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Category Archives: Holiday Ideas

Irish Soda Bread

March 12, 2019

3 cups all purpose
¼ cup evaporated cane juice (sugar)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup mixture of raisins, cranberries and currants, chopped
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed or powdered
4 tablespoons super cold butter, cut into little pieces
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400.
Grease a large cast iron skillet or a 10 inch cake pan.

Transfer the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a mixing bowl, whisk together. Add the butter and mix briefly with fingers, incorporating the butter. Add the raisins mixture, zest and fennel seeds and mix well. Mix the buttermilk and egg together in a small bowl and whisk well and refrigerate until needed (the key is to have this liquid as cold as possible) Add the liquid slowly to the dry mixture while mixing it with a fork. Once all the liquid is incorporated, gently mix everything with your fingers and form an 8 inch round loaf and transfer to the cast iron skillet or cake pan. Mark the top with an ‘X’ with a knife about ½ inch deep.
Bake for 20 minutes in the oven and check if the top is getting too brown. If it is, then top with aluminum foil and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes. Take out of oven and keep the foil on till it cools off.

Pumpkin Gelato

December 18, 2018

Pumpkin Gelato

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup evaporated cane juice (sugar)
  • ½ vanilla bean, split in half
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk to mix in the cornstarch

Ice cream maker

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, vanilla bean, ground cloves and cinnamon stick on medium heat. Once bubbles begin to form on the edges, add the cornstarch mixed in with 2 tablespoons milk. Cook till the mixture begins to thicken, about 2-3 minutes and forms a custard consistency. Add ½ cup pumpkin puree and mix well. Remove from the heat. Strain and refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours.

Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturers instructions. Freeze the gelato for at least an hour once it is done.

Fig and Apricot Compote

December 17, 2018

Fig and Apricot Compote I made this compote for Thanksgiving. Our tradition is to open wine sometime in the afternoon- while I am still cooking. Around 3 I take the cheese and crackers out. I usually make a fig compote cooked in red wine, brown sugar and fresh thyme. It is delicious, especially with some aged goat cheese. We also drink Kir Royale with the cheese and crackers. I love the tradition and look forward to it every year.

The other thing I did different was the compote. I made this one with dried figs and apricots. I decided to use orange and lemon juice with honey. I served it with a variety of Spanish cheeses including manchego, an aged goat cheese and another one- can’t remember the name.

Definitely make this for your next holiday get together. It is quick, easy and delicious. You can make this in advance and keep it in the fridge. Enjoy!

  • ½ cup dried mission figs, cut into thin strips
  • ½ cup dried apricots, cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan, add the figs, apricots, orange juice, lemon juice, honey and salt. Bring the liquid to a boil and turn it down to a simmer. Reduce the liquid till the compote is thick and syrupy. It will take about 15 minutes. Taste for seasonings and serve with cheese.

Pear and Ginger Crumble

December 16, 2018

Pear and Ginger Crumble

Topping

  • ¾ cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ½ inch squares

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an ovenproof dish that is approximately 13 X 9. Mix the seven ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the butter and rub in with fingers until moist clumps form. Keep aside.

  • 2 pounds ripe yet firm pears, peeled, cored and sliced thin
  • Juice of one lemon
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour

Toss the pears with the lemon juice, sugar and flour. Transfer the filling to the ovenproof dish. Sprinkle topping over. Bake the crumble until pears are tender and the topping is golden brown- about 40 minutes. Cool for a few minutes before serving with vanilla ice cream.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Orange Cream & Cranberries

December 9, 2018

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Orange Cream

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Transfer the sprouts on to a lined baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil and sprinkle salt. Mix well and roast for about 20 minutes till soft and golden brown.

  • ¼ cup cream
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Zest of one orange
  • Salt
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries

Heat a wide frying pan with the oil. Add the garlic and orange zest. Saute on low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cream and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and cranberries and mix well. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add salt to taste and serve.

Indian Style Latkes

December 2, 2018

Here is my take on potato latkes… !

  • 2 large russet potatoes (about 3 cups)
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1 serrano chile, minced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons chickpea flour (all-purpose flour will be fine)
  • ½ cup extra light olive oil heated to about 200 degrees.

Heat oven to 200 degrees. Place a small lined cookie sheet with aluminum foil.

Line a large mixing bowl with a cheese cloth. Grate the potatoes in the cloth and squeeze all the liquid out and put back into the bowl. Add the shallots, green onions, ginger, chile, cilantro, egg, salt and the coriander powder. Slowly add the flour, mix well until the mixture is thick.
Scoop the mixture with a ¼ cup measure. Place it gently in the hot oil and flatten it with the back of the cup measure. Cook on medium high heat for 4-5 minutes on both sides or till golden brown. Take out on a platter lined with paper towels, drain well and place in the oven to keep hot.
Serve with cilantro cream or apple chutney.

Makes 9-10 medium sized latkes.

Latkes1 Latkes

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Cilantro Cream

  • ½ cup low-fat sour cream
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2 teaspoons salt or to taste

In a blender, add the sour cream, cilantro, lime-juice and salt. Blend till smooth- you may need to add a couple teaspoons of water to start the blending process. Take out in a small bowl and serve with the latkes.

Latkes3

Apple Chutney

  • One large honey crisp apple, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 cloves
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • Salt

In a small saucepan, add the apple, cider, vinegar, sugar, cloves, ginger, cayenne pepper and salt. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook the apples till they are soft and the liquid is half the amount- about 10 minutes. Smash the apples with the back of a ladle and mix with the thickened liquid. Cook for another 5 minutes and take out in a bowl and serve with the latkes.

Manchego Smoked Paprika Mashed Potatoes

November 20, 2018

  • 4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into small squares
  • Salt
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ to 1 cup half and half
  • 2 cups shredded Manchego cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Pepper
  • ½ cup green onion, chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped

Add the cut potatoes to a deep pot and cover with water. Add at least 2 tablespoons salt and the garlic cloves. Place a lid on the potatoes and bring to a boil. Uncover and cook until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and garlic and put them through a food mill and add back to the hot pot. Add butter, half and half and smoked paprika. Check for seasonings, add pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and let cool all the way. Add the grated cheese and mix well. At this point, the potatoes can be refrigerated and made at least a day in advance. Once ready to bake, take out of fridge at least 30 minutes in advance.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or till heated through. Garnish with green onions and cilantro.