Thursday, November 17, 2011

Apple and Cranberry Crisp

While at Trader Joe's, I saw bags of fresh cranberries.  Other than canned and juiced cranberries, I have not seen, let alone cooked with fresh cranberries.  I know!  It was so bad that I even had to look up how to cook and prepare them.  Thankfully, all that is need is to wash and heat to release their juices.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a pie dish with non-stick cooking spray.


1 cup fresh cranberries
2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger

Combine the above ingredients in a bowl. Add to the prepared pie dish.


4 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
1/2 stick butter, softened

Using your hands, combine the above ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add to the top of the fruit.  Bake for 30 minutes until lightly golden and bubbly.

Roasted Sweet Potato with Saffron Butter

Sweet potatoes are a staple at farmers markets this time of year. I decided to make a slight twist to the standard roasted sweet potato: flavored butter.  I actually haven't made flavored butter before.  Infused olive oils, yes.  Flavored butter, nope!  The saffron complimented the potato quite nicely if I may say so myself.  Ha!

2 sweet potatoes
1 container of fresh butter, softened
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 large garlic clove
2 tablespoons milk, warmed slightly
Pinch of saffron threads

Place the sweet potatoes in an oven preheated to 300 degrees.  You may do a couple of things with them.  One, keep them whole and roast them until they are soft through when poked with a fork.  You can also chop the potato.  Either way, drizzle with olive oil and cook until soft through.

In a small bowl, combine the milk and saffron threads and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, process the garlic and parsley well.  Add the softened butter and milk and process until well combined.  Then put the butter into a container.  Refrigerate for a half hour.  Top potatoes with butter.

Arugula Salad with Marinated Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

I've been craving this all week, but have been too sick with a cold to have the energy to make anything.  There's something about arugula that is so satisfying.  This salad is easy to put together and incredibly flavorful.


8 mushrooms, stems removed
1 teaspoon thyme
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 handful arugula
2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place the mushrooms on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, garlic, and thyme. Cover with foil. Roast fo 30 minutes, remove the foil for the last 10 minutes.


1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine all ingredients to make the dressing.

Place the arugula in a bowl or plate. Add the roasted mushrooms. Sprinkle with a small amount of salt and pepper to taste. Top with the goat cheese and parsley. Enjoy while the mushrooms are still warm.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Croutes au Fondue Duxelle

Last weekend, my friend Kelly and I went to Cook in Ashburn, VA. We had gotten a great deal on Groupon. It was a blast!  The instructor was extremely knowledgeable and gave all sorts of cooking hints.  The place itself was beautiful, clean, and the layout was conducive to watching the instructor while cooking.  I have been to other cooking schools and this one was by far the best.

The theme of the class was Dinner with Julia...Julia Childs that is.  Our menu included Steak au Poiver (pepper steak with brandy sauce), Gratin Dauphinois (scalloped potatoes with milk, cheese, and garlic), Mousseline au Chocolat (chocolate mousse), and Croutes au Fondue Duxelle (toasted bread with mushrooms and cheese).  It was absolutely delicious and so much fun! 

Here is my re-creation of the Croutes. Be forewarned however.  They are addicting.  I just polished off an entire pan.

Sliced bread, cut into rounds (crusts removed)
Melted butter

Brush the tops of the bread with butter.  Place in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Toast in the oven for five minutes. 

Fondue Duxelle

1 cup mushrooms, minced
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet, melt the butter.  Add the mushrooms.  Continue to saute until the liquid is evaporated and the mushrooms cook dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
3/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 tablespoon butter

In a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter and whisk in the flour. Cook together for 2 minutes without coloring. Remove from heat and whisk in the milk and seasonings. Return to heat, whisking continuously, and boil for one minute. Sauce should be very thick. Taste for seasoning.

Remove from heat. Place the egg yolk in the center of sauce and beat vigorously with the whisk. Beat in cheese, mushrooms, and remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.

Place the filling on top of the croutes and enjoy!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

So, the last couple of weeks, I have pretty much only posted cupcakes.  For those of you who read regularly, you know I am in charge of making about 150 cupcakes for a company awards party.  My little one bedroom apartment kitchen will be put to the test.  I have faith!  I promise to do some good non-cupcake cooking this weekend. 

1 cup flour
3 tablespoons + ½ teaspoon cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon butter, softened
¾ cup + 2 teaspoons sugar
1 ½ eggs
1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon sour cream (full fat)
3 tablespoons + ½ teaspoon milk
1 ounce red food color
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Note the odd amounts of ingredients.  I reduced it by half.  Currently, it makes 20 cupcakes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Then switching to a whisk, add the eggs and mix.  Add the sour cream, milk, food color (typically whole bottle), and vanilla. 

Fill the cupcakes about ¾ of the way.  Cook for 18 minutes.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar

In a large bowl, beat the all ingredients together until smooth.  Frost the cooled cupcakes.