Post Memorial Day Waldorf Salad Variant

I know it’s a day after Memorial Day, but I’m still not done. Another great summer treat is Waldorf salad. We are working on a variation on a theme and I think the theme is picnic food. I like light, easy, pack-n-go salads for picnics. This particular salad is vegan friendly, but I will check with my vegan friends and confirm this. I do know that no animals were present in the making of this treat.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

 

  • 3 granny smith apples
  • 3  tablespoons of cider vinegar
  • 1 cup mayo
  • Sea salt and Pepper
  • 2 ribs of celery
  • 2 teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ of a small red onion shredded
  • Boston lettuce

Chop three apples granny smith, cause I like granny smith apples, into small chunks. Then wash them in 3 tablespoons cider vinegar. This prevents browning. Then fold these into one cup of good quality mayo, add a pinch of seal salt and a grind or two of pepper. This is the basis, a well balanced basis of the salad.

Now, for the variation, add to this base; 1 cup raisins, 2 tea spoons of curry powder, 2 ribs of celery, and ½ of a red onion shredded. Fold each item into the salad till its well mixed. Finish with a garnish of chiffonaded mint leaves and you are certainly good to go.

The waldorf salad is traditionally served on lettuce leaves, and for this I have a personal preference for Boston lettuce leaves as they are particularly ‘bowl-like’ in shape.

Memorial Day Party Sangria

The past two days have had pleasant enough weather for trips out to Long Island’s north fork. The north fork is home to several of Long Island’s best vineyards. One of my favorites is the Osprey Dominion Vineyard out on route 25a. Osprey is one of the last vineyards on the fork so it isn’t often crowed as the vineyards on the west part of the fork. I often prefer to avoid loud crowds of out-of-town yahoos. So, why not avoid loud crowds of people you don’t know by hosting a crowd of people whose company you do enjoy. I have a good sangria recipe to help coax them out.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 bottles Osprey Dominion Regina Maris Chardonnay
  • 3  peaches, pitted and cut into 8 wedges
  • 2  oranges, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rings
  • 2  lemons, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rings
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise
  • 1 liter sparkling water
  • Ice

Place all fruit in a large pitcher or bowl, add wine, and allow to sit at room temperature 4 to 24 hours. When ready to serve, add sparkling water and ice. Serve in a bowl with a ladle (make sure there’s fruit in every serving).

Valentine’s Day 1 Day To Go

One more day.. just one more day.. then Valentine’s Day! So.. here is the last of the valentine’s ideas… after this you’re on your own!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Drink:

  • 3/4 oz Captain Morgan’s coconut rum
  • 3/4 oz Godiva Chocolate liqueur
  • 1/4 oz Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
  • 1 splash half-and-half

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Shake and strain over ice in an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with whipped

Desert:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter or unsalted margarine
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, or bars, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons flour
  • 8 extra-large paper muffin cups (or use regular paper muffin cups, which will make 12 cakes)
  • Garnish:
  • 1 (6 ounce) container raspberries, barely moistened and rolled in about
  • 1/2 cup sugar right before serving

Melt butter and chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water; remove from heat. Beat eggs, sugar and salt with a hand mixer in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Beat egg mixture into chocolate until smooth. Beat in flour or matzo meal until just combined. (Batter can be made a day ahead; return to room temperature an hour or so before baking.)

Before serving dinner, adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a standard-size muffin tin (1/2 cup capacity) with 8 extra-large muffin papers (papers should extend above cups to facilitate removal). Spray muffin papers with vegetable cooking spray. Divide batter among muffin cups.

Bake until batter puffs but center is not set, 8 to 10 minutes. Carefully lift cakes from tin and set on a work surface. Pull papers away from cakes and transfer cakes to dessert plates.

Top each with sugared raspberries and serve immediately.

Valentine’s Day 2 Days To Go

Two days to Valentine’s and its getting cold out there. Well, here’s a nice drink for être qui t’est cher (and I hope that translation’s right… check my on this you French majors out there). Let’s get back to warming up that chilly evening…

Here’s what you’ll need:

Drink:

  • 1 oz peppermint schnapps
  • 1/2 oz dark crème de cacao
  • 1 tsp crème de menthe
  • hot chocolate
  • whipped cream

Combine these in a nice mug and top with shaved chocolate.

Desert:

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees .

Grease 3 – 9 inch round cake pans. In medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa, and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at time, then stir in vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture. Spread batter evenly between the 3 prepared pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool.

Now, I like to empty a can of cherry pie filling, and add a jar of my own cherries preserved in peppermint schnapps, and heat this in a bowl. Use this in between the three layers of cake and top the cake with a little powdered sugar.

 

Valentine’s Day 3 Days TO Go

Valentines, three days to go… yup just three more days awaiting. Are you going to be ready? I’m sure of it. Let’s try a glass of something smooth and silky, and a desert that’s smooth and silky too.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Drink:

  • 2 oz. Baileys Mint Chocolate Irish Cream
  • .5 oz. Smirnoff Vanilla Flavored Vodka

Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass, garnish with fresh mint

Desert:

  • 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 7 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 7 egg white
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon kirschwasser ( a clear, German cherry brandy)

Place chocolate in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until mostly melted, then remove from heat, and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a separate bowl, whip heavy cream to medium stiff peaks, but do not allow it to become grainy. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whip egg whites with salt until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in the sugar, and continue whipping to medium stiff peaks. Fold in egg yolks and kirshwasser (optional, but I always like it).

Fold in the melted chocolate until completely incorporated, then fold in whipped cream until evenly blended. Spoon into dessert cups, and chill until firm, about 1 hour. You can serve this in a martini glass also.

Valentine’s Day 4 Days To Go

Four days, yes four days till Valentine’s… let’s toast with… a drink that doubles as desert.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 oz strawberry, vanilla or clear vodka
  • 1/2 oz white crème de cacao
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • scoop of chocolate ice cream
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • strawberry for garnish

Pour the ingredients into a blender, Blend until smooth. Pour this into a margarita glass and garnish with strawberries. Wha-la!

If the mix is too thick, add berries or milk; too thin, add a little more ice cream.

Valentine’s Day 5 Days To Go

Ok, here’s my third no-fail valentines day charmer… think warmth… a hot chocolate kiss.. topped with a real kiss no less, and hot chocolate pudding… who can say no to pudding.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Drink:

  • 1 1/2 oz peppermint schnapps
  • 1/2 oz coffee liqueur
  • hot chocolate
  • whipped cream and a Hershey’s Kiss for garnish

Combine the liquors with the hot chocolate in an Irish coffee mug, the top with whipped cream and toss a Hershey’s kiss on top.

Desert:

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/4 cups nonfat or low-fat milk, divided
  • 2/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lightly beat egg in a medium bowl.

Combine 1 1/2 cups milk, 1/3 cup sugar and salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, cocoa and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Whisk in the remaining 3/4 cup milk until blended. Whisk the simmering milk mixture into the cocoa mixture. Pour the mixture back into the pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and glossy, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. I know I know it’s a pain with all the whisking and transferring, but you don’t want too much heat or the mixture will burn quickly.

Whisk about 1 cup of the hot cocoa mixture into the beaten egg. Return the egg mixture to the pan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until steaming and thickened, about 2 minutes. Do not boil. You really need to stay on top of this, its not one of my usual recipes where you can put the thing on auto-pilot and watch the Giants…

Whisk in vanilla. We’re almost there… get those fancy martini glasses and use them to serve the pudding… you could top these with a Hershey’s kiss also… or diced strawberries.

 

Valentine’s Day 6 Days To Go

With a week to go until Valentine’s Day, I’m posting a couple of recipes. This is the second in the series… I like serials, and cereal, but that’s another story. Today’s toast is a chocolate-orange heart warmer, and to seal the deal, a couple of chocolate-orange cookies.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Drink:

  • 1 1/2 oz Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
  • 1 oz. Grand Marnier
  • 1 oz. Orange Juice

Shake these together then pour into a champagne saucer filled with crushed ice.

Desert:

  • 3/4 cup butter softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons freshly grated orange peel or finely chopped candied orange peel

Preheat oven to 375°.

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. On low speed beat in flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Stir in orange peel..

Spray cookie scoop with vegetable pan spray and drop onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 9-12 minutes. Remove from sheet and cool on wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.

If you don’t think cookies will melt her heart… wait till tomorrow’s post.

Christmas Dinner – Turkey

In England, the evolution of the main course into turkey did not take place for years, or even centuries. At first, in medieval England, the main course was either a peacock or a boar, the boar usually the mainstay. The turkey appeared on Christmas tables in England in the 16th century, and popular history tells of King Henry VIII being first English monarch to have turkey for Christmas. The tradition of turkey at Christmas rapidly spread throughout England in the 17th century, and it also became common to serve goose which remained the predominant roast until the Victorian era. A famous Christmas dinner scene appears in  A Christmas Carol (1843), where Scrooge sends a large turkey to Bob Cratchit’s house.

  • 2 teaspoons rubbed sage
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pinch dried thyme
  • 1 (16 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 orange, peeled, sectioned, and cut into bite-size pieces

Preheat an oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

Combine sage, salt, and thyme in a small bowl. Rub half of the sage mixture all over the turkey, then place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Set remaining sage mixture aside. Bring butter, orange juice, orange marmalade, honey, and orange sections to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until thickened, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the remaining sage mixture. Brush the turkey with the glaze.

Put the bird in a covered roasting pan, you know the type, that enameled monstrosity that Grandma uses. Bake the turkey in the preheated oven for 5 hours and 30 minutes, basting every so often. I say this because I just don’t find that basting makes a whole lot of difference, and just releases the heat from the oven.

An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 180 degrees F (82 degrees C). Remove the turkey from the oven, cover with a doubled sheet of aluminum foil, and allow to rest in a warm area 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

Letting the meat rest is the most important part of getting good slices of turkey. If the bird don’t rest, you don’t get good carving.

So, let us all rest… and have some turkey with friends!

Ham – Nigella Lawson

Christmas time is a great time for a nice country ham. But the store bought hams tend to be too salty for my taste so I take Nigella Lawson’s advice. Instead of soaking the ham to get rid of excess salt from the smoking process, I cover it with cold water in a large stock pot, bring it just to the boil, then throw out the water and put in fresh cold water. I then add the rest of the ingredients and bring it back up to the boil again and start the cooking time from this point. Check with your butcher though, if he says that the ham doesn’t need soaking at all then you’ll be ok without this step, unless you’d like to get rid of some of the salt anyway.

To calculate cooking time work on  30 minutes per lb plus 20 minutes. The meat should be loosening from the bone slightly without crumbling completely to pieces when it is cooked.

  • Ham weighing about 4lbs
  • 1.5 pints apple juice or cider
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 2 medium onions
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 10 peppercorns
  • bunch of herbs (thyme, parsley, rosemary)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

After you have got rid of excess salt as above, put all the ingredients except the sugar into a big pot, cover with cold water and bring to boiling point. Add the sugar now. Turn the heat down so that the water is simmering not too energetically and cook for the allotted time as above. If you are going to eat the gammon hot you can serve at once. If you want it cold, leave to cool in the stock to retain moistness in the meat. Once it is cool take the ham out of the stock. Cut the tough rind away from the fat and smother the fat and meat with your chosen glaze ingredients.

Glaze
My favourite glaze is a mix of grainy mustard and dark brown sugar, two tablespoons of each mixed together. Sometimes I squeeze in some orange juice or use honey instead of sugar, then I usually put in a teaspoon of mustard powder too to thicken the glaze. Experiment with your favourite flavours. Mustard is always a good one for ham though. The glaze should be fairly thick, so it doesn’t run straight off the ham again. Put the glazed ham under the grill/broiler for ten minutes or so to set it.

Always cook yourself a bigger ham than you actually need as the leftovers are so good you’ll be happy to eat them all week!