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.


A blog returns: Butternut Squash Lasagne with Hazelnuts

December 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

Somehow a year and a half jumped away from us. The fact that we moved to Louisiana didn’t necessarily help along with the little bundle of joy that another of us is expecting any time now. Maybe 2017 will be the year one of our bloggers becomes famous for baby food since she already is for horse treats! Anyway we must squeak at least one through for 2016. Though I have a few I’ve been wanting to share.

What makes this the perfect one to share? Well, for starters, it’s pretty darn delicious. Meeting and exceeding my expectations and a great combination of flavors. Equally as relevant for the first entry in 18 months…we had the unexpected pleasure of getting to cook it together during a visit to MN. It was so good I made it again for Christmas Eve dinner a couple months later. I just have this picture before it came out of the oven all nicely browned and gooey. Maybe we have a picture of the first version to add later…img_2559

When I made it the second time, I prepped everything the night before (made the bechamel/cream sauce and the butternut squash mixture) then just assembled it before cooking. Both making it when you want to eat it, and ahead of time worked equally as well.

Recipe from Gourmet, August 2004

The Stuff

For squash filling

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper (I used a little less black pepper the 2nd time)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 cup hazelnuts (4 oz), toasted , loose skins rubbed off with a kitchen towel, and coarsely chopped (toast in an oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes, wrap in a kitchen towel for a few minutes, then rub off the skins)

For sauce

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups milk
  • 1 bay leaf (not California–this is in the original instructions, but I used whatever kind I had)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper (again used a little black pepper once)

For assembling lasagne

  • 1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, coarsely grated (2 cups)
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (3 oz)
  • 12 (7- by 3 1/2-inch) sheets no-boil lasagne (1/2 lb)


The details

Butternut squash filling:

  1. Cook onion in butter in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add squash, garlic, salt, and white pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is just tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, sage, and nuts. Cool filling.
  2. Can make ahead the night before and let sit out to room temp before assembly.

Sauce (make while squash is cooking):

  1. Cook garlic in butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, 1 minute. Whisk in flour and cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Add milk while whisking. Add bay leaf and bring to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 10 minutes. Whisk in salt and pepper and remove from heat. Discard bay leaf.
  2. If making ahead, cover surface of sauce with wax paper and let sit out to room temp before assembly.

Assemble lasagne:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Toss cheeses together. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in a buttered 13- by 9- by 2-inch glass baking dish (or other shallow 3-quart baking dish) and cover with 3 pasta sheets, leaving spaces between sheets. Spread with 2/3 cup sauce and one third of filling, then sprinkle with a heaping 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat layering 2 more times, beginning with pasta sheets and ending with cheese. Top with remaining 3 pasta sheets, remaining sauce, and remaining cheese.
  3. Tightly cover baking dish with buttered foil and bake lasagne in middle of oven 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until golden and bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let lasagne stand 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

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!

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.




Chicken tikka II and *perfect* rice cooker basmati rice

December 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

Sometimes you just NEED a curry, amiright?  This recipe is only slightly adapted from one shared with me by a friend from grad school, and it is fab.  While we’re all fans of the Cook’s Illustrated version,  this one is my new (rediscovered) favorite.  I think the critical difference is the sauce, which requires making an onion puree, which really elevates the flavor of the sauce (my favorite part of the dish, obvs).  I also included a recently discovered, foolproof way to make perfect basmati rice (fluffy, not sticky) in a small rice cooker!

Chicken Tikka Masala II


For the chicken marinade:

  • 1 lb boneless chicken tenders (or slice up a chicken breast)
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt (I use greek)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 2 in fresh ginger, finely chopped (I used jarred stuff, and use 2 tsp)

For the sauce –

  • vegetable oil – couple tablespoons
  • cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup of onion puree (about 1 medium onion, or 2 small onions blitzed in a food processor). NOTE:  if you have a giant onion, by all means puree it, but don’t use more than a cup of the puree.  I made this mistake once and used a mutant onion that yielded 2 cups of onion puree and it totally overwhelmed the taste of the sauce).
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more if you like it spicy)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala (or more if you really like it, like me)
  • 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro


  1. Marinate the chicken in minced garlic, ginger, diced onions, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, garam masala, and yogurt.  Marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight (heard that a few days makes it extra delicious, but who plans that far ahead? I always do overnight.)
  2. Bake marinated chicken at 350° for 20 minutes, turning halfway through.
  3. Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a skillet, enough so the oil covers the bottom of the pan. Add a cinnamon stick and cook until it starts to unfurl.  [I’ve skipped this step before]
  4. Add pureed onion (watch out, there could be splattering).  Cook until the onion turns translucent (about 5 minutes).
  5. Add the fresh cilantro, cumin, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper and turmeric.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add tomato sauce.  Heat until oil and tomatoes separate, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add cream and salt.  When adding the cream, add about a quarter cup at a time.  Stir well and check the color of the sauce. Stop adding cream when the sauce is between a bright orange and peach (or tastes how you want!).  NOTE: The salt helps balance the flavor  of the cayenne pepper.  If you accidentally added too much pepper, try adding a bit more salt to get the blend right.
  7. Simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the baked chicken to the sauce and cook until chicken is cooked, about 10 minutes.  Garnish with more fresh cilantro leaves and serve with perfect basmati rice.

Perfect basmati rice, made in a rice cooker

I used this method for the first time this weekend and it was perfect.  No burned rice, evenly cooked, and more important, fluffy not sticky.

  1. Use a ratio of 1 part basmati rice to 1.5 parts water (I used 2 cups rice, 3 cups water).
  2. Rinse the rise thoroughly – I run it under water for about 30-45 seconds.
  3. Add rice to rice cooker, add water, stir.
  4. Add a swirl of olive oil (perhaps 1-2 tsp?)
  5. Start rice cooker and let it do its thing.
  6. Once rice is cooked, let sit in rice cooker – without touching it – for 10 minutes.  Then fluff with a fork and serve.

‘Tis the season…for PUMPKIN Bread!

October 30, 2013 § 2 Comments

It’s no surprise or new information that I love all things pumpkin spice related (including it’s close relative garam masala), mostly driven by my love of cinnamon. It’s made all the better when actual pumpkin is involved, especially when you can taste the pumpkin. What’s the point of having it in there if it doesn’t taste like pumpkin?

That brings me to the first post that I get to contribute in far too long for no good reason. Perhaps I haven’t found made any new recipes quite as delicious lately, although I say it’s mostly a lazy factor. Anyway. The recipe. I received it from my regular e-mails through ATK, which remind me of all the recipes sitting in my copies of the magazine that I have yet to try but should. This one comes from ATK September 2012. I did decide to add in allspice to the mix, and I do say I’m going to suggest that the spices get bumped up a notch, and so I’m adjusting amounts by putting a range (the upper limit not being directly tested yet. Season according to your taste. I didn’t add nuts because Nick is against nuts in bread/cake products, nor did I add chocolate though I wanted to in at least one of the loaves (I apparently ate all the chocolate in the house already…). Also important note when planning to make this super awesome pumpkin loaf, it makes 2 loaves! It is incredibly moist (and perfectly cooked), and has stayed that way for 3 days, as that’s as long as the 2nd loaf will last. Enjoy!

The stuff


5 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon softened, unsalted butter

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 tsp salt



2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

0-1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar

1 cup packed (7 ounces) light brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 ounces cream cheese (I used light), cut into 12 pieces

4 large eggs

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped fine (optional)

1 cup chocolate chips (optional)


The plan of attack

FOR THE TOPPING: Using fingers, mix all ingredients together in bowl until well combined and topping resembles wet sand; set aside.


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pans.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and baking soda together in bowl.

3. Combine pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until reduced to 11/2 cups, 6 to 8 minutes.

4. Remove pot from heat; stir in granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and cream cheese until combined. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until no visible pieces of cream cheese remain and mixture is homogeneous.

5. Whisk together eggs and buttermilk. Add egg mixture to pumpkin mixture and whisk to combine.

6. Fold flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until combined (some small lumps of flour are OK).

7. Fold walnuts & chocolate into batter if desired.

8. Scrape batter into prepared pans. Sprinkle topping evenly over top of each loaf. Bake until skewer inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes (if using a 9 x 5 loaf pan check at 40 minutes).

9. Let breads cool in pans on wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove breads from pans and let cool for at least 11/2 hours. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Chicken tinga

September 2, 2012 § 1 Comment

My new favorite thing is chipotle paste.  Also, this recipe is my current favorite use of left over roasted chicken – it is really really delicious, and (mostly?) healthy.  I am smitten with it.  Have you ever had the chicken tinga at Masa in downtown Minneapolis?  I think this is just as good, if not better!  It’s got a really nice kick from the chipotle, if you can’t handle spice you may want to add it a teaspoon at a time .

Recipe adapted from Thomasina Miers.

Serves 2 (though I stretched it for 3 servings)


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ large onion, sliced
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • ½ tablespoon brown sugar (do not be tempted to skip this – it’s very important!)
  • A generous pinch of ground allspice
  • A generous pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 big clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tsp chipotle paste (or 1 tablespoon chipotles en adobo, a product I could not find over here)
  • 300-400g leftover chicken from a roast, shredded   (I have never measured this, maybe I should – I’d guess it’s like a cup and a half? )
  • 8 small corn tortillas or 4 larger ones
  • Accompaniments: guacamole, sour cream, cheese (feta or Mexican white cheese), cilantro


  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a pan, and add the onion, salt, pepper, sugar, spices and bay leaf.
  2. Cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes, then add the garlic.  Cook for a further 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and chipotles, and simmer for at least 15 minutes over a low heat – the longer the cooking, the better the taste.
  4. Finally, add the shredded chicken and season to taste.

5.  Serve in a warm bowl at the table accompanied with guacamole, sour cream, cilantro, feta or other cheese (if you can get the Mexican white cheese, perfect!), and tortillas.

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