Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Nutcracker Cake

With all the craziness of the holidays and so many other goodies out there. I just couldn't seem to get this cake for the Cake Slice Bakers done by the 20th. I finally got around to baking it on the 24th, but we have been so full that I didn't frost it until two days after Christmas. I took in a lot of comments from others about the cake being dry and soaked the rum syrup in after the cake cooled. I then wrapped the cake in plastic wrap and let in sit in a cool place until we ate it. It definately was not dry. I have to say I was not as crazy about this particular cake as I was about some of the others in this book. I feel like it needed more flavor, maybe more chocolate. I am really looking forward to the next edition of the Cake Slice Bakers, I have a feeling the next one is going to be really good...

Monday, December 29, 2008

100th Post

Can it be? My blog turns 100 today. That seems like some sort of milestone. It doesn't seem all that long ago that the cranes were still at Creamer's Field and we were having a reception at my office to celebrate the season. It was at this celebration that I first tasted the Chocolate Peanut Butter cake that started it all. It was a short message and a blog link for the recipe that launched me into the world of food blogs. Then I found that even other people in Alaska had food blogs. I had been sitting on the Arctic Garden Studio blog for a long time with absolutely no posts and no direction.  I started my blog at the height of harvest season here in Fairbanks and creativity in cooking is at its best. Then I joined Molly's Jammin' Jelly Exchange and I was completely hooked. 
I feel like I am still working through exactly what I would like this blog to look like. I know that I would like to incorporate more Fairbanks art and garden posts. I would like this page to be a local resource along with a page those outside Alaska come to for a glimpse of life in Alaska. 
David has been very patient with the blog process, but he is beginning to wonder if we will ever eat the same thing twice again! 
I have some new ideas in the coming year and hope that you all keep reading. Thanks to all the other folks on my blogroll for the inspiration. Here's to the next 100...

Christmas Day!

Last year we took this same walk on Christmas day and found a fully decorated tree on the musher's trail. We decided to see if someone had done the same this year...

David and Brody were skijouring while I walked behind (and ran ahead to take photos). 

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Lemon Madness


I was debating whether to call this post lemon goodness or lemon madness. After spending the whole afternoon making lemon curd, lemon pudding cakes, and lemon bars I decided on the latter. Aren't normal people supposed to be done baking for the year! Isn't it time to put away our baking pans and pull out our woks in favor of New Year's resolutions and diet plans? Well, not at this house. There were meyer lemons to be used up, so just a few more baked goods. I'll probably take the lemon bars to work. Maybe I'll whip up some scones on New Year's Day for that lemon curd. Then, I promised David we will "try" to eat more healthy for a few months anyway!!


Lemon Pudding Cakes
from Food and Wine

INGREDIENTS
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup skim milk
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
Fresh raspberries or blackberries, for serving

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray six 6-ounce ramekins with vegetable oil spray. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar with the flour. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the butter until well blended. Whisk in the milk, lemon juice and lemon zest. Pour the lemon mixture into the sugar mixture and whisk until smooth.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until firm peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the lemon mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins and transfer them to a small roasting pan. Place the pan in the oven and pour in enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake the pudding cakes for 35 minutes or until they are puffy and golden on top. Using tongs, transfer the ramekins to a rack to cool for 20 minutes. Serve the cakes in the ramekins or run a knife around the edge of each cake and unmold onto plates. Serve warm or at room temperature with the berries.

MAKE AHEAD
The lemon pudding cakes can be refrigerated for 2 days.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Shrimp, Chicken, and Andouille Gumbo

The first time I made this recipe I nearly burned David's apartment down! Well, it only appeared that way from the thick cloud of black smoke billowing out of the kitchen. It really wasn't nearly as terrible as it looked, or smelled. No flames, just smoke. I swear! In any case this eventually ended up being one of our favorite meals. I have made it several times since with no incident. Let me tell you if this is your first time making a roux, take it easy. Despite what they say, you can start the heat a little lower, it will just take longer and that is much better than billowing black smoke! The first time I made this recipe it was also my first time making a roux and I had no idea what I was doing. So I made the mistake of following the directions and once the oil started smoking just slightly I dumped in the flour and poof, instant black smoke! That poor pot was never the same after that incident and we fondly referred to it as the blackening pan after that. 
Now, when I make this recipe I start the heat just barely above medium. I also have never made more than half the recipe. I use the recipe more for the basic ingredients than the actual instructions. This is however a simple recipe to feed a crowd, the original says it serves 24. Even when I half the recipe we still have enough for three meals for the two of us. It is great (if not better) the next day, so I don't mind. The first time I made this I couldn't find any white rice at the grocery store and ended up buying a package of saffron rice and just dumping it in the pot. It turned out really well and I still make it that way. 

Shrimp, Chicken, and Andouille Gumbo
from Bon Appetit
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all purpose flour
6 large onions, chopped (about 12 cups)
6 red bell peppers, seeded, chopped (about 7 cups)
8 celery stalks, chopped (about 3 cups)
16 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chopped fresh thyme
6 bay leaves
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes with juice
4 8-ounce bottles clam juice
4 cups low-salt chicken broth
4 pounds andouille sausage, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
3 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 16-ounce packages sliced frozen okra

4 pounds peeled deveined medium shrimp
Minced fresh Italian parsley
Steamed rice

Heat oil in heavy 13-quart pot over medium-high heat until very hot and almost smoking. Add flour and stir constantly until mixture is dark reddish brown, about 5 minutes. Add chopped onions, chopped bell peppers, and chopped celery and cook until onions are soft and brown, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and cayenne and stir 2 minutes. Add wine, thyme, and bay leaves; bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes with juice, clam juice, broth, sausage, and chicken; simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Add okra and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Do ahead Gumbo base can be made 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Bring base to simmer before continuing.
Add shrimp to pot and cook shrimp until just opaque in center, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Season gumbo to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with minced parsley and serve with steamed rice alongside.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Cinnamon Rolls

I first saw this recipe in Bon Appetite last year. It was right before David's birthday. I was thinking about making them for David on his birthday morning which also happened to be a weekday last year. I once brought David a cinnamon roll 3,000 miles on a plane with me. This is how much he likes them. 
I had always been afraid of cinnamon rolls. Although I have used yeast in bread and pizza dough, it always felt complicated with cinnamon rolls. All the recipes took hours to prepare, how could one have cinnamon rolls for breakfast when it was a four hour process? Even this recipe although fairly straightforward it still seemed like an awful long time to wait in the morning. I had put it on the backburner, but a few weeks later as I was scanning the Bon Appetite website I came across the recipe again and started reading the reviews. They were all very good, but the one that had me sold was one of the readers recommended refrigerating them after you slice them and put them in the pan, then just pull them out and bake them for 20 minutes the next morning. This is the fourth time I have made these cinnamon rolls this way. Instead of using two pans I just toss them all in a 9 x 13 inch pan.
 Just like the article said, they really are fool proof although this batch might have been the best yet. I am tempted to add a little wheat flour and maybe some nuts to the recipe next time. I'll be honest David likes these much more than I do. They are a little too Cinnabon like for me, but if you are a fan of Cinnabon, these are definately the cinnamon rolls for you.

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze
from Bon Appetit
Yield: Makes 18 servings

Dough:
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast (from 2 envelopes yeast)
1 teaspoon salt
Nonstick vegetable oil spray

Filling:
3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

Glaze:
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Dough:
Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to 120°F to 130°F, 30 to 45 seconds. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add 21/2 cups flour. Beat on low until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. Form into ball.
Lightly oil large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

For filling:
Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.
Punch down dough. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to 15x11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter. Starting at 1 long side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with thin sharp knife into 18 equal slices (each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide).
Spray two 9-inch square glass baking dishes with nonstick spray. Divide rolls between baking dishes, arranging cut side up (there will be almost no space between rolls). Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack. Cool 10 minutes. Turn rolls right side up.
For glaze:
Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Spread glaze on rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cookies for Santa- Snickerdoodles


All week as we prepared for Christmas I was thinking that we would need to go to bed early tonight as we live so close to North Pole certainly we would be the first stop on Santa's list. I even told David that I did not feel guilty asking for big heavy presents as Santa would not need to carry them very far. This afternoon as I read Siri's blog looking for her Snickerdoodle recipe I realized that it would already be Christmas morning in Norway long before we go to bed. This means that we will be lucky if Santa gets to our house by the time we put the coffee on tomorrow morning! Well I hope he at least makes a quick trip by his place before he brings all my big heavy presents. Well, if Santa gets here before the cinnamon rolls are done in the morning there will be a plate of snickerdoodles and some egg nog waiting for him.
Merry Christmas to all of you around the world! *Update: A recent check of the Norad Santa Checker confirms my early comments, Santa does indeed start his journey in Russia and ends in Alaska (North Pole).

Snickerdoodles
from Transplanted Baker
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cup sifted flour
2 t. cream of tarter
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 t. sugar + 2 t. cinnamon for rolling

1. Mix the shortening, butter, sugar, and eggs together thoroughly.
2. Sift together the rest of the ingredients.
3. Mix the wet and dry and ingredients, then chill.
4. Roll dough into balls the size of walnuts.
5. Roll in the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
6. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 12 minutes, or until browned.
WATCH OUT FOR BURNING! THEY WILL BE SOFT AND LOOK NOT QUITE DONE-
DON’T LET THEM GO TOO LONG.
7. Eat while still warm with cocoa, milk, or coffee while watching It’s A Wonderful Life.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

The other night as I sat lamenting having not made my Nutcracker Cake on time for the Cake Slice Bakers David accused me of trying to keep up with the Joneses. In this case the Joneses being my fellow food bloggers. I actually thought I was doing the opposite by not making a cake that nobody would eat or worse the two of us would eat by ourselves! I actually find one of the benefits of food blogging is checking out all the recipes that everyone else is making. It is like having your own personal test kitchen.
As I sat drooling over my fellow bakers Nutcracker Cakes I decided to see what the other Joneses were up to for the holidays. I recently found Pennies on a Platter and this recipe for Candy Cane Biscotti which completely drew me in.
They had many links to Culinary in the Desert where I found this Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge recipe.
When the Joneses are making fudge that looks this good how can you help but want to keep up? I couldn't resist...
Two Toned Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge
from Culinary in the Desert

1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 7 ounce jar marshmallow cream
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line an 8" X 8" pan with foil.

In 2 separate heat-safe medium bowls, place 1 cup peanut butter chips in one and chocolate chips in the other

In a heavy 3 quart sauce pan, combine sugar, marshmallow creme, evaporated milk and butter.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils; boil and stir 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and quickly stir in vanilla.

Working safely, but quickly, stir one-half of the hot mixture into peanut butter
chips and the other half into the chocolate chips. Stir the peanut butter mixture until
fully melted and quickly pour into prepared pan.

Stir the chocolate chips mixture until fully melted and carefully spread over top of peanut butter layer.

Let sit at room temperature until completely cool. Cut into small squares.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter Squash Burritos with Goat Cheese

Although they are not too pretty in pictures, these burritos were really tasty. They are not at all spicy. They should probably be thought of as a wrap rather than a burrito. I actually used fresh spinach and roasted Delicata and Kabocha squash instead of frozen. If you are like David who puts hot sauce on everything, you will need two bottles (as he did) for these burritos. I enjoyed the mild combination of flavors. 


Ingredients
Serves 4.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, such as safflower
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 package (10 ounces) frozen cooked winter squash, thawed
2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 package (10 ounces) frozen leaf spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 flour tortillas (10-inch)
5 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup store-bought salsa, plus more for serving

Directions
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion, garlic, and cumin; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
Add squash, and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in beans and spinach. Cook until warmed through, 4 to 6 minutes; season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
Stack tortillas, and wrap in a double layer of damp paper towels; microwave until hot, about 2 minutes. Place tortillas on a work surface. Spoon goat cheese, then salsa in a line down center of each tortilla.
Spoon bean mixture on top of salsa. Fold side of tortilla closest to you over filling, then fold right and left sides in toward center; tightly roll up burrito. Cut burritos in half, and serve with more salsa.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Solstice


View from our deck at 11:30 AM.


Morning coffee.




Ready to play! Notice the new orange booties.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

These really are my favorite Christmas cookie. I spent many years searching for the perfect Mexican Wedding cookies. I wanted that perfect blend of texture and flavor. I wasted many hours messsing with cookies that called for granulated sugar. Some too much spice, some not enough. I often make these when I have an event where I need a lot of cookies. We have another holiday event at work and 100 cookies will hopefully do the trick. You can always half the recipe or make the cookies bigger if you don't need so many. I just purchased a wonderful cookie scoop from King Arthur Flour to make the job much easier.

Mexican Wedding Cookies
2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar plus additional for dusting
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 cups flour
½ tsp. salt1
½ cups pecans finely chopped
Preheat oven to 400F. Cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla. Sift flour, cinnamon, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture one cup at a time. Add pecans and mix well. Roll 1 tsp at a time into balls and place 1/2” apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes until just barely brown. Let sit for a few minutes before removing from cookie sheet. While warm, dust with powdered sugar. Yield approximately 100 cookies.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Italian Pot Pies

I really enjoyed the flavor and the crust on this recipe. Would definately use the bisquit like crust in the future on other pot pies. Next time I would add a few more veggies to this one. This was a good start for future adaptations.
Italian Pot Pies
from Everyday Food

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound ground beef sirloin, thawed if frozen
2 cups homemade or best-quality store-bought tomato sauce
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup whole milk

Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with rack in lowest position. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion and carrots; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add beef, and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce; bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat mixture has thickened, 8 to 10 minutes; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, Parmesan, baking powder, rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; make a well in center, and add butter and milk. Stir just until dough comes together.
Spoon meat mixture into four 8-ounce ramekins; mound dough on top. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet; bake until topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in topping comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Quick Black Bean Soup

This soup made a great weeknight meal with cornbread. I liked the flavor with the lime juice, but it needed to be a little thicker. Possibly adding more beans would have helped. I just saw another recipe for a very similar soup in Fine Cooking that had four cans of beans and sweet potatoes. I might try that one next time.

Quick Black Bean Soup
from Everyday Food
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Cooking spray
1/4 cup (2 ounces) finely chopped reduced-fat ham (such as Hormel)

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large saucepan. Add 1 1/2 cans beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Place bean mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Return soup to pan. Add remaining 1/2 can of beans to pan; cook 2 minutes. Stir in juice; set aside.
2. Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add ham to pan; cook 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Ladle 1 cup soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon ham.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Meyer Lemon and Dried Blueberry Scones

If you have been reading for a while you will know that I am the quest to find the perfect scone. Many have fallen by the wayside and although it is not my perfect scone, it is the one I keep coming back to when I want a really good scone. Just because this is not an exact replica of the Black Cat scones in Ashland, Wisconsin does not mean it is not good. I have made these at least a dozen times and David once said they were the best scones he has ever eaten. Whenever I find meyer lemons in my kitchen these are always at the top of the "to bake" list.

Meyer Lemon and Dried Blueberry Scones
from Bon Appetit
3 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup (11/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups dried wild blueberries (about 10 ounces)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated Meyer lemon peel or regular lemon peel

Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk self-rising flour and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl. Using fingertips, rub in chilled butter until pieces are size of small peas. Add dried wild blueberries and toss to coat. Mix 1 cup buttermilk and finely grated lemon peel in glass measuring cup. Pour buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients and stir until dough begins to form (some of flour will not be incorporated). Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and gather together. Knead dough briefly, about 5 turns. Divide dough in half. Form each dough half into ball and flatten into 1-inch-thick disk. Cut each disk into 6 wedges.
Transfer scones to prepared baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. Brush tops with remaining 1 tablespoon buttermilk and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until scones are golden brown on top and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Twice Baked Chipotle Potatoes

When I first read this recipe in Cooking Light I thought it was for Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes. I don't think I ever got over that fact. I was hoping for a twice baked potato that tasted like those super good Mashed Chipotle Sweet Potatoes with Maple Syrup that I made for Thanksgiving. Don't get me wrong, these were really good and they came from Cooking Light, so all that cheese and bacon must be good for you right? We had them with BBQ Chicken and Green Beans. It was a nice meal, but next time I will use sweet potatoes for sure and maybe a little maple syrup!


from Cooking Light
Ingredients
6 medium baking potatoes (about 3 pounds)
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded extrasharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 tablespoons finely chopped chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon salt
4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled (drained)
Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Pierce potatoes with a fork. Bake potatoes at 450° for 50 minutes or until done; cool slightly. Cut each potato in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick shell. Combine potato pulp, milk, 3/4 cup cheese and remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Spoon potato mixture evenly into 10 shells; discarding remaining 2 shells. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese evenly over potatoes. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Stuffed Turkey Rolls with Cranberry Glaze


This is a great weeknight recipe as it is quick and fairly easy to throw together. I actually roasted the cutlets in the oven rather than cook them in a skillet. I also used fresh wild cranberries from our freezer stash rather than canned cranberry sauce.

Stuffed Turkey Rolls with Cranberry Glaze
from Cooking Light
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup diced peeled apple
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon dried sage1 cup dry seasoned stuffing mix
8 (2-ounce) turkey cutlets
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
1 cup canned whole cranberry sauce
1/4 cup orange juice
1. Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add apple, onion, and garlic to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add broth and sage to pan; bring to a boil. Stir in stuffing mix. Remove from heat; set aside.
2. Place each turkey cutlet between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Spread 1/4 cup stuffing mixture evenly over each cutlet, leaving a 1/2-inch border around edges. Roll up jelly-roll fashion; secure each roll with wooden picks. Sprinkle rolls evenly with salt and pepper.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add rolls to pan; sauté 3 minutes on each side. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 10 minutes or until done.
4. Combine cranberry sauce and juice in a saucepan; bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Serve with rolls.Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 turkey rolls and about 1/4 cup sauce)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Princess Marshmallows


So why are these princess marshmallows? I thought you would never ask. Well, they have princess emulsion instead of vanilla extract. Where does one find princess emulsion? King Arthur, of course!

Since moving to Alaska I seem to order a lot of items online. I was in the market for some espresso powder and gelatin sheets. I needed gelatin sheets to make marshmallows, something I have always wanted to try. We always get scammed on shipping here in Alaska. It always drives me crazy when I pay an extra $10 for shipping and then the items come in a flat rate priority mail box! So when I went to check out I was told I could order an extra $7 worth of stuff and not pay any more in shipping, it sounded appealing. Under this little notice they had listed some items I could get for under $7 and one of them happened to be Princess Bakery Emulsion. The description sounded interested and being a sucker for a good deal I added it to my cart. What would I do with Princess emulsion?
As I was digging around in my cupboards looking for the gelatin sheets I came across the princess extract and just the thought of Princess Marshmallows sounded fun. I couldn't resist. So, here they are. The recipe comes from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. I highly recommend this cookbook, it really is amazing. These marshmallows are really good and I can't ever imagine buying store bought again. I see they have chocolate ones on their website, chocolate marshmallows in hot chocolate, can you imagine?
I'm sure they would be just as good with vanilla. If you ever come across princess extract it has a lovely spice/citrus flavor that kind of tastes like marshmallows!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Meyer Lemon Butter Cookies


This recipe has been updated. Sorry for the inconvenience, but please click here for Meyer Lemon Butter Cookies recipe and new photos.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Persimmon Blondies


Just as I am figuring them out, persimmon season is coming to and end. I made these persimmon blondies from Vanilla Garlic last night. I have been meaning to make them for weeks. They were sooooo good. I love the light subtle flavor and unlike my Persimmon Spice Cake, I think I can actually taste the persimmon in these ones. When persimmons are out of season I may try and make these with mango as well. These really are good, did I mention that?

Persimmon Blondies
from Vanilla Garlic
Ingredients
1/2 cup of butter, melted
1 cup of tightly packed dark brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of allspice
1 cup of persimmon puree from (1 large hachiya persimmon)
Method
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour an 8X8 pan. Whisk together the melted butter and sugar in a bowl.
2 Add the egg and vanilla extract and whisk.
3 Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt, mix it all together.
4 Place the pulp from the hachiya persimmon into a food processor and puree. Add to the blondie mixture and whisk very well.
4 Pour into the pan and spread evenly. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool. Cut into squares and serve.
Makes 9 blondies.
Check out the cute little potholder I bought at the green holiday sale last weekend. Melissa over at Friends of Creamer's Field sells them. I am always checking out her crane ones as well. I just couldn't resist the little pigs.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Ok, so maybe it is not pretty or photogenic. This lasagna was really good. When I told David we were having squash lasagna a look of worry came over his face remembering a recent squash, pear, and sunchoke lasagna disaster. This one came from the Culinate site and it turned out much better. I substituted spinach for the kale and tofu for the ricotta cheese.


Butternut Squash Lasagna
from Culinate

Ingredients
1medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 to 2Tbsp. olive oil
½lb. Italian sausage (pork or chicken)
¼cup butter
2small onions, chopped
3cups crimini mushrooms, sliced
~Salt and pepper
1bunch chard, stems removed, leaves chopped
1tsp. dried thyme
2lb. ricotta cheese
3 to 4cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
2cups Parmesan cheese, grated
4large eggs, beaten
~Extra-virgin olive oil
1package (9 ounces) no-boil lasagne noodles (or 3 sheets fresh pasta; see Note)
Steps
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spread squash in a single layer on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, tossing squash with your fingers to coat. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, turning once, until tender and golden brown. Set aside. Turn oven down to 350 degrees.
Meanwhile, brown sausage in a large skillet; when cooked, remove to a large bowl. Melt butter in same pan, add onions, and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue to cook until tender, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper, and remove to bowl with sausage. Add chard to skillet with dried thyme and cook just until chard is wilted. Remove to bowl with sausage and mushrooms. Toss together.
In a medium-size bowl, mix together ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella, 1½ cups Parmesan cheese, and eggs. Season with salt and pepper.
Brush a 13-inch-by-9-inch baking dish with olive oil. Spread 1 cup ricotta mixture over bottom. Arrange 3 noodles on top (or 1 sheet). In the following order, layer the remaining ingredients: 1½ cup ricotta mixture, one-half of the squash, one-half of the sausage/mushroom/chard mixture, one-half of the (remaining) mozzarella. Place 3 dried noodles on top, and again layer the ingredients: ricotta, squash, mushrooms mixture, mozzarella. For the final layer, top with 3 noodles, spread with remaining ricotta mixture, and sprinkle ½ cup Parmesan cheese over the top. Cover with oiled foil.
Bake lasagne, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cranberry Streusel Shortbread Bars


This has been a very busy week for me. Things really start to ramp up at work with all the holiday sales and events. We are having a big Green Holiday Sale today at the Alaska Bird Observatory. Other conservation organizations joining us for the big day are: Friends of Creamer's Field, Calypso Farm, Arctic Audubon, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, and Greenstar Alaska. If you are in town you should definately stop by, we are open from 10:30am until 5:30 pm. Friends of Creamers field is having their annual tree lighting as well. It will be a busy day. If you stop by you can try one of my Cranberry Streusel Shortbread Bars (the actual ones in this photo). There should be lots of other goodies along with hot drinks. And for all of you not in Fairbanks here is the recipe:

Cranberry Streusel Shortbread Bars
from Fine Cooking
For the crust and streusel:
10-1/2 oz. (1 cup plus 5 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to just warm
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. table salt
2 large egg yolks14-1/4 oz.
(3 cups plus 3 Tbs.) unbleached all-purpose flour
For the cranberry topping:
12-oz. bag fresh or frozen cranberries, picked over, rinsed, and drained
1 cup granulated sugar


Make the crust:
Line a straight-sided 13x9-inch metal baking pan with foil, letting the ends create an overhanging edge for easy removal. In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and the salt. Whisk in the egg yolks. Stir in the flour to make a stiff dough. Transfer about 2 cups of the dough to the prepared pan, and press the mixture evenly into the bottom. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Refrigerate the pan for 30 minutes (or freeze for 5 to 7 minutes), until the dough is firm.
Meanwhile, position a rack near the center of the oven and another near the top. Heat the oven to 325°F.
Bake the dough until the crust begins to set but does not brown at all on the edges (the center will not be firm yet), about 20 minutes. While the crust bakes, prepare the streusel and the topping.
Make the streusel:
With your fingers, combine the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar with the reserved dough until crumbly. The mixture should hold together when pressed, but readily break into smaller pieces.
Make the cranberry topping:
In a medium saucepan, bring the cranberries, sugar, and 1/4 cup water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium high and continue to boil until the liquid is reduced to a thick syrup, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool 5 to 10 minutes—the syrup will continue to thicken as the mixture cools.
Spread the cranberry mixture evenly over the hot crust. Scatter the streusel over the cranberries (don’t crumble the streusel too much or the texture will be sandy). Increase the oven temperature to 350°F and bake the bars near the top of the oven until the streusel is golden and set, about 25 minutes. (Baking these bars at the top of the oven helps the streusel brown faster without overbrowning the crust.)
Place the pan on a metal rack to cool until the crust is completely firm, at least 1 hour. (For faster cooling, put the bars in the fridge once the pan is no longer piping hot, or even outside in winter.)
When the bottom of the pan is cool, carefully lift the bars from the pan using the foil sides and transfer them to a cutting board. Separate the foil from the bars by sliding a spatula between them. Cut the bars into 1-3/4-inch squares.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mushroom Casserole

I made this as a side item for our dinner last night and I think if I made it again it would be the main course. We really wouldn't have needed anything else to go with it. We ate the entire pan, it was that good! Next time I would dress it up a bit with some greens and extra spices, maybe throw in some chicken and call it a meal. There are additional suggestions on the 101 Cookbooks website. The only change I made to the recipe was using pureed tofu instead of the cottage cheese. Anytime a recipe calls for cottage cheese or ricotta I always use this substitution.
Mushroom Casserole Recipe
from 101 Cookbooks
1/2 pound (8 ounces) brown mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
1 large onion, well chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 cups cooked brown rice, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheesea
bit of fresh tarragon, chopped
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Rub a medium-large baking dish with a bit of olive oil or butter and set aside. The pan I use is slightly smaller than a classic 9x13 baking dish - just grab for something in this ballpark.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat saute the mushrooms in a glug of olive oil sprinkled with a couple pinches of salt. Stir every minute or so until the mushrooms have released their liquid and have browned a bit. Add the onions and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes or until they are translucent. Stir in the garlic, cook for another minute and remove from heat. Add the rice to the skillet and stir until combined.
In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream, and salt.
Combine the rice mixture and cottage cheese mixture in a large bowl, stir until well combined and then turn out into your prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with 2/3 of the Parmesan cheese, cover with foil and place in oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 20 or 30 minutes more or hot throughout and golden along the edges. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and enjoy.
Serves about 8.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Baby Shower Truffles


This post has been sitting in the archives for a couple of weeks now. I made truffles as prizes for a co-workers baby shower. I experimented with a few flavors including: Meyer Lemon and Thyme, Grand Marnier and Honey, but the favorite were the Vietnamese Cinnamon and Cayenne. I wanted to post them before the baby was born, so here they are...






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