Tuesday, November 30, 2010

clementine margarita marmalade

the other day
i was at a very large crafts store
and it was packed
lines around the store to check out
stuff was strewn everywhere
no one seemed happy

it wasn't black friday
trickle down tuesday

it was 5 in the afternoon
on a regular day

 i thought to myself
this is why i don't shop
at christmas-time
long lines
no parking
people on edge
i have friends and family
who appreciate
gifts from my kitchen

each year 
i put together hampers 
full of  homemade goodies

this margarita marmalade was inspired by
a basket of clementines 
and bottle of tequila
nestled side by side
among the clutter 
of thankgiving past
it would be lovely on a warm crumpet
or freshly baked scone
clementine margarita marmalade
(printable recipe)
4 limes
12 clementines
2/3 cup tequila
5-6 cups sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup contreau
1 pouch sure-jell pectin
thinly clementines with skin on and place in bowl. supreme the limes over the same bowl and discard the pith and skin.  add sugar and tequila. let sit 8 hours or overnight.  pour into heavy saucepan and add the salt and contreau.  bring to a boil and let boil for 10 minutes.  add the pectin and boil for 1 full minute.  place in sterilized jars and put through canning process for 10 minutes. if you have never canned before--please do your research on how to can jams and jellies * the amount of sugar should be adjusted according to how sweet your fruit is. the marmalade is meant to be slightly bitter..but you need the sugar to assist in setting it up.  
you may notice in my photo that i thinly sliced the limes and threw them in rather than supreming them.  it wasn't a great idea. while it looks pretty, the limes really don't soften up like the clementines and they are more like candy than confit (not a good thing).  

turkey and dumplings

i love leftovers
especially when they make their way into soup
as it happens
there is always a lot of dark meat left behind than white
and the wings and drumsticks go uneaten
i use the wings in making stock
and all the leftover meat in soup
this is a riff on chicken and dumplings
however it remains a hearty but brothy soup
i enjoy it
sitting in front of the fire
on a snowy day
with a good cookbook in hand
this american life on the radio
turkey and dumplings
(printable recipe)
for the soup
1/2 cup chopped pancetta (optional)
olive oil 
1 large leek--chopped
1 large carrot--peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery--chopped
1 jalapeno--ribs and seeds removed and chopped
1 shallot--finely chopped
2 garlic cloves--finely chopped
2 medium white potatoes--chopped
1 cup mushrooms--chopped
1 tsp kosher salt (optional)
1/2 tsp black pepper 
10-12 cups broth
leftover  (cooked) turkey cut into pieces
fry the pancetta in a stock pot with a bit of olive oil over medium heat.  when the fat is rendered, toss in the leek, shallot and garlic. do not let the garlic brown.  when the leek and shallot are soft toss in the remaining vegetables and stir.  allow to cook for about 5 minutes.  add salt and pepper and the broth.  cover and let simmer until the vegetables are soft--about 45-60 minutes.  add the turkey and cook until just warmed through.  meanwhile, prepare the dumplings
for the dumplings
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbs chopped fresh chives
4 Tbs cold unsalted butter in small pieces
1/2-3/4 cup milk
stir together the flour, salt, pepper, chives and baking powder in a bowl.  cut in butter.  stir in enough milk to make a just-sticky dough.  drop by large spoonfuls into simmering soup, turning once to ensure they cook on both sides. i cook the dumplings and then remove them and place them in a casserole and place in the oven to keep warm, but you can serve directly from the soup as well. 

i am linking to
 tuesday night supper club
(where i am hosting a great give-a-way!)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

gingerbread marshmallows

i love gingerbread
gingerbread houses
gingerbread cakes
gingerbread lattes
and now
gingerbread marshmallows
come holiday time
i like to create a special treat
to tuck into the christmas hampers
i prepare for friends and family
this year it is these
gingerbread marshmallows
(printable recipe)
3/4 oz gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbs molasses
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground clove
2 egg whites
Put sugars in a saucepan. Add 1/4 cup water to make a mixture that looks and feels like wet sand.  What is most important is that all sugar has the same amount of moisture. Add molasses, salt, ginger, cinnamon and clove, and place over low heat.  Cook until it becomes a sugar syrup of 235-240 degrees. It should have the consistency of corn syrup.  Meanwhile...place 2 room temperature egg whites into the bowl of your mixer. Add the salt .  Also, prepare gelatin.  Place 1/2 cup water in a bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the water.  Let bloom.
Once the sugar syrup is ready, turn off heat and let sit for a couple of minutes...not too long.  Start your mixer on low and get the whites to foamy.  Mix the gelatin into the sugar syrup and stir until melted completely.  Bring the saucepan over to the mixer and turn it to high. Slowly pour the sugar syrup into the bowl, careful not to hit the whisk attachment.  Leave on high and mix until the mixture is warm, but full volume and comes to a peak.  While it is still warm, pour into tin or pan.  Sift powdered sugar on top. Cut into squares and store in airtight container.
these are yummy tossed into a cup of hot cocoa
and a real grown up treat when toasted and sandwiched into a s'more.

Friday, November 26, 2010

sweets table

our thanksgiving dessert "buffet"
recipes coming soon
until then
i hope everyone had a wonderful day
loaded with gratitude and joy
that will fill your heart
longer than the leftovers
fill your fridge

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

stuffed figs

i am reposting this (originally from january 2010) as part of hostess 911blog hop--which  has a great array of last minute appetizers for the holidays. if you have a favorite, quick, last minute appetizer recipe--please do link up too.  thanks to jenn at rook 17 for coming up with this great idea!
this treat is actually going on my thanksgiving dessert table--it is the "healthy alternative" (wink, wink)
it is no secret that i absolutely love ina garten
i have blogged about my obsession before
and told anyone who will listen
how i wish to be her friend
and have contemplated taking up bridge just to increase my chances
for a dinner invitation

while i have never actually owned one of her cookbooks
made any of her recipes
i am in awe of her style
particularly her entertaining style
i could never only serve a hearty salad and crusty bread for dinner
with a dessert of chocolate bark
i'm not the sort
but i envy it in her
and every time i have guests for dinner
i try and imitate her unapologetic rule
only making 2 items for dinner and then buying the extras
but i never get there
i'm just not the sort
last evening we had guests for dinner
2 couples we have come to know over the years and have become good friends with
and i made a dinner of homemade pasta, chicken saltimboca, 4 veg and dessert
I thought maybe I shouldn't serve appetizers
Ina wouldn't
she would serve nuts or something
so that is where i stood
until about five o'clock
when i began to panic
i couldn't give it up
i had to have some sort of nibble for my guests
and i wanted it to be really simple
to go with my very french aperitif

i turned to what i had on hand
and made this a simple yet absolutely delicious
start to our evening
Walnut Stuffed Figs
dried figs
toasted walnuts
mascarpone cheese
finely diced bits of well-cooked bacon
stem and split the figs, stuff with toasted walnuts, top with a small dot of mascarpone, and then sprinkle the bits of bacon on top.  These are also lovely with a bit of blue cheese in place of the mascarpone.

i am reposting this to participate in

venison stoup

i call this stoup because 
it is a soup-slash-stew
or stew-slash-soup
it cooks for about 3 hours
but is brothy
and a great way to use some of the less tender pieces of venison
but would also be great with beef
if that is your thing
this is really delicious
even if you think it is sad that anyone would eat bambi
no one eats bambi
bambi was a cartoon, silly
this is bambi's mother
venison stoup
(printable recipe)
4 strips of bacon-diced
2 lbs venison-cut into chunks
1 medium onion--diced
3 cloves garlic--chopped
2 ribs celery--chopped
2 turnips--chopped
2 large carrots--cut into rounds
4-6 small red or white potatoes--quartered
1 head cabbage--cut into pieces
14oz can stewed tomatoes--sqeezed to crush
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup venison or beef broth
4-5 cups water
cook the bacon in a stock pot and render all the fat.  meanwhile, dry the venison with paper towel.  once the fat is rendered and the bacon starts to get crunchy, add the venison and cook until browned on all sides. toss in the onion, celery and garlic and cook until they begin to soften.  toss in the rest of the vegetables, including the tomatoes.  add the chili powder, salt and pepper.  give it a stir or two and then add the liquid.  you want enough liquid to cover the meat and vegetables.  give it another stir and then cover and cook over low heat about 3 hours.  check often to make sure it is not boiling (you want a simmer), and that you have enough liquid.
serve with crusty sourdough bread


Sunday, November 21, 2010


i have decided that dropping pies on the
 abandoned and soiled (dinner) table-tops
isn't going to cut it this year
i am having a 
sweets table
which means
i can't just serve pie
and there has to be a variety of tastes
creamy, crunchy, chewy, citrus, chocolate
warm, cold
and visual intrigue

feeding 20 people 
isn't stressful enough
as it stands now
my sweets menus is this

pecan pie
pavlova with lemon curd and cream
chocolate torte
shortbread cookies with almond glaze
assorted nuts in shells
figs stuffed with walnuts
homemade chocolates

holy smokes
as i see it written here, i realize
i've gone overboard
yet again

i have a brother
that is the picture of health
and nary a sugar or fat
shall pass his lips
except for these
my peanut butter cups
which i have 
formed into turkeys
in a post modernist
close one eye and look at it
 in a darkened room 
kinda way
peanut butter turkeys
(printable recipe)
molded chocolate oval cups
bittersweet chocolate ganache
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup +/- powdered sugar
piped chocolate "tail feathers"
fill the cups about 1/3 of the way with cooled but still runny ganache. place in refrigerator to cool completely.  mix together the peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs and powdered sugar. add more powdered sugar to taste and to get the right consistency...like a firm cookie dough.  remove the cups from the refrigerator and place an mound of peanut butter on top of the ganache--forming a rounded top. cover with a layer of ganache and pop in the tail feathers.  let cool at room temperature or in the fridge if you are pinched for time.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

sticky toffee pudding

my two best finds in england?
sticky toffee pudding
becky is a brit and a cherished friend
she is also whip smart and has a laugh that fills a room
i was reminded of that last week
hubster and i met up with becky
 for lunch whilst in london
such a treat!

i was also reminded of 
the first time i'd eaten sticky toffee pudding
it was becky's birthday
and i had strong-armed my way into a reservation
at the, then, most popular spot in town
the ivy
i might have insinuated that i was a food writer
i can't remember
it was 10 years ago
and not entirely a lie
my diary is loaded with food descriptions...as far back as the 6th grade
i have since eaten sticky toffee pudding hundreds of times 
but none have been as good
the ivy didn't invent it
but they sure did perfect it
i have made a few additions to their recipe along the way
that give it a bit of a kick
 more modern flavor, if you will
but it is them
and becky
that i have to thank
for i was 1 small fib away
from never knowing the beauty of sticky toffee pudding

for my final, in culinary school
i made sticky toffee pudding into a composed dessert
with bourbon hard sauce
cocoa nib tuile
all wrapped in a 
caramelized sugar cage
which was beautiful and earned me high marks
but way too fussy 
for every day enjoyment
if you want those recipes--just ask
for now
i think the 3 steps for this
is enough to pass time
this is not a complicated dessert
just a bit time consuming
sticky toffee pudding
(printable recipe)
i am giving you the original recipe with my additions in blue
for the date puree
375g stoned dates
375ml water
1/2 inch knob of peeled ginger kept whole
simmer the dates and ginger in the water over low heat about 15 minutes until they are very soft and the water has almost evaporated. remove the knob of ginger and discard. process the remaining water and dates until very smooth
for the toffee sauce
640 ml heavy cream
340 g caster (granulated) sugar
130 g liquid glucose (optional)
130 g unsalted butter
generous pinch of kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla
pour half the cream, sugar, glucose (if using), butter and salt into a thick-bottomed pan and mix well.  bring the sauce to a boil, stirring with wooden spoon, and continue to boil until it is golden brown.  remove from heat and allow it to cool slightly. whisk in the remaining cream and vanilla. set aside
for the sponge
130 g unsalted butter--room temperature
375 g dark brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
450 g strong plain flour (bread flour)
10 g baking powder
3 g baking soda
3 g kosher salt
1/8 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
grease and line a baking tin measuring approximately 30x24x6cm, with parchment paper. sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, clove,ginger and cardamom.  in a mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  add eggs one at a time, do not allow the mixture to separate. if it does, add a bit of flour to bind it back together. add vanilla. scrape the sides of the bowl and beat until the mixture is smooth.  fold in flour mixture until smooth.  add the warm date puree and mix well.  spread in prepared tin and bake for about 45-50 minutes at 350. use a cake tester to ensure you do not overbake.
to assemble
once cooled, remove the cake from the tin and trim the edges.  slice horizontally into 3 and reassemble in the baking tin, spreading two thirds of the sauce between layers. just before you are ready to serve, place the cake back in a 350 oven for about 15 minutes, then cut into equal servings.  top with remaining toffee sauce. you can serve with softly whipped cream, creme fraiche, soured cream or ice cream.

**you can also make these into cupcakes. bake as normal and before they are completely cooled, poke holes in them and pour in the toffee sauce. allow it to seep in and pool on top.  serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

linking up to tasty tuesdays

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

spaghetti alla vodka

my grandmother was famous for her alla vodka 
but not exactly like this 
for one thing--she was a traditionalist
and used penne
she also didn't make her own tomato infused vodka
she was a widow
raising 5 kids
with limited amount of time on her hands 
not all sorts
like i do
our garden produced so many late harvest tomatoes
i found myself using them in a variety of ways
sundried, oven roasted, confit
and soaked in vodka
this is really simple.  peel tomatoes and cram into a jar, use a skewer to secure tomatoes if they start to float to the top.  fill the jar with vodka and store in the refrigerator for at least 5 days.  i make several jars because i like to use the tomatoes and the vodka for my sauce. leftover vodka is really great for a bloody mary pick me up.

spaghetti alla vodka
(printable recipe)
1 lb spaghetti or pasta of choice
olive oil
1/2 of small onion--finely diced
2 garlic cloves--finely diced
6-8 basil leaves--chiffonade
1 large tin peeled whole tomatoes or combination of vodka soaked tomatoes and tinned tomatoes to equal about 4 cups whole
1/2-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup tomato soaked vodka (or other vodka you have on hand)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated parmesan plus more for serving
cook pasta in salted water,  according to package instructions.  cook onions and garlic in olive oil over low heat.  meanwhile, place the tomatoes in a food processor or blender and pulse until it is smooth.  do not allow the onions and garlic to brown, but let them begin to soften and become translucent. at this point, add the tomatoes and vodka and let simmer for about  10-15 minutes.  add the basil, red pepper flakes and heavy cream and allow to heat through.  stir in parmesan, then toss drained pasta in.  if the sauce seems too thick,  use a bit of the pasta water.  shave a bit of parmesan on top of each individual serving, along with additional crushed red pepper, if you like spicy.  

i am linking this recipe to 

Friday, November 12, 2010

holy grail

we landed in valencia, spain
and proceeded to the cathedral
first to see what is reported to be
the holy grail
we then
walked up the tower

207 stairs going up
207 stairs going down

difficult, uneven steps

before we journeyed upwards
i noticed
in the corner of the cathedral square
a shop
called valor
which is an amazing chocolatier
and i knew my prize
for the journey

a holy grail of culinary sorts

would be
a perfect cup of chocolate
small and pure
from a single source
and almost too much to take
so chocolaty, and amazing
i had to order a bit of cream to chase it with
such an american!

i wanted to share this with you
if per chance
you are in valencia
and are looking for 
the holy grail

Friday, November 5, 2010


just a little bit of what we found
on our walk about town this evening
just off La Rambla
sits La Boqueria
where they sell beautiful
produce, meats and fish
and my favorite of all
beautiful, tasty sweets
i know i did!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

granola pancakes

not sure why
i seem to believe that
every time i make and/or eat pancakes
it is a blog worthy event
even i
am beginning to tire
of me

but listen
the reason these pancakes are so special
is because they were inspired by breakfast 
at a general store 
noank, connecticut
when we walked in to

Carsons General Store
it was like walking back in time

today, it represents how
people in this small tourist town outside of mystic, connecticut
still commune
we sat at a small table at the back of the store
watching the morning ritual
old-timers chatting and gathering their morning read
carafes of coffee emptied as the village crier
did her position proud
we sat and listened
asked a bit about the place
family owned for over 100 years
ate pancakes
delicious granola pancakes
Carsons is a place

that you want to be a part of
or if you are me
you wish you owned
which is highly unlikely
since i couldn't even get them to give me the recipe
so this version is my own
and also quite good
especially when drenched in maple syrup
Granola Pancakes
(printable recipe)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3-1/2 cup dark brown sugar (i use less sugar because we use a lot of maple syrup around here, and i don't like them getting too sweet)
2 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup (approx) granola
(for my recipe click here)
butter or pan spray for cooking
mix all ingredients except the granola together and let rest for about 30 minutes.  after you pour the batter to the desired shape/size sprinkle granola across the top--it will cause the pancake to spread a bit.  cook as normal and flip when ready.  serve with a bit of butter and lots of maple syrup.  


Related Posts with Thumbnails

blogger templates |