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Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Orange Cranberry Scones

 This flavor combination would fit well during the holidays, but because the cranberries are dried, you can enjoy these scones any time. 



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Orange Cranberry Scones

Slightly adapted from https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1023483-cranberry-orange-scones
Yields 9 scones


1 medium orange
1/4 c granulated sugar
2 1/4 c flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 teas fine salt
1/2 c unsalted butter, cold
1 c dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1/2 c buttermilk, cold
1/2 c cream, cold

for the glaze: 
1 c powdered sugar
4-6 teas orange juice (fresh from the zested orange is nice)
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Zest the orange. In a large bowl, use your fingers to mix the zest and the 1/4 c sugar together. Add the remainder of the dry ingredients and combine with a whisk. 

Grate the cold butter using a box cheese grater, then stir into the flour. Stir in the cranberries. Make a well in the center, and pour in the buttermilk and cream. Gently stir with a fork until the mixture creates a shaggy dough. 

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, and pat into a 1-inch thick rectangle. Fold the dough in half, then pat it into another rectangle. Repeat the fold one more time, then pat the dough into a 7-inch square about 1-inch thick. Cut the dough into 9 pieces. 

Transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then brush the tops of the scones with some additional cream and sprinkle with a bit more granulated sugar. Bake until golden brown, 18-22 minutes. 

Make the glaze by mixing the powdered sugar with 4 teas orange juice and a pinch of salt. Add more juice until the glaze is a thick but pourable consistency. Let the scones cool for about 15 minutes before drizzling the glaze on.  


Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Sloppy Joes

"Mom, these are so much better than the sloppy joes at school."



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Simple Sloppy Joes

Adapted from https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/4203-sloppy-joes
Serves 12, with small appetites; my family of 6 with big appetites might have some leftovers

2 8-oz cans tomato sauce
1 c ketchup
3 T Worcestershire sauce
2 teas prepared yellow mustard
1 teas dry mustard
2 teas molasses
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
hamburger buns

Prepare the sauce: Combine the tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire, mustards, molasses, and garlic in a saucepan. Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer over low heat while the meat is cooking. 

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Place a paper towel or two inside a colander; then pour the meat into the colander, letting the fat drain. 

Cook the onion in the same skillet until the onion is translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add the sauce and the meat, then heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste the sauce and adjust salt and pepper if needed. 

Toast the buns under a broiler, then fill and enjoy! 

The filling freezes well, for a make-ahead meal.


 

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Sunchoke and Sausage Soup

I adapted this recipe from one I found on multiple internet sites. I'm not sure who to credit. I saw one post that claimed the soup was an attempt to copy a dish served at Vermillion Restaurant in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.





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Sunchoke and Sausage Soup

Serves 6

4 slices bacon, diced (it can be pork or turkey bacon)
1 pd sausage, turkey or Italian (if you have links, remove the sausage from the casings)
1 pd sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) peeled, halved and cut into 1/2-in slices
6 small white potatoes, peeled and halved 
3 stalks celery, diced
1/2 large onion
1 leek, white and light green parts, chopped
3 c fresh spinach or swiss chard, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 c chopped parsley
2 T chopped fresh basil
2 T chopped fresh oregano
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/4-1/2 teas sweet paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 c water

Cook the bacon and sausage, onion, celery, leek in a large saucepan or Dutch oven until the bacon and sausage are browned and the onion and celery are softened. Add the sunchokes and potatoes and pour in the stock. Stir in the parsley, basil, oregano, cayenne, paprika, and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, covered. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook slowly for 30 minutes.

Put the flour and the water in a small bowl or container and stir vigorously until no lumps remain. Pour into the soup and continue simmering, covered for 10 minutes. Stir in the spinach (or chard) and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until the broth is thickened and the greens have wilted. 

Notes:

I harvest sunchokes when garden herbs have frozen. I have used dried oregano and basil as a substitute and it is still good. 

Consider brightening with lemon juice or a bit of wine vinegar.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Salmon with Rhubarb Sauce

This dish seems more spring like, but because you can buy frozen rhubarb, it can be served any time. 





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Salmon with Rhubarb Sauce


Source: Ellie Krieger
Serves 4

1 T olive oil
2 medium shallots, diced
1 1/2 inch piece ginger root, minced
8 oz rhubarb (red is the prettiest, but green tastes just as good), diced
1/4 c orange juice
1/2 c white wine
2-3 T honey
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 teas salt
1/8 teas freshly ground black pepper
4 6-oz salmon fillets, skinless if you prefer
1/3 c fresh basil leaves

Add shallots to heated olive oil in a 10-inch skillet or a medium saucepan. Cook until softened and add the ginger, cooking for about 30 seconds. Pour in the juice and wine; bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the liquids have reduced by half and stir in the rhubarb. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer all until the sauce is thicker and the rhubarb has softened. Stir in the honey, cayenne and half of the salt. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of water to loosen it a little.

In the meantime, heat up a skillet or a grill pan to cook the salmon. Heat to medium high and spray with cooking spray. Season the salmon with the remaining salt and pepper. Place the fillets in the skillet and cook for a total of 10 minutes per inch of thickness, flipping once, after the top has browned.

Cut the basil into ribbons and when the salmon is done, stir it into the sauce, except for a couple small portions for a garnish. Place about a quarter cup of sauce onto a serving plate and top with a salmon fillet and the garnishing basil.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Lemon Bread

I used to go to cookie exchanges when I lived in Marquette, Michigan, so long ago. I picked up this recipe one year and baked it many holiday seasons.




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Lemon Bread


For my high altitude (almost 5000 ft) I made the following adjustments:

have eggs at room temp
subtract 1 1/2 T sugar
add 1 T lemon juice with milk
use half buttermilk and milk
add 1 1/2 T flour

Yields one 8X4 loaf pan

1/2 c butter, softened
1 1/4 c sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 T grated lemon peel
1/2 teas lemon extract
1/2 c milk
1 1/2 c flour
1 teas baking powder
1/4 teas salt
1/2 c chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted

Prepare loaf pan by greasing and flouring it well. 

Combine butter and sugar and mix well. Add eggs, lemon peel, extract, and milk. Add flour, baking powder and salt, stirring just until moistened. Fold in nuts. Pour into loaf pan  Bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan and remove. Allow to cool on a rack. Serve with with Cherry Cheese Spread.

Cherry Cheese Spread

6 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 T chopped maraschino cherries
3-4 teas maraschino cherry juice.

Notes:

I used about a third wheat flour, in this instance kamut.

In the above photo, the cream cheese was mixed with frozen raspberries. I like it both ways, although the maraschino cherries make for a sweeter spread.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Wild Rice and Mushroom Dressing

 



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Wild Rice and Mushroom Dressing


Source: Bon Appetit
Serves 10

1 c pecans
2 c wild rice
salt to taste
1/4 c red wine vinegar
2 T orange juice, preferably fresh
2 T honey
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large leeks, white and pale green parts, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
12 oz mushrooms, torn or cut into large pieces (a variety is nice)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 teas chopped thyme
1/3 c chives, optional

Toast pecans until somewhat darkened and fragrant. My favorite way to do this is in a microwave for a minute (that works in mine; test yours the first time you use this technique). Cool and chop coarsely.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the wild rice until most of the grains have split and all are tender. Drain and run under cool water. Allow to cool in a colander and return to the pot.

In the meantime, place the vinegar, orange juice, and honey in a small jar and shake vigorously until combined. Add the crushed garlic and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the garlic clove. Add to the rice and toss until coated.

In a large skillet over medium heat, start 1/4 c olive oil. Place the leeks in the warm oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are slightly browned and tender. Stir in some salt and add to the rice and stir. 

Wipe out the skillet and heat another quarter cup of oil over medium high heat until the oil begins to shimmer and comes close to smoking. Spread the mushrooms in the skillet in a single layer and cook without disturbing until the bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and turn and keep cooking until brown all over. Reduce heat if needed and toss often. Mix in the thyme and add to the rice. Stir in the pecans and the chives, if using.

Serve at room temperature or reheat briefly if you prefer it warm. The dressing can sit on the counter (covered) for about 3 hours on the day it is served.

Components can be prepared ahead if needed and combined on the day you plan to serve. I stored the rice, leeks and mushrooms, and orange juice dressing separately in the fridge and combined just before serving.  

Tomato and Pomegranate Salad

I feel lucky that I still have some cherry tomatoes and pomegranates from my garden. But both are available from the grocery store, as are the herbs, so you don't have to wait until summer.





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Tomato and Pomegranate Salad


Source: Yotam Ottolenghi on NYTimes Cooking
serves 6

2 pints mixed small or cherry tomatoes, of varying colors if possible
2 teas za'atar spice mix 
3 1/2 T olive oil
1/2 yellow or red bell, pepper, seeds removed and very thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1/3 c loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn (optional if you can't find it)
1/3 c loosely packed fresh mint leaves, torn (optional if you can't find it)
1 1/2 teas freshly squeezed lemon juice
sea salt, as needed
3 1/2 oz of feta cheese, crumbled

Cut the tomatoes in half  and place in a salad bowl. Mix the spice mix with half of the olive oil and set aside.

Add the pomegranate arils, sliced pepper and onion, herbs, lemon juice to the tomatoes. Stir and then add the remaining olive oil and some salt. Mix the salad gently and sprinkle it with the cheese. Spoon the za'atar mixture over the salad just before serving.

Note: If you absolutely can't get your hands on fresh herbs, use some dried versions. If you don't have any basil or mint, you can substitute oregano but use about one third as much, or to taste.