November 2012

Naomi Robinson

Chocolate Rum Truffles

Written on November 30, 2012 at 8:35 am , by

I’m a firm believer that the holidays are a time for enjoying family, friends and yearly traditions. They most certainly are not meant to be marked by sale dates or panicked moments of trying to find a parking spot to only be greeted by an overcrowded mall.

Truthfully, I’m not a huge shopper, period. I don’t navigate well through crowds, so Amazon Prime is always one of my best yearly investments. I can easily shop by “clicks” while waiting between cookie sheets or while I wait for truffles like this Chocolate Rum Truffle to set.

You want to know what I love best about truffles? I like their simplicity, their elegance, their ease of preparation and delivery. I know cookie swaps are traditional and popular, but I’d like to lobby for the start of something new—truffle swaps.

 

Since they are so easy to make, establish your base then go crazy by mixing and matching flavors with spirits or liqueurs. For this truffle I used rum, but if rum is not your thing, try bourbon, scotch or go fruity with cassis, or step up the chocolate flavor with some Godiva liqueur.

Want it non-alcoholic? No problem, just leave it out all together. But say you have kitchen hands like I do-which means you like finishing touches. By that I mean embellish: you can dip, roll, pipe or cover your truffle in crushed nuts, crushed cookies, crush candy—there are so many options, so have fun.  It’s almost impossible to ruin a truffle.

 

For this holiday season, I had fun with some edible gold glitter as a finishing touch. Talk about easy elegance—these truffles can proudly stand on their own as the star of any holiday dessert table.

The best thing about these dressy truffles they will save me a trip to the mall as I will also be packaging these up for holiday gifts. Now all I have to do is convince my friends to trade out this year’s cookie swap for a truffle swap. Get the full recipe here.

*The edible gold glitter is from CK products found here and the gold liners are Wilton’s candy cups found here .*


Michael Wurm, Jr.

Cookie Exchange Party

Written on November 29, 2012 at 8:30 am , by

I love baking cookies. It’s one of the things I really look forward to each holiday season. I usually set aside a day or two and bake up a storm. Since it’s just me here, this leaves me with a lot of cookies. Thankfully, my mom and grandma are able to take some off my hands. Unfortunately, for some of you, this tradition of making a beautiful variety of cookies may have become a dreaded chore. Well, not any more! This year consider having a Cookie Exchange Party.

Here’s how it works. When hosting a Cookie Exchange Party, you bake up one big batch of a particular type of cookie (or fudge, chocolate covered pretzels, candy, etc.) as do your friends. Then everyone joins you at your house with a large supply of treats. During the party (after sampling a few cookies, of course) you swap cookies and recipes. When you leave the party, you have a huge variety of holiday treats and you only had the stress of baking one item. Plus, you had a chance to hang out with your friends. Sounds pretty fun, right?

So whether you are considering holding a cookie exchange or doing all the baking yourself, I found 12 fabulous cookie recipes that will leave your guests satisfied and impressed. Some are classics and some are new favorites.

1. White-Chocolate Cherry Shortbread // 2. Christmas Sugar Cookie Cutouts // 3. Peanut Butter and Mocha Checkerboards // 4. Tangerine Butter Cookies // 5. Mini Raspberry and White Chocolate Whoopie Pies // 6. Ultimate Chocolate-Dipped Cookies // 7. Chocolate Palmiers // 8. Cherry Surprise Crinkles // 9. Roly-Poly Santas // 10. Buried Cherry Cookies // 11. Lemony Star Sandwiches // 12. Mint Meringue Kisses

 

I also took things a bit further and created a little round up of my favorite holiday-inspired platters, trays, and cake stands. I mean, if you are going to all the trouble of baking these delicious treats, you want them to look as scrumptious as they taste, right? You could even fill one of these delightful pieces with a variety of homemade sweets and you’d have an instant gift. Too perfect!

1. Mikasa Scarlet Vine // 2. White Enamel Cake Stand // 3. Williams Sonoma Vintage Footed Platter // 4. Plaid Platter // 5. Dancing Dreidel Platter  // 6. Rectangular Plates // 7. French Bull Ziggy Plate // 8. Williams Sonoma Christmas Tree Platter // 9. Artist Palette Tray // 10. Jadeite Cake Stand // 11. CB2 Clarity Plate // 12. French Bull Black and White Platter

 

How do you handle all of your holiday baking? Do you host a cookie exchange? What’s your favorite holiday cookie?

Cheers, Michael Wurm, Jr. – Inspired by Charm


Kate Taylor

In-Season Eats: Apple Cranberry Crisp

Written on November 28, 2012 at 7:28 am , by

cranberry apple crisp with yogurt

Hello! I’m Kate of Cookie and Kate, where I share simple, fresh vegetarian recipes. I hope you got your fill of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving because I have a delightfully different cold weather dessert to share. This Apple Cranberry Crisp is neither too sweet nor too heavy. If you get a hankering for a lighter dessert to tide you over until the decadent Christmas desserts arrive, this is it.

apple crisp ingredients

To tell you the truth, I’m not much of a baker. The sheer thought of attempting pie crust and layered cakes makes me whimper. I do, however, love crisps and crumbles, because they are genuinely foolproof and don’t require any special equipment. Although they may not be as beautiful as their pie cousins, the truth is that they taste just as good.

apple crisp, ready to bake

I couldn’t resist this crisp recipe in particular because it contains fresh cranberries. I adore cranberries for their tart yet sweet flavor, and because they add vibrant pops of color to otherwise drab dishes. Unlike summer berries, which are wonderful in their raw state, cranberries need to be cooked in order to develop their irresistible sweetness. I am always looking for an excuse to fire up the stove or oven during the winter, so I appreciate cranberries for obliging. I really have no desire for strawberries and blueberries in the winter; it’s all about the cranberries!

cranberry apple crisp

I made a few simple modifications to this recipe to enhance its flavor and nutrition profile. For starters, I sweetened the apple and cranberry mixture with honey instead of granulated sugar and added two tablespoons of chopped candied ginger for extra kick. I also used old-fashioned oats instead of quick-cooking oats (since that’s what I had on hand) and whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose flour.

I used real butter in place of margarine, but next time, I’ll add an extra tablespoon or two. The recipe calls for very little butter as it is and I probably just didn’t cut it in well enough, but I felt like the crisp would have benefitted from a bit more fat and moisture. Regardless, this crisp was absolutely delicious, especially for breakfast the next day! I served mine with Greek yogurt, but if I had had ice cream in the freezer, I would have reached for that instead. Some cold, creamy ice cream would balance out the tart cranberries nicely.

cranberry apple crisp in bowls

If you happen to have apples and cranberries on hand, you could enjoy this crisp in just under an hour. If you’re wondering how many apples yields 5 cups of chopped apples, you’ll only need 2 large to 3 medium. Here’s the recipe!


Delish Dish Editor

Mediterranean Kale & Cannellini Stew with Farro

Written on November 27, 2012 at 8:30 am , by

Hi it’s Beth again. It seems that every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my schedule gets jam-packed and I barely have time eat dinner. And since the weather has finally reached bone-chilling temps, I find myself craving soup, stew, chili…anything I can throw into a slow cooker for a warm, satisfying meal. So I was delighted when I came across this recipe for Mediterranean Kale & Cannelini Stew with Farro. Not just because it’s a healthy option, but also because I’ve been meaning to try cooking with kale. And farro is supposed to be the hottest grain on the scene since quinoa.

While I didn’t have any farro on hand, my regular grocery store had it stocked in their health food section. They even had kamut, another ancient grain that you could use in the recipe, but I opted for farro. Kale was also readily available, and pretty cheap! Since I’m a kale newbie, I double checked how to prepare kale before using it in the recipe.

The most surprising part of this stew was how easy it was to throw together. The bag of farro said to let it soak for 8 hours. Since I’m normally not one to adhere strictly to directions, I let it soak for about an hour, drained it, and threw it in with my chopped veggies and totally delicious fire-roasted tomatoes (Did you guys know about fire-roasted tomatoes?! They are amazing and come canned and should be put in everything as far as I’m concerned.) But anyway, the farro still turned out great, despite the fact that I didn’t soak it for a day. And after de-stemming my kale, I ripped it into small pieces and threw it into my stew with the lemon juice, and let the stew simmer another hour.

As for the final dish? Seriously tasty and filling. I even forgot it was a vegetarian stew thanks to the hearty beans and kale. I would also recommend not skimping on the fresh basil and feta. I know basil can get spendy this time of year, but it’s definitely worth it because it was totally delicious and fresh as a topper and played off of the lemon juice and salty kale. So splurge on the basil, I say. It was so good, in fact, that’s I’m actually looking forward to freezing it so I can heat it up later whenever I need a quick and tasty dinner. Oh and don’t forget to serve it with crusty dippable bread! Because everything tastes better with a thick slice of crusty bread. Get the recipe here.

 


Delish Dish Editor

7 Yummy Ideas for Turkey Leftovers

Written on November 23, 2012 at 6:00 am , by

Hi All, I’m Jessie, senior nutrition editor at Diabetic Living magazine, a health brand developed by Better Homes and Gardens. Though the Thanksgiving feast is something to savor, I’m always a little more excited the days after Thanksgiving when I don’t have to worry about getting dinner on the table and I can bask in the glory of a leftover-side-dish-surplus. And, unless my hungry hubby gets a hold of them first, I can always count on one or two meals made from leftovers of that succulent roasted turkey.

The key to making the most out of your turkey leftovers is to take it easy. That’s what leftovers are all about! You can easily chop up some leftover turkey and add it to salads, sandwiches, soups, and casseroles. You’ll not only enjoy the flavor of the meal, but you can also appreciate how quickly it came together. Here are four delicious ideas to inspire your culinary creativity with turkey leftovers.

But, alas, if you’re sitting there a mere day after the big feast with no leftovers to speak of – not one morsel of stuffing or one speck of pumpkin pie, don’t fret. I have two crumbs of advice…

1) Roast another turkey! And here’s why: After the Thanksgiving rush you can usually find some great discounts on turkeys at your local grocery store. Buy one in the few days after the holiday and before the prices go up again mid-December.

2) This time, plan for leftovers! The basic rule of thumb is to buy a turkey that weighs in at 1 pound/guest. I’m suggesting that you up that number. Next year, if you’ll have 12 guests, buy a 24-pounder (that’s 2 pounds/guest). That way you can almost ensure a refrigerator full of turkey-filled Tupperware. Yay!

In the meantime, here are a few more ideas for how to appreciate a bounty of extra bird.

And if your hunger for turkey leftover ideas is insatiable (mine is!), check here for 23 more great turkey leftover recipes and click here for leftover ideas with a healthful spin.


Delish Dish Editor

in-season eats: cranberry sauce with persimmons

Written on November 21, 2012 at 9:00 pm , by

Happy Thanksgiving! Erin from The Forest Feast here, sending greetings from my family’s annual celebration in Santa Barbara, CA. My husband Jonathan and I left the woods and headed for the beach where we’re spending the weekend cooking, eating, and surfing with lots of relatives at my aunt and uncle’s beach house. This is my absolute favorite holiday! We spend all day cooking in their dreamy kitchen overlooking the ocean while the turkey cooks on the BBQ outside.

This year, we are shaking up the menu a bit with this New Cranberry Sauce, which includes persimmons, my favorite autumn treat. Trees full of these ripe, orange fruits are everywhere near where we live  right now! A friend was kind enough to let me come and pick some off his tree, and I was excited to be able to use them in this Thanksgiving dish. It’s a fun, seasonal twist on the traditional recipe and adds color and sweetness to the cranberry sauce.

We eat around sunset, and I always take a picture of the turkey as it comes off the grill.

So much to be thankful for as we gear up for a weekend of family fun. Cheers!

 

New Cranberry Sauce with Persimmons

Makes: 12 servings. Serving size: 1/4 cup. Yield: 12 (1/4-cup) servings
Prep 10 mins, cook 18 mins to 20 mins, chill up to 48 hours.

Ingredients:
1 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
1 12 ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup pomegranate juice or cranberry juice
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 fuyu persimmon or apple, cored and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
Rosemary sprig (optional, as garnish)
Directions: In large saucepan cook onion and garlic in hot oil over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until onions begin to soften. Add cranberries, pomegranate juice, sugar, and ginger. Bring to boiling; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 16 to 17 minutes, or until mixture is just thickened. Stir in persimmon for the last 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Serve warm or at room temperature or transfer to a storage container. Can be covered and chilled up to 48 hours. If desired, top sauce with a rosemary sprig as a garnish. Makes 12 (1/4-cup) servings.
Kitchen Tip: There are two types of persimmons: Fuyus and hachiyas. For this recipe, use fuyus, which are tomato-shape, and can be eaten when firm or slightly soft. The fruit, available from October to December, should be evenly light orange, not yellow or green. Store in the fridge up to 14 days.

The Forest Feast is a blog by Erin Gleeson full of simple, vegetable based recipes that are presented visually, with handwriting, illustration and photos to describe the steps.