Sunday, November 27, 2011

CRANBERRY SAUCE & CHRISTMAS MORNING COFFEECAKE

Thanksgiving has come and gone, that is, all except for the left-overs.  Aren't they wonderful?!  One thing we always have left over is cranberry sauce.  It's been years since we ate canned cranberry sauce.  Why buy it in a can when it is so SO easy to make and turns out so much better?  Here is my go-to recipe.

WHOLE CRANBERRY SAUCE.  Makes about 2 cups.
*  1/2 pound fresh cranberries
*  1/4 cup port
*  1/4 cup fresh orange juice (1/2 of an orange)
*   zest from 1/2 orange
*  1/2 cup diced dried apricots
*  1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
*  1/3 cup granulated sugar
*  1/3 cup toasted pecan halves (optional)
Place everything except the nuts in a saucepan.  Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries are cooked and the sauce is thick, 25 to 30 minutes.  Remove from the heat, cool, and stir in the pecan halves.  Store covered in the refrigerator.  Sauce will keep for several weeks and is best brought to room temperature before serving.
Adapted from Cold-Weather Cooking by Sarah Leah Chase.

So now we are moving into the Christmas season and we will have cranberry sauce left over.  What to do with it?  Make a coffeecake!  Here's a delicious and easy recipe.

CHRISTMAS MORNING COFFEECAKE.
*  2 extra-ripe, medium bananas, peeled
*  1 egg
*  1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*  2 cups. buttermilk baking mix (such as Bisquick)
*  2 tablespoons sugar
*  1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*  1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
*  1 cup cranberry sauce
Topping:
*  1/2 cup packed brown sugar
*  1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
*  2 tablespoons melted butter
*  2 tablespoons flour
Preheat oven to 400º; grease a 9" square pan.
Puree banana chunks in blender or processor (to make 2/3 cup).  Add egg and vanilla to pureed bananas.  In a mixing bowl combine baking mix, sugar, cinnamon and allspice.  Beat in the banana mixture.  Pour into prepared pan.  Break up the cranberry sauce and distribute over the batter.  Make topping by stirring together all ingredients.  Sprinkle entirely over the top of the coffeecake batter.  Bake for 25 minutes or until cake tests done.

ENJOY!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

ROAST TURKEY... AND HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU ALL!

I can't post recipes for meat roasts without posting a recipe for roasted turkey... especially when tomorrow is Thanksgiving!  There are so many recipes out there that perhaps you have already developed your own special recipe, as I have.  I have tried so many recipes over the years - mostly out of curiosity.  The same can be said for the dressings/stuffings.  In that regard, I do have one dressing recipe that beats all others and yet, this year, I will again try a new recipe that includes dried figs and no celery.  Anyway, back to the task at hand!  Here is my recipe for:

ROASTED TURKEY
Rinse, clean and dry the turkey.  Rub it all over with olive oil and sprinkle it inside and out with lots and lots of dried herbs, seasonings and paprika.  Don't be shy about loading on the herbs and seasonings;  you will want to use a lot in order to permeate the skin and flavor the turkey.  Then fill the cavity/inside with garlic cloves, onion and squeezed lemons.  Again don't be shy.  Turn the wings under the turkey, and tie up the legs.  Place the turkey, breast side up, in your roasting pan and bake it for 15 minutes in a 425ºF preheated oven; after 15 minutes lower the oven temperature to 325ºF.  Baste the turkey from time to time with butter and pan drippings.  When the turkey is perfectly browned, cover the pan.  Bake about 15 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature reaches 170ºF deep in the thigh area.  When done, remove from oven and let rest while other food preparation is completed.  Carve and enjoy!

!!!!!HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

CHEFS' ABODE - MAPLE-CAYENNE BACON

A new cooking school, Chefs' Abode, recently opened at 805 Sibley Memorial Highway in Lilydale.  www.chefsabode.com

To spread the word, they offered an online coupon for a discount on a cooking class.  Lucky for me, my niece, Colette, purchased two for us to use together.  On Sunday we attended our participation class:  "Holiday Brunch at Home."  Here was the menu:
*  Belgian Waffles
*  Dried Cherry Scones
*  Roasted Vegetables
*  Roasted Vegetable Frittata
*  Parmesan Croustades
*  Hash Browns
*  Maple-Cayenne Bacon
*  Roasted Apple Bourbon Bread Pudding with Pecans

What a fun way to blow my low-carb diet!

If you want any of these recipes, just let me know and I'll post them.  In the meantime, I know I have some bacon-lovers out there who read my blog so I thought I'd share the bacon recipe with you.

MAPLE CAYENNE BACON
*  1 pound bacon
*  1/4 cup pure maple syrup
*  1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a small bowl, stir together the maple syrup and cayenne.  Place the bacon in a single layer over the parchment, and with a pastry brush, brush the bacon slices with syrup.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until bacon is cooked but not crisp.

Monday, November 21, 2011

ROAST PORK LOIN WITH GARLIC AND ROSEMARY

We got our first snowfall this past Saturday, and we will now put our grill away for the winter.  Continuing the theme of easy comfort foods for when we enjoy having our ovens on, the recipe below is for a delicious, moist, and very easy pork roast.

ROAST PORK LOIN WITH GARLIC AND ROSEMARY  Serves 8.
Preheat oven to 425º.  Combine the following ingredients in a small bowl:
*  4 large garlic cloves, pressed
*  4 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
*  1-1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
*  1 teaspoon ground black pepper
*  3 tablespoons olive oil
Rub mixture all over a 2-3 pound boneless pork loin roast.  Place the pork, fat side up, in a roasting pan and roast the pork until a thermometer inserted into the center registers 150º, about 50-60 minutes.  Remove roast from the oven and let stand 10 minutes.   Slice pork crosswise into 1/3 inch pieces; arrange on a platter, and pour pan drippings over the meat.  Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and serve with applesauce.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

BEEF POT ROAST.

Now that cooler weather has returned we can resume using our ovens to make great winter comfort foods.  First up - Beef Pot Roast.  Here is an easy and reliably delicious recipe.

Beef Pot Roast.  Serves 4+
*  1 tablespoon olive oil
*  2-3 pounds boneless chuck roast
*  2 cloves of garlic, minced
*  1 large onion, chopped
*  2 bay leaves
*  Other optional herbs/spices such as anise/fennel; thyme; coriander...
*  1/2 teaspoon salt
*  1/2 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 325º F.  Heat a heavy Dutch oven on top of the stove over medium high heat.  Add oil, and sear the beef well on both sides.  Remove the beef to a plate.   Add the remaining ingredients to the pot; stir; and return the beef, slightly nestling it into the other ingredients.  Cover the pot and cook the beef in the oven for 30 minutes at 325º.  Then reduce the heat to 300º and continue cooking for 1-1/2 hours.  Remove the roast to a platter and let rest about 10 minutes.  Slice and top with onions and meat juices.

Enjoy!