Is it really only 13 days until Thanksgiving? Somehow that just doesn’t seem possible. I don’t know if it is because we have had a bit of an Indian Summer week in Chicago which allowed me to commute without any outerwear (no! coat! on November 11th!) and run in shorts and a tee. This year, rather than visiting Dave’s family like in years past, we are heading to Florida to visit my Dad’s side of the family. It will be the first time for Dave to meet most of this part of my family and some cousins I haven’t seen since I was in elementary school. And there may be some beach walking and cute town visiting. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the holiday. I’m starting to compile a list of recipes that I want to make in Florida and the first one of my list is this Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Dates that I made last year. I got the recipe from one of my past Gourmet (sob!) magazines and it is a keeper. If you are in need of a little change to your cranberry sauce, give this recipe a try. Also really great on some greek yogurt for breakfast as leftover.
Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Dates
Recipe adapted from Gourmet: November 2008
•1 cup water
•1 1/4 cups sugar
•3 strips orange zest
•1 cup fresh orange juice
•3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
•1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
•1 cup coarsely chopped pitted dates* (6 ounces), divided
•2 (12-ounce) bags cranberries (thawed if frozen), divided
*Dates are a little tricky to chop because they get so sticky so this is how I do it: make a slice in the date lengthwise and pull out the pit. Then cut the date into long strips. Then gather a few strips together and slice again to make smaller bits. Wipe the knife down with hot water to get of the gunk if it gets too sticky.
Simmer water, sugar, zest, juice, vinegar, and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring, 3 minutes. Add half of dates and half of cranberries and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cranberries begin to burst, about 7 minutes. Stir in remaining dates and cranberries and simmer until remaining cranberries begin to burst, about 7 minutes more. Serve at room temperature
Holiday season is upon us. The Salvation Army bell ringers have set up on Wells by my apartment. Christmas decorations fill the stores. Thanksgiving Menus are being finalized and shopping lists created. For the first time in my life I am getting to enjoy the holidays without finals looming, outlines to write and papers/memos to finalize. Needless to say, I’m feeling the holiday cheer. I’m sure that you have read about people’s turkey methods, pumpkin pie masterpieces and creative uses for the cranberry. However, I am hear to tell you about a simple recipe that you could whip up to have as munchies in the kitchen while cooking your feast. Continue reading
Saturday marks the last day that Green City is outdoors (and right outside my apartment). Luckily the market continues on throughout the winter, but it moves 8 blocks north which requires a chilly walk, bus or bike ride to attend. Although I have been enjoying the colors of fall and the thoughts of the upcoming holiday season, I will admit that it is going to be sad to no longer have the late summer produce explosion of the market to be inspired by. I did prepare a little bit by stuffing my freezer full of pitted sour cherries and sweet corn cut from the cob that will surely brighten a mid-winter day. Last week I was excited to see a new fall arrival to the markets: cranberries. Continue reading
As I am sure you have heard by now Conde Nast is shutting down Gourmet magazine. I have subscribed to Gourmet for just over a year (as well as a handful of other magazines including Bon Appetit and Vanity Fair) and I have to say that the news made me very sad today. I know that there are plenty of magazines to fill the void (Saveur, Cooks Illustrated, Fine Cooking), I looked forward to starting my collection of Gourmets to have tucked onto a shelf in my dream kitchen, to eventually pass onto my daughter some day. Sadly that collection will just be 15 issues.
Last week when I was having my “totally homemade meal” kick, I also knew that I wanted to make pasta dough and transform it into ravioli. Homemade pasta is one of those things that is just so remarkably different from its dried counterpart that it should be in a category all on its own. While I appreciate the ease and simplicity of tossing a bag of penne into a pot of boiling salted water and topping it with a little garlic and olive oil, I also really love the process of mixing some eggs into flour and after some time and some coaxing, eating a plate of homemade pasta. Continue reading
Do you remember that song “Peaches” by The Presidents of the United States? Every time I see a big bowl of peaches the “millions of peaches” lyric pops into my head and I am suddenly transformed back to 5th grade. Peaches have now become my quintessential summertime fruit. Easy to wrap up in a napkin and toss in my purse or my new bike basket. Last night I was flipping through a Gourmet and came on a recipe for a Stone Fruit Tea Cake that just sounded too perfect. I had a bowl of peaches in my table, an hour to kill, and a lunch with one of my favorite people who is finally back in Chicago after a summer in Seattle filled with wedding craziness.
Happy 4th of July! I hope that you are out at a BBQ or watching a parade and gearing up for a night full of fireworks. Growing up the 4th of July holiday was always a hot and steamy affair. It would start with a July 3rd night at the Pavilion for the free concert complete with picnics and real cannons for the 1812 Overture. The next morning was the parade where I would dress up my bike with patriotic streamers and ride with the Indian Spring Village Float. The afternoon would be filled with cold watermelon, swimming pools and BBQ. Ended with a fireworks display over the golf course and the lake. I am unfortunately “celebrating” with some Contracts and Real Property review (but maybe I will throw in some Con Law for good measure) on a somewhat rainy and cloudy 4th. Today wasn’t a total bust because the farmers were out bright and early this morning at Green City. Continue reading
Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Farmer's Market, Holiday, Recipe
Tagged Breakfast, Brunch, Cake, Dessert, Gourmet, Holiday, Raspberries, Recipe, Summer
After receiving 3 bags of the famous Rancho Gordo beans from Dave for Valentine’s, I had to search out a recipe that was worthy of one of the bags. Continue reading
Within a few days of booking my flight home to TX, my March Gourmet had an article about Central Texas kolaches in Good Living: Road Food. I always knew about The Village Bakery in West, Texas (yes, the town of West not the directional region) because it was on the 1-35 route between Ft. Worth and Waco that I traveled many times sophomore year. But I had forgotten that the Czechs had settled in areas with the Germans in Central Texas, including La Grange where we were staying the night before heading south to Shiner. After mentioning to my friends that I was going to have to try out a bunch of Kolaches, I realized that Kolaches aren’t a commonly known thing in the Northeast (CT, PA) Georgia or Missouri. Who knew?
We first tried out the goods at Weikel’s Store and Bakery on the 71 bypass but we had heard from a local that theses were just not the best in town.
I tried a cheese, poppy-seed and cheery. The dough was just like I remembered a kolache tasting and I did enjoy the cheese. However, the poppy-seed was just a little odd in my opinion.
The next morning, we hit up the “better” bakery on the square surrounding the courthouse. Lukas was the real deal.
We decided to stock up on a bunch of their famous pigs in the blanket, which I currently have in the freezer for a rainy day. We also bought some homemade Krenek’s Bohemian Noodles which I will have to find a worthy soup to toss them in. But of course, we had to try the kolaches.
These were fantastic. They had a greater filling to dough ratio which made for a more satisfying treat. You could also tell that they used real fruit because they weren’t overly sweet and were more complex.
My favorite was the cheese. It was almost a cottage cheese with a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon. Fantastic.
Dear Gourmet, this is where you should go for kolaches in La Grange.
My Mom enjoyed the apricot. If you ever find yourself wanting to spend a day exploring La Grange and the other small towns in central TX, make sure to hit up Lukas Bakery for breakfast. You won’t regret it.
Ever since I tried a bag of Pasta Puttana’s fresh pasta this summer, I have wanted to learn how to make it myself. However, I knew that it would take an investment in at least some sort of pasta roller, so it wasn’t until recently that I was able to finally give it a try myself. I treated myself to an attachment set for Ethel (my beautiful KitchenAid) for Christmas when the Amazon price went down to the lowest I had ever seen plus a 25% rebate. And I made a resolution of sorts to try it out in the near future.
Gourmet also has up a very helpful instructional video that takes you through the steps of making the dough, rolling it into sheets, and then cutting into noodles. I also decided to use this recipe with my “perfect pasta” flour blend that I ordered from the King Arthur website. The dough came together surprisingly easily.
After letting the dough rest for an hour, I tested out the new attachments to create the noodles.
After cutting the noodles, we hung them on this really cool pasta drying rack that I also bought with the attachments. In just over 2 hours, I had successfully turned eggs and flour into pasta. How sweet is that?
We cut half with the fettuccine cutters and the other half with the spaghetti sized cutters.
We decided to use the spaghetti for dinner (with mushrooms, garlic, parm, and red pepper flakes) and threw the fettuccine into a ziploc and stuck it in the freezer. I will let you know how it tastes after freezing. Let me just say, that the homemade pasta was FANTASTIC. It is not even comparable to store-bought dried. Not that I will stop eating dried pasta for a quick meal, but it really is worth taking the time to make some fresh pasta from scratch. I can’t wait to try this technique in ravioli or lasagna, especially this one.