Sharing a seriously fun love for food

Month: October 2018

Caramel Corn

Caramel Corn

Decadent caramel sauce, drizzled over puffed, fluffy popcorn then baked to a sweet crunch – absolutely divine!

Making homemade candy and confections has become somewhat a lost art. Admittedly, making most candy takes a fair amount of time and effort but the results can also be amazing.

Caramel corn is one of the easier confections to make. You don’t even need a candy thermometer. And the ingredients are simple – popcorn, butter, dark brown sugar, a bit of corn syrup and a splash of pure vanilla extract.

Finish with just a touch of salt – for a subtle hint of sweet and salty –  and baking soda to add some lift to the caramel sauce.

This candy coating is a bit easier to work with than the syrup you use with popcorn balls, which sets up quickly. The caramel sauce stays soft giving you time to cover the popcorn before popping it in the oven. A little stirring while it bakes in a low oven and you’re all set for a sweet treat.

There are some holidays that just scream candy and none more so than Halloween! No little goblin will be spooked by this treat!

Caramel Corn

6 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

¾ cup popcorn kernels

1 cup butter, 2 sticks

2 cups dark brown sugar

½ cup white corn syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

For the popcorn:

In a large, heavy stockpot, preferably with a wide-bottom, heat the oil over medium-high until the oil begins to shimmer. Toss in about 3-4 kernels. Once they pop, add the remaining kernels and remove from the heat for about 30 seconds.

Return to the heat and partially cover the pan to allow the steam to escape. You don’t want soggy popcorn! Cook over medium-high heat until the kernels begin to pop. Shake the pan to keep the kernels moving and prevent scorching. Once the popping slows, remove from the heat and let the pan sit for a minute or two allowing the kernels to finish popping. Remove any kernels that didn’t pop. Transfer the popcorn to two large rimmed baking sheets that have been buttered while you make the caramel sauce.

In a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, stirring to completely dissolve.

Bring the butter and sugar to a boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Then stir in the kosher salt and baking soda – the sauce will foam up so don’t be alarmed.

Ladle a portion of the caramel sauce over the popcorn. Using a large wooden spoon mix the popcorn and the sauce together. Continue mixing the caramel sauce and the popcorn until all the popcorn is coated. You can also butter your hands and mix the caramel sauce with the popcorn.

Spread the popcorn into a single layer and bake in a 200-degree oven for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Turn the popcorn out onto sheets of parchment paper to cool completely.

Makes about 6 quarts of caramel corn. Store in a sealed container.

Caramel Corn, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

October 31, 2018
: Makes 6 quarts

Decadent caramel sauce, drizzled over puffed, fluffy popcorn then baked to a sweet crunch - absolutely divine!

By:

Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • ¾ cup popcorn kernels
  • 1 cup butter, 2 sticks
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup white corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
Directions
  • Step 1 In a large, heavy stockpot, preferably with a wide-bottom, heat the oil over medium-high until the oil begins to shimmer. Toss in about 3-4 kernels. Once they pop, add the remaining kernels and remove from the heat for about 30 seconds.
  • Step 2 Return to the heat and partially cover the pan to allow the steam to escape. You don’t want soggy popcorn! Cook over medium-high heat until the kernels begin to pop. Shake the pan to keep the kernels moving and prevent scorching. Once the popping slows, remove from the heat and let the pan sit for a minute or two allowing the kernels to finish popping. Remove any kernels that didn’t pop.
  • Step 3 Transfer the popcorn to two large rimmed baking sheets that have been buttered while you make the caramel sauce.
  • Step 4 In a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, stirring to completely dissolve.
  • Step 5 Bring the butter and sugar to a boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes.
  • Step 6 Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla extract.
  • Step 7 Stir in the kosher salt and baking soda – the sauce will foam up so don’t be alarmed.
  • Step 8 Ladle a portion of the caramel sauce over the popcorn. Using a large wooden spoon mix the popcorn and the sauce together. Continue mixing the caramel sauce and the popcorn until all the popcorn is coated. You can also butter your hands and mix the caramel sauce with the popcorn.
  • Step 9 Spread the popcorn into a single layer and bake in a 200-degree oven for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  • Step 10 Turn the popcorn out onto sheets of parchment paper to cool completely.
  • Step 11 Store in a sealed container.
Bierocks

Bierocks

In a day or two the little ghosts and goblins will be roaming the neighborhood in search of treats. Don’t send them out the door hungry, send them out with this hearty handheld meal – a delightful meat filled puff of dough!

Bierocks, Bierock or Bierox – growing up in the Texas Panhandle this was a well-known treat. Most everyone’s Mom had the recipe and they were a frequent item at any school bake sale. Bierocks is a German dish, most likely brought to Texas via immigrants, many making their way to the Lone Star state in the mid 1800s. Though most settled in the Hill Country or Central Texas there were also families who made their way to the Texas Panhandle, including my Grandmother’s family.

Grace Pearl with her Mother at the ranch, early 1900s.

This is a simple food but it’s oh, so full of comfort. I’ve tweaked my Mom’s original recipe – just a bit. I use a blend of ground meats to deepen the flavor profile – ground sirloin, ground lamb and mild Italian sausage. Yes, I know Italian sausage is not German but I think my Mom and Grandmother would approve! As I do with many of my soups I also add a tablespoon of beef base to enrich the flavor profile. Sauté the meat with crisp green cabbage, sweet onion and fresh garlic.

Then this medley of tender meat, cabbage and onion find their way inside a square of yeast dough. Pull up the corners, tuck them together and you’ve created a beautiful pillow of goodness.

This recipe makes a big batch but if you have a smaller group you can easily cut it in half. You’ll have about 25 to 30 rolls and they freeze well.

Baked until they are golden brown and puffed – the perfect bite to grab and go!

Bierocks

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium green cabbage, tough outer leaves removed, chopped – about 8 cups*

1 large onion, chopped – about 2-1/2 cups

¾ pound ground sirloin

¾ pound ground lamb

½ pound bulk mild Italian sausage

3 teaspoons finely chopped garlic

1 tablespoon beef base, preferably Better Than Bouillon

1 to 1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

3 tablespoons flour

2 packages hot roll mix, 16-ounces each

Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the chopped cabbage and onion. Toss to coat in the butter and olive oil. Cook until the cabbage and onion are tender and somewhat translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add the ground sirloin, lamb and Italian sausage. Continue cooking with the cabbage and onion until the meat is no longer pink, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Toss in the chopped garlic, the beef base, kosher salt and pepper. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes.

Stir in the flour to bind the juices and tighten the meat mixture. Set aside to cool slightly while you make the hot roll dough.

Mix the dough following the package directions. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5 minutes until it is smooth, adding more flour as needed. Cover the dough and let it rest for another 5 minutes.

Divide the dough in portions – this makes it easier to handle. Roll each portion into squares, then using a sharp knife cut into squares that are about 4”.

Spoon about 3 to 4 tablespoons of the mixture into the center of the dough. Gather the corners of the dough, pulling up towards the center and pinch the dough together to seal.

Place the rolls, tucked side down on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper.

Let the rolls rest for about 10 minutes then bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.

The perfect bite for a chilly fall night!

*Avoid the inner core of the cabbage when chopping, instead using the outer portion where the leaves are more tender.

Makes about 30 to 32 rolls.

Bierocks, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

October 29, 2018
: Make about 30 to 32 rolls

A hearty handheld meal – Bierocks is a delightful meat filled puff of dough. A medley of tender meat, cabbage and onion carefully tucked inside a luscious square of yeast dough – the perfect bite for a chilly fall night!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium green cabbage, tough outer leaves removed, chopped – about 8 cups*
  • 1 large onion, chopped - about 2-1/2 cups
  • ¾ pound ground sirloin
  • ¾ pound ground lamb
  • ½ pound bulk mild Italian sausage
  • 3 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon beef base, preferably Better Than Bouillon
  • 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 packages hot roll mix, 16-ounces each
Directions
  • Step 1 Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the chopped cabbage and onion. Toss to coat in the butter and olive oil. Cook until the cabbage and onion are tender and somewhat translucent, about 10 minutes.
  • Step 2 Add the ground sirloin, lamb and Italian sausage. Continue cooking with the cabbage and onion until the meat is no longer pink, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Step 3 Toss in the chopped garlic, the beef base, kosher salt and pepper. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Step 4 Stir in the flour to bind the juices and tighten the meat mixture. Set aside to cool slightly while you make the hot roll dough.
  • Step 5 Mix the dough following the package directions. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5 minutes until it is smooth, adding more flour as needed. Cover the dough and let it rest for another 5 minutes.
  • Step 6 Divide the dough in portions – this makes it easier to handle. Roll each portion into squares, then using a sharp knife cut into squares that are about 4”.
  • Step 7 Spoon about 3 to 4 tablespoons of the mixture into the center of the dough. Gather the corners of the dough, pulling up towards the center and pinch the dough together to seal.
  • Step 8 Place the rolls, tucked side down on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper.
  • Step 9 Let the rolls rest for about 10 minutes then bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.
  • Step 10 These freeze beautifully!
  • Step 11 *Avoid the inner core of the cabbage when chopping, instead using the outer portion where the leaves are more tender.
Lentil Stew with Roasted Salmon Fillets

Lentil Stew with Roasted Salmon Fillets

A comforting lentil stew starts with a beautiful base of aromatics before it’s finished with a delicate roasted salmon fillet.

Years ago I made this dish frequently but for some reason I had all but forgotten about it. Until recently. We were out and about running errands and had stopped to grab a bite when I spotted lentil stew the menu. Sadly, it didn’t come close to matching my expectations. Lackluster flavors and oh, so few lentils in the lentil stew. So, I came home, combed through my recipes and set out to satisfy my taste buds. Like any great stew there are layers of tastes and textures. This one starts with sweet onions, leeks, carrots, celery, garlic and fresh thyme, creating a delicious foundation.

But unlike a beef stew, lentil stew requires only a short amount of your time and is on the table in less than an hour. And the flavors don’t miss a beat!

To get things moving along soak the lentils in hot water while you sauté the vegetables – this gives them a jumpstart in cooking.

Then simmer the soaked legumes along with the vegetables in a rich chicken stock, deepened with savory tomato paste and sprigs of fresh thyme.

And though you could stop here, why would you? Top the stew with fresh center cut salmon fillets, brushed with olive oil and seasoned simply with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. A quick sear before a short roast in the oven and dinner is ready.

Easy, flavorful and soul satisfying!

Lentil Stew with Roasted Salmon Fillets

1 cup green or brown dried lentils, about 1 cup

3 to 4 cups boiling water

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons butter

1 large sweet onion, quartered and sliced thin, about 2-1/2 cups

2 cups sliced leeks, white and light green portion only, about 3 leeks*

1-1/2 cups celery, sliced thin, about 2 to 3 stalks

4 to 5 small carrots, trimmed, scrubbed and sliced thin, about 2 cups

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided – or to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided – or to taste

4 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon concentrated chicken base

1 small can tomato paste, 6-ounces

5 to 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried

4 center cut salmon fillets, about 1-1/2 pounds

Heat the oven to 400-degrees. Place the lentils in a large heatproof bowl or measuring cup. Pour the boiling water over the lentils and let them stand for about 20 minutes. While the lentils soak, sauté the vegetables. In a large, deep sauté pan, melt the butter with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, the leeks, the celery and the carrots.

Sauté the vegetables until they are mostly tender and the onion and leeks are translucent, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the garlic, 1-1/2 teaspoons of the kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper and cook for another 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock, the chicken base, tomato paste, and the thyme sprigs.

Bring to the stew to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan and cook for about 30 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are cooked through and tender. Check for seasoning, adding additional kosher salt and pepper if needed. Keep the stew warm over low heat while you cook the salmon.

While the lentils are cooking brush both sides of the salmon with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle the flesh side with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Let the salmon rest at room temperature for about 10 to 15 minutes.

You can leave your salmon fillet whole or cut into individual servings.

Lightly spray a large ovenproof skillet with a cooking spray. Place the pan over medium-high heat. As soon as the pan is hot, place the salmon fillets flesh side down. Leave them in place without moving for 3 minutes.

Flip the fillets over and place in a 400-degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and flaky. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the salmon. Do not overcook or the salmon will be dry.

To serve, ladle the lentil stew in a wide soup bowl and gently place the salmon fillet on top.

To reheat any leftovers:

Warm the lentil stew over medium heat in a covered saucepan, adding extra chicken stock if needed. As soon as the stew is hot nestle the remaining salmon into the stew. Cover and warm for an additional 10 minutes until the fish is warmed through.

*Cleaning leeks is an important step. As the leaves push up through the ground they capture a lot of dirt along the way. To clean, trim the dark green leaves off, down to the light green part of the leek. Then cut an “X” about 3” to 4” from the leaves down towards the bulb.

Place the leeks cut side down in a large measuring cup or bowl filled with cold water. Let them soak for about 10 to 20 minutes to let the leeks open up a bit. Rinse the leeks under cold running water to make sure all the dirt is removed. Trim the root end of the bulb and you’re all set. You can clean the leeks ahead of time. After trimming and cleaning wrap the leeks in a paper towel and store them in a sealed bag or container.

Lentil Stew with Roasted Salmon Fillets

October 26, 2018
: Serves 4

A comforting lentil stew starts with a beautiful base of aromatics before it’s finished with a delicate roasted salmon fillet.

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 cup green or brown dried lentils, about 1 cup
  • 3 to 4 cups boiling water
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large sweet onion, quartered and sliced thin, about 2-1/2 cups
  • 2 cups sliced leeks, white and light green portion only, about 3 leeks*
  • 1-1/2 cups celery, sliced thin, about 2 to 3 stalks
  • 4 to 5 small carrots, trimmed, scrubbed and sliced thin, about 2 cups
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided – or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided – or to taste
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon concentrated chicken base
  • 1 small can tomato paste, 6-ounces
  • 5 to 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 4 center cut salmon fillets, about 1-1/2 pounds
Directions
  • Step 1 Heat the oven to 400-degrees.
  • Step 2 Place the lentils in a large heatproof bowl or measuring cup. Pour the boiling water over the lentils and let them stand for about 20 minutes. While the lentils soak, sauté the vegetables.
  • Step 3 In a large, deep sauté pan, melt the butter with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, the leeks, the celery and the carrots. Sauté the vegetables until they are mostly tender and the onion and leeks are translucent, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Step 4 Add the garlic, 1-1/2 teaspoons of the kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper and cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Step 5 Stir in the chicken stock, the chicken base, tomato paste, and the thyme sprigs.
  • Step 6 Bring to the stew to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan and cook for about 30 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are cooked through and tender. Check for seasoning, adding additional kosher salt and pepper if needed. Keep the stew warm over low heat while you cook the salmon.
  • Step 7 While the lentils are cooking brush both sides of the salmon with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle the flesh side with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Let the salmon rest at room temperature for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Step 8 Lightly spray a large ovenproof skillet with a cooking spray. Place the pan over medium-high heat. As soon as the pan is hot, place the salmon fillets flesh side down. Leave them in place without moving for 3 minutes.
  • Step 9 Flip the fillets over and place in a 400-degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and flaky. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the salmon. Do not overcook or the salmon will be dry.
  • Step 10 To serve, ladle the lentil stew in a wide soup bowl and gently place the salmon fillet on top.
  • Step 11 To reheat any leftovers:
  • Step 12 Warm the lentil stew over medium heat in a covered saucepan, adding extra chicken stock if needed. As soon as the stew is hot nestle the remaining salmon into the stew. Cover and warm for an additional 10 minutes until the fish is warmed through.
  • Step 13 *Cleaning leeks is an important step. As the leaves push up through the ground they capture a lot of dirt along the way. To clean, trim the dark green leaves off, down to the light green part of the leek. Then cut an “X” about 3” to 4” from the leaves down towards the bulb. Place the leeks cut side down in a large measuring cup or bowl filled with cold water. Let them soak for about 10 to 20 minutes to let the leeks open up a bit. Rinse the leeks under cold running water to make sure all the dirt is removed. Trim the root end of the bulb and you’re all set. You can clean the leeks ahead of time. After trimming and cleaning wrap the leeks in a paper towel and store them in a sealed bag or container.
Rustic Apple Tart

Rustic Apple Tart

A beautiful rustic tart filled with a medley of apples baked inside a crisp, flaky crust – utterly delicious!

The unmistakable aroma of apples as they bake fills your home with all the comforts of fall. This rustic pastry – also known as a pie, crostata or a galette – is a simple yet casually elegant way to deliver a twist on the traditional apple pie. The only difference between a each is the origin. A rustic tart – aka pie – might find its heritage in rural America while a crostata has Italian roots and a galette, French.

Instead of just one type of apple, I love combining a variety of apples when baking. This layering brings a subtle complexity of flavors and textures that play off one another. In this tart I use three types of apples – McIntosh, Jonagold and a Granny Smith for a bit of tartness. There are really no “big rules” so use your favorites.

Making a rustic tart is a simpler way of making a pie and the same method I use when making our blueberry tart. A single pastry crust is rolled out on parchment paper and baked on that same sheet of parchment.

Thinly sliced apples are tossed with dark brown sugar, cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg.

The fruit is piled in the middle of the pastry, a dot or two of butter are placed on top with an extra dash of dark brown sugar….

…then the pastry edges are folded up towards the middle. A brush of egg wash on the pastry with a sprinkling of sugar and the tart is off to the oven!

When finished, caramelized juices are bubbling, the apples are tender and the crust is golden brown. All that’s left to do is add a scoop of ice cream and you’re ready to serve!

Rustic Apple Tart

For the pastry:

¾ cup unsalted butter, 1-1/2 sticks

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided

1/3 cup cold water

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk

Cut the butter into cubes and chill it in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

Combine the flour, kosher salt and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a food processor and mix for about 5-10 seconds. Scatter the cold butter cubes on top of the flour and pulse about 10 times, just until the butter is the size of peas.

Pour the cold water over the top of the flour and process for about 10 to 15 seconds, or just until the water is blended into the flour and butter. Don’t over process or your pastry will be tough. The dough will still be somewhat crumbly. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured parchment paper.

Using the parchment paper, gently pull the dough together and press it into a disc.

Roll the dough out into a round about 15”-16”, turning occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the surface. Don’t worry if it’s not a perfect round – this is rustic! Slide the parchment sheet with the pastry onto a rimmed baking sheet. Trim any paper that is hanging over the edge of the pan.

For the filling:

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

2 McIntosh apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

2 Jonagold apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

1-1/2 tablespoons flour

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 tablespoons butter

Measure out 8 cups of the apple slices. (Depending on the size of the apples you might have some leftover.) Combine the apples with the flour, ¼ cup of the dark brown sugar, the cinnamon and the nutmeg. Mix well, coating all the apple slices with the brown sugar and spices.

To finish the tart:

Pile the apples in the center of the pastry dough. Dot with the butter and sprinkle the remaining brown sugar over the apples.

Turn the edges of the dough up over the apples toward the center, folding as you go.

In a small bowl whisk the egg and 1 tablespoon milk together. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the egg wash over the pastry dough then sprinkle with the remaining teaspoon of sugar.

Bake the tart at 400 degree for one hour, or until the crust is golden brown and the apples are tender. Let the tart cool for about 10 to 15 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to set.

Serves 6 to 8.

Rustic Apple Tart, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

October 24, 2018
: Serves 6 to 8

A beautiful rustic tart filled with a medley of apples baked inside a crisp, flaky crust – utterly delicious!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the pastry:
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, 1-1/2 sticks
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • For the filling:
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 McIntosh apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 Jonagold apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Directions
  • Step 1 For the pastry:
  • Step 2 Cut the butter into cubes and chill it in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
  • Step 3 Combine the flour, kosher salt and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a food processor and mix for about 5-10 seconds.
  • Step 4 Scatter the cold butter cubes on top of the flour and pulse about 10 times, just until the butter is the size of peas.
  • Step 5 Pour the cold water over the top of the flour and process for about 10 to 15 seconds, or just until the water is blended into the flour and butter. Don’t over process or your pastry will be tough. The dough will still be somewhat crumbly.
  • Step 6 Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured parchment paper. Using the parchment paper, gently pull the dough together and press it into a disc.
  • Step 7 Roll the dough out into a round about 15”-16”, turning occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the surface. Don’t worry if it’s not a perfect round – this is rustic!
  • Step 8 Slide the parchment sheet with the pastry onto a rimmed baking sheet. Trim any paper that is hanging over the edge of the pan.
  • Step 9 For the filling:
  • Step 10 Measure out 8 cups of the apple slices. (Depending on the size of the apples you might have some leftover.)
  • Step 11 Combine the apples with the flour, ¼ cup of the dark brown sugar, the cinnamon and the nutmeg. Mix well, coating all the apple slices with the brown sugar and spices.
  • Step 12 To finish the tart:
  • Step 13 Pile the apples in the center of the pastry dough. Dot with the butter and sprinkle the remaining brown sugar over the apples.
  • Step 14 Turn the edges of the dough up over the apples toward the center, folding as you go.
  • Step 15 In a small bowl whisk the egg and 1 tablespoon milk together. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the egg wash over the pastry dough then sprinkle with the remaining teaspoon of sugar.
  • Step 16 Bake the tart at 400 degree for one hour, or until the crust is golden brown and the apples are tender. Let the tart cool for about 10 to 15 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to set.
Island Pork Tenderloin

Island Pork Tenderloin

Succulent pork tenderloin with layer upon layer of vibrant flavors bursting in your mouth in the most amazing ways!

Pork tenderloin is one of our favorite cuts of meat and it’s so easy to prepare. I stumbled across this recipe years ago in Gourmet – a great magazine that is sadly no longer in print publication. I’ve seen a number of versions through the years but this remains the one I prefer, with a minor tweak here or there.

The dish starts with a spicy rub made from kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, cumin, chili powder and cinnamon.

The pork is seared first then topped with a fabulous glaze made from brown sugar, garlic with another dash of heat from Tabasco. I’ve been known to double the amount of glaze because it’s just that good!

Then the tenderloins are popped in the oven for a quick roast. The glaze that’s left in the pan is finished with a touch of pure maple syrup, transforming it into a beautiful sauce.

To make things go smoothly, mix up the rub and the glaze before you start cooking. Then everything is at your fingertips and dinner comes together quickly. Do not overcook the pork – truly 20 minutes in the oven will do it.  The tenderloin will be, and should be pink in the center.

Fabulous served with wild rice or a fresh salad and perfect for any season. This will become a “go to” recipe – trust us on this one!

Island Pork Tenderloin

2 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 pork tenderloins, about 2-1/2 pounds – silverskin removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 tablespoon Tabasco

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Heat the oven to 350-degrees.

For the spice rub:

In a small bowl whisk together the kosher salt, black pepper, cumin, chili powder and cinnamon.

For the glaze:

Stir together the brown sugar with the chopped garlic and the Tabasco, mixing until well blended.

For the pork:

Place the pork tenderloins in a pan and sprinkle the spice rub over all sides of the pork. Let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. If you’re not planning to cook the pork right away, cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Just let the meat rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, up to 45 minutes. You want the meat at room temperature in the center before you start cooking.

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep ovenproof skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the tenderloins and sear on all sides, about 4 to 5 minutes total.

Spoon the glaze mixture over the tops of the pork tenderloins, patting it down to keep it in place.

Roast for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 140-degrees. Transfer the pork to a cutting board, cover and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving. The temperature will continue to rise as the meat rests.

Add the maple syrup to the glaze mixture left in the pan and warm over low heat.

Serve extra glaze with the tenderloin.

Serves 6 to 8 people.

Island Pork Tenderloin, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

October 22, 2018
: 6 to 8

Succulent pork tenderloin with layer upon layer of vibrant flavors bursting in your mouth in the most amazing ways! Fabulous served with wild rice or a fresh salad and perfect for any season. This will become a “go to” recipe for you - trust us on this one!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 pork tenderloins, about 2-1/2 pounds – silverskin removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Directions
  • Step 1 Heat the oven to 350-degrees.
  • Step 2 For the spice rub:
  • Step 3 In a small bowl whisk together the kosher salt, black pepper, cumin, chili powder and cinnamon.
  • Step 4 For the glaze:
  • Step 5 Stir together the brown sugar with the chopped garlic and the Tabasco, mixing until well blended.
  • Step 6 For the pork:
  • Step 7 Place the pork tenderloins in a pan and sprinkle the spice rub over all sides of the pork. Let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. If you’re not planning to cook the pork right away, cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Just let the meat rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, up to 45 minutes. You want the meat at room temperature in the center before you start cooking.
  • Step 8 Heat the olive oil in a large, deep ovenproof skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the tenderloins and sear on all sides, about 4 to 5 minutes total.
  • Step 9 Spoon the glaze mixture over the tops of the pork tenderloins, patting it down to keep it in place.
  • Step 10 Roast for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 140-degrees. Transfer the pork to a cutting board, cover and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving. The temperature will continue to rise as the meat rests.
  • Step 11 Add the maple syrup to the glaze mixture left in the pan and warm over low heat. Serve extra glaze with the tenderloin.
Pumpkin and Pecans – Twice the Fun for Brunch!

Pumpkin and Pecans – Twice the Fun for Brunch!

The aroma of fall baking is really like no other. Savory pumpkin sweetened with pure maple syrup and brought to life with an abundance of spices!

I like so many others, love pumpkin. But I cringe at the way it is overused and overexposed – pumpkin coffee, pumpkin hummus, pumpkin cereal and the worst has to be pumpkin hot wings! So let’s dial it back, become a bit more rational and bake this savory squash into Pumpkin Pecan Waffles and Pumpkin Pecan Muffins. And the bonus – one batter makes both the waffles and the muffins.

For years many a home cook had recipes that would morph into various identities. They had recipes for starter doughs to create different types of cookies or a base that lent itself to a variety of sauces. This recipe performs a similar task – multitasking if you will. The basics of this recipe are similar to the pumpkin bread recipe we use. Loaded with autumn spices of cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, cloves and allspice swirled into pumpkin. Maple syrup is added to deepen those notes and then the magic begins!

This luscious batter can be transformed into delicate waffles, topped with a light crunch from toasted pecans just waiting for a drizzle of pure maple syrup.

Then this same beautiful batter can also bake up into tender, moist pumpkin muffins with a handful of fresh Texas pecans perched on top.

Brunch during the holidays can often be stressful. To ease the burden both the waffles and the muffins can be made the day before you need them. The waffles can even be frozen and reheated, either in a toaster, popped back into the waffle iron or warmed in the oven.

Celebrate the wonderful flavor of pumpkin with twice the fun for brunch! Either way your guests will be delighted with this indulgence of pumpkin at its best!

For the Pumpkin Batter

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

4 extra-large eggs

¾ cup vegetable oil

2/3 cup pure maple syrup

2 cups canned pumpkin puree, 16-ounce can

1 cup toasted chopped pecans, more or less to suit your taste

In a large mixing bowl whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice together.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the vegetable oil, maple syrup and pumpkin puree until fairly smooth.

Add the pumpkin and egg mixture to the dry ingredients, whisking just until the flour is blended in, about 15 to 20 seconds.

For the waffles:

Heat a waffle iron on medium heat. When it is hot, lightly spray with a cooking spray. Even if you’re using a non-stick go ahead and spray the iron. This makes a softer waffle and can stick to the pan if it’s not sprayed. Add about 1/4 cup batter to each section of the waffle iron. Sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon of pecans on top of the batter.

Cook until the waffles are cooked through. Keep warm in a 200-degree oven.

The waffles can be frozen and reheated in a toaster using a low setting* or in a 350-degree oven for about 6 to 8 minutes.

*Bread with higher sugar content tends to burn easily in a toaster.

For the muffins:

Line 12 individual cups in a muffin tin with paper liners. Scoop enough batter into each liner to fill them about 2/3 full.

Top each muffin with chopped pecans.

Bake the muffins at 350-degrees for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 8 individual waffles and 12 muffins.

Pumpkin Pecan Waffles and Pumpkin Pecan Muffins, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

October 19, 2018
: 8 waffles, 12 muffins

Loaded with autumn spices of cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, cloves and allspice swirled into pumpkin. Maple syrup is added to deepen those notes and then the magic begins! And the bonus - one batter makes both the waffles and the muffins.

By:

Ingredients
  • For the Pumpkin Batter:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin puree, 16-ounce can
  • 1 cup toasted chopped pecans, more or less to suit your taste
Directions
  • Step 1 For the Pumpkin Batter:
  • Step 2 In a large mixing bowl whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice together.
  • Step 3 In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the vegetable oil, maple syrup and pumpkin puree until fairly smooth.
  • Step 4 Add the pumpkin and egg mixture to the dry ingredients, whisking just until the flour is blended in, about 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Step 5 For the Waffles:
  • Step 6 Heat a waffle iron on medium heat. When it is hot, lightly spray with a cooking spray. Even if you’re using a non-stick go ahead and spray the iron. This batter makes a softer waffle and it can stick to the pan if it’s not sprayed.
  • Step 7 Add about ¼ cup batter to each section of the waffle iron. Then sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon of pecans on top of the batter. Cook until the waffles are cooked through. Keep warm in a 200-degree oven.
  • Step 8 The waffles can be frozen and reheated in a toaster using a low setting* or in a 350-degree oven for about 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Step 9 *Bread with higher sugar content tends to burn easily in a toaster.
  • Step 10 For the muffins:
  • Step 11 Line 12 individual cups in a muffin tin with paper liners. Scoop enough batter into each liner to fill them about 2/3 full. Top each muffin with chopped pecans.
  • Step 12 Bake the muffins at 350-degrees for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Step 13 Cool on a wire rack.
  • Step 14 Makes 8 individual waffles and 12 muffins.
Cornbread

Cornbread

Golden on the outside with a nutty, flavorful crumb tucked inside.

This is the type of cornbread my Mom and Grandmothers made. Just as any Southern cook has at least one “go to” biscuit recipe you can bet they have one or two great cornbread recipes.

One of the many recipes for cornbread, published in a cookbook from my Grandmother Grace Pearl’s collection, circa 1934.

I have vivid memories of cornbread in my family. My Mom’s Mother – Granny as she was fondly known – would bake pans of this golden bread for us when we were kids. Then we would split piping hot slices, smear freshly churned butter across each side and sprinkle sugar over the melting butter. Crazy but heavenly!

Flours and grains have made a wonderful return to the method of stone grinding, including cornmeal. After years of being over-processed leaving the ground corn a vague resemblance of its former self, you can now find stone ground cornmeal readily available. Offered in fine, medium and coarse grinds all lend a distinct texture and taste to cornbread. Coarse ground cornmeal has a heartier flavor – letting notes of corn come through while producing a slightly heavier crumb and a deeper color.

And there’s nothing better for baking this rich loaf of goodness than a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Heat the skillet inside the oven while it preheats. This sets the crust of the cornbread creating a delightful texture that contrasts with the tender crumb inside.

Cornbread – a comforting bread and a Southern fixture.

Cornbread

1 cup medium ground yellow cornmeal, preferably stone ground

½ cup flour

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup buttermilk

½ cup half and half or whole milk

1 extra-large egg

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ cup shortening, melted and cooled slightly

Place a 9” cast iron skillet (measured across the top) in a 425-degree oven. Whisk together the cornmeal, the flour, kosher salt, black pepper and sugar.

Add the buttermilk, the half and half, the egg, baking powder, baking soda and the melted shortening.

Whisk the batter until fairly smooth, about 15 to 20 seconds.

Remove the skillet from the oven and spray the inside with a cooking spray. Pour the batter into the hot skillet and return it to the oven.

Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Serves 6.

Cornbread, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

October 17, 2018
: 6

Golden on the outside with a nutty, flavorful crumb tucked inside. Cornbread - a comforting bread and a Southern fixture.

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 cup medium ground yellow cornmeal, preferably stone ground
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup half and half or whole milk
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup shortening, melted and cooled slightly
Directions
  • Step 1 Place a 9” cast iron skillet (measured across the top) in a 425-degree oven.
  • Step 2 Whisk together the cornmeal, the flour, kosher salt, black pepper and sugar.
  • Step 3 Add the buttermilk, the half and half, the egg, baking powder, baking soda and the melted shortening. Whisk the batter until fairly smooth, about 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Step 4 Remove the skillet from the oven and spray the inside with a cooking spray. Pour the batter into the hot skillet and return it to the oven.
  • Step 5 Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Classic Beef Stew

Classic Beef Stew

With cold weather blowing into North Texas there’s no better way to warm up than with a big steaming batch of beef stew.

Loaded with chunks of tender beef and a mountain of vegetables, this is the epitome of comfort simmered low and slow in red wine and rich beef stock.

Beef stew was a staple in our family. It was the perfect meal for a crowd and hearty enough to feed a crew of hungry cowboys, warming them from the cold Texas Panhandle winds.

Often made from Sunday’s leftover pot roast, chunks of beef were surrounded with sweet onions, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, corn, tomatoes and green beans or peas.

The choice of beef was always – and still is – chuck roast. With its heavy marbling it is the ideal cut for a long braising. I use about 5 pounds of meat because the engineer likes beef but adjust to suit your preferences. Season the meat before cooking and allow it to rest for a bit before searing in hot oil. This is your first step to those layers of flavor.

When choosing a wine for the stew, select a good red wine, one that you also enjoy drinking. Rule of thumb that always applies – if it’s not good enough to drink it’s not good enough for cooking! If you use a heartier wine, like a Cabernet Sauvignon you’re stew will have a bolder flavor. If you want a milder note, go for a Pinot Noir.

This recipe makes a large batch so it’s wonderful for a soup dinner or a tailgate gathering. If your guest list is on the small side, just cut the recipe in half. But keep in mind – the leftovers are wonderful!

Classic Beef Stew

4 to 5 pounds chuck roast, trimmed and cut into small pieces about 1-1/2”

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

4 tablespoons olive oil, more if needed for cooking the meat

1 large sweet onion, about 1 to 1-1/4 pounds, quartered and sliced

1 bottle good red wine such as a Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon or red blend, about 3-1/3 cups

4 cups beef broth

1 small can tomato paste, 6-ounces

3 bay leaves

2 tablespoons dried thyme

2 tablespoons dried parsley

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1-1/2 pounds new potatoes, about 6, cubed – about 4 to 5 cups

½ pounds haricots verts or other green beans*, cut into 2” pieces – about 3 cups

4 to 5 carrots, scrubbed or peeled, cut into 2” pieces – about 3 cups

½ pound fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced – about 4 cups

2 packages frozen corn, 10-ounces each

1 to 2 cans plum tomatoes, 15-ounces each – broken up into pieces (If you like more of a tomato flavor, use both cans.)

1 to 2 tablespoons beef base, preferably “Better than Bouillon”

3 tablespoons butter, room temperature

3 tablespoons flour

Spread the beef out in a single layer. Sprinkle generously with the kosher salt and black pepper. Let the meat rest for about 20 minutes.

In a large Dutch oven warm the oil over moderately high heat – just slightly above medium heat. When the oil is hot, place a portion of the meat in the pan and brown on all sides, about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the meat to a bowl and continue cooking until all the meat has been browned. Note: Cooking the meat in batches allows the meat to brown and not steam, creating that wonderful fond and a layer of flavor in the stew. If the temperature in the pan drops, allow it to warm back up before continuing, adding additional oil if needed.

After all the meat is cooked, add the sliced onions to the pan and cook until they are tender and somewhat translucent, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Pour the wine into the stockpot with the onions, stirring to deglaze the bits left in the bottom of the pan.

Return the beef to the pan and add the beef broth, the tomato paste, the bay leaves, dried thyme, dried parsley and brown sugar. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to medium low, cover and simmer for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until the meat is tender.

Add the potatoes, haricots verts, carrots, mushrooms, corn and tomatoes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the beef base. Cover and continue cooking on medium low for 1 hour or until the vegetables are tender and cooked through. Check for seasoning, adding the additional beef base if needed.

Blend the butter and flour together. Stir it into the stew to “tighten” the stock.

Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Serves 8 to 10.

Classic Beef Stew, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

October 15, 2018
: 8 to 10

Loaded with chunks of tender beef and a mountain of vegetables, this is the epitome of comfort simmered low and slow in red wine and rich beef stock.

By:

Ingredients
  • 4 to 5 pounds chuck roast, trimmed and cut into small pieces about 1-1/2”
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, more if needed for cooking the meat
  • 1 large sweet onion, about 1 to 1-1/4 pounds, quartered and sliced
  • 1 bottle good red wine such as a Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon or red blend, about 3-1/3 cups
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 small can tomato paste, 6-ounces
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 pounds new potatoes, about 6, cubed – about 4 to 5 cups
  • ½ pounds haricots verts or other green beans*, cut into 2” pieces – about 3 cups
  • 4 to 5 carrots, scrubbed or peeled, cut into 2” pieces – about 3 cups
  • ½ pound fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced – about 4 cups
  • 2 packages frozen corn, 10-ounces each
  • 1 to 2 cans plum tomatoes, 15-ounces each – broken up into pieces (If you like more of a tomato flavor, use both cans.)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons beef base, preferably “Better than Bouillon”
  • 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons flour
Directions
  • Step 1 Spread the beef out in a single layer. Sprinkle generously with the kosher salt and black pepper. Let the meat rest for about 20 minutes.
  • Step 2 In a large Dutch oven warm the oil over moderately high heat – just slightly above medium heat. When the oil is hot, place a portion of the meat in the pan and brown on all sides, about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the meat to a bowl and continue cooking until all the meat has been browned.
  • Step 3 Note: Cooking the meat in batches allows the meat to brown and not steam, creating that wonderful fond and a layer of flavor in the stew. If the temperature in the pan drops, allow it to warm back up before continuing, adding additional oil if needed.
  • Step 4 After all the meat is cooked, add the sliced onions to the pan and cook until they are tender and somewhat translucent, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Step 5 Pour the wine into the stockpot with the onions, stirring to deglaze the bits left in the bottom of the pan.
  • Step 6 Return the beef to the pan and add the beef broth, the tomato paste, the bay leaves, dried thyme, dried parsley and brown sugar. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to medium low, cover and simmer for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until the meat is tender.
  • Step 7 Add the potatoes, haricots verts, carrots, mushrooms, corn and tomatoes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the beef base. Cover and continue cooking on medium low for 1 hour or until the vegetables are tender and cooked through. Check for seasoning, adding the additional beef base if needed.
  • Step 8 Blend the butter and flour together. Stir it into the stew to “tighten” the stock. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.
The Sidecar and Stuffed Dates – A Perfect Pairing for Fall!

The Sidecar and Stuffed Dates – A Perfect Pairing for Fall!

Cooler weather and a Friday evening. A welcome excuse to toast the weekend and share a pairing of two great classics to warm the soul and soothe the mood!

Start with The Sidecar. This vintage cocktail begins with a swipe of fresh orange around the rim to create a band of sugar crystals around a sparkling glass.

Inside you’ll find a spirited blend of fine Cognac and Cointreau – that luxurious orange liqueur – brightened with a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Though there is no clear history on the origin of The Sidecar, it appeared on the cocktail scene sometime near the end of World War I. Having been around over a century the basics are still essentially the same and the ingredients shaken until ice cold.

And for a delectable bite to share – pull up another classic – stuffed dates.

This tasty nibble has been making the rounds for decades. I found a recipe of this appetizer in one of my Grandmother’s cookbooks, circa 1938. Stuffed with pecans or walnuts before being rolled in powdered sugar.

This updated version also includes nutmeats – walnuts and pecans. But dates are such sweet morsels – maybe we skip the powdered sugar. Instead let’s wrap this delightful fruit in bacon or prosciutto – a wonderful combination of sweet and savory!

The Sidecar was named for that quirky attachment to a motorcycle – one that allowed you to sit back, be a passenger and enjoy the world around you. So go shake up a batch, stuff those dates then relax and watch the world go by!

The Sidecar

½ cup sugar

1 orange

3 ounces good Cognac or Brandy

1-1/2 ounces Cointreau

1-1/2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice

Ice for shaking

Place the sugar in a shallow bowl or dish. Using a sharp knife, peel the orange and reserve the peelings. Cut the orange and run a piece around the rim of the cocktail glasses. Roll the juiced edge in the bowl of sugar to thoroughly coat, creating a sugared rim. Set the glasses aside to let the sugar dry and set.

Pour the Cognac into a cocktail shaker along with the Cointreau and the lemon juice.

Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously until the drink is well chilled.

Carefully strain the chilled cocktail into the sugar rimmed glasses. Twist a piece of the orange peel into the cocktail, then toss it in for garnish and serve!

Makes 2 cocktails.

Stuffed Dates

Dates with Bacon and Pecans

5 strips of bacon

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

10 pitted dates

10 whole toasted pecans

Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty foil. Place a wire rack on top and spray lightly with a cooking spray. Place the bacon on the wire rack and season with the black pepper. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 15-18 minutes or until the bacon is starting to cook, but is not crisp. It needs to be flexible so you can wrap it around the dates. Set the pan aside for cooking the dates.

Gently open the dates along the cut line (where they’ve been cut for pitting). Tuck in 1 toasted pecan.

Cut the bacon in half and wrap a piece around the stuffed date. Secure with a toothpick and place them back on the wire rack.

Bake for an additional 15 minutes in a 400-degree oven or until the bacon is crisp.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftover dates.

Makes 10 portions.

Dates with Prosciutto and Walnuts

5 thinly sliced strips of prosciutto

10 pitted dates

10 whole toasted walnuts

Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty foil. Place a wire rack on top and spray lightly with a cooking spray.

Gently open the dates along the cut line (where they’ve been cut for pitting). Tuck in 1 toasted walnut.

Fold the prosciutto in half lengthwise, then cut in half widthwise. Wrap a piece of the folded prosciutto around the stuffed date. Secure with a toothpick and place them on the wire rack.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the prosciutto is crisp on the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Refrigerate any leftover dates. Makes 10 portions.

The Sidecar, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

October 12, 2018
: 2 cocktails

This vintage cocktail begins with a swipe of fresh orange around the rim creating a band of sugar crystals around a sparkling glass. Inside you’ll find a spirited blend of fine Cognac and Cointreau - that luxurious orange liqueur – brightened with a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

By:

Ingredients
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 orange
  • 3 ounces good Cognac or Brandy
  • 1-1/2 ounces Cointreau
  • 1-1/2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Ice for shaking
Directions
  • Step 1 Place the sugar in a shallow bowl or dish. Using a sharp knife, peel the orange and reserve the peelings. Cut the orange and run a piece around the rim of the cocktail glasses. Roll the juiced edge in the bowl of sugar to thoroughly coat, creating a sugared rim. Set the glasses aside to let the sugar dry and set.
  • Step 2 Pour the Cognac into a cocktail shaker along with the Cointreau and the lemon juice. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously until the drink is well chilled.
  • Step 3 Carefully strain the chilled cocktail into the sugar rimmed glasses. Twist a piece of the orange peel into the cocktail, then toss it in for garnish and serve!

Stuffed Dates, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

October 12, 2018
: 10 portions each

Dates are such sweet morsels! Stuff them with toasted pecans or walnuts then wrap this delightful fruit in bacon or prosciutto - a wonderful combination of sweet and savory!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the Dates with Bacon and Pecans:
  • 5 strips of bacon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 10 pitted dates
  • 10 whole toasted pecans
  • For the Dates with Prosciutto and Walnuts:
  • 5 thinly sliced strips of prosciutto
  • 10 pitted dates
  • 10 whole toasted walnuts
Directions
  • Step 1 For the Dates with Bacon and Pecans:
  • Step 2 Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty foil. Place a wire rack on top and spray lightly with a cooking spray.
  • Step 3 Place the bacon on the wire rack and season with the black pepper. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 15-18 minutes or until the bacon is starting to cook, but is not crisp. It needs to be flexible so you can wrap it around the dates. Set the pan aside for cooking the dates.
  • Step 4 Gently open the dates along the cut line (where they’ve been cut for pitting). Tuck in 1 toasted pecan.
  • Step 5 Cut the bacon in half and wrap a piece around the stuffed date. Secure with a toothpick and place them back on the wire rack.
  • Step 6 Bake for an additional 15 minutes in a 400-degree oven or until the bacon is crisp.
  • Step 7 Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftover dates.
  • Step 8 For the Dates with Prosciutto and Walnuts:
  • Step 9 Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty foil. Place a wire rack on top and spray lightly with a cooking spray.
  • Step 10 Gently open the dates along the cut line (where they’ve been cut for pitting). Tuck in 1 toasted walnut.
  • Step 11 Fold the prosciutto in half lengthwise, then cut in half widthwise. Wrap a piece of the folded prosciutto around the stuffed date. Secure with a toothpick and place them on the wire rack.
  • Step 12 Bake for 15 minutes or until the prosciutto is crisp on the edges.
  • Step 13 Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftover dates.
Baked Pears

Baked Pears

Creamy, luscious fall fruit baked with a touch of cream and a hint of almond – an easy and elegant dessert.

This is one of the simplest desserts – perfect for last minute dinner guests and easily adapted for a party of 2 or 20!

Pears evoke images of cooler weather.I remember as a kid my parents would be the recipients of gorgeous pears, delicately wrapped in tissue and gift boxed for the holidays. Life in a small town offered limited selections of fruit in local markets and this was a treat! And baking pears in a bit of cream, a dash of pure almond extract, an extra sprinkling of sugar, then dotted with butter gives you a truly exquisite dish!

The pears come out with a creamy-like texture along with a rich sauce. Succulently sweet and delicious!

And if you don’t have cream on hand but happen to have a pint of vanilla ice cream in the freezer, you’re good to go thanks to this shortcut from Emily. She skips the sugar, adds cinnamon and vanilla extract for autumn flavors, then a couple of scoops of ice cream to finish baking.

Prepping the pears couldn’t be simpler. Rinse, cut them in half and core. No peeling necessary. You can have this sumptuous dessert in the oven in no time!

Think you don’t like baked fruit? These divine baked pears might just change your mind!

Baked Pears

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature, divided

2 tablespoons sugar, divided

2 Bosc pears, ripe but still firm

½ cup heavy cream

½ teaspoon pure almond extract

Vanilla ice cream for serving, optional

Spread 1 tablespoon of the softened butter in a baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar over the butter.

Rinse the pears and cut in half. Using a melon baller remove the core from the pears. You can bake with the stem on or trim it off. Place the pears cut side down in the buttered dish and dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.

Bake in a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes. Combine the cream and almond extract (or vanilla and cinnamon). Pour the cream over the pears.

Continue baking for an additional 20 minutes. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

In a pinch with no cream on hand but ice cream in the freezer…

Baked Pears in Vanilla Ice Cream

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature, divided

2 Bosc pears, ripe but still firm

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon.

2 scoops of vanilla ice cream

Vanilla ice cream for serving

Spread 1 tablespoon of the softened butter in a baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Rinse the pears and cut in half. Using a melon baller remove the core from the pears. You can bake with the stem on or trim it off.

Place the pears cut side down in the buttered dish and dot with the remaining butter. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes.

Pour in the vanilla extract and sprinkle the cinnamon over the top of the pears.

Add the ice cream and continue baking for an additional 20 minutes.

Serve warm with an extra scoop of ice cream!

Baked Pears, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

October 10, 2018
: 4

Creamy, luscious fall fruit baked with a touch of cream and a hint of almond – an easy and elegant dessert.

By:

Ingredients
  • Baked Pears with Cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 Bosc pears, ripe but still firm
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
  • Vanilla ice cream for serving
  • Baked Pears in Ice Cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature, divided
  • 2 Bosc pears, ripe but still firm
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon.
  • 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream
  • Vanilla ice cream for serving
Directions
  • Step 1 Baked Pears:
  • Step 2 Spread 1 tablespoon of the softened butter in a baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar over the butter.
  • Step 3 Rinse the pears and cut in half. Using a melon baller remove the core from the pears. You can bake with the stem on or trim it off.
  • Step 4 Place the pears cut side down in the buttered dish and dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
  • Step 5 Bake in a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes.
  • Step 6 Combine the cream and almond extract (or vanilla and cinnamon). Pour the cream over the pears and continue baking for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Step 7 Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
  • Step 8 Baked Pears in Ice Cream:
  • Step 9 Spread 1 tablespoon of the softened butter in a baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Step 10 Rinse the pears and cut in half. Using a melon baller remove the core from the pears. You can bake with the stem on or trim it off.
  • Step 11 Place the pears cut side down in the buttered dish and dot with the remaining butter. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes.
  • Step 12 Pour in the vanilla extract and sprinkle the cinnamon over the top of the pears. Add the ice cream and continue baking for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Step 13 Serve warm with an extra scoop of vanilla ice cream!