Written on November 26, 2013 at 8:30 am , by BHG Guest Blogger
Lindsey Johnson writes the food blog, Cafe Johnsonia, where she shares seasonal, (mostly) healthy recipes. She works as a freelance writer, recipe developer, food stylist and photographer. She also contributes to several blogs including Design Mom. Her other loves are traveling, gardening, and participating in the local food scene where she lives in Utah. Lindsey and her husband are the parents of three budding foodies. Follow Lindsey on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
Years ago when I bought my first tart pan (of many), I had no idea how much I would end up loving tarts. I love looking at them. I love eating them. I love making them. For me pie is sort of a once or twice a year kind of thing. But tarts? They’re perfect on a weekly basis. And even though I never thought it was possible, they’ve just edged out ice cream as my favorite sweet treat to make, especially when the holidays roll around.
Sometimes I think it’s because I love tart crust so much. It’s more crispy and buttery like a cookie. Other times I think it’s because the filling to crust ratio is more to my liking. And then there are the endless filling options. When I saw the recipe for Cranberry Tarts on BHG.com, I was instantly smitten. Another great love of mine is cranberries. Oh how I live for cranberry season! I’m the crazy lady buying two or three bags every time I grocery stop so I can fill up my freezer. And while I’m at it, let me just say that I’m glad to see cranberries getting some of the spotlight. They were always destined for better things than canned jellies and sauces, though they have their place too, I suppose.
This recipe called to me! I put my own little twist on it, like I love to do. They weren’t big changes, but simple ones that made it my own. Instead of smaller tarts, I made one large tart. I love nut crusts, so I added some ground pecans. I also used all butter. I used gluten-free flour in place of wheat flour.
The filling itself turns out almost jam-like. It’s sweet and tangy, and perfect on its own, but I wondered how a pinch of pumpkin pie spice and a dash of vanilla extract would taste. It just pushed in a slightly different direction that I really loved. Not so much you would say, “Oh, it’s spiced!” But enough for you to wonder what that extra special something was. I just love chocolate and cranberry together – the tartness of the cranberries and the bitterness from the chocolate are magical. I decided to drizzle the cooled tart with both white and add dark chocolate shavings. By the end, I had one fantastic, festive tart on my hands!
Let me show you how easy it is to make this gorgeous, holiday cranberry tart.
Mix the dry ingredients for the crust together.
Cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter. You can also use two butter knives, or your hands. The goal is to work quickly so everything stays cold.
Then add ice cold water – not too much at once. And only enough for it to hold together. The dough will come together into a ball.
Then quickly press it into the tart pan and let it chill while the filling is prepared. (The original recipe directs to roll the dough, but I find that to be a little challenging with the crust is gluten-free. Pressing it works just fine here.)
To make this tart 100% gluten-free, I used gluten-free all-purpose flour in the crust and I substituted cornstarch for the flour in the filling.
The warm filling is poured into the tart shell and baked. The smell as it’s baking is absolutely divine!
Let it cool and drizzle with melted white chocolate and dark chocolate shavings. I used about 2 ounces of white chocolate melted with 1 teaspoon of butter. I couldn’t wait to share this with my family! We all agreed it was a fine tart and would be added to our list of holiday recipes.
Get the Cranberry Tarts recipe here.
Written on November 25, 2013 at 6:00 am , by Naomi Robinson
I made this brownie pie and it was such a big hit with my friends, that I figured why not a chocolate chip cookie pie served with some ice cream, chocolate and caramel drizzle. I tend to think everyone loves a good classic remixed—and thus far, that thought has been reinforced, especially with this one.
An added plus with this recipe is it’s easy enough to assemble. Grab the crust recipe here and the cookie dough recipe here. Fuse the two together and you’ve got pie. See what I mean—e.a.s.y. Along with that, it’s a great treat for all those kiddos that haven’t quite embraced the more traditional pies like pumpkin and pecan.
Now of course you can easily make this your own and try swapping out the chocolate chip cookie for some other variation- like oatmeal, snicker doodle, or get crazy with some red velvet cookie dough. If anyone does go for it and customizes this idea, please come back and let the rest of us know.
Written on November 21, 2013 at 8:00 am , by Erin Gleeson
On a recent trip to Granada, Spain, I bought these adorable Moroccan tea glasses, sold all over Granada because of its Moorish history. I drink a lot of tea during the day while working from my cabin in the woods, but I thought I’d mix it up and make some hot cider instead. (Feels very holiday!)
Since the word Granada means pomegranate in Spanish, I was inspired to add fresh pomegranates to the cider. Starting with this BHG cider recipe, I simmered apple juice, pomegranate juice and spices, then garnished each cup with fresh pomegranate seeds and an apple slice decorated with cloves. I think this would be a fun after-dinner drink on Thanksgiving Day to cozy up by the fire with (plus, it can be spiked with bourbon for the adults!).
Cheers…And Happy Thanksgiving!
Spiced Apple-Pomegranate Cider
Adapted from BHG’s Recipe, serves 6-8
1 gallon of apple cider or apple juice
2 cups pomegranate juice
1/4 cup maple syrup or packed brown sugar
Peel from 1 organic orange, cut into strips
4 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves, plus more for garnish
Thinly sliced apple and seeds from 1 pomegranate for garnish
1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine apple cider/juice, pomegranate juice, and maple syrup or brown sugar.
2. To make a spice bag, cut a double thickness of cheesecloth into a 12-inch square. Place the orange peel, cinnamon sticks and cloves in center of cloth. Bring the corners of cloth together and tie closed with clean kitchen string. Add spice bag to the cider pot.
3. Bring mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove spice bag and discard.
4. To serve, ladle cider into mugs. Drop 1 T fresh pomegranate seeds into each glass. To make the garnish, slice an apple into ¼ inch thick circles. Then cut each circle into quarters and push whole cloves into the apple slice (see photo above). Make a little slit in each apple slice to hang it over the side of the glass.
Photos and Illustrations by Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast, a blog and soon-to-be cookbook full of simple recipe and entertaining ideas inspired by living in a cabin in the woods.
Written on November 19, 2013 at 9:23 am , by BHG Guest BloggerJewel Hazelton is the founder of Eat.Drink.Shop.Love, a lifestyle blog about her love of food, fashion, interiors, travel, entertaining and things to do around Atlanta. Jewel spends her free time trying new recipes, exploring Atlanta’s dining scene, traveling to exciting destinations, and discovering all that her hometown has to offer. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter to see more posts by Jewel.
Thanksgiving is next week and its time to start planning your dinner menu. This time of year is a big deal in my family because we travel far and near to come together to give thanks. Each person is in charge of preparing a dish and bringing it to the dinner. One of my favorite thanksgiving dishes is the sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are always on the Thanksgiving table in my household.
This year I’m putting a spin on this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens for a Walnut Sage Potatoes Au Gratin by incorporating sweet potatoes. Like a traditional au gratin this dish is a blend of milk, cheese, fresh herbs, and sweet potatoes. The sage gives this dish an earthiness while the walnuts are a nice added crunch to this creamy side.
One of the great things about potatoes au gratin is that you can make this dish a few hours a head time before your guests arrive.
Start by peeling and slicing your sweet potatoes into 1 inch slices. Now in a medium to large skillet cook your diced onions and garlic until they softened. Add your flour to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Slowly stir in your milk until a creamy sauce starts to form. Remove the pan from the heat and add the sage.
Now layer your sweet potatoes in a casserole dish. Add the creamy mixture and cheese between each layer and bake in the oven covered with foil for 45 minutes to an hour. Once it’s out of the oven remove the foil top the potatoes with cheese and recover until it’s ready to serve.
This is the perfect upscale addition to the dinner table. Pair this dish with your Thanksgiving Turkey or Ham and a glass of red wine.
Written on November 18, 2013 at 4:00 am , by Naomi Robinson
You know what’s better than a double-crusted blueberry pie? One with a streusel topping. I couldn’t help it, so I had to try it to see if it would be overkill or a great add-on. The verdict, the streusel and crust in every bite–killer. I’m pretty sure you are going to love this as much as I did, especially, since it’s not only simple in design, but also in preparation.
Of course I made my blueberry pie as mini pies, but feel free to stick to the recipe by making it one large one. Sure, it’s a little more work to make a few minis, but the payoff is definitely there.
I love the way minis lend themselves to a great presentation and there’s just something about small desserts that always seems to elicit a few extra oohs and aahs.
Aside from that, if you have a family like mine—there better be enough crust to go around or else you’ll end up with a pie pan full of filling. I’m serious, they will pick through the crust like it’s their own personal pie. See how I solved that problem—mini pies.
To get started on this recipe, click here. To add the streusel (I used silvered almonds for the nuts and coarsely chopped it), click here for the recipe and add it to the crust in the last 20 minutes of bake time.
Written on November 14, 2013 at 9:06 am , by BHG Guest BloggerHi! I’m Wini Moranville, author of The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Everyday. I also blog at chezbonnefemme.com. I’ve been writing for the Better Homes and Gardens family of publications for over 15 years, and I’m so honored that they featured my French stew recipes in the current edition of BHG Soups & Stews magazine, available on newsstands now.
Last spring, when the Soups & Stews editor asked me to develop recipes for his magazine, the timing could not have been better. I was actually in France, staying in a little apartment by the Mediterranean Sea. The weather had just hit a cold spell, and I was craving something warming and hearty—but something that tapped into the finesse that is France.
The answer was blanquette—a French stew that’s finished with a tumble of fresh vegetables plus a touch of luscious cream to make it white—blanquette comes from the French word blanc (white).
Blanquette is traditionally made with veal, but I turned to my French butcher to inspire other versions. That day, he had absolutely beautiful chunks of lamb stew meat, which simmers to tender perfection. At the vegetable market, leeks and green onions snagged my attention—they simply go great with lamb. Not a lamb fan? Boneless beef short ribs also work wonderfully.
Once home, I followed the classic recipe for any blanquette: You braise the meat with flavorful ingredients—wine, herbs, veggies, and broth. Later, you strain the cooking liquids, which become the base of an amazing sauce that’s enriched and thickened with a beurre-manié (a fancy name for a super-simple flour-butter mixture). Finish with bright, fresh veggies, and you’ll have a vivid, fresh, and refined stew that your guests won’t soon forget. PS: Leftovers taste wonderful.
Try the recipe, and be sure to pick up Soups & Stews magazine, which offers two more fabulous variations on the blanquette theme: Chicken Blanquette and Pork Blanquette, plus my favorite go-with: Any-Night Baked Rice.