12.21.2013

Happy Holidays!



We're off for a little "island time" break.
See you in January!


12.19.2013

Cranberry Bars


For my last post before Christmas, I thought I'd share a cranberry recipe. Thanksgiving may be over, but lots of us serve turkey for Christmas too, so cranberries are still plentiful in the market. I love finding new cranberry recipes....a couple years ago the Cranberry Upside Down Cake turned out to be the most asked for holiday recipe from my friends. So far this year, it's the Cranberry Curd Tartlets.
Which leads me to my latest discovery: Amanda's Give Me Flour blog. Along with some great photography, she has some excellent recipes...I found these cranberry bars there, posted last Thanksgiving. They're rather tart, which is why Amanda suggests sprinkling confectioners sugar on them twice. If you have some leftover cranberries, this is a great way to use them up.

Cranberry Bars
From Give Me Flour




Ingredients:

1½ sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
Zest of one lime, divided
3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (3/4lb)
1/3 cup water
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Method:

Preheat oven to 350.
Line a 9-inch square baking pan with 2 crisscrossed sheets of parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
Blend butter, flour, salt, half of lime zests and ½ cup of sugar in a food processor until mixture begins to clump together. It will look sandy for a while, but does eventually come together. Press into bottom of pan. Bake until pale golden and sides begin to pull away from pan, 25 to 30 minutes.
While crust is baking, cook cranberries, remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar, remaining lime zest and water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until berries burst, 6 to 8 minutes.
Pour cranberries over crust and bake until edge is golden, about 25 minutes, Sift confectioner’s sugar over top and cool completely in pan over rack. Lift out of pan using parchment paper overhang and cut into 12 squares, then sift more confectioners’ sugar over top. 


12.14.2013

The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, Miami


During the first week of December, the second largest contemporary art event in the world takes place in Miami. It's commonly known as Miami Basel as opposed to the largest contemporary art event which takes place in June in Basel, Switzerland.

My daughter was down for the event and one afternoon we went to see the Margulies Collection in a warehouse in Miami. The Margulies Collection is a non-profit institution located in the Wynwood Arts District. The Warehouse presents seasonal exhibitions from the collection of renowned collector Martin Margulies as well as educational programs, & special exhibitions and an international loan program. It's considered one of the most important collections of its kind. 

I thought during the busy Christmas season,  you might enjoy a change of pace: a brief look at a (very) small portion of the art in a HUGE (45,000 square feet) space. In a space that size, you can just imagine the size of the collection. It was a truly fabulous experience and if you're ever in Miami, make time to visit the Collection. 

(A couple of my photos were blurred, so I snagged two from their website.)



                                         Artist: Astrid Svangren
                                         Title: It is about Four Animalistic Scents…
                                         (Silk, fabric, oil, acrylic, pigment, thread, glass and wood)






                            Artist: Tony Oursler (a video projection; the face changes expressions)



                               Artist: Domingo Milella   Photography
                               Uchisar, Turkey 2007 (on left); Monastir, Tunisia 2006 (right)



                               Artist: Nathalie Djurberg
                               Title: Puppets from The Parade of Rituals and Stereotypes



                              Artist: Ai Weiwei
                              Title: Fairytale, 1001 Chinese Visitors, Gottschalk-Hallen,
                              ladies dormitory
      



                              Artist: George Segal     Title: Depression Breadline




                              Artist: Song Dong  Title: Wisdom of the Poor: A Communal Courtyard

                              Massive installation of doors and windows juxtaposed with
                              sculptures by several artists, including George Segal
                           

            




                              Artist:  Leandro Erlich

                              A video projection: elevator doors open and shut on this scene



                              Artist: Paolo Ventura    Title: The Infinite City
                              (photo from website)




                               Artist: Kenneth Snelson;  Stainless steel sculpture



                                              Artist:  Michelangelo Pistoletto
                                              Silkscreen print on mirror-polished stainless steel.
                             
                   (Photo from website)






                              Artist: Izaak Zwartjes




                                        Artist: Anselm Kiefer     Title: Spranche Der Vogel


The Collection is open: 
 October 23, 2013 to April 26, 2014

Visiting hours:
 Wednesday – Saturday from 11 am – 4 pm

Visitors to the collection are welcome at the door for the price of a donation to the Lotus House, a shelter for homeless women and children in Miami.

 Adults: $10 
 State of Florida students with valid ID: Free
 Other students: $5.00



12.12.2013

Joyce's Brazil Nut Fruit Cake


Our Antique Club held their annual Christmas fête last week. Joyce and Thom opened their smashing home (or casita, as they call it) to our group and Christmas was everywhere you looked. The home was recently featured in Palm Beach Illustrated and here's a photo of their dining room table from that issue...just to give you a little taste of how beautifully their home was decorated for the holidays. I should have taken some photos that night for this post, but thoroughly enjoyed myself among friends instead. 



Joyce is also a chef extraordinaire and had placed a small plate of her homemade fruit cake out on a (pine cone-decorated) counter in the kitchen. Now I am the first one to say: I am NOT a fruit cake aficionado. Those brick-shaped, brandy-soaked cakes loaded with candied fruit are not for me. I used to make them too....gave them as gifts to everyone! (Mea culpa to all who received them in the 60's and 70's and groaned when they saw them coming!) A friend of my mother's, Martha Kirby, gave me the recipe. For those of you who do love old fashioned fruit cakes, I apologize, but I have to be up front here. I am not one of you. And even though I made them for many years, not once did I ever taste one. But my mother said Martha's recipe was to die for. Oh well, sorry, but you're not going to see that old recipe on this blog.

So when Joyce asked us to taste, I was skeptical (those cherries looked suspiciously like candied cherries to me), but I must admit, the slice itself didn't resemble Martha Kirby's fruit cake one bit. And Joyce assured us: "trust me, this isn't like any fruitcake you've ever had. No candied fruit, lots of nuts and it's really special." So we all tried it and she was right. The cake is light and the crunch of the nuts a nice counter to the fruit and cake. I think you might like it too and since Joyce was sweet enough to share the recipe, I hope you have a chance to give it a try.


Joyce's Brazil Nut Fruit Cake



Ingredients:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup white sugar 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
3 cups Brazil nuts (I suggest 2 1/2 cups of nuts and imagine you could substitute macadamia nuts if you prefer.) 
1 pound pitted dates (I used less)
1 cup maraschino cherries, drained 
3 large eggs, room temperature 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract  (I used vanilla bean paste)

Method:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease and flour one 9x5 inch loaf pan or three 3½ x 5 inch pans. (I used two 3 1/2 by 7 1/2 pans. I also lined the pan with parchment paper and lightly sprayed it with Pam. So much simpler to get out.)
Mix the flour, white sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Toss the nuts, dates, and cherries in flour mixture. (You'll find it easier to do all the mixing with your hands)
Beat the eggs until foamy add the vanilla. Pour the beaten eggs over the nut, fruit and flour mixture. Mix with your hands until combined. Transfer to the prepared pan/pans, pressing down slightly.
Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Store in the refrigerator or freeze. Cakes like this are easier to cut after refrigeration. Use a sharp knife.


12.10.2013

Christmas Breakfast II: Gingerbread Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup


Ever since I made Marion Cunningham's Yeast Waffles, it spoiled me for all other waffle recipes. Delicate and delicious...the yeast makes all the difference.
I can't remember where I came upon this particular recipe (Pinterest?), but because I'm making lots of gingerbread recipes this season, it caught my attention and once I saw yeast as an ingredient, I copied it immediately. And yes, they were as light as Marion's recipe but with the added pleasure of that gingerbread flavor, color and fragrance in the house. You can serve them simply with confectioners sugar, maple syrup, or make the apple cider syrup (recipe below) that I tried. You'll have some happy faces around your Christmas breakfast table.


Gingerbread Belgian Waffles
From The Examiner

Ingredients:
2 packages active dry yeast (4 to 5 tsp.)
2 cups lukewarm milk
1/2 cup molasses
4 large eggs, separated, room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup melted butter (4 ounces = 1 stick)

Method:
Sprinkle yeast over warm milk; stir to dissolve. Beat egg yolks and add to yeast mixture with vanilla. Sift together flour, salt, and sugar; add to liquid ingredients. Stir in melted butter and combine thoroughly. Beat the egg whites until stiff and carefully fold into batter. Let mixture stand in a warm place about 45 minutes or until it doubles in bulk. Use 1-1/3 cups mix per waffle. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Yield: about 6 waffles


Apple Cider Syrup
From Southern Food


Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups apple cider
1 cup brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks

Method:
Melt the butter and add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil while stirring. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until reduced by half to about 1 to 1 1/4 cups. This will take about 15 minutes. The syrup will thicken as it cools.

12.07.2013

Caramel Meringue


This is a very special holiday dessert from the elegant past. I've never seen this recipe in any cookbook other than Private Collection (a little gem of a cookbook, BTW), which is all the more reason to try it. When you read through it, you'll say: I won't have time, or....it'll never unmold correctly. Not only is it quite easy to make (it's basically a meringue flan), but I've never yet had a problem with unmolding and you can make it in the morning and let it sit on your counter until serving time. You DO have to refrigerate the accompanying sauce however.

When the instructions say to smooth the air bubbles out of the meringue, it's easier said than done. I was very careful and you can still see lots of air pockets on the sides of the dessert in the first photo. I've never had one come out completely smooth, but then I'm not a perfectionist. I'm pleased to say, though, there weren't any air bubbles when I sliced the meringue (which is what counts) and I like the uneven look of the finished dessert, plus:
 those little pockets hold extra caramel. Yum.

Cooks note: trust me, you won't like the flavor of the sauce all by itself, but when served over the meringue, it's perfect. Don't skip it.



Caramel Meringue
From A Private Collection, Cookbook from Junior League of Palo Alto



Ingredients for the meringue:
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
6 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
large pinch of cream of tartar

Ingredients for the sauce:
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

Method for the meringue:
Preheat oven to 275.
Get out a 9 1/2 inch ring mold.
Caramelize 1 1/4 cups of the sugar by stirring it in a heavy pan with a wooden spatula. When sugar has melted and is a rich caramel color, remove from heat and carefully pour into the mold, tipping it from side to side until the sides are well covered. Set aside while you beat the whites. Do not clean the heavy pan you made the caramel in, you will be using it for the sauce.
Beat the egg whites until they begin to take shape. Slowly add 1/2 cup sugar and continue beating until the whites are very stiff, more so than for an angel food cake. Beat in the cream of tartar and vanilla.
By hand, fold in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar.
Pile the mixture carefully and slowly in the ring mold, removing any air pockets as you go along. Place mold, uncovered, in a larger pan containing 1/2 inch of warm water. Place in the oven and bake for one hour. The meringue will be high, firm and slightly brown. Remove from the oven and quickly loosen edges of the meringue with a knife dipped in cold water so it won't tear. Immediately unmold on a pretty platter, allowing the caramel to drip over the meringue. Don't worry about the caramel left in the pan, some boiling water poured over it will melt it quickly so you can wash the mold.

Method for the sauce:
In the heavy pan you made the caramel in, pour in 1 cup milk and warm it. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with 1/2 cup cream. Add slowly to the warm milk, replace over the heat and whisk until it is as thick as heavy cream. Do not allow to boil or it will curdle. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Refrigerate until serving, then pass in a separate bowl.



12.05.2013

Christmas Breakfast #1: Gingerbread Scones


Here's the second of my gingerbread recipes. While I do make regular gingerbread (I use Maida Heatter's recipe HERE) I've never experimented with gingerbread waffles, scones and biscotti. The biscotti post was first, so now the scones. Yes, they turned out nicely. No need to slather them with butter and I added some maple syrup to the glaze, just a touch. Debated some vanilla bean paste as flavoring, which I think I'll try on some I didn't glaze yet. I froze those. Scones are easier than biscuits, I think. I mixed these with a spoon and just patted the dough out on the counter...didn't use a rolling pin at all. Perhaps your kids would have fun shaping them. 

Glazed Gingerbread Scones
Adapted from The Village Cook 



Ingredients:
2 cups flour
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1½ teaspoons ground ginger powder
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ cup softened butter
1 egg yolk (reserve white)
1/3 cup molasses
¼ cup milk

Ingredients for the glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar 
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons milk or cream, or until a glaze is formed

Method:
In a bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.
In another bowl, mix the egg yolk, molasses, butter and milk.
Gently combine the two mixtures, being careful not to over mix.
Flatten dough into a 1 inch thick portion and cut into triangles or circles.
Arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet 1 inch apart.
Brush with the reserved egg white and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake in a preheated 400 oven for 8-12 minutes.
Remove while still slightly soft.

Method for the glaze:
Mix the sugar, maple syrup and milk until it's creamy, and dip each cooled scone into it.
Allow to dry on wax paper.

12.02.2013

Jacie's White Chocolate and Raspberry Tart


The daughter of my dearest friend Nancy gave me this unusual recipe many years ago. I don't make it often, but when I do, mouths drop open. It's a cookie crust and the melted white chocolate turns into a caramel-type sauce that firms up a bit in the fridge. The raspberries add a tart foil to all the sweetness.....fresh raspberries work best, of course. Aren't the colors perfect for Christmas? Really, you ought to indulge yourself, 'tis the season after all....work it off at the gym later. 

Jacie's White Chocolate and Raspberry Tart




Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick cold butter, diced
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons cold water
12 ounces white chocolate
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups fresh raspberries

Method:
Pulse flour and sugar in a processor. Add butter. Pulse until mixed. Add egg yolk and cream and dribble the cold water as needed to hold dough together. (I needed a tad more)  Form the dough into a round and flatten. Place in wax paper and refrigerate 1/2 hour or until firm enough to roll out.
Roll out and put in tart pan with removable bottom. Press in with fingers, and up sides. Blind bake with weights 15 minutes at 350, then without weights for another 15 minutes. Cool. 

Spread fresh raspberries on the bottom crust. Melt chocolate slowly in the top of a double boiler. Melt the butter and beat the butter and cream into the chocolate. It will slowly turn into a caramel-like sauce. Make sure there are no lumps. 




Pour over the berries and refrigerate overnight. Decorate with holly, chocolate leaves or extra raspberries.




11.29.2013

Jamie Oliver's Mincemeat Palmiers


Do you need to come up with something truly elegant in a hurry? These palmiers fit the bill perfectly. Make them ahead of time and stick the roll in the freezer; slice and bake when you need them. These won't take 10 minutes to make as practically everything comes in a jar or from the freezer. Jamie adds some fresh orange rind, nuts and a dash of brandy to the bottled mincemeat to brighten it up. I love the idea and they are full of all the yummy flavors of Christmas. With a glass of wine or sherry, you've got the perfect little treat. 

Jamie Oliver's Mincemeat Palmiers
Adapted from Jamie Oliver


Ingredients:
zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1 piece stem ginger (from a jar), finely chopped ( I omitted)
1 1/2 cups mincemeat (I used Crosse & Blackwell)
1 splash brandy
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator overnight
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 bottle Pedro Ximénez or other sweet sherry, to serve 

Method:
In a bowl, mix the orange zest, chopped pecans and stem ginger into the mincemeat, then add a splash of brandy. Set aside. 
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. 
Lay the pastry on a clean work surface, very lightly floured, with a short edge facing you. Spread thinly and evenly with the mincemeat mixture, leaving a 1 inch border around the pastry. Brush the pastry border with a little beaten egg. Then, working from the short ends, fold each end halfway to the center. Then fold each side again toward the center until the folded edges almost touch. Fold one side over the other and press lightly. Wrap in wax paper or cling film and place in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up. (Or freeze)

Unwrap the pastry and cut off and discard the ends to make it neat. Slice into 24 rounds, then lightly flatten each one. Transfer to 2 non-stick baking sheets, spaced apart. Bake in the oven for 15–18 minutes, until cooked through, puffed and golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool. 

11.26.2013

Gingerbread Biscotti





Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'll be thinking of you all, slaving away in the kitchen while we're eating out at our favorite restaurant. I'm being catered to this year instead of catering for. I'm going to enjoy every minute of it.

I hope you're not being affected by the big storm crossing the country...we're expecting lots of rain and cooler weather, but South Florida pretty much gets a miss. It's travel that affects us...I'm hoping my daughter gets down from NYC without huge delays.

And then you know what follows Thanksgiving: Black Friday. I'd do anything to avoid it, but when my daughter comes home to visit, it's almost the only time she has to shop. I am NOT looking forward to it. 

So....do you have time for some gingerbread recipes?  I got carried away with a gingerbread theme this year and made three different gingerbread-type recipes, all in one day! LOL.
Here's the first: Gingerbread Biscotti. These biscotti are delicious fun to serve with eggnog, coffee or just plain milk. Easy to make too. Don't you love the smell of gingerbread in the house? Better even than bread!


Gingerbread Biscotti 

Jillianpie via
 Epicurious



Ingredients:
1/4 C butter
3/4 C packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 C molasses
2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 C macadamia nuts
White chocolate

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl beat together butter and sugar until there are no lumps of sugar. Beat in the eggs, then blend in the molasses. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Blend until smooth. Fold in the almonds (and candied ginger if using).

Divide the dough in half onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Spray your hands generously with nonstick spray (dough will be sticky) and form each half into a log about three or four inches wide and one inch high. Place them two inches apart. Bake dough for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Cool logs for 10 minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut each log into one-half-inch slices. Place the slices cut-side down on baking sheet and return to oven to toast. Remove after 10 minutes and flip all of the cookies over. Toast an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Optional white chocolate coating: Melt coating or white chocolate chips according to package directions. Dip cookies halfway into coating, or use a spoon to drizzle quickly back and forth. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint before the chocolate has set. Let set completely before storing.




11.23.2013

Aromatic Seed Cookies


These lovely cookies are another recipe from Gayle's new eCookbook. She describes them as reminding her of Indian Mukhwas, an after-meal digestive and mouth freshener. Don't let the description of mouth freshener throw you off.  :) Not so. These cookies are very delicate and somewhat mysterious in flavor. Quite mild and an absolute delight with tea. They will also be a unique addition to your holiday cookie tray.

Aromatic Seed Cookies
From The Global Pastry Table by Gayle Gonzales



Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons unsalted cold butter
 2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

Method:
Place flour, sugar, almonds, all three seeds and salt into food processor. Process until almonds are finely ground. Add diced cold butter and process 15 seconds. 
Whisk the yolks and vanilla together and add. Process 15 seconds or until dough hold together when pinched.
Place dough on wax paper and press flat. Cover with another piece of wax paper and roll out to 1/8 inch thickness. Slide onto baking sheet and chill.
Preheat oven to 325. 
Line baking sheets with parchment. Cut cookies into squares and bake for 20-22 minutes, rotating sheets half way. They should be a light golden  brown. They're delicate, so cool them right on the parchment.

11.20.2013

Brussel Sprouts with Parmesan and Proscuitto


If a serving bowl of brussel sprouts (made any way at all) was placed in front of my kids, they wouldn't have touched them with a barge pole. But then I came across this recipe, tried it one Thanksgiving and they couldn't believe they were eating brussel sprouts and loving it. After many years, they still ask for it when they're here for a holiday. 
This recipe is also from pre-blogging days so is yet another MasterCook entry without a recipe source. It's also a re-post, back from the beginning when practically nobody was paying attention, which they should have been since we posted some of our best recipes in the beginning, right?
It's an awesome recipe. Yep, another eye roller. Mega delicious. But oh so calorie-laden. All that whipping cream! Never mind,  if ever we're going to splurge, it's this time of year. Wouldn't be any fun otherwise.

Brussel Sprouts with Parmesan and Proscuitto




Ingredients:
1 stick unsalted butter
6 cloves garlic, crushed
4 ounces prosciutto, cut in thin slivers
2 pounds brussel sprouts, trimmed and sliced/shredded
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 cup light cream
1/4 cup sweet Marsala
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups Parmesan, grated

Method:

Preheat oven to 350. 
Melt butter and add garlic and procuitto. Cook 4 minutes. Add sprouts and cook 4 minutes. Stir in flour, then the creams and Marsala. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir in 1 cup of the Parmesan and stir until melted. Pour into a casserole and top with remaining Parmesan. Bake 20 minutes.




11.17.2013

Thanksgiving Breakfast: Cranberry Almond Streusel Coffeecake


Of course, this coffeecake is best right out of the oven, but for a holiday breakfast, that's just not going to happen....at least in my house! So you can make it ahead, seal it in a container and freeze it. Then just thaw it the night before, warm it up in the oven, sprinkle some confectioners sugar on top to make it snazzy and serve. 
It has a lovely moist crumb because of the sour cream, a hint of almond and tart cranberries balanced by the streusel topping. It's a big cake and will serve 10-12 people for breakfast or brunch.

Cranberry Almond Streusel Coffeecake
From A Cup of Mascarpone




Ingredients:
For the coffee cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the streusel topping:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder.
Butter a 9" springform pan. (Be sure it has at least 3 inch sides!)
Cream butter and sugar until light. Add eggs, one at a time, and stir together well.
Mix in vanilla extract, almond extract, and sour cream.
Add the flour mixture and beat until combined.
In a small bowl toss the cranberries with the 3 tablespoons sugar, and fold into the batter.
Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan.
In a medium bowl, work together the sugar, flour and butter until crumbly, and sprinkle over the batter.
Bake it on a cookie sheet (just in case) until golden brown, approximately 50 - 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pan on a rack for approximately 30 minutes and remove the springform side.
Dust with confectioner's sugar before serving.

Refrigerate any leftover cake in an airtight container.





11.14.2013

Mushroom Bread Pudding


I love mushrooms. And while I've been making this dish for years, only my father and I pigged out on it. One would think I'd give it up, but no, I made it year after year. Frankly, if the cook and her dad love it, they ought to have it. I can pass up mashed potatoes and gravy without a qualm. I'd rather eat mushrooms. Morels, if I've been fortunate enough to freeze some. As far as the rest of my family is concerned, it all harks back to choices...they want the mashed potatoes, fine. Pass me the mushroom bread pudding.


This recipe has been in my files since the 60's, it's one of those MasterCook recipes I stashed without attributing. We lived in a subdivision back then where everyone exchanged recipes constantly; I bet half my recipes come from those days. I've only made one change over the years, I substituted leeks for shallots. Oh yes, and Gruyere for Swiss. I matured in the kitchen. :) Doubtful anyone even knew what Gruyere was in that 1960 neighborhood!

If you agree with the "table's too full on Thanksgiving" theory, don't make it for the big dinner. Make it for supper one night during the holidays. Perfection with steak.


Mushroom Bread Pudding


Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups mushroom stock
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
4 eggs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
4 cups shiitake, morel, cremini or chantarelle mushrooms or a combination
1 cup gruyere or similar cheese
Button mushrooms and stems leftover to make stock
1 loaf of bread, stale ( or briefly toasted in the oven) 1/2 inch diced (about 6 cups)

Method:

Boil some regular mushrooms to make stock- including leftover stems. Reduce this stock until 3/4 cup. You may freeze stock at this point. 
Add heavy cream and reduce again until 1 1/2 cups. Allow to cool slightly.
Whisk milk, eggs, 3/4 teaspoon salt and add stock mixture, set aside.  
Melt butter, add olive oil, then leeks, garlic and thyme and saute 8 or so minutes or until leeks are somewhat browned and tender. Add sliced mushrooms and saute another 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. You may freeze mushrooms at this point. 
Line bottom of  casserole or baking dishes with 1/3 of the bread, put half mushrooms, more bread, the remaining mushrooms, ending with bread. Pour stock over all. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Bake 350 oven for 2 hours.
Chefs notes: I made this pudding in several 5" ceramic baking dishes, so adjusted the time.



11.11.2013

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake


If I was going to be the chef for Thanksgiving dinner this year, this cheesecake would be on the menu. Forget the traditional pumpkin pie. From the almond crust to the espresso powder in the cheesecake, this turned out beautifully and tasted ambrosial. Simple to make too, as most cheesecakes are. It's probably considered an "adult" cheesecake, what with the espresso addition, but I bet my grandkids would love it too.
The finishing touches Heather suggests for garnishing make for a pretty presentation, but feel free to do your own thing. It'll be a smash hit at your Thanksgiving dinner, cheesecake lovers or not. Everyone loves a latte, right? 


Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake
From Sprinkle Bakes



Ingredients for the crust: 
2/3 cup all purpose flour 
2/3 cup sliced almonds 
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
3 tablespoon sugar 
4 tablespoons cold butter, cubed

Ingredients for the filling: 

16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 
3/4 cup granulated sugar 
1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
3 large eggs 
1 cup pumpkin (canned is fine) 
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon 
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves 
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 
3 teaspoons espresso powder

For garnishing: 
Powdered sugar 
Whipped cream 
Cinnamon 
Cinnamon sticks

Method for the crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F . Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and grease well.
In a food processor, place all ingredients and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand. Press firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Method for the cheesecake:
In a mixer, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in vanilla extract and eggs. Beat in pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and espresso powder until smooth. Pour mixture on top of baked crust.

Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until filling is set. The center should wiggle slightly...the cheesecake will continue to bake a bit after it's removed from the oven. Allow to cool completely to room temperature in pan before chilling in refrigerator until ready to serve. 


If you'd like to decorate with powdered sugar: when cheesecake is cool and the top is dry, lay strips of wax paper across the surface on the cheesecake in even stripes. Sift powdered sugar over the top to form a thin layer. Remove wax paper strips carefully. Place whipped cream on the center of the cheesecake, sprinkle with cinnamon, and garnish with cinnamon sticks.






11.08.2013

Stuffed Zucchini


Here's another side I often served to my family on Thanksgiving. I like this one because you can make it in the morning and hold it on the counter until you are ready to bake. No last minute fussing here, although it's quite a simple recipe and doesn't take all that long to make. Once again, I haven't a clue where I found this recipe. 

Usually one sees zucchini stuffed with meat, tomatoes and all sorts of things. This is the only recipe I've seen with shiitake and hazelnuts. If you don't have Panko, make your own bread crumbs...so easy in a processor....and you can use any number of cheeses. Just depends on what you have. It's a nice vegetarian option for your holiday table.

Stuffed Zucchini




Ingredients:
6 zucchini, scrubbed and trimmed
3 garlic cloves,  minced
2 shallots, sliced thinly
1 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, cut in smallish pieces, no stems
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and ground
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano (sometimes I use fresh thyme, sometimes both)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup panko
1 cup grated gruyere or your favorite cheese....not cheddar, please.

Method:
Halve zucchini and scoop out pulp, leaving 1/2 inch shells. I use a melon baller to take out the pulp. Chop pulp rather finely. Cook garlic, shallots, mushrooms and hazelnuts for 4 minutes. Add zucchini pulp and oregano and/or thyme. Cook 7 minutes. Let cool for 10  minutes and stir in panko, salt and pepper to taste. 
Place filling in shells and top with gruyere. Bake in a 400 oven for 20 to 25 minutes until cheese is melted, it's hot throughout and a little brown.

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