Monday, November 26, 2007

Cranberry-Pear Butter

Although it contains ginger, this buttter is more sweet than savory and tastes as good on your morning toast as it does on a turkey sandwich. Make sure to stir the mixture often to prevent it from sticking and scorching. Straining the mixture is not essential, but is an easy way to remove skins.

5 pears (about 2 pounds), peeled, quartered, cored and thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
2 cups fresh cranberries , picked through and coarsely chopped
1 cup apple cider
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Mix all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer, stirring often, until pears fall apart and mixture thickens, about 1 hour. Working in batches, process mixture in a food mill or press through a fine sieve to strain out solids. (Can be jarred and refrigerated for at least 2 weeks.) Makes about 2 1/4 cups.

Recipe courtesy Cooks Illustrated

Friday, November 23, 2007

Leftover Turkey Casserole

Though it isn't a family recipe, this one also comes to me through my mother. It is a wonderful creamy cheesy sauce with a bit of zing, balanced nicely by the mushroom, black olive, and turkey combo. I'm not sure the original source, but here it is with slight adaptation.

3 Tbs butter
4 Tbs flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Cayenne (I like to add a few dashes)
Dash of red hot pepper (I like to add a few dashes)

6 oz. fresh chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup cold water

1 and a 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 and a 1/2 cups milk

2 and 1/2 cups cooked macoroni shells (medium)
1 can pitted black olives sliced
2 1/2 cups chopped leftover turkey

4-5 slices white American cheese

Preheat 425 degrees.

Cook pasta shells according to package instructions. Simmer fresh chopped mushrooms in a 1/2 cup water until they have absorbed most of the liquid.

Melt butter in a large saute pan. Blend in flour and all the spices and seasonings up to Cayenne and red pepper. Slowly add chicken stock, stirring all the while. Add mushrooms (liquid and all). Add milk and bring to a boil. Stir until mixture thickens. Add shells, olives, and turkey.

Turn half the mixture out into a 2 quart casserole dish. Cover this first half with American cheese slices cut into triangles. Pour remaining mixture on top and top with American cheese triangles again.

Bake 15-20 minutes.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Caramel Sauce

1 1/2 cups corn syrup
3 cups brown sugar
1 cup cold water
1/2 stick of butter
1 can sweetened, condensed milk

Combine corn syrup, brown sugar, butter and water in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium high and bring to boil. Stirring constantly, boil the butter mixture for three minutes. Do not overcook. After three minutes, remove from heat and stir in sweetened, condensed milk.

Makes two and a half pints.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Apple-Orange Cranberry Sauce

A favorite recipe here. Tart, sweet, and richly flavored. The apples in this sauce reduce the bitterness of the cranberries, keeping it nice and tart as you would want it, but less bitter. It's also quite beautiful on the Thanksgiving table. The photograph below really doesn't do it justice - I'll replace it when I make the sauce next week. Enjoy!

1/2 orange
2 cups water
1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith, pippin or McIntosh
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Squeeze the juice from the orange and set the juice aside. Remove and discard the membrane from inside the orange rind and cut the rind into small dice. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the rind and the water and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Peel, core and quarter the apple. Cut into 1/2-inch dice and place in a saucepan. Sort the cranberries, discarding any soft ones. Add to the apples along with the orange juice, orange rind, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan partially. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, the apple is tender and the cranberries have burst, 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the cranberry sauce to a heatproof bowl and let cool for 1 hour before serving. Or cover and refrigerate; bring to room temperature before serving. Transfer the cranberry sauce to a sauceboat and pass at the table. Makes 3 1/2 to 4 cups.

Recipe courtesy Williams-Sonoma

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The day I discovered this cool device....


....was a happy day indeed.

Last year on Thanksgiving Day I prepared mashed potatoes for a hundred people. Wanting my starch to be served fresh and hot for such a multitude, I bought a potato ricer in anticipation of the endeavor, thinking I would alternate using it with the KitchenAid, or maybe utilize both at the same time (ha! Try that at your own risk!). What I didn't realize, was how wonderfully easy it was to mash with this little contraption. It whipped up my potatoes faster, smoother and with less mess than the mixer. After the first five pounds of potatoes I stopped using the mixer entirely.

I'm totally hooked. It's fun, and I love that it looks like a huge garlic press! I'm not sure yet how many people I'll be preparing for this year, but should I be required to serve potatoes.....I've got my weapon. Bring 'em on!

(photograph courtesy