Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner

This is how our Thanksgiving meal looked like this year. :)
It took us about 7 hours to smoke the bird but it was well worth it.

Cranberry Relish

This one is a Thanksgiving classic. It goes so well with turkey. We don't like it too sweet, just perfect.

Cranberry Relish

12 oz fresh cranberries
3/4 cup orange juice
zest of 1 orange
2/3 cup sugar

  1. Rinse the cranberries.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan.
  3. Bring to boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. The berries will pop and the sauce with start to thicken.
  4. Let cool to room temperature. It will continue to thicken as it cools down.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Acorn Squash Barley Salad with Kale

I love pumpkin and squash in general. I like how its sweetness contrasts with the spiciness of the black pepper. The garlicky kales really elevates it. The recipe is adapted from one I found on Epicurious website:
I actually ate it for dinner, and the leftovers were still good reheated the next day.

Acorn Squash Barley Salad with Kale
makes two generous servings

1 small acorn squash
1 T butter
1 cup boiled pearl barley
2/3 bunch kale, leaves thorn in small piece (remove the tough centers)
1 T olive oil
4 T chopped onion
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 tsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
  1. Reheat the oven to 375F 
  2. Peel the squash and dice in 1/2 inch cubes.
  3. Toss with the melted butter and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast for about 35 minutes or until fork tender and slightly caramelized around the edges. Stir midway through baking if needed.
  5. While the squash cools heat the olive oil and saute the onion for a couple of minutes.
  6. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds.
  7. Quickly saute the kale stirring frequently. It would take another couple of minutes at most.
  8. Season the kale with salt.
  9. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  10. Add vinegar (or lemon juice) and season with additional salt or olive oil if needed.
  11. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Lemon Ricotta Waffles

I can't believe I haven't posted any waffles yet. Today was actually the second time I make these. I found Joy's recipe when searching for ricotta waffles.  I knew I could trust her since I have made some of her other baking recipes. I had plenty of ricotta cheese and wanted to see if it truly lights up the texture. And indeed these are light and tasty. Not too sweet so you can add generous serving of honey or maple syrup on top.

I halved the recipe adding a little extra zest and poppy seeds, and ended up with 4 small waffles. Served with honey and orange juice.

Tip: If you have any leftover waffles you can freeze them individually wrapped and reheat for a minute in the microwave. They dry out a bit after reheating but they are certainly quick tasty midweek breakfast.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Jamie Oliver's Mushroom Soup

This soup is GOOD! I need to give credit to my hubby who came up with the idea when looking at all the mushrooms at Whole Foods. And I rarely get requests for soups.. With the exception of the occasional traditional meatball soup I often end up eating a pot of soup by myself.

I used half chanterelles and half shiitake mushrooms in the soup and substituted cream cheese for the mascarpone. Garnished with sauteed baby bella mushrooms and the suggested zesty lemon juice.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Cinnamon Babka

 I have to admit my cinnamon babka didn't turn out as I expected.
I was hoping to have some pumpkin flavour in the dough but I obviously didn't use enough pumpkin there. And I made one obvious mistake - I overlooked the cinnamon and used 2T in the filling instead of 2tsp which overpowered it. I still liked it, but it would be so much better with the intended amount. I will make this again with some extra adjustments (adding orange zest to the filling). The recipe is adapted from here

Cinnamon Babka
makes two loafs

1/2 cup warm milk
3 T pumpkin puree (optional)
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast 
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
7 Tbsp melted butter 2 cups all-purpose flour (add more if needed)

1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp melted butter (unsalted)
1 large egg white, reserve yolk for brushing
2 tsp cinnamon 
1/8 tsp salt 
4-5 T chopped walnuts 

  1.  Proof the yeast in half the milk and a little sugar for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir all other wet dough ingredients and slowly add flour.
  3. Knead the though using a mixer if you have one, adding more flour if the dough is still wet.
  4. Let rest until it doubles in size.
  5. Mix the filling in a bowl.
  6. Grease 2 loaf pans (I used a single glass 8x8 square pan to hold both).
  7. Divide the dough in 2 equal pieces.
  8. Roll it as thin as possible in a rectangle shape.
  9. Spread half the filling over the dough and start rolling on both side.
  10. Repeat with the other one and place in the pan.
  11. Let the loaves double in size (I let them stay in the fridge overnight)
  12. Just before baking brush with reserved yolk and sprinkle a little sugar/cinnamon on top.
  13. Bake at 375F for about 35-45 minutes until golden brown.
  14. Let cool before slicing.