Thursday, December 31, 2015

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Potted Salmon Spread

Potted Salmon Spread

The mixture of fresh poached and smoked salmon gives this spread a more complex flavour and texture. It can be made ahead and served with drinks or an appetizer. Buying a centre cut piece of salmon is important as it has an even thickness and so cooks uniformly.

½ lb. salmon fillet centre cut, skin and pin bones removed
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
3 tbsp Pernod
½ cup dry white wine
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 shallot, peeled and sliced
1 bay leaf
½ lb. smoked salmon, diced
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 lemon
1 tbsp chopped dill
1 tbsp finely chopped chives
¼ cup clarified butter, optional

Place the salmon in a shallow glass dish. Season both sides with salt and white pepper then sprinkle over 1 tbsp Pernod. Cover and leave to marinate at room temperature while preparing the poaching liquid.

In a small frying pan with a lid, add 2 cups water, white wine, vinegar, shallot and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat; add the salmon and any juices accumulated in the dish. Cover and leave to stand 5 minutes. Turn the fillet, cover and leave another 5 minutes. After 10 minutes, the salmon will be cooked to medium. Remove the salmon from the pan and leave to cool. Discard the poaching liquid.

4. In a food processor, blend half the diced smoked salmon with the butter and mayonnaise until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the remaining diced smoked salmon and remaining Pernod. Zest the lemon and juice it. Add the zest and 1½ tbsp lemon juice, dill and finely chopped chives to the bowl.

5. Break the cooked salmon into large flakes and add them to the mixture. Gently blend so that all the ingredients are combined but the salmon remains in chunks. Pack the mixture into ceramic crocks and smooth the surface. Refrigerate until firm. If you wish to keep the mixture for more than 3 days, seal the surface with cooled melted clarified butter. Once sealed, they will keep for at least 1 week, refrigerated.

Makes three ½-cup crocks.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Easy Dinner Rolls

Momma's Easy No Yeast Dinner Rolls

1 Cup Flour 
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp of salt
1/2 Cup milk
2 Tablespoons Mayo

Combine all ingredients, spoon in to a greased muffin pan, makes aprox. (5) rolls. cook in a preheated 180˚ oven for 15 minutes or till done and golden brown.    Yield 5 rolls

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Double Chocolate Biscotti


(makes 3 dozen cookies)
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Optional: 1/4 cup chopped walnuts ( more for decorating)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
æ cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar with a spoon until light and fluffy. Gradually stir in cocoa and baking powder and keep at it for 2 minutes.

Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in flour by hand. Mix in white chocolate chips, chocolate chips and chopped walnuts.

Cover dough, and chill for about 10 minutes.

While dough is chilling, preheat oven to 375F.

Divide dough into two parts, and roll each part into a 9 inch long log. Place logs on lightly greased cookie sheet, about 4 inches apart. Flatten slightly. Sprinkle rolls with more chopped walnuts if desired.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool for one hour.

Cut each loaf into 1/2 inch wide diagonal slices.

Place slices on an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake at 325F for 9 minutes. Turn cookies over, and bake for another 7 to 9 minutes.

Cool completely, then store in an airtight container.

Monday, December 28, 2015

American Meatloaf

American Meatloaf
Meatloaf one would think is very American, its origins actually in a German colonial dish of minced pork mixed with cornmeal. Italians cook it a lot as well and in this rendition the cultures blend deliciously with the addition of a pestata to an American classic. Not only does it taste delicious but it is foolproof, moist every time. The leftovers reheat as if just cooked and Italians love to serve it with roasted potato wedges.

2 cups country crusty bread cubes
1 cup milk
2 medium carrots, cut in cubes
2 medium celery, cut in chunks
1 medium onion, cut in chunks
1 ½ pounds ground beef
1 ½  pounds ground pork
1 bunch scallions, cut in slices
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Granna or Grana Padano
1 cup marinara sauce or pureed canned tomatoes
½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon dry oregano
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions:Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Put bread cubes in a medium bowl and pour the milk over. Let soak until bread is soft. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the carrot, celery and onion and pulse to make a fine-textured paste or pestata.

When the bread is soft, squeeze out excess milk and put bread in a large mixing bowl. Add pestata, ground meats, scallions, grated cheese, marinara sauce, parsley, salt and oregano. Mix well with your hands to evenly distribute all of the ingredients. Oil a 10-by-15 Pyrex (or other) baking dish with the olive oil. Form meat mixture into a loaf in the oiled pan.

Baked until browned and cooked through (the center of the meatloaf should read 165 degrees F in an instant read thermometer), about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Corn Pudding

Corn Pudding

3 tablespoons butter, plus more for dish
2 cups corn (from about 3 ears)
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs beaten
2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Heat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Cut the corn from the cob into a mixing bowl by slicing from the top of the ear downward. Don’t go too close to the cob; cut only half the kernel, then scrape off the rest with the back of the knife.

Stir sugar and salt into corn. Mix beaten eggs and milk together, then stir into corn mixture. Add melted butter and mix thoroughly.

Spoon mixture into prepared dish and sprinkle with nutmeg. Place the dish in a larger baking dish or roasting pan. Transfer to oven and carefully pour hot water into the larger dish until it comes about halfway up the sides of the smaller baking dish.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the pudding comes out clean. The pudding will be set but still jiggle.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

One Pot French Onion Soup With Garlic Gruyere Croutons

One Pot French Onion Soup
With Garlic Gruyere Croutons
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 pounds oxtail or beef shoulder, cut into 1 or 2 inch pieces
8 medium onions
4 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
4 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
4 thyme sprigs
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
Black pepper
1 cup port wine
Lemon juice to taste, optional
6 ounce baguette loaf, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
2 garlic cloves, halved
8 ounces Gruyere cheese

Heat the oil in a 6-quart Dutch oven over high heat. Add the oxtail (or beef shoulder) in a single layer (work in batches, if necessary to avoid crowding the pan), and sear until the undersides are brown (do not turn). Season generously with salt and transfer to a plate.

Coarsely chop two of the onions; add to the pot, along with the celery, carrots, bay leaves and thyme. Lower heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Return the beef to the pot. Pour in 8 cups water. Simmer mixture gently until the meat is very tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Transfer beef to a bowl to cool for another use. Strain liquid into a bowl over a fine-mesh sieve; press gently on the solids with the back of a spatula to extract as much flavor as possible. Discard the solids; you should have about 10 cups broth (add water if necessary to equal 10 cups).

Halve the remaining 6 onions through the root end, then peel and thinly slice them lengthwise. Melt the butter in the bottom of the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, tossing occasionally, until deep golden-brown and caramelized, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Pour in the port and cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, for 3 minutes. 

Pour in the broth and simmer mixture over low heat for 30 minutes. Season with salt and lemon juice, if desired. (For a smaller group, you could refrigerate some of the soup and reheat it later.)
While the broth simmers, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast until golden, about 12 minutes. Rub the garlic halves over the surface of the bread.

Heat the broiler and arrange a rack 4 to 6 inches from the flame. Using a cheese slicer, thinly slice 3 ounces of Gruyère. Coarsely grate the remaining cheese. Float the broiled bread over the surface of the hot soup. Layer the cheese slices over the bread; scatter the grated cheese over it. Transfer the Dutch oven to the oven and broil until cheese is golden and bubbling, 3 to 5 minutes (watch to see that it does not burn).

To serve, use kitchen shears or scissors to cut the bread and cheese into portions. Ladle soup, bread and cheese into individual bowls.

To broil the soup in individual bowls, place 8 ovenproof bowls on a baking sheet. Fill with hot soup, top with broiled bread, shaved cheese and grated cheese, and run under the broiler until golden and bubbling. You may need to prepare it in batches.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Honey 662 oz.

I had my intellectual horizon broadened a few days ago.  Our friend Carrie is a bee keeper with an interest and concern in our environment.  Early last summer I observed her with her suit and smoker checking her hives.  Tuesday evening, Carrie came to our son's home where I was visiting and asked if she could have help with bottling her honey.  I arrived back at Carries home too find a large bucket filled with golden honey.  The bucket used only by bee keepers had a band with a heat mechanism which keeps the honey warned to a low temperature and a spout controlled by a lever to open and close the spout. Heating the honey also allows it to pour from the bucket into containers more easily.   We soon developed a system and were bottling the honey with a routine.  At evening end in her kitchen, we had bottled six hundred and sixty-two ounces of liquid gold.

Anyone interested in purchase, please leave a comment and I will give you Carrie's telephone number for contact.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Salmon Provencal

Salmon Provencal

4 6-ounce, skinned salmon fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon minced orange zest
2 tablespoons olive oilor clarified butter

  1. Season fillets on both sides with salt and pepper. Grind fennel seed coarsely in a coffee or spice grinder, and mix it with the rosemary and orange zest. Press this mixture onto the top of each fillet.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the oil or butter called for in the recipe and, when it shimmers, place the fillets, coated side down, in the pan. Cook about 1 minute, or until the spice mixture forms a nicely browned crust.
  4. Turn the fillets and cook about a minute more, then transfer to the oven. Cook about 4 minutes for rare salmon, 5 to 6 minutes for medium rare and 8 minutes for well done.

Rose, Cardamom, And Pistachio Snowballs

Rose, Cardamom, and Pistachio Snowballs

With the addition of some rose water and cardamom, this Betty Crocker cookie takes on the exotic flavors of the Middle East but is still as easy to prepare as always. Dough can be made ahead and the cookies baked off as you need them. I halved the original recipe because it makes a lot of cookies so this can easily double.
1 stick soft butter
¼ cup sifted confectioners' sugar
½ teaspoon rose water
¼ teaspoon cardamom (I think you can go heavier on the rose water and cardamom.)
1⅛ cups sifted flour
⅛ teaspoon salt
½ cups finely chopped toasted pistachio nuts

In a stand mixer, mix together thoroughly the softened butter, sifted confectioners' sugar, rose water,and cardamom

Mix in the flour and salt. Then add in the pistachios. At this point, you can mix by hand if you like.
Once the nuts are thoroughly incorporated, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill. The dough can remain in the fridge for just a ½ hour or even overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees or 375 convect while the dough chills.

To bake them, roll into 1" balls. Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet (I used parchment). Bake until set but not brown - about 8 - 12 minutes depending on whether you appreciate the softer lighter original version or my MILs "burnt" version. While still warm, roll in confectioners' sugar. Cool. Roll in sugar again. (I used a small tea strainer as a sifter to put the second coat of sugar on.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Shrimp In Green Sauce

Shrimp In Green Sauce
6 cloves garlic, peeled
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
6 scallions, trimmed and chopped
1 cup parsley, leaves and thin stems
2 pounds shrimp, peeled
Salt and pepper to taste
4 dried chilies or a few pinches of crushed red chili flakes, or to taste
⅓ cup stock (shrimp, fish or chicken) or white wine or water

Heat oven to 500 degrees.  
Combine garlic and oil in a small food processor blending until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary.  
Add scallions and parsley and pulse until mixture is minced.  Toss with shrimp, salt and pepper and chilies.  
Put shrimp in a large roasting pan.  Add liquid and place in oven.  Roast, stirring once until mixture is bubbly and shrimp are all pink, 10 to 15 minutes.  Serve!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sweet Potato And Pomegranate Tagine

Sweet Potato and Pomegranate Tagine

Serves 6
Fennel and celery balance the richness of sweet potatoes in this dish, which is best served immediately as the sweet potato pieces may lose their shape if reheated.

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large fennel bulb, quartered, cored, and sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 medium yellow onion, minced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped (1 tsp.)
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbs. ras el hanout
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen pomegranate seeds
½ cup chopped fresh mint

Combine sweet potatoes, fennel, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in 3.5-qt. tagine or Dutch oven. Stir in oil and ras el hanout, and season with salt, if desired. Pour in broth.

Place in cold oven, adjust heat to 300°F, and cook 2 1/2 hours, or until vegetables are cooked through, stirring every 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Transfer to wide and shallow serving dish if using Dutch oven. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and 

Serves 6

Fennel and celery balance the richness of sweet potatoes in this dish, which is best served immediately as the sweet potato pieces may lose their shape if reheated.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas Breakfast Wreath

Christmas Breakfast Wreath
This recipe is from but altered with flavorings by Maureen Abood.
Ingredients:For the bread
1 packet (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water (about 110° F)
½ cup warm milk (about 110° F)
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened to room temperature
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
3½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

For the cherry-almond filling:
¾ cup dried cherries, soaked ½ cup Chambord + ½ teaspoon rose water
6 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
⅓ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup finely chopped blanched almonds
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
¼ teaspoon rose water

For the rose water glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon rose water

In a large mixing bowl (for a stand mixer or by hand), dissolve the yeast in the water until it is creamy and foaming, about 10 minutes. Blend in the milk, sugar, butter, salt, cardamom, eggs and lemon peel with a spoon or the paddle attachment in the stand mixer. Mix in two cups of the flour, one cup at a time. Beat or work with your hands for 2 minutes. Add remaining flour ½ cup at a time until you have a soft dough that is only slightly sticky.

Knead the dough until smooth on a lightly floured work surface and knead, adding flour to keep the dough from sticking, 5 to 10 minutes. Even if you’re using the stand mixer to start, do this by hand to enjoy the full experience of this wonderful dough. Place in a large, lightly oiled mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 90 minutes.

Immediately after putting the dough to rise, soak the dried cherries in the liqueur and rose water for an hour (this step can be done up to a day in advance, soaking for 24 hours). Drain the dried fruit from the liqueur and reserve the liqueur for the next time you make this wreath (which will be again soon!) or to drink after dinner. In a small bowl, combine the drained fruit with remaining filling ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

When dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a large, lightly floured work surface. Taking control of the dough and using a measuring tape, roll the dough into a 9x30-inch rectangle. Smear and dot the filling over the dough to within 1 inch of the edges, evenly distributing the cherries.

Starting along a long side, tightly roll up the dough, pinching the edge against loaf to seal it. With a sharp knife, cut the roll in half lengthwise. Gently turn the halves so the cut sides are facing up, and then loosely twist the halves around each other, keeping the cut sides up.

Line a baking sheet with parchment or non-stick baking mat. Carefully transfer the rope to the baking sheet by picking up portions and moving it gently a bit at a time. Shape the rope into a wreath, pinching and tucking the ends together to seal. Let it rise again, lightly covered, in a warm place until puffy, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the wreath until it is light golden brown in spots, about 25 minutes.

Whisk together the glaze ingredients, making sure it is not too thin. Add more confectioners sugar or water as needed to make a thick but pourable consistency.

When wreath is done, cool for a few minutes, and then drizzle the glaze over the warm wreath in the same direction as the twisted surface. Cut into slices and serve warm.

Pear And Caramelized Onion Pizzette

These petite pizzas are welcome nibbles, piping hot from the oven and full of adult flavors. Start with purchased pizza dough from an Italian bakery or make your own. See tip if making ahead.

1 large sweet onion such as Spanish or red
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb. fresh pizza dough, refrigerator-cold
3 large pears, ripe but firm
⅛ tsp salt
Few grindings of black pepper
1 tbsp butter
2 to 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme, divided
½ lb. Gruyère or Emmenthal cheese or mixture of both, grated
Peel and thinly slice onion. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat; add onions. Lower heat as needed to slowly sauté, stirring often, for 15 to 20 minutes or until wilted and golden.

Meanwhile, cut cold pizza dough into 16 equal pieces, each about 1 oz on a scale. On a floured board, roll each into a small boll; cover and let rest 10 minutes. Pull each ball into a flat round. Using a rolling pin, roll into a circle about 4 inches  in diameter. Lay about an inch apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and rest another 10 minutes; then press or roll out again to 4 inches. Cover; set aside while completing toppings.

Peel, core and thinly slice pears. When onions are golden, stir in salt and pepper; remove from pan. Add butter to pan; return to medium heat. When bubbly, add pears. Sauté pears for 8 to 12 minutes, turning frequently, until softened and lightly browned. Cool on a plate.

Preheat oven to 450°F.

5. Dividing equally, spread each round of dough with onion; then add pear and thyme. Top with grated cheese. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until pizzettes are golden. Serve right away, whole or cut in half, topped with a sprinkling of thyme.


To make ahead, bake pizzettes only until set and just staring to brown, from 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on a rack, cover and refrigerate or freeze. Reheat from cold or frozen, uncovered, in a 450°F oven for 5 to 8 minutes or in the toaster oven until hot and browned.

Makes 16 pizzettes

Friday, December 18, 2015

Bourbon Glazed Carrots

Bourbon Glazed Carrots
1/4 cup butter
1 -1 1/2 pounds carrots, bias-sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons fresh ginger
3 tablespoons bourbon
1/4-1/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add carrots. Cook and stir for 4 minutes.
Add brown sugar and ginger, cook until sugar melts, about 2 minutes. Add bourbon and orange juice. Cook and stir until carrots are tender and liquid has thickened, about 8 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Wild Mushrooms and Brussels Sprouts

Wild Mushrooms And Brussels Sprouts
1 pound of mushrooms, mixture chanterelles, 
  oyster, maitake, cut into large bite size 
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt and more if needed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in halves
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 one inch pieces cinnamon stick
6 ounces roasted and peeled chestnuts, (1 cup,   jarred, vacuum packed, or freshly roasted), crumbled
1/4 cup Brandy
1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar, more if needed
1/4 cup soft herbs, dill, chives, tarragon and parsley
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spread mushrooms on one rimmed baking sheet; toss with 1/4 cup oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. On a separate rimmed baking sheet, toss brussels sprouts with 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. 

Roast both pans of vegetables, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes. (The mushrooms may be done first, so keep an eye on them.) 

While the vegetables cook, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, cinnamon stick and a pinch of salt; cook, tossing occasionally, until shallots are caramelized and tender, 5 to 10 minutes. 

Toss chestnuts into pan and brown lightly, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in brandy. Return pan to medium-high heat and cook until liquid has evaporated. Discard cinnamon stick. 

In a large bowl, toss together vegetables, chestnut mixture and vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Toss in herbs and serve at once

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Roast Tenderloin Of Beef With Lavender Scented Bearnaise Sauce

Roast Tenderloin of Beef With 
Lavender Scented Bearnaise Sauce
The sauce has a very slight detectable flavor of lavender.  It compliments the beef imparting great dimension of flavor.
2 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin
2 teaspoons grey sea salt or to taste
1 teaspoon ground pepper or to taste
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Remove silver skin and fat.  Using cotton butcher's twine, tie the beef at 2" intervals.

Coat the exterior of the beef generously with salt, pepper, and butter, place on a roasting rack set over a parchment lined sheet tray.

Roast in the oven on the center rack to brown for approximately 20 minutes  at 400F.  Reduce temp to 325F and continue to roast to desired doneness.  Transfer the tenderloin from the oven and cover loosely with foil; let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

Carve the tenderloin into 1/4 inch thick slices and serve on warmed plates or a platter.  Serve with lavender scented béarnaise.

Lavender Scented Bearnaise
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
1/4 teaspoon dried culinary lavender
1/4 cup dried white wine (Sauvignon Blanc) 
1/4 cup dry vermouth
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup melted unsalted butter or clarified butter
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon leaves
salt and pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, combine the shallots, tarragon, lavender, white wine, and vermouth.  Bring to a boil and cook until reduced to 2 tablespoons.  Transfer from the heat, strain and cool.  

In the top of a double-boiler, or in a glass bowl fitted over a pot of barely simmering water, whisk the egg yolks, cream, and reduced wine until ribbons start to form.  Whisking constantly, drizzle the melted butter a little at a time until all of the butter is added and  the mixture is thick.  Transfer from the heat.  Whisk in the lemon juice, tarragon, salt and pepper.

Adjust the seasonings to taste.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Figgy Pudding

Oh Bring Me Some Figgy Pudding
1 lb. fresh large black mission figs, dried
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose)
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups dried bread crumbs
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

With kitchen shears, remove stems from figs and cut into chunks. Generously grease the interior of a bread or pudding mold or a 2 quart oven-safe bowl and set aside.

Over medium to medium-low heat, combine figs and milk and gently simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until soft. Do not bring to a boil.

While figs are simmering, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt in a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine.

In a large bowl, beat together the egg and melted butter until frothy. Gradually add the bread crumbs and lemon zest, then add the fig mixture and combine.

Spoon batter into mold. Cover the mold and place it into a large shallow pan. Place pan in oven, then fill it about halfway with boiling water. Bake at 350 degrees for 2.5 hours. Allow pudding to cool for 15-20 minutes before inverting to remove from mold. Cut, top with fresh whipped cream and serve warm. Yields 8-10 servings.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Cinnamon Sugar Glazed Almonds

Cinnamon Sugar Glazed Almonds
(makes 4 servings)
1 pound almonds (and/or pecans)
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 250º F.
Beat the egg whites with a dash of salt until frothy. Gradually add the sugar and vanilla extract and continue to beat until the whites begin to form stiff peaks. Gently fold in the almonds and cinnamon.
Place the melted butter in a large mixing bowl and stir the almonds into the butter, coating them.
Transfer the almonds to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour, stirring them every 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Fig Tart With Caramelized Onion And Pine Nuts

Fig Tart With Caramelized 
Onion And Pine Nuts


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions (1 1/2 pounds), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 sprig rosemary, more for garnish
Pinch sugar
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
¼ cup milk
1 egg
Flour for dusting
¾ pound prepared puff pastry
1 pint fresh figs (3/4 pound), stemmed and cut in half lengthwise
1 ½ ounces Stilton cheese, crumbled (about 6 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons pine nuts
Good-quality honeyfor drizzling, optional

In a large skillet over low heat, melt butter with oil. Add onions, rosemary and sugar. Cook, tossing occasionally, until onions are limp and golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, scraping any browned bits from bottom of pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and egg until smooth. Stir in the onions. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line an 11 by 17-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to a 9 by 12-inch rectangle. Transfer to baking sheet.

Use a fork to spread onion mixture evenly over pastry (let excess egg mixture drip back into bowl), leaving a 1-inch border. Arrange figs, cut-side up, in even rows on onion mixture. Scatter cheese and pine nuts over figs. Use a pastry brush to dab edges of tart with egg mixture. Gently fold over edges of tart to form a lip and brush with more egg mixture.

Bake until pastry is puffed and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve, sprinkled with rosemary needles and drizzled with honey, if desired, warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Scallops With Curried Coconut Milk

Scallops With Curried Coconut Milk
Definitely a 5*
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup chopped canned tomatoes, drained
2 1/2 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 pounds sea scallops, thawed
1 cup snow peas or snap peas
Cilantro or parsley for garnish
Steamed Jasmine or Basmati rice, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving
In a large frying pan, heat 1/4 cup oil over moderately high heat.  Add onions and cook, stirring frequently until golden.  Add garlic and ginger; cook stirring for 1-2 minutes.

Add coriander, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric and cayenne; cook for 30 - 60 seconds, stirring.  Add tomatoes and cook stirring for 1 minute. 

Add coconut milk, brown sugar and salt; bring to a low boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer aanad cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 5 - 10 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, heat a large nonstick pan over high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Season the scallops with salt and pepper to taste and place them in the hot pan.  Cook until browned on one side (about 2 minutes) turn over and cook until just done (1 - 2 minutes).  Remove the scallops from the pan and place in a large serving bowl.

Add snow peas to the simmering sauce mixture and cook until the peas are cooked through (1 - 2 minutes).  Pour the sauce over the scallops and garnish with cilantro or parsley.  Served with steamed rice and lime wedges.  Makes 4 servings.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Butternut Squash Soup

Coconut Butternut Squash Soup
Ingredients:1 large butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil or other vegetable oil
1 large yellow or sweet white onion, chopped
1 medium apple, any variety, peeled and diced
2 cups prepared vegetable broth, or 2 cups water with 1 vegetable bouillon cube
2 teaspoons good-quality curry powder
2 teaspoons grated fresh or jarred ginger, or more, to taste
Pinch of ground nutmeg or allspice
1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 medium red onions, quartered and thinly sliced
1 good-size bunch kale(about 10 to 12 ounces)

To bake the squash, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut in half and place halves, cut side up, in a foil-lined, shallow baking dish and cover tightly with more foil. Bake for 30 to 50 minutes, until you can easily pierce the flesh with a knife. Scoop out and set aside.
Heat about half the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until golden, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the apple, squash, broth and spices. Bring to a steady simmer, then cover and simmer gently until the apples are tender, about 10 minutes. 

Transfer the solids to a food processor with a slotted spoon, in batches if need be, and process until smoothly pureed, then transfer back to the soup pot. Or better yet, simply insert an immersion blender into the pot and process until smoothly pureed. 

Stir in the coconut milk and return the soup to a gentle simmer. Cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until well heated through. Season with salt and pepper. If time allows, let the soup stand off the heat for an hour or two, then heat through as needed before serving.

Just before serving, heat the remaining oil in a large skillet. Add the red onions and sauté over low heat until golden and soft. 

Meanwhile, strip the kale leaves off the stems and cut into thin shreds. Stir together with the onions in the skillet, adding just enough water to moisten the surface. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the kale is bright green and just tender, about 5 minutes. 

To serve, ladle soup into each bowl, then place a small mound of kale and onion mixture in the center.

Caramel Apple SheetCake

Caramel Apple Sheet Cake

2 cups flour plus 2 Tablespoons flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup butter
1 cup water
½ cup shortening
½ cup buttermilk
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups peeled and chopped green apples
½ cup butter
6 Tablespoons milk
3½ cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
⅛ cup caramel sauce (I use caramel ice cream topping)

In a large mixing bowl, measure flour, sugar and cinnamon and stir to combine. Set aside.

In medium sauce pan combine butter, water, and shorting. Bring to a boil. After mixture reaches a boil add it to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Add buttermilk, then baking soda, then eggs, then vanilla in that order, mixing in between each addition. Stir in apples.

Pour into a 15x13 inch greased jelly roll pan.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes.

While cake is cooling, make frosting by combining butter, and milk in a medium mixing bowl. Microwave until butter is melted. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and caramel sauce and stir until smooth. Pour frosting evenly over cooled cake.