Month: October 2014

Molasses Spice Cookies with Orange Glaze

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(recipe makes 16 large cookies)

2 ¼ C flour

2 t soda

½ t salt

1 ½ t cinnamon

1 t ginger

¾ t cloves

¼ t allspice

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1 ½ sticks butter, softened

½ C brown sugar

½ c sugar

Zest from half an orange

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1 egg

1 t vanilla

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1/3 C molasses

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In a mixing bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and allspice. Use a whisk to mix well.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter, brown sugar, sugar and orange zest. Beat well with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Add molasses and continue mixing until well combined.

Spoon flour mix into sugar mix while machine is running on lowest speed. Finishing combining by hand.

Using an ice cream scoop, portion dough onto a cookie sheet for chilling. Once dough portions have firmed up, place them onto a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick baking spray. Place into a preheated 325 degree oven and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate and bake for an additional 12 minutes. Remove to a rack for cooling. Once cooled, glaze away.

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Great holiday cookie.

Orange Glaze:

 ½ C powdered sugar

1 T orange juice, plus a smidge

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Combine sugar and juice in a small bowl and stir until a smooth consistency forms. If it’s too loose add more sugar. Too tight, add more juice. It should drizzle nicely off the tip of your spoon.


Banana Mint Yogurt Ice Cream with Raisin Sauce

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6-7 ripe bananas, cut into large pieces

½ C honey

10 mint leaves

1 ½ C plain Greek yogurt

Zest of one lime

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Place banana slices on a cookie sheet that has been spray with non-stick spray. Place into the freezer for at least 4 hours or until completely frozen. Place frozen bananas and remaining ingredients into a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until mostly smooth. A few small bits of banana are fine. Place mix into a container and freeze.

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Irresistible and not too sinful.

Raisin Sauce:

¼ C apricot preserves

¼ C orange juice

1 T Grand Marnier

¼ C golden raisins

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Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until preserves and liquids are well blended.

Falafel with Salsa Verde and Tomato Salad

(recipe makes 19 falafel)

For falafel:

3 – 15 ounce cans of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

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1 large jalapeno, seeds removed and finely diced

¼ C cilantro, finely chopped

¼ C parsley, finely chopped

1 egg

Zest of one lemon

2 ½ t cumin

1 t coriander

1 ½ t salt

1 t black pepper

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Egg wash (one egg whisked into a ½ C of milk)

2 C panko

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Vegetable oil for frying

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Place garbanzo beans in a mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher until a mostly smooth consistency is formed. A few pieces are desirable. Add jalapeno, cilantro, parsley, egg, lemon zest, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Mix well. Using an ice cream scoop (1/4 C size), form patties for frying. Dip falafel patties into egg wash shaking off excess. Dip into panko crumbs and coat evenly. Place coated falafel into preheated vegetable oil. (I used a non-stick skillet with about a ¼” depth of vegetable oil. Make sure oil is hot before placing falafel into pan.) You need to listen for a “friendly sizzle”. Make sure oil is not too hot. Even browning is the key. Remove cooked falafel to a cooling rack. These can be made ahead and warmed up in the oven.

For salsa verde:

6-7 tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed

5-6 garlic cloves

½ a large yellow onion, cut into large chunks

1 large jalapeno

1 t salt

Water to cover

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Half a bunch of cilantro

2 T olive oil

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Place tomatillos, garlic, onion, jalapeno, salt and water in a stainless sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables soften. Remove to a container for storage and cooling. Once cooled, place vegetables into a blender reserving the cooking liquid. Add cilantro and olive oil. Puree. Add some cooking liquid if a thinner consistency is desired. Adjust seasoning with more salt, if needed.

For tomato salad:

1 – 10.5 ounce container of cherub tomatoes, halved

½ a red onion, diced and rinsed

2 large jalapenos, seeded and finely diced

2 T parsley, finely chopped

2 T cilantro, finely chopped

1 t salt

2 T olive oil

1 T lime juice

 Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Best mixed just prior to service.

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A dollop of sour cream is a nice touch.

Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash

(easily serves 10-12)

2 C quinoa

5-6 bay leaves

2 cinnamon sticks

1 t salt

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 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed

2 T olive oil

S & P

Dried thyme

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Perfect just like this.

 ½ C golden raisins

½ C pine nuts, lightly toasted

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

2 Pink Lady apples, diced

½ C pomegranate seeds

2 C baby kale

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For quinoa: Combine quinoa with 4 C of filtered water, 5-6 bay leaves, two cinnamon sticks and 1 t salt in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover simmering for about 15 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Pour quinoa onto a cooking sheet for cooling.

For butternut squash: Place squash into a mixing bowl and toss with olive oil. Spread onto a cookie sheet or two. Don’t crowd. Lightly sprinkle with salt, cracked pepper and dried thyme. Place into a preheated 425 degree oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and flip squash for even browning. Place back into oven for an additional 15 minutes. Squash should be golden. Remember…brown = flavor.

Once squash has cooled, place it and all remaining ingredients into a large bowl and toss with orange herb vinaigrette just prior to serving. Adjust seasoning with salt and cracked pepper. This recipe is a great side for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Apple Cranberry Chutney

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6 Gala apples, peeled and diced

1 ½ yellow onions, chopped small

1 red bell pepper, diced small

1 ½ C cider vinegar

1 ½ C brown sugar

2 C fresh cranberries

1 C golden raisins

¼ C fresh ginger, finely chopped

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1 t dry mustard

1 t salt

1 t red pepper flakes

Zest of 1 orange

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Place into mini-sized Mason jars as a holiday gift. GREAT flavors. Warm colors.

Combine all ingredients in a stainless soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer (uncovered) until juices thicken, apples soften and cranberries break apart. This will take some time. Syrupy consistency is the goal. Transfer chutney to a storage container allowing cooling before covering and refrigerating. A great condiment for Thanksgiving dinner.


Red Onion Marmalade

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Delicious on a sandwich. Perfect with Brie or blue cheese. Or serve as a condiment with your Thanksgiving bird.

½ C olive oil

6 red onions, cut in half and thinly sliced

10-12 garlic cloves, halved

1 C sugar

2 C red wine vinegar

1 t mustard seeds

Zest of one orange

1 T salt

2 t black pepper

6 bay leaves

1 T dried thyme

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Combine all ingredients in a sauté pan and cook over medium high heat until onions and garlic soften and liquid starts to form a syrupy consistency. Reduce heat and continue cooking until almost all liquid has cooked out. Be patient! Very sticky. Remove from heat and allow cooling. Store in the refrigerator. Good for several weeks.


Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

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(recipe makes 6 extra-large muffins and 1 mini-loaf)

1 ¾ C flour

¼ t baking powder

1 t baking soda

¾ t salt

1 t nutmeg

1 t cinnamon

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Do you ever get distracted and wonder if you have put an ingredient in the bowl? Separate your measures. You can take inventory!

1 1/3 C sugar

½ C vegetable oil

Zest of half an orange

2 eggs

½ t vanilla

1 C pumpkin puree

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 1/3 C orange juice

1 C fresh cranberries, plus more for muffin topping

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In a mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder, soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix well.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add sugar and vegetable oil. Using the paddle attachment, mix well. Add zest and continue to mix. Place eggs and vanilla in a pourable container. With mixer running, add eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition. Add pumpkin and blend well.

With mixer on lowest speed, spoon flour mix into egg mix alternately with the orange juice. Begin an end with the flour mix.

Add fresh cranberries and mix by hand. Portion batter into a prepared muffin tin. I used the “Texas-sized” muffin tin with liners and one mini-loaf pan. A regular-sized tin will yield a least a dozen muffins or more. Press a generous covering of streusel topping on each muffin. Place additional cranberries on top of each muffin and gently press them into the batter. Place batter into a preheated 375 degree oven and bake for 16 minutes, rotate and continue baking for an additional 16 minutes or so. Bake until the tops are just set. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

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My neighbors love blog baking days.

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Orange butter, anyone?

Chicken Tortilla Soup

(serves 8-10)

¼ C vegetable oil

1 bunch celery, diced

2 small yellow onions, diced

8 cloves garlic, finely minced

5 corn tortillas, quartered

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6 C chicken stock

1 – 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

2 – 10 ounce cans Rotel tomatoes

2 t taco seasoning (Fiesta brand is good.)

1 ½ t chili powder

1 ½ t cumin

2 t chipotle puree

Juice from 1 lime

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

Shredded chicken

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In a preheated soup pot, add oil, celery, onions and garlic. Season with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Sauté over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add corn tortillas and continue to cook until the tortillas soften. Add stock. Scrape up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add remaining ingredients. Bring soup to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for about an hour. Remove soup from heat and allow cooling. Once soup has cooled (overnight is best), puree in a blender. Remember to only ladle your blender pitcher 2/3 full. Blend first on low speed and then raise to high speed. (NEVER PUREE HOT SOUP.) Shred cooked chicken. (I used a rotisserie bird.) For service, heat soup and ladle into bowls with shredded chicken, avocado chunks, crispy tortilla strips, queso fresco and toasted pumpkin seeds. Garnish with lime wedges and sprigs of cilantro.

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(see instructions for crispy red tortilla strips)

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Fish Tacos

(one filet is good for two tacos, open-faced)

Tilapia filets (or catfish)

Taco seasoning


Orange chipotle slaw

Pickled red onions

Crumbled queso fresco

Lime wedges

Cilantro sprigs

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Season fish with salt and taco seasoning. Spray seasoned side of the fish with cooking spray. Place fish on a baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Place fish into a preheated 425 degree oven and cook for 14 minutes. Flake fish using a fork. Warm corn tortillas in a dry skillet. Mound slaw, fish, onions, queso fresco, and cilantro onto a warm tortilla. A squeeze of lime and fresh cilantro finish off this favorite!

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Orange Chipotle Slaw

(makes one large bowl)

1 head green cabbage, thinly sliced

Zest of one large orange

½ a bunch of cilantro, finely chopped

2 T chipotle puree

1/3 C mayonnaise

Salt to taste

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Slice cabbage in half. Remove core. Slice very thinly. Add remaining ingredients and mix. Chill. Chipotle and mayo portions can vary depending on your heat tolerance and the size of the cabbage. When selecting the cabbage, choose one that does not feel “heavy”. The slaw is great on tacos, sandwiches, or as a side with grilled pork, chicken or fish.

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Process a small can of chipotle in adobo sauce for the puree.