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.

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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.


Vanilla-Poached Pears with Mascarpone Cream

ppears_plated_side_view

 

 

We’re headed to US Botanic Garden this weekend for their Junior Botanist Festival Saturday Sept. 26, 10 am-3 pm. Come join us for demos using vanilla beans. The Garden has a vanilla orchid as part of its collection, so you can see how the bean grows in real time. Vanilla-poached pears are a fall fave. Adrienne will be demoing this. Danielle is working up an apple-vanilla concoction and we’ll post it as soon as it’s perfected. Come taste something delicious Saturday at 100 Maryland Ave SW. The Pope will be long gone.

Poached Pears:

4 firm Bosc or Comice pears (do not use ripe or soft pears)
2 C red wine
1 vanilla bean, whole or 1 t vanilla extract for poaching liquid
2 cinnamon sticks
1 C sugar
2 T cold butter, divided in half

Peel and cut the pear in half lengthwise. Use a melon baller or spoon to scoop out the seeds and core. You are creating a small “bowl” in the pear half that will later hold the marscapone cream. In a deep saucepan, bring wine and 2 C water to a simmer. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and add to wine and water mixture. Add cinnamon and sugar. Add pears to liquid and simmer for 20 to 35 minutes or until tender but not too soft. Remove pears from liquid and reserve. (If making ahead, hold pears in poaching liquid, removing the cinnamon, vanilla and bay leaf. Cool the liquid and pears down to below 70F, then store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Remove pears from liquid and bring to room temperature, then proceed with the recipe.)

Remove the cinnamon, bay leaves and vanilla bean from the wine mixture. Continue to simmer and reduce the liquid until thick and syrupy, about five minutes. Be sure not to over-reduce or burn the syrup. Whisk in butter, quickly, one tablespoon at a time. Cover sauce and remove from heat; hold until ready to serve.

Mascarpone Cream:

1 (8-ounce) containers of Mascarpone cheese (may substitute cream cheese)
1/4 t vanilla extract
1/4 C heavy cream or half-and-half
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Combine in a small bowl the mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, pinch cinnamon, vanilla extract and powdered sugar until smooth.

To serve, place a small dollop of the Mascarpone Cream on a dessert dish. Place a poached pear half on top of the dollop, which keeps it from sliding. Fill the “bowl” of the pear with mascarpone cream. Spoon or drizzle pear with red wine syrup. Repeat with remaining pears.

Many thanks to Rachel Reuben, FoodFixKitchen.com for original recipe.

 


Peach Buttermilk Pudding

buttermilk-peach-pudding-sl-xTake the time to double sift the flour ingredients as directed in the recipe. The process of doing this will help the texture of the pudding. Folding the sifted dry ingredients into the creamed butter will allow the fat particles to get around the flour, which actually reduces the amount of gluten molecules that release when dry meets wet ingredients. The end result is you’ll create more of a pudding texture rather than a cake texture.

1½ C flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t ground cinnamon
½ t salt
½ t nutmeg
½ t ground ginger
3½ peaches, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1½ lb.)
1 C buttermilk
½ C butter, softened
1½ C sugar
3 large eggs
4 ripe peaches (about 2#), cut up into chunks
1 small peach, sliced, for garnish
powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 350º. Sift together first 7 ingredients; sift again. Process chopped peaches in a food processor or blender until smooth. (Yield should be 2 cups puree.) Stir in buttermilk. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add peach mixture, and beat until well blended. Layer chunked peaches in a greased 13- x 9-inch pan. Fold flour mixture into butter mixture. Pour batter over sliced peaches in pan. Place pan in a large roasting pan, and add boiling water to roasting pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake at 350º for 50 minutes or until set. Cool to room temperature. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Arrange sliced peaches in a circle in the middle. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream or by itself.


Caramelized Apples with Rosemary Glaze

apples 3

 

 

1½ cups apple cider
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 12 wedges each
olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt, preferably Greek (optional)

Bring cider and rosemary to a boil. Remove from heat, and let stand for 5 minutes. Discard rosemary. Combine sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Add apples, and toss. Heat a large non-stick pan on medium-high and add 1T oil. When oil is hot add about half the apples – do not crowd them. Cook vigorously for about 5 minutes until you see apples begin to brown and caramelize; remove and reserve. Add 1 T oil. Add second half of apples and cook vigorously until caramelized, like the first batch. Remove apples and combine the two batches. Pour rosemary cider into the hot pan; continue cooking until the cider is reduced and thickened. Remove from heat; add apples back to the pan and toss to incorporate. Let the apples marinade for up to an hour. Serve at room temperature with yogurt, if desired.


Rhubarb Strawberry Compote

compote

 

Cardamom gives this compote an alluring flavor. Spoon it over pound cake, cheesecake, ice cream or go savory and serve it with pork. It will keep refrigerated and tightly covered for 4-5 days. Danielle adapted this recipe from Fine Cooking and demoed during April 2015 as part of our Colors of Spring month.

1 ½ lbs. rhubarb, rinsed and sliced into ½-inch pieces
1 lb strawberries, hulled and thickly sliced
½ C honey; more to taste
¼ C orange juice
½ t cardamom
1 small vanilla bean, slit and seeds scraped from pod
¼ t sea salt

Combine the rhubarb, honey, orange juice, cardamom and salt in a large saucepan. With a pairing knife, slit the vanilla bean open lengthwise and with the back of the knife carefully scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the pod to the rhubarb.