Cranberry-Lime Pie: a holiday treat or a new gift to the rotation

January 3, 2017 § Leave a comment

This recipe came out in the November 2016 Bon Appetit at the time when I and likely everyone else are trying to find the perfect new holiday recipe. My family typically only reserves one new spot on the holiday menu for something that may become a new classic. Some end up being part of the typical rotation, some end up on the holiday memory floor. This is one that I think will be repeated again and again throughout the year and not just relegated to the holiday table. I think if I were to make it, say, in the Summer, I’d probably go with just a graham cracker crust or make it in a tart shell instead of the gingerbread crust used here and in the original recipe. Then it’s basically a replacement for Key Lime Pie.

cranberry-lime-pieUnfortunately I didn’t take a picture yet, so the picture here is curtsey of the magazine,
but I’m sure I’ll be able to replace it with a picture of the next version. The original recipe calls for a fussy garnish of half-cooked, candied/sugared fresh cranberries. A sprig of fresh mint with a little piped whipped cream would work really well or a candied lime. If you want to go fancy a meringue topping would be excellent. Serving with whipped cream is a nice counterpoint the tartness, so garnishing with that alone around the edge would work out very well.

The Stuff

Gingersnap crust (use this or your favorite graham cracker or tart shell recipe)*

  • 4 ounces gingersnap cookies
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar

Filling And Assembly

  • 1 12-ounce package fresh (or frozen, thawed) cranberries
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar (divided into 1 cup and 1/2 cup)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice (took me 5-6 limes)
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
  • Whipped cream (for serving)

The Details

  1. For the crust: Preheat oven to 350°. Pulse cookies in a food processor until very finely ground (you should have about 1 cup). Add pecans; pulse until finely ground. Add butter and brown sugar; pulse to combine. Transfer to a deep 9″ pie dish. Using a measuring cup, press firmly onto bottom and up sides of dish. Bake until firm and slightly darkened in color, 10–15 minutes. Let cool.
  2. For the filling: Bring 12 oz. cranberries, 1 cup granulated sugar, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Reduce heat; simmer until cranberries burst and most of the liquid evaporates, 12–15 minutes. Let cool. Purée in a blender until very smooth.
  3. Cook purée, eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest, lime juice, salt, ½ cup sugar, and 1 tsp. lime zest in a double-boiler (heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water with bowl not touching the water), stirring with a rubber spatula and scraping down sides of bowl often, until curd thickens and coats spatula, 8–10 minutes. Let cool until just warm.
  4. Using an electric mixer on medium-high, beat curd, adding butter a piece at a time and incorporating after each addition, until curd looks lighter in color and texture, about 5-8 minutes. Scrape into crust and chill until firm, about 2 hours.
  5. Make and assemble the pie 1-2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.


*For the record, I didn’t make the crust following this recipe, but used the makings for another gingersnap crust. Also didn’t use a deep-dish pie pan, but just a regular one. This led to an extra jar of “cranberry-lime curd,” which was enthusiastically eaten up after it set up with just whipped cream, smeared on cookies, and the like. Really wasn’t an issue getting rid of what didn’t fit in the pie crust.


Lemon Berry Bundt Cake

February 26, 2015 § 3 Comments

I was looking for a cake to make to celebrate February birthdays at work. One request was for something heavier with fruit. My go to was then some kind of fruit tart, but given that Winter isn’t the best time of year for fresh fruit I thought this maybe wasn’t the best idea. 

I stumbled along this recipe from Like Mother Like Daughter and had been wanting to delve back into the world of Bundt cakes for quite some time. I thought this was a perfect opportunity. So I went out and picked up the NordicWare cake pan I had been pining over and made a “practice” version for me and Nick. This, of course, was a mistake because we gobbled it up too quickly and easily. So delicious and really quite straightforward to make. The “real” one made a week later for work was another hit. The cake is bright with lemon flavor has enough fruit and so moist. The caramelized edges take it to the next level. 

The stuff

2 sticks butter (softened to room temp)

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

3 Tbs lemon juice (divided)

zest of 1 lemon

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour plus 3 Tbs

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 tsp of cinnamon (optional and to taste–I think it added a touch of something really nice and warm)

6 oz. plain or lemon Greek yogurt (fat free works)

2 – 2 1/2 cups frozen triple berries (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries – do not thaw) 

1 cup powdered sugar

1 to 2 Tbs milk (as needed for glaze, I preferred when I didn’t use it)

The plan

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Grease/butter and flour a 10 inch bundt cake pan really thoroughly. 
  3. In a medium bowl, sift the 2¼ cup flour, baking soda, salt. Combine with the lemon zest. 
  4. In another medium bowl, cream together the softened butter and 2 cups of sugar until fluffy. 
  5. To the butter and sugar mixture beat in 1 egg at a time. 
  6. Stir in 1 TBS of lemon juice to the butter/sugar/egg mixture. 
  7. Alternate adding the flour with the yogurt to the creamed mixture, stirring to combine in between each addition (don’t over stir). 
  8. Toss the berries in the 3 Tbs of flour to coat. 
  9. Gently stir the berries into the cake batter throughout (my batter was very, very thick). 
  10. Pour the cake batter into bundt cake pan and evenly spread throughout the pan. 
  11. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees, put the cake in and bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
  12. Cool in the pan about 20 minutes on a cooling rack. 
  13. After 20 minutes remove cake from the pan (this may take running a butter knife around the edges) and let cool completely on the rack. 
  14. To make lemon glaze, in a small bowl pour your powdered sugar, add 2 TBS lemon juice and stir – as needed add milk to thin the glaze. I don’t think it should be necessary though. 
  15. Once cake is completely cooled drizzle glaze over the top of it and let the glaze run down the sides. 
  16. Eat it up and enjoy! Cake stays extremely moist for several days (if it lasts that long though, I’ll be surprised). 

Kale salad with cranberry vinaigrette

December 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

Over the course of the month that I spent more time in a plane than in a car due to travels both to see family and flying all over the country for work, I was happy to frivolously spend money on the cooking magazines that I don’t subscribe to (Fine Cooking in this case). Since they don’t really feed you on the plane any more, I just like to look at pretty pictures of delicious meals in hopes that that’ll be satisfying enough. As a bonus, I also discover new dishes to make.

This is one of those that I waited months for the perfect group to test it out, and man was it a huge success. I like a good kale salad, but I had never made one before. I know that kale and kale salads have been the trendy thing for a while now, but I couldn’t resist. This recipe with bright flavorful kale and a cranberry vinaigrette (and who knew writing a food blog would teach me how to spell vinaigrette!) seemed like a perfect and colorful addition to the holiday table.

We all decided that this dressing was really a star on its own and could work with so many different things. I’ll definitely be making this recipe again and again and playing around with different additions and substitutions here and there. I dressed the kale about an hour before we ate; the kale was perfectly tender. The orange provided a nice counter point to the cranberry, and the fresh ginger provided a really nice brightness to the overall dish.

I didn’t have access to a food processor and so chopped the fresh cranberries into small bits, but they were just loosely minced. I’m not convinced that the salad needs the fresh cranberries. Dried cranberries would be too sweet, however, and the dressing doesn’t need any more sweetness. Perhaps mincing frozen ones when fresh can’t be found any more would work, and since you only need a half a cup you can just take a small portion of the frozen ones at a time. That’ll be my next test for sure.


The Stuff

5oz of mature curly kale leaves, trimmed and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup fresh cranberries, rinsed and minced

2 tbs red wine vinegar

1 tbs cranberry juice

1 tbs honey

4 tbs olive oil

1 – 2 tsp freshly grated ginger (add ginger to taste, I liked it closer to 1)

salt and pepper to taste

1 medium navel orange in 1/4-1/2 inch pieces (cut the top and bottom off of the orange, stand it on it’s end and with a paring knife cut off the peal and pith in strips, cut out the orange segments)

The Dressing

1. Whisk the vinegar, cranberry juice and honey in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Whisk in the ginger and minced cranberries. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Toss the kale in the dressing, season with salt and pepper.

3. Let sit for at least 15 minutes but up to an hour and a half. Toss in the orange pieces and eat it up!

A Holiday treat: Herb-crusted Beef Tenderloin

December 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

My mom has always wanted to make a crown roast and so for our post-Christmas family get together we decided we wanted to make a special dish. After quickly figuring out that a crown roast was just typically pork or lamb and that the beef version is a standing rib roast, we decided to shift our plans. We had a good bit of pork already over the holidays and the standing rib roast just didn’t seem to have the appeal of the full crown.

After a quick look around, we quickly settled on this Cook’s Country recipe (slightly adapted) for an herb-crusted beef tenderloin from a local DE butcher. As a bonus, It immediately made me think of team member B, as a trip back to Minneapolis from a family visit to WI could often be accompanied by beef tenderloin since it tends to be cheaper across that border. I, on the other hand, had never cooked this fairly pricey cut of meat and was a little nervous. However this recipe is super easy, no stress, and so tasty. The crisp herb crust with the parmesan was a nice counter to the perfectly tender beef and just added the perfect level of flavor. It really is a great, yet easy, dish for a special meal.


The stuff

1 whole beef tenderloin (4-6 lbs, trimmed, tied–tail under the roast–and patted dry)

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp freshly ground pepper

2 tsp sugar

1/2 cup panko

2 tsp and 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 1/4 cups Grated Parmesan cheese (divided into 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup)

6 tbsp of olive oil (divided into 2 and 4 tbsp)

4 garlic cloves minced (optional if you’re cooking for people who can’t do garlic)

The steps

Make sure to give yourself enough time. The meat needs to sit at room temp for 2 hours prior to going into the oven, cook for ~40-50 minutes), then rest for 20-30 minutes. 

1. Make sure the tenderloin in prepped. The tail tucked under and tied and the roast patted dry.

2. Combine the 1 tbsp of salt, 1 tbsp of pepper and 2 tbsp of sugar in a small bowl. Rub this mixture all over the tenderloin.

3. Transfer tenderloin to a wire rack set over a baking sheet and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

4. While the meat is resting make the 2 rubs. In a small bowl toss the bread crumbs with 2 tsp thyme, 2 tbsp parsley, 1/2 cup parmesan and 2 tbsp oil until thoroughly combined.

5. In a separate bowl mix the remaining 2 tbsp thyme, 6 tbsp parsley, 3/4 cup parmesan, garlic and 4 tbsp of oil until it’s a nice smooth paste (this can be done in a food processor if desired).

6. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and pre-heat to 400 degrees.

7. Roast tenderloin for 20 minutes, remove from the oven. Cut and remove the twine from the roast.

8. Coat tenderloin with the herb paste all over the top and a little on the sides, followed by the bread crumb mixture.

9. Roast until the thickest part registers to 130 degrees (for medium rare) and the topping is golden brown (20-30 minutes). Tent loosely if topping gets too brown before the meat is ready.

10. Make sure to let the roast rest, uncovered on the wire rack for 20-30 minutes.

11. Transfer to cutting board, slice and impress your dinner guests!

Lemon Shaker Pie….the pie that changed my life!

July 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

We discovered this pie at an amazing bakery (Scratch) in Durham, NC. I never knew such a pie existed, and it really is amazing. Tart and sweet and perfectly lemony with a hint of bitterness because it uses the entire lemon. The whole thing.

I looked up many recipes to see how I could possibly replicate such a startling fantastic dish, and I was surprised at how relatively simple it is. However, there are many variations. Some include chopping all the lemons up more finely in a food processor, which may eliminate some textural issues that some may have with the lemon rinds, but I think if they’re sliced finely enough, this isn’t much of an issue, but rather provides a nice little bite.

This recipe is derived from Smitten Kitchen, which is derived from Saveur.

Lemony goodness

The Stuff

2 large lemons, preferably Meyers (I thought my lemons were really tiny so I used 3 1/2)
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
4 tablespons butter, melted
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 egg white
Coarse sugar, for sprinkling

Dough for one double-crust pie (I’m too lazy to make my own, though I think that could make the pie even more delicious)
The Plan

Day 1

1. Clean lemons well and dry (you’re using the whole thing, so they need to be clean).

2. Finely grate lemon zest into a bowl.

3. Using a mandoline or a really sharp knife and good skills, slice lemons as paper thin as you can get them; remove and discard seeds. It may help to freeze them for ~30 minutes prior to slicing.

4. Add slices to zest and toss with sugar and salt.

5. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 24 hours.

Day 2

6. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

7. Fit half of dough into 9-inch (1-quart) pie plate, and trim the edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang.

8. Mix the macerated lemon-sugar mixture with eggs, melted butter and flour until combined well.

9. Pour in to prepared pie shell. Can you believe it’s just that easy once you have the lemons cut?!

10. Place top crust/dough over the filling, fold the overhang under the bottom crust, pressing the edge to seal it, and crimp the edge decoratively.

11. Beat one egg white until frothy and brush over pie crust, then sprinkle with sugar.

12. Cut slits in the crust with a sharp knife, forming steam vents, and bake the pie in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes.

13. Reduce the temperature to 350°F. and bake the pie for 20 to 25 minutes more, or until the crust is golden.

14. Let the pie cool on a rack and serve it at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream. However, we also found that it’s possible even more delicious served cold for breakfast. But serving at room temp appears to be the convention.




A Thanksgiving from the Eastern shore (MD/DE)

November 28, 2013 § 1 Comment

I’ve got the lemon shaker pie, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake (from a much earlier post), spiced cranberry sauce already done. Turkey, brussels sprout salad, green beans, yams with maple streusel, still a work in progress.

Overnight spiced “porridge” with apples and berries was ready for us to start the day.

Enjoy the yummy food!

(Links/recipes updated later)








Baked brie with apples, pecans, and cranberries

October 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

baked brie

Baked brie, right out of the oven!

I got this wonderful recipe from a close friend.  It is a simple, delicious appetizer that is perfect for this time of year when the air is crisp and the leaves start to turn.  And it couldn’t be easier to make – it just needs to be assembled and heated!  Photos courtesy of the lovely Brigid.


  • 8 oz brie  – I used a 7 oz wedge because I couldn’t find an 8 oz wheel
  • 1/2 cup apple diced small, give or take (precision is not necessary here!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (eg, Craisins)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter (or just super soft butter)


  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Combine the apples, pecans, cranberries, cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter
  • Slice the brie in half horizontally (like you’re making a sandwich) and separate the two halves
  • Place one half of the brie on an oven proof plate, cut side up.   Cover with half the apple mixture.
  • Put the top half of the brie sandwich on (rind side up), then cover it with the other half of the apples
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes, basically until the cheese is as gooey as you want it!  Serve with crackers or french bread, or eat with a spoon when no one is looking.
Pre-baked brie, ready for the oven

Pre-baked brie, ready for the oven

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