Archive for December, 2014


Garlic Butter Poached Lobster Tails

December 31, 2014

20141226 Lobster Tails

My mom bought some lobster tails for the holidays. We debated how to prepare them, and the final decision was to try poaching them in butter. It takes some time to get the butter poaching liquid ready, but the end result is some melt-in-your-mouth tender treats. This is definitely a special recipe for celebrations.

You will need:

  • 2 T water
  • 6 sticks unsalted butter, cold (I used a mixture of unsalted butter and butter mixed with olive oil that we had on hand)
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  • 1 t cracked pepper
  • 6-8 oz lobster tails, removed from shells and cleaned

20141226 Lobster Butter Poach

Then you will…

  1. In a medium, heavy saucepan, heat the water till boiling.
  2. Reduce heat to low and slowly whisk in the butter, about 1 tablespoon at a time.
  3. Continue whisking in the butter until you have enough to cover the lobster tails.
  4. Add the garlic cloves and allow to infuse over low heat for 5-10 minutes while whisking.
  5. Whisk in the pepper.
  6. Add the lobster and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes.
  7. Remove from the butter sauce and serve hot!

Cinnamon Apple Challah

December 27, 2014

Challah is typically made for the Jewish sabbath or holidays, like Rosh Hashanah. With the new year coming, I decided to make a round challah loaf as a symbol of the cycle of the seasons. It does take a bit for the dough to rise, but the result is a lightly sweet bread filled with cinnamon apples.  This recipe makes 2 loaves.

20141226 Apple Challah

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 c lukewarm water, divided
  • 1 pkg ( 2 1/4 t) yeast
  • 1 t sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 c honey
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t ground cinnamon, divided
  • 5-7 c all-purpose flour
  • 3 medium tart apples
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t ground ginger

Then you will…

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the warm water with the yeast and teaspoon of sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix in 1 egg, the three egg yolks, honey, vegetable oil, vanilla, salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon.
  3. Stir in the flour until it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and not sticky, adding more flour as needed.
  5. Place the dough in a bowl that is lightly oiled. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
  6. Punch the dough down and allow the dough to rise for another hour.
  7. Meanwhile, peel and finely dice the apples.
  8. In a small mixing bowl, combine the apples with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the brown sugar, nutmeg and ginger.
  9. Divide the dough into 8 equal portion. Using your hands spread the each dough piece into a rectangle, roughly 12 inches by 3 inches.
  10. Add a little bit of the apple mixture down the middle of each piece, leaving at least an 1/8-inch border.
  11. Wrap the sides of the dough up over the apple and pinch to seal each piece into a tube filled with the apple mixture.
  12. Gentle roll and stretch each piece into a rope roughly 16 inches long. Be careful not to allow any apple to poke out.
  13. At this point you should have 8 ropes of apple dough. You will have 4 pieces for each loaf. Search online and you will find many different ways to braid a 4-strand challah. You can also search for a “turban challah” to see patterns for making a round loaf like I did.
  14. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  15. Braid into two loaves and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.
  16. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining egg with a splash of water.
  17. Brush the egg wash on top of the loaves.
  18. Bake for 20 minutes.
  19. Remove from the oven and brush again with the egg wash. At this point you can sprinkle a little brown sugar on top if you would like.
  20. Return the baking sheet to the oven, flipping it so the other side is to the back. Bake for another 20 minutes.
  21. Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Apricot Butterhorns

December 22, 2014

This past weekend felt like the start of the holiday season for me. We decorated a tree, wrapped presents and baked a whole slew of cookies. This recipe is a longtime family favorite. In fact, some of my cousins baked these cookies this weekend too! If you find they make your holiday special, send a quick thought of thanks to my family for sharing the recipe! This will make 12 dozen cookies.

You will need:

  • 1 lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 c all-purpose flour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 oz dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 1 c sugar
  • Powdered sugar


Then you will…

  1. In a large bowl or a stand mixer, crumb together the butter and flour (like pie crust dough).
  2. Add the yolks and cream cheese to the butter mixture. Mix well.
  3. Form into 18 small balls and chill for an hour. (Note: these will be roughly the size plums/tangerines).
  4. Put the apricots in a small saucepan and cover with water. Simmer for 25 minutes.
  5. Drain off the water and mix in the sugar until it is dissolved. Cool.
  6. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Roll each ball on powdered sugar into a 12″ circle and into eight pie-shaped wedges.
  8. Put approximately 1/4 teaspoon of the apricot mixture near the top at the center of the wide end of the wedge.
  9. Begin at the top of the wedge and roll to the point, being sure to wrap the dough as completely around the apricot as possible.
  10. Put point down on parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  11. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool 2 minutes.
  12. Roll in powdered sugar and cool completely. (Note: I chose to roll in powdered sugar before baking, which results in the sugar being absorbed into the cookie. Try it both ways and see what you like best!).

Brussels Sprouts Casserole

December 19, 2014

This is not a light side dish, so save it for a holiday treat and work out before the meal. That said it is quite delicious.

You will need:

  • 6 T olive oil
  • 8 oz prosciutto, roughly chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs brussels sprouts, ends cut off and halved
  • 4 T flour
  • 1 1/2 c whipping cream
  • 1 c half and half
  • 1/3 c dry sherry
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 c Italian cheeses, divided

20141127 Brussels Casserole

Then you will…

  1. Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the prosciutto and garlic and saute until the prosciutto is crispy.
  4. Stir in the brussels sprouts. Saute for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the flour and all to cook another 2 minutes.
  6. Mix in the whipping cream, half and half, and the sherry.
  7. Simmer for 10 minutes over low heat.
  8. Remove from the heat.
  9. Mix in the pepper, nutmeg and mustard.
  10. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese.
  11. Transfer to a 9×13 baking dish.
  12. Top with the remaining cheese.
  13. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Maria’s Hot Clam Dip

December 14, 2014

This recipe comes from a very dear friend of mine, Maria. It comes together  quickly from a small number of ingredients. It is great served with triscuits or your favorite bread or cracker.

You will need:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter (or olive oil)
  • 1/c c onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c green pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 2 cans (6.5 oz) chopped clams
  • 1 c bread crumbs
  • Hot sauce, to taste

20141127 Hot Clam Dip

Then you will…

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
  3. Stir in the onion, green pepper, garlic and pepper. Saute until tender, 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add in the clams with juices; simmer 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and mix in the bread crumbs.
  6. Spread the dip in a pie plate and sprinkle, to taste, with the hot sauce.
  7. Bake 25 minutes.
  8. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Dry Brined Roast Turkey with Gravy

December 10, 2014

Dry brining seems to be very popular these days. I figured I would give it a shot this year, and so I updated my herb paprika roast turkey recipe. It’s got the same mixture of flavors but there is an extra salt rub about 24 hours before you are ready to roast that ups the ante on this holiday main dish.

You will need:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 lemon, zested and quartered
  • 1/4 c fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh sage
  • 3 T fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1/2 c kosher salt
  • 12-14 lb turkey (serves roughly 8)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1.5 c stock (I used turkey, but chicken would also work), divided
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 c white wine

Then you will…

  1. Put the butter in a small bowl.
  2. Stir in the lemon zest, sage, rosemary and paprika to make a compound butter.
  3. Clean your turkey. Pat dry.
  4. Spread the compound  butter under the turkey’s skin.
  5. Put a liberal pinch of kosher salt in the cavity.
  6. Rub the remaining salt on the outside of the turkey.
  7. Refrigerate (breasts up) uncovered for 24 hours.
  8. Brush off the extra salt and pat the turkey dry.
  9. Set the turkey on a roasting rack in a sided pan, breasts up.
  10. Fill the cavity with the quartered lemon, sage sprigs, rosemary sprigs and peeled garlic.
  11. Rub the olive oil on the outside of the turkey.
  12. Season the bird liberally with salt and pepper.
  13. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
  14. Allow the turkey to sit for 1 hour on the counter before roasting.
  15. Make sure your oven rack is in the lower third of the oven and that other racks are high enough to fit the turkey in the oven.
  16. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  17. Roast for 30 minutes.
  18. Reduce the temperature to 325. Continue roasting until the thickest part of the thigh (not touching bone) registers 155 degrees. This should take 2 to 2.5 hours longer.
  19. Remove the turkey from the oven.
  20. Tilt the turkey to pour the juices from the cavity into the roasting pan.
  21. Move the turkey to your cutting board. Tent with tinfoil and allow to rest 30 minutes.
  22. Pour the drippings into a gravy separator.
  23. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the stock with the flour.
  24. Return the drippings (minus the fats) to the roasting pan.
  25. Heat the drippings over medium heat.
  26. Whisk in the flour/stock mixture, the water and wine.
  27. Cook until thickened to the desired consistency.
  28. Season with pepper to taste and serve with your roasted turkey!

20141127 Dry Brined Turkey


Gingersnap Pumpkin Cheesecake

December 4, 2014

Yumm. I love cheesecake. I also love pumpkin pie. They are awesome together. I adapted this from a Gourmet recipe. We served this as part of our Thanksgiving dessert. The best part was that you make this the day before, so there is no work the day of your feast!

20141127 Pumpkin Cheesecake 02

You will need:

  • 1 1/4 c crushed gingersnaps
  • 1/3 c finely chopped pecans
  • 3/4 c light brown sugar, divided
  • 3/4 c sugar, divided
  • 5 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 c pure pumpkin puree
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t ground ginger
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 8-oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 T whipping cream
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 2 T bourbon, divided
  • 1 3/4 c sour cream
  • 3 T honey

Then you will…

  1. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Seal the bottom and sides by tightly wrapping it with tinfoil.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the gingersnaps, chopped pecans, 1/4 cup of the light brown sugar and 1/4 cup of the sugar.
  3. Stir in the melted butter.
  4. Press the mixture into the bottom and about a half inch up the side of the springform pan.
  5. Freeze the crust for 15 minutes.
  6. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  7. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and the remaining 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Set aside.
  8. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. (I recommend using an electric hand or a stand mixer).
  9. Beat in the cream, cornstarch, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of bourbon.
  10. Beat in the pumpkin mixture until smooth.
  11. Set the springform with the crust on a rimmed baking sheet.
  12. Pour the filling into the pan and spread evenly.
  13. Bake 50-60 minutes until the center is just set.
  14. In a small bowl, mix the sour cream with the honey and remaining tablespoon of bourbon.
  15. Remove the cheesecake from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  16. Spread the sour cream mixture on top of the cheesecake.
  17. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
  18. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  19. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
  20. Gently run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the crust.
  21. Remove the sides of the springform.
  22. Garnish with whole pecans, if desired.
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