Archive for ◊ 2010 ◊

23 Nov 2010 Cranberry-Blueberry Pie

Looking for a last minute new pie for Thanksgiving?  Here it is, Cranberry-Blueberry Pie. I served it to my Dining For Women group last night–with a scoop of Cinnamon Ice Cream.   There were some Mmmms, some moans and some requests for the recipe.  I’d say that the Cranberry-Blueberry Pie passed the taste test with flying colors!

This recipe is based on one from  I read all the comments posted about the recipe and realized I was going to have to change their recipe a bit.  In my recipe the blueberries are cooked only once, not twice.  I also added two chopped Golden Delicious apples to the filling so it had less of a jam consistency/taste and more of a really yummy fruit pie consistency and taste. There’s more spice, more sugar, some freshly squeezed orange juice and grated orange peel in my recipe, too.  I think my version would win the  pie throw down!!

Cranberry Blueberry Pie

  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries (if frozen, no need to thaw)
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • finely grated peel of 1 orange
  • 2 medium Golden Delicious apples, peeled and chopped
  • 16 ounces frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
  • double recipe of pie pastry (or two Pillsbury pie crusts…)
  • 1 tablespoon whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Combine cranberries, sugar, spices, salt and orange juice in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until cranberries pop and then thicken, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Boil 2 more minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove mixture from heat. Stir in orange peel, chopped apple, and blueberries.  Set mixture aside to cool.  (Can be made up to 3 days ahead.  Cover and store in refrigerator until ready to use.)

Preheat oven to 400º.

Line a 9 inch pie pan with pastry.  Spoon filling into lined pie pan.  Cover filling with another pie crust. Trim and decorate.  Brush crust with about 1 tablespoon whipping cream and sprinkle with about a teaspoon of sugar.

Bake in preheated 400º oven for about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool pie on rack.  Let pie stand at room temperature until ready to serve.

Have a great Thanksgiving and thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

23 Nov 2010 Pumpkin Pancakes with Maple Apples

My daughter Hannah has started a new Thanksgiving tradition for our family, and I rather like it.  She invites our neighbors and friends over for Pumpkin Pancakes on Thanksgiving morning.  She suggests they come in their jammies.  (I am not seen in my jammies!  Slippers, yes, jammies, nooooo.) The pancakes are hot by 9 AM, and she keeps making them until about 11.  Some people stay for ten minutes, some for forty, others  for a bit longer than that.  It’s very informal and relaxed.  The parade is on.  There’s a jigsaw puzzle set up.  We serve Pumpkin Pancakes with Maple Apples, Syrup, Sausages, Spicy Sweet Bacon, Pumpkin Roll, and coffee (with pumpkin creamer!).

I must have tried out eight pumpkin pancake recipes.  Some have one egg, others have four for each cup or cup and a half of flour.  Some have buttermilk, some have whole milk, one even had coconut milk.  There’s been every permutation of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and/or pumpkin pie spice.  Some use one-third a cup of pumpkin, some use three-fourths cup of pumpkin.  Some use baking powder, others baking soda, some use both. At the end of the day, I ended up liking our original recipe; the one we had been using before I started this testing nonsense.  My preferred recipe is the only one calling for whipping the egg whites separately from the rest of the batter, and then folding them in.  I think that’s the secret.  Pumpkin pancakes can be a bit stodgy, but folded egg whites keep them light. There has been a benefit to all this testing though, my grandson has a favorite food now, pumpkin pancakes!  He’s not too picky about them,  just so long as he can dip his pieces in real maple syrup.  He’s usually not a big eater, being only in the 17th percentile for weight, but he can eat his way through a man-portion of pumpkin pancakes.

Last week I found this recipe for Maple Apples.  Now I am in heaven.  Please put some warm maple apples on top of my pumpkin pancakes and top that with a bit of whipped cream. (I have a bit of a sweet tooth….)  If you are not into Maple Apples, you might enjoy adding 5 or 6 chocolate chips or blueberries to each pancake.  Add the chips or the blueberries before before flipping the pancake.  If you are into “healthy” pancakes, I have made these with King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat Flour and they have turned out very well.  When I feel up to experimenting again, I am going to play with replacing some of the flour with oatmeal.

Be careful cooking these pancakes, they can easily over brown.  Cook on low-ish heat, but be sure the pan is hot before adding the batter.

The recipe for Pumpkin Pancakes, as well as the recipe for Maple Apples, is from

Pumpkin Pancakes

1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
4 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vegetable oil
Maple syrup

Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl to blend.Whisk milk, pumpkin, egg yolks, melted butter and vanilla in medium bowl to blend well. Add pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients; whisk just until smooth (batter will be thick). Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another medium bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold whites into batter in 2 additions. Brush large nonstick skillet with oil; heat over medium heat. Working in batches, pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls into skillet. Cook until bubbles form on surface of pancakes and bottoms are brown, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing skillet with oil between batches. Serve with syrup. Makes about 12

Maple Syrup Apples

  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 large Golden Delicious apples (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples and 1 tablespoon maple syrup; sauté until apples are tender, about 5 minutes. Mix in remaining 1/2 cup maple syrup and cinnamon.

These would be good the day after Thanksgiving, too.  And for Halloween morning.  Or any time in the Fall. Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today. It’s always fun to see you here!

21 Nov 2010 Cinnamon Ice Cream

I had heard about cinnamon ice cream a year or so ago and was instantly intrigued.  It sounded lovely.  Odd, but lovely, and I had a feeling–foodie intuition, if I may be so bold–that Cinnamon Ice Cream would be the perfect side kick for warm apple, peach and pear pies, crisps and cobblers. It took me awhile to find a recipe because I don’t like eggs in my ice cream.  I like Philadelphia style ice cream; ice cream made with milk, cream, sugar, and flavorings only.  No eggs.  Ever. I finally found this recipe.  It looks like it’s made its rounds!  No wonder it took awhile to get to me. I found it on Erin’s Food Files , who found it in Elizabeth Faulkner’s Demolition Desserts, who saw it on the Martha Stewart Show!

I don’t think this is the right ice cream for an ice cream cone or an ice cream sundae. It’s much too rich, and it’s cinnamon. There are no chocolate chips nor caramel swirls nor candied nuts in this ice cream, just cinnamon.  Who wants that on a cone? So why do I have this ice cream pictured in a sundae glass?  LOL.  Ooops.  Sometimes I really ought to think things through!  BTW,  Ben&Jerry’s does have a Cinnamon Bun ice cream out now, so some folk might think differently than I do.  Some folk might like Cinnamon ice cream plain, in a sundae glass or on a cone.  That being said, this ice cream is magic on warm fruit and nut based desserts.  Magic.

I am pretty sure someone will be shot if there is none of this left for our Thanksgiving pies.  I made a double batch, so that had better be.

Cinnamon Ice Cream

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup Sugar-in-the-Raw (turbinado sugar)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (Grade B if you can find it, the taste is more assertive)
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Kosher salt


Combine the milk, sugar, maple syrup, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture just begins to bubble and sugar has dissolved, 6 to 8 minutes. Add cream, vanilla, and salt; stir to combine.  Pour into a bowl and set aside to cool, stirring occasionally. Cover and transfer to refrigerator to chill thoroughly, at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

Stir mixture briefly; pour into an ice-cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Store ice cream in a covered container in the freezer, at least 1 hour and up to 1 week.

Serve over warm fruit pie, crisp, or cobbler.

GREAT day to stop by my kitchen today!  I think this recipe is going to transform your “This is GREAT!” fall desserts into your “OHMYGOD this is INCREDIBLE!” fall desserts 🙂
Let me know the reactions from your guests!!!

21 Nov 2010 Basil Mashed Potatoes

I hope you are going to the Farmer’s market this weekend.  I was there last week, and there were still large bunches of fresh basil for a dollar. Spend a dollar.  Buy a bunch of fresh basil. Get some potatoes, too (Yukon Golds or white boiling potatoes).  Then try this recipe for Basil Mashed Potatoes. Thank you, Ina!  I found this recipe in Ina Garten’s (The Barefoot Contessa) new cookbook, “How Easy is That?“.

This recipe is for a savory mashed potato side dish.  No gravy needed.  This is a versatile side dish that will pair nicely with any number of main dishes. Serve it with your next meatloaf, roast chicken, pork chop, salmon fillet… Next time I make Shepherd’s Pie, I am going to top it with these potatoes.  Won’t that dress up a casserole that can sometimes be a bit bland? Last week,  I made some rather boring vegetable soup.  It perked right up when I stirred in some leftover Basil Mashed Potatoes. You’ll be amazed with what 2 cups of fresh basil will do to 2 lbs of Yukon Gold potatoes.

Full disclosure: making mashed potatoes can really mess up a kitchen and dirty a lot of dishes.  Basil mashed potatoes dirties one or two more pots than regular mashed potatoes, but you don’t even have to think about making gravy…!

Basil Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 cup fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes or white boiling potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • ¼ to 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper (add to taste)
  • Directions

    1. Fill a small bowl with ice water and set aside.
    2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the basil leaves to the boiling water and cook for exactly 15 seconds.  Remove the basil from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge into the ice water.  Drain the basil and set aside.
    3. Add the peeled and quartered potatoes to the same pot of boiling, salted water.  Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Drain well.
    4. In a small pan over medium high heat, bring the half-and-half and Parmesan cheese to a simmer.
    5. Place the drained basil in a food processor fitted with a metal blade.  Puree the basil, then slowly add the hot half-and-half and Parmesan mixture and process until smooth.
    6. Mash the drained potatoes.  Slowly add the hot basil cream and beat until smooth. TASTE.  Add salt and pepper as needed.
    7. Place mashed potatoes in serving bowl and sprinkle with a little extra grated Parmesan cheese.  Serve hot.

    Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  So glad Ina was here with me!!!

    20 Nov 2010 Turkey Dressing/Stuffing

    Yesterday I went to Costco and Trader Joe’s.  Both places had samples of make-it-from-a-box turkey Dressing/Stuffing.  Did they think the samples would entice people to buy that stuff? What WAS it?  The texture was glue-y…, the taste was…, was…, there was no taste, it was just warm.  It’s no wonder we have a generation of kids who don’t like much more than hamburgers, fries, chicken nuggets, and soda.  If I were served that stuffing, I’d be longing for McDonald’s, too. C’mon, folks. We can do better than that.  I know I am preaching to the choir, but I was so taken aback at how horrible that boxed stuff was that I just can’t keep my mouth shut.

    Here’s my recipe for Dressing/Stuffing for turkey or chicken.  It’s evolved over the years.  Thirty plus of them. I’ve made Thanksgiving dinner for 30 consecutive years.  That’s right.  Thirty years.  No break.  Before that, my Dad used to make the stuffing when I was a kid.  It was always sage and onion.  He boiled the onions, then chopped them, mixed them with breadcrumbs, lots of powdered sage-sometimes too much, cooked turkey liver and pork  sausage, and then used the onion water to moisten the dressing before stuffing it into the bird.  When I was a teenager, my friend’s mother told me her secret, she said to use crackers instead of bread in the stuffing, so I did, and still do, most of the time.  I have tried making this dressing with cornbread too, but it didn’t work out very well.  I had cornbread mush.  It wasn’t very appetizing. One of these days I will try the cornbread again, because it should have worked. I must have done something wrong.

    My recipe is amazingly similar to my friend, Kayte’s, whose mother told me the cracker secret.  Kayte and I have been friends for over 40 years, but we had never compared stuffing recipes until she wrote hers down and shared it with our cookbook club. Kayte’s recipe evolved through the Irish women on her side of the family, mine evolved through English men, we overlapped a bit with the cracker tip, and we basically have the same recipe!  It’s a good one, too!

    This is an old school dressing. Nothing too fancy, but compared to those samples of that boxed stuff, it’s out-of-this-world!

    Advance Prep Tip:  Prepare and saute all  ingredients, then refrigerate (or freeze) until needed.  On Turkey Day, defrost if needed, and then just mix the prepared ingredients with the crushed crackers or toasted bread crumbs, stir in the fresh herbs, moisten with broth and eggs, and bake according to the directions below.

    Turkey Dressing (or Stuffing)

  • 1 1 lb. box saltine crackers with salt (or 1 lb. loaf sourdough bread or 2 baguettes, stale, cut into ¼ inch cubes, and toasted)
  • 2-4 tablespoons butter or  olive oil or vegetable oil, divided use
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • about 3 cups turkey or chicken stock, divided use
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, chopped (not sliced–mushrooms should be about the same size as the onions and celery)
  • 1 lb. pork sausage (Jimmy Dean’s Sage is my preferred sausage)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and grated
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh sage plus 1 teaspoon dried sage (or 1 tablespoon dried sage), or to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • ¼ cup melted butter (or bacon fat), optional
  • Directions

    1. Crush the crackers and set aside.  Hints…you want crushed crackers, not cracker meal. I crush the crackers in their sleeve over a large bowl, and when the package bursts I let them fall into the bowl and use my fingers to crush any larger pieces.  Set crackers aside.  If you are using bread cubes, pour them into the large bowl, and set aside
    2. Heat 1-2 tablespoons butter or oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  When hot, stir in chopped onion and saute until soft, about 8 minutes.  Stir in chopped celery, and saute for another 3 minutes or so.  Add 1 cup of hot stock to pan.  Stir to release any stuck on brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Let simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove mixture from pan and let cool.
    3. To same pan add a bit more oil, and the pork sausage.  Brown sausage over medium high heat and then set aside to drain on paper towels.
    4. Add more oil to hot pan, if necessary, and add chopped mushrooms.  Saute mushrooms until cooked.  Turn off heat and let mushrooms cool slightly.
    5. Add the onion/celery mixture, the drained sausage, the cooked mushrooms, and the grated apple to the cracker crumbs. Toss to combine. Stir in sage, parsley, and pepper. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
    6. In a separate bowl combine the beaten eggs with 2 cups of stock.  Pour this mixture over the crumb, meat, veggie mixture in the large bowl and stir to combine.  If needed, add a bit more stock for mixture to be uniformly moist and clumpy.
    7. Stuff turkey with dressing and bake according to directions on turkey package for your sized turkey OR pour mixture into a 9 x 13 inch pan**see NOTE below!. Drizzle with 1/4 cup melted butter and cover with foil.
    8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes the uncover and bake for an additional 12-20 minutes.  If dressing looks dry, stir and add another 1/2 to 1 cup broth.  When baked dressing should be puffy and have a nicely browned top crust

    **NOTE:  This year I am going to put some of the stuffing mixture into sauteed mushroom caps, and then bake for 20 minutes.  I will use the stuffed mushrooms to make a ring on the serving plate, and then mound additional stuffing in the middle of the plate.  Won’t that look nice?  I expect the stuffing aficionados in the family–that would be all of us!–to go wild over this.

    Enjoy!  Happy Thanksgiving!

    17 Nov 2010 Wild Rice Turkey Soup

    I know you are all busy making your Thanksgiving grocery list, and checking it twice; be SURE you have the ingredients for this soup on the list.  You have to make this with your turkey carcass, have to, have to, have to!  This is the best turkey soup I have ever tasted.  I made no changes to the recipe I found in “The 150 Best American Recipes” cookbook.

    Mmmmm… Homey, rustic, northwoods-y…, which, with a little imagination, might just transport you to a log cabin in the snow, fire blazing, a quilt over your feet, and a good book on your knee.  The soup has wild rice, mushrooms and turmeric, yes, turmeric, which compliment the strong flavor of turkey to make a soup that, according to “The 150 Best American Recipes” is “neither exotic nor bland”.  It’s my favorite after-Thanksgiving treat.  I can’t imagine making any other turkey soup.  It’s just the thing for an-after-Thanksgiving restoration, before the Christmas craziness commences.

    BTW, I like this soup so much I can’t just make it once a year.  When it’s not Thanksgiving, I start with a whole chicken which I boil or roast.  I remove 4 cups of the meat from the chicken, and then proceed as below.

    Wild Rice and Turkey Soup

    For stock

    1 turkey carcass (remove 4 cups of meat from the carcass-set aside for the soup)
    2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
    1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
    1 small onion, coarsely chopped

    Put turkey carcass in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes, remove any foam from the top. Add the celery, carrot, and onion (peels and all). Simmer for at least 90 minutes (I cooked mine for about 3 hours). Strain broth into a large (4-5 qt) bowl. Discard carcass and all veggies (You will need 3½ – 4½ quarts of stock for this soup). If at all possible, refrigerate stock overnight and then remove all the hardened fat from the top of the broth. The next day continue with the directions below…

    For soup

    1½ cups wild rice, rinsed (the book specifies “hand harvested” but I couldn’t find that written on the package I bought from Trader Joe’s)
    ½ cup long grain white rice
    4 T. butter
    2 cups sliced celery
    2 cups sliced carrots
    1 diced onion
    ½ cup sliced green onion
    2 T. chopped fresh dill
    2 bay leaves
    1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
    3 cups sliced mushrooms (8 oz. pkg sliced)
    4 cups diced cooked turkey
    salt and pepper to taste

    Bring 3 ½ quarts of stock to a boil. Stir in rinsed wild rice and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet; add celery, carrots, onion, and green onions and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in dill, bay leaves and turmeric. Turn off heat, and set aside. Add white rice and sauteed veggies to the stock and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir sliced mushrooms and diced turkey into hot soup. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes, or until mushrooms are cooked. Add more broth if the soup gets too thick for your taste (I added the extra 4 cups). Season to taste with salt (I used 2 tsp. Kosher salt) and pepper. This makes a lot of soup. The recipe says the soup freezes well for several months. If you do reheat the soup, it will have thickened and you will need to add more broth or water when reheating.

    You’re going to love this, I just know it!  Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.