Sunday, October 24, 2010

I found these today...

I can't wait til Christmas when we're all together.

Love you guys. xxoo

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cranberries Two Ways

Thanksgiving at our house actually includes cranberries three ways - a relish, a conserve and a jelly. The jelly is for Marc and until last year was the kind from a can, served with the ridges still showing - kind of like a guide for cutting slices. Last year we tried to make our own, and the results were a bit mixed, actually kind of "melty". Maybe we didn't use enough gelatin, or maybe the conserve we started with had too much "stuff" to properly mold. In any event, not yet a recipe to share. But the other two, they are tried and true and our family's Thanksgiving table wouldn't be complete without both.

Given their history, I have no good excuse for having only this one, very bad photo, to show.
from 2008 - the relish is on the left, the conserve on the right
First up, the relish - I think I first made this in 1985, the year we moved into our house and the first year we hosted Thanksgiving. The original recipe was from Southern Living. But I quickly made it my own.

Good thing I know this one by heart - the card is pretty much illegible now!

My Cranberry Relish
1 navel orange, quartered
12 ounces cranberries
1 apple, quartered and seeded (granny smith or golden delicious)
1/4 cup pecans
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 lemon, cut in half
1-2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

This one really needs a food processor with the chopping blade. First, add the orange quarters and very coarsely chop. Then add the other ingredients and chop until there aren't any too-big bits. Don't overprocess or it won't be pretty. Chill, covered.

I make this on Wednesday so the flavors have time to marry. It keeps really well.

And now the conserve. This one is adapted from the Barefoot Contessa's Cranberry Fruit Conserve (from her Parties! cookbook, which I received as a gift from Francie in we've been making this for seven years). The adapting is in the cooking instructions - Ina says it takes 5 minutes for the skins to pop, cooking over low heat - in our experience, it's much longer!

Cranberry Conserve
12 ounces cranberries
scant 1-1/2 cups sugar (I'm sure you could use just 1-1/4 cups)
1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
3/4 cup raisins (we've used golden and black, both work fine)
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Cook the cranberries, sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until it foams and the cranberries' skins pop open. Add the apple, zests and juices and cook for 10 more minutes. Remove from the heat and add the raisins and nuts. Let cool, serve chilled. [note that when I found the link for Ina's recipe, I saw her photo - it sure looks like she added fresh orange zest before serving - I think we'll try holding out a bit of both zests to add just before serving]

We make this on Wednesday, too. And it keeps really well. Suggest using some of the leftovers in a Warmed Cranberry Brie (in place of the canned whole-berry sauce).

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

I haven't made this cheesecake in a while, but I'm going to try to be as descriptive and precise as possible in the directions. I have pretty strong feelings about cheesecake, and this one definitely satisfies.

The cranberry puree can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until you actually make the cake. I've copied the original recipe but written in notes as I see fit. I realize that makes it more of a hassle to print. Sorry in advance.

For the cranberry puree:
2 cups fresh cranberries (or frozen, thawed)
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup orange juice (I'll bet you can probably just use the juice and zest of one orange)
2 tablespoons orange zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon nutmeg
4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Make the cranberry puree. Combine all ingredients except vanilla extract in heavy large saucepan. (You're not going to add the vanilla in until the end because its flavor dissipates when heated.) Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens (you know, cranberries, lots of pectin!), stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly. (The recipe know calls for you to transfer this to a food processor to puree it. It should be fine in a blender, though.) So, transfer the mixture to a blender. Add the vanilla and puree until smooth. Strain into a medium bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. (I'm into this sort of thing, but I remember the leftovers from the strainer being especially tasty. Seed-y, but tasty.)

For the crust:
2 3/4 cups finely ground butter biscuit cookies or butter cookies (I'm pretty sure I use gingersnaps. I think you could also use graham crackers, too. Whatever you like - chocolate wafers, even.)
2 tablespoons sugar (You could certainly reduce or omit this depending on how sweet the cookies are. Butter cookies tend to be pretty sweet, so you could omit it entirely.)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (May or may not be necessary depending on if you use gingersnaps.)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted (I'd definitely cut this in half, if not more. You do not need an entire stick of melted butter to bind together a cookie crust! However, if you use less butter the crust won't "bind" together as much, but it will still hold up. Start with 3 tablespoons, and if that's not enough to get it all bound, add another tablespoon.)

Make the crust. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (the original recipe just calls for you to chill the crust, but I don't believe in just chilling crusts. Bake it for 10 minutes and it will get nice and toasty and delicious). Wrap the outside of a 10-inch springform fan with a double layer of aluminum foil. Process cookie crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon (you can crush the cookies by hand with a rolling pin or the bottom of a pan). Stir in the butter. Once clumps start to form, you've added enough butter. The crumbs should hold together if you press them, not just fall into a sad pile. Pour the crumbs into the springform pan. Using the bottom and sides of measuring cup, press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes in the middle rack of the oven. After 10 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and set aside to cool while you make the filling.

For the filling:
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature (very important! Also, you could use all Neufchatel if you want, or half Neufchatel and half regular)
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream (you could use low-fat if that's what you buy)
1/2 cup whipping cream (not the same as heavy cream, it usually has less fat - but you could still use heavy cream, too)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Make the filling. Using electric mixer (or hand mixer), beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add sugar and beat until well-blended. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure that everything is getting well-blended. That's half the battle with cheesecake. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in sour cream, whipping cream, and vanilla. Mix well.

Transfer 1/3 of the filling to the baked crust. Then dollop 1/3 of the cranberry puree atop the filling (just little dollops spaced across the filling). Repeat layering of filling and puree 2 more times (ending with the puree on top). Using a knife (butter knife will do), swirl the puree through the filling, creating a marbled design. (This is easy to do using figure-eight motions, but after a few swirls you'll see the marble design begin to form. Just be sure to swirl so that you get all the puree from the lower layers incorporated into the batter.)

Meanwhile, but a pot of water on to boil. Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan. Situate the pan on the center rack of the oven and pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake until the cheesecake puffs around the edges, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. (The top of the cheesecake will be set by this point but it may jiggle slightly when shaken.) Turn off the oven. Leave the oven door ajar (this is easily accomplished using a wooden spoon) and let the cake stand in the oven for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, remove the cake from the oven. Run a knife around the pan sides to loosen the cake (this will prevent it from cracking as it cools - things expand as they cool). Cool completely. Remove foil from pan sides. Cover cake and chill overnight. The cake can be made two days ahead and kept refrigerated. (Sometimes I put the still-warm cake in the refrigerator, but I'd recommend to let it cool at least a little while on the counter before you transfer it to the refrigerator.)

You could serve this with a cranberry compote or this cranberry balsamic glaze, which looks scrumptious. Let me know how this turns out. I love the mix of the creamy filling and the tart, smooth cranberry puree. Yum!
Me, enjoying the cranberry swirl cheesecake for my birthday one year.
(Looks like I used gingersnaps, but it's a bit hard to tell.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

one to check out.

...or maybe I'm the only one who didn't know about a (relatively) new on-line magazine with beautiful photography and yummy looking food?

Look inside >
Fall 2010
(found via littlebrownpen because I love butternut squash soup - thank you!!)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

pumpkin (part 1).

for Sara.

So when I talked to you this afternoon and you mentioned a pumpkin shortage (huh?), it was all I could do to keep my cool and not tell you that I bought three cans of the 100% puree at Kroger on Friday. I really wanted to make pumpkin oatmeal (and surprise you!)

I've had two recipes bookmarked in my cooking folder - hummm, maybe you sent them to me? - anyway, one is for Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal and one is for Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal. Because the only thing better than pumpkin pie cheesecake (for an oatmeal lover like me) is pumpkin pie oatmeal.

This morning I made my version. a bit lighter than the "pie" version, but a bit more than the other. And I was pleased with the result (except that I boobled the nutmeg and ended up with way to much of that - not the recipe's fault!). Which is good because I have three more breakfasts worth of it sitting in the fridge.

Here's how I worked it:

my pumpkin spice oatmeal
1 C old fashioned oats
1 T dark brown sugar, packed
3/4 t cinnamon
3/8 t cloves allspice (see comments!)
3/8 t nutmeg (my booble ended up with more than a half teaspoon - do not use this much!)
1/2 t lemon juice (the pie recipe called for zest and of course, we didn't have any - I sub'd lemon juice for flavor, but I'm not sure it matters?)
1/4 t salt
1/2 t vanilla
1 t butter
1 C pumpkin puree
3/4 C milk (I used skim; I think I could've used more)

to top:
1/8 C chopped almonds
1 t dark brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (I used convection bake). Spray an 8" diameter Corning dish with Pam. Set aside.

Combine oats through salt in a medium sized bowl. Stir well. In a separate smaller bowl, combine the butter and milk. Microwave on medium for about 30 seconds to soften the butter. Add the vanilla and pumpkin and stir until combined.

Pour the pumpkin mixture into the oats and stir until combined.  (I don't think you can overstir this!)

Pour mixture into the Corning dish and bake for 8 minutes (suggest 10 for non-convection).

Meanwhile, make the topping. Put the brown sugar in a small bowl.  Toast the chopped almonds in a small skillet over medium high heat. Pay attention, nuts burn quickly! When they're toasted, add the nuts to the brown sugar and stir well.

After the 8 (10) minutes, remove the oatmeal from the oven and spread the almond sugar mixture on top. Bake an additional 5 (suggest 7 for non-convection)  minutes.

Cool for 5 minutes before serving. Top with a splash of milk.

There are two more cans of pumpkin in the pantry. Looking forward to cooking with you next weekend!

xxoo - M.


hi and welcome to tartlet, tartlet, tartlet - or (since just looks annoying) - a three-way culinary conversation between mother and daughters across the country.  here you will find a sort of virtual stack of pages torn out of food magazines, recipes made and reviewed, to-visit and five-starred restaurants, lovely foodie photography, dreamy kitchens, and a very long lust list of cookbooks and kitchen toys.

love, k

and, if you're interested - the origin of "tartlet, tartlet, tartlet."