Sharing a seriously fun love for food

Category: Holidays

Lime Tartlets

Lime Tartlets

Start with crispy phyllo shells, follow with a dusting of graham cracker crumbs sprinkled across the bottom. Add a spoonful of tart and sweet creamy lime curd then top with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. It’s a tiny bite that packs a punch of spring flavor!

Key lime pie is a favorite in our family and though you can’t always find key limes, the more commonly found Persian lime provides a beautiful bright tang perfect for these little tartlets. Lime curd is ridiculously easy to make in a Vitamix.

Egg yolks and sugar are combined with the juice and zest of fresh limes then butter for that creaminess you look for in a citrus curd.

The result is a rich custard-like dessert sauce that will amaze your taste buds!

This recipe for lime curd makes about three cups. And though you can use this delicious topping on pound cake or even ice cream, scooping it into these delightful little phyllo shells creates a bite size dessert that is a great addition to your Easter or springtime dessert tray.

These little shells made by Athens Foods are always in my freezer and if you follow us you’ve seen them pop up in our recipes. We discovered them a number of years ago and use them with both sweet and savory fillings. Crisp up the shells then layer the bottom with graham cracker crumbs.

Follow with the star attraction – that gorgeous lime curd. And for fun, gently cut graham crackers into tiny “sticks”.

Then top with a touch of whipped cream and finish garnishing with a small wedge of lime.

You can whip up the lime curd in advance and let it chill in the fridge overnight. Then shortly before it’s time for dessert, a quick assembly and you’re ready to wow your guests!

Lime Tartlets

For the lime curd:

6 extra-large eggs* yolks

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons lime zest, about 5 limes, if it’s a little less than 2 tablespoons, no worries

1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, about 5 limes – if it’s a little less than 1 cup no worries.

¾ cup butter, cut into pieces and set at room temperature for about 15 minutes

Add the egg yolks into the container of a Vitamix.

Pour in the sugar and the lime juice. Start blending on low speed then raise to high speed and blend for 1 minute.

Add the lime zest then with the blender on low speed remove the plug from the lid and add the pieces of butter.

Raise the speed to high and blend for 5 minutes. Pour the hot lime curd into a heatproof dish.

Place a sheet of food wrap directly on top of the lime curd then cover with another sheet. This prevents a film from developing on the lime curd.Let cool slightly then refrigerate until the curd is set, about 6 hours or overnight.

The lime curd can be served warm – if you can’t wait until it’s chilled!

For the lime tartlets:

1 package Athens phyllo shells

½ cup graham cracker crumbs

About 1 cup lime curd

1 to 2 whole graham crackers, cut into “sticks”

1 cup sweetened whipped cream

1 lime cut into thin slices, then into small wedges for garnish – optional

Place the phyllo shells on a baking sheet and heat for 5 minutes at 350-degrees. Let the shells cool then sprinkle about ½ teaspoon of the graham cracker crumbs across the bottom of the shells.

Add enough lime curd to just fill the shell. This can be filled about 2 to 3 hours in advance then garnish before serving.

Garnish with a graham cracker “stick”, add a dollop of whipped cream and a tiny wedge of lime. To keep the tartlets from sliding around on your serving platter spread a thin layer of graham cracker crumbs on it.

*The Vitamix will heat soups and sauces to a temperature between 170-degrees and 200-degrees, so be careful when you remove the lid. If you’re concerned about using raw eggs you can use pasteurized eggs – they can be found in the dairy case of your food market.

Makes about 2-2/3 cups of lime curd.

Lime Tartlets, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

April 12, 2019
: Makes 15 tartlets, about 2-2/3 cups lime curd.

Start with crispy phyllo shells, follow with a dusting of graham cracker crumbs sprinkled across the bottom. Add a spoonful of tart and sweet creamy lime curd then top with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. It’s a tiny bite that packs a punch of spring flavor!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the lime curd:
  • 6 extra-large eggs* yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime zest, about 5 limes, if it’s a little less than 2 tablespoons, no worries
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, about 5 limes – if it’s a little less than 1 cup no worries.
  • ¾ cup butter, cut into pieces and set at room temperature for about 15 minutes
  • For the lime tartlets:
  • 1 package Athens phyllo shells
  • ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • About 1 cup lime curd
  • 1 to 2 whole graham crackers, cut into “sticks”, optional
  • 1 cup sweetened whipped cream
  • 1 lime cut into thin slices, then into small wedges for garnish - optional
Directions
  • Step 1 For the lime curd:
  • Step 2 Add the egg yolks into the container of a Vitamix.
  • Step 3 Pour in the sugar and the lime juice. Start blending on low speed then raise to high speed and blend for 1 minute.
  • Step 4 Add the lime zest then with the blender on low speed remove the plug from the lid and add the pieces of butter.
  • Step 5 Raise the speed to high and blend for 5 minutes.
  • Step 6 Pour the hot lime curd into a heatproof dish. Place a sheet of food wrap directly on top of the lime curd then cover with another sheet. This prevents a film from developing on the lime curd. Let cool slightly then refrigerate until the curd is set, about 6 hours or overnight.
  • Step 7 The lime curd can be served warm – if you can’t wait until it’s chilled!
  • Step 8 For the lime tartlets:
  • Step 9 Place the phyllo shells on a baking sheet and heat for 5 minutes at 350-degrees.
  • Step 10 Let the shells cool then sprinkle about ½ teaspoon of the graham cracker crumbs across the bottom of the shells.
  • Step 11 Add enough lime curd to just fill the shell. This can be filled about 2 to 3 hours in advance then garnish before serving.
  • Step 12 Garnish with a graham cracker “stick”, add a dollop of whipped cream and a tiny wedge of lime. To keep the tartlets from sliding around on your serving platter spread a thin layer of graham cracker crumbs on it.
  • Step 13 *The Vitamix will heat soups and sauces to a temperature between 170-degrees and 200-degrees, so be careful when you remove the lid. If you’re concerned about using raw eggs you can use pasteurized eggs – they can be found in the dairy case of your food market.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Sweet red strawberries dipped in dark, rich chocolate – simply scrumptious!

And they are perfect for Valentine’s Day! If Cupid’s holiday has snuck up on you and you find yourself in need of something delicious for the special ones in your life – this might be your answer. It’s easy and the results are delectable. So swing by the market, grab some fresh ripe strawberries and a bag of chocolate chips. Magic is within your reach!

When I was catering with my sweet friend Jane, we made hundreds of chocolate dipped strawberries and they were always a hit! I’ve read a lot about tempering chocolate but honestly most of us simply don’t have the time to become chocolatiers. (Though that would be a fabulous job!) This method of making chocolate covered strawberries is ridiculously simple and only requires a few simple steps. The ingredients are very basic – fresh strawberries and chocolate chips. Yep, that’s it. I use bittersweet chocolate but if you prefer semi-sweet or dark chocolate, by all means use your favorite.

When buying strawberries, look for berries that are ripe and really red, especially towards the top – this is the only part of the berry that will show once they’re dipped in chocolate.

Start by washing the strawberries then spread them out on a thick towel to dry. And before you start dipping them in chocolate gently dry each berry with a paper towel – you want to make certain they are really dry. This is the most tedious part of the process but it’s really important. Water is not a friend to melted chocolate. When water gets into melted chocolate it will cause it to seize and become a hot mess.

When melting chocolate go low and slow. Overheating can scorch chocolate turning it bitter and take away its smooth, glossy sheen. You can melt chocolate in the microwave, but the same rules apply – low and slow. Either way, keep an eye on it and stir it frequently. On the stovetop it only takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

Once the berries are dry and your chocolate has melted, then gently hold those red beauties by their stem or leaves and dip into the chocolate goodness.

At this point you can leave the strawberries simply draped in chocolate or grab your kids – or the kid in you- and add your favorite sprinkles.

Give the berries a quick chill to set and they’re ready eat! 

A perfect sweet treat for any special person in your life this Valentine’s Day – young or old!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

1 package bittersweet, semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, 10-ounces

2 quarts fresh strawberries, rinsed and dried thoroughly

Pour the chocolate chips into a small saucepan.

Place the pan over low heat, stirring as the chips melt. As soon as most of the chocolate chips have melted remove the pan from the heat. Continue stirring and the remaining chips will melt in the warm chocolate.

Holding a strawberry by the leaves or stem, gently dip it into the melted chocolate covering about 2/3 of the berry.

Place the chocolate covered berries on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper. You can add sprinkles, dragées or sanding sugar to the chocolate dipped strawberries. Simply sprinkle them onto the chocolate as soon as you transfer the berries to the baking sheet, while the chocolate is still very soft.

Chill until the chocolate sets, about 30 minutes to an hour. Makes 3 to 4 dozen chocolate covered strawberries. You can keep any leftover berries wrapped and chilled.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

February 13, 2019
: Makes 3 to 4 dozen chocolate covered strawberries.

Sweet red strawberries dipped in dark, rich chocolate. Scrumptious!

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 package bittersweet, semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, 10-ounces
  • 2 quarts fresh strawberries, rinsed and dried thoroughly
Directions
  • Step 1 Pour the chocolate chips into a small saucepan. Place the pan over low heat, stirring as the chips melt.
  • Step 2 As soon as most of the chocolate chips have melted remove the pan from the heat. Continue stirring and the remaining chips will melt in the warm chocolate.
  • Step 3 Holding a strawberry by the leaves or stem, gently dip it into the melted chocolate covering about ¾ of the berry.
  • Step 4 Place the chocolate covered berries on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper.
  • Step 5 You can add sprinkles, dragées or sanding sugar to the chocolate dipped strawberries. Simply sprinkle them onto the chocolate as soon as you transfer the berries to the baking sheet, while the chocolate is still very soft.
  • Step 6 Chill until the chocolate sets, about 30 minutes to an hour. You can keep any leftover berries wrapped and chilled.
Bubbly Cocktails! The Perfect Way to Ring in the New Year!

Bubbly Cocktails! The Perfect Way to Ring in the New Year!

New Year’s is the perfect time to pop a cork and break out the bubbly! But with a twist or two these cocktails turn up the fun on the traditional sparkling wine adding notes of citrus and just an extra touch of sweetness!

The first bubbly beverage is the Amsterdam 75 Cocktail. This delightful beverage blends a splash of gin with simple syrup, fresh lemon juice then it’s topped with champagne or prosecco. My favorite gin is Plymouth – it brings gorgeous tones of juniper, coriander and cardamom to the party making for a tasty bouquet of flavor in your glass.

A quick shake of ice to chill the drink then top it with the sparkling wine and a twist of lemon!

 The second is simply known as the Champagne Cocktail. A sparkling sugar cube is drenched with angostura bitters then dropped into the bottom of an elegant fluted glass.

Top with bubbly, garnish with an orange or lemon twist and you’re all set for the perfect toast!

I tend to lean towards a glass of prosecco but if your preference is champagne go with it – either will give you beautiful results. Here’s hoping 2019 brings you joy! Cheers!

Amsterdam 75

For each cocktail:

1-1/2 ounces of good gin, preferably Plymouth

¾ ounce simple syrup

¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 lemon twist

Prosecco, champagne or your favorite sparkling wine

Pour the gin along with the simple syrup and the lemon juice into a cocktail shaker.

Fill the shaker with ice and shake until very cold.

Strain the cocktail into a champagne flute. Top with a splash of Prosecco and garnish with a twist of lemon.

Champagne Cocktail

For each cocktail:

1 cube of sugar

2 dashes angostura bitters

Prosecco, champagne or your favorite sparkling wine

1 orange or lemon twist

Place the cube of sugar on a spoon. Shake the angostura bitters on the sugar and drop the sugar into the bottom of a champagne flute.

Pour in the sparkling wine.

Top with an orange or lemon twist.

If you can’t find cubes of sugar you can make your own.

Sugar Cubes

Mix ¼ cup water with ½ teaspoon water or orange blossom water.

Pack the sugar mixture into small molds or small liners. Let the sugar dry overnight.

Makes 8 molded cubes of sugar.

The Amsterdam 75, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 31, 2018
: One cocktail

A delightful beverage blends a splash of gin with simple syrup, fresh lemon juice then topped with champagne or prosecco.

By:

Ingredients
  • For each cocktail:
  • 1-1/2 ounces of good gin, preferably Plymouth
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 lemon twist
  • Prosecco, champagne or your favorite sparkling wine
Directions
  • Step 1 Pour the gin along with the simple syrup and the lemon juice into a cocktail shaker.
  • Step 2 Fill the shaker with ice and shake until very cold.
  • Step 3 Strain the cocktail into a champagne flute. Top with a splash of Prosecco and garnish with a twist of lemon.

Champagne Cocktail, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 31, 2018
: Makes one cocktail

A sparkly sugar cube drenched with angostura bitters then dropped into the bottom of an elegant fluted glass. Top with bubbly and a twist of citrus!

By:

Ingredients
  • For each cocktail:
  • 1 cube of sugar
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters
  • Prosecco, champagne or your favorite sparkling wine
  • 1 orange or lemon twist
Directions
  • Step 1 Place the cube of sugar on a spoon. Shake the angostura bitters on the sugar and drop the sugar into the bottom of a champagne flute.
  • Step 2 Pour in the sparkling wine.
  • Step 3 Top with an orange or lemon twist.

Sugar Cubes, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 31, 2018
: Makes 8 small molded sugar cubes.

Mix sugar with water or better yet, flavored water to create beautiful cubes of sugar!

By:

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon water or flavored water, such as orange blossom water
Directions
  • Step 1 Mix the sugar and the water together in a small bowl. The mixture will be crumbly.
  • Step 2 Pack the sugar mixture into small molds or small liners. Let the sugar air dry overnight.
  • Step 3 To remove from the molds turn them over and gently tap then squeeze to release in the palm of your hand. To remove from the liners, just pull the paper back away from the sugar cube.
Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine

Magical aromas are simmering on the stove. Spices and citrus fill the air while gently infusing a fruity Pinot Noir!

We’re on top of the magic of Christmas and there’s nothing better to wind down from the hustle and bustle than with a gorgeous mulled wine. Christmas always brings memories of my Mom and though she was raised a devout Baptist this was a beverage she loved.

Mom with my Grandmother, Tassie Mae – who to the best of my knowledge did not partake in mulled wine!

Mulling is such a simple process. Whole cloves and whole allspice simmer along with cinnamon sticks in a light simple syrup. Then thinly sliced lemons are tossed in to steep in the spiced liquid. A bottle of wine is gently warmed, infusing these subtle notes making for a spectacular drink.

A Pinot Noir is a great wine for mulling with its lighter body and fruity notes. But use your favorite red wine. Just remember – the secret to a good mulled wine is to warm the wine gently but never let it boil.

Serve mulled wine in mugs or wine glasses – it’s an elegant way to toast this Christmas Eve!

Mulled Wine

5 whole cloves

5 whole allspice

6 small cinnamon sticks

½ cup sugar

2 cups water

2 lemons, sliced thin

1 bottle Pinot Noir

Place the cloves and the allspice in a small mulling spice ball.

In a saucepan over medium heat, add the sugar and the water, along with the cinnamon sticks and the spices in the mulling ball.

Cook the liquid stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon slices. Cover and let the mixture steep for 20 minutes.

Stir in the wine and return the pan to a medium-low heat. Gently warm the wine but do not allow it to boil.

Ladle the mulled wine into wine glasses or mugs.

 

Mulled Wine, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 24, 2018
: Serves 4.

Magical aromas are simmering on the stove. Spices and citrus fill the air while gently infusing a fruity Pinot Noir!

By:

Ingredients
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 5 whole allspice
  • 6 small cinnamon sticks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 lemons, sliced thin
  • 1 bottle Pinot Noir
Directions
  • Step 1 Place the cloves and the allspice in a small mulling spice ball.
  • Step 2 In a saucepan over medium heat, add the sugar and the water, along with the cinnamon sticks and the spices in the mulling ball.
  • Step 3 Cook the liquid stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Step 4 Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon slices. Cover and let the mixture steep for 20 minutes.
  • Step 5 Stir in the wine and return the pan to a medium-low heat. Gently warm the wine but do not allow it to boil.
  • Step 6 Ladle the mulled wine into wine glasses or mugs.
Spiced Marmalade with Cognac

Spiced Marmalade with Cognac

Tart yet sweet, full of spice and bold flavors plus a beautiful tone of Cognac. This is not your ordinary marmalade!

Every year I make my family’s favorite jams and preserves but occasionally I will add something new to the mix. I stumbled across a version of this recipe in one of my many Bon Appétit books and a personal favorite titled The Christmas Season. The beauty of this recipe lies not only in the flavor but also in its simplicity. Store bought marmalade is spiced and spiked with a unique blend of spices and a subtle layer of sweetness comes from the addition of silky honey. Then a big splash of fine Cognac brings a warm, earthy undertone.

Since the base is marmalade use the best. I make a lot of our jams and jellies but I also pick up favorite flavors at the market. Bonne Maman is my go to – they make some of the finest available. And I seem to always have those sweet little tangelos in my refrigerator this time of year. You can use the peel from these little gems or your favorite orange.

Though this spiced marmalade is wonderful as a spread on your morning crumpet, this delicious twist elevates the flavors making it the perfect condiment for a savory roast turkey sandwich…

Or as a luscious dessert topping for a golden pound cake…

If you’re looking for that last minute Christmas gift – this one is easy and sure to please!

Spiced Marmalade with Cognac

Peel from 1 tangelo or orange

16 whole cloves

4 small cinnamon sticks

4 whole star anise

1 vanilla bean, split open and cut into 4 pieces

½ cup honey

½ cup good Cognac

2 jars quality orange marmalade, 13-ounces each

Before you start you’ll want to have on hand three 8-ounce sterilized jars and lids. A funnel and ladle are also helpful.

Cut the peel from the tangelo, slicing top to bottom into 4 sections. If you’re using an orange, cut the peel into smaller pieces so they will fit into your jars.

With the tip of a sharp knife cut 4 very small holes, spaced evenly along the peel. Insert a whole clove into each hole. Don’t cut the holes too large or the cloves will come out while the marmalade is cooking. You want an opening just large enough to push the clove through.

Combine the cinnamon sticks along with the star anise, the vanilla bean pieces plus the tangelo peel and cloves in a medium saucepan.

Add the honey and the Cognac. Cook over medium heat until the honey and Cognac have cooked down to about ½ cup of liquid, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the marmalade and cook for another 5 minutes to warm through. Stir occasionally while the marmalade cooks.

Place 1 clove-studded tangelo peel along with one cinnamon stick, a star anise and 1 piece of the vanilla bean into each jar.

Ladle the marmalade into the jars, wipe the rims clean and seal with the lids.

Keep the marmalade refrigerated or process the jars in a water bath following the jar manufacturer’s directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and they have great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.

Makes three 8-ounce jars.

Spiced Marmalade with Cognac, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 19, 2018
: Makes three 8-ounce jars

Tart yet sweet, full of spice and bold flavors plus a beautiful tone of Cognac. This is not your ordinary marmalade!

By:

Ingredients
  • Peel from 1 tangelo or orange
  • 16 whole cloves
  • 4 small cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 1 vanilla bean, split open and cut into 4 pieces
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup good Cognac
  • 2 jars quality orange marmalade, 13-ounces each
Directions
  • Step 1 Before you start you’ll want to have on hand three 8-ounce sterilized jars and lids. A funnel and ladle are also helpful.
  • Step 2 Cut the peel from the tangelo, slicing top to bottom into 4 sections. If you’re using an orange, cut the peel into smaller pieces so they will fit into your jars.
  • Step 3 With the tip of a sharp knife cut 4 very small holes, spaced evenly along the peel. Insert a whole clove into each hole. Don’t cut the holes too large or the cloves will come out while the marmalade is cooking. You want an opening just large enough to push the clove through.
  • Step 4 Combine the cinnamon sticks along with the star anise, the vanilla bean pieces plus the tangelo peel and cloves in a medium saucepan.
  • Step 5 Add the honey and the Cognac. Cook over medium heat until the honey and Cognac have cooked down to about ½ cup of liquid, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Step 6 Add the marmalade and cook for another 5 minutes to warm through. Stir occasionally while the marmalade cooks.
  • Step 7 Place 1 clove-studded tangelo peel along with one cinnamon stick, a star anise and 1 piece of the vanilla bean into each jar.
  • Step 8 Ladle the marmalade into the jars, wipe the rims clean and seal with the lids.
  • Step 9 Keep the marmalade refrigerated or process the jars in a water bath following the jar manufacturer’s directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and they have great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.
Candied Orange Peel

Candied Orange Peel

Glistening like the holiday lights with bright, sweet notes of citrus.

Candied citrus peel is a centuries old method of preserving every piece of the orange. Much like the art of making jam or marmalade was and still is used to preserve fresh fruit, processing the peel of citrus meant nothing went to waste.

The process of making the candied peel includes simply the orange peel and sugar, which has long been used as a natural preservative for fruits.

Thin slices of orange peel are blanched then cooked in a simple syrup solution, soaking up all that sweetness.

The tender peels are tossed in sugar then slowing baked to aid in drying the peels and set the candy. The candied peels air dry until the sugar coating is completely set.

Candied orange peels are wonderful as a candy but can also be used as a gorgeous topping for desserts. Beautiful sweet treats for any holiday get together!

Candied Orange Peel

2 large oranges, such as navel or Cara Cara

1-3/4 cups sugar, divided

½ cup water plus extra for boiling

Cut the orange peel from the orange, cutting it into fourths from top to bottom. Carefully remove the peel from the orange.

Cut each section of peel lengthwise into thin strips, about ¼” each.

Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the orange peels and boil for 3 minutes.

Leave the water boiling and using a spider or slotted spoon transfer the peels to a colander and rinse with cold water. Return the orange peels to the boiling water and boil for an additional 3 minutes. Drain the pan with the peels into a colander.

Return the saucepan to the stove and add ½ cup water and ¾ cup of the sugar. Stir to combine then add the orange peels. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.

Cook for 30 minutes until the orange peels have soaked up most of the sugar syrup, stirring frequently.

Place the remaining 1 cup of sugar in a large shallow bowl or pan. Using tongs drop the orange peels in small batches into the sugar. Toss the peels in the sugar to coat all sides.

Set the sugar coated orange peels in a single layer on a wire rack placed over a baking sheet. Bake the peels in a 250-degree oven for 20 minutes. Allow them to dry overnight or until the sugar coating is set.

Store in a sealed container. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.

Candied Orange Peel

December 17, 2018
: Makes about 1-1/2 cups of candied peels.

Candied Orange Peel - glistening like the holiday lights with bright, sweet notes of citrus.

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 large oranges, such as navel or Cara Cara
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • ½ cup water plus extra for boiling
Directions
  • Step 1 Cut the orange peel from the orange, cutting it into fourths from top to bottom. Carefully remove the peel from the orange.
  • Step 2 Cut each section of peel lengthwise into thin strips, about ¼” each.
  • Step 3 Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the orange peels and boil for 3 minutes.
  • Step 4 Leave the water boiling and using a spider or slotted spoon transfer the peels to a colander and rinse with cold water. Return the orange peels to the boiling water and boil for an additional 3 minutes. Drain the pan with the peels into a colander.
  • Step 5 Return the saucepan to the stove and add ½ cup water and ¾ cup of the sugar. Stir to combine then add the orange peels. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.
  • Step 6 Cook for 30 minutes until the orange peels have soaked up most of the sugar syrup, stirring frequently.
  • Step 7 Place the remaining 1 cup of sugar in a large shallow bowl or pan. Using tongs drop the orange peels in small batches into the sugar. Toss the peels in the sugar to coat all sides.
  • Step 8 Set the sugar coated orange peels in a single layer on a wire rack placed over a baking sheet.
  • Step 9 Bake the peels in a 250-degree oven for 20 minutes. Allow them to dry overnight or until the sugar coating is set.
  • Step 10 Store in a sealed container.
Gingerbread Crinkles

Gingerbread Crinkles

Think gingerbread in crinkle cookie form rolled in tiny crystals of sugar. Crisp on the outside with a delicious chewy bite on the inside with all the flavors of the holidays dancing in your mouth!

We’ve made holiday cookies for years – many years out of necessity working with a tight budget as a single Mom. But the tradition continued in a fun way to share our love of food. Chocolate Crinkles are always on the holiday list and some years we had cutout gingerbread cookies. This year I pulled out a twist on these two classics.

Start with the basics in a cookie dough similar to the one we use for gingerbread – molasses, pure vanilla and the richness of butter.

Then beautiful spices including ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.

Roll the balls of dough in crystals of sugar sweetness.

Pop them in the oven and these little cookies will fill your kitchen with all the smells of the season and the flavors are every bit as wonderful.

‘Tis the season!

Gingerbread Crinkles

6 tablespoons butter

¼ cup molasses

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 extra-large egg

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar, plus ½ cup extra for rolling

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.

Whisk in the molasses and the vanilla extract.

Allow the mixture to cool slightly then whisk in the egg.

In a large bowl combine the flour with 1 cup sugar along with the baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and kosher salt.

Pour the molasses mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Then work the dough gently with your hands to make sure the flour and spices are mixed well with the molasses mixture.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. When you’re ready to bake, place the remaining ½ cup sugar in a small bowl. Using a small ice cream scoop measure out 1” balls of dough.

Roll the cookie dough in the sugar, covering all sides. Place the cookies on baking sheets lined with a Silpat liner or parchment paper, leaving about 2″ between each cookie.

Bake in a 375-oven for 10 minutes.

Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the baking sheets then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 3-1/2 dozens cookies.

Gingerbread Crinkles, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 12, 2018
: Makes about 3-1/2 dozen cookies.

Think gingerbread in crinkle cookie form rolled in tiny crystals of sugar. Crisp on the outside with a delicious chewy bite on the inside and all the flavors of the holidays dancing in your mouth!

By:

Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar, plus ½ cup extra for rolling
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Directions
  • Step 1 Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the molasses and the vanilla extract.
  • Step 2 Allow the mixture to cool slightly then whisk in the egg.
  • Step 3 In a large bowl combine the flour with 1 cup sugar along with the baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and kosher salt.
  • Step 4 Pour the molasses mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Then work the dough gently with your hands to make sure the flour and spices are mixed well with the molasses mixture.
  • Step 5 Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  • Step 6 When you’re ready to bake, place the remaining ½ cup sugar in a small bowl.
  • Step 7 Using a small ice cream scoop measure out 1” balls of dough. Roll the cookie dough in the sugar, covering all sides.
  • Step 8 Place the cookies on baking sheets lined with a Silpat liner or parchment paper, leaving about 2″ between each cookie.
  • Step 9 Bake in a 375-oven for 10 minutes.
  • Step 10 Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the baking sheets then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Step 11 Store cookies in a sealed container.

 

Dave’s Sugared Pecans

Dave’s Sugared Pecans

Crisp pecans with a delicate glaze of sweet coating – looking like they’ve been frosted by the spirit of the holidays!

I have numerous recipes for sugared and candied pecans, as any good Southern kitchen should. But without question this recipe is my favorite for two reasons. One, they are absolutely delectable; and two, the recipe comes from dear, dear friends and one of my favorite couples. For years ever Christmas I’ve celebrated the holidays with two special women in my life, Pat and Diane.

We exchange small homemade gifts of food and Pat always brings bags of these sugared pecans. Pat’s husband Dave whips these tasty bites up every holiday season and has done so for as long as I can recall. Pat delivers them in a clear cello bag to showcase the decadent nuts, cheerfully tied with a holiday ribbon all the while providing easy access to the goodness inside.

The list of ingredients is surprisingly short. Start with beautifully toasted pecan halves. Then sugar, pure vanilla extract and one interesting addition, sour cream is added to create the glorious coating.

I almost always toast nuts before tossing them into anything I’m making. (Pecan pie would be the exception!) Toasting nuts brings out a crispness and depth of flavor unique to each variety.

Toasting pecans deepens the color and the flavor profile plus adds a crispness to the nut.

And you’re using a hefty dose of pure vanilla extract in the coating so you want the best. My favorite extracts and flavorings are produced by Nielsen-Massey and available at fine food and kitchen stores.

These sugared pecans are divine so if you’re looking for a special holiday treat then look no further! Thank you Dave for sharing!

Dave’s Sugared Pecans

2 pounds pecan halves

½ cup sour cream

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups sugar

Spread the pecan halves into single layers on two large rimmed baking sheets. Toast the pecans in a 350-degree oven for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the nuts are lightly golden and fragrant. Transfer the pecans to a large mixing bowl and set the baking sheets aside.

In a small saucepan combine the sour cream with the vanilla extract.

Stir in the sugar, mixing well.

Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Raise the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.

Turn off the heat and let the coating rest for 3 minutes. Pour the sugar coating over the toasted pecans and stir to cover all the pecans completely.

Pour the pecans onto the two rimmed baking sheets, spreading into a single layer. Do not spray or coat the pans with a cooking spray!

Allow the nuts to dry completely, preferably overnight. Store in a sealed container.

Makes 2 pounds of sugared pecans.

Dave's Sugared Pecans, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 7, 2018
: Makes 2 pounds of sugared pecans.

Crisp pecans with a delicate glaze of sweet coating – looking like they’ve been frosted by the spirit of the holidays!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds pecan halves
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
Directions
  • Step 1 Spread the pecan halves into single layers on two large rimmed baking sheets. Toast the pecans in a 350-degree oven for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the nuts are lightly golden and fragrant. Transfer the pecans to a large mixing bowl and set the baking sheets aside.
  • Step 2 In a small saucepan combine the sour cream with the vanilla extract. Stir in the sugar, mixing well.
  • Step 3 Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Step 4 Raise the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then turn off the heat and let the coating rest for 3 minutes.
  • Step 5 Pour the sugar coating over the toasted pecans and stir to cover all the pecans completely.
  • Step 6 Pour the pecans onto the two rimmed baking sheets, spreading into a single layer. Do not spray or coat the pans with a cooking spray!
  • Step 7 Allow the nuts to dry completely, preferably overnight. Store in a sealed container.

Jalapeño Jelly

Jalapeño Jelly

Sweet jelly with a delightful kick of spicy heat and all the spectacular colors of the season.

Jalapeño jelly makes a great glaze when grilling or roasting chicken or pork and even is a bright substitute for mint jelly when serving lamb. But one of the most popular ways to serve jalapeño jelly is alongside cream cheese, smeared on a crisp cracker. It’s a lovely and tantalizing holiday appetizer!

I’ve started the process of making jams and jellies for holiday gift giving. This year I decided to pull out an old recipe for jalapeño jelly. The first time I ever made this unique jelly was the summer, when as a novelty I decided to plant jalapeño peppers in my garden. These little peppers are prolific. I had peppers by the dozens and one can only do so much with them. I gave them away, pickled them but still have dozens of peppers. So I decided to make jelly.

You can make jalapeño jelly using either green or red peppers. The only difference between the two is the age of the peppers. As peppers continue to ripen they will turn red and will sweeten slightly but still have that heat.

A quick tip or two when you’re working with hot peppers of any kind. It’s best to wear food service gloves when handling the peppers. If you don’t have gloves then thoroughly wash your hands after you’ve finished cutting and seeding the jalapeño peppers. The heat from the peppers is tucked away in the inner parts of the peppers primarily in the white part or pith of the pepper. It will be transferred to anything they touch – including your hands. And whatever you do, don’t rub your eyes if you’ve touched the peppers!

A wonderful gift for the holidays!

Jalapeño Jelly

Green jalapeño peppers are the most common but you can on occasion find red peppers. If you want to make a red jelly, use both red jalapeño and red bell peppers.

8 jalapeños peppers

1 large bell pepper

5 cups sugar

1-1/4 white or white wine vinegar

½ cup water

6 ounces liquid pectin, 1 box with two 3-ounce packages

Trim the stem end of the jalapeño pepper, then cut them in half and remove the pith and majority of the seeds, leaving only a small amount for a touch of heat. The seeds can transfer some of the heat from the pith. If you want the appearance of seeds in your jelly but with minimal heat you can add some seeds from the bell pepper.

Process the peppers in a food processor until they are finely chopped, about 10 to 15 seconds. You should have ¾ cup to 1 cup of chopped jalapeño peppers.

Remove the stem and trim the bell pepper, cut into pieces and process until finely chopped, about 10 to 15 seconds. You’ll have about ¾ cup to 1 cup of chopped bell peppers.

Transfer the chopped peppers to a large kettle or stockpot.

Add the sugar, the vinegar and the water and stir to combine.

Cook over low heat until the sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally – about 30 minutes.

Raise the heat to medium and bring the jelly to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes then remove the kettle from the heat and let the jelly set for 20 minutes.

Stir in the liquid pectin into the jelly then return to medium heat. Bring the jelly back to a boil and boil for 1 minute.

Ladle the jelly into sterilized jars.

You can keep the jam refrigerated or process the jars in a water bath following the jar manufacturers directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and they have great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.

Makes about 6 half-pint jars plus 1 quarter-pint jar.

Jalapeño Jelly, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 5, 2018
: Makes 6 half-pint jars plus one quarter-pint jar.

Sweet jelly with a delightful kick of spicy heat. Jalapeño pepper jelly makes a great glaze when grilling or roasting chicken or pork and even is a bright substitute for mint jelly when serving lamb. But one of the most popular ways to serve jalapeño jelly is alongside cream cheese, smeared on a crisp cracker.

By:

Ingredients
  • 8 jalapeños peppers
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1-1/4 white or white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 6 ounces liquid pectin, 1 box with two 3-ounce packages
Directions
  • Step 1 Trim the stem end of the jalapeño pepper, then cut them in half and remove the pith and majority of the seeds, leaving only a small amount for a touch of heat. The seeds can transfer some of the heat from the pith. If you want the appearance of seeds in your jelly but with minimal heat you can add some seeds from the bell pepper.
  • Step 2 Process the peppers in a food processor until they are finely chopped, about 10 to 15 seconds. You should have ¾ cup to 1 cup of chopped jalapeño peppers.
  • Step 3 Remove the stem and trim the bell pepper, cut into pieces and process until finely chopped, about 10 to 15 seconds. You’ll have about ¾ cup to 1 cup of chopped bell peppers.
  • Step 4 Transfer the chopped peppers to a large kettle or stockpot.
  • Step 5 Add the sugar, the vinegar and the water and stir to combine. Cook over low heat until the sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally – about 30 minutes.
  • Step 6 Raise the heat to medium and bring the jelly to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes then remove the kettle from the heat and let the jelly set for 20 minutes.
  • Step 7 Stir in the liquid pectin into the jelly then return to medium heat. Bring the jelly back to a boil and boil for 1 minute.
  • Step 8 Ladle the jelly into sterilized jars and keep the jam refrigerated or process the jars in a water bath following the jar manufacturers directions.
  • Step 9 Ball makes wonderful canning jars and they have great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.

Southern Holiday Cosmopolitan

Southern Holiday Cosmopolitan

Whether you still have a house full of holiday guests or they’ve left and you’re settling into the quiet – this is a delectable cocktail to usher in this magical time of year.

Having passed through the first celebration of this festive season you might have a few leftovers on hand. I’m always talking about food with Emily and she was recently sharing ideas for leftover cranberry relish. So if you happen to have any cranberry sauce hanging around or better yet, you made the Cranberry Maple Sauce with our Almond Crusted French Toast – you’re all set to make this beautiful beverage that fits the sweet mood of this time of year.

To create the backdrop for this drink, start with smooth, clean vodka then pair it with one of our favorites – Cointreau – to bring a deep citrus note of orange. Then add fresh juice and zest from lime, the aromatics of rosemary and the slightly tart, subtly sweet addition of cranberry sauce.

Shake the cocktail over ice until well chilled…

then served in spectacular fashion with a few fresh cranberries…

and a sprig of fresh rosemary. A delight for all the senses! Cheers to the beauty of the holidays!

Southern Holiday Cosmopolitan

3 ounces vodka

4 ounces Cointreau

½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice – 1 tablespoon

¼ teaspoon lime zest

4 tablespoons cranberry maple sauce*

3 fresh rosemary sprigs, divided

Fresh cranberries for garnish

Pour the vodka along with the Cointreau into a cocktail shaker.

Add the fresh lime juice and lime zest, followed by the cranberry maple sauce.

Crush one of the rosemary sprigs in your hands to release the oils and toss it into the shaker.

Fill with ice and shake vigorously until the shaker feels very cold to the touch.

Strain and pour into martini glasses. Garnish with fresh cranberries and remaining rosemary sprigs.

This recipe makes two delightful cocktails.

*You can quickly make a batch or half a batch of the cranberry maple sauce. Or use your favorite cranberry sauce instead of fresh cranberries. Then just add the maple syrup, orange juice and almond extract.

For the cranberry maple sauce:

1-1/2 cups pure maple syrup

Juice of one orange, about ¼ cup

1 twelve-ounce package fresh cranberries, about 4 cups – rinsed and sorted

½ teaspoon pure almond extract

Pour the maple syrup and the orange juice into a saucepan.

Add the cranberries and cook over medium heat until most of the berries have popped and are softened, about 15 minutes.

Remove the cranberry mixture from the heat and using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Stir in the almond extract.

The cranberry maple sauce can be made 3 to 5 days in advance.

Southern Holiday Cosmopolitan, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

November 23, 2018
: Makes 2 cocktails.

Smooth, clean vodka paired with Cointreau and it’s bright citrus notes. Fresh juice and zest from lime, the aromatics of rosemary and the slightly tart, subtly sweet flavors of cranberry sauce. Shaken over ice until well chilled then served in spectacular fashion with a few fresh cranberries and a sprig of fresh rosemary. A delight for all the senses!

By:

Ingredients
  • 3 ounces vodka
  • 4 ounces Cointreau
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice – 1 tablespoon
  • ¼ teaspoon lime zest
  • 4 tablespoons cranberry maple sauce*
  • 3 fresh rosemary sprigs, divided
  • Fresh cranberries for garnish, optional
  • For the cranberry maple sauce:
  • 1-1/2 cups pure maple syrup
  • Juice of one orange, about ¼ cup
  • 1 twelve-ounce package fresh cranberries, about 4 cups – rinsed and sorted
  • ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
Directions
  • Step 1 Pour the vodka along with the Cointreau into a cocktail shaker.
  • Step 2 Add the fresh lime juice and lime zest, then the cranberry maple sauce.
  • Step 3 Crush one of the rosemary sprigs in your hands and toss it into the shaker.
  • Step 4 Fill with ice and shake vigorously until the shaker feels very cold to the touch.
  • Step 5 Strain and pour into martini glasses. Garnish with fresh cranberries and remaining rosemary sprigs.
  • Step 6 *You can quickly make a batch or half a batch of the cranberry maple sauce. Or use your favorite cranberry sauce instead of fresh cranberries. Then just add the maple syrup, orange juice and almond extract.
  • Step 7 For the cranberry maple sauce:
  • Step 8 Pour the maple syrup and the orange juice into a saucepan. Add the cranberries and cook over medium heat until most of the berries have popped and are softened, about 15 minutes.
  • Step 9 Remove the cranberry mixture from the heat and using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Stir in the almond extract.
  • Step 10 The cranberry maple sauce can be made 3 to 5 days in advance.