Cranberry Orange Butter

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We were so blessed to have every one of our sons, daughters-in-law, and granddaughters at Thanksgiving dinner this year!  I smile when I remember our first Thanksgiving after we were married (1964).  We were far away from family, living in Oregon, and I tried my hand at roasting a duck!  I have not put a duck on the table again in 50 years!  We had cranberry sauce, right out of the Ocean Spray can, just like my mother always did it.

As years went by, I learned how much better cranberry sauce that I made on top of my own stove tasted.  When our boys were growing up (and again now with our grandchildren) we enjoyed the children’s book Cranberry Thanksgiving, and added Cranberry Bread to our Thanksgiving favorites. When dried cranberries became available I found dozens of ways to use them, often subbing them for raisins in old recipes. This year we found a new treat with our old friend the cranberry, Cranberry Orange Butter.  It is not just for a holiday table.  It is wonderful added to pancakes, waffles, or oatmeal!

Cranberry Orange Butter

8 ounces butter softened (I used Kerrygold Irish but

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cranberries

zest of 1 orange

Let butter soften at room temperature, do not microwave. Place butter in bowl with cranberries and orange zest and blend with the back of a spoon until well mixed. Spread a large piece of plastic wrap out on the counter and put dollops of the mixture in a line. Roll into a log by holding the sides up and pulling back and forth, then with fingertips roll and smooth slightly.  Wrap with plastice wrap and place on a cookie sheet that will fit on a shelf of your refrigerator.  As soon as the butter hardens into shape, you can remove the cookie sheet and store the butter overnight or loinger.  When ready to serve, slice into rounds and place into butter plate or dish along with a butter knife or tongs.  Halve this recipe if you wish.  The smaller size roll is easier to shape.

Instead of cranberries, try freshly zested lemon,  chopped fresh rosemary or other herbs, or make a sweetened butter with a spoon or two of mashed raspberries or a spoon of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Thankful for Leftovers

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Wonton Soup, with (leftover) Kale

I was born in the 1940’s, and grew up in a family that always found a use for even a tablespoon of leftover food. Waste not, want not!  I have a fondness for leftovers, and creative ways to use them, as you might notice if you have read my blog in earlier years.  This year I mention some ingredients you may have collected to use for Thanksgiving cooking, as well as Big Bird and other menu items!

Turkey

Before you are tempted to toss that Thanksgiving turkey remains, slice off some to store in the refrigerator for sandwiches.  Then gather the meat left on all those bones, chop and put into Ziplocs to freeze.  This chopped turkey makes wonderful Tetrazzini or added to marinara, a delicious spaghetti sauce.  You can also use it with rice, broccoli and cheese for a hearty casserole. See links below for posts in past years which mention this.

CranberrySauce

Serve for breakfast with your favorite sausage and toast or biscuits. Better than jelly! Jellied cranberry sauce slices are great to top hot open face chicken or tuna sandwiches.

Mashed Potatoes

Extra mashed potatoes make great soup. Thin the mashed potatoes with milk, cream or broth and garnish with thinly sliced scallions.

You can also make fabulous fritters When I was growing up, my parents owned a small cafe.  I used to ask Daddy to make “fried mashed potatoes” when he had mashed potatoes on the menu. . Add flour and an egg to bind the mixture, fold in some chopped onions and shape it into patties. Daddy cooked them on his hot griddle.  An iron skillet heated with a small amount of cooking oil works just fine.  You can also add chopped ham or bacon bits..  If you want a crispier fritter, dip the potato patties in a mixture of bread crumbs and flour seasoned with salt and pepper.  This is also featured in a previous post, link below, along with a great potato pancake recipe.

Greens, such as Spinach, Kale, Chard

Even a small amount of remaining sauteed or fresh (if not dressed) greens can be a great addition to soups or omelets.  In the photo above, I combined frozen wontons with chicken broth, kale, and a bit of hoisin sauce for a delicious soup.

 


Mustard

Do you have a bit of mustard left in the jar?. Add some oil and vinegar and make vinaigrette by just shaking it up right in the jar. Or stir in a little bit of jam — ideally apricot, or a red-currant jelly — and use the mixture as a glaze for pork or chicken. This is especially nice if your mustard is a fancy one like Dijon.

 


Bread

Slice it and freeze it for morning toast,,make bread crumbs by pulsing the bread in a food processor, or make a batch of croutons. Just cut the bread up into chunks, toss with olive oil and a little salt and sauté in a pan or toast in a 400 degree oven. It’s also great for crunchy crostini. You can also keep it in the freezer for the next time you make cornbread dressing, to which I always add some torn up leftover sliced bread. Another use is not for eating – we save bread in the freezer for our grandchildren to take to the neighborhood lake to feed the ducks!

Buttermilk

Substitute buttermilk for regular milk in pancakes by adding a little baking soda and decreasing the baking powder just a little. Use it for marinating chicken for fried chicken — it both tenderizes and gives a little tang. Or try it in a salad dressing with a small amount of oil.  By the way, you can avoid having leftover buttermilk by purchasing powdered buttermilk which you can store in the frig so you can make exactly the amount you need every time.

 


Coconut Milk

Stir and freeze in ice cube trays for use in drinks and soups later. You can also substitute coconut milk for some or all of the water when you make rice – delicious!  (when I do this I add some toasted coconut flakes on top. . Or sub for butter to finish a sauce, stir a little into some broth along with cooked pasta.

 


  Pork

This is one of my favorite leftovers~  so much so that I often cook extra so I will be sure to have some!

 

Pork Fried Rice, Vietnamese Salad

Chop some plus any extra vegetables and make into a pasta sauce. Add a little broth, butter, and Parmesan, toss with hot cooked pasta and you’ve got an instant meal. Cooked pork also makes a great soft or crispy tacos,

 

Rice

Fried rice puts leftovers to delicious use and actually works better with cold cooked rice.

Mix the cooked rice with a little egg, some Fontina or your favorite cheese, add some seasonings and make rice cakes. Cook them in a little olive oil.

 

Tomato Paste

I often have leftover tomato paste.It can be frozen in ice cube trays  You’ll have it on hand for stirring into soups and stews.

 

Flour Tortillas

Extra corn or flour tortillas can be frozen in a Ziploc bag and used later for savory or dessert pizzas. Place the tortillas on a baking sheet, brush with a little oil and crisp them in the oven. Top with a bit of tomato sauce and cheese  to make an individual pizza. For dessert, brush with butter and brown sugar, bake until crisp and add  toppings

 

http://kitchenkeepers.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/lovely-leftovers-or-still-thankful/

http://kitchenkeepers.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/gourmet-leftovers/

 

Apple Cider Muffins

IMG_1328I know I have featured apples oftenhere lately, but we have enjoyed them often!  These muffins were a great Saturday morning breakfast treat, with enough left over for a busy Sunday morning tomorrow! It is already beginning to smell alot like Thanksgiving!  Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger add to the brightness of apple cider and apple butter for flavor.  The list of ingredients is long, but well worth it.

 

Apple Cider Muffins

:2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt   

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 large egg

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup of apple butter (can substitute pumpkin butter or other fruit spread)

1/3 cup of maple syrup

1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger (I use Penzey’s crystallized ginger bits)

1/3 cup of apple cider

1/3 cup of Greek yogurt

1/4 cup of canola oil

For Topping

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 Tablespoon oatmeal

1 Tablespoon flour

1  teaspoon cinnamon

2 Tablespoons  butter, cut into small pieces:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a muffin tin with cooking spray.

Make topping by combining  flour, oats, cinnamon, and butter together with your fingers until crumbly. Set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove together in a bowl until well mixed.

In another bowl, whisk the brown sugar with the egg, then add apple butter, maple syrup, crystallized ginger, apple cider, and yogurt. Mix well. Slowly add flour mixture to egg mixture; gently stirring until combined. Don’t over mix.

Spoon batter into the muffin tray. Sprinkle topping evenly over the top of each muffin.

Bake for 15; or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before removing from baking pan.  Serve hot with butter! .

Adapted recipe from For the Love of Cooking.net  Also featured in Eating Well

Apple Puff

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We are surprised by wintry weather early in November this year, very unusual for this far South in Texas. It is definitely sweater and scarf weather, although I smile when I see some decked out in full ski country gear, as if shoveling snow might be next on their agenda  Fact is, there are 2 kinds of people who do that:  those who are so accustomed to the heat here that the first chill wind has them reaching for the electric blanket, and second, those who have winter fashion they seldom get to wear – head gear, boots, puffy vests, and furry jackets. This may be their one chance this year to haul it out!

The things that I have a yen to do when we have a genuine cold snap (or a blue norther, in Texas speak)?  I like to have a fire in the fireplace, bring out my crochet or knitting, and spend more time in the kitchen baking and making hot hearty soups or a big pot of chili – as my mother would have called it – stick to your ribs food.  Include in that category tasty hot breakfasts!   This Apple Pan Puff is perfect when the temperatures dip.  Not only is it full of all the flavors of fall, it fills the kitchen with aromas of cinnamon and baking apples! The recipe I adapted mine from comes (again!) from Breakfast in Bed Cookbook collection by Carol Frieberg. It is a favorite at the Silver Bay Inn in Stehekin, Washington, which is said to offer cozy waterfront cabins with views of Lake Chelan and the North Cascades.

Apple Pan Puff

2 Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1/4 cup butter

3 large eggs

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

Cinnamon in a shaker bottle for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a heavy iron skillet, melt butter, add sliced apples, and saute, stirring  gently with a wooden spoon, until apples soften. Sprinkle top of apples with cinnamon, and lower heat while blending remaining ingredients..

Place eggs, flour, milk, vanilla, and salt in jar of blender and blend until mixed and smooth.

Pour contents of blender carefully over apples without stirring, and place in preheated oven to bake for 10 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Serve immediately, topped with drizzle of maple syrup on each serving.

To transform this from a breakfast to dessert dish, add a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.  Pecan Praline ice cream, for instance!

 

 

Mary Ann’s Favorite Morning Casserole

IMG_1062 There are hundreds of make- ahead  egg based breakfast casserole recipes! Our church has a famous sausage and egg casserole recipe that gets passed around every year at Easter when we all have breakfast together in between an early Easter service in the prayer garden and a later one at regular worship time. I love that recipe because it reminds me of Easter and our church family. I am fond of another recipe that uses hash browns along with eggs, peppers, and onions. There are Southwestern style breakfast casseroles served with plenty of salsa that are delicious.  But this casserole is my hands down favorite for making breakfast special.  I like to make it when we have overnight guests and pop it into the oven to bake while we have coffee in the kitchen.  I found the original recipe in a cookbook called Breakfast in Bed collated by Carol Frieberg which is a collection of wonderful breakfast recipes from various B&B’s and inns in the Pacific Northwest. This one is a favorite at Pensione Nichols in Seattle, Washington – located in a residence that is over 100 years old in the historic Pikes Place Market in downtown Seattle. I modified the recipe’s seasoning, and have used a variety of toppings.  It is delicious served with fresh fruit.

Mary Ann’s Favorite Morning Casserole

Prepare the day before:

16 slices white bread (thin slice) with crusts trimmed

16 slices Canadian bacon

16 slices sharp cheddar cheese

6  large eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

3 cups whole milk

1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

For topping  – add the next morning before baking

1/2 cup butter

1 cup crushed cornflakes or other unsweetened cereal of your choice

 

In a large Pyrex baking dish (9X13 inch), place 8 of the bread slices. On top of this, layer all slices of Canadian bacon. Then ladd all slices of cheese. Place remaining 8 slices of bread on top.  In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs, then add milk, all seasonings, onion and green pepper. Pour evenly over the layers of bread, cheese, and Canadian Bacon, pressing slightly with back of spoon.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter and drizzle evenly over top of casserole.  Crush cornflakes and sprinkle on top.  Bake uncovered for 1 hour.  Remove from oven, let stand for about 10 minutes, and serve.

Cook’s notes:  I like to stand my stick of butter in a small ceramic cream pitcher or pyrex liquid measuring cup and microwave for 1 minute or until melted.  Then it is easy to drizzle the melted butter evenly on top of the casserole.  For the crushed cornflakes, place cereal in a Ziploc bag and crush with the heel of your hand on top of counter. Easy!

Red Pepper and Gruyere Quiche

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Quiche is a perfect dish for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner! It is also a true mix and match recipe, combining eggs, milk, cheese, vegetables, or meat of your choice plus infinite possibilities of seasonings. Add to that ease of preparation when you use an already prepared pastry crust, and you can’t ask for anything that is more worth adding to your list of go-to recipes. This is one of my favorite combinations:  Gruyere cheese and sliced red peppers from our garden.

Red Pepper and Gruyere Quiche

1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper

1 cup (packed) grated Gruyere cheese

3  large eggs

1 cup milk or half and half

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

nutmeg for sprinkling on top if desired

1 prepared pie crust (I use Pillsbury refrigerated rolls of pie crust)

Bring pie crust to room temperature (about 15 minutes) and place in 9 inch Pyrex pie dish. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Put pie crust in dish on cookie sheet. Place red bell pepper rings on bottom of pie crust, sprinkle Gruyere on top. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, adding milk, salt, pepper, and thyme. Pour over peppers and cheese and sprinkle with nutmeg if desired. Place on middle shelf in preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the egg mixture is set. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve this with a mixed green salad or fruit. Heat leftover Quiche in the oven or serve at room temperature.

 

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Pork Chops with Apple Chutney

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We have been enjoying cool evenings and simple hearty suppers. This skillet meal is perfect served alone or with a baguette and a tossed green salad.

Pork Chops with Apple Chutney 

4 boneless center cut pork chops

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

salt and pepper

Apple Chutney:

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

salt

red pepper flakes to taste

2 large apples peeled, cored, and chopped

1/4 cup dried cranberries

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat coconut oil in an iron skillet  Add pork chops seasoned with salt and pepper. Brown pork chops 1-3 minutes on both sides, remove from pan, and set aside.  In the same pan, add chutney ingredients, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan with wooden spoon. Cook, stirring for 15 or 20 minutes,  until  apples begin to soften  Tuck pork chops into chutney, making sure all the pork chops are covered. Place iron skillet in oven. Bake 25 minutes, or until pork is cooked through. Serve from skillet garnished with fresh mint or basil.

 

Mediterranean Baked Squash

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A trip to a local Farmers’ Market recently yielded some beautiful late season summer squash – yellow crook-neck and deep green zucchini. By adding the yellow, red, and purple peppers plus herbs from our garden, this easy to bake dish is full of flavor as well as color. It is a ratatouille style dish but does not include eggplant. I made it twice last week, once for our table, and once to take to a choir potluck supper. It was well received at both places!

Mediterranean Baked Squash

2 large yellow squash, sliced in thin rounds

2 large zucchini, sliced in thin rounds

2 cups crushed tomatoes

1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus additional for drizzling on top

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 red pepper, sliced

1 purple or green pepper, sliced

1 yellow pepper, sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced

fresh basil, chopped

fresh or dried thyme

sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside of baking dish top

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray baking dish with cooking spray. Spread crushed tomatoes over bottom of dish.  Add olive oil, onions, and garlic and stir to blend.  Layer squash and peppers with alternating colors, starting at edges of the dish and working toward center, overlapping slightly.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and cracker pepper, basil and thyme.

Place parchment paper cut to fit inside baking dish on top of vegetables and bake for 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender but not mushy. Remove parchment and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

Avocado Soup

IMG_0789I have served avocado soup for bridal luncheons, as a starter for guest dinners, along with grilled chicken, and simply as a treat to enjoy as a light lunch all by itself or with chicken salad. There are many variations, but this one is adapted from The Best from Helen Corbitt’s Kchens, edited by Patty Vineyard MacDonald..  It is best served very cold.

Avocado Soup

3 ripe avocados

4 Tablespoons butter

4 Tablespoons flour

2 cups milk

2 cups half and half

Zest of 1 orange

1/2 orange to cut into small pieces for garnish

sea salt

Melt butter, add flour, and cook, stirring until it begins to bubble. Add milk plus half and half slowly. Cook, stirring until mixture begins to thicken and is very smooth. Set aside to cool while you prepare avocados  Peel and mash avocados, and add to the white sauce.  Stir in orange zest.. Carefully lower immersion blender into mixture and blend until smooth.  Chill, and serve with orange bits on top.

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Cinnamon Apples

IMG_0847Cool fall evenings call for autumnal dishes.  This is one of my favorite sides for roasted or grilled pork as well as chicken – and nothing makes the whole house smell better than apples and cinnamon browning in a little butter. You can use any variety of apple you prefer, but this photo gleams with the yellow skins of Ginger Gold apples. Of course you may peel the apples if you wish. Add brown sugar if you want a bit of sweet. You may even decide to use this as a dessert or a wonderful addition to brunch.

3 or 4 apples, cored and sliced.  Granny Smith or Ginger Gold work well.

2 Tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon good quality ground cinnamon (I use Penzey’s Indonesian or Vietnamese Cinnamon)

brown sugar (optional)

Heat a 10 inch heavy skillet,  melt butter, and add apples, tossing to coat in butter.

Sprinkle cinnamon over apples. Stir gently as apples cook just until softened.