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Here are the tastingspoons players. I’m in the middle (Carolyn). Daughter Sara on the right, and daughter-in-law Karen on the left. I started the blog in 2007, as a way to share recipes with my family. Now in 2022, I’m still doing 99% of the blogging and holding out hope that these two lovely and excellent cooks will participate. They both lead very busy lives, so we’ll see.

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BOOK READING (from Carolyn):

Am in the middle of Tidelands,  by Philippa Gregory. It tells the tale of a peasant woman, Alinor (an herbalist and midwife), who lives barely above the poverty level, trying to raise two children, during the time of great turmoil in England, the rancorous civil war about Charles 1. Her husband has disappeared. The feudal system at the time isn’t any friend to Alinor. In comes a man (of course) who is a priest, but to the Catholic king, not the Protestant people, and everything Catholic is abhorred and suspect. A fascinating read, loving every chapter so far.

Read Reminders of Him, by Colleen Hoover. A page turner of a story. A young woman is convicted of a crime (young and foolish type). Once released her sole purpose is to be a part of her daughter’s life. Hoover has such a gift of story-telling and keeping you hanging on a cliff.

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty. Oh my goodness. The wicked webs we weave. How in the world did the author even come UP with this wild story, but she did, and it kept me glued. Sophie walked away from her wedding day, and always wondered if she made the wrong decision. Then she inherits his aunt’s house, back in her home town, where the quizzical Munro baby disappearance provides a living for many of his family. Sophie moves there, only to have to unearth all the bad stuff that happened before. Quite a story.

Very funny and poignant story, Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont, by Elizabeth Taylor (no, not that one). Mrs. Palfrey, a woman of a certain age, moves into an old folks’ home in London. It’s a sort of hotel, but has full time elderly quirky residents. You get to know them all, and Mrs. Palfrey’s subterfuge effort to show off her “grandson.” I might not have ever picked up this book, but one of my book clubs had us read it, and I’m ever so glad I did.

I’ve been on a Moriarty tangent lately, this one Three Wishes, is about three triplets (women), two identical, one fraternal, as they progress through their 33rd year of life. So many twists and turns for each one. As someone said on amazon, Liane Moriarty never disappoints with providing a good story.

For one of my book clubs we read Lessons in Chemistry, by Bonnie Garmus. This book is so hard to describe. Elizabeth is a wizard at chemistry and struggles to be recognized for her intelligence and research. She meets a man at her company who is brilliant too. They make quite a pair. They have a child, then he suddenly dies. Her work isn’t taken seriously, so she leaves her employment and becomes an overnight phenom on a cooking show where she uses the chemical names for things like sodium chloride, etc. You go alongside her struggles, and her raising of her daughter. LOTS of humor, lots to discuss for a book club.

Horse. Oh my, is it a page turner. Loved it from the first page to the last. Sad when it ended. It’s a fictional creation but based on a real racehorse owned by a black man, back in the 1850s. Technically, the story is about a painting of the horse but there are many twists and turns. If you’ve ever enjoyed Brooks’ books in the past, this one won’t disappoint.

The Book of Lost Names, by Kristin Harmel (no, not Hannah). Certainly a little-known chunk of history about a woman who becomes a master forger during WWII to help get Jewish children out of France. Not easy to read, meaning the difficulty of anyone finding the means and place to DO the forgery and right under the noses of the Nazis. Really good read.

Liane Moriarty’s first novel, Three Wishes, follows the travails of adult triplets, so different, yet similar in many ways. Two are identical, the third is not. So alike, and so not. It takes you through a series of heart-wrenching events, seemingly unrelated, but ones that could bring a family to its breaking point and test the bonds of love and strength.

Recently I’ve read both of Erin French’s books, her cookbook, The Lost Kitchen, and since then her memoir, Finding Freedom. About her life growing up (difficult) about her coming of age mostly working in the family diner, flipper burgers and fries (and learning how much she liked to cook). Now she’s a very successful restaurant entrepreneur (The Lost Kitchen is also the name of her restaurant) in the miniscule town of Freedom, Maine. She’s not a classically trained chef, but she’s terrifically creative. See her TV series on Discover+ if you subscribe.

Migrations, by Charlotte McConaghy. To say that this book stretched my comfort zone is the least of it . . .think about a time in the not very distant future, when global warming has done it’s worst and nearly all animals are extinct.

Jo Jo Moyes has a bunch of books to her credit. And she writes well, with riveting stories. Everything I’ve read of hers has been good. This book, The Girl You Left Behind, is so different, so intriguing, so controversial and a fascinating historical story. There are two timelines here, one during WWI, in France, when a relatively unknown painter (in the style of Matisse) paints a picture of his wife. The war intervenes for both the husband and the wife.

Eli Shafak’s Island of Missing Trees. This book was just a page turner. If you’ve never read anything about the conflict in Cyprus (the island) between the Turks and the Greeks, you’re in for a big history lesson here. But, the entire story centers around a fig tree. You get into the head/brain/feelings of this big fig tree which plays a very central part of the story. You’ll learn a lot about animals, insects (ants, mosquitos, butterflies) and other flora and fauna of Cyprus.

If you’re a fan of Kazuo Ishiguro, you’ll find his newest book a league apart. Klara and the Sun. It takes place in the near future when we humans can go to a store and buy an AF (artificial friend). These robotic humanoid “things” have knowledge and personalities.

Also read Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty. Ohhh my, such a good book. I couldn’t put it down. Whatever you do, do not read the ending before you start the book. I’ve never understood people who do this. The book chronicles the day a mom just ups and disappears. The grown children come back home, in panic. The dad isn’t much help, and he becomes the prime suspect of foul play. There is no body, however.

Amor Towles’ new book, The Lincoln Highway: A Novel. Literally it’s a page turner. I think it’s still on the best seller list. A young man, Emmett, is released from a youth work camp (back in the day) and is returned home (by the camp warden) following the death of his father, to find that the home they’d lived in was in foreclosure. His mother abandoned them years before. His intent is to pick up his 8-year old brother and they will head off for Texas.

If you’d like a mystery read, try Dete Meserve’s The Space Between. It’s just the kind of page-turner I enjoy – a wife returns to her home after being away on business for a few days, to find her husband missing and what he’s left for her is an unexplained bank deposit of a million dollars, a loaded Glock in the nightstand, and a video security system that’s been wiped clean.

Read Alyson Richman’s historical novel called The Velvet Hours. Most of the book takes place in Paris, with a young woman and her grandmother, a very wealthy (but aging) woman who led a life of a semi-courtesan. Or at least a kept woman. But this grandmother was very astute and found ways to invest her money, to grow her money, and to buy very expensive goods. Then WWII intervenes, and the granddaughter has to close up her grandmother’s apartment, leaving it much the way it had been throughout her grandmother’s life, to escape the Nazis. Years go by, and finally answers are sought and found. An intriguing book, based on the author’s experience with an apartment that had been locked up similarly for decades, also in Paris.

Susan Meissner is one of my favorite authors. This book, The Nature of Fragile Things tells a very unusual story. About a young Irish immigrant, desperate to find a way out of poverty, answers an ad for a mail order bride.

Also read Rachel Hauck’s The Writing Desk. You could call this a romance. A young professional, a writer of one successful book, has writer’s block. Then she’s asked to go to Florida to help her mother (from whom she’s mostly estranged) through chemo. She goes, hoping she can find new inspiration.

One of my book clubs has us reading Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library: A Novel. What a premise for a book. About a library you can whiz to in the middle of the night and discover other lives you could have lived. And experience them. To find out the answers to those questions we ask ourselves sometimes, “I wonder what would have happened if I’d . . . .” taken that other job, gone out with that guy, taken that trip.

James Shipman has written an intriguing book, It Is Well: A Novel, about a man who has lost his wife. And about a woman who has lost her husband. But their relationship stalls, big time, because the guy made a promise to his wife, and he feels duty-bound to honor it.

I wrote up a post about this book: Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World: The Twin Towers, Windows on the World, and the Rebirth of New York by Tom Roston. Go read the full write-up if you’re interested. The book is a complete history of the famous restaurant on the 107th floor of one of the Twin Towers.

Also recently finished The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish. The book goes backwards and forwards in time, from the 1600s in London with the day-to-day lives of a group of Jews (who had to be very careful about how they worshiped) to current day as an old house is discovered to hold a treasure-trove of historical papers.

I’m forever reading historical novels. The Lost Jewels: A Novel by Kirsty Manning is a mystery of sorts, going back in time in London in the time of aristocrats and their jewels (pearls, diamonds, gems of all kinds) sometimes made it into the hands of the digger or a maid.

Not for the faint of heart, Boat of Stone: A Novel by Maureen Earl tells the true tale of some misplaced Jews at the tale-end of WWII who ended up on Mauritius.

Colleen Hoover has written quite a book, It Ends with Us: A Novel, with a love story being the central theme, but again, this book is not for everyone – it can be an awakening for any reader not acquainted with domestic violence and how such injury can emerge as innocent (sort of) but then becomes something else. There is graphic detail here.

Erin Bartels wrote quite a complex story in The Words between Us: A Novel. We go alongside a young girl as she goes to high school, trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to be anonymous (because her mother and father are both in prison), taking on a fake name.

Nicolas Barreau’s novel Love Letters from Montmartre: A Novel  is very poignant, very sweet book. Seems like I’ve read several books lately about grieving; this one has a charming ending, but as anyone who has gone through a grave loss of someone dear knows, you can’t predict day to day, week to week. “Snap out of it,” people say, thinking they’re helping.

Another very quirky book, that happens to contain a lot of historical truth is The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World: A Novel by Harry N. Abrams. Set in Japan just after the tsunami 10 years ago when 18,000 people died. At a private park miles away, some very special people installed a phone booth, with a phone (that didn’t work) at the edge of the park, and the survivors of the tsunami began wending their way there to “talk” to their deceased loved ones. Very poignant story.

No question, the most quirky book I’ve read of late, a recommendation from my friend Karen, West with Giraffes: A Novel by Lynda Rutledge. Back in the 1930s a small group of giraffes were brought across the Atlantic from Africa to New York, destined for the then-growing San Diego Zoo. The story is of their journey across the United States in the care of two oh-so-different people, both with a mission.

Riveting story of post-WWII- Japan in Ana Johns novel, The Woman in the White Kimono: A Novel. About a young Japanese girl who falls in love with an American serviceman.

Also read Rishi Reddi’s novel, Passage West: A Novel with a very different take on the migration of Indians (East India) to the California agricultural lands east of San Diego during the 1920s and 30s.

Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but the Mary Morris book, A Very Private Diary: A Nurse in Wartime tells the true day to day life of a young Irish girl who becomes a nurse, in England, France and Belgium in the midst of WWII and immediately after the war.

Could hardly put down Krueger’s book, This Tender Land: A Novel. Tells the harrowing story of a young boy, Odie, (and his brother Albert) who became orphans back in the 30s. At first there is a boarding school, part of an Indian (Native American) agreement, though they are not Indian. They escape, and they are “on the run.”

Just finished Kristin Hannah’s latest book, The Four Winds: A Novel. What a story. One I’ve never read about, although I certainly have heard about the “dust bowl” years when there was a steady migration of down-and-out farmers from the Midwest, to California, for what they hoped to be the American Dream. It tells the story of one particular family, the Martinellis, the grandparents, their son, his wife, and their two children.

Brit Bennett has written quite a book, The Vanishing Half: A Novel. It’s a novel, yet I’m sure there are such real-life situations. Twin girls are born to a young black woman in the South. Into a town (that probably doesn’t exist) that prides itself on being light-skinned blacks.

What a book. The Only Woman in the Room: A Novel by Marie Benedict. A novelized biography of Hedy Lamarr, the famous actress.  Very much worth reading.

Also read The Secret of the Chateau: Gripping and heartbreaking historical fiction with a mystery at its heart by Kathleen McGurl. There are two stories here. The historical part is just prior to and up to the French Revolution, and the second in current day as a group of friends purchase a crumbling chateau. Very interesting. I love historical novels like this, and this one in particular does have quite a mystery involved, too.

Also finished reading Sue Monk Kidd’s recent book, The Book of Longings: A Novel. It is a book that might challenge some Christian readers, as it tells the tale of Jesus marrying a woman named Mary. I loved the book from the first word to the last one. The book is believable to me, even though the Bible never says one way or the other that Jesus ever married. It’s been presumed he never did. But maybe he did?

Jeanine Cummins has written an eye-opener, American Dirt. A must read. Oh my goodness. I will never, ever, ever look at Mexican (and further southern) migrants, particularly those who are victims of the vicious cartels, without sympathy. It tells the story of a woman and her young son, who were lucky enough to hide when the cartel murdered every member of her family – her husband, her mother, and many others. It’s about her journey and escape to America.

Also read JoJo Moyes’ book, The Giver of Stars. Oh gosh, what a GREAT book. Alice joins the Horseback Librarians in the rural south.

Frances Liardet has written a blockbuster tale, We Must Be Brave. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Although the scene is WWII England, this book is not really about the war. It’s about the people at home, waiting it out, struggling with enough food, clothing and enough heat.

William Kent Krueger wrote Ordinary Grace. From amazon: a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God. It’s a coming of age story.

Follow the River: A Novel by James Alexander Thom. This one is also based on the history of a woman (married, pregnant) who was captured by the Shawnee, during the early settlement days east of the Ohio River, about 1755. And her eventual escape.

A Column of Fire: A Novel by Ken Follett. It takes place in the 1500s, in England, and has everything to do with the war between the Catholics and the Protestants, that raged throughout Europe during that time, culminating in the Spanish Inquisition.

My Name Is Resolute by Nancy Turner. She’s the author of another book of some renown, These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 (P.S.). Resolute is what I’m discussing here. It’s fiction, but based some on a true story. Resolute, as a young girl from a privileged life on a plantation in Jamaica, was taken captive by slavers, eventually ended up in Colonial America.

The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape by James Rebanks. This is a memoir, so a true story, of a young man growing up in the Lake District of Northern England, who becomes a shepherd. Not just any-old shepherd – actually a well educated one. He knows how to weave a story.

 

Tasting Spoons

My blog's namesake - small, old and some very dented engraved silver plated tea spoons that belonged to my mother-in-law, and I use them to taste my food as I'm cooking.

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Posted in Miscellaneous, Miscellaneous sides, on December 16th, 2022.

Another iteration of a different kind of cranberry sauce.

A post from Carolyn. For Thanksgiving I was invited to go to a distant relative’s home, so this is what I made – this sauce plus my regular old-faithful raw cranberry relish I make every year. This new one came from Cook’s Illustrated, from 1999, my records tell me. It was very simple to make – just water, sugar, some grated fresh ginger, a dash of ground cinnamon (which you can taste in the finished sauce, although it’s elusive, but you know something, something is different about it), salt, cranberries and fresh pears. That’s it.

Preparing it ahead a day or two made it easy; all I had to do was package it up and take it on the drive and pour it out into a pretty dish when I got there. The raw relish I made didn’t last all that long after making it (probably because I used half fake sugar, so it didn’t have as much sugar/preservative to keep it from spoiling). As I write this, it’s been made for over 2 weeks, this sauce, and it’s still delicious. I’ve had it spooned over my morning yogurt, and served along with some roasted chicken I had.

What’s GOOD: easy sauce to make – very delicious. I really, really liked it. It may become a regular that I make every Thanksgiving!

What’s NOT: not a thing. Of course, we can’t make this during the summer unless we’ve frozen a bag of cranberries over the holiday time when they’re available!

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook file (click link to open recipe)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Cranberry Sauce with Pears and Fresh Ginger

Recipe By: Cook’s Illustrated from 1999
Servings: 9

3/4 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh ginger — grated
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon table salt
12 ounces cranberries — picked through
2 medium pears — firm, ripe, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

1. BEFORE YOU BEGIN: The cooking time in this recipe is intended for fresh berries. If you’ve got frozen cranberries, do not defrost them before use; just pick through them and add about 2 minutes to the simmering time.
2. Bring water, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and salt to boil in medium nonreactive saucepan over high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Stir in cranberries and pears; return to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until saucy, slightly thickened, and about two-thirds of berries have popped open, about 5 minutes. Transfer to nonreactive bowl, cool to room temperature, and serve. Can be covered and refrigerated up to 7 days; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving. May keep several weeks longer, although the intense flavor of it might be lessened. It was still good a month after making it.
Per Serving: 127 Calories; trace Fat (0.7% calories from fat); trace Protein; 33g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 67mg Sodium; 28g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 8mg Calcium; trace Iron; 80mg Potassium; 9mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Appetizers, Miscellaneous, on September 1st, 2022.

Having made this as a dip, to eat with pita chips, I had a lot of it – and it went beautifully as a sauce with the tri-tip steak we grilled. Several guests commented how complementary it was to the meat.

A post from Carolyn. There’s been a bit of cooking and entertaining going on in my house lately. Birthdays and then Taylor’s nursing graduation. I made a batch of this dip and had plenty to serve for both events. Happy coincidence. I made the grilled tri-tip for both parties (mostly different people) and this dip, although maybe not the most appetizing color, is really delicious.

The recipe has been in my arsenal for a long time – I might have made it years ago – before I started writing a blog. It’s a Phillis Carey recipe. And I’ll just say – it’s super easy to make. It’s a sour cream based dip but also contains red wine vinegar, some oil, a little brown sugar, garlic, fresh ginger, cumin and salt. The most time consuming thing about this is soaking the dried ancho chiles in boiling water for about 20-30 minutes.

Pasilla Chili Peppers in Bulk | Buy Dried Ancho Peppers There’s a picture at left of some ancho chiles (or chilies). They’re a very dark red/brown. They’re a pasilla/poblano chile that’s been dried. They have tons of flavor, but not much heat. I keep them on hand – although the food experts say if you haven’t used them in a year, buy new ones. I’ve never done that — I have dried chiles that are 5 years old and they seem fine to me. Use  your own judgment.

Anyway, once you have soaked the chiles, you mix up the ingredients in the food processor, then chill for several hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve with tortilla chips, with veggie strips, crackers, or as a sauce for grilled meat (shrimp also recommended).

What’s GOOD: so easy to make. Just have dried chiles and sour cream on hand and you will likely have all the other ingredients. Great also as a sauce to grilled meat. It’s not hot – it has a little bit of heat and a lot of flavor.

What’s NOT: nothing, as long as you have the dried chiles on hand.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook file (click link to open recipe)

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Ancho Chile Dip/Sauce

Recipe By: Phillis Carey, about 2005
Servings: 6

3 whole dried ancho chiles — (remove stems and seeds after soaking)
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 cloves garlic — minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Place dried chilies in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 20-30 minutes and then drain well. Remove stems and seeds. Tear the chiles into 1″ pieces.
2. Add all ingredients to a food processor and buzz until smooth. This dip will keep 4 to 5 days in refrigerator. Serving ideas: Great with sliced vegetables, with tortilla chips or as a dip for shrimp but also good used to garnish for quesadillas or taquitos. And makes a great sauce to go with steak or a grilled beef something (marinated tri-tip). Garnish bowl with one dried ancho chile, to help identify what it is.
Per Serving: 159 Calories; 15g Fat (85.2% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 19mg Cholesterol; 205mg Sodium; 4g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 39mg Calcium; trace Iron; 59mg Potassium; 28mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Miscellaneous, Vegetarian, on July 29th, 2022.

Wanting something to serve alongside some Italian sausages, this was in my to-try file. 

A post from Carolyn. My granddaughter Taylor, the one who’s about to graduate from nursing school (and move home – so I’ll be an empty nester again) asked me to fix her favorite dinner, the sheetpan sausage one I wrote up a couple of months ago. I said sure enough, I’d do that. I didn’t have asparagus this time, but did have summer squash, a sweet potato, plus a big red onion. I wanted something to go with the sausage, a sauce, or something. This one was in my file to try, so I did. Although I changed the ingredients a little bit and added Castelvetrano olives (if you don’t already know about these, you should – they’re a green ripe olive, Italian, so good). I love capers and liked that they were in this mixture too. So easy with some EVOO, balsamic, lemon juice plus a few Italian herbs.

If time permits, make this a few hours ahead – I didn’t, as it was last-minute, so I made it while the dinner roasted in the oven. The flavors will meld some if you let it rest on the counter for a bit. It’s a very easy concoction to make – and gave the sausages some good oomph. If you like spicy, add some red pepper flakes to the mixture.

All the ingredients I had on hand – I keep those Castelvetrano olives in my frig all the time, and capers, and I try to have red onion on hand. Also, Italian parsley. I still have Meyer lemons on my tree, so that was easy, and EVOO and balsamic. So easy, all of it.

What’s GOOD: went so well with the Italian sausages, but would be good with chicken, pork chops, even hamburgers. Not sure about fish, unless it was a fairly flavorful fish like swordfish. Halibut would work too. Altogether delicious sauce, and am glad I still have some leftover.

What’s NOT: only that you need to have Italian parsley – I have it on hand always, along with cilantro. Our weather is too hot here to grow it or I would!

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook file (click link to open recipe)

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Italian Parsley, Caper and Olive Sauce

Recipe By: Adapted from a relish recipe found online
Serving Size: 6

1/4 cup EVOO
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup red onion — finely diced
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic — minced
3 tablespoons parsley — chopped
1 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoons Castelvetrano olives — or other green, ripe olive
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Italian herbs — dried salt and pepper to taste

1. Place all ingredients in a ceramic bowl; mix well. Allow it to sit for a few hours to meld flavors.
2. Serve with grilled beef or pork, Italian sausage, or even pasta. Will keep in the frig for several days.
Per Serving: 93 Calories; 9g Fat (86.9% calories from fat); trace Protein; 3g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 40mg Sodium; 2g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 9mg Calcium; trace Iron; 43mg Potassium; 7mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Fish, Grilling, Miscellaneous, on July 9th, 2022.


A post from Karen. Between late spring and early summer our farmer’s market briefly provides a delectable treat if you know how to use it. Green flower shoots of garlic, referred to as garlic ramps or garlic scapes. Farmers remove these flowers so the hard neck garlic plant can put more energy into producing larger bulbs of garlic. And instead of tossing them into the compost pile, they are much better served in our kitchens in any number of delectable ways.

I like to create a Pesto that I can then use in a number of ways. Do taste test a bit of raw Garlic Scape before you begin. They can really vary in how sharp or mellow their flavor is. You can adjust how much oil, salt and spices (Za’atar) you use accordingly. Pouring olive oil (a thin layer) over the top of the finished pesto helps to “seal” the pesto to prevent spoiling.

An example of how I used the pesto – try some Copper River king salmon filets. We slathered on some of the pesto to coat the top of the fish which was set on a cedar plank. I sprinkled some red pepper flakes, and a little additional salt and fresh ground pepper on top. My DH (Powell) did his magic with it on the BBQ and pulled it off when it was 120°. The finished salmon temp will continue to rise a few more degrees as it rests, before serving. I topped it with a few red onions I had pickled for about 20 minutes in rice wine vinegar and enjoyed this combo too.

Other uses – change up your Caprese salad with a scoop of garlic ramp pesto as a base for your dressing. Add a generous amount to your next batch of Colcannon (Irish mashed potatoes). I had three dear friends who don’t normally eat mashed potatoes go back for seconds and thirds of these! Melt a spoonful in your skillet before making scrambled eggs or sautéed veggies. Use as a base for gremolata or green Chimichurri sauce. I’d love to hear what you come up with!

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook file (click link to open recipe)

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Garlic Scape Pesto

Recipe By: Created by Karen T
Servings: 8

10 ounces garlic scapes — cleaned and cut into 1″ pieces
1 cup EVOO — approximate
1/2 tablespoon Himalayan red salt, or substitute other salt
1 tablespoon za’atar — or substitute red pepper flakes, cumin, ground coriander, thyme and paprika
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
zest from one large lemon

1. Add garlic scapes and salt to a food processor or blender and pulse until finely chopped.
2. Drizzle in the olive oil and lemon juice to create a paste. Mine was pretty thick.
3. At this point, store half of the mixture in a glass jar and top it with olive oil. You could also freeze this mixture. With the remaining mixture, add spices and lemon zest and pulse to combine. Store in another glass jar and top with olive oil. Seal and store in the refrigerator.
Per Serving: 240 Calories; 27g Fat (99.2% calories from fat); trace Protein; trace Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 389mg Sodium; trace Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 1mg Calcium; trace Iron; 6mg Potassium; trace Phosphorus.

Posted in Miscellaneous, on January 28th, 2022.

Found this on the Thermoworks website:

BAKED GOODS TEMPERATURE CHART

Baked good Pull Temperature
Chocolate chip cookies 180°F (82°C)
Rich-dough breads 180–190°F (82–88°C)
Lean-dough breads 190–210°F (88–99°C)
Quick breads, muffins, cornbread, biscuits, scones 200–205°F (93–96°C)
Cake, cupcakes, angel food cake 200–209°F (93–98°C)
Molten (lava) cake 160°F (71°C)
Pound cake 210°F (99°C)
Crème brûlée, flan, pumpkin pie 170–175°F (77–79°C)
Bread pudding, quiche, meringue pies 160°F (71°C)
Cheesecake 150°F (66°C)

Posted in Miscellaneous, on January 14th, 2022.

Another new way to use rhubarb. 

A post from Carolyn. On Saturday last, New Year’s Day, I was alone at home, content to watch the Rose Parade with the fireplace blazing, warm and cozy inside. I decided it was an appropriate day to make a nice dinner for myself. I’d had some duck in the freezer for a really long time (I’m not even going to tell you how long . . .). It was a duck half, partially cooked already, vacuum sealed. It needed about 25 minutes of heating through in a 350°F oven and it was juicy and bubbling. Originally the duck came with a packet of sauce to go with it, but I couldn’t locate it in the freezer, so I glanced at a shelf nearby (in the freezer) and spotted rhubarb that I’d chopped up and frozen some months ago. And sure enough, I had a chutney recipe in my files.

The recipe actually had you make it all in the microwave, but I decided to just do it stovetop instead. I sweated some minced yellow onion in apple juice (I used frozen concentrate diluted 1-to-1, not 1-to-3 as the package instructed), then added garlic and red pepper flakes to the mixture. The rhubarb had a little bit of sugar sprinkled over it already and was still partially frozen, but the cooking defrosted it in short order, especially since rhubarb is made up of a lot of water – the heat and steam took care of that in a jiffy. Golden raisins were added – nothing else – not even more sugar, nor salt. It was perfect. I didn’t cook it long as I didn’t want the rhubarb to disintegrate. My mother used to make rhubarb sauce and cooked it way too long – I like to see some definition in the rhubarb pieces. So it was simmered for a bare 3-5 minutes and it was done. I let it sit with the lid on it for about half an hour to blend the flavors a bit, then cooled it and refrigerated it to serve later.

The night before I’d made a vegetarian entrée (fresh Portobello mushrooms chopped up, garlic, onion, zucchini, some little dabs of cream cheese and grated Grana Padano) and had leftovers of that. So my dinner was complete with the roasted duck, the rhubarb chutney and the mushroom side dish.

What’s GOOD: loved the sweet/sour taste of the chutney. Easy to make, and I’ll use the leftovers for something with chicken, probably. It would work even on my morning yogurt, for that matter.

What’s NOT: only that you need to procure rhubarb. I try to freeze some when rhubarb is in season so I can use it at a later date.

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Rhubarb Chutney

Recipe By: Found on fareshare website
Serving Size: 6

1/3 cup onion — finely minced
1 clove garlic — minced
1 tablespoon apple juice frozen concentrate — plus 1 tablespoon water
2 cups rhubarb — chopped, frozen, defrosted
1/4 cup golden raisins
3 tablespoons sugar — or less – taste it
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

NOTE: If you have just apple juice, use 1/4 cup and simmer it for about 2-3 minutes to reduce it by 1/2, to about 2 tablespoons.
1. In a medium saucepan add the apple juice concentrate and onion. Cook over low heat for about 3-4 minutes until onion has begun to soften, but the juice is still very visible.
2. Add garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Add all the remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer, and cook over very low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring several times. Taste the rhubarb for sugar – add in small amounts until it suits your taste. Don’t allow rhubarb to fall apart.
3. Put a lid on the pan and set aside for about 20 minutes, then cool. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving alongside poultry, duck or firm-fleshed fish.
Per Serving: 63 Calories; trace Fat (1.7% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 16g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 5mg Sodium; 12g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 44mg Calcium; trace Iron; 200mg Potassium; 17mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Beef, Miscellaneous, on April 11th, 2021.

argentinian_steak_red_chimichurri_sauce

Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

Listen up. You just gotta make this. I can’t praise this enough. If you like steak, this is your lucky day. The recipe was demonstrated on Milk Street, and Jim Hirsch, one of the producers, went to Argentina and his job, with the film crew, was to find out what makes Argentinian steak so special. Certainly steak is the signature dish of Argentina. They raise a LOT of beef cattle in the country. My granddaughter, Sabrina, spent 5 months in Argentina (not exactly a happy experience, I’m sorry to say, even though it was through her university college exchange program). But she told me she had steak similar to this when she was there.

Normally, in Argentina, steak is grilled outside, on a grill that has an adjustable grate level – in other words, you can lower it to be close to the coals, or way up high (more like 10-12 inches), away from the wood coals. Most restaurants make this steak with a 2-hour grilling. Can you imagine? Likely they do that to have a very precise control over the temperature.

strip_steak_seasonedOnce the Milk Street crew returned to Boston, they began trying to recreate this steak (using American/different equipment) – and the chimichurri sauce. Speaking of the sauce, you may be familiar with green chimichurri sauce (that’s all I’d ever had prior to making this). This red sauce is a strange combination of things – 1/4 cup sweet paprika, 1/4 cup red pepper flakes (yes, really), and 1/4 cup dried oregano, and lastly 3/4 cup of neutral oil. Added later, garlic and balsamic vinegar. If you’ve ever watched Chris Kimball (he’s the guy who started Cook’s Illustrated, but was ousted some years ago and started Milk Street) you know that he does not like spicy heat. Not that he’s into bland food, but heat bothers his palate. So when they were making this in the test kitchen, when he was asked to add 1/4 CUP of red pepper flakes, he said oh-no, no, I won’t be able to eat this. The chef pleaded with him to follow the recipe and he might be surprised. And indeed he was, and so was I.

At left is the photo of the beautiful New York strip steak, 2” thick, with the rub on it (having rested in the frig for 24 hours), on a rack, before it went into the oven. One of these steaks will serve at least 2 people, maybe even 3 people.

There are a few steps to making this:

1. Make a rub of black pepper, freshly grated nutmeg (lots of it) and sugar. Put it on the 2” thick steak.

2. Place the steak on a rack, open, in the refrigerator, for 24 hours.

3. Put the steak in a 250°F oven for about 45 minutes. Remove it and let it rest for 30 minutes.

4. Make the sauce.

5. Grill the steak in a searing hot pan on the stove (or do this on your outdoor grill) to caramelize the two sides, then let it rest for 10 minutes. Get the rest of the meal ready.

6. Slice the steak across the grain, in 1/4” thick slices, plate it and drizzle the sauce on the ends and offer more sauce at the table.

red_chimichurri_cookingThe sauce takes no time, really, to make, but there are steps to making it also. In a skillet you combine the oil, paprika, red chili flakes and the oregano, and cook it over very low heat (never allowing it to boil) for 5-7 minutes. Then you add the garlic, and let it cool. Once cool, you add the balsamic vinegar and salt. The photo at right is before it even cooked – so you can see the ingredients.

When Chris Kimball tasted the sauce, he first barely touched his bite of steak with the oily part of the sauce, as he was not thinking he could eat it. He was surprised, and my friend Linda and I (when we made it) were also amazed that our mouths weren’t burning up. The guesswork is that the addition of 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar somehow tempers the spicy, fiery heat of 1/4 cup of red pepper flakes.

The only thing I’ll say is that you need a meat thermometer for this recipe – I eat my steak medium-rare, and you remove the steak from the oven when it reaches 110°F (about 10-15 degrees below that magic medium-rare temp). I did that, but during the resting time, the temp went up nearly 10 degrees, and once I seared it, it went up even more. We got it out of the pan at about 128°F, which is a few degrees higher than I wanted. So watch it carefully.

What’s GOOD: I absolutely LOVE-LOVED this steak and the sauce. Definitely well enough to make it again. You do need to plan ahead 24 hours, and make sure you have a whole pod of nutmeg for each steak. You do not taste nutmeg in the rub when eating it. It’s uncanny there could be so much nutmeg on the rub and you wouldn’t taste it in the finished steak (although I was able to taste it when I ate the leftovers, cold). And the sauce – oh my goodness. So good. Very easy – make it the day ahead to save time if you’d like. It’s also uncanny there is so much red pepper in the sauce and I could eat it. I won’t say I ate copious quantities, but I certainly ate some with every bite, and went back for more.

What’s NOT: only that the steak is expensive (do buy a good one, though I did choose choice, not prime beef); however, one steak will feed 2 people, maybe 3. You do have to visit a butcher, as the steak must be 2” thick. I don’t know of any grocery store that has pre-cut 2” steaks. The nearly one pound steak cost me $29. The recipe is for feeding 4, so twice that amount. And you do need to plan ahead, as I mentioned, so the steak can sit in the frig for 24 hours.

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Grilled and Oven-Baked Argentinian Strip Steak with Red Chimichurri

Recipe By: Milk Street, Jim Hirsch
Serving Size: 5

STEAK:
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg — from two whole nutmeg pods
2 teaspoons white sugar
2 strip beef strip steaks — (about 20 ounces each) about 2″ thick, patted dry
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil — or other neutral oil
RED CHIMICHURRI SAUCE:
3/4 cup neutral oil
1/4 cup sweet paprika
1/4 cup red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dried oregano — do not use fresh
2 medium garlic cloves — finely grated
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
kosher salt

NOTES: Using this much red pepper flakes seems like WAY too much. You can reduce the amount by about a tablespoon, but apparently the balsamic vinegar tempers the heat. This red chimichurri is not as well known in the U.S. as the green herb style.
1. Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. In a small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons salt, 1 tablespoon pepper, the nutmeg and sugar. Measure out and reserve 2 teaspoons of the seasoning mixture, then rub the remainder onto all sides of the steaks, pressing it into the meat. Place the steaks on the prepared rack and refrigerate uncovered for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
2. Heat the oven to 250°F with a rack in the middle position.
3. Place the baking sheet with the steaks in the oven and cook until the centers reach 110°F, 45 to 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for up to 30 minutes.
4. In a 10- or 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until barely smoking. Place the steaks in the skillet and cook, without moving them, until well browned, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip the steaks and cook until the second sides are well browned and the centers reach 120°F (for medium-rare), 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Transfer the steaks to a large plate and let rest for 10 minutes. Alternatively, the steaks can be seared for the same time over direct heat on a very hot charcoal or gas grill with a well-oiled grate.
6. Transfer the steaks to a carving board and cut into thin slices. Place on a platter, pour on the accumulated juices and sprinkle with the reserved seasoning mixture.
7. SAUCE: In a small saucepan over low, combine oil, paprika, pepper flakes and oregano. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to bubble, 5-7 minutes. Do not allow it to come to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in garlic. Let cool to room temp.
8. In a medium bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar and 1 tsp salt and stir until salt dissolves. Slowly whisk in the cooled oil mixture.
Per Serving: 500 Calories; 42g Fat (73.2% calories from fat); 21g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 47mg Cholesterol; 59mg Sodium; 7g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 71mg Calcium; 4mg Iron; 521mg Potassium; 215mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Miscellaneous, on December 15th, 2020.

cranberry_caponata

A caponata made with cranberries, you ask? Yup. What’s in it: cranberries, apples, capers, tomato, pine nuts, raisins and Kalamata olives. I know, sounds strange, but it’s not.

For many years I’ve had the nicest fellow, Dan, who installs and fixes my computer, network, router, wi-fi issues in my house. And he knows that I write a food blog, so every once in awhile, he sends me a link to some food related video or post about food. I can count on the fact that anything he sends me will be unusual. In this instance, he sent me to a youtube video link performed by Harper and Ava, a cute young married couple who live in Maine. He’s an American, and his wife is a native Italian (Calabria), with a semi-thick accent. In this particular video, Harper challenged his wife, Ava, to make a Thanksgiving dinner, but in her own Italian style. She was a teacher (in Italy) but she’s also a very good cook. Here’s the youtube link. If you develop an interest in them, there are lots of other videos, but the best one is the one where they share how they met and how the romance managed with her being in Italy and he in California. Then, how Covid interrupted their long-distance romance.

 

This dish is one that she fixed for Harper, her rendition of an Italian-American Thanksgiving. Caponata is a savory Italian appetizer, usually containing eggplant, maybe celery, onion, capers, pine nuts, olives, red bell peppers, tomato. So Ava came up with this version, using the cranberries instead of eggplant, I guess it is. She gave it a very Italian name, so I shortened it to Cranberry Caponata. And this is to be served with the turkey. Harper said it was his favorite thing about Ava’s version of Thanksgiving.

cranberry_caponata_cookingOnion and celery are sautéed in EVOO, then you begin adding other ingredients, with the cranberries coming in last. Ava used much bigger pieces of apple than I did – maybe next time I’d do that as the apples were kind of lost in the mixture, and they’re certainly not a standard addition to caponata. Adding Kalamata olives intrigued me too (thank goodness I had some pitted ones in the refrigerator. Then there are pine nuts and raisins in there too, and the tomato paste adds a lot of good flavor. At the end you add in a little splash of balsamic vinegar. Genius!

What’s GOOD: loved the savory flavor – this is nothing like a sweet cranberry sauce. It would be great with a turkey, a roast chicken (what I did for my Thanksgiving dinner) and roast pork. Liked the texture – the pine nuts, the raisins, the olives.

What’s NOT: nothing comes to mind . . . if you’re looking for a sweet type side, this isn’t it, although you could make it so with more sugar.

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Cranberry Caponata

Recipe By: Pasta Grammar on youtube
Serving Size: 12

3 tablespoons EVOO
12 ounces fresh cranberries
2 apples — honeycrisp, cubed
2 stalks celery — chopped
1 yellow onion — halved and sliced
1 large tomato — cubed, or use canned, diced style with juice
2 tablespoons capers — diced
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 1/2 tablespoons raisins — black or golden
1/2 cup Kalamata olives — pitted, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 tablespoons brown sugar — or more to taste (or brown sugar substitute)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt Fresh black pepper

1. In a large sautè pan, bring a generous pour of olive oil up to medium heat on the stovetop. Add the onion and sautè for 3 minutes, then add the celery. Cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes. If the celery and onion risk burning, add a splash of warm water into the pan.
2. Add the olives, capers and pine nuts. Stir all together and cook for a further 3 minutes, covered. As before, add some water if the caponata risks burning.
3. Add the tomatoes and a splash of water. Stir and cook for 5 minutes, covered.
4. Meanwhile, dissolve the tomato paste in a 1/2 cup (120ml) of water.
5. After the tomatoes have cooked for 5 minutes, add the apples and cranberries, along with the tomato paste mixture, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Salt and pepper to taste.
6. Cook covered, adding water as necessary, for about 10-15 minutes or until the apples have softened but not completely dissolved. Cool completely before serving along roasted poultry or pork.
Per Serving: 103 Calories; 5g Fat (41.8% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 15g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 93mg Sodium; 10g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 24mg Calcium; 1mg Iron; 185mg Potassium; 28mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Beef, Miscellaneous, Miscellaneous sides, on January 2nd, 2020.

spicy_beef_tenderloin_cranberry_mango_chutney

What is there not to like about a whole beef tenderloin?

For Christmas Day I offered to buy a whole beef tenderloin for the family celebration. Sara said “yes, please.” So off I went to Costco to buy an already-trimmed (of extra fat and silverskin) tenderloin. I cut it in half (easier handling in the oven), patted well with the spice combo (not herbs, but spices, which were a type of dry rub) then it was tightly tied with kitchen twine. They went into plastic bags (or wrap well in plastic wrap so it doesn’t leak) and I let them marinate in the refrigerator for almost 3 days. The recipe, from a class with Phillis Carey, calls for marinating the dry rubbed tenderloin for 4 days.

My cousin Gary and I drove to Sara’s and John’s (in Poway, CA) on Christmas Day and the meat went into the frig until about an hour before we wanted to begin cooking them.

spicy_beef_tenderloin_ready_for_ovenAfter the dry marinating time, the two pieces were seared on all sides with EVOO, then placed on a rimmed baking sheet and into a 400°F oven. The recipe said 20 minutes, but ours took about another 3-4, I think, to reach 130°F. Actually both reached about 133°F when we got them out of the oven. In case you’ve never done one of these, let me just warn: the last 3-8 minutes are crucial – monitor the internal temp frequently. The internal temp rises quickly once the meat reaches about 120°. Be forewarned. The last thing you want is an overcooked tenderloin. Some in our group wanted more medium and we got that perfectly with the smaller piece.

A few days ahead I’d made the spicy_beef_tenderloin_restingchutney, a kind of cooked relish of fresh cranberries, orange juice, sugar, dried mango chopped up and a tablespoon of freshly grated ginger.

So, there’s a photo of the finished pieces. Note one is larger – it went in the oven for about 5 minutes before we added the 2nd, smaller piece. So they both came out of the oven at the same time.

The meat was lightly tented with foil for 15 minutes, then carved in thin slices (recommended) and served. The recipe says to roast to 135°. I’m hesitant to go that high, so I took them out early. They continue to cook during the resting time anyway.

JUST WATCH THE TEMP CAREFULLY. When you pay $114 (that’s what this one was) for a hunk of good beef, you certainly don’t want to ruin it by overcooking. Just so you know, if you overcook beef, it gets tough.

What’s GOOD: loved the seasonings –  the beef was “hot” because of the quantity of pepper. If you’re sensitive to it, reduce the pepper from the mixture below. Loved the spices on it. AND loved the chutney. It’s perfect with a big hunk of beef. I had two small pieces, and after feeding 12, there was nothing but a small handful of beef tidbits left over. I think everyone went back for seconds, just about.

What’s NOT: if you’re sensitive to pepper, take it out of the recipe altogether, and if you are turned off by spices patted onto meat, reduce the quantity of the spices. Obviously, if cost is a factor, pass on this one as it’s an expensive entrée.

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Spicy Beef Tenderloin with Cranberry Ginger Mango Chutney

Recipe By: Cooking Class with Phillis Carey, Nov. 2019
Serving Size: 12

2 tablespoons black peppercorns — scant (or a mix of black and green peppercorns)
6 tablespoons dark brown sugar — packed
2 tablespoons coarse salt
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 garlic cloves — coarsely crushed into slivers
5 pounds beef tenderloin — tied as a roast
2 tablespoons vegetable oil — divided or EVOO
CRANBERRY MANGO CHUTNEY:
12 ounces fresh cranberries — about 3 cups
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup sugar
1 cup dried mango — chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger — minced

1. Grind peppercorns in an electric spice grinder (or clean coffee grinder) to a medium grind. In a small bowl, combine pepper, brown sugar, salt, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, coriander, cardamom, and cloves; whisk to combine. Rub meat sparingly with crushed garlic slivers, then rub all over with spice mixture.
2. Cut tenderloin crosswise in half. Wrap each half very tightly with several layers of plastic wrap (so that it looks swaddled), put in a rimmed pan, and refrigerate 4 days.
3. Preheat oven to 400°. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large frying pan (not nonstick) over high heat. Add 1 piece of meat and sear until well browned on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a rimmed baking pan and repeat with remaining oil and beef. Transfer baking pan to oven and cook meat until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 130°, 20 to 30 minutes. (Halves may not cook at the same rate; after meat has been in the oven 20 minutes, begin taking temperature of both pieces of meat every 1-2 minutes.) Transfer to a carving board, tent with foil, and let rest 15 minutes. Remove kitchen twine.
4. Cut meat into very thin slices (less than 1/4 in., if possible) and serve warm or at room temperature, with crusty rolls and chutney.
Per Serving (you won’t eat all of the chutney): 747 Calories; 46g Fat (56.0% calories from fat); 35g Protein; 47g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 134mg Cholesterol; 1350mg Sodium.

Posted in Miscellaneous, Salads, on December 1st, 2018.

cranberry_jello_salad_walnuts

A really simple salad to serve with a holiday meal – or more likely with Thanksgiving turkey.

As it happened, I was watching The Pioneer Woman last week, and she showed something similar to this salad above, that was her mother-in-law’s standard for Thanksgiving. Her MIL passed away recently, so Ree was making this salad in homage to Nan. It reminded me of a salad I had once upon a time, years and years ago and really liked, and never found out who made it, to acquire the recipe.

So, first off – if you follow the recipe – you need to find cranberry Jell-O. Well, that proved an impossible task in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. Supposedly Target has it, but perhaps it’s only available online. I gave up looking after visiting 3 grocery stores + Target. So I bought Black Cherry Jell-O and used that instead.

First you make the underneath gelatin part – adding 2 cans of whole cranberry sauce and a 6-ounce can of crushed pineapple (drained). I also added about 2/3 cup of chopped walnuts (my addition to the recipe because walnuts were in the salad I remember from long ago). That was chilled until set (overnight in my case). Then, I started on the topping. Ree said to add 1 1/4 cups of milk to an 8-ounce package of cream cheese. That seems like too much to me, so I added just 1/2 cup and spread that all over the top of the chilled Jell-O. Then I microplaned some fresh orange zest on top (in Ree’s recipe). I covered it with plastic wrap (elevated above the cream cheese) and chilled that until we were ready to eat.

Was it up to my expectations? Absolutely. I loved it. And I shouldn’t have had any of it (not on my no-sugar, no-carb diet) but I ate it anyway. AND, I had a serving of it the next day when we had leftovers. By then it was nearly gone.

What’s GOOD: love-loved it in every way possible. Sweet, tart, piquant, satisfying, easy. What more could you want?

What’s NOT: really nothing. It was a great addition to the Thanksgiving table.

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Cranberry Sauce Salad

Recipe By: Adapted from a Pioneer Woman recipe from her MIL, Nan
Serving Size: 12 (maybe 16)

3 packets cranberry gelatin — (small ones) or use Black Cherry as substitute
2 cans cranberry sauce — 14 ounce size (whole cranberry style)
8 ounces crushed pineapple — canned, drained
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
8 ounces cream cheese — at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1 orange, zest only

1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, then remove from the heat. Stir in the gelatin until completely dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 cup cold water, the cranberry sauce, chopped walnuts and pineapple. Mix well, ensuring you break apart any large chunks of the cranberry sauce.
2. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch glass dish. Cover and place in the refrigerator until firm, 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
3. Beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar with a hand mixer until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the milk and mix until completely combined. Carefully spread the cream cheese frosting in a thin layer over the cranberry sauce. Zest the orange directly over the frosting. Can be chilled (covered in plastic wrap, but elevated up above the cream cheese) overnight. Serve in individual squares.
Per Serving: 365 Calories; 11g Fat (25.8% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 63g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 22mg Cholesterol; 225mg Sodium.

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