Wednesday, May 4, 2022

MY FAVORITE LASAGNA AND A QUICK, SIMPLE HORS DOEUVRE!

 We're off to Ireland in a couple days so I wanted to share some food with you before we go. First, this easy, but very tasty hors d'oeuvre...

ROSEMARY PECANS

I found this recipe on the Real Simple website and they really are simple to make. I added a bit more rosemary than the recipe called for as I love the flavor of rosemary.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (I almost always use Kerry Gold.)

1 tsp. sugar

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, or more if you want a spicier nut.

1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

2 cups pecan halves

2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary (I used 3.)

Preparation:

Heat oven to 375. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in the sugar, cayenne, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Add the pecans and toss to evenly coat.

Transfer the pecans to a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and arrange in a single layer. Bake, stirring occasionally, until toasted, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the rosemary and toss to combine. Serve warm or at room temp. 

I don't know how long they keep as they were gone as soon as I served them!

BEST EVER LASAGNA

This recipe came from the back of a Barilla lasagna noodle box. I was having a lasagna craving and the only lasagna noodles (No, I didn't make them this time!) were the oven-ready pasta. I have never used the no-cook pasta and had my doubts, but the lasagna came out perfectly. I did use my own tomato sauce, which I cooked the day before. I like Barilla sauce so if you don't have time, no problem, just use theirs. They call their recipe 5 Layer Oven-Ready Lasagna, but I only managed 3 layers in my 9x13 baking pan, which meant a few sheets of pasta left over. Because I used more cheese than their recipe called for, it filled the pan sooner. There really is no science to this. After all, it is a casserole! I served the lasagna with a Frico or cheese crisp inserted into the lasagna, and a simple salad with herby vinaigrette dressing.

Ingredients:

1 box Barilla Oven-Ready Lasagna

2 jars Barilla marinara sauce (or about 6 cups of your own)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 lb. lean ground beef, browned (I used 3 Italian sausages browned out of their casings.)

Salt/Pepper to taste

15 oz. container ricotta cheese

4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (I used 2 cups parm.)

I added 2 cloves of finely minced garlic as I browned the sausage.

I also added about 2 tsp. of dried oregano to the cheese mixture. 

Preparation:

Pre-heat oven to 375. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and brown the meat and garlic, if using, until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.

In a bowl, combine ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella and 1 cup parmesan. Add oregano, if using. Stir well. 

Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Pour 1 cup of the sauce into the pan and spread to coat evenly. Place 3 sheets of lasagna side by side. Sheets will expand to ends of the dish while baking. I didn't believe this, but they did!

Pour 1 cup of sauce and 3/4 cup of the cheese mixture over the first layer. Just drop the cheese mixture by the teaspoon and spread evenly. Top with 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1/2 cup parmesan and 1/3 cup of the cooked meat. Repeat for 3 more layers or as many layers as you can fit into the baking dish. 

For the final layer, top with 3 lasagna sheets, add the remaining sauce and top with remaining cheese mixture and mozzarella.

Cover with foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 minutes more until cheese is bubbling. Let rest 15 minutes before serving. 

TO MAKE THE FRICO:

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Grate 1 cup of good quality parmesan (or any cheese you like). Don't use the pre-grated or pre-shredded cheese. It takes only a few minutes to grate the cheese yourself and the end result is much better. On a baking sheet drop about 2 Tbsp. of cheese and press with the bake of the spoon to flatten to roughly 3 inches. Space at least 1 inch apart as they will spread. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes until cheese melts and they are golden. Check on them to make sure they are not getting too brown. Remove from oven and let the Frico cool completely before removing from the pan. I served the Frico pressed into the lasagna to fancy it up a bit!

THAT'S IT FOR TODAY!
OFF TO IRELAND FOR THE SUMMER!
ROUNDSTONE-
One of my favorite villages west of us!

www.cookwithcindy.com




Sunday, April 10, 2022

SENSATIONAL SEAFOOD ALFREDO!

I have been planning to make this dish for a couple months. Each time I would prepare shrimp I saved the shells in the freezer. This made for an excellent stock for the Seafood Alfredo. You can make the stock ahead of time and freeze it so when you put the dish together it literally takes under a half hour. I also had been saving little scraps of fish: cod, salmon, pacific rock fish, etc. I like to cook the fattest parts of the filet so cubed up the thinner pieces and froze with the Alfredo in mind. Finally, I cooked the fresh fettuccine in shrimp broth, which really enhanced the flavors. You can use any combination of fish/shellfish you like.

TO MAKE THE SHRIMP BROTH:

Ingredients:
About 2 lbs. shrimp shells
3 quarts water
2 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 medium sized onion, cut into quarters
1 Tbsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dried tarragon
Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:
Bring all to a rolling boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 2 hours. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and either proceed with the recipe or place in the freezer. 

BEFORE MAKING THE ALFREDO SAUCE, COOK THE FISH.

I used:
1/3 lb. shrimp, peeled and cleaned
1 lb. mussels
I used these frozen mussels from my local Safeway grocery store. Being from New England and land of fresh mussels I had my doubts, but they were really fabulous!

About 1 1/2 cups of various pieces of cubed fish. Thawed, if using frozen left-overs.

In a heavy bottomed (My preference always is cast iron.) skillet heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil until hot; nearly smoking. Reduce heat to medium. Quickly saute the cubed fish and shrimp, stirring with a rubber scraper so the fish does not stick. This will take 3-4 minutes. Remove the fish from the pan and set aside. Do not clean the pan.

TO MAKE THE ALFREDO SAUCE:
Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
5 Tbsp. flour
1/2 small shallot, very finely diced; about 2 Tbsp.
1 small garlic clove, very finely diced; about 1/2 Tbsp.
1/4 tsp. dried tarragon
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 cup heavy cream or I used 1/2 cup half and half and 1/2 cup heavy
1/2 cup dry white wine; whatever you have opened.
1 cup (or more) fish broth
Salt/Pepper to taste

Preparation:
In the same pan you sauted the fish and shrimp, melt the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until completely blended. Reduce heat and cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes to form a roux. Stirring often reduces the chance of any lumps in your sauce. Add shallot, garlic, tarragon and parmesan, and stir for another 3 minutes. Add wine, cream and fish broth and stir until you have the desired consistency. The sauce needs to be thick enough to hold up to and coat pasta and fish nicely, but not so thick that it is goopy. The longer you cook it, the thicker it gets. Add more fish broth if the sauce becomes too thick. Taste for salt and pepper. Set aside. 

TO COOK THE PASTA:
Cut about 1/2 lb. asparagus into 2 inch pieces. Bring 2 1/2 quarts of fish stock to a boil. Add 1 Tbsp. salt. Add the fresh fettuccine. I did not make it this time, but this store-bought version was pretty good.
Cook the pasta for about 3 minutes. Add the mussels and asparagus. Cook for another 7 minutes until mussels open and pasta and asparagus are al dente.  
Drain the pasta reserving some of the cooking liquid in case you need it to thin the sauce. Mix all ingredients including the Alfredo Sauce together back into the pasta cooking pot and cook just enough to reheat the fish and shrimp; about 2-3 minutes more, stirring to ensure that all is well coated. Serve with warmed French bread and a fresh green salad.
I did not get a photo of the final results as we were too darned anxious to EAT! So easy. So good.

THAT'S IT FOR TODAY!

IT IS PALM SUNDAY...I AM ALREADY MISSING THE BIG EASTER EXTRAVAGANZA I HAVE DONE FOR MANY YEARS, BUT DO PLAN ON MAKING A NICE MEAL FOR ME AND MY HUSBAND, JERRY.

AND MAYBE NEXT YEAR WE WILL CONTINUE 
THAT WONDERFUL EASTER TRADITION!

I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR AND 
ALWAYS FEEL HOPEFUL ABOUT GOOD 
THINGS TO COME! NEW BEGINNINGS...

WWW.COOKWITHCINDY.COM













Tuesday, March 29, 2022

THE TALE OF TWO STRAWBERRIES!

 

Strawberries are more versatile than you may think. Let's start today with an unexpected savory...

STRAWBERRY SOUP WITH ROQUEFORT PANNA COTTA

This made for a rich, but satisfying first course for a fun dinner party I put together for our friends Steve and Deb Vis, who we thought were moving to Florida. Fortunately they have changed their minds and are staying in sunny Arizona! I have made the savory panna cotta in the past and thought it would be a perfect contrast for the Strawberry Soup. Last time I made it with a Chilled Plum Soup, which was also very special. I looked online at many different recipes and came up with this.

Ingredients:
2 cups strawberries*, roughly chopped
1/4 cup Marsala or other sweet wine
Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup Greek style Plain yogurt
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar. I used Pear Infused vinegar.
1/2 cup water

*Use the freshest and most ripe strawberries you can find. This would be over-the-top if you used hand-picked wild strawberries. 

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Macerate berries in sugar and pinch of salt for about 15 minutes. To macerate, simply mix berries with the sugar and salt and stir together slightly mashing the berries to release their natural juice. 

Spread on a foil-lined, very lightly oiled cookie sheet and roast in the hot oven for about 15 minutes, stirring once to make sure berries roast evenly. 

Remove and cool. Add the berries and all other ingredients to the blender and blend until completely smooth. Taste for seasoning.

Yes! That is my Mom's circa 1960 Osterizer Blender.
Still works perfectly!
I served by gently placing the panna cottas in a bowl and then pouring the chilled soup around. I garnished with small pieces of Roquefort and a sliced strawberry on top. 

To make the Roquefort Panna Cotta, go to:

 http://cookwithcindy.blogspot.com/search?q=panna+cotta

Scroll down through most of last years Easter dinner to get the Panna Cotta recipe. Next time, I would add a whisker less sugar, although the contrast of just barely sweet with the salty bite of the cheese was pretty good!

Next, a more traditional use of strawberries!

BEST STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM...EVER!

When you research recipes online, they often say "the best", "most delicious", etc., but this time it really is so! Again, I looked at many recipes before deciding on this one, which came from a site called "Like Mother, Like Daughter". The only difference is that I added 2 Tbsp. of vodka (yes, vodka!) towards the end of the churning. In researching recipes I learned that Strawberry Ice Cream is one of the most difficult to make as the berries can crystalize when churned and frozen. The alcohol helps eliminate that problem. It certainly was creamy and delicious, both as a Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwich Cookie and just served in a bowl.

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped strawberries

1 cup sugar, divided 1/2 and 1/2

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 dash salt

2 Tbsp. vodka

Preparation:

The day before making the ice cream, make sure your ice cream bowl is frozen. I've made that mistake before and your ice cream will never get frozen enough if the bowl is not completely frozen.

Mix chopped strawberries with 1/2 cup sugar. Set aside for about 15 minutes to allow the strawberries to release their juices. 

Blend strawberries in a blender or food processor until just blended. A couple remaining chunks of berry are fine. 

In a large bowl combine strawberry mixture with heavy cream, whole milk, vanilla, salt and remaining sugar. Set aside.

Pour strawberry cream mixture into prepared ice cream maker. Allow to run according to manufacturers instructions. Mine took about 30 minutes. When you are 20 minutes into the churning process, drizzle the 2 Tbsp. of vodka into the ice cream. The mixture will be quite soft. You can eat immediately or place in a bowl in the freezer for a few hours or overnight to harden up.

I like this recipe as there are no eggs, therefore no custard to make, which makes the entire ice cream as easy as it is delicious!

Jerry Rabbitt: 2022 Official Ice Cream Licker...
For our special dinner party, I decided to make Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies for dessert with a great recipe for super thin, Crispy Chocolate Wafer Cookies. This one I found online at the Cooking Channel.

CRISPY CHOCOLATE WAFER COOKIES
This recipe makes 6 1/2 dozen thin wafer cookies!
They also freeze very well.
Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, well packed
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
3/4 cup Dutch cocoa powder. I used Hershey's Special Dark 100% cocoa powder.
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup milk. I used a couple Tbsp. more to get a better consistency.

Preparation:
Cream together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until light; about 2 minutes. 
In a medium bowl sift the cocoa to remove any lumps and whisk together with flour, baking soda, and salt.
 
Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix just to combine. Add the milk and mix just to combine. If it is very crumbly, add 1 Tbsp. of milk at a time until the mixture comes together when gently squeezed.
On a sheet of plastic wrap, drop the dough into 2 roughly shaped logs, each about 1 1/2 inches thick. Using the plastic wrap and your fingers, coax the dough into a firm log shape and then roll the plastic tightly around the dough.
Refrigerate at least an hour or up to overnight. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using your sharpest knife, cut the cookie dough into 1/8 inch coins and place them on the cookie sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart to bake. If the dough is less than perfectly round, use your fingers or the back of the knife to get into shape.
Bake for 5 minutes, then rotate pan and bake another 5 minutes until they are dry looking. Let cool a minute or 2 before removing to a rack as the cookies are quite delicate. 

To make the STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM SANDWICH COOKIES soften the ice cream, and simply add about 2 Tbsp. of Strawberry Ice Cream to the cooled cookies, smooth out the edges and top with another cookie. 
My husband, Jerry, is not only a good
licker of ice cream bowls, but also helpful
in filling Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies!

I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THIS STRAWBERRY EXTRAVAGANZA!

UNTIL NEXT TIME...

FILL YOUR KITCHEN WITH BEAUTIFUL AROMAS,

WHICH WILL FILL YOUR HEART WITH LOVE!

Steve, Deb, and my husband, Jerry
So glad you are going to stick around!

WWW.COOKWITHCINDY.COM


Thursday, March 17, 2022

SUCCULENT PORK LOIN STUFFED WITH DRUNKEN CHERRIES!

 

I served this on a bed of creamy parmesan polenta with lightly roasted asparagus. The combination of flavors and textures were perfect! The wine soaked cherries were a bonus as the wine became slightly thick and a little sweetened by marinating in the dried cherries for a couple of hours. This made for a delicious dessert wine. Next time, I will soak a whole bottle of wine in several cups of cherries (1 cup cherries to 1 cup wine) and serve that with a lemon and dried cherry Bundt Cake drizzled with a reduced cherry wine glaze. Doesn't that sound yummy?! I used an inexpensive, but full-bodied red wine blend.

I have never done a pork tenderloin in the slow-cooker and was surprised at how well it turned out! Because our son, Michael was visiting, it gave me the whole afternoon to play with him while the pork cooked.

Ingredients:

FOR THE STUFFING:

2 Tbsp. butter

Zest/juice of 1/2 orange

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup parsley

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/3 cup feta cheese

1 cup dried cherries

1 cup red wine

FOR THE DRY RUB:

1/2 tsp. each: onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, black pepper, smoked paprika. Mix well.

TO BROWN THE PORK AND PREPARE SLOW COOKER:

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup olive oil

Preparation:

First, place the dried cherries in a measuring cup and top with red wine. Set aside for at least a couple of hours. 

Next, butterfly pork loin. An average pork loin weighs about 3 lbs. Cut down the middle of the long side being careful not to cut all the way through. Open like a book.

Liberally salt all sides and firmly press the dry rub onto all sides. Set aside while you make the stuffing. 

TO MAKE THE STUFFING:
Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add orange zest and juice. 
Next add the onions. Reduce heat and cover the pan. Caramelize the onions stirring occasionally until lightly browned and soft.
These are not quite caramelized.
Once the onions are caramelized, strain the dried cherries (saving the wine) and add to the pan along with 2 cloves garlic, sliced almonds, 1/4 cup parsley, 1/3 cup feta cheese. Stir well to combine and remove from the pan and place stuffing into a bowl to cool.
Once the stuffing has cooled spread evening over the butterflied pork loin.
Close the pork and tie with butcher twine. In the same pan you cooked the stuffing add 2 Tbsp. olive oil and heat until smoking. Brown the pork on all sides. 


Add 1/2 cup chicken stock to the slow cooker, set on high. Add the browned pork and drizzle 1/4 cup olive oil over the top of the pork. After one hour, reduce heat to low and cook for another hour. USDA recommends internal temp of pork loin at 145 degrees. Pork dries out very easily so I like to cook to about 140 degrees. With this juicy stuffing there was no chance of drying out, but you do not want overdone pork!

THAT'S ALL FOR TODAY!

NEXT TIME...TWO STRAWBERRY TREATS!

ONE PREDICTABLE...ONE NOT SO MUCH!!

WWW.COOKWITHCINDY.COM











Sunday, February 20, 2022

BLACKBERRY ICE CREAM AND MORE!

Our son, Michael, was recently here for a visit. I made him, among many other treats, a big batch of luscious Blackberry ice cream. 


Jerry, JoJo and Michael enjoying some ice cream!

This is a Ree Drummond recipe and the only problem I had making it was my ice cream maker was not quite large enough to hold the ice cream. Ice cream expands as you churn it. I ended up with ice cream all over the counter, which my husband, Jerry rushed to literally lick up! It was hilarious and if I wasn't laughing so hard would have taken a video. Here's "The Pioneer Woman's" recipe.

Ingredients:
2 pints (4 cups) fresh blackberries
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 cups half and half
5 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 ounces (1/2 cup) good quality semi-sweet chocolate. I used Ghiradeli chips.

Preparation:
Combine the blackberries, 1/4 cup of the sugar and the lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until the blackberries are broken down and syrupy, about 20 minutes.
Push the mixture into a bowl through a fine mesh strainer. Using the back of a spoon, push the berries through the sieve capturing the seeds and pulps to give your ice cream a smooth and creamy texture. This is a tedious, but important step; otherwise lots of seeds in your ice cream. Set aside to cool. Ree suggests discarding the pulpy seeds, but at the price of blackberries I could not do it so placed in a covered container in the fridge knowing I would find another purpose for them.
Heat the half and half and remaining 1 cup of sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Using a whisk, beat the egg yolks until pale and thick. Temper the eggs by carefully splashing a small amount of warm cream into the yolks, whisking constantly. Slowly pour the tempered yolks into the saucepan, stirring gently. Cook over medium-low heat until thick, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. You may check the temperature to see that it has risen to 170 degrees. 

Pour the heavy cream into the bowl with the strained berries, and then pour in the custard and stir to combine. Refrigerate the mixture for a few hours or overnight.
Freeze according to manufacturers instructions. It took about 20-25 minutes and the consistency will thicken as it sits in the freezer. Toward the end of the freezing, drop in the chocolate bits. Transfer to an ice cream safe container and allow it to harden for several hours or overnight. I was very pleased with both the texture and taste!

The Blackberry ice cream was also yummy with super fudgy brownies my good friend, Dorita Pina made!

AND THIS IS WHAT I DID WITH THE BLACKBERRY PULP....

BACON WRAPPED BLACKBERRY 
CHICKEN FLORENTINE


NO RECIPE NECESSARY FOR THIS DISH...

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts to about 1/4 inch. Liberally salt both sides. Spread about 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise on each breast. This, along with the blackberries, keeps the chicken very moist.
Spoon about 1/4 cup of the blackberry pulp on each chicken breast. Next, cover with grated parmesan cheese and top with fresh spinach leaves. 

Using thick-cut bacon (My favorite brand is Wrightson.) gently stretch a piece of bacon so it will easily wrap around the breast. It's amazing how elastic a strip of bacon is!
Roll the breast along the long edge. Use your fingers to tuck in any stray spinach leaves. Wrap the bacon tightly around each piece of chicken. The bacon holds the rolled chicken in place so you don't need to secure with toothpicks.


Place in a foil-lined, lightly oiled, 9x13 pan and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake another 15 minutes. Check doneness with a meat thermometer. Internal temp should be around 160 degrees. The chicken will continue cooking a bit after you remove from the oven. USDA recommends 165 degrees. Some of the blackberry oozed out of the chicken and I just placed on top. I've searched the internet and not found this recipe anywhere so think I have finally come up with something original!

I AM STILL WORKING ON THE NEW WEBSITE. IN THE MEANTIME IF YOU WANT TO SUBSCRIBE TO 'COOK WITH CINDY', GO TO MY WEBSITE AND SUBSCRIBE IN THE UPPER LEFT HAND CORNER.

NEXT TIME I'M GOING TO SHARE ANOTHER ORIGINAL RECIPE...

PORK LOIN STUFFED WITH DRIED CHERRIES MARINATED IN RED WINE!

UNTIL THEN...KEEP ON COOKING!

WWW.COOKWITHCINDY.COM

 






 





Friday, January 28, 2022

FINAGLE THE BAGEL!

I have become a big fan of Weight Watchers. The program has helped me lose 35 lbs., recipes are delicious, and there are no foods off-limits! Recently I made their bagel recipe; super easy to make and very delicious!

WW EVERYTHING BAGELS

Ingredients:

1 cup self-rising flour*

1 cup fat free Greek yogurt (I used 5% )

1 egg, beaten

1 Tbsp. Everything Bagel seasoning (I used more than 1 Tbsp.)

Bagels formed and ready to bake.

*I did not have self-rising flour in my pantry so mixed in 1 1/2 Tbsp. of Baking Powder and 1/4 tsp. of salt into the cup of regular flour.

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together flour, yogurt, and half the seasoning. I used 1 Tbsp. in the batter. Mix until a soft dough begins to form. It will be quite sticky.

Separate the dough into four equal balls. Roll each ball into a long rope. Twist the rope into a circle and pinch the ends together.

Brush each bagel with the beaten egg and top with enough Everything seasoning to coat thoroughly.

Place the bagels on a baking sheet lined with parchment (I was out of parchment paper so just placed on the baking sheet. They did not stick.) Bake in the preheated oven for 23 minutes. When done turn on the broiler to brown the tops. 

They also make a nice gift along
with a jar of Everything Bagel spice mix.

I AM VERY EXCITED TO TELL YOU I AM IN THE PROCESS (WITH THE HELP OF A COUPLE DEAR FRIENDS!) OF CREATING A NEW WEBSITE FOR 
COOK WITH CINDY.

COMBINED WITH A NEW SYSTEM FOR SUBSCRIBING AND DELIVERING THE BLOG POSTS, MY HOPE IS THAT THE SITE WILL BE MORE ATTRACTIVE 
AND EASIER FOR YOU TO USE.

STAY TUNED...

UNTIL THEN, KEEP ON FINAGLING
IN YOUR OWN KITCHENS!

WWW.COOKWITHCINDY.COM


Sunday, January 9, 2022

AND SO A NEW YEAR BEGINS...!

This Thanksgiving Jerry and I celebrated 28 years of marriage. We rented the most adorable 100+ year old cabin on the northwest side of Tucson. You can find it on AirBnB.

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/33250035


I knew the kitchen would be small so had the Thanksgiving dinner prepared in advance. I made a fairly traditional dinner, but instead of a whole turkey, did a turkey breast roulade. I often make the boneless stuffed turkey breast along with the whole turkey. For the roulade recipe, go to:

http://cookwithcindy.blogspot.com/search?q=turkey+roulade

Scroll down to second post to find the roulade. On the way you will see my 'Do-Ahead' gravy, which I also made ahead and brought to the cabin.

Here's a shot of our whole meal...
Rolls are super-sized as I wanted to make
turkey sandwiches with cranberry and mayo next day.

For dessert we had Martha Stewart's mile-high apple pie and home made vanilla ice cream. I have made the pie for past Thanksgivings. The crust is a rich pate brisee and the recipe calls for 14 apples. It is always a hit! 

There are a million vanilla ice cream recipes out there, but this is the best I have found.

BEST, MOST CREAMY, AND DELICIOUS 
OLD FASHIONED VANILLA ICE CREAM
Here's the recipe: 
http://cookwithcindy.blogspot.com/search?q=apple+pie.
The crust came out even better this time; very flaky!

Even when it's just the two of us, Thanksgiving dinner sometimes gets hectic so I forgot to take a photo of the pie served with the ice cream, but trust me, this is the most perfect, old-fashioned rich vanilla ice cream; only using 5 ingredients.
This vanilla ice cream photo was nabbed from the web!

Ingredients:
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. good quality vanilla extract

Preparation:
Add egg yolks and sugar to medium saucepan and whisk until a light yellow color and well combined. In another small saucepan, heat milk over medium heat until it just begins to simmer. Do not stir. Gradually add milk to egg and sugar mixture, stirring constantly so the egg does not cook. Return to heat until it reaches 165 degrees (or coats the back of a wooden spoon). Do not allow to boil. As soon as it reaches temperature, remove from the heat. Pour custard base into an airtight container and store in fridge a few hours or overnight. Once custard is chilled, stir in the heavy cream and vanilla extract and pour into your ice cream maker. Process according to manufacturers instructions. One quart in my Cuisinart takes between 20-30 minutes. 

Christmas was very low-key for us this year, but I did make a nice beef tenderloin, which was delicious. Simplest of preparations...liberal salt/pepper, tie, rub gently with olive oil. Pan sear in a hot heavy-bottomed (I prefer cast iron.) pan and finish in a 400 degree oven until internal temp is around 120 degrees. Let rest about 10 minutes. It will keep cooking. Slice into thick servings. I served with baked potato and steamed asparagus. I do like the look of a raw piece of beef, neatly tied and ready to cook!

New Year's was also very quiet. I made a seared double-thick, bone-in center pork chop, brined in maple syrup, salt, water for 8 hours, and then glazed with a maple gastrique while pan searing. This was served with a creamy, mushroom marsala sauce, mashed sweet potato and buttered asparagus.
The maple gastrique did play havoc with my cast iron pan, but it was worth it!

MAPLE GASTRIQUE

Ingredients:
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 Tbsp. Blood Orange glaze
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. Roasted Garlic and Herb seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper.

In general the proportion of sweet to vinegar in a gastrique is about 2 parts sweet to 1 part vinegar, but adapt to your own taste. 




Preparation:
Heat all in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sauce begins to bubble. Stir constantly until desired thickness. It needs to be thin enough to brush on the chops while they are cooking.

The holidays this year were saddened by the death 
of my dear brother, Skip, who after a brief illness, 
passed away in mid-December. 

Skip shared my love of cooking and was an excellent cook. 
He spent hours researching recipes, was a fabulous gardener, 
loved to fish and had a generous and open spirit. 

He had a brilliant mind and quick wit.
As an educator, he devoted his life to helping others.

The love he and Esther shared was nothing short of amazing.

I will miss you dearly, brother...
A few years back in the Bahamas.


PAUL 'SKIP' FREDERICK ASBELL, JR.
JUNE 13, 1950 - DECEMBER 14, 2021

www.cookwithcindy.com