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Category Archives: Holiday Ideas

Apple Cake with Pumpkin Whipped Cream

December 19, 2017

Another favorite…

  • 1/3 cup plus ½ cup cane sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 large Honey Crisp apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • ½ cup extra light olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square pan (any shape will be fine)

Stir together 1/3 cup sugar with apple cider, lemon juice and cornstarch in a small saucepan, then stir in the apples. Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt and remaining ½ cup sugar in a medium bowl.
Whisk together egg, cider, oil and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the flour mixture- whisk till combined.
Spoon the batter into baking pan spreading evenly. Then pour apple mixture evenly over batter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or till cake is done.

Pumpkin Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup confectioners sugar
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree

Whip the cream in a standing mixer till soft peaks form. Add the sugar and pumpkin puree. Whip for another minute and chill for an hour before serving with cake.

Apple Cardamom Trifle

December 18, 2017

I thought I would do a bunch of desserts for the upcoming holidays.. this is one of my favorites…

Apple Filling

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 large apples, Pink Lady and Honey Crisp, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cardamom pods, seeds taken out and crushed
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • Juice of half a lemon

Place the butter in a large frying pan. Add the apple pieces, cinnamon stick, cardamom seeds and sugar. Stir constantly until the butter melts on a medium heat. Add the cider and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cover with lid for ten minutes or till the apple pieces are soft but not mushy. Bring to room temperature and refrigerate. Take out of fridge a few hours before assembling. Divide into two portions.

Vanilla Custard (Gale Gand Recipe)

  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in ¼ cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture, reserving the empty saucepan.
Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Removed from and heat and stir in butter. Transfer to a storage bowl. Cover with plastic wrap to eliminate skin forming. Refrigerate overnight. Divide into two portions.

Cinnamon Whipped Cream

  • 8 oz Mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • 2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons powdered cinnamon

Whip the mascarpone cheese, whipped cream, sugar and cinnamon till stiff peaks form.

One pound cake, sliced, divided into two layers
One trifle bowl

Assemble the trifle by starting with a layer of pound cake at the bottom. Cover with one portion of the apples and then the custard. Repeat the process one more time and top with cinnamon whipped cream. Refrigerate for at least 4 to 5 hours before serving.

Applesauce Chocolate Cake with a Spiced Icing

December 17, 2017

Great dessert for the holidays…

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon powdered nutmeg
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • ½ cup extra light olive oil
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup homemade or store bought applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour a 9” round pan.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a large bowl of a mixer, add the melted chocolate and the oil. Add sugar and beat until mixture is creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add the applesauce and vanilla and mix well. Stir in dry ingredients and pour into the round pan.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until tester is clean. Let cool and then top with the spiced icing.

Spiced Icing

  • ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
  • ¼ unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon powdered nutmeg
  • 5 tablespoons milk

In a small mixing blow, combine the sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg and milk. Whisk well until all ingredients are incorporated and smooth. Add more milk if needed to reach the desired consistency.

Pour on top of the the cake and spread to the sides evenly.

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

Braised Short Ribs with Citrus Gremolata

December 12, 2017

 

I would highly recommend this dish for the holidays. I served it with polenta and it was an amazing dinner. Oh, and don’t forget a copious amount of red wine…

  • 4 pounds short ribs, excess fat removed
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped

Place the short ribs in a large glass dish and sprinkle the salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary. Refrigerate overnight. Take out an hour before cooking.

  • 2 tablespoons extra light olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups red wine
  • Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat a heavy saucepan with the olive oil until smoking. Brown the ribs on both sides for 4 to 5 minutes each in two to three batches. Keep aside. Add the carrots, onions, celery and garlic. Saute on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomato paste and sauté for minute. Add the flour and sauté for another minute. Add the thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Add the chicken broth and red wine and bring to a boil. Add the ribs back into the liquid and transfer to the oven. Bake for 2 to 3 hours or till the meat is falling off the bone.
Take out of oven and take the ribs out onto a platter. Strain the braising liquid and squeeze all the moisture out of the solids. Discard the solids and return the liquid to the saucepan. Reduce to desired consistency- there should be about a cup and a half to two cups of liquid remaining. Check for seasonings and return the ribs back into the liquid. Top with gremolata and serve.

Citrus Gremolata

  • 1 tablespoon thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
  • 1/3 cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Zest of two clementines or half a navel orange

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl, cover and keep aside.

Mexican Style Pork Stew with Pomegranate Salsa

December 11, 2017

Delicious stew for the holidays- one of my favorites!

  • 3 to 4 pounds pork shoulder (bone-in, cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces)
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 to 5 tomatillos, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half
  • 2 poblano peppers, cut in half, seeds taken out
  • 1 cubanelle pepper, cut in half, seeds taken out
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 to 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup queso fresco

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Transfer the tomatillos, onion and peppers to a lined cookie sheet. Roast the vegetables for 30 minutes. Transfer the roasted vegetables to a blender. Add the cilantro and green onions. Blend till a smooth sauce is formed.

Heat a heavy saucepan with the oil. Dredge the pork pieces and brown on all sides. Keep aside. Add the green sauce and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the pork pieces and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and place lid. Cook for 2 to 3 hours or till the meat is falling off the bone. Skim the excess fat off the top.

Pomegranate Salsa

  • 2 pomegranates, seeds taken out
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Mix the pomegranate seeds, green onions, cilantro and salt in a medium bowl. Keep aside for an hour. Serve stew topped with salsa and queso fresco.

Indian Style Latkes

December 10, 2017

Here is my take on potato latkes… Happy Hanukkah!

  • 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

Latkes2

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.

Roasted Brussels sprouts with Chorizo

November 20, 2017
  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pack fresh Mexican chorizo, casings off and crumbled
  • Salt
  • 2 medium shallots, chopped
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Blanch the Brussels sprouts in boiling water, drain and put them into an ice bath to shock them and retain the color. Take out of the water and pat dry. Keep aside. This can be done a day before and refrigerated.

Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the chorizo and cook on medium heat for about 5 to 7 minutes till golden brown. Add the shallots and cook, stirring and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the pine nuts and cook for a minute. Add the Brussels sprouts to the mixture, mix well and cook for 5 to 6 minutes till the sprouts are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro and serve.