Christmas Wrap-Up

Christmas gifties! (a selection of my favorites)
Asics Gel-Nimbus, running socks, mittens, and gloves.Polar Heart Rate Monitor
Finally used my Crate & Barrel b-day gift card: Modena balsamic-vinegar, microplane grater, peppermint bark, mini spoons!

Culinary presents: recipe binder, Cook’s Illustrated subscription, Vegan cupcake cookbook, coffee bean grinder, cake stand, lemon zester, cookie spatula, Barney Almond Butter (!!!), and cranberry butter.
This might be my last year with a real Christmas tree – ugh, so many pine needles to clean up!
Dinner creation with my new mini spoon! Plain Stoneyfield Farms yogurt, 1 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch, 2 Tbs almond butter, 1 Tbs pumpkin butter, and small handful of chocolate chips.
NYC Reunion!


Holidays at Home!

Christmas Traditions – My family always has baked ham, potato salad, and baked beans for Christmas Dinner. Yum! This year I was the master chef :-)
Classic Potato Salad:
Ingredients: 5 small all-purpose potatoes
3 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 hardboiled eggs, chopped
salt, pepper, low fat mayo (to taste)
Directions: bring large pot of salted water to a boil, carefully drop in whole potatoes
boil 10-15 minutes or until fork tender, remove from pot, and cool
Peel and cube potatoes and place in large bowl
In a small bowl – mix celery, onions, S & P, hardboiled eggs, and about 1/2 cup mayo
Add contents of small bowl to potatoes – stir gently until combined
Skillet baked beans
1/2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 of a large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
8oz tomato sauce
15 oz can lima, drained and rinsed
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2) In a cast iron skillet or non-stick skillet, heat the oil. Add the onions and sauté for about five minutes or until soft and translucent. 3) Add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds more. 4) Add the maple syrup, tomato sauce, salt, mustard, and ketchup and simmer for five minutes. 5) Add the beans , stir, then cover the skillet with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes, stirring once during the baking process. 6)Allow to cool and serve warm.
Note: if your skillet has a plastic handle – cover it with aluminum foil and it becomes oven safe!

Baked ham with pineapples, cherries, and brown sugar glaze.

Instructions: Score ham and insert about 2 dozen cloves. Prepare glaze by mixing 1/3 cup brown sugar, tsp of mustard, and a few Tbs of pineapple juice. Drizzle over ham. Place pineapples and cherries on top. Cook for 8-10 minutes per pound (for a pre-cooked ham) at 350 degrees. Baste with extra pinenapple juice half way through cooking.

Christmas Eve Apple Pie

I used a modified version of a Bon Appetit recipe (because I forgot my Whole Foods recipe in NYC!). The filling and homemade whipped cream turned out great, but I still need to perfect the crust. I used all butter (vs. shortening) and although I added a tsp of vinegar, the result wasn’t as tender as I would have liked. I also used a “deep dish” pie pan which may have affected the crust texture. In any case, the pie was well received and every last crumb was devoured :-)

Me and Kiwi!

Pies, Pies, Pies – December 2008

Happy Holidays!
Seasonal Fruit Basket – grapefruits, oranges, apples, and pears. Thanks Mom and Gram!
PeachBlueberry Peanut Butter Crisp
Recipe from: The Peanut Butter & Co. cookbook
On Saturday, December 6th I took a Pie Baking Fundamentals class at the Whole Foods Bowery Culinary Center. The 4 hour course was taught by Judiann Woo (chef and creator of the Haagan Daaz ice cream flavor – sticky toffee pudding!). We began with a brief lecture/discussion on pie baking techniques and a demonstration on making apple pie with crumb topping. We then proceeded to make our own blackberry hand pies and coconut cream pies with animal cracker crust. After everything finished baking, we sampled some of the warm apple pie with homemade whipped cream – I think it was the BEST piece of pie I’ve ever had.
My finished coconut cream pie (in a professional pastry box!)

Homemade whipped cream, yum!
Blackberry Hand Pies with turbinado sugar topping

Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients: 12oz fresh cranberries (rinsed in water)
3/4 cup sugar (original recipe called for 1 cup)
1 cup water
Directions: Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; add cranberries, return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time. Makes 2 1/4 cups. This was great – you couldn’t even tell it was reduced sugar!

Quick wheat loaf

This recipe uses 1/2 whole wheat flour, 1/2 all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda, Tb sugar, 12 0z beer, and a bit of butter. It’s really easy to make – I found the recipe on the back of a King Arthur flour bag.

Caramel-Apple-Walnut pie from Sanitary Bakery (Nanticoke, PA)