Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cranberry Pancakes with Orange Syrup

Are you looking for something new to serve for your for your holiday breakfast?  Something keep-me-out-of-the-kitchen easy, but shower-me-with-praise tasty?  This recipe just may be it.  It is shockingly easy, particularly if you make the syrup the night before.  I based this syrup on Emeril’s version, altering it slightly to prevent it from cooking away without thickening. I made mine in the morning, squeezing enough extra oranges to have glasses of fresh juice on the table for enjoying while I cooked, but it can easily be made the night before and warmed while you are making the pancakes. Use your favorite pancake recipe (Mine is here.) and stir in about a fourth cup of cranberry relish.  This one works perfectly.  Pressed for time?  The Bisquick version works just fine, just do what I do and add about ¼ teaspoon of vanilla and a few gratings of nutmeg to the batter.  No one will know that your pancakes were out of the box.

Happy New Year!

Cranberry Pancakes with Orange Syrup

 1-1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Combine the juice, sugar, and orange peel in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to a low boil and cook to a thick syrup, and reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Add the butter and almond extract and whisk to combine. Let cool slightly before serving with pancakes.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Top 10 Recipes of 2013

With the New Year rapidly approaching, it’s time to look back on 2013 to see just what your favorite recipes were.  Here are the top ten for the year, in descending order.  You can click on the name of each to revisit them.

Happy New Year, see you in 2014!

 Easy to make, though each layer requires a bit of time to cool, and taste better than a Twix bar.

Authentic tasting cashew chicken with crockpot ease.  Oh, yeah!

An ABM adaptation of the former Lake of the Ozarks eatery, Peace ‘n Plenty.  A meal in itself.

It’s chili, hot dogs, easy, and delicious.  Need I say more?

A unique twist on apple pie that your family with love.

Easy and addicting, and elegant enough for company.

Four delicious and easy vegetables.  Company worthy, and your family will love them.

Light and delicious with a lemony zing.

A unique twist on a much-loved classic.

Oh, my!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Caribbean Corn Bread

 I am a fan of corn bread.  I like all varieties from simple old-fashioned corn bread, to corn bread sweetened with maple syrup or honey, to the zesty versions containing green chilies or jalape├▒os.  But, in all of my corn bread life, I have never tasted one that is so moist, so delicious, so complex, and so wonderfully tasty as this Caribbean Corn Bread, found in the At Blanchard’s Table cookbook of restaurant recipes from Bob and Melinda Blanchard’s Anguilla restaurant.

You must try the corn bread, I told people last night as they filed through the buffet line at my annual Boxing Day dinner.  Not everyone had enough room on their plates after loading them up with all of the goodies, but those who did were back for seconds, and a couple of people requested a carryout.  I just had some for breakfast this morning and it was as good, if not better, than it was yesterday.

No butter is needed here, the cake is moist enough on its own, and you won’t be left with a plate full of crumbs, it holds together perfectly.  As I said earlier, you must try the corn bread.

Caribbean Corn Bread
From At Blanchard’s Table: A Trip to the Beach Cookbook by Robert and Melinda Blanchard

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 lb. unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups canned cream style corn (1 14.75 oz. can)
1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch square glass cake pan. (Old fashioned Pyrex works best for this.)

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a mixer, cream butter and sugar. While mixer is running, add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add corn, pineapple, and cheese, and mix to blend. On a low speed, add dry ingredients and mix until blended well.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until tester stuck in center comes out clean, about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. Don’t undercook cornbread; it should be golden brown on top when done.

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Holiday Tip

Have I got a holiday tip for you!  It is one that is so easy that you'll kick yourself for not coming up with this on your own because it is a great time saver. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small mixing bowl, whip up a cup of heavy cream along with a tablespoon or two of granulated sugar, until stiff peaks form. With a soup spoon, scoop out portions of the whipped cream and drop it in mounds onto the parchment.  If you want to get all fancy schmancy you can fill a pastry bag and pipe it into decorative mounds, but I prefer the natural look. Then pop the sheet into the freezer and keep it there until the mounds freeze solid. Once they do, place them into a lidded container and keep them in the freezer.
These are wonderful to have on hand at all times, but particularly for the holidays to use to top Irish coffee, hot cocoa, or eggnog. Customize dollops, if you like, by adding cinnamon or oil of peppermint to some for hot cocoa, nutmeg or rum to others for eggnog. Pop them into the fridge to soften for a minute or two and place them on slices of pie, dishes of custard, or alongside a piece of cake. Dust with confectioners' sugar, ground cinnamon, or espresso powder, as appropriate. Try this once and you'll wonder how you ever did without them.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Holiday Indulgences with Ham

Creamy Ham Towers

If you bought the HoneyBaked ham like I advised you to do yesterday (you're welcome), you're probably kicking yourself for not buying more.  While hams are available in all sizes to suit any size gathering, I never seem to buy one big enough (read: the size of a Buick), so am always dismayed to see people eating what I'd hoped to have as leftovers. But who can blame them?  These juicy, delicious, tender hams are addicting.

In the off chance that you do have leftovers (I will be needing your street address.) here are some delicious ham recipes to try that will serve you for breakfast or brunch, dinner or lunch, as a side to soup or salad, and give you a zesty snack to nibble on to boot.  Click on the name of the dish beneath the photo to get the recipe.  

Ahhh, the versatility of a HoneyBaked ham!

Crunchy Ham Casserole
Ham Crepes with Sage-Infused B├ęchamel
Open Face Ham Sandwiches
Ham Spread Diablo
Peace ‘n Plenty’s Ham and Cheddar Rolls
Baked Eggs in Ham Cups

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