Friday, March 31, 2017

Kumquat Meyer Lemon Marmalade

I'm a fan of the marmalade.  Citrusy, not too sweet and has a nice bite.  This marmalade recipe is stupid easy...if you can boil water you can make this recipe.

Sure its great on toast...but you can take a quarter cup, mix with a couple of Tablespoons soy sauce, ginger and garlic and you have an awesome glaze for salmon steaks...but that is another recipe for another day.

I tried this recipe with traditional lemons from the grocery store and the lemon overtook the kumquat.  Seek out Meyer Lemons for their softer more floral taste for a better balance of flavors in your final product.

Kumquat Meyer Lemon Marmalade

  • 2 large Meyer Lemons
  • 1 lb ripe kumquats
  • 5 1/2 C water
  • 2 c sugar
  • pinch of salt (scant 1/8 t)
  • 1 packet Certo sure-jell liquid pectin


Wash and clean all of your fruit.  

Slice lemon on the horizontal end-to-end axis. Thinly slice lemon about 1/8" with a very sharp knife.  Discard seeds as you encounter them.  Repeat with the remaining lemon.  Add lemon slices to a sauce pan and cover with water.  Bring to boil and reduce heat.  Simmer until the white pith is translucent, about 5-10 minutes.  Strain and return cooked lemon to sauce pan.

While the lemons simmer thinly slice the kumquats about 1/8" thick.  Set aside while the lemon cooks. When lemon is done, add the sliced kumquats, pinch of salt and 5 1/2 cups water to the sauce pan.  Bring to boil.  When at a full rolling boil turn off heat and cover.  Let stand 24 hours.

At end of 24 hours add sugar and insert a candy thermometer into the fruit mixture.  Turn heat to medium-high and stir gently to dissolve sugar but not break up fruit too much.  Bring to boil, cook until candy thermometer reaches 220F.  Remove from heat.  Stir in liquid pectin, Ladle hot marmalade into hot sterilized pint jars (makes about 2 pints).   

Let cool and set at room temperature.  Store in cool dark place or fridge.  Definitely refrigerate after opening.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Apple Cranberry Nut Bread


This a right tasty and textural quick bread.  Heavy on the tart from the cranberry and lightly citrus with a hint of spice.  Perfect for a mid-winter snack or breakfast.  Stupid simple to make.  The hardest task is peeling and dicing the apples.  

Apple Cranberry Nut Bread

  • 1 16 oz bag fresh cranberry
  • 1 1/2 c whole walnut
  • 1 1/2 c diced granny smith apple
  • 4 c flour
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 3 t baking powder
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 c orange juice
  • zest from 1/2 orange
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs beaten


Preheat oven 350F.

Place walnuts in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to break them up.  Add cranberry and pulse a few times until coarsely chopped.  Set aside.

In stand mixer add sugars, orange juice, oil and eggs beat until well combined.  Add baking powder, baking soda, zest, and cinnamon.  Stir lightly.  Fold in flour until just combined.  Fold in cranberry and nut mixture until just combined.  Fold in diced apples.

Spray 2 9X5 loaf pans with nonstick spray (or spray 8 mini-loaf pans).  Bake 55 minutes until full size loaf tests clean with a toothpick.  40-45 minutes on the mini-loaves.  Cool 15 minutes and then remove from pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Salted Caramel Pretzel Sweet Potato Casserole


Skip the candied yams...go straight for this salty sweet treat for Thanksgiving.  Using real fresh sweet potatoes instead of a canned yam makes a world of difference so don't just grab a yam, get the real deal even if it takes a couple of stores to find it.  You won't regret it.

To safe a few steps I cheated and bought a good quality caramel from the ice cream section at the groc.  One less thing to do on a busy day of cooking is a good thing.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Sweet Potato Casserole

  • 4 sweet potatoes (about 2 1/2-3 pounds)
  • 1/4 c cream
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground ginger
  • 1/2 t nutmeg


Topping

  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1/3 c butter
  • 1 c crushed pretzels
  • 2/3 c caramel sauce
  • flaked sea salt (like maldon)


Heat oven to 400F.  Poke holes into sweet potatoes with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Roast for about an hour until thickest potato is fork tender.  Cool to room temperature.

Once potatoes are cooled peel and place the pulp in a mixing bowl.   Add spices, cream and brown sugar.  Mash until smooth and even consistency.  Transfer into a lightly greased casserole dish.ds

Make the topping.  In a small sauce pan heat butter and brown sugar.  Stir over moderate heat until it starts to bubble and the sugar is completely dissolved.  Stir in pretzels until well coated.  Pour pretzel mixture over the sweet potatoes and spread to evenly distribute.  Drizzle caramel sauce evenly over pretzels.  

Bake in 350F oven uncovered until hot and bubbly for about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle flaked sea salt over the hot caramel pretzels.  Serve hot with your Thanksgiving feast!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Fall Fruit Crisp

Apples, Pears, Cranberry and Walnuts...how bad can it be?

The perfect ending for a wine and cheese night over at my cousins house.  Fall Fruit Crisp, a lovely combo of fresh fall fruit, the crunch of first harvest walnuts under a crispy crumble topping.  A universal hit, and using 1 cup ramekins you get perfect portion control.

You'll want to use firm fruit that is ripe like a Bosc pear instead of the softer Bartlett variety.  Similarly you'll want to use a firm ripe apple like a Fuji, Gala or Granny Smith over a softer Red or Golden Delicious.  The firm fruit holds its shape during baking, the softer cooks to mush and the texture is just wrong in this Fall Fruit Crisp.

Fall Fruit Crisp
Filling

  • 3 pears - peeled,cored and 1/2" dice
  • 3 apples - peeled, cored and 1/2" dice
  • 1/2 c dried cranberry
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

Topping

  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 3/4 c flour
  • 3/4 c quick cooking oats (not instant)
  • 1/4 c chopped walnuts
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 salt
  • 1/2 c COLD unsalted butter cubed


Preheat oven 375F convection, 400F without convection

Peel, core and dice apples and pears.  Add to mixing bowl.  Add dried cranberry, walnuts, brown sugar, salt and spices.  Toss lightly to combine.  Set aside while making topping.

To make topping in food processor add all ingredients and pulse a few times until butter is evenly crumbled in the topping and you can't see large pieces any longer.

Take 6 ramekins and place on a baking sheet.  Divide fruit filling evenly among the ramekins.  Divide topping over the fruit filling evenly.  Place in preheated oven and bake until rich golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.  Serve warm with a dollop of fresh whipping cream.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sausage and Spinach with fresh pasta


This was loosely adapted from a couple of recipes in this months Bon Appetite magazine.  The big difference is that I purposely skipped the addition of heavy cream and avoided the cured meats...that some of the donor recipes called for.  Its still not a low fat recipe but, dang is it tasty.

I finally got making pasta from scratch down.  The pasta used here was fresh pappadrelle in style, with a few thinner ribbons more like tagliatelle.  Call it "rustic cut" and be done.  You are more than welcome to swap out fettuccini or other wide flat pasta for the recipe.  That's the glory of pasta....similar shapes won't affect the taste.

I can promise you this, even my pickiest eater loved this pasta and came back for seconds.

Sausage and Spinach with Fresh Pasta

  • 1 lb fresh pappadrelle or tagliatelle
  • 1 lb mild Italian Sausage
  • 1 lb baby spinach
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 c)
  • 2 shallots thinly sliced shallot
  • 1.4 c minced fresh flat leaf parsley (or 2 T dried)
  • 1-2 ladles boiling pasta water


Add salt to pasta water until it is has the taste of the ocean (1/4c to about 2 quarts water) and bring to a boil.

Break up sausage and brown with a little bit of olive oil to get it started.  Add sliced shallot and saute until translucent.  

Add fresh pasta to salted boiling water and cook 1-2 minutes until al dente.  Scoop out the noodles with a spider and tongs and add to sausage mixture. Add Spinach.  Add butter and parsley and 1 ladle pasta water.  Toss to coat pasta with sauce and sausage.  Toss until spinach is wilted.  IF sauce is too thick thin with additional pasta water.

Serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and a nice Pinto Grigio white wine



Lime Custard Pie


I love Key Lime Pie, but here in my corner of L.A the Key Lime is not easily found, and if you do find it, its stupid expensive.  Step in the trusty basic Lime found at the corner groc...its limey and tasty enough and much easier to juice than a Key Lime.

Hint, and this applies to all citrus, to get maximum juice out of them.  Have them at room temp, zap in the microwave 10 seconds and roll them on the counter with firm pressure prior to halving and juicing.  This ensures maximum juice for your effort.

Salt.  Its what balances sweet and sour and needed in this recipe.  Don't omit as your cutting salt in your diet, remove elsewhere...there isn't much and it does make a difference in taste.

I'm assume you have your own favorite pie crust recipe and will skip providing here.  I actually made an all butter crust for this that was really flakey and tasty, but any pie crust will work.  

Lime Custard Pie
  • 1 9" pie shell prebaked

filling
  • 1 c Lime juice
  • zest of one lime
  • 2 cans (14.5  oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2-3 drops green food color


Bake pie shell according to your recipe instructions.  When lightly browned remove from oven.  Reduce heat to 325F.

Zest one lime first then juice.  Juice enough limes to make 1 cup lime juice.  Mix, zest, juice, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, salt and food coloring until well blended.  Pour into baked pie shell and place in oven for 25-30 minutes until just set.  It will still jiggle some and should not be browned on top.  Cool to room temp then place in fridge for at least 2 hours until well chilled.  Serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream...or cool whip if thats your thing.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Oven Butter Poached Shrimp


A similar version of this recipe exists on this blog.  This version is a bit lighter, who am I kidding, one less stick of butter isn't really lighter.  To amp up the flavor I toss in chopped garlic and wine to make things a bit tastier.

Cooking with wine is a no brainer, use any good wine you'd drink that doesn't break the bank.  Added bonus when you cook with a wine and serve it at the table there's a pairing that magically happens on the palette.  I used a Pinot Grigio, but Pinot Gris or even Chardonnay will work.

I use large shrimp for this as they have better flavor and are easier to eat.  The 21-25 size are ideal for this finger food...not a fine dining experience, but casual dining where you grab it by the tail and enjoy.  Be sure to have a bowl next to you to catch the remaining tails.

Oven Butter Poached Shrimp

  • 2 lbs large shrimp
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 c dry white wine
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1/4-1/2 t red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 c minced fresh parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic minced


Preheat oven to 375f

Wash and shell/devein the shrimp leaving the tail on.

Gently heat butter until just melted.  Add wine, salt, pepper flakes to taste, parsley and garlic.  Whisk to combine.

Place shrimp in a 9X13 baking dish.  Pour over butter mixture.  Bake 20-25 minutes until no longer pink and cooked through.  

Ladle into bowls. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the luscious poaching liquid.