Pot de Crème

Ingredients:
2 cups Heavy Cream
6 Egg Yolks
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate nibs
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
Water for cooking
Whipped Cream for topping

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 325°F
  • In a large bowl beat the Egg Yolks with 1 cup of Heavy Cream, Vanilla, and Sugar.
  • In a double boiler, melt the Chocolate and other 1/2 cup of Cream.
  • Slowly add the Chocolate Mixture to the Egg Yolks and mix well. Do not add all the Chocolate at once, or it may cook the Eggs!
  • Divide the Mixture into 6 Ramekins or similar oven-proof dishes. Traditionally, you could use Espresso Cups.
  • Place the filled Ramekins into a baking dish, and fill the dish with water so that the water comes up about 1 inch around the Ramekins. If you have a baking dish that has a lid, use that. Otherwise, you will need to cover the baking dish with Aluminum Foil.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the custard begins to set, but is still jiggly.
  • Remove and cool, then chill until you serve (at least 1/2 an hour).
  • Garnish with a dollop of Whipped Cream

Makes 6 Ramekin-sized servings, or 8-10 Espresso-sized servings.

NOTES: So I fell in love with this dish when I happened upon it at a French restaurant called Singe Vert in New York. I asked my chef mentor Philippe Fallait about the dish, and he said it was not as hard as people think but also very rich and that I did not want to know how many egg yolks went into it. Well after much trepidation, I finally built up the nerve to look into this dish–and this year I finally made my recipe and executed it. It was a hit with my closest friends (who are very particular and honest)–I was very excited.

So Pot de Creme is not a custard, not a pudding, and not a mousse, but is very similar to all of those. It is creamy and silky smooth, and very rich.

Prickly-Pear Fruit Salad

Ingredients:
4 Prickly-Pear Cactus Fruit
2 Kiwi
1 Mango
1 Orange
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1-2 tsp Granulated Sugar
Dash of Cinnamon
1 tsp Orange Zest
Fresh Mint for Garnish

Directions:

  • Prepare the Fruit.
    • Prickly-Pear Cactus Fruit: Cut off the top and bottom, and cut a line across the flesh lengthwise, about 1 cm deep (at most). Carefully pull the Skin from the magenta flesh. Be careful, as there may still be spines on the skin. Slice in disks or dice into bite-size pieces. Be careful not to make them too small.
    • Kiwi: Peel the skin and then slice into disks. Discard the ends.
    • Mango: Peel the skin, and slice the flesh off the core. Dice the flesh into bite size pieces.
    • Orange: Using a knife, cut away the skin, exposing the orange slices. Use a sharp knife and cut out the segments.
  • In a Bowl, whip the Cream, Sugar, and Cinnamon until peaks form.
  • Plate the Fruit in small bowls, and add a dollop of the Whipped Cream.
  • Add Orange Zest and Mint as a Garnish.

Makes 3 servings.

NOTES: Prickly-Pear Cactus Fruit are also known as “Indian Figs” or tuna in Spanish, and are the fruit of the Opuntia genus of cacti also known as Nopales. They come in a variety of colors, but I like the magenta ones.  The consistency is somewhat like watermelon, and the seeds are edible.  This fruit salad is great especially when chilled in the freezer for 20 minutes before serving (Obviously, you’d not put the Whipped Cream on till after you take it out and plate it).

Chess Pie

Ingredients
1 Pâte Brisée for 9″ shell
1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp Cornmeal
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
5 eggs
2/3 cup Buttermilk

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Cream the Sugars, Butter, Corn Meal, Cinnamon, and Vanilla Extract.
  • Slowly beat in each egg.
  • Finally, beat in the Buttermilk gradually.
  • Roll out your Pâte Brisée to 1/8 inch thick, and big enough for a 9″ pie. Place in pie pan and crimp the edges as you desire.
  • Pour filling into the shell.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until it has set. The edges may brown slightly.

Makes 1 pie.

NOTES: I cannot find any definitive reason why Chess Pie is called so. Some theories say it is because it came to the Americas from Chester, England. Other theories say it comes from a pie chest (or piece of furniture for pies). All I know, is it is very common in the South, and always made with buttermilk! I highly discourage making this with cream or milk, unless you add a little of vinegar.

Apple Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:
2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 tsp Cinnamon, ground
1 tsp Nutmeg, ground
1 tsp Cloves, ground
1 tsp Ginger, ground
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
4 Eggs, beaten
1 cup Applesauce
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 cups Zucchini, shredded
1 cup Apples (Red Delicious), skinned, seeded, diced or shreaded
1 1/2 cups Pecans, chopped

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl, sift together all Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt, and Spices. Set to the side
  • Combine the Eggs, all Sugar, Honey, Maple Syrup, Vanilla, and Apple Sauce in another bowl, and mix well.
  • Slowly incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing well. You may use a mixer for this, as the batter will be fairly thick.
  • Fold in the Apples, Zucchini, and Pecans.
  • Divide the batter into greased loaf pans (9×5).
  • Bake for 55 minutes to an hour, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Please let them cool for 10 minutes before removing them to wire racks to cool further.

NOTES: The first time I had zucchini bread, I was very skeptical. I mean the majority of my zucchini was sauteed with garlic, so the idea of it serving as a sweet stumped me. Still after trying it, this then 8 year old was pleasantly surprised. Zucchini bread can be used as a side item at an Autumn or Winter dinner, or with brunch or tea. I still think it is a great side for Thanksgiving, served warm with dinner, with fresh butter.

Zucchini bread apparently had its hay-day in the 1960s in the US when the idea of using Butter was on the decline, with folks instead wanting to use Oil. I, however think the use of Apple Sauce (something that seemed to happen in the 90s to replace the oil) instead of Vegetable Oil is a better fix. Apple Zucchini Bread is a quick bread, and can easily be modified into muffins, as a result.

Hawaiian Pork Chops

Hawaiian Pork Chops

Ingredients:
4 thick-cut Pork Chops (8-10 oz each)
1 Tbsp Steak Spice Rub
1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup Coconut Rum
1 can Pineapple Chunks
1 Shallot, diced
3 cloves Garlic, sliced horizontal
2 tsp fresh Ginger, minced
1 Bell Pepper, diced
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Granulated Sugar
2 tsp Dijon Mustard

Directions:

  • Rub the Steak Spice Rub on both sides of the chops. Use more Spice Rub if needed.
  • Preheat the Oven to 400°F.
  • Heat a large heavy skillet on high with the Olive Oil.
  • Place the Chops in the skillet and let cook for 2 minutes. Do not move them while they cook.
  • Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Remove to a baking sheet and place in the oven.
  • Deglaze the pan with the Coconut Rum. Be careful, as it will likely flame up.
  • Add the Pineapple and Juice, as well as all the other ingredients to the pan.
  • Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring constantly, and coating the Fruit with the sauce.
  • Remove the Pork Chops from the Oven (if internal temp is at 160°F) and plate.
  • Pour the Sauce and Fruit over the Pork Chops.

Makes 4 chops.

NOTES: It appears that any recipe with Pineapple is called “Hawaiian”–though no specific “style” of cooking seems to accompany it. I prefer a pan sauce, myself.  Though the pan sauce could be used as a glaze poured on pork chops cooked on the grill.

Sangria

Ingredients:
1 bottle Malbec
2 1/2 cups Apple Juice
1/2 cup Brandy
1/4 cup Gin
1/4 cup Vodka
Juice of 1 Orange
Juice of 1 Lemon
4 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
1 Orange, diced
1 Lemon, diced
1 Apple, diced

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher.
  • Stir well and refrigerate

Makes about 8 cups.

NOTES: This Sangria is a strong Sangria with lots of flavor. The first time I had Sangria was oddly in Germany in High School when I was an exchange student. I prefer a good Argentine Malbec wine, though you can use whatever dry red wine you prefer.

Horchata de Arroz – Mexican Rice Milk

Horchata de Arroz

Ingredients:
2 cups long-grain white Rice
3 cups warm Water, for soaking
1/2 cup blanched Almonds, ground
3 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Tbsp Vanilla
1 cup Evaporated Milk
3 cups Cold Water
1/2-3/4 cup granulated Sugar

Directions:

  • Place the Rice, Warm Water, ground Almonds, and Cinnamon in a bowl overnight. For the Almonds, you can use a Food Processor to grind them–doesn’t have to be a fine powder.
  • Remove the Cinnamon Sticks and discard.
  • Pour the mixture into a Blender, and blend for 30 seconds.
  • Strain through a Sieve, Cheesecloth, or Coffee Filters into a pitcher.
  • Add Evaporated Milk, Vanilla, Sugar, and 2-4 cups
  • Using a Whisk, stir well, and adjust the taste with more Sugar if needed.

Makes about 1/2 a gallon.

NOTES: This beverage is a true Meso-American fusion food. It came from Spain where it was made with tigernuts. In the Americas, due to lack of tigernuts, other ingredients were used. Depending on the Latin American country, you will see Rice or various types of seeds used. Most Mexican varieties are made with Rice with Cinnamon–some adding strawberries or Prickly Pear.

Now the Historian in me read that the name comes from Valencia Spain from orxata deriving from the word for Barley. In traditional Meso-American cooking, it looks like a metate (a stone motar tool) would have been used to grind the rice mixture. One day, I want to get a metate and make it that way LOL!

Summer Pudding

Whole-Wheat Summer Pudding

Ingredients:
2 cups Raspberries
2 cups Strawberries, quartered
2 cups Blueberries
1 loaf White Bread, sliced, crusts removed
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp Lemon Zest
1 cup Water
1/4 cup Port
Mint to Garnish

Directions:

  • Line a Pudding Mold, or Large Bowl with plastic wrap.
  • Line the plastic wrap with the slices of bread, overlapping the edges slightly.
  • Place the Berries, Sugar, Zest, Water, and Port in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring.
  • Pour the mixture into the bread bowl.
  • Cover with more slices of bread, sealing the fruit mixture inside.
  • Place a sheet of Wax Paper over this bread lid, and then cover it in plastic wrap.
  • Place a plate that is slightly smaller than the opening of the bowl on top, and place a 5 lb weight on it, pressing the bread top into the berry mixture.
  • Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
  • Remove the top layer of plastic wrap, as well as the wax paper. Place an inverted serving plate on top of the bowl, and then holding them tightly together, invert so the bowl is on top of the plate.
  • Carefully remove the bowl and the plastic wrap from the molded Pudding.

Serves 8.

NOTES: This English Summer Pudding is super simple to make. You can use any variety of berries you are able to get. If you want it less tart, add a little more sweetener. You can use Whole-Wheat bread instead of White bread, however the bread will not change color as evenly.  This goes very well with Whipped Cream.

Variations:
S›Ƨ – Substitute Splenda® for the Sugar and Water for the Port.

Ṽ›Ɣ – Use a Vegan White bread.

Peaches, Strawberries, and Cream

Peaches, Strawberries, and Cream

Ingredients:
2 Peaches, washed
8 Strawberries, cold
1 tsp Granulated Sugar
1 tsp ground Cloves
2 Cups Heavy Cream
1 tsp Confectioners Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Water for Boiling

Directions:

  • Place the Peaches in a Pot, and fill with water enough that they float. Remove the Peaches and set them aside.
  • Bring the water to a boil.
  • Using tongs, drop the peaches into the water, and roll them around for about a minute.
  • Remove the Peaches with tongs, and run them under cold water.
  • The skin of the Peach should easily peal at this point, so peal them, and then chop them into bite-size chunks and place in a large bowl or in serving dishes.
  • Slice the Strawberries in quarters and mix with the Peaches.
  • Sprinkle the Strawberries and Peaches with the Granulated Sugar and Cloves, and refrigerate.
  • In a separate bowl, whip together the Heavy Cream, Confectioners Sugar, and Vanilla until stiff peeks form.
  • Remove the fruit, and cover with the whipped cream and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: This is a very simple summer desert, that is set off by the addition of cloves. If you are not going to serve right away, hold off on making the whipped cream until before serving.

Variations:
Ṽ›Ɣ – Use a Non-Dairy Whipped Topping instead of making your own Whipped Cream.
S›Ƨ – Substitute Splenda® for the Sugar on the Fruit, and omit it from the Whipped Cream–there will not be a noticeable difference with the Whipped Cream.

Creamy Red Coleslaw

Dedicated to The Rev. Tommy S., my Southern brother in Christ and friend in Dorothy, in honor of his recent move.

Creamy Red Coleslaw

Ingredients:
1 head Red Cabbage (about 4 cups shredded, shredded finely
1 large Carrot, shredded
1/4 Yellow Onion, grated
1 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
Juice of 1 Lemon
Juice of 1 Lime
1/4 cup White Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp Sugar (more or less to taste)
1 tsp fresh Ginger, grated
1/4 cup Raisins
2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
1 tsp fresh Chives
1 tsp Steak Spice Rub
Salt and Black Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, combine the Cabbage, Carrots, Ginger, Onion, and Raisins. Toss together.
  • In a gallon-size zipping baggy, combine the Mayonnaise, Dijon Mustard, Chives, Herbes de Provence, Steak Spice Rub, Salt and Pepper, Sugar, Juices, and Vinegar. Seal and mix well.
  • Pour over the top of the Cabbage Mix, and sprinkle with the Sesame Seeds.
  • Fold the mixture together until everything is coated.

NOTES: This is a tangy flavorful Cole Slaw that is very creamy. If you do not have Herbes de Provence, then you can substitute with Parsley, Basil, and a little Oregano and Thyme… just make sure the total amount is similar. This can be saved, sealed, for a week, and will become more flavorful as you go.

Variations:
S›Ƨ – Substitute Splenda® for the Sugar.

Scottish Shortbread Cookies

Whole-Wheat Scottish Shortbreads

Ingredients:
1 cup Granulated Sugar
2 cups Butter
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 300° F.
  • In a large bowl, cream the Sugar and Butter with the Vanilla Extract.
  • Slowly incorporate the Flour a cup at a time. I highly recommend that you break down and use your hands!
  • Knead the dough on a floured surface to ensure that it is well mixed. If dough is too moist and sticky, add more flour.
  • Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Form the dough into a cylinder and place lengthwise on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Roll the cylinder into the shape of the cookie sheet, the dough even with the top of the edge of the baking sheet.
  • Using a pizza slicer, score the top of the dough into bar-shapes, not going too deep.
  • Using a fork, poke each bar-shaped piece with the prongs in the center of each bar, pressing down to the bottom of the pan. You should think about this as a decorative feature for each bar.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until it starts to turn slightly golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven, and while warm cut along the scores made from the pizza slicer, making the individual bars.
  • Let cool in the pan.

Makes about 5 dozen.

NOTES: Scottish Shortbread is a super-simple tasty cookie that is known as the “Jewel in the crown of Scottish Baking”. Originally, this would have been made with Oat Flour instead of Wheat Flour, but that is not regularly available. Scottish Shortbread is ideal with tea, in my humble opinion.

About the cutting. You can also choose to make wedge shaped cookies instead. To do this roll out the dough in a round shape about 1/4″ thick and 10-12″ in diameter on a piece of parchment.  Using an upside-down pie pan or round cake pan as a stencil, trim off the excess dough. Carefully lift the parchment onto a cookie sheet, score into wedges, and poke with a fork for decoration. You would then cut the dough into wedges while it is still warm. You can also make small round, individual cookies on a cookie sheet. These need a little less time to cook, so keep your eyes on them.

Variations:
Traditional Scottish Shortbread – Substitute Oat Four for the All-Purpose Flour.

Whole Wheat Shortbread – Substitute Whole Wheat Flour for 2 1/2 cups of the All-Purpose Flour. The coarseness of the Wheat Flour achieves a similar texture to the Traditional Scottish Shortbread.

Arrabbiata Sauce – Fra Diavolo Sauce

Ingredients:
4-6 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Parsley, chopped fine
2 tsp Oregano, chopped fine
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Yellow Onion, diced
3 cups Tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup Tomato Paste
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Crushed Red Pepper

Directions:

  • Heat the Olive Oil in a Saucepan with the Garlic, Parsley and Oregano on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add the Onion and sauté until near translucent, stirring continually.
  • Add all other ingredients and mix well.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Discard the Bay Leaf before serving.

Makes 3 1/2 cups.

NOTES: The best pasta to use for this is Penne Rigate because it absorbs the sauce well. Arrabbiata is a red sauce that is spiced with Crushed Red Pepper flakes meaning roughly “Angry Sauce” though I’ve been told it has the connotation of “Pissed-Off Sauce”. It is often called Fra Diavolo meaning “Brother of the Devil” in America, though when so called, a protein like Seafood or Chicken is added.

I grew up with Arrabbiata Sauce as my main pasta sauce but it was called Marinara and it was spicy. In reality we were eating Arrabbiata Sauce instead and just didn’t know the name difference. My Italian side of the family is from the Molise region of Italy, in the town of Campobasso.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Buttermilk
1/4 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp Parsley, chopped fine
1 Tbsp Chives, minced
1 tsp Dill chopped fine
2 cloves Garlic, minced fine
1/4 tsp Rosemary, chopped fine
1/4 tsp Granulated Sugar
1/8 tsp Dry Mustard
1/8 tsp Black Pepper
1/8 tsp Salt

Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.

NOTES: You can vary the herbs based on your preferences.

Blue Cheese Dressing

Ingredients:
8 oz Danish Blue Cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup Sour Cream
3 oz Cream Cheese, room temp
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 tsp Chives, minced
1/4 tsp Granulated Sugar
1/8 tsp Garlic Powder
1/8 tsp dry Mustard
1/8 tsp Black Pepper
1/8 tsp Salt

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients into a Food Processor, and Pulse until well blended.

NOTES: I prefer Danish Blue for this dressing, however you could use Stilton, Roquefort, Gorgonzola or some other Blue Cheese of your choice.

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Ginger
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Vegetable Oil
4 Eggs
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 cups Carrots, Shredded
1 cup Raisins
1 cup chopped Pecans
2-3 cups Cream Cheese Frosting
Pecans for decoration

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt, Sugar, Brown Sugar, and Spices.
  • Slowly incorporate the Eggs, Vegetable Oil, and Vanilla Extract.
  • Mix in the Carrots, Raisins, and Pecans.
  • Grease 2 8″ round cake pans and coat with flour.
  • Divide the Batter between the two pans.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Remove from the pans and cool on a rack.
  • Place one cake on a plate or cake plate, and spread frosting on the top.
  • Place the second cake on top and frost the top.
  • Carefully add frosting to the side and rotate the plate to spread the frosting along the sides.
  • Decorate the top with Pecans. If you prefer you can crush the Pecans and place along the sides of the Cake.

Makes 1 cake

Apple and Pecan Pie

Ingredients:
Pecan Pâte Brisée, divided in 2 disks
6 cups Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, sliced
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 cup chopped Pecans
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground Ginger
1/4 tsp ground Nutmeg
2 Tbsp Butter, cold and cut into pieces.
1 Egg yolk
1 tsp Water
8-12 Pecan Halves for decorating

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 425° F
  • In a large bowl toss the Apples, Lemon Juice, chopped Pecans, Sugars, Flour, Salt, and Spices, coating the Apples well.
  • On a very clean, floured surface, roll out 1 of the disks of Pâte Brisée into a circle about 10″ for a 9″ Pie Pan.
  • Placing your rolling pin mid way across the crust, fold back half of the crust over the rolling pin, so as to utilize the rolling pin to move the crust over the Pie pan. Unroll and gently fit into the Pie pan. It is ok for crusts to hang over the sides.
  • Place the Apple mixture into the pie crust and dollop with the pieces of Butter
  • Repeat the rolling and placement with the second disk of Pâte Brisée, this time placing over the apple mixture in the Pie Pan.
  • Press along the edges of the two crusts to seal the dough.
  • Using a knife, trim the excess dough.
  • You may crimp the crust as you see fit.
  • Cut slits in the top of crust to allow for steam to escape.
  • Decorate with the Pecan Halves
  • In a small bowl, beat the Egg Yolk with the water.
  • Brush the Egg mixture over the crust.
  • Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to 350° F and cook for an additional 40 minutes.

NOTES: If you fear the crust may burn, after the first 15 minutes, wrap aluminum foil around the edges.

Thumb Print Shortbread Cookies

Thumb Print Shortbread Cookies (variety of fillings)

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups Butter, room temperature
2 cups Sugar
2 Egg Yolks
1 tsp Vanilla
2 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Salt

Fillings of choice:
Jam, Chocolate kisses, Candied Fruit

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl cream the Butter and Sugar.
  • Slowly incorporate the Vanilla and Egg Yolks.
  • Add the flour 1 cup at a time to the wet ingredients. As you near the final installment, the dough can be mixed with your hands.
  • Cover with Plastic and place in Fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Remove and roll into small balls (about 1″ in diameter).
  • Place on prepared cookie sheet and indent a pocket in the middle with your thumb (or finger if your thumb is too big).
  • Place your filling in the indentation. If you are filling with chocolate kisses, you can press the ball down with the kiss rather than your thumb. The dough may break a little as you press it down, this is ok.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the bottoms start to brown.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

NOTES: Traditionally, these treats have jam in them as a filling. If you use jam, please keep in mind it will be much hotter than the cookie when it comes out of the oven.

Fruitcake

Dedicated to my Mom and to Lucile F. Locher Mishler “Mum”, her maternal grandmother.

Traditional Fruitcake

Ingredients:
2 cups mixed Dried Fruits, minced
1 cup Rum
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Ginger
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
5 Eggs
3 Tbsp Canola Oil
1/4 cup Rum
1 Tbsp Lemon Zest
1 Tbsp Orange Zest
1/2 cup Pecans, chopped
1 cup Pecans, whole
1 cup Candied Red Cherries
1 cup Candied Green Cherries
1 cup Candied Pineapple

Directions:

  • Soak the minced Dried Fruits in 1 cup of Rum overnight.
  • Preheat the Oven to 300°F.
  • Sift together the Flour, Baking Powder, Salt, and Spices into a large bowl.
  • In a second bowl cream the Eggs with the Sugars.
  • Whisk in the Olive Oil and 1/4 cup Dark Rum.
  • Slowly incorporate into the Flour mixture.
  • Fold in the Dried Fruits, Zest, and 1/2 cup of crushed Pecans.
  • Grease a bunt pan well.
  • Pour mixture into the bunt pan, and lightly tap it against the counter.
  • Decorate with the Candied Fruits and whole Pecans.
  • Bake on the middle rack for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in it comes out clean.

NOTES: Fruitcake has always been one of my favorite deserts.  My mom tells me about how when she grew up her grandmother “Mum” used to make Fruitcake in early fall, and stick it in cheesecloth a tin.  Every couple weeks she’d pour Port on top of it.  By Christmas it was amazing.  I’m still nervous about keeping a cake in a tin and pouring alcohol on it for over a month…so here’s my version with a less pungent Rum.

Mixed Dried Fruit can include Cranberries, Raisins, Dates, Figs, Apricots, Apples, Pears, Pruns, etc.

Sweetened Creamed Corn

Ingredients:
8 cobs of Corn (about 4 cups of Corn)
2 Tbsp Butter
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt

Directions:

  • Prepare the Corn: If using cobs, remove husk and silk, and boil for about 7 minutes. Use a chef’s knife to cut off one end of each cob, forming a flat edge. Place the corn flat side down, standing up on a plate. Use your chef’s knife and slice down parallel to the cob and remove the corn kernels. Rotate and repeat until the kernels are on the plate. Use the back of the knife perpendicular to the cob and slide down scrapping off any excess corn. Place in a bowl, and repeat for each cob.
  • In a skillet, combine the Butter, Corn, Cream, Nutmeg, Sugar, and Salt.
  • Stirring constantly, heat for 7-10 minutes, allowing the cream to thicken. Depending on your skillet, the time may vary.

Serves 4.

NOTES: If you opt from using fresh Corn, do not use can, but instead get frozen corn. Before using it, thaw it out, and place in a large zipping storage bag, then crush it with a rolling pin, to break the Corn up.

Variations:
Creamed Corn (savory)
Cobb Creamed Corn

Ṽ›Ɣ – Substitute Margarine for the Butter. Use unsweetened Soy Milk for the Heavy Cream, but whisk in 2 Tbsp Corn Starch before adding to the Skillet.

Glögg – Gløgg

Ingredients:AlcoholicVeganNut Alergy Warning
1 bottle of Merlot
1 bottle of Port
2 cup Brandy
1/2 – 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar (inversely to wine quality)
2 medium sized Orange, sliced horizontally
4 Cinnamon Sticks
12 whole Cloves
3 Allspice Pods
2 Cardamom Pod
3/4 cup blanched Almonds
1/2 cup Raisins
5 dried Figs, quartered

Directions:

  • In a large Saucepan, heat the Wines, Brandy, and Sugar on low-medium heat until Sugar is dissolved. Never allow to boil.
  • Add the Orange, Spices, Almonds, and Fruits and let steep on low heat for 1 hour.
  • Serve Warm, strained.

Serves 12

NOTES: This is a Scandinavian Mulled Wine, originating in Sweden, and was a traditional drink of King Gustav I of Sweden and was called “glödgad vin”.  The distinct nature of this version of mulled wine is the use of Almonds and dried Fruits.

Variations:
English Mulled Wine
Finnish Glögi – Substitute Vodka for 1/2 or all of the Brandy.
Glühwein

Glühwein

Ingredients:AlcoholicVegan
1 bottle of Merlot (750mL)
1 cup Brandy
1/2 – 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar (inversely to wine quality)
1 medium sized Orange, sliced horizontally
2 Cinnamon Sticks
6-8 whole Cloves
2 Allspice Pods
1 Cardamom Pod

Use similar proportions for each additional bottle of wine.

Directions:

  • In a large Saucepan, heat the Wine, Brandy, and Sugar on low-medium heat until Sugar is disolved. Never allow to boil.
  • Add the Orange, and Spices, and let steep on low heat for 1 hour.
  • Serve Warm.

Serves 6

NOTES: Glühwein is a German Mulled Wine. If you do not have Merlot, you can use a Burgundy or Franconian red wine–what you’re looking for a is a wine that will hold up to the sugar and brandy and not loose flavor. With regards to the quality of wine, I would not use the expensive stuff because with all the flavors, you’re not just tasting wine–conversely do not use the cheapest wine either. If you have a crock pot, you can add all the ingredients and let it slow cook to perfection.

The big thing to think about is how sweet or spicy you want your wine to be–the amounts above are just suggestions.

Variations:
English Mulled Wine
Glögi
(Finnish Mulled Wine)
Glögg/Gløgg (Swedish/Danish Mulled Wine)

Published in: on November 6, 2009 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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Modern Eggnog

Ingredients:AlcoholicSugar Free VariationVegetarian
4 cups Milk
2 Tbsp Nutmeg, ground
1 Tbsp Cinnamon, ground
2 tsp Cloves, ground
12 Eggs yolks
1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
4 cups Heavy Cream
1 cups Rum (optional)
1 cup Brandy (optional)

Directions:

  • In a saucepan, heat the Milk, Cinnamon, Cloves, and Nutmeg on medium heat. You want it to near boiling, but not scald or boil.
  • As the Milk nears boiling, remove it from the heat, and set to the side.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the Egg yolks, Sugar and Vanilla Extract until buttery and thick.
  • Temper the Milk and Eggs by pouring a little of the Milk into the Yolks, whisking. This raises the temperature of the Eggs high enough that it can be poured into the rest of the Milk without cooking the egg.
  • So, in following take the tempered mixture and add it to the Milk mixture in the Saucepan, and return it to medium heat.
  • As it cooks, the mixture will thicken like custard or an ice-cream base. When you can stick a spoon in it and it completely coats the spoon, remove from the heat.
  • This constitutes the Eggnog base. Pour into a pitcher and refrigerate for at least two hours.
  • When ready to serve, stir in the Heavy Cream and alcohol.
  • Eggnog is ready to serve, but the longer it cools, the better.

NOTES: Eggnog is originally from England, and was an upper-class drink in the holiday times, dairy and eggs not being readily accessible to lower-class people. There are several theories as to where the name “eggnog” came from. The one that makes the most sense to me is that there was a wooden cup used for alcoholic beverages that in Middle English was called a “noggin”. An Egg Noggin would be an alcoholic beverage with an obvious egg component. The second is that the name came from the Americas. The theory is that as the American colonies developed, there was regular access to dairy and eggs, however not for Brandy so people used Rum, which sometimes was called Grog…the idea being Egg’n’grog which was shortened to Eggnog. The second one seems more contrived to me and doesn’t answer what the drink was called before then.

Because this mixture is cooked, it is safe to drink it without alcohol–in fact I prefer it this way.

This is called “Modern Eggnog” to differentiate its cooking from the uncooked Traditional Eggnog, which is more like what was traditionally done.  In addition, the substitution of Rum, an American variation, takes the flavors from the older Bourbon that was used.

With regards to alcohol, really you can play with some of your favorites, Rum, Bourbon, Brandy, Cognac, and even Sherry…I do not recommend Vodka or Gin.

Variations
Tom & Jerry
Traditional Eggnog

S›Ƨ – Substitute Splenda® for the Sugar, and omit the Alcohol completely.

Traditional Eggnog

Ingredients:Undercooked WarningAlcoholicVegetarian
12 Eggs, separated
4 cups Milk
4 cups Heavy Cream
1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 cups Bourbon
1 cup Brandy
2 Tbsp Nutmeg
1 Tbsp Cinnamon

Directions:

  • In a large bowl beat together the Egg Yolks and Sugar until thick and buttery.
  • Slowly incorporate the Bourbon and Brandy into the Egg Yolk Mixture, continuing to mix. This constitutes the Eggnog base, and can be refrigerated until before your plan on serving it. (At least 1 hour is advised)
  • About 30 mins before you serve the Eggnog, remove the Base from the fridge.
  • Mix in the Milk, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg.
  • In a second bowl, whip the Heavy Cream until stiff peeks form; set to the side.
  • In a third bowl, whip the Egg Whites until stiff peeks form.
  • Carefully incorporate the Egg Whites into the Eggnog Base by folding the mixture in.
  • Repeat with the Heavy Cream into the Eggnog Base, again folding into the mixture.
  • Eggnog is ready to serve.

NOTES: Eggnog is originally from England, and was an upper-class drink in the holiday times, dairy and eggs not being readily accessible to lower-class people. There are several theories as to where the name “eggnog” came from. The one that makes the most sense to me is that there was a wooden cup used for alcoholic beverages that in Middle English was called a “noggin”. An Egg Noggin would be an alcoholic beverage with an obvious egg component. The second is that the name came from the Americas. The theory is that as the American colonies developed, there was regular access to dairy and eggs, however not for Brandy so people used Rum, which sometimes was called Grog…the idea being Egg’n’grog which was shortened to Eggnog. The second one seems more contrived to me and doesn’t answer what the drink was called before then.

It should also be noted that the eggs in this recipe have not been cooked, and although there is a large presence of alcohol, there is a small chance of bacteria like salmonella.

Variations
Modern Eggnog
Tom & Jerry

Caramel Butterscotch Sauce

Caramel  Butterscotch SauceCaramel Butterscotch Sauce

Ingredients:Vegetarian
1 cup Granulated Sugar
2 Tbsp Water
1 tsp Corn Syrup
1 Tbsp Butter
4 Tbsp Heavy Cream
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Butterscotch Morsels

Directions:

  • In a deep sauce pan or saucier pan, Whisk the Sugar, Water, and Corn Syrup. Heat on medium heat.
  • As this heats up, keep in mind it will get VERY hot – like 265°F. You cannot leave this unattended, and you must be very careful.
  • Whisk as it heats up.
  • The Sugar dissolves in the Water and is mixed with the Corn Syrup preventing crystallization. As it cooks, there will be several stages to watch for.
    1. Large bubbles: This means that you are nearing the creation of caramel–just keep whisking.
    2. Small bubbles: You are getting even closer, and you should start seeing a caramel color.
    3. No bubbles: This means the caramel is cooked. Time to remove from the heat
  • When the caramel reaches the “No Bubbles” stage, CAREFULLY add the Heavy Cream. There will be steam, and it will be very hot, so be very careful.
  • Remove from the heat and add the Vanilla, Butter, and Morsels, stirring constantly. The mixture is still very hot.
  • Caramel Glaze is ready

You can use this as a Dip or a Sauce to cover deserts.

Spiced Apples with Cranberries

Ingredients:Vegan VariationVegetarian
8 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup Butter
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Cornstarch
1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Rum
Directions:

 

  • In a bowl combine the Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cornstarch, and Butter.
  • Place the compound Butter into a skillet and heat on medium heat.
  • Add the Apples, and saute, about 5 minutes.
  • Add all remaining ingredients, and stir.
  • Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for about 10 minutes.

NOTES: My mom used to make Spiced Apples with me when we lived in Ohio. We had an apple tree outback.

Variations:
Ṽ›Ɣ – Substitute Margarine for the Butter.