Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cranberry Orange Galette

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Another cranberry dessert! But that's okay, because I can never make all these luscious fall desserts for my Thanksgiving dinner. Speaking of a groaning board-my table would be tipping over on the dessert side.  A French galette is an Italian crostata, a free form tart made a with traditional pie crust dough and  baked on a cookie sheet rather than in a pie pan. The tart can be flat like a pizza with sliced fruit on top or if the filling is juicy, the dough is folded over the filling.

Fresh tart cranberries, dried sweet cherries and ginger meld with orange zest with juice, brown sugar and orange marmalade to make a delectable fall dessert. I love the rustic look of this galette, perfect for showing off fresh fruits and berries.  The four family members who bake at  Celestial Confections chose Dorie Greenspan's Cranberry Lime Galette for this edition of TWD. The recipe can be found on their blog or from "Baking From My Home to Yours", a classic baking book. My copy is stained, tattered,  and most pages are scribbled with copious notes and tips, but it's my "go to" book for baking.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cider Baked Seckel Pears With Rice Pudding

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Cider Baked Pears With Rice Pudding

Bathed in sweetened pear cider enhanced with cinnamon and a touch of bay, then baked until tender and caramelized, transforms the diminutive Seckel pear into a tantalizing accompaniment to this creamy classic rice pudding. It is not necessary to peel or core the pears and for more of a homey feel, leave the stems intact. Prepare the rice pudding first to allow the mixture to thicken and cool.

Perhaps a hybrid of Asian and European pears, the Seckel pear, often called a "sugar pear",is one of the smallest and sweetest pears cultivated. Homage is given to the Pennsylvania farmer who is believed to have discovered the pear around 1820.

Russet colored with brownish yellow and green shades, the tiny Seckel pear is a short plump pear with a grainy texture and a sweet spicy flavor. Perfect for canning and pickling, this bite size pear is also a lovely garnish for salads, cheese plates and sandwiches. Source.

Cider Baked Seckel Pears with Rice Pudding

For the Pears

6 Seckel pears
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-1/4 cups pear or apple cider
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons light brown muscovado sugar
2 tablespoons turbinado or demerara sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Halve the pears and place in a small roasting pan. In a saucepan, melt the butter and cook until it turns a light brown. Add the cinnamon and pour over the pears in the roasting pan. Turn the pears to coat and arrange the pears cut side up. Pour over the pear or apple cider. Place the bay leaves on top and sprinkle over the sugars.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until pears are tender and caramelized. Baste with the cider occasionally while baking. Remove from oven when done. Keep pears warm. Place the syrup in medium saucepan and reduce by half. Pour over pears when serving the rice pudding.

For the Rice Pudding

2-1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup short or long grain rice
1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, optional

In a medium saucepan, place the rice in a pan and add the milk, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until rice is tender, stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. When rice is tender, remove from heat and add the vanilla extract and nutmeg, if using. Return to heat and cook 5-10 more minutes, until creamy. The pudding can be served warm or cold.  . Makes 6 servings with the baked pears.

To Serve
Stir the rice to loosen it. If desired add a few tablespoons heavy cream to the rice. Place a generous scoop of rice pudding in a serving dish. Top with two pear halves and drizzle with reduced syrup. Remove bay leaves or add as a garnish. Do not eat the bay leaf. Sprinkle some freshly grated nutmeg over rice, if desired.

Other Seckel pear recipes- CookEatShare,
Seckel Pear Tart- thekitchn
Watercress, Seckel Pear and Brie Salad- FoodBlogga

*****This is my entry into Weekend Herb Blogging #259 hosted by Susan of thewellseasonedcook.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Washington Apple Martini-Thirsty Thursday

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Keeping in the fall spirit with apples as the theme, this Thirsty Thursday features an apple martini, a lovely crimson colored libation served in a cocktail glass rimmed with cinnamon sugar.   Comprised of German apple schnapps, Canadian whiskey and cranberry juice, this apple martini would be a nice addition to your cocktail repertoire.

Washington Apple Martini

1 jigger (1- 1/2 ounces) apple schnapps
1 jigger (1- 1/2 ounces) Canadian whiskey
1 jigger (1-1/2 ounces) cranberry juice

Rub the rim of a martini glass with a lime slice. In a shallow plate containing cinnamon sugar, dip rim in to coat edges of glass. Chill glass while preparing the apple martini.

In a cocktail shaker filled with crushed ice, add apple schnapps, whiskey and cranberry juice. Shake well and strain into a cinnamon sugar rimmed martini glass. Makes 1 cocktail.

Cinnamon sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar

Combine cinnamon and sugar. Use small amount for rimming glass. Store in covered container. Makes about 1/2 cup.

Check out Rossella's Persimmon Milkshake  another Thirsty Thursday beverage.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Not-Just-For-Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread Cake-Tuesdays with Dorie

Print Friendly and PDF Cranberry  Shortbread Cake

Fresh cranberry season is upon us, but the season is short, so buying several packages of cranberries to freeze is prudent. Then you can make this divine shortbread cake filled with a orange flavored cranberry jam that's super easy to prepare. The fresh cranberry jam can be made up to 2 weeks ahead and the shortbread cake dough can be refrigerated overnight. If you are not a cranberry fan, caramelized apples, applesauce, apple butter or your favorite fruit preserve sub in beautifully.

Cranberries play a prominent and historical role at Thanksgiving in the USA. Calling the red berries, "sassamanash", the North American Indians possibly introduced the cranberries to the starving colonists in Massachusetts who incorporated the berry into the feast of Thanksgiving, a celebration of survival. Cranberries are primarily grown in cooler climates in the USA and Canada. The berries are harvested in the fall, usually late September or early October when they turn crimson red. Although the fields are flooded to harvest the cranberries, they aren't grown in water, but are kept very wet by irrigation. Source. When I think of cranberries, I always think of a Martha Stewart show I saw years ago showing the "doyenne of domesticity" wading around the cranberry bogs enlightening her viewers on the harvesting of cranberries.

Jessica of Singleton in the Kitchen chose this seasonally appropriate recipe for the baking group. With all the great desserts out there for Thanksgiving, it has become quite a task making a choice for the big feast day! Jessica has this cranberry shortbread cake recipe on her blog or if you have "Baking From My Home to Yours" by Dorie Greenspan, look on page 208-209.


Friday, November 05, 2010

Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux

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Roast chicken for les paresseux or roast chicken for the lazy cook, however, I think if the cook is truly lazy, the rotisserie chicken at the grocery store  would be the chicken to buy. This roast chicken for les paresseux is by far the better tasting chicken to dine on. Stuffed with a half head of garlic and some rosemary, thyme and oregano makes this roast chicken sublime. The chicken oven roasts atop thick slices of bread which come out flavorful and crisp when the chicken is fully cooked. Carrots, potatoes and whole shallots are added after the chicken has roasted for 45 minutes. The aroma wafting from my oven had my little Yorkie hanging around the kitchen hoping a piece of this delicious bird would accidentally fall on the floor.

The recipe comes from "Around My French Table", the newest book in the line of award winning cookbooks by Dorie Greenspan. French Fridays with Dorie is a group dedicated to cooking their way through this cookbook loaded with simple, homey French food that Dorie has collected over the many years she has lived in France. Studded not only with delicious recipes, but stories of the friends she's made and tips on the French culinary customs. If you would like to become a member of FFWD, check out the website. The group is pretty laid back, so give it a go.

Apple Sangria-Thirsty Thursday

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Fall is a lovely time to visit the mountain areas of North Carolina. While visiting the grandchildren for Halloween weekend, we took a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to picnic and enjoy the beautiful foliage. Along the way, we stopped at an apple orchard just over the border into Virginia. Visions of riding with the children on a hayride picking apples were dashed when the owner informed us that the season was short due to the summer heat, but we could still buy apples there. Along with the Mitsu, also known as the Crispin apple, we bought the Spartan variety, another good all-purpose apple; crimson in color, sometimes even deep purple. The Spartan is a fragrant apple with a good balance of sweet to tart flavor. Perfect for baking,using raw and a favorite among apple cider pressers. A member of the McIntosh family of apples, the Spartan is a cross between a McIntosh and a Newtown Pippin apple, a famous Colonial apple developed by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The lighter, greenish yellow tinge of the Newtown Pippin is visible in the blush of the Spartan.

Knee deep in apples, I used some to make this Apple Sangria, a nice Fall version of this popular summer libation. Redolent with  spices, honey, fresh ginger, citrus and chopped Spartan apples, this red wine based sangria will become a party favorite.

Apple Sangria

3 cups chopped Spartan apples
1/4 cup ginger honey
1/2 cup apple schnapps
3-4 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 slices fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 1/4" pieces
1 large orange, quartered
1 lime, quartered
1 bottle, (750 ml.) Syrah or red wine of choice
1/4-1/2 cup club soda, or tonic water, chilled

For Garnish-slices of fresh lime, orange and Spartan apples. Optional-lemon balm sprigs

Combine first nine ingredients in a large measuring cup; combine well. Refrigerate until very cold, about 4 hours. Strain wine mixture through a sieve discarding solids. Pour about 2/3 cup sangria over ice in each glass; top with 1 tablespoon club soda. Garnish with citrus slices, apple slices and optional lemon balm sprig.  Makes 4-6 servings. Original recipe-Cooking Light

Monday, November 01, 2010

DMBLGiT: October 2010 Winners!!

Print Friendly and PDF A big thanks to all the participants of the October, 2010  Does My Blog Look Good in This (DMBLGiT) and a special thanks to the judges- Asha, Denise, Nicole and Susan for their expertise. Without further ado---Here are the winners of the October 2010 DMBLGiT!

First Place Winner
 Vania of Our Family Favorite Recipes
Pina Colada Puding
A tie for 2nd Place-
Laurent of AngleterreGod Saves the Eton Mess
Tika of  CemplangCemplungkaloKaloBinhunh-Mung Bean Pudding

Third Place Winner
Kris of Bake in Paris-Decorated Sugar Cookies

Edibility Winner
Snjezana of  Dalmacija Down UnderAsparagus with Poached Egg and Hollandaise Sauce-
Originality Winner
Jenn of Jenn's Cuisine -Copycat PF Changs Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Aesthetics Winner
Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings -Mango Stir Fry
Host award goes to -

Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen-Eggplant and Fig Caponata

Host for November- Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen.

For those of you who have entered into the competition or  have won a DMBLGit award in the past, I encourage you to volunteer to be a host or a judge for this event. Being a judge has been a great experience, plus has honed my skills in seeing, not only a photograph, but how the photograph is lighted-its composition and how drool worthy it is. I'm very proud of the judges and couldn't have picked a better panel for this event.  Contact Andrew for more information.

Gadget by The Blog Doctor.