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Category Archives: Holiday Ideas

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.

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.

Manchego and Smoked Paprika Mashed Potatoes

November 20, 2017
  • 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

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.

Mexican Style Turkey Breast with Ancho Chili

November 19, 2017

Compound Butter

  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Zest of one orange
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Mix the butter with orange and lemon zest, garlic and salt.

Spice Rub

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon acho chili powder

Mix all the spices together and set aside.

  • 1/2 cup Chili Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 7 to 10 pound turkey breast
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 orange, cut into eight pieces
  • 1 lemon, cut into eight pieces
  • 2 cups turkey or chicken broth
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Have your gravy ready either the day before or the morning of. Transfer it to a large saucepan and keep aside.

Preheat convection oven to 325 degreed F.

Place the turkey onto a rack in a roasting pan. Turn the turkey over and place the cut up orange and lemon inside the cavity. Sprinkle salt and pepper liberally and turn it breast side facing up. Loosen the skin and carefully spread half the compound butter. Spread the rest all over the skin. Sprinkle the spice rub all over the top. Pour the broth to the bottom of the roasting pan. Keep aside.

With a brush add the chili barbecue sauce (recipe below) all over the turkey. Roast the turkey glazing every 15 minutes. Roast till internal temperature reaches 158 to 160 degrees F. Take out of the oven and place onto a platter and cover with foil to rest for at least 20 minutes. While the turkey is resting, take the drippings from the bottom of the pan and pour them into a small glass bowl. Let the fat separate, remove from top and pour the liquid into the prepared gravy and bring to a boil. Check for seasonings and heat the gravy through. Serve with the turkey.

Chili Barbecue Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 dried ancho chilies, stems and seeds discarded and cut into ½ inch pieces

1 14 ounces can diced tomatoes with chilies

½ cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

Juice and zest of 3 clementines

1 to 2 teaspoons salt

Heat a medium saucepan with the olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic. Saute on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ancho chilies, tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, zest, juice and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer on a low flame for about 20 minutes. Take off heat and transfer to a blender and blend till a smooth sauce is formed. Check for seasonings and take out into a small bowl.