Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Italian Sausage, Mushroom, and Sage Stuffing

November 15th, 2011 by andrea | 2 Comments | Filed in Casserole, Christmas, Holidays, Recipes, Side Dish, Thanksgiving

Since Thanksgiving is next week, it’s time to get your Turkey Day game plan in order. This recipe for Italian Sausage, Mushroom and Sage Stuffing is fantastic! Loaded with savory and earthy ingredients, it may just upstage the turkey!

For the bread, I used some homemade rustic bread that I’d baked earlier in the week. The hearty bread was a perfect foundation for the stuffing. I also substituted a little dry sherry (about 1/4 cup) and used a little less stock than the recipe called for. The result? A pan of delicious, moist stuffing that’s loaded with tasty ingredients — perfect for your holiday table! Enjoy!   

Italian Sausage, Mushroom and Sage Stuffing
-recipe from The Thanksgiving Table by Diane Morgan

Some are just “ho-hum, nothing-special” stuffings, but not this one. The sausage is key here. Where I live, several local butcher shops make their own savory and richly flavored link sausages and those are what I buy. Look in your area for artisan sausage makers.

Once the sausages have cooked, I sauté the mushrooms in some of the flavorful fat. The browned bits of sausage clinging to the sides of the pan mix with the mushrooms, so that all these tasty morsels go into the stuffing. With the addition of sautéed vegetables and fresh herbs, this is bliss to a stuffing lover.

5 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
10 cups unseasoned dry bread cubes (see Cook’s Note)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound mild Italian sausages
1 pound cremini mushrooms, wiped or brushed clean, stems trimmed, and quartered
1 large yellow onion (about 12 ounces), chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large ribs celery, chopped
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1 teaspoon salt Freshly ground pepper
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat a deep, 9-by-13-inch baking pan with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Place the bread cubes in a very large mixing bowl. In 10-inch sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat, and swirl to coat the pan. Cook the sausages until nicely browned on all sides. Remove and let cool. Drain all but 3 tablespoons of the fat. Add the mushrooms to the pan and sauté, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add to the bread in the bowl.

Return the pan to the heat, and add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Swirl to coat the pan, and add the onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the parsley, thyme, sage, salt, and a few grinds of pepper, and sauté 1 minute longer. Add this mixture to the bread cubes, and stir to combine.

Cut the reserved sausages into ¼-inch rounds and add to the stuffing. Add the beaten eggs and stock to the bowl, and mix well. Place the stuffing in the prepared pan and bake, uncovered, until the top is lightly browned and crusty, about 1 hour.

If you have room in your oven, bake the stuffing while the turkey is roasting. Otherwise, bake it beforehand and reheat it once the turkey is out.

Cook’s Note: Making your own read cubes is a small, easy task with delicious results. There is just no comparison between homemade bread cubes and the cello-packaged ones available in supermarkets. I usually prepare mine a day or two before Thanksgiving. Buy a loaf of artisan or peasant-style bread, trim the crusts, cut the bread into ½-inch cubes, and spread them out on baking sheets. Toast the cubes in a 400ºF oven until just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Cool completely and store in a covered container until ready to use. Artisan bakeries are springing up in every city and town around the country. Check out their breads, and use them for these bread stuffing recipes. However, if you are short on time, the bakeries often sell toasted bread cubes made from their day-old loaves, especially at Thanksgiving time.


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Sagaponak Corn Pudding

August 16th, 2011 by andrea | 7 Comments | Filed in Baking, Casserole, Christmas, Holidays, Recipes, Side Dish, Thanksgiving, Vegetable, Vegetarian

Give me a spoon and a bucket of this stuff and I’m a happy girl. Okay, maybe that’s a little over doing it. I really do love this recipe, though. Corn pudding (if you’ve never had it before) is a savory baked corn dish that is creamier than cornbread but more dense than a custard. Basically, it’s a delicious corn casserole that pairs well with grilled and roasted meats, and would be a great addition to a holiday feast (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July). Many versions use canned cream of corn but we’re using fresh ingredients in this recipe.

I saved myself a little prep work and used Trader Joe’s White Frozen Corn (almost as good as fresh corn) and it worked perfectly. The fresh basil gives the dish wonderful just-out-of-the-garden flavor, and since I had fresh chives, I added some of them to the custard, too.

For the water bath, I set my 2-quart casserole of corn pudding in a larger pyrex baking dish, set it in the oven then poured hot water into the pyrex dish until it was close to halfway up the side of the corn pudding dish. Be very careful when removing the corn pudding from the water bath after it’s finished baking because you don’t want to splash scalding water all over you (it’s best not to be wearing shorts and flipflops for this part of the recipe).

Let the casserole cool for 15-20 minutes after taking it out of the oven to allow it to firm up a bit. Enjoy!

Sagaponack Corn Pudding
-recipe from Barefoot Contessa Family Style by Ina Garten

The basil and extra-sharp cheddar give good flavor without overpowering the delicate corn. If you can’t get fresh corn, use frozen. Makes 8 servings.

Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 45 min

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
5 cups fresh yellow corn kernels cut off the cob (6 to 8 ears)
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
4 extra-large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup (6 ounces) grated extra-sharp cheddar, plus extra to sprinkle on top

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease the inside of an 8 to 10-cup baking dish.

Melt the butter in a very large saute pan and saute the corn and onion over medium-high heat for 4 minutes. Cool slightly.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, and half-and-half in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal and then the ricotta. Add the basil, sugar, salt, and pepper. Add the cooked corn mixture and grated cheddar, and then pour into the baking dish. Sprinkle the top with more grated cheddar.

Place the dish in a larger pan and fill the pan 1/2 way up the sides of the dish with hot tap water. Bake the pudding for 40 to 45 minutes until the top begins to brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm.


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Double-Ginger Pumpkin Tart

July 18th, 2011 by andrea | 5 Comments | Filed in Baking, Christmas, Dessert, Holidays, Recipes, Thanksgiving

The other day, one of my kids was hankering for pumpkin pie…yes, in the middle of July. Since this is the best time to try new holiday recipes (way ahead of time), I obliged his craving. After a quick search, I decided to make a Double-Ginger Pumpkin Tart. This dessert is like a cross between pumpkin cheesecake and pumpkin pie. It’s easy to make, creamy, nicely spiced with cinnamon and ginger, and baked in a cookie crumb crust. The whole family loved it and they’re already requesting that it appear at our Thanksgiving feast.

I’m not a fan of crystallized ginger so I didn’t use any in the tart filling or as a garnish. If you like it, use it. If not, the tart is still great without it. For the filling, be sure and buy plain ol’ pumpkin puree NOT pumpkin pie mix (the pre-sweetened, pre-spiced stuff).

I used graham crackers for the crust because that’s what I had on hand. The tart would also be really good with a  Nilla Wafer crust. Also, I thought the crust’s texture was best on the day the tart was made. It still tasted great on Day 2 and Day 3, but the crust is much softer.

I garnished each piece of pumpkin tart with a pretty swirl of freshly whipped cream from my handy whipped cream dispenser. Enjoy!

Note: Since I already had the food processor out for the cookie crumb crust, I decided to use it for making the filling, too, instead of using a mixer and having more stuff to clean up. However you decide to mix the filling, make sure it’s smooth before pouring it into the cooled crust. 

Double-Ginger Pumpkin Tart
-recipe by Abigail Johnson Dodge / Fine Cooking Magazine

Serves twelve.

Yields one 9-1/2-inch tart.

6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup very firmly packed light  brown sugar
3/4 cup solid-pack pumpkin purée  (not seasoned pumpkin pie filling)
1-1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. table salt
1 large egg yolk
1 large egg
3/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbs. finely chopped crystallized ginger; more for garnish
1 Press-In Cookie Crust baked and cooled (recipe below)
Whipped cream for garnish (optional)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar with a stand mixer or hand-held mixer on medium speed until smooth and lump-free, about 3  min. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, and salt and continue beating until well blended, about 1 min. Add the egg yolk, egg, and vanilla and beat until just incorporated. Sprinkle the chopped crystallized ginger over the batter and stir it in with a rubber spatula.

Use the spatula to scrape the filling into the crust and spread it evenly. Bake the tart until the filling just barely jiggles when the tart pan is nudged, 25  to 30  min. Transfer the tart to a rack and let cool completely. Refrigerate the tart in the pan until chilled and firm, about 3  hours. Garnish with whipped cream and crystallized ginger, if you like.

Press-In Cookie Crust
by Abigail Johnson Dodge

Yields one crust for one 9-1/2-inch tart.

1 cup finely ground cookies (ground in a food processor); choose from one of the following: about 8 whole graham crackers, or 35 vanilla wafers
2 Tbs. granulated sugar
1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Have ready an ungreased 9-1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.

In a medium bowl, mix the cookie crumbs and sugar with a fork until well blended. Drizzle the melted butter over the crumbs and mix with the fork or your fingers until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Put the crumbs in the tart pan and use your hands to spread the crumbs so that they coat the bottom of the pan and start to climb the sides. Use your fingers to pinch and press some of the crumbs around the inside edge of the pan to cover the sides evenly and create a wall a scant 1/4 inch thick. Redistribute the remaining crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan and press firmly to make a compact layer. (I like to use a metal measuring cup with straight sides and a flat base for this task.)

Bake the crust until it smells nutty and fragrant (crusts made with lighter-colored cookies will brown slightly), about 10 min. Set the baked crust on a rack and let cool. The crust can be made up to one day ahead of filling, and stored at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic.

Tip: I prefer Nabisco Honey Maid Grahams and Nilla Vanilla Wafers for these crusts. If you don’t have a food processor, put the cookies in a zip-top bag and crush them with a rolling pin.


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Crazy for Candy Canes

December 22nd, 2010 by andrea | 1 Comment | Filed in Chocolate, Christmas, Dessert, Entertaining Tip, Fun Food Facts, Handy Hints, Holidays, Kid-friendly, Quick Cooking, Recipes, Sauce


If you’ve got lots of candy canes and you’re wondering what to do with them, here’s a few ideas I found at 

The Candy Cane Can
-tips from Martha Stewart Everyday Food and 

More than 1.8 billion of these holiday hooks are made each year. Luckily, candy canes are tasty additions to lots of seasonal treats.

Hot-Cocoa Stirrer: Mix things up in a classic winter drink: Add a candy-cane “spoon.” It melts in the liquid for extra flavor.

Fudge Topper: Make Homemade Holiday Fudge an even sweeter gift with crushed peppermint. This is a great way to use leftover candy canes — simply put them in a zip-top plastic bag and then pound with a kitchen mallet.

Minty Bark: A holiday favorite, Minty Bark gets a cool crunch with peppermints. Blend crushed candy canes into melted white chocolate. Little elves can help break the bark into pieces and pack it in tins for gifts.

Candy-Cane-Chip Ice Cream: Kids love ice cream any time of the year. For a December-style treat, stir crushed peppermints into softened vanilla ice cream and freeze until firm. Serve with more candy on top.

Peppermint Sauce: Stir together equal parts cream and crushed candy canes over medium heat until smooth, then immediately whisk in some white chocolate until melted. Drizzle on brownies for a festive dessert.


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Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic-Cranberry Sauce

December 3rd, 2010 by andrea | 2 Comments | Filed in Christmas, Holidays, Main Dish, Pork, Quick Cooking, Recipes

I love pork tenderloin because it’s difficult to mess up. This recipe for Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic-Cranberry Sauce is a perfect holiday dish because it’s easy, delicious, festive looking, and can easily be doubled or tripled to feed more people. The slightly sweet, slightly savory balsamic-cranberry sauce is a great compliment to the tender roasted pork.

It took longer than 2 minutes to get a good sear on the pork. To save time, you can start the sauce while the pork is browning. For the cranberry sauce, I used some leftover homemade Triple Cranberry Sauce which is lightly flavored with orange…it was perfect with the rosemary, onion and balsamic vinegar in the sauce. You could probably even make the sauce a day ahead to simplify things, then all you’d need to do is roast the pork, heat the sauce, and make a side dish or two. I served the tenderloin with bread stuffing and Green Beans with Caramelized Red Onion and Mushroom Topping.

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic-Cranberry Sauce
-recipe from Bon Appétit Magazine, November 1998

To round out this menu, serve roasted squash, corn muffins and boiled green beans with orange zest. End with vanilla ice cream topped with warm chestnuts in syrup.

Yield: Serves 2, can be doubled

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 8- to 10-ounce pork tenderloin
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
1/3 cup canned whole berry cranberry sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 450°F. Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Sear pork on all sides, about 2 minutes. Place skillet with pork in oven. Roast pork until thermometer inserted into center registers 155°F, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and rosemary; sauté until onion softens, about 3 minutes. Add broth, cranberry sauce and vinegar and whisk until cranberry sauce melts, about 2 minutes.

Transfer pork to work surface. Scrape any juices from large skillet into cranberry mixture. Boil until sauce has reduced enough to coat spoon thickly, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Slice pork and serve with sauce.

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Leftovers: New Mexico Turkey Tortilla Soup

November 24th, 2010 by andrea | 6 Comments | Filed in Christmas, Holidays, Main Dish, Mexican, Recipes, Soup/Stew, Southwestern, Thanksgiving, Turkey

For me, a turkey dinner is nice for one meal (or maybe 2 meals…MAX). What I enjoy even more than the epic turkey feast is turning the leftover turkey into other meals, like enchiladas or soup. This recipe for New Mexico Turkey-Tortilla Soup is not only easy to make, but it’s delicious and a perfect use for the leftover bird.

The dried ancho chile can be found in the Hispanic section of your grocery store…I found mine at Winco. I added 1 teaspoon of ground cumin to the simmering tomato-base soup. Corn would also be a nice addition. The tortilla strips are easy to make and add good flavor but the soup will still be good if you substitute crushed tortilla chips instead…just buy the best, freshest ones you can find.

New Mexico Turkey-Tortilla Soup
-recipe from The New Thanksgiving Table by Diane Morgan

This soup is simply amazing. With a completely different flavor profile than the Thanksgiving meal, it makes a fabulous Thanksgiving leftover. The thick broth is smoky-flavored and deeply rich from the addition of the ancho chile. It’s not spicy hot, just bright tasting. Serve the soup in shallow bowls and pile high the crisp corn tortilla strips for a crunchy garnish. Serves 6.

Canola oil for frying

Six 6-inch corn tortillas, halved and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
1 dried ancho chile, stemmed and seeded
1 white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can (28 ounces) peeled, whole plum tomatoes, drained
4 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups shredded roast turkey
kosher or sea salt
1 large avocado, halved, pitted, flesh scooped out, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) Mexican Queso Fresco cheese, crumbled, or shredded Monterey Jack
1/3 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
lime wedges for serving

Pour the oil into an 8-inch heavy saute pan to a depth of 1/2 inch. Place over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering (350 degrees F on a deep-frying thermometer). In small batches, fry the tortilla strips, stirring them around, for about 1 minute until pale golden. (The oil will stop bubbling once they are crisp.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tortilla strips to a plate lined with paper towels. Reserve the oil.

Meanwhile, soak the chile in a small bowl of hot water for about 10 minutes until softened. Drain. Tear the chile into pieces. Set aside.

In a 6-quart saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the tortilla frying oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes until soft but not browned. Remove from the heat. Transfer the onions and garlic to a blender. Add the chile and the tomatoes. Blend to a smooth puree. Pour the puree back into the saucepan and return to medium heat. Add the stock or broth and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and simmer the soup for 30 minutes. Stir in the shredded turkey. Taste and season with salt.

To serve, divide the avocado and cheese among 6 warmed shallow bowls. Ladle the soup over top and garnish with the tortilla strips and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over the top.

Do Ahead: The soup, without the turkey added, can be made up to 2 days in advance. Reheat gently and add the turkey just before serving.

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Cranberry-Chipotle Fruit Conserve

November 23rd, 2010 by andrea | 2 Comments | Filed in Condiment, Holidays, Quick Cooking, Recipes, Sauce, Southwestern, Thanksgiving

If you’re feeling adventurous, try this flavorful, jewel-like cranberry sauce. It’s delicious, smoky, not-too-spicy, and not-too-sweet.  I love it with roast turkey and chicken! I’ll be serving this Cranberry-Chipotle Fruit Conserve on Thanksgiving, as well as a more traditional cranberry sauce , too. It’s so good I can eat it with a spoon!

I couldn’t find dried peaches so I doubled the dried apricots. The recipe calls for real maple syrup…not the imitation pancake syrup. Use more or less chipotle depending on the level of spice you want. You can start with a little and add more if needed. Enjoy!

Cranberry-Chipotle Fruit Conserve
-recipe from Bon Appétit Magazine, October 2003

Serve with: Roast turkey, ham, or chicken. Combine with: Crackers that have been spread with cream cheese or goat cheese. Use as: A sandwich spread. Makes about 3 cups.

1 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped dried peaches
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
16 ounces fresh cranberries (about 4 cups)
2 1/4 teaspoons chopped canned chipotle chiles*

Combine maple syrup, 1/2 cup water, and vinegar in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Add all dried fruit, garlic, and salt; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add fresh cranberries and chipotle chiles; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until cranberries pop and mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Keep refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

*Chipotle chiles canned in a spicy tomato sauce that is sometimes called adobo are available at Latin American markets, specialty foods stores, and some supermarkets.


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Green Beans with Caramelized Red Onion and Mushroom Topping

November 22nd, 2010 by andrea | 1 Comment | Filed in Christmas, Holidays, Quick Cooking, Recipes, Side Dish, Thanksgiving, Vegetable, Vegetarian

This green bean dish is a far cry from the traditional green bean casserole that we all grew up with. Here, the green beans are crisp tender and topped with a sauteed mushroom and caramelized onion mixture. The combination is excellent and makes a perfect holiday side dish.

If you don’t like mushrooms then skip ‘em and double up on the caramelized onions. The dish will still be great! The caramelized onion and mushroom topping can be made a day ahead of serving…always a bonus for the busy holiday cook! Enjoy!

Green Beans with Caramelized Red Onion and Mushroom Topping
-recipe from Seriously Simple Holidays by Diane Rossen Worthington

Green beans seem to be a family favorite. I like to serve this simple yet flavorful side dish instead of the creamy green bean classic. It is perfect for Thanksgiving dinner since it can be doubled easily and transports well. Advance preparation: Make 1 day ahead through step 1, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat the topping in a skillet before serving. Serves 8 to 10.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds tender green beans, ends removed

In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Saute the mushrooms for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they change color and soften. Remove to a bowl.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Saute the onion for 7 to 10 minutes, or until it is soft and begins to caramelize. Add the vinegar and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat.

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Salt the water, immerse the beans in the boiling water, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until tender but slightly resistant. Drain and place in a serving dish. Toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle evenly with the topping and serve immediately.


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Triple-Cranberry Sauce

November 22nd, 2010 by andrea | 1 Comment | Filed in Christmas, Condiment, Holidays, Quick Cooking, Recipes, Sauce, Thanksgiving

Cranberry sauce is incredibly easy to make. If you’ve never made your own, I encourage you to try it this year. This recipe for Triple-Cranberry Sauce takes just minutes to prepare and is lightly flavored with orange and spice. I’ve made it many times and am always pleased with the results.

I always buy King Kelly Orange Marmalade because it’s not as bitter as other marmalades I’ve tried, and I use freshly grated orange zest instead of minced orange peel (zesting is much easier than mincing the peel). I’ve even used regular cranberry juice cocktail (1 cup) when I couldn’t find the frozen concentrate. Either way, taste the cranberry mixture while it’s simmering and add more sugar, orange zest or allspice to your liking.

If you have leftover cranberry sauce, use it in this recipe for Cranberry-Almond Coffee Cake.

Triple-Cranberry Sauce
-recipe from Bon Appétit Magazine, November 1993

“The Indians and English use them much,” wrote one visitor to New England in 1663, “boyling them with Sugar for Sauce to eat with their Meat, and it is a delicate Sauce.” Although there is little evidence that cranberry sauce was served at the first Thanksgiving, it is assumed that Indians brought it to the feast. This tangy version gets its intense flavor and color from a mixture of fresh and dried cranberries, along with frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate.

Yield: Makes about 2 1/2 cups

1 cup frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, thawed
1/3 cup sugar
1 12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed, drained
1/2 cup dried cranberries (about 2 ounces)
3 tablespoons orange marmalade
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons minced orange peel (I use orange zest)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Combine cranberry juice concentrate and sugar in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add fresh and dried cranberries and cook until dried berries begin to soften and fresh berries begin to pop, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in orange marmalade, orange juice, orange peel and allspice. Cool completely. Cover; chill until cold, about 2 hours. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)


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Cranberry-Orange Muffins

January 4th, 2010 by andrea | No Comments | Filed in Baking, Breakfast, Christmas, Holidays, Muffins

cranberry-orange-muffinLooking for a way to use up some fresh cranberries that didn’t get put to use during the holidays? These orange-scented muffins are delicious, moist and not too sweet.

Since I didn’t have buttermilk, I substituted a mixture of 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup 2% milk. I made 6 muffins as is, then added chocolate chips to the rest of the batter. Both versions were great. Because of the added chocolate chips, I ended up with a total of 14 muffins instead of 12. The Wilton Sparkling Sugar I sprinkled on top of the muffins adds a pretty finishing touch.

Cranberry-Orange Muffins
-recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine

Orange zest brings a sweet complement to the tart fresh cranberries crowding this muffin. Yields 12 muffins.

1-1/2 cups fresh cranberries, picked through and rinsed
9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pan
2 oz. (1/2 cup) cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
5 oz. (10 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature; more for the pan
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/2 tsp. finely grated orange zest (using a rasp-style zester, this is the zest of 1 small orange)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbs. turbinado sugar (such as Sugar In The Raw)

Position a rack near the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Generously butter a standard 12-cup muffin tin, including the top rim, and dust the pan with flour. Tap out any excess.

Using a food processor, coarsely chop the cranberries.

In a medium bowl, mix the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 min. Scrape the bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing for at least 30 seconds at medium speed and scraping the bowl after each addition. Beat in the orange zest and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, briefly beat in one-third of the flour mixture, then add 1/2 cup of the buttermilk; when combined, mix in another one-third of the flour; then mix in the remaining 1/2 cup buttermilk and the orange juice, and finally mix in the rest of the flour. Scrape the bowl and beat the batter just until smooth, another 10 seconds. Using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, fold the cranberries into the batter.

Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin tin (each cup will be quite full). Sprinkle the tops of the muffins generously with the turbinado sugar.

Bake until the tops are golden and a skewer inserted an inch into the top of a muffin comes out clean, 15 to 18 min. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 min. and then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely. These muffins are best eaten the day they’re made.

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