Cranberry Orange Relish



Cranberry-Orange Relish

1 bag cranberries
1 cup organic cane juice sugar
1 orange: zest of 1 orange plus segments
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
8 anise stars
water to cover

Put the whole mess in a pot and boil for about 40 minutes until everything is syrupy and mooshy. I served mine with fat free yogurt and applesauce. Yummy and good for you, too!

Chicken Broth with Rice, Arugula and Yogurt

Chicken Broth with Rice, Arugula and Yogurt

I always have a quart of chicken broth in the fridge and a quart in the freezer. Once a week I make broth with the roaster bones from Sunday. I freeze a tray of cubes as a treat for Lux, or to use in cooking in making swift sauces. I also steam rice daily, for the kids snack after school, for dinners, to add to Lux's dinner, whatever. Sometimes I eat hot rice with milk and maple syrup and ground flax seeds for breakfast! For this soup I combined the broth and rice and added lovely leaves of crispy and spicy arugula and topped it off with a spoonful of fat free yogurt. A tasty snack after stomping in the 34 degree woods for 2 hours this morning!

Black Soy Noodles with Turkey Bacon, Leeks, Peas and Walnuts

Black Soy Noodles with Turkey Bacon, Leeks, Peas and Walnuts
(serves 2)

1 serving of soy pasta per person (I used the black for extra drama)
4 slices of turkey bacon
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup walnut pieces
4 tablespoons walnut oil
2 cups leeks, chopped
1/2 cup chicken or veggie broth
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the leeks, bacon and walnuts in the walnut oil until bacon is crispy and leeks are wilted. Add the peas and broth and simmer until warm through. Add salt and pepper to taste. In the meantime, cook the pasta following directions on the box. Drain the pasta, top with the yummy bacon, leek mix and sprinkle with Romano cheese if desired.

Corn Tortilla with Shredded Chicken

Home made corn tortillas with shredded chicken

I made the tortillas using my press, but you may make them by rolling out the dough and cooking them in a frying pan as well.

1 cup corn flour
3/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons oil ( I use walnut)

Cooked chicken, shredded
Taco sauce
shredded cheese
sliced tomatoes

Mix the flour, water and oil until it forms a dough. Knead until smooth. Pinch off golf ball sized globs and roll on a floured surface until flat. Place on a hot griddle or pan and flip after a minute or so.

Place shredded chicken, chopped lettuce, tomatoes and cheese on top. Top with taco sauce. Yummy!

Wilter Arugula and Grapefruit Salad

Wilted Arugula and Ruby Red Grapefruit Salad (serves 4)

1 handful of arugula per person
1 ruby red grapefruit, segmented ( I used a knife and cut slices without membrane)
2 tablespoons walnut oil (olive is ok, too)
1 ripe avocado

Place oil in a pan and toss in the arugula and grapefruit. Toss until wilted and warmed. Place this on a plate and top with thin slices of avocado. Simple. Pretty. Tasty.

Baked Apples with a Corriander Crust

Baked Apples with Coriander Crust

Two organic Granny Smith apples
1 lemon
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup Earth Balance spread or similar (plus extra pats for top)
1 1/3 cup AP flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons ice cold water

In a metal bowl place the flour, salt, sugar coriander, and "butter". Using a wire whisk, pounce upon the butter, quickly pushing up and down on it, incorporating the flour into it, until it resembles a coarse meal. Add the cold water by spoonfuls, mixing with a spoon or your hand, until the mass forms a loose ball. Turn the ball out onto a floured surface and gently PUSH the dough on all sides, forming a thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap (or better still, waxed paper), and put in fridge for about an hour.

Cut the dough in half and roll each out until 1/4 inch thick.

Peel and core the apples. Rub them with lemon juice and place each on a crust circle. Gently push and form the dough around each apple.

Pour the maple syrup, into the hole in the apple and sprinkle with cinnamon. Add walnuts and/or raisins (optional) Top with a pat of butter.

I sprinkle the tops of mine with grated lemon and casting sugar.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.



(serves one for main, 2 for starters)

1/2 bag organic frozen corn kernels (5 oz)
2 eggs
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup fat free ricotta cheese
2 oz low fat cheddar grated
1 teaspoon tarragon leaves, crushed
1 tablespoon corn meal
1 tablespoon finely grated romano cheese

Beat the eggs within an inch of their life. Add milk, and take out more aggression thereon. Plop in the ricotta and have-at-it again. Same with the cheddar and tarragon. Stir in the corn. Pour into a greased baking dish (a small one). Mix the corn meal and the romano and sprinkle on top. Place in a 385 degree oven for 3o minutes or until the top looks browned lightly, and the custard has set.

Crispy Pita Chips

Tasty and Healthy Pita Crisps

I usually have these on hand. My kids love to munch on them and they are a much healthier alternative to chips. We make these a lot at the catering company, too. They are strong enough for hummus dips and such, and are very inexpensive to make.

Simply buy a bag of pita bread. Using a knife or pizza wheel, cut into eight sections, peel apart the segments' top from bottom, place on a cookie sheet and spray or drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in a 375 degree oven, but stay near, they turn brown quickly!

Healthy Sunflower Seed Snack

Sunflower Seed Snack

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2 cups roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
3/4 cup rice malt syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pam spray (or similar) Spray the pan, the spatula and the measuring cup to assist in lessening the "sticky" factor.

Stir the syrup and vanilla into the sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and turn out onto a greased cookie sheet. Spread to an even thickness of about 1/4 inch or so. Bake at 350 on the bottom rack for about 15 minutes, until it is bubbly and lightly browned, (it will look "foamy" for a while. Then it will appear less so, and that is when you need to look more often) checking frequently to assure it won't burn. Run a knife through to cut into squares while still warm (but not HOT), then allow to cool completely before eating. Sometimes the squares from the middle of the pan are more chewy, not as crunchy, but I like them that way,too.

Sunflower seeds are high in protein and good oils, and sesame seeds are high in calcium. Rice malt is sweet, but not overly so, and has a lower glycemic index than other syrups.

Breakfast of the Champions

Fruit Compote with Fat Free Yogurt and Walnuts

This is my breakfast this morning!

1/3 cup fat free organic yogurt
1 handful of walnuts
1 cup frozen berry mix warmed on the stove with 1 tablespoon of Agave Nectar
and, of course, the best part...Whipped Cream (a moderate and demure little dollop)

Pretty and Healthy Breakfast

Pretty and Healthy Breakfast

My kids love this!

grapefruit slices
honeydew melon slices
fat free ricotta cheese
sprinkles (optional)

Mix 1/2 cup fat free ricotta with 1 tablespoon of honey. Scoop using a small ice cream scoop or melon baller. Alternate the pink and green fruit. Top with the ricotta. Sprinkle away! Very "Spring" looking, eh?

Blue Cheese and Walnut Ravioli with Shallots and Dried Cranberries

(serves two as an appetizer of three each)

Won Ton wrappers
2 oz crumbly blue cheese
handful of walnuts
three shallots
olive oil
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Whip up the cheese and nuts in a blender or food processor until it resembles a coarse meal. Moisten the edges of the won ton wrappers and place a spoonful of the cheese/nut mix in the center. Crimp and press edges. I use a cookie cutter to make them pretty (also cuts down on the carbohydrates!). Steam the raviolis. I use a plate on an inverted cup in a wok with water in the bottom. They take about 5 minutes. During this time, slice shallots and cook them in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss in a few walnut pieces for texture and protein. Add the dried cranberries and toss all together. Plate the ravioli on top of the shallot mixture. Serve with white wine, a sauvignon blanc or fume blanc is great. Champagne is even better!

Shrimp Ravioli with Butter and Garlic

Ingredients : (figure on 3-4 per person for a first course)

Won Ton wrappers
1 bag of 16-20 count peeled/de-veined cooked shrimp (count on 1 large shrimp per 2 raviloli)
1 brick of cream cheese
1/3 cup cocktail sauce
sea salt

Thaw shrimp. Be sure to take the tail caps off. Place shrimp, cream cheese, and cocktail sauce in a blender or processor. Pulse until chopped medium-fine. Place a measuring teaspoon of filling on one wrapper, cover with another wrapper and press along the edge especially along the edge of the filling. I cut mine with a round cutter for presentation. It looks pretty that way. Fill a wok 1/3 full with water, place chopsticks in the base and lower an oven safe plate onto the sticks. Alternatively, use an oriental steamer. Ladle a little water on the plate so the pasta does not stick. Gently move the ravioli onto the plate, cover and steam for about 5 minutes. In the meantime, melt some butter with crushed garlic and cook slowly to avoid burning of the garlic, which would turn bitter. Plate in a decorative manner, placing droplets of the butter along the rim. Garnish with finely chopped scallions.

Hot Red Pepper Jelly (It's not really that hot)

Your Daily Dose of Wicked-Good Food:

Image by Me: cheese, crackers and hot pepper jelly


  • 4 large red bell peppers
  • 4 tablespoons crushed dried red pepper
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 bottles liquid pectin, (6 oz each)
In a food processor or blender add the peppers, vinegar and sugar and pulse until finely chopped. Place in a pot and bring to a full boil; reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Add pectin. Stir well. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and pour mixture into hot dry, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving a scant 1/4-inch head space. If you plan on saving this for a while, place the jars in a hot water bath for 15 minutes for a vacuum seal. I find that I give away most of the jars and rip through the few I have rather quickly, so I just store them in the fridge. You may reduce the ingredients by 1/4 for smaller batches.

Makes 8 pints

Yummy Eggs atop Stuffing

Yummy Eggs atop stuffing

2 cups stuffing cubes
1 tablespoon butter or oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced red pepper
1/2 cup broth
2 eggs
grated cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Cook the onions and peppers in the butter/oil until translucent. Add the stuffing cubes and stir well. Add the broth and stir more. turn off the heat and let that sit for a few minutes to absorb. Grease a baking dish and place the stuffing mixture on the bottom. Crack the eggs and place them over the stuffing. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Place in the oven for about 12 minutes or until the eggs appear to be cooked to your liking.

Mini "pizza"appetizers

Mini "pizza" appetizer


(for the four pieces pictured-multiply ingredients as needed)

2 pieces whole grain bread
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic

1 Italian plum tomato
four small slices of cheese (I use goat's milk cheddar or chevre)
olive tappanade (olive spread) or bruchetta
sprigs of fresh oregano

Toast the bread and cut out circles using a cookie cutter. Brush them with olive oil that has smashed garlic in it. Spread tappanade on the toasts. Cut tomato into circles and place one on each toast. Top with slice of cheese. Broil on High until the cheese melts and is bubbly. Top with fresh oregano.

Poached Pears

Simple Poached Pears:

I used Bartlett pears for this. I prefer to leave the skin on as I enjoy that somewhat gritty texture, plus lots of essential vitamins are packed into the skin. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray pears with Pam (or similar) and place in deep baking pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup brown sugar. I added two tablespoons of brandy (yum) to mine, thought that is not necessary if you have none. I added about 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the pan. Bake for 30 mins or until a knife slides easily into the flesh of the fruit. Serve with the caramelized juice from the bottom of the pan drizzled on top. (I finished mine with sparkley casting sugar)

Wild Blueberry Pie


for crust:
3 cups flour
1/2 c fine corn meal
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
6 tablespoons cold water
8 tablespoons shortening

for filling:
1 12 oz bag of frozen wild blueberries (regular is okay, but the wild ones are more intense)
juice of 1 lemon
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
dash of cinnamon

Make the crust:

In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar and lemon rind. Add the shortening one tablespoon at a time, pinching the shortening with your fingers in the flour, mooshing until the mass begins to look like coarse meal. Add the water and using your hands, gently gather HALF of the dough together and turn it out into a pie plate. Using your fingers press the dough along the bottom and edges of the pie pan. Reserve the remaining dough for the top crust.

(edit: If you want to cheat, get the pre-made pie crusts in the refrigerated section at the grocery store, just don't tell em I said to do that. It would ruin my street cred)

Put the berries into a bowl and toss them with the additional flour, the juice of lemon the sugar and cinnamon. Pour this into the pie crust. Roll out the remaining dough on a floured surface and drape it over the pie. Cut steam vents.

Bake at 375 for 40 mins or until the pie is bubbly and the crust is browned.

Leek and Pea Faux Quiche



Sautee a five inch length of leek. Add a handful of frozen or fresh peas to the pan and cook for 2 minutes or so. In a single serving baking pan or dish place one slice of bread. Next, slice cheese of choice (I used goat's milk cheddar) and place pieces on top of the bread. Cover with the leek mixture. Beat 2 eggs with 1/2 cup milk until frothy. Add herbs of choice. Pour on top of the bread/vegetables and sprinkle with some Romano cheese. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until top is browned, cheese is melted and it smells too good to put back into the oven.


Gnocchi with Brow Butter, Sage and Walnuts

Gnocchi with Brown Butter, Sage and Walnuts
Serves 4

4 medium sized russet potatoes
2 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp/ salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 stick butter
2 cups walnut pieces (or halves)
fresh sage leaves (about 1 cup chopped roughly)

Okay. This is really not that hard, but it takes time and it is WELL worth it. Believe me.

Boil the potatoes until fork tender. While still warm rub the peel off. I did this under running cold water. If you have a ricer use it! I do not, so I actually tried 2 methods instead. I used the large hole side on my grater. That worked really well. I also used the tines of a fork to mash and fluff. That worked fairly well, but tended to result in less fluffy gnocchi. Allow the grated potato to cool. Add the spices. Lightly beat the 2 eggs and add them to the potato and fold in gently. Add the flour in thirds, folding as well. Now, turn the mess out onto a floured surface and gently push the lot into a ball. Cut the ball into thirds and work each third into rolls about 3/4 inch in diameter. With a fork cut the roll into pieces about the size of the first joint of your thumb. Roll the nubbin of dough off the tines of the fork to make the characteristic stripe marks.

Drop the gnocchi into boiling water and allow to cook until they rise to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in serving bowl(s).


Simple. Tasty. Incredibly good...Melt the butter in a pan. Add the sage and nuts. Allow to sizzle a little, but do not burn the butter.

Pour on top of the pasta and add sage leaves for garnish.

Savory Mushroom Soup

Savory Mushroom Soup
serves two or three

1 box of baby portabella mushrooms (you may use any kind, but I prefer these)
1 32 oz. box of broth (veggie, beef or chicken)
2 meduim onions
2 cloves garlic
a few sprigs of fresh thyme (dried, if you must)
1/4 c olive oil
8 oz of red wine (plonk is fine, but nice wine is better!)

Sautee the onions and garlic in the olive oil. When those are wilted add the mushrooms and continue cooking until those have rendered down, are soft and the liquid has emerged. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and simmer for one hour. You may add more fluid if you feel so inclined.

Chicken Tenderloins with Butternut Sqash Puree

1 pound Chiken Tenderloin (chicken finger/stir fry cut)
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
2 cups butternut squash puree (use canned pumpkin in you must)
1/4 cream
fresh tarragon

I usually have a squash cooked and ready to go in my fridge. It is one thing my kids will always eat and it can go sweet or savory into many dishes. I just scooped out the flesh for this dish, simple, rich and lightly sweet. First I cooked the chicken strips in olive oil till browned. I added the squash to warm it up. Take out the chicken and place it on a plate while you work up the sauce. After the squash has warmed through and carmelized a little bit, stir in 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon (dried if you must) and the cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add a dash of nutmeg. Plate the chicken on top of the puree. Simple. Yummy. Winter comfort food. Lots of vitamins, too!

Carmelized Pear Tart

Image by Me

Carmelized Pear Tart

pre-heat oven to 375

4 large Bosc pears

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup cream
3 Tbls. butter

1 1/2 cup flour
1 stick butter very cold and cut into chunks
additional 3 Tbls. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbls. ice cold water
1 tsp grated lemon rind

for the crust:

Using a food processor (or if making by hand use a pastry tool and a metal bowl) place the flour into the bowl and add the sugar,saltand lemon rind. Pulse to combine well. Add the butter in thirds pulsing several times between each addition. Be careful not to overwork the dough. Add the cold water pulsing between drips. When the whole thing gets lumpy and seems to be "pulling together" you are done. Turn out the dough onto plastic wrap and mush the lot into a flat circle. Put it in the fridge for at least an hour to firm up. When it is chilled, roll it out and place it in a spring form pan, or in a tart shell pan.

For the filling:

Slice the pears thinly making sure to discard the seed part.

For the caramel:
Place the cup of sugar and the 1/4 cup water in a pan and stir to dissolve. Heat until simmering and continue as such until the syrup becomes a golden brown. At this point stir in the butter then the cream in several portions, stirring between each to combine smoothly.

Lay the pear slices in the tart shell in a concentric circle pattern, or any way that looks pretty to you. Pour the caramel sauce on top and put the tart in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes until bubbly with a golden crust (depending on your oven, of course). Serve on Tiffany plates for best flavor. Heh.

Pasta with Chick Peas

Image by Me

Noodles with Chick Peas

1 pack of fresh noodles (I used Naysoa Chinese Style Noodles)
1 clove garlic
1 small can chick peas
1/4 cup red spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup cream or half and half
grated romano cheese
oragano to taste

Boil water and cook noodles. Fresh noodles take much elss time than dry. Strain the noodles and keep them warm in a little warm water. In a skillet cook chopped or minced garlic until lightly browned. Add chick peas and warm them through. Add red sauce and cream and stir until combined well. Add oregano. Allow the sauce to thicken. Plate the noodles and sppon the sauce on top. Serve warm.

Tasty Porkchops

Image by Me

Pork Chops with Sherry and Pomegranate Glaze

This is similar to the pomegranate reduction sauce noted in earlier posts, but a bit more simplistic.

6 thin cut pork chops
6 shallots chopped roughly
1/4 c olive oil
1 cup flour
4 oz. Pom brand pomegranate juice
2 Tbls. dry sherry

First dredge the chops in flour seasoned with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat oil in a skillet and add the shallots. Turn after 3 minutes. Remove the chops when cooked. Deglaze the pan with the sherry and add the pomegranate juice. Allow this to reduce a bit and plate the chops, drizzling the sauce over.

Pannetone French Bread

Images by Me

Pannetone " French Toast "
Made from the traditional Italian Holiday Bread, this is simply scrumptious!

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Pannetone bread (I used the small, individual size, which cuts into perfect rounds. You may use the larger loaf and cut out the circles with a cookie cutter)

I egg and 1/4 cup cream per serving.

3 drops vanilla per serving

1 Tablespoon sugar per serving.

Butter to butter ramekins.

Sugar for crunchy glaze on top.

Butter the individual ramekins well with butter. Cut the round of bread to size, place it in the bottom of the ramekin. Gently beat egg and cream together, adding sugar and vanilla. Pierce the bread with a fork in several places so the bread will absorb the custard well. Pour the cream/egg mixture on top of the bread and let it sit for 10 minutes. Place the ramekins in a roasting pan filled with boiling water to just below the edge of the ramekins. this will aid in the setting of the custard and prevent over cooking. After about 10 minutes test the center of the custard by touching it gently. It should spring back just a bit. Remove the ramekins from the oven, discard the water bath and sprinkle sugar (I used casting sugar) on top, using about 1/2 teaspoon per serving. Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet and place in the oven under High Broil until the sugar caramelizes (this part is a bit tricky! Keep an eye on them during the broil to prevent burning). Serve warm.

Spiced Nut Treats

Image by Me

Spiced Nut Treat

preheat oven to 375 degrees

1 12 oz bag of walnuts or walnut pieces
1 12 oz bag of pecans (go with the whole ones here. You will be glad you did)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 stick of butter (organic, please)
2 cups of light brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Garam Masala to taste (I usually use about 2-3 tablespoons) I use my own mix, but I have found that The Spice Hunter brand to be quite good. You may also add cayenne if you prefer a more spicy nut. Ahem.

Make sure you use a large pan for this, or do it in two batches.

Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the brown sugar and stir frequently as it bubbles and begins to melt the sugar. Be sure to not let this burn or it will be bitter. Add the spices. Then add the cider and stir until the mix becomes glossy, about a minute or two. Add the nuts and toss, being sure to coat them well. Turn out the nutz onto a well oiled cookie sheet or baking pan and put thm into the oven for about 20-30 minutes, stirring every 5 mins or so. They may SEEM soft but they will harden as the sugar cools and get more crispy. Be careful not to over cook these, or they will get nasty and bitter.

I packaged mine in small cellophane bags with a shiny twist tie. Each bag held about a half cup of goodies. Just enough for someone to snarf up without feeling TOO guilty.

Coconut Macaroons

I *totally* rocked a number of people's worlds with these this week. I now have the perfect treat for bribing folks to do my will. Mwaaa haaaaa haaaa!

Image by Me

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl stir together 1 14 oz package of flaked coconut, 1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 tsp pure vanilla extract, and pinch of salt. Whip 1 large egg white until soft peaks, then fold into coconut mixture.

Mound tablespoon-ful of batter onto cookie sheets and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly golden brown around edges. Let cool completely.

Curried Squash Soup

Curried Squash Soup

Medium sized squash (I prefer Hubbard) 2 pounds or so should suffice

2 medium onions

3 cups broth (I use organic veggie broth)

1 can Lite coconut milk

1 orange

1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

Olive oil for cooking (about 1/4 cup)

salt and pepper

Curry Powder

Bake or steam the squash until tender. Scoop out the flesh and place in a blender or food processor to cool. Dice the onions and saute until translucent and tender.

Add the onions to the squash in the blender and add the grated ginger, the juice of the orange and the broth. Process until smooth. You may have to halve the mixture to accommodate the space of your blender/processor. Add the coconut milk and process again, adding curry powder, salt and pepper to taste. This soup is best at just above room temperature, not too hot.

Chestnut Cheesecake

Chestnut Cheesecake (from

4 ounces crushed graham crackers or 1 1/8 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon soft butter
1½ tablespoons sweetened chestnut purée or spread (available in many supermarkets and specialty food stores)

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
¾ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons rum
1 cup sweetened chestnut purée

¼ cup rum
1 tablespoon sweetened chestnut purée
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter.

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Fill a kettle with water and place over high heat.

2. Prepare base: In a food processor, combine crushed graham crackers or cracker crumbs, butter and chestnut purée. Process until mixture has consistency of wet sand. Press into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Refrigerate until needed.

3. Prepare cheesecake: In a heavy-duty mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Mix in sugar. Add eggs and egg yolks one by one. Add sour cream, lime juice, vanilla extract and rum, mixing until smooth and creamy. Using a rubber spatula, fold in chestnut purée until thoroughly incorporated.

4. Cover outside of a springform pan with a layer of plastic wrap so that bottom and sides are covered. Do the same with foil, covering layer of plastic to make a watertight casing. Place pan in a roasting pan and pour in cheesecake filling. Add enough boiling water from kettle to come just over an inch up the side of cake pan. Bake until just set on top with a hint of wobble underneath (cake will continue to cook as it cools), about 1 hour. Remove from roasting pan and cool to room temperature on a rack. Refrigerate overnight before unmolding.

5. Prepare syrup: In a small saucepan, combine rum, chestnut purée, sugar and butter. Place over medium heat and stir until melted. Boil for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

6. Remove cheesecake from refrigerator to remove chill before serving. Cut into slices and drizzle each with a spoonful of syrup.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

Pomegranate Reduction

Pomegranate Reduction Sauce

4 cups POM juice (or any other pomegranate juice of choice)
4 Tablespoons honey (you may also use molasses for a deeper, darker sauce)
1 Tablespoon sherry
1 bay leaf
4 Tablespoons olive oil
Skin from one apple (the pectin from this is a thickening agent, more flavorful than corn starch and requires much less energy and processing too!)

Simmer all the ingredients in a pan until reduced by half. Strain before using.

You may also add chopped shallots or slivers of garlic for a more savory sauce. Rosemary or other fresh herbs are also a nice touch, especially with lamb.

Sticky Pig Candy

Really. Try it. I know it sounds weird. But it is really very, very tasty. Addictive, even

Sticky Pig Candy


1/4 lb breakfast bacon, sliced

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp ginger powder

Preheat the oven to 200°C (~390° Fahrenheit) and switch the circulating fan on, if available. Line a tray with parchment paper and place the bacon stripes flat next to each other.

Prepare the spiced sugar by mixing together the brown sugar, the cayenne pepper and the powdered ginger in a small bowl. Evenly spread the spiced sugar with a teaspoon over the bacon stripes. Try not to scatter too much of it on the parchment paper itself, because it will burn there very fast and turn black.

Bake on the middle level for 10 to 15 minutes or until the sugar has melted completely and the bacon has gained some color. Don’t leave the bacon unattended, it’s only a short moment from crisp to burnt!

Remove the tray, immediately lift up the caramelized bacon slices with a spatula (don’t burn yourself!), before the sugar hardens again. Best eaten still warm. A definite ice-breaker for every party!


Agave Ginger Bites

Agave-Ginger Bites

1/3 cup Agave Nectar
1/4 cup butter
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1 egg

1. In a small sauce pan, combine agave nectar and butter. Heat and stir until butter is completely melted. Remove from heat, pour into a large mixing bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
2. In another bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking soda and pepper. Add the ginger.
3. Mix egg into the Agave mixture.
4. Gradually stir or knead the flour mixture into the agave mixture.
5. Cover and chill for at least an hour.
6. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
7. Divide dough into 4 equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion into ropes. Cut each rope into 1/2 inch pieces.
8. Place each piece 1/2 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet (I use parchment or silicone liners.) and bake for 6-8 minutes or until tops are lightly browned.
9. Cool on paper towels.
10. Roll in powdered sugar.
Store in an airtight container in layers separated by wax paper at room temperature up to 3 days. Freeze up to 3 months!

Candied Clementine Peels

Candied Clementine Peel:

1 lb clementines (about 5-6)
1/2 tsp. Salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 /12 cups water
vegetable oil spray

Quarter the clementines with a knife and peel carefully. Eat the yummy inside part. Place the peels in a pan of cold water (3 cups) the salt. Bring to a boil and continue uncovered for about 10 minutes. This releases some of the oils, and makes the peels less bitter. Rinse the peels. Slice the peels into thin strips.

Bring 2 cups sugar and 1 1/2 cup water to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the peels. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. You may need more if the skins are thick, up to an hour. The peels should be soft and translucent, and the syrup thickened.

Transfer the candied peels (I used chopsticks) to an oiled rack set in a shallow baking pan, or over wax paper. Spray the wax paper with the oil, too, so any slices that try to make a run for it won't stick.

After about 20 minutes of cooling, place the peels into a bowl with the remaining cup of sugar and rub them so that the sugar is distributed all over the peels, This will keep them from sticking. Now you can eat them!

If you are giving these as a gift, pack them in more sugar in a tin, or a suitable container. Peels will keep for several weeks.

Added bonus: Put a candied peel in the bottom of your coffee cup. Oh. So. Gooood!

Chocolate Cherry Fruitcake

Chocolate Cherry Fruitcake
2 nine-inch loaves

1 1/2 cups dried cherries (or cranberries)

1 1/2 cups red candied cherries (or other dried fruit)

1/4 cup + 6 tablespoons rum or brandy

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

5 large eggs, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/3 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt (regular or low fat)

1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips

2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

Butter and flour two 9" x 5" loaf pans.

1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix together the dried cherries, candied cherries and 1/4 cup of the rum or brandy. Set aside for 1 hour.

2. Adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Either by hand, or with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until completely incorporated (if using an electric mixer, stop and scrape the bowl once or twice).

3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add one-third of the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture, beat briefly, then add the buttermilk or yogurt, then the remaining flour. Mix just until smooth.

4.Stir in the cherries (and any unabsorbed liquor) and the nuts.

5. Pour the batter in to pans and bake for 65-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

6. While the cakes are warm, pour 3 tablespoons of rum or brandy over each cake. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack.

If you're not going to serve the cakes within a few days, you can either freeze them, well wrapped in plastic wrap for 3-4 months, or brush them all over with additional liquor (be generous!), wrap in plastic film and store in a cool, dry place.

This recipe is adapted from The Baking Sheet (holiday 1998) published by the King Arthur Flour Company. (