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DINNERS WITH JOY — A MENU COOKBOOK

This is the perfect cookbook for busy people who like good food but have limited time to shop and cook. Restaurant quality recipes have been modified for easy, even advanced prep and quick cooking. A great gift, the book provides a ready answer for that nagging question at the end of a long day; “What’s for dinner?” and teaches by example how to avoid that stressful dilemma permanently. Moreover, the introduction contains information on fats, carbohydrates, choosing and using poultry, meats and seafood as well as making gravies and sauces and their various uses from dips to desserts.

However, the real difference with this cookbook is that it’s based on a professional chef’s approach to menu planning. Twelve weeks of healthy, balanced entrées, with side recipe suggestions, are arranged in three monthly groups. Each weekly menu listing is accompanied by cooking tips covering everything from specific directions to general information such as freezing raw and cooked foods, a dessert recipe, and most importantly a detailed shopping list complete with pantry check. Learning how to compile the shopping list is the key to relieving the stress of meal planning.

One can simply pull up the week’s list, optionally cross off ingredients of a recipe they don’t want or substitute those of one they do, and head to, or call it in to the store or virtual shopper. Having a ready list is in itself a major time saver. It is important, though, to keep the food categories intact, especially if altering a list. Maintaining the list order is needed to make the menu planning process easy but it’s even more important to keep food shopping organized whether doing it directly, recording it for later, or particularly if using virtual shopping.

Used as learning tools the lists in the book illustrate how to effortless it can be to provision a week’s meals. It’s very relaxing to know that in one trip you have the whole week covered—completely—no quick trips to pick up something!

The weekly entrees themselves are varied; a poultry, a pork, a beef, a seafood, an ethnic dish, a casserole and a fun meal. They are presented in the same sequence only to simplify editing. They can be switched or replaced as desired. Again, the important fact is that all ingredients required for the week are on the list, entered in the proper category or deleted if a recipe is rejected.

For the busy person’s convenience, several recipes can be prepared ahead for the night there will be no time to cook, or made in excess for anticipated guests and frozen. Those recipes are noted and freezing, plus re-heating instructions are included. Also included are suitable suggestions for restricted diets where indicated, mainly for the pork, ham and shellfish recipes. A recipe, Pork Chops Basil, with both notations is included below as an example.

Does the book work? Well a friend had a printed copy on her desk recently, when an associate known for his lack of cooking skills was intrigued by a recipe. He was amazed when he was able to successfully make it and bought the book. He’s not on Master Chef, but he is now interested in trying dishes at home and has even entertained. The recipe that started him off, Chicken in Lemon Wine Sauce is below, as is a sample of that week’s menu with its shopping list, which I’m using as an example in this posting. Any special notations or references were covered in the week’s tips section, which is not included here.

Dinners With Joy is available on this site’s Books/Products section, on Amazon in paperback and Kindle in digital form as well as our Etsy shop, Dinner With Joy, at its current price of $14.99. It truly makes a great gift!

CHICKEN IN LEMON-WINE SAUCE

A classic dish, with recipes found in various forms, but always a good choice.

Saute-Skillet
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
¼ cup flour
2 Tbs. cooking oil – -canola
2 Tbs. butter
1 small onion diced
2 cloves garlic sliced
1 lemon  – zested and juiced
1/3 cup white wine – – recommend dry vermouth
¾ cup water
1/2 envelope chicken bouillon granules
½ cup chopped fresh parsley – – or 2 Tbs. dried
2 tsp. garlic powder

Pound chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap, to an even thickness, and dredge in flour. Place 1 Tbs. oil in a skillet over medium heat and begin to cook chicken, add 2 Tbs. butter, and brown chicken in both sides – @ 6 min. total. Remove chicken to a plate. Add 1Tbs. oil to pan and sauté onion until soft @ 2 min., add sliced garlic and sauté 1 min, more. Add wine, and deglaze pan by scraping all the browned bits from the surface with a wooden spoon. Add water, bouillon powder, 1 Tbs. lemon juice, and return chicken to pan. Reduce heat and cook, uncovered, over medium- low about 8-10 min. until chicken is done and sauce thickens.

Meanwhile, make what the Italians call “Gremalata” by mixing the parsley, garlic powder and lemon zest in a small bowl.
Plate the chicken pieces individually with sauce. Top each with a small portion of gremalata, and pass the rest.

Suggested sides: 1 lb. fresh sugar snap peas or (1) 10 oz. box frozen. Blanch in boiling water @ 2 min. Drain and toss with 1Tbs. olive oil and 1/8 tsp. lemon pepper.

4 sweet potatoes, washed, dried and lightly rubbed with butter. Pierce Xs with a fork in the tops, and microwave, on a paper towel, as oven directs @ 6-9 min. Split tops and fill with butter or sour cream. For an added taste boost, add a drizzle of maple syrup.

(PORK CHOPS BASIL- This recipe is included as an example both of suggested dietary substitutions and recipes with advanced prep. It is not from the same week as the above one, so the ingredients will not appear on the sample shopping list.
Can be frozen**

This is an old family favorite, and it also works well for roasts but consult charts for temperature and cooking times per pound. It can be refrigerated for three days, or even frozen for three weeks, after the baking, so it can be made ahead and quickly ready on a rushed night. Veal chops, boneless chicken thighs or turkey cutlets may be substituted for the pork.

Bake: Oven Proof Pan
(8)  ½ inch thick center pork chops well trimmed-Chicken thighs are an alternate*
½ cup flour
1 Tbs. garlic powder
2 Tbs. dried basil
½ a small can frozen orange juice concentrate
Water to dilute juice @ ½ cup
¼ cup cream sherry

Sprinkle half the garlic powder and half the basil in the bottom of an oven proof dish or pan that will hold the chops closely but not overlapping. Dredge the chops in the flour, by shaking in a plastic bag, one at a time, making sure they’re well coated. Place in pan, and sprinkle the rest of the garlic and basil over them. Cover and seal the pan with foil. Bake, preferably at 250 degrees for 2 hours, but acceptable at 350 degrees for one hour. Remove from oven, turn on broiler, and lift foil.** Dilute orange juice with the sherry and just enough water to come almost to the top level of the chops in the pan, and pour over the chops. Broil until chops brown and the sauce thickens.

*If using the chicken, divide the thighs into 2 pieces and pound them between plastic wrap to an even thinness. Baking time for poultry will be reduced by as much as 1/3 depending on thickness of meat.
** Can be frozen at this point, be sure chops are room temperature.  Return to room temperature, add liquid and proceed as above.

Suggested sides: 2 boxes. 10 oz. each, cooked squash. Drain well, mix with 1 Tbs. butter, salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Heat in microwave according to package directions.

(2) 10oz boxes, chopped spinach. Drain, put in a greased pie plate or shallow casserole. Mix with 2 raw eggs and 2 packets chicken or beef flavored bouillon granules. Top with a sprinkle of
nutmeg, and bake along with the meat for 20 min. at 250 deg. or 10 min, at 350 deg.
) 

Weekly Menu Sample

Month 1, Week 1
Chicken in Lemon Wine Sauce
Baked Sweet Potatoes

Sugar Snap Peas

Pork Tangier
Spinach Orange Salad

Steak in Red Wine
Broccoli Crowns
Broiled Irish Potatoes

Salmon in Lemon-Caper Sauce
Zucchini Medley
Roasted Baby Carrots

Glamorous Ham Casserole
Caesar Salad

Double-Punch Lasagna Roll-Ups
Italian Green Beans
Bread Sticks

Classic Fajitas

Apple Rustica

SAMPLE SHOPPING LIST
Cross off items now in the house in quantity needed
MONTH 01 / WEEK 01
A word before I begin this, our first list. As I stated in the introduction, I’ll try not to request too many pantry items at once or be exotic in the things I use, but I do want to help you build a basic pantry, so that very soon you’ll automatically know you have most of the things on each week’s list and shorten your shopping time. For example, every week, I will mention flour, salt and pepper. They are basic, as are sugar and some herbs and spices. I will also be listing other items that you may want to consider in the “staples” category to make your life easier, fresh onions, rice, eggs, butter, cooking and salad oils, bread crumbs and wines are in this group. So buy with an eye to the future. I like to use bouillon powder. It can add a lot of taste, with minimum effort, but brands vary greatly in sodium content. Boxed packets seem to contain less than the bottled granules, offer a low-sodium option, stay fresh longer, and the pre-measured amounts are easier to control. So I prefer them, but if you want to adjust the recipe amount higher according to taste, you can, just restrict the salt. Never use cubes. They don’t dissolve well, nor do they impart the flavor.

PANTRY CHECK
White wine – – suggestion dry vermouth
Dry red wine
Cream sherry
Flour – all purpose*
Beef and chicken bouillon granule packets, NOT cubes
Salt and pepper
Lemon pepper
Garlic powder-not garlic salt
Paprika
Dried parsley
Curry powder
Cumin powder
Coriander powder
Ginger powder
Nutmeg- grated
Dried Oregano
Dried basil
Dried thyme
Cooking oil
Salad oil
Bread crumbs- flavored or regular
Worcestershire sauce
Dijon or Spicy brown mustard
Cinnamon

MARKET
GROCERIES
(1) 2oz jar of capers
1 box lasagna noodles
(1)4 oz. can mushrooms-stems& pieces
½ cup raisons
1 box couscous—garlic or pine nuts
(8) 8 inch flour tortillas
(2) 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
(1) 14 oz can diced tomatoes
2 cups packaged pre-cooked white rice
(1) pkg. Crisco quarters
Parchment paper

MEATS
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
11/2 lb. boneless lean pork for cubing
(4) 5oz beef tenderloin steaks
(4) 5oz salmon fillets
(3) ¼ lb slices cooked ham
1 lb. ground turkey
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
OR 12 oz. beef steak

PRODUCE
3 lb. bag of onions
1 lb. bag peeled baby carrots
1 bunch celery
1 bulb garlic or 1 jar chopped
2 lemons
8 oz. sliced button mushrooms
2 plum tomatoes
2 green bell peppers
1 red bell pepper
1 orange
Fresh ginger root – small piece
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 ½ lbs. apples + 1 apple

DAIRY
24 oz. sour cream
4 oz. wedge parmesan cheese
8 oz. shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 quart milk
1 cup light cream or ½ & ½
½ lb butter
Dozen eggs- 2 this week rest next
8 oz. guacamole
4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese

OPTIONAL SIDES
(2) 14oz cans small whole white potatoes
4 sweet potatoes
(1) 12 oz. bag baby spinach leaves
1 lb. fresh or (1) 10 oz. box frozen sweet pea pods
2 large crowns of fresh broccoli
(1) 12 oz. bag baby greens
(1) 12 oz. bag romaine lettuce – or 1lb head
1 lbs. fresh zucchini
1 10 oz. package frozen Italian green beans
1 box bread sticks- – look for the thin ones called grissini
Choices of salad dressings- – if needed

8 MAKE AHEAD CRANBERRY DESSERTS

I happened to catch a segment of a morning talk show last week. The guest expert mentioned that holiday entertaining can be stressful and I laughed. First of all, any event you hold during the festive, busy winter holidays doesn’t get the singular attention it would at any other season, even from you. As a veteran of many years of personal, not professional, holiday hosting everything from brunches to cocktail open houses to buffet suppers, and always the big family feast, I know how quickly the arrangements can begin to look like a freeway pile-up. You gotta have a plan!

Outwardly the plan is to have as many things including food ready ahead as possible but its real purpose is to assure the party runs smoothly, especially if you’re flying solo. You will be wearing many hats and want to change them as unobtrusively as possible. This isn’t hard during a moving party like a buffet but it can be downright awkward during a sit-down dinner, particularly that main family feast.

For me the pause to clear the entree and set out the dessert is the most difficult. If it’s too long, guests get restless, or worse reflect on how much they’ve eaten and decide to refuse more. Being able to put out a bright, attractive, light and yes, cold dessert soon after the entrée plates are cleared elicits the response; “I’ll try a bit to top off the dinner..” rather than “I couldn’t eat another bite”.

A dessert made with cranberries is the solution. Their bright red color is cheery and seasonal; their sweet-sour slightly acidic taste is perfect after a rich entrée; their affinity for the cold makes them ideal for icy sweets and they’re very easy to work with. The recipes below are geared to ease and convenience, able to be prepared ahead and ready for serving. Even scoops of Ice cream can be arranged in a bowl, waiting in the freezer to be spooned into dishes at table. The only exception is the Angel Nest, which can be stored in a container for several weeks and filled quickly before serving.

So do yourself a favor, and make a cranberry dessert part of your master plan for the holidays, whether you’re planning on entertaining or not. You’ll be glad you did! However, don’t forget there are 3 great dessert recipes Cranberry Cake, Cranberry-Raisin Pie and an easy Cranberry Crisp in last week’s post (11/30) along with other cranberry dishes you might like as well.

Angle Pie: Serves 6-8: From James Beard’s American Cookery
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
Filling
4 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
1/3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 cup whipping cream
Beat egg whites to soft peaks and gradually add sugar and cornstarch, beating to stiff peaks. Spread in a well-oiled pie plate and bake at 300 deg. for 1 hr. When golden, turn off oven and allow to cool on rack with door ajar.
For the filling, beat the yolks slightly and place in a double boiler with the salt and lemon juice. Stir until beginning to thicken and add ¾ cup strained cranberry sauce using heated, strained whole berry sauce OR prick 1 cup cranberries and place in a pan with ¼ cup water. When it begins to boil add the ½ cup sugar. Boil 5 min. until translucent and cool; stir until thick. Strain and have ready to add to pie filling.
Whip cream, spread half in shell, spoon in filling then, top with the remaining cream and chill 24 hr. or overnight.
NOTE: Keeps for 2 days in the refrigerator but reserve and spoon on the top layer of cream just before serving for a fresh look.

Angle Nests: Serves 6-8
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 Tbs. flour
1 Tbs. cornstarch
Compote-see next recipe or cranberry compote-11/30/17
Beat egg whites to soft peaks; add sugar gradually beating until stiff peaks form, adding flour and cornstarch along the way. Shape the mixture on an 8 inch round template, using the back of a fork to raise the sides into a nest shape. Bake at 250 degrees for 60 min. Leave in oven for 30 min. then cool on a wire rack. Can be stored in a dry place until ready to use for several weeks. Fill centers with cranberry compote (post 11/30/17), Cranberry-Pear Compote (below), sauce or prick 2 cups cranberries and place in a pan with ¼ cup water. When it begins to boil add the 1 cup sugar. Boil 5 min. until translucent. Cool before filling meringue nest.
I would imagine Angel Cakes can be made in individual portions, and would be most attractive. Judging by the timing to cook basic meringues, I don’t think there would be much adjustment to the directions either. Something you might want to try.
NOTE: Nest can be made several weeks ahead and stored in an air-tight container.

Cranberry-Pear Compote in Syrup: Serves 4 Serves 6 using suggestion below* From Rozanne Gold’s Recipes 1-2-3
2 large Bosc or Comice pears
2 cups cranberries
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
Peel, core pears and cut each into 8 slices. Bring water and sugar to a boil, When sugar is dissolved, add fruit and simmer 30 min. or until pears are firm-tender. Remove fruit, cool and chill. Boil syrup down to ¾ to 1 cup, cool to room temp and pour over fruit and, if not serving at once, chill. After serving save any extra syrup to use over pancakes etc.
*Serving suggestion: Present bowl of fruit accompanied by slices of pound cake to act as bedding. This raises the portion total to 6.
NOTE: The compote will hold about 5 days in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.

Cranberry Ice Cream:* Serves 6-Very quick and easy to make.
2 cups cranberries
¾ cup sugar
1 orange –quartered, seeds removed
½ cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1 pint vanilla ice cream- softened
Coarsely chop berries and orange, with rind. Stir in sugar and blend fruit mix, making sure the orange rind is pulverized, add walnuts and stir into softened ice cream. Pour into a mold and freeze until firm. Unmold and serve garnished with cranberries and walnuts. Or spoon ice cream into a freezer container; a couple of hours before serving fill a decorative freezer-proof bowl with individual scoops of ice cream and spoon them into dessert dishes at table
*This ice cream, as shown, can be densely packed with fruit. I love it this way but some people, especially children, may prefer it if the quantity of vanilla ice cream is doubled in proportion to the fruit.
NOTE: Keeps as long as commercial ice cream in the freezer.

Cranberry Sherbet: Makes 2 quarts
1 packet unflavored gelatin
2 cups cold water
1 cup boiling water
3 Tbs. lemon juice
¾ cup sugar
1 cup bottled cranberry juice
Soften gelatin in ½ cup cold water for 15 min. dissolve in boiling water. Add all the other ingredients and simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour into a mold or ice trays.
NOTE: Keeps as long as a commercial product in the freezer.

Cranberry Refrigerator Cake: Serves 6-8
3cups cranberries
1 ½ cups water
1/3 cup raisins
3 figs- finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
10 dates- finely chopped
1 small sponge or pound cake
1 cup sugar
Cook cranberries in water until skins pop; strain, pushing down on solids. Add fruits and nuts to strained juice, mix, cover and simmer 5 min .Remove from heat, add sugar, stir to dissolve and cool. Line a greased mold with the cake slices, add a layer of the fruit mix, then a layer of cake, repeat, ending with cake. Chill in refrigerator, unmold and serve with whipped cream.
NOTE: Keeps for 2-3 days

Cranberry-Nut Refrigerator Torte: Serves 12-16
2 ¼ cups flour
1 cup sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. EACH baking powder AND baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts
1cup cranberries
1 cup chopped dates
2 oranges – zest grated-juice reserved
2 eggs beaten
1 cup buttermilk OR plain yogurt (see note*)
¾ cup oil
1 cup orange juice-includes reserved juice from oranges
1cup sugar
Sift first 5dry ingredients together. Stir in nuts, fruits and zest. Lightly beat or whisk eggs, buttermilk and oil and add to flour mixture. Stir until blended. Pour into a greased 10 inch tube pan. Bake in a 350 deg. pre-heated oven for 1 hr. Let stand in pan until lukewarm. Remove to a rack placed over a wide dish. Combine orange juice and 1 cup sugar and pour over cake. Set cake in a deep refrigerator or freezer proof dish and pour drippings over cake again. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 24hr. before serving or freezing. Serve sliced with whipped cream.
*Substitute buttermilk with 1Tbs. vinegar or lemon juice + milk to equal 1 cup—allow to stand 5-10 min. before using.
NOTE: Cake keeps in refrigerator for 2 weeks or more, frozen for several months but thaw before serving.

Easy Berry Cream Cake: Serves 4-6–A quick, elegant answer to the problem of providing a nice dessert when there isn’t time to prepare one from scratch, and a tasty end to a meal anytime.
1 Pound cake – purchased or made from a mix*
1 can whole berry sauce – 2 cans for a larger cake
1 pint whipping cream or 1 container of whipped topping—2 for a larger cake
Cut the cake into 3 layers using toothpicks, a ruler and a knife OR 2 layers for a small pound cake. Spread ½ topping on cut side of a layer, then cover with sauce, add another or top layer and repeat, spooning sauce in a decorative line down the center of the top. Refrigerate until serving.
Variation: For a large or round regular vanilla cake. Add to ingredients
1 box Vanilla Pudding mix
Combine the pudding mix and berries with juice, reserving 2 Tbs. berries, in a saucepan and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and chill. Whip the cream and fold all but 1/3 cup into the chilled berry mixture. Spread on the two or three cake layers. Garnish the top with the reserved cream then the reserved berries.
*1 lb. boxed pound cakes are available on the shelves of many stores bakery departments including The Dollar Store.

LET CRANBERRIES BRIGHTEN HOLIDAY MEALS

It would be hard to go through the winter holidays in the U.S. and Canada without encountering cranberries. Contrary to popular belief, unlike turkeys, they are not uniquely native to North America but also to Northern Europe and Siberia, where they were considered animal fodder, especially for bears. The Indians taught the early settlers the berries had value as a dye, medicine for wounds and most importantly as a food source, and yes, they actually were served at the first Thanksgiving dinner.

In 1667, cranberries were included, along with several foods from the New World, in a gift to King Charles of England and they have enjoyed a mild popularity in Northern Europe ever since. Today the major world-wide production of cranberries is located from the middle of the U.S north into southern Canada and the main portion of the crop is used commercially. To dispel another myth, they don’t grow in water. They thrive in moist, marshy soil and their fields, or bogs, are flooded during the fall allowing the berries to float free of the vines for easy harvesting. The water remains in the bogs, freezing over the winter, because, unlike other plants, ice protects rather than kills cranberry vines. The bogs are drained in spring so the plants can flower creating, the next crop of berries. This may account for the fact that cranberries freeze well cooked or raw.

Cranberries were widely used from colonial times through the mid 20thcen. but like that other fall fruit pears (post 11/16/17)have been increasingly overlooked since then, except for commercially produced juice and jellies. Cranberries have fared a bit better in the past few decades with the introduction of ‘Craisins’, dried, sweetened berries, and in November, bags of fresh berries, make their way into the markets. I think one of the reasons for cranberries reduced use in home cooking is another myth; that they are inedible raw and require long cooking. It’s true they aren’t tasty eaten out-of-hand, but they are used raw in certain recipes and cooking time is only about 10 min. at most. Actually, I was one of those who bought into this misconception and have only recently come to understand that they are probably one of the easiest fruits to work with. Additionally, they are far more economical fresh than canned.

I love these berries sweet-tart taste and think others would enjoy the flavor they lend to dishes, especially baked goods, if they only had more recipes to try. So here’s a sampling from a breakfast compote, through stuffing, to pie and cake. Cranberries’ taste is a complimentary addition to many menus and their cheery, red color brightens any table, particularly now, over the holidays. Next week I’m offering cranberry recipes for cold colorful desserts to end any meal on a happy note.

RECIPES: First, 2 facts;
1) Cranberries freeze well straight from their container in air-tight bags and can be used without thawing. Stock up on them while available in the market, because they are difficult to find commercially frozen.
2) The skins do ‘pop’ when heated, so recipes may suggest the berries be chopped, halved or, for dry pan baking whole, pin-pricked. Chopping is easy with a processer. Halving is simplified by lining the berries up on a cutting board or platter with a ‘gully’ or groove and slicing through them with a long, sharp knife. Pricking is just what it sounds like, poking a hole in each berry’s skin with a pin, but, again, lining them up in a groove speeds the task.

Relish: Yield about 3 cups*-Freezes well**-Adapted from Recipes 1-2-3 by Rozanne Gold
1 lb. cranberries
1 cup dried cherries OR 1 large orange, seeded but not peeled OR cherries + 1/3 cup slivers orange peel
1 cup or more packed brown sugar to taste
Process all ingredients to a rough chop. Allow to stand at room temperature for 4 hrs. to meld flavors. Chill at least 4 days before serving. Use with meats.
* 1 cup crushed pineapple or finely diced apple can be added after processing, to alter flavor
** Can also be used as a base for My Easy Salsa. Good with poultry and meats.
NOTE: Keeps chilled for several weeks

Compote: Yield about 2 ¾ cups cranberries- From Recipes 1-2-3 by Rozanne Gold
3 cups cranberries
2/3 cup brown sugar
¾ cup dried cherries
12 black peppercorns OR freshly ground black pepper
Pinch salt
Bring sugar, salt and pepper to a boil in 1 cup water, add fruits. Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 min. until berries have popped and sauce has thickened. Cool then chill.

My Easy Cranberry Salsa: Yield a bit over 1 cup with recipe, over 2 cups using canned sauce —all measurements are approximate and can be adjusted. (1) 14 oz. can whole berry sauce can be substituted for the *marked ingredients, making this super easy

1 cup cranberries*
¼ cup packed brown sugar*
¼ cup finely diced onion
Meat of 1 orange
1/3 cup orange peel in fine Julianne no more than ½ inch long
½ tsp. finely diced jarred jalapeño pepper- optional and to taste OR freshly ground black pepper
Mix everything together, adjust flavors and allow to sit, covered, in the refrigerator for several days before serving. Excellent with poultry, pork, ham and veal.
NOTE: Keeps chilled for several weeks
Easy Strudel: Serves 6-8-From Recipes 1-2-3 by Rozanne Gold
2 ½ cups compote
5 Tbs. unsalted butter-melted
7 sheets phyllo dough
Lay sheets of phyllo on a flat surface and coat each lightly with butter using a pastry brush, restacking them as you do. Spoon cranberry compote parallel to one of the short sides of the phyllo leaving a 3 inch margin and roll up tightly like a jelly roll. Place, seam side down on a baking sheet. Brush top with remaining butter and bake in a 375 deg. oven for 25 min. Cool and serve in slices. Best consumed within 3 hrs. of baking,DO NOT refrigerate.
Muffins: For 1 dozen muffins
To dry mix, packaged or homemade, add ¾ cup roughly chopped cranberries. Stir well, to prevent clumping in batter when liquid is added. Bake as per directions.

Cranberry Baked Brie: This can be made with a wheel or wedge of Brie.
Preheat oven to 400 deg.
Bring refrigerated pastry sheet to room temperature by placing on the counter until workable. Spread top of cheese liberally with whole berry sauce, canned or homemade. If necessary cut the pie crust to fit a wedge, leave whole for a wheel. Place the pastry over the cheese and turn brie over and seal opening. Place the sealed side onto a greased baking pan. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until crust is light golden brown.

Cranberry Stuffing: Yield 6 cups
2 cups ground cranberries
½ cup butter
½ cup sugar
8 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs*
Salt and pepper
1Tbs. sage
2 tsp. thyme
½ cup chopped celery
3 Tbs. chopped parsley
¾ cups water or ½ cup orange juice and ¼ cup water or sufficient to moisten
Saute cranberries in butter until soft, about 5 min. stir in sugar. Mix crumbs with next 5 ingredients and add to berries with fluid. Cook until blended, stirring constantly, about 8 min. Can be packed lightly into poultry, used as stuffing in a crown roast or cooked alongside a roast in a lightly greased casserole until brown on top. This is especially good with poultry or pork.
* I would like to try this with all or half corn bread crumbs rather than white.

Cranberry-Raisin Pie: Serves 6-8*
1 cup cranberries-halved
½ cup raisins
1 tsp. butter-melted
¾ cup sugar
1 Tbs. flour
Combine all ingredients and fill a pastry lined pie tin. Top with another pastry round. Slash the top and bake at 350 deg. for40 min.
*Easy Substitutes: 1) Use the compote listed above to fill the pastry lined pie tin, cover with 2nd, round and proceed as above.

Cranberry Crisp: Serves 6
12 oz. fresh cranberries=2 cups
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 egg
½ cup of flour
½ cup sugar
3/4 cup butter- melted
Lightly grease a 9 inch pie plate. Fill with berries, top with 1/3 cup sugar and nuts. Beat egg until foamy, beat in butter, flour and remaining sugar until batter is smooth. Pour over berries. Bake in a preheated 325 deg. oven until browned, about 45 min. This is best served warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
NOTE: This can be stored, before baking, the berries in the pie plate, covered, and the batter in a container in the refrigerator for about 3 days. Combine and bake. Probably can also be reheated in the microwave the day after baking.

Cranberry Cake: Serves 8-10
5 Tbs. butter- 1 Tbs. reserved
2 ½ cups flour
1 cup sugar
2eggs
¾ cup milk
2 tsp. baking powder
1tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
Prick cranberries and place in a pan with the water. When it begins to boil add the 1 cup sugar. Boil 5 min. until translucent and cool. Grease a springform pan. Cut 4 Tbs. butter into flour and sugar. When mix is in pea sized pieces, remove ¾ cup and reserve. To mixture in bowl, add eggs, milk, baking powder and vanilla and beat until batter is smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread up and around sides of pan, lining pan and forming a hollow in the center. Use strained cranberry mixture to fill the hollow in the batter, reserving any extra for decoration or other use. Work remaining butter and cinnamon into the reserved to form crumbs and sprinkle over the top of the cake. Bake in a preheated 400 deg. oven for 8 min. Reduce heat and bake for 30 min. at 350 deg. Cool on a rack for 5 min. and loosen edges with a knife before opening pan latch. Can be served warm.

LOVING TURKEY LEFTOVERS

I love leftovers. In fact, I buy larger roasts than I need, especially poultry, to make sure I have some. However, with leftovers, as much fun as it is to try and/or devise different ways to use them, knowing how to handle and store them, a category of ‘safe-serve’ as it’s called in the food industry, is the most important thing. Reviewing my holiday leftover articles in past years, I realized that I’ve focused too much on that aspect and offered too little recipe variety.

So this year I’m taking another approach by concentrating on a wider variety of ways to serve turkey leftovers. I’ll also include a list of my past postings and the information in each, where you’ll find the recipes named directly below. They’re easily accessed by either clicking ‘Archives’ on the Main Page Header or clicking ‘Blog’ and selecting the correct month from the Archives menu box on the right margin. You can also go directly to chosen posts through the panorama on the top of the Main Page. Many may have December dates since I also serve turkey at Christmas.

Past information includes choosing, stuffing and cooking the bird, stripping the roast, stock making and storing the meat. The recipes specifically listed as leftover suggestions in those posts are: Stuffing Soup, Chicken a la King Pierre, Turkey Curry, Chicken with Olives, Turkey with Walnuts, Classic Fajitas, Hot Chicken Salad, Stuffed Portabellas, and Chicken Salad with Craisins, plus several recipes for party dishes using leftovers. There also are more in other postings on sauces, cold dinners and casseroles.

When it comes to using leftovers, the first thing to understand is that there is no rush. They don’t have to be overkill. Stored correctly, frozen they can be enjoyed for several months. Moreover, there are short cuts for the busy person or the novice, just become acquainted with Uncle Ben and his ‘sides’ shelf-mates, and remember their quantities should be doubled for entrée servings. They frequently list suggestions on the box, but also offer room for innovation. For example, for 2 servings: to 1 box of brown and wild rice mix add 1 onion in large dice, strips of roasted red pepper(jarred is fine) and serve topped with 1-1 ½ cups turkey, sliced mushrooms(canned) and sauce from a mix or leftover gravy, with optionally, green beans or broccoli flowerets added in. To give an adult note, thin the gravy or replace some of the sauce liquid with wine.

You can work similar easy fixes with pasta sides, but, as a tip, I’ve found the pasta in the mixes is brittle It’s better to use regular pasta with the sauce for entrees and save the boxed stuff for soup fillers, but the ingredient proportions remain the same.

The recipes below are geared for convenience, simple enough for everyday but elegant enough to be presented to guests. Don’t forget to check the postings directory which follows for more ideas.

Enchiladas: Serves 4— Freezes*
(8) 8 inch flour or corn tortillas
8 oz. Ricotta cheese
(1) 4 oz. can green chilies
½ lb. or 1 cup sliced, cooked turkey leftovers
6 scallions chopped
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
1 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
½ tsp. red pepper
Cooking spray
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
(1) 20 oz. jar of salsa
If using raw, ground meat, spray a skillet with the cooking spray and sauté the meat over medium heat until no longer pink. If using leftovers, cut them in thin strips about 2 inches x1 inch. In a bowl, stir to combine, Ricotta, scallions, ¾ of the green chilies (Add the rest to the salsa), the green pepper, the red pepper, ½ cup of the Monterey Jack cheese and the meat. Spread half the salsa in the bottom of a 12 x 8 inch ovenproof pan. If using corn tortillas, wrap them in plastic wrap and microwave for 1 min., or until pliable. This step is not necessary with flour ones. Dip the tortillas in the salsa in the pan to soften them to the point that they can be rolled. Spoon the filling down the center of the tortillas in equal amounts, about 3 Tbs. per tortilla and roll it up. Place the rolled tortillas, seam side down, on the salsa in the pan. Pour the rest of the salsa over them, and top with the rest of the Monterey Jack cheese and half the cilantro. Cover and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven 20 min. Uncover and bake 10 min more. Serve from the pan, and pass the rest of the fresh cilantro to garnish.

*This can be made ahead and frozen, after the salsa is added, but before the cheese and cilantro. To reheat:- if frozen, bake in 350 degree oven 30 min uncover, add cheese and cilantro, recover and proceed as directed above. If thawed, just proceed as above.

Turkey with Sundried Tomatoes and Sour Cream:Serves 4-Freezes*
1 ½ cups leftover turkey
¼ cup sundried tomatoes in oil – or reconstituted – see below
1 medium onion in large dice
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 cup water
1 envelope chicken bouillon granules
½ cup white wine
2 Tbs. capers
½ cup sour cream
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. oil
¼ cup flour
Salt and pepper
10 oz. sturdy, shaped pasta, rigatoni, penne, or shells
If tomatoes are dry pack, microwave them in enough water to amply cover, for 1 min. then allow to sit in the microwave, for 5 min. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion. Drain tomatoes, and sliver them. When onions are soft, add garlic, oil and cook for 1 min., add tomatoes, water, bouillon, capers and wine. Simmer for 5 min or until sauce reduces slightly, add meat, heat for 1 min. correct seasoning, stir in sour cream and heat through, about 1 min. then serve over cooked pasta. Do not allow cream to boil or it will separate.
*
Freeze before adding sour cream. Thaw and reheat on stove top, stirring. Add sour cream, heat through and serve over pasta.

Lasagna: Serves 8—Freezes*
We’re going to try the easy type made with uncooked noodles. Any brand will work. However, if you have time to boil the noodles, by all means do. They tuck better around the ends of the casserole and give a more finished appearance. Moreover, if you want to make extra to have ahead, Lasagna does freeze beautifully, if done so before it’s baked, but the pasta must be cooked. The recipes are the same, only the baking time is increased if the noodles are not precooked. On the other hand, the time difference is nearly erased if you take into account the time needed to boil the pasta. If using uncooked pasta, though, be sure the noodles are covered with the sauce or they will dry and burn. As for the filling, there are so many variations that you can have fun experimenting if you wish. I’ve given two optional additions.
9 Lasagna noodles
2 cups chopped leftover turkey
(1) 2 lb. 3 oz. can whole Italian tomatoes
1 medium onion chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic minced – or 2 tsp. jarred
½ cup olive oil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. ground black pepper
Salt to taste
1 pint Ricotta cheese
1 lb. Mozzarella cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
Cooking spray
OPTIONS
(1) 10 oz. box frozen chopped spinach – thawed and drained
(1) 4oz. can mushroom stems and pieces – drained
Spray a 9”x 13” ovenproof dish or baking pan with cooking spray. Heat oil in a skillet; add onion and garlic, and sauté for 3 min. Add tomatoes and seasonings and continue to cook until tomatoes are broken and sauce is slightly reduced, about 10 min. Remove from heat and spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of the prepared pan, then stir meat into the sauce. Meanwhile mix the ricotta and eggs and spinach, if using, in a bowl. Place 3 noodles over the sauce, pour 1/3 of the meat sauce over them, then dot with ½ the ricotta mix, and scatter half the mushrooms, if using, cover with a layer of the mozzarella and a sprinkle of Parmesan. Repeat this layer again. Top with noodles, sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour. (30 min if using cooked pasta) until browned and bubbling – If frozen do not thaw. Bake at 350 degrees for 1hr. 15 min.

Turkey Divan: Serves 4*
(1) 10 oz. can condensed Cream of Chicken soup +
½ can = 4-5 oz. milk
(1) 1 lb. bag frozen broccoli florets
1 ½ Tbs. white wine-optional
6-8 large pieces or slices of turkey = 4 chicken breasts
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
(1) 8 oz. Can sliced mushrooms- optional
Thaw broccoli and pat dry. Make a sauce by mixing the soup and milk, with wine, if using, stirring until smooth. Lightly butter a 2 qt. ovenproof casserole and place half the broccoli in it. Cover with the meat and, if using, scatter the mushrooms over. Pour on half the sauce and scatter with half the cheese. Top with the rest of the broccoli, then the rest of the sauce and finally, the remainder of the cheese. Bake at 375 deg. for 40-50 min. until bubbling and slightly golden on top.
*If made with fresh broccoli, cooked to crisp tender, this dish can be frozen.
Thaw and bake as directed above.

Italian Chicken Bundles: Serves 5—Freezes*This recipe is adapted from The U.S. Personal Chef Ass. collection
1 ½ cups chopped leftover turkey
1 medium-large onion in fine dice
(1) 10 oz. box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 Tbs. oil
¼ tsp. garlic powder
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
8 oz. Ricotta
¼ tsp. EACH dried oregano and nutmeg
Salt and pepper
2 Tbs. butter-melted
10 egg roll wrappers
(1) 16 oz. jar pasta sauce—Red or White flavors acceptable
Microwave onion in oil on high for 2 min. stir in garlic powder. Combine all the ingredients, except wrappers, sauce and butter in a bowl add salt and pepper. Brush some butter into 10 of the 12 cups in a muffin pan or in 2 pans. Place a wrapper in each buttered cup and divide the filling among them. Fold over tops and brush with the remaining butter. Bake in a preheated 350 deg. oven for 20-25 min. until tops are golden. Serve at once, drizzled with the pasta sauce and garnished with the remaining Parmesan.
* To Freeze: Cool bundles and wrap separately in foil; store in a zip lock bag. To Reheat: Unwrap put on a plate and microwave on high 2-4 min. Drizzle with sauce and microwave 1 min. more, Garnish with Parmesan to serve.

Ravioli with Lime-Balsamic Dressing: Serves 4
1 cup minced cooked turkey
1 tsp. orange zest
2 tsp. dried basil
1 egg lightly beaten
½ cup grated parmesan
9 oz. wonton wrappers
2 Tbs. lime juice
2 Tbs. Balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. oil
½ tsp. honey
Combine the first 5 ingredients and place 1 heaping Tbs. in the center of half the wrappers. Lightly brush the edges with water and top with a second wrapper, pressing the edges together to seal. Boil raviolis in a large pan of salted water for 5 min. Whisk the remaining ingredients together to make a dressing. Serve the drained ravioli drizzled with dressing and garnished with slices of lime and chopped chives.

Turkey, Pear and Pasta Salad: Serves 6-This recipe builds on the classic pears, blue cheese and walnuts salad combination.
1 lb. fusilli or penne
1 ¼ cup cooked turkey
2 pears-cored and sliced in size to equal the meat pieces
4 scallions – sliced
3 Tbs. chopped toasted walnuts
3 ½ oz. blue cheese*
3 Tbs. sour cream*
3 Tbs. ice water*
Cook the pasta al dente drain and rinse in cold water, drain again and cool. Arrange pasta on plates, top with meat, scallions and pears. Whisk the cheese, cream and ice water until smooth and drizzle over salads, Garnish with nuts.
*This dressing can be replaced with a good bottled blue cheese one.

Leftover Turkey Stir-Fry: Serves 4-6- This is a meal that can be altered to serve the number of people by adjusting the ingredients, not simply multiplying them; perfect for a fast supper of leftovers.
1 ½ cups cooked turkey
10-14 oz. bag of frozen broccoli florets
10-14 oz. bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables
(1) 8 oz. can mushroom slices-drained
6 baby carrots in quarters OR 2 medium carrots in 2” Julianne
2 stalks celery sliced diagonally AND/OR 8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts-drained
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 Tbs. Soy sauce or to taste
2 Tbs. oil
1/3 cup Teriyaki Sauce OR chicken broth + 1 tsp. cornstarch
Heat oil in a non-stick skillet and dissolve ginger and garlic. Add carrot and celery and stir 3-4 min. until crisp tender, add frozen vegetables and cook, covered 5 min., add mushrooms, water chestnuts and soy sauce, stirring to combine. Finally add Teriyaki Sauce and meat and stir 2-3 min. to heat through. If not using sauce, dissolve cornstarch in broth and add to skillet, Stir until sauce thickens, about 3 min. Then add meat and heat through. Serve over rice—precooked works fine here.

Posting List:
DECEMBER 2011
21) Suggestions and Tips for Christmas Leftovers–This post will concentrate on offering a wider variety of ways to serve turkey leftovers.

NOVEMBER 2012
15) Let’s Talk Turkey – Information on choosing a turkey
19) Happy Thanksgiving – A discussion of stuffing (or filling or dressing)
29) After the Ball – -Leftover recipes

DECEMBER 2013
2) Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers

NOVEMBER 2014
20) Great Gravy
—Detailed information on how to make a perfect gravy this Thanksgiving and how to correct errors.
27) How to Deal with Leftover Turkey

DECEMBER 2014
4) How to Make Simple Pan Sauces to Dress up Any Meal Anytime

12) Sauces Part II– The Classic Sauces are Real Holiday Helpers-How to make and use classic sauces

NOVEMBER 2015
18) Loving Turkey Leftovers- a la King, Curry, Fajitas and More

NOVEMBER 2016
24) How to Make Magic with Leftovers
This posting isn’t about using up leftovers, but about saving them to enjoy in various ways later, or, in short, freezing them.

DECEMBER 2016
29) How to Put a Party Face on Leftovers
Shopped out, tired of cooking, with a refrigerator full of leftovers and no desire to add more? What to use and how to re-purpose leftovers quickly for late holiday entertaining.

PEARS, ANOTHER GREAT FALL FRUIT

Perhaps it was compiling my recent posts on apples, certainly planning for the holidays, trying to hit upon that pleasing ‘special something’ or maybe a recent market flyer but I suddenly realized that pears are the truly overlooked ‘Fall’ fruit. In fact, during the past several decades, they’ve been ignored. Like apples, pears are available all year, but are at their best in autumn, because, unlike many fruits pears are native to milder and cool climates in Western Europe and Eastern Asia.

Pears used to be as ‘everyday’ as apples and more so than oranges, but have disappeared from our daily lives in the past few decades. Their taste is no less flavorful than other fruits. Pears are as succulent as peaches, as portable as apples and actually, have less waste than either. Though their juice isn’t a featured item, it’s every bit as useful in cooking as apple juice and, in fact, the main component in most juice mixes, especially the ones for children because they are probably the most digestible of fruits. In the same vein, pear jelly and jam was a favorite of home kitchens for centuries but unseen now, yet pears are a major ingredient of many other jellies and jams. So why are pears such ‘Wallflowers’? My guess is lack of P.R. They could go viral, be a hot item, with a bit of attention since they have so much to offer.

Known even to the cavemen, pears have been enjoyed for thousands of years, and, like apples, have many varieties, most of which go directly into commercial purposes, canning etc. The varieties we see in the market, Anjou, Bartlett, Bosc, Seckel and Cornice, ranging in color from bright yellow, some rosy cheeked, through green to brown, can be both eaten and cooked. Like bananas they should be picked under ripe and are best when allowed to ripen in the home. Choose fruit that is firm to the touch and ripen it in a paper bag on a counter. When ready to eat a pear will be slightly resistant to squeezing and softer by the stem. Once ripe, store them in the refrigerator and check them daily because unlike apples, they don’t keep for weeks.

Below are a few recipes to acquaint, or re-acquaint yourself with pears. At the rate foods are being ‘discovered’ in the food world now, I bet they’re on the short list. So take a stroll down memory lane or a walk into the future and give pears a try now while they’re at seasonal peak. The recipes below will help you on your way–

Pears Poached in Wine
1. In Red Wine
:

Serves 6
6 pears-ripe but still firm-peeled but uncored-stems on-bottoms trimmed slightly to stand upright
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1 bottle red wine
½ cup sugar
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
Zest of a small lemon
Zest of a small orange
Dissolve the cornstarch in 2 Tbs. of wine. Heat the rest of the wine with the spices, zests and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the pears and poach gently 25-30 min. until tender, turning occasionally. With a slotted spoon remove the pears to a deep serving dish. Strain the wine and return to the pot, adding the cornstarch mix. Simmer and stirring until sauce thickens, pour it over the pears and leave to soak until cold. Serve room temp or chilled.
2. In Marsala:

Serves 4 From Rozanne Gold’s Recipes 1-2-3
4 pears as prepared above
1 cup Marsala
Water to cover
¾ cup crushed Amaretti or almond flavored cookies-about 18 small or 8-9 large ones
Place the pears in the pot with Marsala and water to cover, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer gently for 30 min. or until tender. Remove pears with a slotted spoon and chill. Bring liquid to a boil, reduce to medium and cook until reduced to 1 cup. Cool. To serve, roll bottom of pears in cookie crumbs and place in a shallow bowl or soup plate, pouring sauce around the pears.

Baked Pears with Topping:

Serves 2-This rendition offers a choice to adults and kids.
1 large Bosc pear
2 tsp. butter softened
1 Tbs. brown sugar mixed with
¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Lemon juice
1 ½ oz. Blue cheese or Vanilla ice cream
Halve pear –scoop out center core with a melon baller or round spoon. Mix spice and sugar. Rub cut sides with lemon juice. Smear butter over center of an 18” x12”sheet of foil. Sprinkle the spice mix over the butter and place the pear, cut sides down on it. Close the foil by folding it over, leaving air space inside. Bake at 450 deg. for 40 min. until pears are tender. Allow packet to stand 15 min. before opening. Transfer pear halves to serving plates, pour sauce from packet over them and fill centers with small mounds of blue cheese or serve with scoops of ice cream on the side.

Pear Compote:

Yield about a quart.*
1 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups sugar
1 dozen pears-peeled, cored and sliced
3 sticks cinnamon
6 oz. cranberries—optional
Bring sugar and water to a boil, add cinnamon and fruit. Continue cooking at a simmer until fruit is tender, about 20 min. Remove fruit and continue simmering liquid until it makes a syrup. Pour over the fruit and store in the refrigerator.
*Serve with meat OR in —-
Easy Pear Strudel:

Serves 6-8-FromRecipes 1-2-3 by Rozanne Gold
2 ½ cups compote
5 Tbs. unsalted butter-melted
7 sheets phyllo dough
lay sheets of phyllo on a flat surface and coat each lightly with butter using a pastry brush, restacking them as you do. Spoon pear compote parallel to one of the short sides of the phyllo leaving a 3 inch margin. Roll up tightly like a jelly roll. Place, seam side down on a baking sheet. Brush top with remaining butter and bake in a 375 deg. oven for 25min. Cool and serve in slices. Best within 3 hrs. of baking, do NOT refrigerate.

Pear Kuchen:

Serves 8-10
Pastry for a 9”spring form pan-if home-made add 2 Tbs. sugar to the dough
1 quart canned pear halves = (2) 16 oz. cans
3 eggs
½ cup sugar
½ cup cream or fruit juice
Line the bottom and sides of a greased spring form pan with the pastry. Drain fruit and arrange cut side down in pan. Beat eggs with sugar and liquid until light and pour over the fruit. Bake at 400 deg. for 10 min. and then at 350 deg. until custard is set about 30 min. Sprinkle with slivered toasted almonds or cool and scatter chopped almond brittle over the top. Serve with whipped cream

Pear-Ginger Upside-Down Cake:

Serves 8-10
6 pear halves preferably fresh from 3 Anjou pears. (1) 16to17oz can of pear halves can be
used, see below **
2 Tbs. butter
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup – -pancake can be used
½ cup chopped pecans Or 6 tablespoons craisins
1 box gingerbread mix
If using canned pears, skip this paragraph. Peel, halve and core the pears. Place cut side
up in a microwave safe dish, with enough water to cover half way up the sides and ¼ cup
sugar. Cook on high, @ 3 to 4 min., depending on the oven wattage, or until just fork
tender. Allow to cool in the liquid.
Preheat the oven as per cake box directions, and grease a spring form pan well. Melt the butter, mix in the sugar and syrup, blending well, and pour into the bottom of the cake pan. Drain the pears, reserving the juice, and arrange them, cut side down, attractively in the bottom of the pan, on top of the sugar mixture. Sprinkle the nuts, or craisins, in the spaces between the pears.
Mix the cake according to directions, substituting the pear juice for equal amount of
required liquid. Pour the batter on top of the pears. Bake according to directions, plus five
minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Leave the cake to
cool in the pan for at least 20 min. allowing the bottom to set. Invert pan on a plate to
remove the cake.
*Fitting the pan bottom with a round of greased parchment paper helps the cake to

flip out easily. Once it’s plated, simply peel off the paper
** Fresh pears are better for this cake, because, once cooked, pears are very fragile.
Canned ones, having been boiled until soft, are harder to handle, and might not
support the weight of the batter, or additional cooking as well as fresh.

Pear and Almond Tart:

Serves 8 This is a classic dish the recipe is from Bay Books’ The Food of France
Pastry for a 9 inch loose bottom tart pan or pie shell.-If homemade add 2 Tbs. sugar to the dough
3 large pears-peeled, cored and halved
¼ cup sugar
3Tbs. apricot jam
1 vanilla pod or ¼ tsp. extract
Filling:
5 ½ oz. butter softened
2/3 cup sugar
Zest of a small lemon
2 eggs lightly beaten
¼ cup flour
Few drops of vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups ground almonds*
Put the pears, ¼ cup sugar, vanilla or pod in a pan with enough water to cover. Remove pears, bring mix to a boil, return pears and simmer until fruit is tender, about 20 min. Drain and cool pears.
Beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in eggs, then fold in flour, zest and almonds.
Blind bake the pastry, lined with parchment and weighted with beads, beans or rice at 375 deg. for 10 min. Remove weights and paper and bake for 3-5 min. more. Pastry should be pale.
Spread ¾ of the filling in the pastry shell and arrange the pears, cut-side-down on top. Fill in the gaps with the rest of the filling. Bake at 350 deg. for 35-40 min. until filling is golden and firm.
Melt the jam with 1 tsp. water and spread over pears to glaze. Serve at room temp.
*The most practical way to buy almonds is in a full service pharmacy like Walgreen’s and grind them yourself. They’re sold in 1 lb. bags more reasonably than elsewhere. I calculate the amount needed here is about ½ lb. I prefer to buy the raw and blanch them, but the roasted will do as well here, just not the smoked.

Pear-Pepper Sorbet with Raspberries:

Serves 6-This sorbet is a favorite of mine. I make it with several different fruits.
(2) 16 oz. cans of pear halves
3 Tbs. pear brandy or pear liqueur+ for serving
¼ tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 pts. Raspberries
Puree the fruit until smooth adding the brandy slowly. Pour into a freezer container and stir in the pepper. Freeze 8 hrs. or overnight, blend again and refreeze. Serve in scoops on a bed of raspberries, with more on top. Drizzle with 1-2 tsp. liqueur.

 

AU GRATINS ARE GOLDEN

Like most people, I love gratins. They make a pretty presentation, the topping enhances the flavor and creates an interesting contrast in texture. Crispy, but not dry, it complements the softer body of the dish. There is a wide variety of gratins for every course, one might even say that French Onion Soup is a gratin, with its topping of bread and cheese but the true value of this category of dishes is in their convenience.

They are a menu planner‘s and cook’s dream because they can be prepared ahead of baking or partially baked and finished or transported and finished on site. This quality makes gratins the perfect dishes to consider with the holidays coming up, an answer to how to organize a communal Thanksgiving, a major holiday dinner or buffet supper or what to bring to a club pot-luck Christmas party. Last year, I wrote several posts on easily prepared and/or portable side dishes (11/3/16. 11/10/16, 12/15/16) and gratins deserve a place at the top of those lists.

The appeal of gratins has nothing to do with their easy fit into our current lifestyle. It goes back centuries and led to the naming of the recipe category. ”Gratin” in French means “crispy and slightly burnt”; “Au Gratin” means “with crumbs”. Centuries ago, when food was baked in iron pots in the embers of an open fireplace, it had to be inverted onto a platter to be served. Often the bottom had formed a crusty, browned layer which was considered a treat. With the development of closed ovens and serving ware that went from oven to table, inverting food was no longer needed. People missed the crusty ‘gratin’ but baking was more even and the layer had disappeared.

The solution was to create a topping layer to imitate it. Other cuisines hit on breadcrumbs but the French just had to improve on that by making it into a flavor element, naming it ‘Au Gratin’ and turning the recipes using it into a food category. The traditional ‘gratin’ is cheese and/or breadcrumbs. Butter, dotted or melted and drizzled over is an option. Crushed crackers, cereals, potato chips and cookies are permitted as well. However, these are all cooked items as opposed to the ‘crumb’ and ‘crisp’ toppings found on desserts, which are based on raw flour. They are not ‘gratins’.

Gratins can be made with most foods and added to many casseroles, as shown in the recipes below, but they are chiefly associated with recipes using cream sauces. The interesting thing is that when cooking gratins with starchy items like potatoes or pasta, there’s no need for a roux or added thickener. The gluten in those ingredients releases in cooking and thickens the sauce alone, making preparation a breeze.

So with the holidays ahead, or just for general meal planning, check out my past articles on side dishes in the Home Page panorama, there are still more listed in the Archives, and try some gratins. There’s a nice selection of recipes below to start you on the way. One is actually a low cost dinner and another great for leftover chicken. I’ll bet you’ll be glad you tried some!

Boursin Stuffed Mushrooms:

Serves about 4 From 500 -3 Ingredient Recipes by Robert and Carol Hildebrand
16 large mushroom caps
8 oz. Boursin cheese
1 cup Panko
Remove the mushroom stems, and wipe the caps. Stuff them with the cheese, then press the Panko on the tops, patting to cover completely. Place the mushrooms in a pan with ¼ cup water in the bottom and bake at 400 deg. 10-12 min. until they’re soft and the Panko is golden. Serve hot.
NOTE: Can be made several hours ahead and kept chilled. Bring to room temp before cooking.

Roasted Potato, Garlic and Leek Gratin:

Serves 4
2 lbs. russet potatoes-peeled and sliced
½ leek- sliced
1 Tbs. roasted garlic paste
2 cups milk
1 bay leaf
1 ¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
2 Tbs. sour cream
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
½ cup grated Swiss cheese
Bring milk, salt, bay leaf, and nutmeg to a boil. Add vegetables and garlic, reduce to a simmer and cook 10-15 min. Remove solids to a 1 ½ quart shallow casserole dish with a slotted spoon. Discard bay leaf. Stir sour cream and mustard into milk mix, pour over potatoes and bake at 425 deg. for 10 min. Scatter cheese over top and bake an additional 15 min. until cheese is golden and bubbles. Serve hot.

Gratin Douphinois:

Serves 6 This is one of the most famous gratin dishes. You will find it’s more compact than the Potatoes Au Gratin we’re used to. From Bay Books’ The Food of France
2 ¼ lb. floury potatoes
2 garlic cloves crushed
½ cup grated Swiss cheese-divided. 2 Tbs. in reserve for topping
Pinch nutmeg
1 ¼ cups half and half
½ cup heavy cream
Thinly slice the potatoes with a mandolin or knife. Place 1 layer in a well-buttered 9”X 6”baking dish, sprinkle with some nutmeg, garlic and cheese. Repeat layers ending with potatoes. Pour liquid over and top with reserved cheese. Bake in a preheated 350 deg. oven until potatoes are cooked and liquid is completely absorbed. If top browns too quickly, cover with foil. Allow to stand 10 min. before slicing to serve.

Fennel, Tomato and Garlic Gratin:

Serves 4. Another recipe from Bay Books
2 lb.4 oz. fennel bulb
1 large red onion halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/3 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves-crushed
1 lb. 2 oz. tomatoes-peeled and chopped

Gratin Topping

2 ¼ oz. fresh white bread(3-4 slices) made into crumbs in a processer =about 1-1 ½ cups
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove crushed
2 tsp. lemon zest tsp. lemon zest
Peel tomatoes by dipping into boiling water for 10-20 sec., roughly chop. Cut fennel bulbs in half lengthwise and thinly slice with a mandolin or knife. Saute the onion in the oil until just softened, about 2-3 min. add garlic and cook 2 min. add funnel and cook 7 min. stirring frequently until soft and golden.
Add tomatoes and cook 5 min. or until tomatoes are soft. Pour mixture into a buttered 8 ½ inch square pan. Toss together all the gratin ingredients and scatter over the dish. Bake in a preheated 400 deg. oven until top is golden and crisp, about 15 min. Serve hot.

Chicken with Mushrooms in Cream Sauce:

Serves 2
2 chicken thighs-rinsed well and trimmed of fat
½ medium onion –sliced in half then quartered
4 mushroom caps about 1 ½ inch diameter each-quartered
3 oz. milk or half and half
½ tsp. chicken bouillon granules
½ tsp. dried sage
1 ½ Tbs. butter-divided
2 Tbs. white wine-optional
2Tbs. flour
1 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup –or more-Panko
Water
Cook the chicken in just enough water to cover until tender. Cool, skin, bone and separate in bite sized pieces; reserve broth. Saute vegetables in 1 Tbs. butter until onion is soft, about 3 min. using a slotted spoon, remove to plate with chicken. Measure 5 oz. of broth, add 3 oz. milk or cream, white wine, sage and bouillon to equal 1cup fluid. Melt reserved butter in the remaining butter in pan; bring to foam, remove from heat and add flour stirring to make a roux or paste.* Quickly add liquid and return to heat stirring constantly as it simmers until thickened, about 3 min. Remove from heat and correct seasonings. Fold in the meat and vegetables then pour into 1 casserole or 2 ramekins. Sprinkle with panko and cheese and bake at 360 deg. 20-25 min. until top is golden and sauce bubbles. Serve hot at once, or prepare ahead and bake before serving.
*For a lower fat rendition, replace the roux with 1 Tbs. cornstarch dissolved in the liquid and proceed to cook as directed above.

Gratin of Creamed Salmon or Other (Canned) Fish*:

Serves 4-6 From Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
1 ½ cups cooked canned fish—well drained, juice reserved
¼ cup minced onion
3 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. flour
1 cup milk
¼ cup white wine
4-6 Tbs. cream
¼ tsp. oregano
Salt and pepper
Optional add-ins-mushrooms, green pepper, hard boiled eggs
¼ cup grated Swiss cheese
1 Tbs. butter
Measure the milk, fish juice and wine to equal 1 ½ cups. If short add some of the cream or more milk. Brown the onions in the butter, then make a roux, following the directions above use the flour, milk, fish juice, wine and seasonings to make a thick sauce. Thin if desired with the cream. Fold in the fish and options, if using, and pour into a baking dish, preferably only 2 inches deep. Sprinkle with cheese and dot with the 1 Tbs. butter. Bake at 425 deg. for 15-20 min. until top is browned.
*NOTE: This is a great recipe for shellfish, mollusks and chunks of firm fish. In fact, Crab Au Gratin was very popular in the mid 20thCen. Simply replace the canned fish with an equal quantity of chosen seafood. Replace the fish liquid with cream from the stated quantity, and proceed as directed above.

Pears Au Gratin:

Serves 6 –Also from Julia Child’s book cited above
2 lb. pears- fresh or canned, peeled, cored and sliced 3/8 inch thick
¼ cup white wine OR mix of pear juice and wine
¼ cup apricot preserves or jam
½ cup cookie crumbs, preferably macaroons
1 Tbs. butter
1 baking dish 8 inches by 2 inches deep smeared with 2 Tbs. butter
Arrange the pears in a circular pattern in the baking dish. Beat the liquid and the preserves together, strain and pour over the pears. Sprinkle with the crumbs and dot with the butter. Bake on the middle rack in a preheated 400 deg. oven for 20-30 min. until top is golden. Serve hot, room temp or chilled.

‘A’ IS FOR APPLES – PART II Just Desserts

New York has been called “The Big Apple” in show biz lexicon since vaudeville days. Back then, anyone booked to ‘play the Palace’ gained instant super star status and was welcomed to the theater with a huge basket of fresh fruit arranged in a pyramid topped with a big red apple. Eating the apple was considered such good luck that the term; “taking a bite of the apple” came to mean the act was a ‘hit’. Other phrases refer to apples as being linked to good fortune too, or at least to the right path to choose; ‘Take an apple to the teacher’, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ and ‘Don’t upset the apple-cart’ are some of them.

This is quite a feat for a fruit that got a ‘bad rep’ in the Garden of Eden. Other objects, like black cats, have been permanently stigmatized for less. My guess is that people liked apples so much they didn’t let anything stand in the way to enjoying them, and enjoy them we have for thousands of years.

Originating in Central Asia, and related to the rose, apples are now grown worldwide. Through simple transplanting in different climates and soils, plus cross breeding, over 7,500 different species of apples now exist, most of which were developed for specific use. Juice, cider or alcoholic beverage, baking and raw ‘table apples’ are the main categories of apple production and there are plenty of choices within each, many introduced in the past fifty or so years. If you picture the ‘Big Apple’ in the fruit basket as a Red Delicious, forget it. They appeared in the 1950s, followed by the Golden Delicious about the time Granny Smiths were imported from Australia.

First, to clear up a misconception, all apples can be eaten raw, some just won’t taste as good. Those better cooked are usually more tart and have less juice. However, the public rarely sees the major types for juicing or commercial processing, except to buy crab apples for jelly at a farm market. It is important though, since the majority of apples sold in markets can be eaten raw or cooked, with the exception of the Red Delicious which can’t tolerate heat, to choose the right apple for the job. The most recommended breeds for cooking in the U.S. are the Golden Delicious and Granny Smith, but Winesap, Macintosh and Rome have traditionally been baked. The choice is really an individual one. Pick the type you like. Wikipedia offers this advice:

“Properties of a good apple — Apples for table are characterized by a firm pulp, elevated, poignant flavor, regular form, and beautiful coloring; those for kitchen use by the property of falling as it is technically termed, or forming in general a pulpy mass of equal consistency when baked or boiled, and by a large size. “

The recipes below are as ‘easy as apple pie’ but a bit more cosmopolitan and even gourmet, without being more complicated, time consuming or difficult to make. I’ve made them all, several often, and actually I’m always surprised at how quickly and neatly the dish was completed. My family and/or guests are always awed at how flavorful and downright good they taste. The best thing is that they provide a welcome change and a little change is a good thing, right?

Apple Compote:

Yield 3 cups—A multi-use recipe. It appears again next week in desserts as an ingredient, but can be served as alone as a fruit course, as an accompaniment to meat or as a dessert with whipped or ice cream. A few tablespoons can be stirred into hot or cold cereal.
6 large cooking apples –Golden (NOT Red) Delicious, Granny Smith, Rome etc.
1 cup water
¼ cup sugar
1 Tbs. lemon juice
¼ cup raisins—optional
½ tsp. cinnamon—optional
¼ cup chopped toasted walnuts-for optional garnish
Peel, core and dice apples in ½ inch chunks. Bring sugar and water to a boil, add apples, raisins and juice. Cook until fruit is tender but not mushy. Taste if more sugar is needed, add cinnamon if desired. Serve warm or chilled, topped with nuts if desired

Easy Apple Strudel:

Serves 6-8-FromRecipes 1-2-3 by Rozanne Gold
2 ½ cups compote
5 Tbs. unsalted butter-melted
7 sheets phyllo dough
lay sheets of phyllo on a flat surface and coat each lightly with butter using a pastry brush, restacking them as you do. Spoon apple compote parallel to one of the short sides of the phyllo leaving a 3 inch margin. Roll up tightly like a jelly roll. Place, seam side down on a baking sheet. Brush top with remaining butter and bake in a 375 deg. oven for 25min. Cool and serve in slices. Best within 3 hrs. of baking, do NOT refrigerate, not even leftovers.

Dutch Apple Cake:

Use an 8 inch round cake pan
2-3 apples-depending on size, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup flour
2 Tbs. sugar + a little for garnish
2 eggs beaten
2 ½ oz. butter
2 Tbs. milk
½ tp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
Cinnamon and sugar for garnish
Sift dry ingredients, blend in butter. First stir in eggs then milk. Pout into a greased and floured pan and arrange apple slices decoratively in a circular pattern over the top. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 450 deg. for 40 min. Serve on a plate or from pan. Optionally pass whipped cream.

PIES:

All serve 8-10, baked in a 9 inch pan. Packaged pie crust dough is fine or—
My Crust Recipe for single crust pie
1 cup flour
1/3 cup shortening- Crisco
3 Tbs. + if needed ICE water
In a deep bowl, cut shortening into flour with 2 knives until pea sized crumbs form. Add the water a Tbs. at a time mixing until dough holds together. Form into a ball cover and chill 30 min. Roll on a floured surface until slightly larger than the pan. Line the pan with the dough, cutting off or tucking excess under and crimping edges. Crust can be frozen, chilled or baked ahead according to pie directions.

French Apple Pie

3-4 lb. cooking apples-peeled, cored in ¼ inch slices
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
Successively layer the apple slices so they lay flat, in the pie shell; a circular pattern looks best for presentation. Sprinkle each layer with some sugar and cinnamon. When the crust is filled, pour the melted butter over all, and then garnish with sugar and cinnamon. Bake in a preheated 450 deg. oven 10 min, then at 350 deg. for 30-40 min. until apples are tender and crust is crisp. Best done serving day, but can be done the day before. Store at room temperature.

Apple, Raisin, Walnut Pie

1 ½ cups chopped cooking apples
2 cups raisins
3 cups apple cider
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbs. lemon juice+ ½ tsp. zest
2Tbs.butter
½ tsp. salt
3 Tbs. cornstarch
½ cup chopped walnuts.
Double crust recipe or buy 15 oz. package of 2 dough rounds
NOTE; I like a thin crust, so this will allow for some extra, especially if making a lattice top. Don’t use over a heaping ½ cup shortening. Store left over dough chilled and use within 10 days, or roll and freeze.


Line pie pan.

Dissolve the cornstarch in ¼ cup of the cider; put all the other ingredients except the walnuts in a pot and heat to boiling. Stir in cornstarch mix, and simmer, stirring until thickened. Stir in nuts. Pour into bottom crust. Top with top crust, well vented, or lattice top. Bake at450 deg.for10 min. then at 30-35 min at 350 deg. Cool before slicing.
To prepare in advance; the cooked filling can be kept chilled, in a plastic container for several days and then poured into the shell and topped before baking. The pie pan can be lined and the top crust dough kept chilled in plastic wrap for several days as well

Apple Dumplings:

Serves 4
Pastry for a 2 crust pie* or 1 sheet puff pastry-see note below
4 cooking apples- peeled and cored
½ cup sugar + more if needed
4 drops vanilla syrup or ¼ tsp. cinnamon
Separate dough into 4 parts. Roll each to ¼ inch thickness and cut about a 6 inch square in the center. Save extra dough for another use. Trim the bottoms of the apples so they stand upright and place one in the center of each square. Fill the cores with sugar and a drop of vanilla or a pinch of cinnamon. Pull the dough up around the apple, completely covering it, pinching seams together and at the top to close**. Sprinkle tops with remaining sugar and cinnamon. Bake on a sheet at 400 deg. for 40 min. or until crisp. Serve warm or chilled, alone or with whipped cream. *NOTE: Rozanne Gold’s recipe in Recipes 1-2-3 replaces the pie crust with a sheet of puff paste. The cooking time is reduced to 20 min. Otherwise the recipes are the same
** I like to save the stem and stick it into the top, it’s decorative and defines the pastry.

Grandmother’s Sour Cream Apple Cake:

Serves 12 +
5 cups peeled, cored and sliced tart apples
¼ cup butter
½ cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
1 lemon- zested and juiced
2 Tbs. flour
½ cup chopped almonds + ½ cup toasted, slivered almonds
8 eggs separated
½ tsp. salt
Sugar, cinnamon and dry bread crumbs for garnish
Whipped cream for serving—optional
Cook the apples with the butter in a covered skillet over low heat until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the next 4 ingredients and the egg yolks, lightly beaten, to the pan and cook until thickened. Cool. Whip egg whites with salt until stiff and fold into apple mixture. Spread batter 1 inch thick in a large pan or baking dish and sprinkle top with sugar, cinnamon, bread crumbs and slivered almonds. Bake at 325 deg. for 45 min. or until the cake is firm. Can be served hot, but is best chilled with whipped cream.

Amaretto Souffle with Caramelized Apple Pearls:

Serves 6– From 5 Ingredient Gourmet Cooking by Deborah Anderson
2 cups whipping cream
2 cups sugar – divided
2 Tbs. amaretto liqueur
4 large tart apples – peeled and cored
½ cup toasted slivered almonds, slightly chopped
Whip cream until stiff, beat in1 cup sugar and liqueur. Pour into 6 ramekins or a round 9 inch serving dish. Chill. Using a melon baller, scoop out (24) 1 inch balls from the apples. Heat the remaining sugar in a small saucepan, stirring constantly until it caramelizes and becomes pale amber. Spread the toasted almonds on a sheet of waxed paper. One at a time, using a toothpick or skewer, dip the apple balls into the caramelized sugar, coating well and then onto the almonds, rolling to coat one side or one half. Cool the ‘Pearls’ on the almonds and place them, almond side down on the chilled, whipped cream ‘souffle’ just before serving.

Easy Mulled Cider:

This is a great, fast way to serve a hot drink on a cold day, or a way to finish the meal for those who don’t want dessert. Kids love it because it makes the ‘ordinary’ special.
20 whole cloves
(4) 3-4 inch cinnamon sticks
1 gallon cider
Stud the apple with the cloves, bring everything to a simmer for 2-3 min. and pour into a bowl to serve. Ladle hot into mugs.


‘A’ IS FOR APPLES –PART I Delicious Recipes Other Than Desserts

Pumpkins get the photo opts in fall. They are unique to the season and symbolize two holidays, but the apple , even though available all year, really conveys the feeling of autumn. Their deep red, golden and green colorings, the crisp texture and flavor compliment the weather and embody the spirit of the season. Even the scent of them cooking invokes thoughts of fall, because their most common seasoning, cinnamon, is associated with this time of year

At a time when our activities are revving up, apples are a perfect food, filling and nutritious, easily eaten out-of-hand raw, they can be prepared in many different ways. Although mainly thought of as a snack or dessert ingredient, they have recipes which fit into all three daily meals and any course in them.

I have a post ready for next week with great dessert recipes, a couple quite unusual, but this week I want to talk about recipes incorporating apples into other parts of a meal. This is just a small sample of the many out there, but hopefully, it’s enough to get you thinking. I’m not including any of the familiar recipes like Pork Normandy, they’re easy enough to find. These are a bit off the ‘beaten track.’

Let’s start as the day does with breakfast.

Apple Compote:

Yield 3 cups—A multi-use recipe. It appears again next week in desserts as an ingredient, but can be served as alone as a fruit course, as an accompaniment to meat or as a dessert with whipped or ice cream. A few tablespoons can be stirred into hot or cold cereal.
6 large cooking apples –Golden (NOT Red) Delicious, Granny Smith, Rome etc.
1 cup water
¼ cup sugar
1 Tbs. lemon juice
¼ cup raisins—optional
¼ tsp. cinnamon—optional
¼ cup chopped toasted walnuts-for optional garnish
Peel, core and dice apples in ½ inch chunks. Bring sugar and water to a boil, add apples, raisins and juice. Cook until fruit is tender but not mushy. Taste if more sugar is needed, add cinnamon if desired. Serve warm or chilled, topped with nuts if desired.

Applesauce Bread:

1 loaf-This became a family favorite for all ages. It’s also great for snacking. From The First Babyfood Cookbook by Melinda Morris
1 cup applesauce
1 egg
2 Tbs. butter-melted
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 ¼ cups flour
2 Tbs. chopped raisins-optional
Blend first 6 ingredients, add raisins, if using and pour into a lightly greased bread pan. Bake at 325 deg.for 1 hour.

Next comes lunch
Ham, Cheese and Apple Sandwich:

Serves 1
4 slices bread-Jewish rye or pumpernickel suggested, or wheat buns
Deli sliced ham and cheese-choices optional
Thin coating of mustard on bread-optional
Slice a peeled, cored apple in about 3 slices per quarter. Put in a small bowl with a light sprinkle of sugar and another of cinnamon. Add 1-2 Tbs. water or apple juice and microwave about 1min-1 min.30 sec. Store refrigerated in juice if made ahead. This prevents the apple from browning. Layer apples on bread between ham and cheese, to keep moisture from ruining bread

Finally dinner
Hors d’ouvres

Chutney:

Yield 1 ½ cups—I love this recipe and make it every fall. It stays fresher in smaller glass jars, I use empty glass spice bottles. It keeps for months in a cupboard and is a great addition to a gift basket.
2 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup raisins
1/3 cup vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup water
2 Tbs. candied citron-available in stores now for fruitcakes
1 Tbs. curry powder
½ tsp. salt
2 cloves minced garlic
½ tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
Put everything into an uncovered pot and cook over low heat for 50 min. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Cool and pour into jars. Wait an hour or so before screwing on lids. Serve with meat.

Cream Cheese Chutney Tree:

Serves 6-8
8 oz. block cream cheese
1 hard-boiled egg finely chopped
1 Tbs. chopped cilantro or parsley – fresh preferred but dried acceptable.
2” cinnamon stick
Cut the cheese diagonally lengthwise, and put the 2 straight sides together to form a triangle. Cover with chutney, even the sides. Top with egg and press lightly to adhere. Sprinkle with herb. Put the cinnamon stick in the middle of the bottom to make a trunk. Chill, serve with crackers.

Apple Chips:

Makes about 40-50
2 large cooking apples- cored and cut lengthwise in thin slices
½ cup sugar
Water to cover- about 1 cup
Dissolve sugar in water and soak apple slices 15 min. Drain and place in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in a 200 deg. oven for 2 hours, turning once or until dry, golden and slightly curling. Cool and use at once or store in airtight containers. Serve with cheese dips, or topped with a cheese curl or small dab of cheese-Blue or Cheddar recommended. These can be re-hydrated by boiling in a bit of water or apple juice until soft to use as pie or strudel stuffing.

Soup

Apple Soup:

Serves 6
Recipe I
4 large apples-cored and chopped
1 large red onion- minced
3 Tbs. butter
1 quart chicken stock
¼ tsp. EACH nutmeg, salt, cinnamon
2 cups half-and-half or heavy cream
½ cup toasted chopped walnuts
Saute onions and apples in butter until tender. Add stock and seasonings and blend. Simmer partially covered 10 min. Off stove, fold in half-and-half or cream. Warm to incorporate. Serve chilled or warm garnished with nuts.
Recipe II— Curried version
Replace nutmeg and cinnamon with 1 ¼ tsp. curry powder, or to taste, and reduce cream to ¾ cup. Garnish with parsley or chopped chives in place of nuts.

Entrée Ideas

Apple Stuffing for Duck

3-4 or + slices of cinnamon –raisin bread–depending on size of bird
1/3 cup raisins if using plain cinnamon bread
2 large apples -peeled cored and in large dice
1 stalk celery – sliced thin
½ medium onion diced
1 egg
2 tsp. dried sage
Salt to taste
Orange juice sufficient to moisten
Toast the bread and tear in pieces about 1 inch. Mix all the ingredients with enough orange juice to just moisten and stuff bird. Cook according to directions per pound.

Gorgonzola-Apple Stuffing for Cornish Hen:

Serves 4– from Gourmet Cooking by Deborah Anderson
(4) 1 ½ lbs. Cornish hens
1pkg. wild rice-about 2 cups cooked
4 Granny Smith apples –cored and diced
½ cup pine nuts
4oz. Gorgonzola cheese
1 cup diced onion – optional
Salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients while rice is still warm so cheese melts. Stuff birds and roast at 350 deg. 1 hour 15 min, until juices run clear, basting occasionally. Serve hot.

Sides

Cabbage and Apple Bake:

Serves 4
1 medium head cabbage-finely shredded
3 Tbs. butter
2 Granny Smith apples-peeled and sliced
½ medium onion- sliced
2 Tbs. caraway seeds
2 tsp. salt
Paprika
Melt the butter in a large skillet and toss in all the ingredients to coat. Cover and cook over low for 1 hour. Serve hot. OR toss ingredients in an oven-proof casserole, cover and bake on low (300 deg.) for about an hour.

Sweet-Potato Stuffed Apples:

Serves 4-8
8 large baking apples
4-6 sweet potatoes cooked and mashed
¼ cup melted butter
1-2 Tbs. brown sugar
Halve apples and bake in a 359 deg. oven until pulp is just soft. Remove, cool and hollow out centers, discarding core and seeds, leaving enough meat in the skins to form firm cups. Mash removed pulp into the potatoes adding butter and sugar if needed. Fill the apple ‘cups’ with the mashed ingredients. Place in a lightly greased baking dish with a bit of apple juice in the bottom and bake them at 375 deg. for 10 min. Baste lightly with juice in dish. Serve garnished with nuts.
NOTE: Can be prepared ahead before baking. Store chilled, covered with wrap or waxed paper. Add 3-5 min. to cooking time depending on whether they were started at room temperature or chilled.