This recipe is adapted from a recipe by Rich Rodgers , originally printed in Bon Appetit Magazine Dec 2003.
Very Cherry Chocolate Cake
1 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup Kirsch ( cherry liquor)
1 cup ( sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
12 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 ½ cup sugar
6 eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
10 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
¼ cup Kirsch
Edible sugar flowers
Directions for cake
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 9 inch spring form pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper. In a small sauce pan add the dried cherries and kirsch. Bring to a low simmer for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool. Drain the cherries and keep the liquor and cherries both in bowls separate to be used later. In another sauce pan melt the butter and then remove from heat. Add the chocolate pieces and let sit one minute. Whisk the chocolate until melted and smooth. Whisk in the sugar and then the eggs one at a time. Whisk in the reserved liquor. Add the flour and salt and whisk again until blended. Stir in the dried cherries and then pour into the spring form pan. Place in the oven onto the center rack and bake for 1 hour. Use tester to make sure the center of the cake is done. Tester should come out moist but with no batter attached. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. ( Can be made one day ahead and kept covered at room temperature.)
Directions for glaze
Place cream in medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth. Add Kirsch and whisk again until smooth. Allow glaze to cool and thicken for about two hours in saucepan stirring occasionally. At this point the glaze should be thick yet pourable. While glaze is thickening, turn cake out onto the wire rack and remove the bottom of the spring form pan as well as the parchment paper. Place cake with rack into a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. When glaze is ready, pour half of the glaze onto the cake and use a spatula to smooth over the top and the sides of the cake. Place into the freezer to set for about ten minutes. Remove from freezer and pour the remaining glaze over the cake and smooth evenly again with the spatula. Place again in the freezer for another 15 minutes . Remove from freezer and decorate with edible sugar and sugar flowers. Keep in the refrigerator until 1 hour before serving. Cut into wedges and serve.
Cranberry Glazed Ham
Serves 12 Dinner
Serves 18 Buffet
1 6-7 lbs fully cooked spiral-cut bone in half smoked ham
4 oz cranberry jelly
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup dijon mustard
¼ cup cranberry juice
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
Preheat over to 350F. Place ham in an aluminum foil lined baking pan. In a bowl combine remaining ingredients and whisk together, Brush on to the ham and between the slices. Bake for one hour, until the ham is fully heated. Serve warm or at room temperature.
When I was a little girl, my parents would entertain on New Year’s Eve at our home. The celebration only included my parent best friends along with us kids. We would be giddy with excitement as my mother made the preparations. I remember feeling very grown up at six year old being allowed to stay up past my bedtime, although for sure it was not very late. My mom would make an assortment of appetizers and hands down my favorite was the shrimp cocktail. Now when I entertain on New Year’s Eve, I wouldn’t think of not including shrimp cocktail. Today, my mom needs to follow a low sodium and low sugar diet. After reading the ingredients on prepared cocktail sauce, I decided to create my own. My sauce uses the ingredients for a bloody mary – save the vodka, although on New Year’s Eve I have been known to include a splash of vodka in this sauce as well. It’s a perfect twist on my Bloody Mary and it’s also perfect for my mom’s dietary restrictions. We all love it! This will be the best cocktail sauce you have ever had.
Naughty and Nice Gazpacho
1 28 ounce can whole fire roasted tomatoes ( if you can’t find fire roasted use canned whole plum tomatoes)
1 large roasted red pepper , from a jar packed in olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper , seeded and chopped
1/2 white onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
Place all the ingredients into food processor and process until pureed. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
It’s winter and there is a definite chill that comes across the water by the bay , so when I entertain guests on those cold chilly evenings, I love to serve something warming along with that cocktail. My curried cashews just do the trick . The heat of the curry in these wonderful nuts is the perfect welcoming to guests coming in from the cold. Home roasted nuts are so easy but it makes your guests feel that you took some extra time to prepare to welcome them into your home. Additionally, you can’t buy anything ready made to taste as good as these warm nuts do. Try it the next time you entertain and you’re be receiving all kinds of praise!
From by the bay, wishing you the warmest food memories!
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
¾ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups raw whole cashews
Additional coarse sea salt to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Heat olive oil in pan add curry powder, salt, cayenne pepper and cook until fragrant – approximately 1 min.
Add cashews and coat nuts for one to two minutes. Remove from heat and place on baking sheet in one layer. Bake for 12-15 minutes, stirring once. Remove from oven, sprinkle with additional sea salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.
I know that cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving staple , but I love serving it through out the holiday season. I grew up eating canned cranberry sauce. In fact my Uncle Tom, owned a canning factory in Egg Harbor, New Jersey. This was the family’s source for most of our cranberry needs. We had cases of cranberry sauce and loved it! When my Uncle Tom decided to close his plant and move onto other ventures we were ready to buy our sauce at the supermarket, but instead my Uncle Tom brought to the house some fresh cranberries and taught me how to make my own cranberry sauce. It tasted terrific and was so easy to make! There was no going back and I’ve been making some version of his cranberry sauce ever since! This is a favorite of mine for Christmas celebrations, I love the mix of all the berries , as well as that little kick of kirsch. The kirsch, reminds me of Christmases when I was a little girl watching my grandfather pour a shots of this wonderful cherry smelling liquid to celebrate with his friends and family! The sauce is the perfect compliment to all your holiday foods – smoked ham, pork loin, turkey or even beef! You are guaranteed to create some happy food memories with this very berry sauce!
From By the Bay wishing you the berriest food memories!
Very Berry Cranberry Sauce
½ cup cranberry juice cocktail
1 cup fine sugar
1 12oz, package whole fresh cranberries
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup dried cherries
¼ cup cherry brandy (Kirsch)
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
Combine cranberry juice, brandy and sugar in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries, dried cranberries, dried cherries and allspice. Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer approximately 10 minutes until the cranberries start to burst. Remove from heat. Cool completely and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken. Serve chilled.
Definition: Spritz Cookies are make with a cookie press. A cookie press allows the baker to shape dough into uniform shapes quickly. Cookie presses come in a variety of shapes but this is especially wonderful for Christmas entertaining. Cookies can be made into wreaths, trees, stars etc. These butter cookies are really a holiday staple.
My fondest Christmas cooking memory is making cookies with my mother. When I was a little girl, our Christmas tradition was making these wonderful little spritz butter cookies and decorating them. We made them only at Christmas and we would enjoy them through out the holidays. An equally wonderful memory was when my mother handed over to me the official role of baking these cookies for the holidays along with her cookie press. She came over to my house and taught me exactly what to do. I was not so great at making the shapes when we first started so don’t get discouraged when you first attempt these little cookies. If you don’t like how they look just grab up that dough and throw it back into the cookie press and try again. I had to do that a few times before I finally got the hang of it. I was under close supervision by my mother when she taught me how to make these cookies. The way I knew that I had succeeded in my baking was at the end of the afternoon, mom said to me, why don’t I leave the cookie press here with you now. You’ll love these cookies and will want to make it part of your Christmas traditions!
Come back for more Christmas food ideas!
Spritz Sugar Cookies
5 dozen cookies
1 lb unsalted butter
1 ½ cup fine sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
5 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Optional: sprinkles, colored sugar, candied cherries, chocolate to decorate
Requires : cookie press or spritz
Preheat oven to 400F. In a bowl add dry ingredients, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix and keep to the side. Using an electric mixer, beat together butter until fluffy. Add sugar gradually and beat well. Add eggs one at a time until well combined. Add vanilla until blended. Add dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well until the dough is smooth. Using a spoon put dough into cookie press. Press shaped cookies onto an non stick baking sheet. You can decorate the cookies with colored sugar or sprinkles or candied cherries depending on the shape. Bake in oven for 7 minutes. If using two trays, after 3 minutes rotate baking sheets on oven rack and then bake another 4 minutes until the bottoms of the cookies start to brown. Store cookies in an air tight container.
Wreaths: decorate before baking with candied cherry pieces and green sugar.
Trees : with multicolor chocolate sprinkles.
Stars: pressed into a long log and cut into 2 inch pieces. Dip the ends in melted chocolate and then dip into sprinkles
I think people fall into one of two categories at Thanksgiving – those who love leftovers and those who hate them. I fall into the love category. Although Thanksgiving lends to alot of food in the house, I love the challenge of trying to make something new out of what is left. Many times I enjoy just reheating dinner from Thursday, but it’s more fun to fiddle around with the ingredients so that it becomes a dish you would just love to eat at any time of the year. The first recipe is my take on a post thanksgiving day sandwich. I use a nice sliced brioche bread and make a cranberry mayonnaise using leftover cranberry sauce. It’s layered up with turkey, pear slices, brie and proscuitto. The brie and proscuitto are leftover from my Thanksgiving cheese platter that I serve accompanied by fruit – including of course some pears. The second dish is Hunter Stew with turkey. This is a french stew that typically uses chicken. Instead, I made a stew of mushrooms using some of the leftover turkey gravy along with chicken stock and then add the cooked turkey at the end. You’ll love this dish. If you don’t have gravy leftover just add another cup of chicken stock along with 1/2 cup of white wine and increase the amount of flour by another two tablespoons. If you know any leftover haters, these recipes could convert them!
From by the bay wishing you the happiest thanksgiving and fond food memories!
2 slices turkey
2 thin slices pear
Makes 4 sandwiches
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons leftover cranberry sauce
Mix both ingreidents well.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
6 tablespoons shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons rosemary, chopped
12 ounces assorted mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups chardonnay herb gravy ( or whatever turkey gravy you have leftover)
1 bay leave
2 springs thyme
4 cups cooked turkey cubed
1/4 cup chopped parsley