Recipes: November 2009 Archives

Just Desserts!

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cranberryChocDessert.jpg
Frozen Grand Marnier Torte, Recipe by Sarah Tenaglia, Photography by Mark Thomas

It's no wonder everyone's New Year's resolution is to lose weight considering the homemade treats and delectable goodies that begin to bombard us this time of year! One is not even safe at work.

Case in point - as I sit and write this blog, there is a plate of candy on the bookshelf next to me, a bowl of chocolate on my way to the kitchen and on our reception desk. I think the candy at the reception desk is the most cruel. I enter the building - "oh look! candy. Let me take one for the trip to my office".  I leave the building to go to the bathroom - "oh look! candy! Let me reward myself".  I enter the building back  from the bathroom - "oh look! the candy is still here. I think I'll just take another piece". The vicious cycle continues throughout the day whether I'm leaving for lunch, taking a call outside or going on break.

It doesn't stop at candy. Workmates bring in muffins, cakes, cookies, and pastries of every kind. All diet plans woefully go awry this time of year yet we forgive ourselves because 'tis the season to indulge especially if you've been good all year. (If you weren't, we'll pretend)

So without further ado, here are some dessert recipes. We say, "savor and indulge!" at every possible chance whether its at the family dinner table, a friend's coffee table or (gulp) the office break counter!
tart2.jpgOf course, your family expects a traditional holiday meal. But, you yearn for the fun and challenge of cooking up something a little different and adventurous. Why not do both? Prepare the traditional meal of time-honored favorites your family loves, but this time, give tradition a tasty timely tweak. Here are some recipes to help you discover that traditional doesn't have to mean predictable. We've taken holiday menu classics and recharged them with a few fresh new ingredients. Try these delectable subtle flavors that add to but don't overpower the familiar ones and take your holiday dinner from being a good meal to a great one.

Cranberry relish gets a new taste makeover - and powerful antioxidant boost - with the addition of a splash of Petite Sirah and a half cup of fresh blueberries mingled with the cranberries. The delicate sweetness of the blueberries helps tone down the cranberries' tartness in a beautiful glistening tapestry of rich jewel colors.

Cranberry And Blueberry Relish

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cranberry.jpgSubmitted by Concannon Vineyard

Cranberry relish gets a new taste makeover - and powerful antioxidant boost - with the addition of a splash of Petite Sirah and a half cup of fresh blueberries mingled with the cranberries. The delicate sweetness of the blueberries helps tone down the cranberries' tartness in a beautiful glistening tapestry of rich jewel colors.

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Active Time: 10 Minutes
Inactive Time: Refrigerate for 4 hours

Yields approximately 2 cups

Ingredients
  • 12 ounce package fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup Concannon Petite Sirah
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • ⅓ cup orange juice

CARAMELIZED WINE AND ONION TART

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tart.jpgFor a sensational savory side, try the caramelized onion and gruyere tart. Fresh Bermuda onions caramelized in butter to a golden brown blend with cream, eggs and heavenly gruyere. Fresh nutmeg and thyme send the flavor to the stratosphere plus scent the table with robust spicy holiday aromas.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Yields one 9-inch tart or 6 individual 4¼ inch mini tarts. Either option should be a fluted pan with a removable bottom. (Note: you may use store bought pastry or your own favorite pastry recipe.)

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups yellow onions, sliced thin
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • ½ cup Concannon Petite Sirah
  • 4 teaspoons fresh thyme, stems
    removed and chopped
  • 6 ounces prosciutto, chopped
  • 1 cup gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 sheet prepared pastry, thawed
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

In a large skillet, melt the butter and oil on medium high heat. Add the onions, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Sauté on low heat for 30 minutes until golden brown and velvety soft. Add the wine and cook an additional 10 minutes until the liquid has evaporated.

Cut the pastry to fit the fluted pans. Press the pastry on the bottom and against the sides. Poke holes on the bottom of shell and on the sides. Brush the borders of the tarts with the egg and assemble the prosciutto on the bottom of the tart. Add the gruyere cheese (evenly if using individual tarts) and top with the caramelized onions. Bake until golden at 350 degrees, about 20 minutes.
recipeFerrariCaranoDuck.jpgSubmitted by Ferari-Carano Vineyards & Winery

Nothing says fall and winter more than a warm, cozy dish that marries the sweetness of harvest fruit with the traditional entrée's of the season. Ferrari-Carano Winery has just the recipe for you - Grilled Duck Breasts With Black Currant Pomegranate Sauce.  It's also the perfect dish for company during the holidays.

The Ferrari-Carano Zinfandel pairs well with the duck and "boasts aromas of boysenberry and blueberry pie with hints of vanilla and baking spices. Concentrated fruit continues on the palate with juicy, sweet wild berries that linger well into a finish that is highlighted by smooth, silky tannins."


Stuffing: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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Stuffing is personal and subjective.  Everyone has their absolute favorites and some guests are just downright insistent that THEIR recipe is used for the big Thanksgiving Dinner  Sometimes the stuffing turns out great and we're grateful.  Other times, they are plain AWFUL and so we tend to skip that whole area on our plate for fear it contaminates the rest of our food!   So we ask you, what's been your experience with "the good, bad and ugly" of stuffing?  We've found a few stories and recipes to get you started...

Kasha:  "My favorite is stove top, I swear!  As embarrassing as that is, I can't help it.  I would eat it by itself!  The worst....LIVER or GIZZARDS  in my stuffing. That culinary practice should be BANNED!  I did have a relative insist on having her stuffing by the way.  It was okay....I missed my stove top."

Candi:   "Good Stuffing comes from my Grandma!  She makes hers from scratch including the cornbread. The bad and ugly came to me one holiday dinner at my brother's house. I asked what it was and my sister-in-law said STOVE TOP!  That is the WORST stuffing ever!!! UGHHHH. That is NOT how stuffing is supposed to taste.

The Untraditional Turkey

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To most, turkey and Thanksgiving is as obvious as peanut butter and jelly.  What isn't obvious anymore is how we cook that turkey.  In addition to the traditional basted, bagged and roasted turkey methods we now have a myriad of new, exciting and untraditional ways of cooking that delectable bird. Step into the culinary world of turkey grilling (yes, on the bbq!), smoking, deep frying and rotisserie. Set your fears aside and discover the "untraditional turkey" this year.  You may be surprised at the response you and your bird get this year, kissing your traditional method goodbye forever.
 
Don't believe me?  Then let me tell you a story ....

Last Thanksgiving, my husband decided to smoke the turkey instead of the traditional "bagged" turkey. While my husband is great on the grill and smoked turkey sounded wonderful, I did not like the idea of being adventurous on Thanksgiving. Truth be told, I was a little worried that it wouldn't quite turn out as expected. What's more, we were expecting quite a few people for dinner!

To be safe, I cooked my traditional "bagged" turkey and it came out as expected - juicy and delicious.  However, my turkey sat virtually ignored and my husband's turkey was completely devoured. He clearly "smoked" the competition-namely me. I conceded defeat.  The smoked turkey was good, absolutely memorable, and our family can never go back.  Our traditional turkey has forevermore flown the coup and has been replaced by our new tradition-the "untraditional turkey". 


To help you find your own new Thanksgiving un-tradition, we've provided a few our favorite recipes and methods below.  Happy Thanksgiving! 

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