Saturday, June 29, 2013

Blueberry Butter

This recipe comes from a new-to-me cookbook, that I borrowed from a friend and decided was so good I just had to have my own copy!  The book is from Michigan, and is called Hollyhocks & Radishes: Mrs. Chard's Almanac Cookbook, which you may remember from the delicious Rhubarb Bundt Cake I posted a few weeks ago. There are so many recipes on my list to try.

I was planning on making this with a case of blueberries I bought, and even successfully found and purchased some mace, but my boys beat me to the fruit.  My friends in Oregon just harvested 163.4 pounds of blueberries, so I am publishing this for them.  I am sure it's fabulous.  Here's the book, you might as well go order your copy now!

Blueberry Butter
Yield:  8 pints
Prepare: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour

2 quarts fresh blueberries
8 large, green cooking apples
8 cups sugar
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon mace

Wash and drain blueberries; peel, core and slice apples.  Combine in a Dutch oven or pot with remaining ingredients. 

Bring to a boil, stirring.  Lower heat and simmer 1 hour, stirring periodically, or until right consistency for spreading.

May be stored in the freezer or water-bath canned.  If the latter, process 10 minutes (or adjust for your altitude).

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Honey & Chili Chicken

Modified only slightly from theKitchn. Follow link to see a picture.

Honey & Chili Chicken
with Creamy Cilantro Sauce
Serves 8

½ cup amber ale
¼ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chili powder
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Roughly chopped cilantro for garnish

Creamy Cilantro Sauce
1 cup sour cream
1 ½ cups loosely packed cilantro leaves (about 1 bunch)
1 lime’s zest and juice
½ teaspoon salt

1. Whisk together ale, honey, vinegar, olive oil, and chili powder in a large mixing bowl.

2. Add the chicken thighs to the bowl and stir until the thighs are evenly coated. The chicken can be cooked immediately or marinated in the fridge for up to three hours.

3. Arrange chicken thighs on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan, keeping the chicken pieces slightly separated. Drizzle any remaining dressing over chicken.

4. Roast in 450°F. until cooked thoroughly and the thickest part of the thighs register 165°F. with an instant-read thermometer, about 25 to 30 minutes.

5. If cilantro sauce wasn’t made up to a day ahead, then, while the thighs are roasting, make the cilantro sauce by placing all sauce ingredients in a small food processor.

6. Process continuously until the cilantro is minced very finely and the sauce is light green.

7. Serve the chicken after spooning any extra glaze from the pan over the hot chicken and garnishing it with roughly chopped cilantro. Serve with Creamy Cilantro Sauce.

NOTE: Easy, quick, and delicious! Easily multiplied. Great for a crowd. Good served with rice. Sometime try substituting apple juice for ale.

              Chicken thighs can be grilled covered over high heat for 4 minutes on each side.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Chocolate Coconut Shell for Ice Cream

This is an incredibly easy and delicious recipe I got from Aunt Becky.  I got the coconut oil from Aunt Gina, who got it at Costco.  

You really won't believe how simple this is.  After it is melted together, you just pack ice cream onto a cone and dip it carefully!  Or you can spoon it over ice cream in a bowl.  Or just eat it with a spoon.  There's no judgement here at all.  You can see I used just the right amount of chocolate, it's pooling at the bottom of my very precariously top-heavy cone.

I made 1 batch, covered 4 ice cream cones with it, ate a couple spoonfuls, and still had almost a whole pint of chocolate leftover!  Don't forget to store this in the refrigerator and reheat as necessary.  

Becky uses a microwave, I used a saucepan, it's all good.  I had some Guittard Extra Dark Chocolate Chips in the cupboard, so that's what I used.  Becky told me she uses fancy chocolate sometimes, but usually semi-sweet or dark chips.  I was dreaming of that 11 pounds of gianduja I had once upon a time...might be time to order that again!  (and follow the link, if only to read my story!  Don't worry, I have an email in to the company, asking how I can get more since it didn't come up on a search)

Chocolate Coconut Shell
1/2 cup coconut oil
1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cup chocolate chips (guess which one I used?) 

Gently melt and stir together in microwave or saucepan.  Cool slightly, then dip solidly formed ice cream cones or spoon over ice cream.

Store in a jar in the refrigerator, if you can make it last that long.


UPSIDE DOWN APPLE PIE  Yield: 8 servings.
original recipe from Taste of Home

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons shortening (Crisco stick)
2 tablespoons cold butter
5 to 7 tablespoons orange juice

6 tablespoons butter, melted, divided
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
1 cup Imperial Sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (sifted)
1/2 teaspoon rum extract (optional)
1/2 teaspoon maple extract (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (I like honey crisp or Granny Smith) (about 1/8-inch thick)

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons orange juice

  • In a large bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in shortening and butter until crumbly.
  • Gradually add orange juice, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball.
  • Divide dough into two balls. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Line a 9-in. deep-dish pie plate with heavy-duty foil, leaving 1-1/2 in. beyond edge; coat the foil with cooking spray.
  • Combine 4 tablespoons butter, brown sugar and nuts; spoon into prepared pie plate.
  • In a large bowl, combine the apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining butter; toss gently.
  • On waxed paper, roll out one ball of pastry to fit pie plate.
  • Place pastry over nut mixture, pressing firmly against mixture and sides of plate; trim to 1 in. beyond plate edge.
  • Fill with apple mixture.
  • Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pie; place over filling. Trim to 1/4 in. beyond plate edge.
  • Fold bottom pastry over top pastry; seal and flute edges. Cut four 1-in. slits in top pastry.
  • Bake at 375° for 50-55 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown (cover edges with foil during the last 20 minutes to prevent over browning).
  • Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack. Invert onto a serving platter; carefully remove foil. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over pie. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Potato-Fennel Gratin

My friend gave me this recipe after we each received a big fennel bulb in our weekly Bountiful Baskets.  She said it's one of her favorites, and when she says that you know it's good!

This is a savory, comforting dish, with the delicate flavor of fennel and sauteed onions.  I used regular Swiss as I was out of Gruyere and it was great.  Next time I'll watch mine a little closer, I had to run a long errand and put my husband in charge, and the edges were a bit burned, but still delicious!

Try some the next time you run across some fresh fennel!

Potato-Fennel Gratin 
From Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Total Time: 2 hr 15 min
Prep 20 min
Inactive 10 min
Cook 1 hr 45 min

Yield: 10 servings

2 small fennel bulbs
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 pounds russet potatoes (4 large potatoes)
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese (1/2 pound), or regular Swiss cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter the inside of a 10-by-15-by-2-inch (10-cup) baking dish.

Remove the stalks from the fennel and cut the bulbs in half lengthwise. Remove the cores and thinly slice the bulbs crosswise, making approximately 4 cups of sliced fennel. Saute the fennel and onions in the olive oil and butter on medium-low heat for 15 minutes, until tender.

Peel the potatoes, then thinly slice them by hand or with a mandoline. Mix the sliced potatoes in a large bowl with 2 cups of cream, 2 cups of Gruyère, salt, and pepper. Add the sauteed fennel and onion and mix well.

Pour the potatoes into the baking dish. Press down to smooth the potatoes. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of cream and 1/2 cup of Gruyère and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, until the potatoes are very tender and the top is browned and bubbly. Allow to set for 10 minutes and serve.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Coconut Granola

I found this recipe for granola on The Frugal Girl, and was intrigued because it uses coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.  Even healthier, right?

The good news is that this granola is fabulously delicious AND easy to make.  I made a double batch and took it to our family quilting retreat this week, and it was a HIT!  We ate it for breakfast two mornings in a row.  It's a keeper!
Picture to come!

Coconut Granola
Adapted from The Frugal Girl

6 cups regular oatmeal
1 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds and topped them off with peanuts to make a full cup)
1 cup dried fruit (I didn't use fruit, so I say Optional.  If it's bigger than a raisin, I'd chop it too)
1 cup raw dried coconut (find this in the organic/baking section of your grocery, if you're lucky!)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, fruit (if using), and coconut.

Heat the honey, oil and brown sugar on low heat in a small pot.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Stir in vanilla.

Pour honey mixture over oat mixture and stir well. Spread onto two rimmed baking sheets.

Bake for 15 minutes, then stir. Bake for another 5 minutes and stir. Bake in additional 2-5 minute intervals until granola is light golden brown.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Baby Nutella Cheesecakes

This month, my assignment for Secret Recipe Club was:

As soon as I saw Sarah's recipe for Baby Nutella Cheesecakes, I knew what I was making! 

I only have one mini muffin pan, so the rest of my crust and batter are resting in the fridge for later.  I did have some trouble with the crust.  I couldn't get the crust to stop sticking to my wooden tart former, no matter how much butter I used to grease it.  I added another 1/4 stick of melted butter to the crust mixture, then ended up using a square of waxed paper over the tart former, which worked great.  Otherwise it was too fussy for me, I tried buttering my fingers, everything!

The only other change was halving the sugar in the sour cream topping. 

These little babies are soooo good!  Everyone loved them.  I'm glad I still have more to make.  Perfect little bites.

Baby Nutella Cheesecakes
Adapted from Everything in the Kitchen Sink

1 package (about 8 full squares) of graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 a stick of butter, melted  (I used 3/4 stick of butter)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Using the food processor, grind up the graham crackers into crumbs.  Add the sugar and salt, pulse 3 times, then add the melted butter.  Pulse a few more times and transfer to a small bowl, being sure to scrape any butter trapped under the blade.
Add 1-1/2 teaspoon of graham cracker crumbs to each well of the 24-mini muffin pan.  Press down using another mini-muffin pan, a tart former, or your fingers.

Bake for 5 minutes at 350 F.  Let cool while you prepare the cheesecake.

1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup Nutella (6 ounces)

Let the cream cheese, mayonaise, eggs, and nutella come to room temperature.  For best results, let cream cheese sit overnight and the mayo and eggs brought out 1 hour before you want to bake, just to come to room temperature.  Combine the cream cheese and mayonaise with a hand mixer.  Add the sugar then beat in the eggs one at a time.  Add the vanilla and Nutella and combine well.

Sarah uses ziplocs as pastry bags to distribute the cheesecake filling and topping, but I just used spoons.

Fill the wells with cheesecake batter, almost to the top.  Lightly tap the pans to get rid of any bubbles.
Bake for 12 minutes at 350 F.  The tops will be puffed.  Let cool while you prepare the sour cream topping.

Sour Cream Topping:
1 cup of sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar *(I used 1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt *(I omitted)
Combine all ingredients.  Fill the divets in the cheesecakes created from cooling.  Bake for 2 more minutes, let come to room temperature, then refrigerate for 2 hours. 

To remove, use a butter knife slightly warmed with hot water to most cleanly retrieve your baby cheesecakes.

Serve chilled.
Secret Recipe Club
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