranberries, divided

¾ cup dry red wine

½ cup granulated sugar

1 large apple or almost-ripe pear, peeled and grated

2 tsp freshly grated ginger

1 cinnamon stick

3 tbsp butter
⅓ cup finely chopped onion
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage,or 1½ tsp dried
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
¼ tsp each of salt and freshly groundblack pepper
½ cup chicken broth
4 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
2 large pork tenderloins, each about 1 lb
1 tbsp peanut or canola oil
¼ cup cranberry compote
2 tbsp maple syrup


For compote, combine onion and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile cut ½ cup of cranberries in half; set aside. Stir remaining cranberries, red wine, sugar, apple and ginger into onions. Add cinnamon stick. Bring to a low boil, stirring frequently. Adjusting heat as needed, briskly simmer mixture, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Stir in reserved cranberry halves; simmer another 5 minutes. Cool, cover and refrigerate until needed. (Compote can be made 2 to 3 days ahead.)

For roast, heat butter in a large frying pan over medium heat until bubbly. Add onions; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in herbs, salt and pepper; remove from heat. Add broth and bread crumbs; toss until evenly coated. (Crumbs feel moist, not wet.)
Lay tenderloins on cutting board; remove any surface fat or silver skin. Cutting only halfway into meat, slice length of each loin. Open up like a book. Lay a piece of plastic wrap underneath and over top; use smooth side of a meat pounder or bottom of heavy skillet to pound loins until about ¾ inch thick.
Cut-side up, firmly press stuffing onto loin. Then top with other loin, cut-side down towards stuffing. Use cooking twine or silicone bands to bind together at each end and on either side of centre point. Firmly stuff any dislodged filling back into meat. (Stuffed loin can be covered and promptly refrigerated for up to half a day.)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Heat oil in a large, ovenproof frying pan over medium heat until very hot. Sauté stuffed pork in frying pan until browned, about 5 minutes per side.

Meanwhile mash measured compote with a fork; stir in maple syrup. Spread about half over pork top. Place roast, still in frying pan, on centre rack in oven. Roast, uncovered for 20 minutes; spoon remaining glaze over top. Continue roasting for 20 minutes or until thermometer shows 140°F.

Remove roast from oven to stovetop; immediately cover with foil. Rest 15 minutes to complete cooking. Temperature rises to 160°F during this rest. Then cut away strings; slice roast about ¾ inch thick. Serve with cranberry compote.

Serves 6