Blueberry Clafoutis

Don’t limit yourself to blueberries – any berry or summer stone fruit is delicious, such as cherries or plums. In the fall try this with apples or pears.

5 heaping T flour

4 T sugar

3 T milk, whole or lowfat

2 T safflower oil

1 egg

1 T baking powder

1/4 t salt

2-3 cups berries, washed and sliced as necessary, tossed in 2 T sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl (add if it’s needed, a little milk); the batter should be very thick. Pour the batter into a buttered 9″ cake pan or quiche dish. Spread the fruit on top of the batter; it should fill the pan & spill over a bit.

Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake in the oven about 15 minutes or until the cake begins to set. Spread the following mixture on top of the batter:

4 teaspoons sugar

         1 egg

         1 tablespoon of melted butter

Bake again about 15- 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve with fresh whipped cream if desired. Serves 6.


Mini Strawberry Tarts in Pretzel Crust

Makes 6 mini tarts

Crust

2 ½ C mini pretzels, finely crushed (yield 1 ¼ cups)

¼ C light brown sugar, packed

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Filling

4oz. cream cheese, softened

2 T light brown sugar, packed

1 t vanilla extract

Topping

1 ½ C strawberries, hulled and quartered, divided

½ C light brown sugar, packed

4 t cornstarch

¼ C water

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat 6 wells of a large muffin pan with non-stick spray.

Prepare the crust: process the pretzels in a food processor until very finely crushed, add the sugar and pulse to mix, then add the melted butter and pulse until well mixed and resembling wet sand. Divide the mixture among the prepared wells and press very firmly into the bottom and up the sides of each well. (Make sure the crust is well packed on all sides as this will keep the shells from breaking once baked). Bake the crusts until the cups are set and browned, 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool in the muffin pan.

Prepare the Filling: cream together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla, mixing well with a rubber spatula. Set aside (but do not refrigerate yet).

Prepare the Topping: put ¾ cup of strawberries in a bowl and mash them with a fork (or crush with a potato masher), enough to yield ½ cup. In a medium saucepan, mix together the sugar and cornstarch then add the water and crushed strawberries. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium and stir constantly until it thickens, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the remaining ¾ cup sliced strawberries. If the remaining strawberries are large, cut them into smaller pieces.

Assemble the tarts: carefully wedge the tip of a paring knife between the top of each crust and the inside of the well, gently sliding each crust out of the well of the muffin pan; transfer to a platter. Spoon and spread some of the cream cheese filling in the bottom, then carefully spoon the strawberry topping on top. Refrigerate uncovered until thoroughly chilled and set, at least 3 hours. Garnish with mint if desired.


Oranges with Caramel, Ginger and Mint

 

plum

 

 

Growing up in Europe, the Cook Sisters have childhood memories of Christmas dinner ending with a fiery plum pudding. It was made a year ahead of time, then steamed for a couple of hours before arriving at the table doused with flaming rum and served up warm with rum butter and Christmas crackers. The fact that we never actually liked the pudding itself never stopped this Old World tradition from being our favorite part of the meal. Scroll forward a few decades, and today we have our own traditions. We offer up this dessert for consideration. It makes a great dinner-party dessert because it’s not heavy, and it’s healthy, which leaves diners feeling virtuous. What could be better to end a Christmas dinner? Don’t answer that. Just enjoy this. We demoed this for Brookside back in 2011. 

oranges5 seedless oranges, such as navel
2 T crystalized ginger
1/3 C sugar
8-10 mint leaves (optional)

Zest one orange and reserve. Trim oranges of their skin and white pith; reserve top and bottom for juice. Cut trimmed orange in half lengthwise and remove core. Lay the halves flat and cut into half-moons. Arrange orange slices on a platter. Using a small paring knife, dice crystalized ginger; mix with orange zest and scatter over orange slices. In a small, heavy saucepan, heat 2 T water and the sugar until they begin to boil. Turn the heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes until sugar turns to medium brown; remove from heat. Carefully drizzle caramelized sugar over prepared orange slices; the sugar will bubble and sizzle and harden in place. Squeeze juice from reserved orange ends over the caramel. Scatter mint over all and serve within an hour for maximum crunchiness.


Baker’s Dozen Holiday Recipes from the Archives

Below are some of the dishes we’ve worked on over the years that have made their way to our holiday tables. We have many favorites, and more can be found by searching the website under a particular ingredient (Adrienne’s Persimmon Pudding, anyone?).  Wishing that the holidays find you in a place of love and good food.  Just bring your appetite!

FigCranberryRelish

 

A wonderful new twist on cranberry relish, try this with your turkey this year.

Cranberry-Fig Chutney

 

deviledeggs-asparagusWe re-introduced these perennial favorites at a demo at US Botanic Garden earlier in the fall and decided they would be on our holiday buffet table.

Asparagus Deviled Eggs

 

 

ombre

 

 

This dish has such special beauty, it will make your holiday table look spectacular and it tastes pretty great too.

Ombre Carrots and Chard

 

 

carrotAnother one that would work great for the buffet table or serve the souffles as hors d’oeuvres, without the extra veggies, but topped with a small dollop of mascarpone, softened to room temperature.

Mini Carrot Souffles with Baby Vegetables

 

creamy greensKids (kids!) can’t get enough of this. A must for our Thanksgiving table.

Creamy Winter Greens au Gratin

slaw

 

A sprightly twist on Brussels sprouts that will enliven any holiday buffet.

Brussels sprouts with lemon and hazelnuts

 

Lemon Pepper Green Beans {Blogsgiving 2015} // The Speckled PalateThanksgiving brings out the competitive spirit in our family and the sweet potato dish is at the forefront when it comes to making the best side. This one’s likely to win hands-down — and no one will miss the marshmallows.

 

Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole

 

citrus-salad-spiced-honey-sl-l

 

 

Gorgeous on the dessert table, but equally at home as an accompaniment to ham, pork, a lovely roast tenderloin. Use your imagination but count this one in.

 

                       Citrus Salad with Spiced Honey

butternut

 

With a bright, addictive flavor that is all holiday and deeply warming, this soup is a winter staple in our household. Freeze it for drop-in guests or roll it out on a blustery day that sends you scrambling for comfort food, even just for lunch.

Butternut-Tangerine Soup

 

shrub

 

We love this as a refreshing non-alcoholic drink, but it’s also a great flavoring for alcoholic drinks — try it with a shot of vodka or drizzled in a chablis or sauvignon blanc.

                                                            Cranberry-Lime Shrub

red cabbage

 

There are plenty of ways to fix red cabbage, the perennial favorite for the holiday buffet or dinner table. This one adds the crunch and flavor of chestnuts. What a great marriage.

Red Cabbage with Chestnuts

beans

 

Tired of green bean casserole? Try these and be prepared for a new Thanksgiving tradition at your table.

Green Beans with Meyer Lemon

salad

 

If you like to combine the cheese and salad course, try this salad, which, like the cheese platter, includes fruit and nuts.

Radicchio, Pear and Pecan Salad


Vanilla-Infused Sautéed Apples with Cream

apples

 

This is Danielle’s recipe for Saturday’s festival at USBG. We’ll be there from 11 am-3 pm making dishes that feature vanilla, which grows on one of the Botanic Garden’s orchids. You can go visit the orchid too. The recipe below will also be featured. This Saturday Sept. 26, 100 Maryland Ave SW DC.  Should be a fun event. Be there or be square (or both, for some of us). 

2 seasonal apples of your choice, peeled, cored and sliced
2 T unsalted butter
¼ C natural cane sugar
1/8 t cinnamon
½ vanilla bean
¼ C apple cider or brandy or rum
½ C heavy cream

In a large sauté pan, melt the butter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Slit the vanilla bean down the middle vertically and gently scrape out the tiny seeds inside the bean. Add the seeds and the bean to the butter and sugar. Allow the sugar to melt slightly, then add the apple slices. Arrange the slices cut side down and don’t overcrowd. Once lightly browned on one side, flip them to brown the other side. Move the browned slices to the side of the pan to make room for additional slices, if necessary. Continue sautéing the slices until all the apples are caramelized. Increase the heat and add the apple cider or brandy. Shake the pan to allow the liquid to absorb into the apples and reduce by about half. Add the heavy cream, stir gently and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Makes a great topping for icecream! Serves 2-4.