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November 2004
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February 2005

Bachelors Fruit!

2003_0419fruit0010

This is one of those recipes that could just as easily fall under the "Love Potion's" category, but I think that it belongs here! It's called "bachelors fruit" , although I've never been sure why! Perhaps, on a chilly winters eve, it was enough company along with a good fire and a snoring dog! I love to make it for Christmas, as it's really very pretty! I usually start in the summer as the seasonal fruit is ripening and add layers as I go. By December it's jewel like and very potent!

Take a large glass jar (about 3 gallons!) and wash it well. Then you can begin to play with whatever fruit you find in season. Raspberries, Grapes, peaches, nectarines.....everything finds it's way into the jar! (except for melons which get a bit weird!) Cover each layer with really good vodka  or brandy, whatever you like. Add some sugar to each layer as well! For fun I add some spice, and actually  pre-packaged mulling spices work well for this purpose. Have fun and keep adding, and oh this works best if the peaches, pears and fruits with thick skins are peeled.

By Christmastime it's usually ready and you can strain it and use the alcohol for  a fancy drink, or you can serve the delicious fruit as a compote with some amazing vanilla bean ice cream!

Oh and if you add cranberries, it will turn a beautiful shade of holiday red!


Bachelors Fruit!

2003_0419fruit0010

This is one of those recipes that could just as easily fall under the "Love Potion's" category, but I think that it belongs here! It's called "bachelors fruit" , although I've never been sure why! Perhaps, on a chilly winters eve, it was enough company along with a good fire and a snoring dog! I love to make it for Christmas, as it's really very pretty! I usually start in the summer as the seasonal fruit is ripening and add layers as I go. By December it's jewel like and very potent!

Take a large glass jar (about 3 gallons!) and wash it well. Then you can begin to play with whatever fruit you find in season. Raspberries, Grapes, peaches, nectarines.....everything finds it's way into the jar! (except for melons which get a bit weird!) Cover each layer with really good vodka  or brandy, whatever you like. Add some sugar to each layer as well! For fun I add some spice, and actually  pre-packaged mulling spices work well for this purpose. Have fun and keep adding, and oh this works best if the peaches, pears and fruits with thick skins are peeled.

By Christmastime it's usually ready and you can strain it and use the alcohol for  a fancy drink, or you can serve the delicious fruit as a compote with some amazing vanilla bean ice cream!

Oh and if you add cranberries, it will turn a beautiful shade of holiday red!


Cream cheese, Pecan & Potato Dip/Soup/Casserole!

Sometimes, a really good recipe is born out of a total failure! The other day, I was making one of my favorite dips to take to a party and I forgot to rinse the dried beef, rendering the dip way too salty! I had quite alot of it though and rather than throw it out, I found another use for it! I'll give you the dip recipe first, and then tell you what I did to turn it into this potato casserole which my family and friends pronounced "sublime"!

I was reminded of my favorite story about Letitia Baldridge, the executive party planner for the White House who dropped a huge chocolate cake on the floor one evening about ten minutes before dessert was to be served! Being a very creative hostess and needing dessert, she scooped it up and put it into individual footed cut crystal glasses mixed with alot of whipped cream. Add a few chocolate curls and she had a gorgeous dessert with no one (including the President!) any wiser!

For the dip you will need:

1 package of dried beef

1 pint of sour cream

1 pint of scallion and chive cream cheese (not whipped)

1 tablespoon of dried tarragon

1/4 cup of marsala wine

Pecan halves, toasted in a 350 degree oven with butter

RInse the dried beef, and cut into thin slices with a scissors, and place in a bowl. Add the sour cream, cream cheese, tarragon, wine and mix well. Place into a baking dish and cover with the pecan halves. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until bubbly. This is really good served with a dense brown bread or something wonderfully chewy with lots of seeds!

To turn this into a casserole, all you need to do is add some frozen organic shredded potatoes. Mix the whole thing together and put into a baking dish topped with some asiago cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes and serve. It is absolutely delicious and just the thing to serve with a roast of beef or pork. It could also be a great potato and cheese soup if you added some chicken broth and maybe a few sliced,butter browned leeks and a cup or two of whole milk.

An important thing to note is that the reason that this worked so well is that I used potatoes to neutralize the salt from the dried beef. Whenever you have a soup or stew  that is too salty, a  few potaoes diced and thrown in will take care of that problem!


Cream cheese, Pecan & Potato Dip/Soup/Casserole!

Sometimes, a really good recipe is born out of a total failure! The other day, I was making one of my favorite dips to take to a party and I forgot to rinse the dried beef, rendering the dip way too salty! I had quite alot of it though and rather than throw it out, I found another use for it! I'll give you the dip recipe first, and then tell you what I did to turn it into this potato casserole which my family and friends pronounced "sublime"!

I was reminded of my favorite story about Letitia Baldridge, the executive party planner for the White House who dropped a huge chocolate cake on the floor one evening about ten minutes before dessert was to be served! Being a very creative hostess and needing dessert, she scooped it up and put it into individual footed cut crystal glasses mixed with alot of whipped cream. Add a few chocolate curls and she had a gorgeous dessert with no one (including the President!) any wiser!

For the dip you will need:

1 package of dried beef

1 pint of sour cream

1 pint of scallion and chive cream cheese (not whipped)

1 tablespoon of dried tarragon

1/4 cup of marsala wine

Pecan halves, toasted in a 350 degree oven with butter

RInse the dried beef, and cut into thin slices with a scissors, and place in a bowl. Add the sour cream, cream cheese, tarragon, wine and mix well. Place into a baking dish and cover with the pecan halves. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until bubbly. This is really good served with a dense brown bread or something wonderfully chewy with lots of seeds!

To turn this into a casserole, all you need to do is add some frozen organic shredded potatoes. Mix the whole thing together and put into a baking dish topped with some asiago cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes and serve. It is absolutely delicious and just the thing to serve with a roast of beef or pork. It could also be a great potato and cheese soup if you added some chicken broth and maybe a few sliced,butter browned leeks and a cup or two of whole milk.

An important thing to note is that the reason that this worked so well is that I used potatoes to neutralize the salt from the dried beef. Whenever you have a soup or stew  that is too salty, a  few potaoes diced and thrown in will take care of that problem!


Chicken with Honey and Peaches

J0227651 Tonight when I went over to my parents house, there was the most incredible aroma wafting from the kitchen. My mother is a fabulous cook, always inventing new and unusual recipes for chicken. I begged her for the recipe so as much as I would like to take the credit  , I simply have to give it where it's due! One bite of this immediately transported me back to my childhood, a place where dinner was always by candlelight and tasted incredibly good after a long school day. Serve this chicken with steamed snap peas dressed with a little butter. Yummmm!

What you'll need:

4  boneless chicken breasts

Orange flower honey

Hellmans Mayonnaise (The only mayonnaise!)

Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1 can of sliced peaches in juice

A dusting of cardamon for love

Rub the chicken breasts with the mayonnaise and roll them in the bread crumbs until they are well coated. Place them in a cast iron pan (no oil necessary) with a handle and put them in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes on each side. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a burner and add the drained peaches. Finish cooking (about 20 more minutes) and in the last 5 minutes drizzle the chicken with the honey and cook until golden brown. Sprinkle with the cardamon and serve, basting with the pan juices.


Chicken with Honey and Peaches

J0227651 Tonight when I went over to my parents house, there was the most incredible aroma wafting from the kitchen. My mother is a fabulous cook, always inventing new and unusual recipes for chicken. I begged her for the recipe so as much as I would like to take the credit  , I simply have to give it where it's due! One bite of this immediately transported me back to my childhood, a place where dinner was always by candlelight and tasted incredibly good after a long school day. Serve this chicken with steamed snap peas dressed with a little butter. Yummmm!

What you'll need:

4  boneless chicken breasts

Orange flower honey

Hellmans Mayonnaise (The only mayonnaise!)

Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1 can of sliced peaches in juice

A dusting of cardamon for love

Rub the chicken breasts with the mayonnaise and roll them in the bread crumbs until they are well coated. Place them in a cast iron pan (no oil necessary) with a handle and put them in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes on each side. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a burner and add the drained peaches. Finish cooking (about 20 more minutes) and in the last 5 minutes drizzle the chicken with the honey and cook until golden brown. Sprinkle with the cardamon and serve, basting with the pan juices.


Peter's favorite Eggnog!

2003_0430yule0054 My brother in law Peter is a lovely, quiet, very laid back research scientist. 363 days of the year he is a semi -strict vegetarian, who hardly ever touches alcohol, except (I think!) when he is in Paris! However on Christmas day and Solstice eve, he has been known to sweetly beg for this eggnog, and being the doll that he is, I never refuse to make it for him! It's wonderful when served in a punchbowl surrounded by spicy, fragrant yuletide greenery! You can make the recipe from scratch if you desire, but frankly, when the organic eggnogs that are sold in the markets are so good why bother (and you have the added bonus of not having to worry about raw eggs!)!

All you will need is :

3 quarts of organic eggnog (It does need to be organic, the others have all kinds of strange things in them!)

About 2 cups of really good rum! I personally love the Captain Morgan's special reserve for this recipe. It's already infused with spices and vanilla....practically perfume! ( And I have been known to use it as such!)

Lots of creme chantilly that has been infused with vanilla extract, sugar syrup and some rum flavoring.

A liberal sprinkling of ,

Nutmeg for joy and good luck, Cinnamon for love and prosperity and Allspice for good health throughout the year!

The recipe itself is quite easy, simply put the eggnog into a punch bowl and whisk in the rum. Ladle the creme chantilly onto the eggnog so that it looks like fluffy clouds of cream, sprinkle with the spices and serve. You will need to add more cream on top as the evening unfolds because the creme chantilly gets folded into the eggnog, making it AMAZING! Serve in a lovely punch or tea cup with a kiss and a wish!


A True Roux

J0386420  

"A Roux is a paste of butter and flour that is used to thicken almost everything in Western cooking. A white roux is the base for white, or cream sauces, such as sauce béchamel, used with chicken, vegetables and fish. A brown roux is the base for much cajun creole cooking and for many rich casseroles."Cooksrecipes.com

The time allowed for the cooking determines the basic flavor and color of the roux. What is necessary to remember is that the roux can burn very easily. Simply start with 1/2 a stick of butter and melt it and then add some  saucing flour. You will know when you have the correct amount of flour , as the roux will have a sheen to it, but will not be a lumpy paste. Stir the roux with a fork or a small whisk the entire time to keep lumps from forming. Then just keep whisking occasionally while the roux cooks. It will get darker as it cooks, and depending on the type of sauce that you are creating you'll need to watch for it's doneness. I use a roux as the base for almost everything from cheese sauce and soup to gravy. It's a wonderful technique to learn and it only takes a couple of tries to perfect. When the roux is done, the  liquid ingredients are added to it, (cream, milk, broth etc.) and the flavouring ingredients (cheese, seasonings,meat ,vegetables etc.) are added last.


Peter's favorite Eggnog!

2003_0430yule0054 My brother in law Peter is a lovely, quiet, very laid back research scientist. 363 days of the year he is a semi -strict vegetarian, who hardly ever touches alcohol, except (I think!) when he is in Paris! However on Christmas day and Solstice eve, he has been known to sweetly beg for this eggnog, and being the doll that he is, I never refuse to make it for him! It's wonderful when served in a punchbowl surrounded by spicy, fragrant yuletide greenery! You can make the recipe from scratch if you desire, but frankly, when the organic eggnogs that are sold in the markets are so good why bother (and you have the added bonus of not having to worry about raw eggs!)!

All you will need is :

3 quarts of organic eggnog (It does need to be organic, the others have all kinds of strange things in them!)

About 2 cups of really good rum! I personally love the Captain Morgan's special reserve for this recipe. It's already infused with spices and vanilla....practically perfume! ( And I have been known to use it as such!)

Lots of creme chantilly that has been infused with vanilla extract, sugar syrup and some rum flavoring.

A liberal sprinkling of ,

Nutmeg for joy and good luck, Cinnamon for love and prosperity and Allspice for good health throughout the year!

The recipe itself is quite easy, simply put the eggnog into a punch bowl and whisk in the rum. Ladle the creme chantilly onto the eggnog so that it looks like fluffy clouds of cream, sprinkle with the spices and serve. You will need to add more cream on top as the evening unfolds because the creme chantilly gets folded into the eggnog, making it AMAZING! Serve in a lovely punch or tea cup with a kiss and a wish!


A True Roux

J0386420  

"A Roux is a paste of butter and flour that is used to thicken almost everything in Western cooking. A white roux is the base for white, or cream sauces, such as sauce béchamel, used with chicken, vegetables and fish. A brown roux is the base for much cajun creole cooking and for many rich casseroles."Cooksrecipes.com

The time allowed for the cooking determines the basic flavor and color of the roux. What is necessary to remember is that the roux can burn very easily. Simply start with 1/2 a stick of butter and melt it and then add some  saucing flour. You will know when you have the correct amount of flour , as the roux will have a sheen to it, but will not be a lumpy paste. Stir the roux with a fork or a small whisk the entire time to keep lumps from forming. Then just keep whisking occasionally while the roux cooks. It will get darker as it cooks, and depending on the type of sauce that you are creating you'll need to watch for it's doneness. I use a roux as the base for almost everything from cheese sauce and soup to gravy. It's a wonderful technique to learn and it only takes a couple of tries to perfect. When the roux is done, the  liquid ingredients are added to it, (cream, milk, broth etc.) and the flavouring ingredients (cheese, seasonings,meat ,vegetables etc.) are added last.