Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Broccoli Salad

1 lb broccoli, chopped (*tastes better if you sing the Dana Carvy "Choppin' Broccoli song while you're doing this)
1/2 cup red onion
1 cup dried cranberry (raisins work too, but cranberry is more festive, if you're making this for Xmas)
5 slices crumbled bacon
1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds (optional, but highly recommended)

1 cup mayonnaise (we used fat free & it tasted fine!)
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbs white vinegar

1. Combine salad ingredients.

2. Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl

3. Toss salad with dressing

*Note: Even though this tasted great when we made it, it tasted even better the next day, so it's probably a good idea to make the dressing a little ahead and let the flavors all meld together.

Roasted Figs

Even though we ate this with Christmas dinner, it was really supposed to be an appetizer. I made it from a recipe, but you really don't need one, because it's very simple to put them together. Here is what you need:

figs (as many as you think will be eaten)
blue cheese (enough so you have a small piece to go with each fig)

Cut a slit in each fig and stuff with a small piece of blue cheese. Wrap each fig in a slice of prosciutto, then place the figs on a baking sheet.

Roast figs in a 400 degree oven (a toaster oven works too) until the prosciutto melts slightly and forms a skin around thee figs (about 12-15 minutes). Transfer to a serving plate, drizzle with honey and season with freshly ground pepper.

Blue Cheese Potatoes au Gratin

5 lbs. russet potatoes
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1-1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 cups cream
1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Butter a 9- by 13-inch glass baking dish. Peel and slice the potatoes into 1/4-inch slices. Toss them in a large bowl with the 2 teaspoons salt, pepper and rosemary.

2. In a small bowl toss together cheeses.

3. Layer half the potatoes in the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with half the cheese mixture and top with remaining potatoes.

4. In a bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients and pour over potatoes. Tap the baking dish on the counter to spread out the sauce and help release any air bubbles. Sprinkle with remaining cheese mixture.

5. Bake potatoes for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until browned and completely tender all the way through when poked with a knife.

Note: You can also make these in advance and store, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature and reheat in a 350 degree F oven until hot.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Black & White Soup

Black & White Soup
Originally uploaded by lesliegardner.
Decided to make this soup for Christmas dinner and had every crucial ingredient but milk and of course no stores open so Jen, in all her Holiday spirit, drove me over a baggie of milk and just look at the payoff! So cool an effect! Thanks Jen!
The recipe is here. For the black bean soup, I used this recipe.

After I made the soup but before making the rest of the menu, there was a power failure so when Dag showed up for dinner, everything was cold and dark so we slogged the soup a few blocks away to his place and heated it back up. If only everything were done and hot when he showed up we could have eaten by candlelight and then played some cards while listening to the radio but I also could not locate 2 batteries I needed for that to happen. Power outages and thunderstorms and snowstorms are way too few and far between these days/around these parts.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

cranberry, cherry, & walnut chutney

I made this cranberry dish for thanksgiving, but I think it is too good to only have once a year!

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup port or other sweet red wine
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1 (12 oz) package fresh cranberries
2/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Orange rind strips (optional)

Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Add cherries, and cook 1 minute. Stir in cranberries; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until cranberries pop. Remove from heat. Stir in walnuts, grated rind, and extract. Garnish with orange rind strips, if desired. Cover and chill.
Yield 16 servings (serving size 1/4 cup)

This is excellent on turkey sandwiches, too.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

5 lbs potatoes, peeled & quartered (about 15 medium sized potatoes)
6 oz. cream cheese
1 c. sour cream
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 egg whites, slightly beaten
1 Tbs margarine or butter

Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling water until tender (about 20 minutes).

Drain & mash until there are no lumps. Add cream cheese, sour cream, onion powder, salt, pepper & egg whites. Blend well.

Spray a 9x13" casserole with nonstick cooking spray. Add potato mixture. Dot with margarine. cool slightly, cover & refrigerate up to 7 days.

Take out of refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, covered for 40 minutes or until steaming hot in the center.

Note: Alternately potatoes can be reheated in a crock pot. Take potatoes out of fridge about 3 1/2 hours before you plan to serve them. Place in slow-cooker. Dot with margarine or butter. Cook on low heat for 3 hours, stirring once or twice. They can be held an additional 30 minutes or more.

Note 2: We didn't do this, but I think these would be really awesome with some roasted garlic mashed in with the potatoes