Saturday, November 21, 2015

Weekend Round-Up

Some of the Week's Best

Festive Holiday Dessert

Apple Cream Cheese Torte with Gingersnap Cookie Crust
Cook’s notes: Wrap outside of an 8 inch spring form pan that has 2- 3/4 inch sides with foil.
Crust Ingredients:
  • store bought gingersnap cookies
  • 5 TB. melted butter
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon or ½ tsp. Saigon cinnamon
Filling Ingredients:
  • 1-8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
Topping Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon or ½ tsp. Saigon cinnamon
  • 2 Granny Smith, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup crumbled almonds
Crust Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a food processor crumble enough store bought gingersnap cookies to equal 2-1/2 cups of crumbs.
  • Add to food processor melted butter and cinnamon to cookie crumbs. Pulse a 1-2 times.
  • Pat cookie crust mixture in bottom of spring form pan. Place in freezer for 5 minutes. Remove and  bake for 5-6 minutes . Watch carefully so as not overbrown.  Reduce heat to 350.
Filling Directions:
  • Proceed with recipe by beating all filling ingredients together. Pour filling over gingersnap crust.  
Topping Directions:
  • In a bowl mix 1/3 cup sugar with 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Chop 2 Granny Smith apples and mix into cinnamon/sugar mixture.
  • Place apple mixture on top of cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with almonds.
  • Bake about 40 minutes or until crust is golden, apples are tender and filling set.
  • Refrigerate any leftovers.
Cranberry-Dried Cherry Sauce

Cook's notes
:This sauce is flavorful and a perfect side when served over turkey, chicken, pork or salmon. It can be made a few days in advance and kept refrigerated. Also can be used as a basting sauce for grilled meats. Don't skip the wine part. For some inexplicable reason it really enhances the sauce flavor :)

  • 2 TB. cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cran-cherry juice
  • 12 oz. cran-cherry juice
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 large cinnamon sticks broken in half
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1-5 oz package dried tart cherries
  • 1-12 oz bag fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine like a Merlot, Cabernet or Malbec
  • Whisk 2 TB. cornstarch into 1/4 cup cran-cherry juice and set aside
  • In a saucepan add 12 oz. cran-cherry juice, 1 cup of water, brown sugar, allspice, and cinnamon sticks.
  • Bring mixture to boil over medium heat stirring till sugar is dissolved, add cherries and reserved cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cran cherry juice and cook 2 minutes until sauce slightly thickened. 
  • Add in cranberries and cook till berries pop about 7 minutes over medium heat.
  • Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl, stir in wine. 
  • Cool and remove cinnamon sticks
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.

It's All About The Stuffing 

Sausage Cranberry Apple Cornbread Stuffing
Cook's notes: Cooking tip- Dry cornbread and white bread cubes out on a cookie sheet for several hours or crumble up pre-made cornbread onto a baking sheet, and toast in a 250 degree oven for about an hour. If you've got stale bread rip it up and toast it too. This preparation can be done a day ahead. Optional adding in 2 cups cooked wild rice. The entire dish can be made a day ahead. 
Recipe serves 8.
  • 1/4 cup butter 
  • 3 medium celery stalks, chopped (1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 package of Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage or turkey sausage.
  • 6 cups crumbled dry corn bread or 6 cups corn bread stuffing mix (equal to two 8-ounce packages)
  • 6 cups dry white (like artisan or sourdough) or wheat bread cubes
  • 2 cups peeled and chopped Granny Smith apples
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, cherries, or raisins
  • 2 TB. snipped fresh sage leaves or 1-1/2 tsp. dried sage 
  • 1 TB.snipped fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1 TB. dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth-low sodium
  • Heat broth in a separate pan and keep warm.
  • In a large Dutch oven cook sausage, drain and set aside. 
  • Melt butter in same Dutch oven over medium heat. Saute celery, garlic and onion about 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat.
  • Stir in crumbled corn bread, bread cubes, apples, cranberries, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper into onion mixture. Add in sausage. Mix in enough hot broth to moisten stuffing, tossing lightly to combine. More warm broth can be added as needed. 
  • Spoon stuffing into a 3-quart greased baking dish. Bake, covered, in a 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake for 15 minutes more or until heated through and to desired moistness.
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