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.

Samosas (re-creating a long time accompaniment to our tikka dinners)

July 17, 2014 § 1 Comment

So for a dinner gathering, the task at hand was to bring a side dish to go along with curry. I was assuming rice was already included, so I needed to stay away from grain options. Basically at a loss with what to make, I thought of the samosa’s that we used to have, quite a bit ago now, with tikka (i.e. this one that’s still my favorite go to recipe) while watching project runway or just hanging out.

Basically I used an Emeril recipe as a general guide for the filling, the one pictured for how to bake them (because I really didn’t want to mess with oil and frying), and then an epicurious one for the Cilantro Mint Chutney/sauce that was super easy and really did add a nice dimension to the finished product. Though I made tweaks and changed to each bit, so I can say this is my own creation well enough.

I’ve got to say they turned out pretty darn well.

ZA0106_Baked-Samosas-with-Mint-Chutney_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscape(Of course I neglected to take a picture, this one is from the Food Network recipe that I used as a guide for the baking instructions, but not really anything else).

 

The stuff

Samosa filling

2 large russet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2-1 cup frozen peas, left out to thaw

1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil (our oil of choice at the moment) or whatever you want to use–ghee I think would be more traditional and I think you can find it at Trader Joe’s if you feel the need

1/2 cup minced/finely diced onion

2 carrots, chopped into tiny cubes

2-3 teaspoons fresh minced ginger

2-3 minced/grated cloves of garlic

2 minced serrano chile peppers (or your choice pepper)

1 heaping teaspoon of ground coriander

1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons of garam masala (or a little more to taste)

1/2 teaspoon tumeric

1/8 teaspoon cayenne (to taste)

1 teaspoon salt

Either ~2 tablespoons of Chutney (see below) or 1 tablespoons chopped cilantro and 2 teaspoons lemon juice

 

Cilantro-Mint Sauce

2 cups packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

1 cup packed fresh mint

1/2 cup roughly chopped white onion

1/3 cup water

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 teaspoon minced chile (like a bit of a serrano chile), or to taste

1-2 teaspoons of grated ginger (optional, to taste)

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)

 

Crust/dough

1 package of puff pastry dough (e.g. Pepperidge farm) containing 2 sheets) made about 18, though it could make up to 24 I think.

Thawed and rolled out a little bit.

I cut each of the three sections of a sheet into 3 pieces. If you roll out the dough a little bit, then I think you can cut each section into 4 pieces. I don’t think this would be a bad idea as it would possible have a slightly better filling to dough ratio.

This filling probably makes enough to make easily 30-40 (enough to use 3-4 sheets of puff pastry). So I froze the leftover filling to throw in a curry or to make more samosas later.

 

The plan

Filling

1. Boil potatoes until just tender. Drain and set aside.

2. In a large saute pan or skillet and heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots and ginger, and cook, stirring, until starting to caramelize, about 5-8 minutes.

3. Add the garlic, chile peppers, garam masala, salt, turmeric, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds.

4. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring until the potatoes start to color and become dry, about 3-5 minutes. Add the peas and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

5. Remove from the heat and add the chutney or the cilantro and lemon juice. Stir to combine, then adjust the seasoning, to taste. Let sit until cool enough to handle.

6.  Thaw the puff pastry dough and rolled out a little bit. I cut each of the three sections of a sheet into 3 pieces. If you roll out the dough a little bit, then I think you can cut each section into 4 pieces. I don’t think this would be a bad idea as it would possibly have a slightly better filling to dough ratio.

7. You can do lots of fancy things to stuff the samosas so that they look more like traditional ones. I just did a basic thing and made them like a mini-turnover of sorts. Put about a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center. Spread a little water along the edges of the dough and folded it over. Seal using a fork.

8. Arrange the samosas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

9. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and 1 teaspoon water with a fork until thoroughly combined. Brush the tops of the samosas with the egg wash.

10. Bake for 15 minutes at 425, then turn heat down to 375 and bake for 10 more minutes. You can flip them over just before you turn the heat down, if you like. We did and they were nicely golden brown on all sides.

11. Serve warm with the chutney/sauce and eat them up!

The chutney

Puree all of the ingredients, listed. Adjust seasonings. Serve along side the warm samosas.

 

 

Spiced quinoa and garbonzo bean ‘salad’

November 24, 2013 § Leave a comment


This is a great vegetarian side dish (if you use vegetable broth), and also makes a nice pack lunch.

Quinoa salad

RECIPE (serves 4 as a hearty side dish)

Ingredients

  • 1 TBL. Olive Oil
  • 1 sm. onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 & 1/2 tsps. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 3/4 c. quinoa
  • 1 & 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (14 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 c. toasted pine nuts (I have also used pecans or walnuts)
  • 1/2 c. craisins

Directions

1. Stir together the olive oil, onion & garlic in a saucepan over medium heat until the onion has softened & turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the quinoa, curry powder, salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, & chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, & simmer 20 minutes until the quinoa is tender.

2. Once the quinoa has finished cooking, stir in the drained garbanzo beans, toasted pine nuts, & raisins.  Serve warm or cold.

 

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.

Ingredients

  • 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)

Directions

  • 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

Asparagus and goat cheese galette – YUMMY!

September 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

Guys , this was delicious.  Brigid and I made it for our Project Runway night!  I think a critical part of the yum-factor was that I took the time to make dough from scratch.   It was SO GOOD.  It was earthy and sweet.  Sure I made some  alterations from the original recipe, and I will share those with you! It was based super-alot on this recipe, sourced by Miss B: http://www.simplebites.net/asparagus-goat-cheese-galette/

Ingredients:

Crust:
  • 1 1/4 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons frozen unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup ice cold water
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • LEMON zest (YES, Just zest a whole lemon, and put 1/4 of it in the crust and the rest in the cheese mixture.  OK?!)
Filling:
  • 4 oz  goat cheese (chevre), softened
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup grated mozzarella
  • ~ 1.5 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2/3 lb asparagus, maybe even less – whatever will fit
  • lemon zest – like, as much as possible
  • Pine nuts – a sprinkling
Glaze:
  • 1 egg (for an EGG WASH)

Instructions:

1.  Put flour, salt and butter in a food processor (CUISINART) and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal – like 5-10 times.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together yogurt, water,  lemon juice and lemon zest. Pour over flour mixture and use hands or a wooden spoon to form dough into a ball.  You guys, this is the craggiest, dryest dough ever.  Just trust in the dough gods and wrap it all up.  My dough was SO dry I added a bit more water – just enough til it seemed not TOO DRY.   USE YOUR JUDGEMENT.  Then, wrap in plastic and store in freezer for 20 minutes (or fridge for several hours – this is what WE DID).

2.  For filling:

Whisk together 1.5  T olive oil and garlic clove in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the three cheeses and stir in 1-2 teaspoon of the olive oil mixture you just made. Refrigerate cheese mix until ready for use.

Raw galette

Raw galette

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

4.  Roll the chilled dough into a 12-inch circle, trimming edges until smooth. Transfer dough to lined baking sheet. Leaving a 2-inch border, spread the cheese mixture evenly over dough. Arrange asparagus over the cheese then drizzle remaining olive oil mixture over the top.   Sprinkle the heck out of the top with pine nuts.

5. Fold over the edges of dough, pleating to make it fit.  OKAY SURE – you caught us, YES then we grated a bunch of yummy at-hand cheese over the top of all of it.  So sue us.

6.  Whisk  egg . Brush over the crust and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is puffed, asparagus is tender, and crust is golden brown.   YUM!  Let rest for like 5 minutes otherwise YOU’LL REGRET IT! (because cheese etc will drip out everywhere and make a big mess).

Baked galette - divine!

Baked galette – divine!

Yeah.

Basil pesto

August 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Mmm, nothing says ‘summer’ more than piles of fresh basil.  This is so easy to make and tastes so. much. better. than anything that comes in a jar.  Does not compare.  Also – shocker – this version I made last night does not have cheese in it.  I know I know.  Normally my pesto has equal parts nuts and parmesan, but as I went to make this last night I realized with a *gasp* that I was out of parmesan.  How did that happen?  Rather than trek to the grocery store I decided to make it anyway and see what happened – and I must say I think I prefer this cheese-free version!  Look ma, it’s VEGAN! 

Basil pesto without cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 c. fresh basil, washed and dried
  • 1 c nuts.  Pesto is traditionally made with pine nuts, but they’re so expensive I usually use a blend.  This time I used a blend of half pine nuts, half almonds.  Walnuts also work well.
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped (or pressed)
  • Olive oil – I never measure this, I just use enough til it’s a consistency I like.  I would estimate I used 1/3  cup for this batch (I like my pesto thick; if you like it more runny, add more oil).
  • couple grinds of black pepper

Instructions

  • Chuck everything in the food processor, blitz, the end!

(Normally I put the basil, nuts, and garlic in together first and process about 15 seconds.   Then I add the olive oil and pepper and process again until as smooth as I want it, adding more oil if necessary.)

(If you want to make a version with cheese, add in 3/4 cup grated parmesan and 1/4 cup grated romano, and double the amount of olive oil.)

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