Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday Traditions- Hot Wassail

Going to decorate tonight to Christmas music and Hot Wassail wafting through the house. Life is wonderful!

3/4 cup sugar
2 quarts apple juice
1 pint cranberry juice
1 teaspoon aromatic bitters
3 sticks cinnamon
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 small orange -- studded with cloves

Dissolve sugar in juices in crockpot or on the stove, low heat. Add remaining ingredients. Cook on high for 1 hour. Simmer on low for 4 to 8 hours.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Spinach Salad with Balsamic-Bacon Dressing

A super easy recipe for a really wonderful salad:

Fresh Spinach, rinsed and dried
2 slices of bacon, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, sliced
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Fry chopped bacon for about 5 minutes on medium high heat. When the bacon begins to crisp, about 5 minutes, add sliced onion to the frying pan and saute until onions are carmelized. (See picture for carmelization)

Drain fat from the pan, as seen in the picture. To drain fat, tilt the pan and push onions and bacon to the top of the pan. Allow fat to puddle in the bottom of the pan and soak up with paper towels, or pour into a glass jar to toss. Put the pan back onto the heat and deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar. Pour the bacon, onion dressing from the pan onto the spinach greens, toss, and serve.

Until next time...Happy Cooking!!!


Until next time...Happy Cooking 8)!!!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Butternut Squash & Shrimp Tamales with Roasted Tomatillo Sauce


24-36 corn husks(soaked in water until soft)

3 cups diced butternut squash
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup chopped scallion, (white and green) about 12 scallions
1 tablespoon canned chipotle en adobo sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups masa harina (flour)
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lb uncooked, shelled and deveined shrimp (tails removed)
1 small bunch scallions, (white and green) loose chopped, about 1/2 cup
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 chipotle chiles in adobo, loose chop (find on Mexican canned food aisle of most grocery stores)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup Spanish olives with pimentos,
1/2 cup golden raisins
4 tbsp capers + 3 tbsp caper juice
1 cup broth (chicken, vegetable, your choice)
2 cups diced and boiled butternut squash
3/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

For dough:

Put all cups of butternut squash in a medium pot with broth, scallion, adobo sauce, garlic, salt, and cumin. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove the squash with a slotted spoon, and reserve the broth. Set aside 2 cups of the squash for the filling, then mash the remaining squash in a large bowl. Mix in the masa with a fork. Slowly pour the seasoned broth over the filling, mixing with a fork (or hands) until smooth. Slowly stir in oils, a little at a time until dough is soft and moist. Cover with plastic wrap, set aside.

For filling:
Place all ingredients, except the olive oil, broth and cilantro, in a food processor and process on "chop" for a few turns, until mixture appears chopped and generally mixed.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mixture from the food processor, allowing to heat in oil for 1 minute. Add reserved broth, and cook, stirring gently, until well combined, about 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and
stir in cilantro.

To assemble:
Cut 2 husks into 24-inch lengths about 1/2-inch wide; you'll need 32-48 of these little strips, which will become your twist ties. Place other soaked corn husks on cutting board, open side up. Using the remaining softened husks, place about a 1/4 cup dough in the center of each husk, leaving enough corn husk free to enclose tamale. Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons filling on top. Then cover filling with about 2 to 3 tablespoons more of dough. Wrap the husks around the filling and twist and tie ends with reserved strips to make party favor shaped tamales. Trim the ends if they are too long for your liking.

Set up a steamer basket. I used my electric steamer, which makes it so easy, but you can make your own using tin foil and a pot. For instructions on a homemade steamer check out:

Lay tamales in steamer, cover and cook until the husks get slightly translucent, about 50 minutes. Remove tamales from steamer, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving with additional hot sauce if desired.

Danielle's Roasted Tomatillo Sauce:

10-15 tomatillos, Skins peeled and cut into fourths
1 large white onion, cut into fourths
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 jalapenos, discard stems
1 cups cilantro, finely chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and papper, to taste

Turn on oven to broiler. Put tomatillos, onion, garlic, and jalapenos on a roasting pan, drizzled with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Drizzle remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil veggies in the pan and toss with salt and pepper. Heat under the broiler for 5 minutes, turn veggies and allow to broil 2 more minutes. Remove once onions, jalepenos, and tomatillos have a bit of char and are soft. Allow ingredients to cool, then put them in a food processor or blender, and blend until pureed. Mix in finely chopped cilantro right before serving. This sauce can be served warm over top of the cooked tamales or as a dip for chips!

Vegetarian Option: Use only vegetable stock and remove shrimp from this recipe for a flavorful vegetarian option

Monday, November 2, 2009

Seriously Good Chowda

In the words of Ishmael, as written by Herman Melville in a little book called Moby Dick, "But when that smoking chowder came in, the mystery was delightfully explained. Oh! sweet friends, hearken to me. It was made of small juicy clams, scarcely bigger than hazel nuts, mixed with pounded ship biscuits and salted pork cut up into little flakes! the whole enriched with butter, and plentifully seasoned with pepper and salt.....we dispatched it with great expedition."
And could the essence of a hot chowder on a cold day be put any better?

Oh, the mystery of my chowder is delightfully explained below:

12 oz Bacon, chopped
1 1/2 cups celery, chopped
3 leeks, tops trimmed off, rinse well
(slice leeks into rounds, about 1/4 inch thick)
1/2 cup flour
2 cups chicken stock (I use my homemade stock that I keep frozen)
3 bottles clam juice
3 cups water
4 cans minced clams or 1 1/2 lbs fresh minced clam meat
9 medium red potatoes, peeled and diced into a large dice
1 cup half and half

Salt and Pepper TT (to taste)

In a large stockpot fry your bacon to a crisp (over medium heat).
Add in leeks and celery, a pinch of salt, and cook until the vegetables are tender.

Stir in flour and cook flour and vegetables down for 10 minutes on medium-low heat.
Add chicken stock, clam juice, water, clams and diced potatoes. Simmer on low heat until potatoes are tender (about 30 minutes.) Right before serving add the half and half, and low simmer for 5 minutes. Salt to taste and Serve hot!

This recipe is extra good the next day, so have a big party and make it a day ahead. If you make it a day in advanced, reserve the half and half until you reheat. Reheat the soup slowly on low low low heat. Add the half and half before serving, bring to a quick simmer, and serve.

Also, this recipe makes alot! Great for a party, or freeze the extra and you have dinner ready for another night! Win Win

Until next time...Happy Cooking!!!!