Apple Vichyssoise

DFTSI - Apple Vichyssoise_6495My dear sorority sister shared this festive holiday soup recipe with me.  Vichyssoise is usually served cold but this is terrific served hot, cold or at room temperature.  It is a perfect first course for your next holiday gathering.  You can have a pot simmering on the stove and your guests will  be coming back for more.  Thank you Teddy for sharing this yumminess!  It is my new favorite!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Makes  approximately 10 cups (serves 6-8 in bowls or 20 in small appetizer glasses)

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 3 medium leeks (white and light green parts only, thinly spliced crosswise)
  • 2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes (the smaller the chop, the faster they cook)
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 cups of apple juice or cider
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 2 cup heavy whipping cream (unwhipped)
  • Chopped fresh chives for garnish
  • 1 apple, julienne (cut into sticks) for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

1 Melt butter: In a large (6-quart) pot or saucepan, heat the butter on medium high heat until it melts and foams up.

2 Sauté leeks and onions: Toss in the sliced leeks and onions and salt. Stir to coat with the butter. Cook for several minutes, reducing the heat to medium, until the leeks and onions are translucent and softened.  Then stir in white wine and simmer until almost all liquid has evaporated.

3 Add potatoes, water and apple juice and bring to simmer. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cook, partially covered for 30-40 minutes, until the potatoes are completely cooked through. Remove from heat.

4 Purée until smooth: Purée using an immersion blender or working in batches, blend in a regular blender. (Careful! With hot liquids only fill the blender 1/3 of the way full, and hold the blender top on with your hand while blending.) Purée until completely smooth, then return the soup to the pot.

5 Cool and stir in sour cream and heavy cream: Allow to cool a bit before stirring in the sour cream and heavy whipping cream.  Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally.  Add more liquid if needed for desired thickness.  Season with more salt if needed.

6 Serve warm in bowls or glasses: If serving warm, pour into bowls or glasses and garnish with chives and julienned apple on top.  As an alternative, allow to cool completely and chill in the refrigerator if desired.  The soup can be served just below room temperature (maybe 65°F or 18°C).

Enjoy!

PSST!  You can swap out heavy whipping cream for 1/2 & 1/2 for a lighter version of this rich and delicious soup with no loss in taste.

Gluten-Free Holiday Chex Mix

1Makes 8 cups

I’ve added my own little twist to the old time favorite Chex Mix around the holidays.  This party mix can even be enjoyed by your guests with dietary restrictions or gluten free preferences.  It’s a modified recipe from the original Chex Mix.  I nix the Wheat Chex, use gluten free pretzels, and also add my own little twist.  Your guests will be coming back for more so you might want to make two batches!

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion power
2 teaspoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup pretzels (gluten-free versions available from Snyder’s or Snack Factory)
1 cup fancy mixed nuts
3 cups Corn Chex cereal
3 cups Rice Chex cereal

Instructions

1. Melt butter in a 13X9 in baking dish in a 250 degree oven.
2. Remove dish from oven and stir in the seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.
3.  Add cereals, pretzels and nuts and stir until coated.
4.  Bake @ 250 degrees for 45 minutes stirring every 15 minutes or so.
5.  Remove from the oven and cool (if you can keep your family from nibbling)
6.  Store in an airtight jar or large ziplock bag.

French Greyhound Cocktail

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I love the sweetness and tartness of ruby red grapefruit juice. Combined with St-Germain (elderflower liqueur) and vodka, you have a winning cocktail sure to please.  You can serve it “martini style” or over ice.  Both are refreshing and sure to be a hit at your next gathering.  My recipe allows you to easily prepare based on the size of your guest list.

Ingredients

1 part vodka (I prefer Kettle One)
1 part St-Germain elderflower liqueur
2 parts ruby red grapefruit juice (freshly squeezed if in season)
raspberries for garnish (optional)
mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Over Ice Method
Add vodka, St-Germain, and grapefruit juice in a glass pitcher.
Fill your favorite cocktail glass with ice cubes (to the top).
Pour mixture into the glsss.
Add a raspberry and mint leave for garnish.
Serve and enjoy!

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Martini Style

Fill a cocktail shaker to the rim with ice cubes.
Add vodka, St-Germain, and grapefruit juice.
Place the cap on the shaker and shake vigorously.
Pour into a martini glass and garnish with raspberry and mint leave.
Serve and enjoy!

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Spiced Cranberry Sauce

DFTSI Spice Cranberry Sauce

Spiced Apple Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 orange
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith, pippin or McIntosh
  • 3 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Directions:

Use a potato peeler to peel the orange rind of the orange. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice from 1/2 of the orange and set the juice aside. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the rind and the water and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Peel, core and quarter the apple. Cut into 1/2-inch dice and place in a saucepan. Sort the cranberries, discarding any soft ones. Add to the apples along with the orange juice, orange rind, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan partially. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, the apple is tender and the cranberries have burst, 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the cranberry sauce to a heatproof bowl and let cool for 1 hour before serving. Or cover and refrigerate; bring to room temperature before serving. Transfer the cranberry sauce to a sauceboat and pass at the table.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library Series, Thanksgiving & Christmas, by Chuck Williams (Time-Life Books, 1993).
Servings: 10-12

 

Autumn Gingerbread Muffins

Celebrate Fall and the Holidays by serving these adorable gingerbread muffins. These molasses and ginger treats are easy to make and add a festive look to any table. Serve them alone or with lemon curd. Trader Joe’s offers a great gingerbread mix that makes serving these cuties a snap.

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Autumn Gingerbread Cakelets

Yield: 16 Cakelets (144 calories each)

Ingredients
1 box Trader Joe’s Gingerbread Baking Mix
1 large egg
1/3 cup canola oil
¾ cup water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray cakelet pan with Trader Joe’s Canola Oil spray and sprinkle lightly with a few pinches of flour.
  3. Combine egg, oil and water in a bowl and then add mix. Fold together gently until ingredients are moistened. (don’t over-stir as the cakelets will become more dense).
  4. Fill the molds of the cakelet pan no more than ¾ full to avoid overflow. I use a tablespoon and then spread mixture to level tops and fill corners of each shape. Tap the pan firmly a few times on countertop to remove air bubbles.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of a cakelet comes out clean.

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  1. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes then invert onto a cooling rack.
  2. Serve with lemon curd if you wish.   Yummy!

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Note: My cakelet pan is made by Nordic Ware.  Any muffin or cakelet pan works well too.

Goat Cheese with Lemon Garlic and Rosemary

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Fresh and light, this Goat Cheese with Lemon and Rosemary is an easy and tasty appetizer you can serve in both in the summer and winter.  I first enjoyed this when my sister served this before a holiday meal.  Bring it to a potluck or a party.  Your guests will Ooo and Ahh!

The secret is fresh rosemary.  I have it growing in my garden and I love the aroma as well as the flavor it brings to so many dishes.

Goat Cheese with Lemon, Garlic and Rosemary

6 ingredients
1 5 oz. log of goat cheese
zest of one lemon
1/8- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
salt to taste

Mix all ingredients but the goat cheese together. Place the goat cheese on a small dish with a lip and pour the mixture over the cheese. Marinate for 4 hours to allow the flavors to mingle. Sprinkle with a little more rosemary to taste and garnish with a sprig. Serve with water crackers. Enjoy!

St Patrick’s Day Faux-Tatoes

St. Patrick’s Day Faux-Tatoes

Go green on St. Patrick’s Day with a creative and healthy twist on the classic irish-inspired recipe.

The secret ingredient is green cauliflower! It’s actually a hybrid version of broccoli and cauliflower and is sometimes referred to a broccoflower. It’s flavor is sweet, mild and nutty.

Cauliflower is a member of the cancer-fighting cruciferous family of vegetables. It is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich, and provides your body with vitamin C, Vitamin K, beta-carotene while also boosting healthy digestion and detoxification. Try it on March 17th and you will make it again and again! 
Faux-Tatoes 
Serves 4


Ingredients

1 medium head cauliflower (try it green or traditional white, about 1 ½ pounds)
½ cup butter or ghee
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch thyme, dried
1 tsp sea salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Break up the cauliflower stems and stalk and place in a steamer basket or a small amount of water in a saucepan. Steam it until tender (approx. 10-15 minutes). Drain.
  • In a food processor or blender, blend the cauliflower, butter, garlic, thyme, sea salt and pepper until smooth.
  • Plate your dish immediately or transfer to a small casserole dish for family style eating.

Enjoy!

Holiday Pomegranate Martinis

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This festive variation of Oprah’s Pomegranate  Martini is sure to be a hit at your next holiday party.

SERVINGS- MAKES 12 DRINKS

Ingredients

4 cups (32 ounces) vodka
2 cups (16 ounces) orange liqueur such as Cointreau
2 cups (16 ounces) pomegranate juice
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Juice of 2 lemons
Lemon twists from lemon peel
Rosemary sprigs
1 large bottle of Sparkling water (optional)
1/4 cup sugar

Instructions Continue reading

Grandma’s Make-ahead Mashed Potatoes


Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: Makes 12 to 15 servings

 

Ingredients:

15 medium (5 pounds) potatoes peeled and quartered
6-8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup  light sour cream
2 teaspoons onion powder
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
2 egg whites slightly beaten (or one whole egg)
2-4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup chopped chives (optional)

Instructions:

Preparing Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes:

In a large pot, add cut-up potatoes and just enough cold water until potatoes are covered; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium; cover and let simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.   Overcooking can cause the potatoes to become gummy.

Remove from heat and immediately drain potatoes thoroughly in a colander.  Return to saucepan; heat over medium-low heat approximately 1 to 2 minutes to dry potatoes, stirring occasionally.  NOTE: Boiled potatoes left in water will start to jellify and may even increase in volume (becoming swollen and watery).  That is why it is important to let the potatoes drain for a couple of minutes in a colander immediately after they are cooked.

In the same cooking pan, mash potatoes with a potato masher or potato ricer until there are no lumps.

TIP: NEVER use a blender, electric mixer, or food processor to make mashed potatoes.Gluey or gooey mashed potatoes are caused by vigorous over mashing, When potatoes are boiled, their starch granules swell.  If those granules are broken too vigorously, the cells release copious quantities of starch, resulting in a potatoes with the consistency of wallpaper paste.

Add cream cheese, sour cream, onion powder, salt, pepper, egg whites, and chopped chives (if desired); blend well.

Spray a large casserole dish with vegetable-oil cooking spray. Add potato mixture and dot with butter.

Cool mashed potatoes slightly, cover, and then refrigerate.

The prepared mashed potatoes may be made up to 7 days ahead of time.  If preparing ahead, remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Place in an ovenproof baking dish if not already stored in this dish.


When ready to heat the potatoes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Take potatoes out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.
Bake, loosely covered, 40 minutes or until steaming hot in center.

Crock Pot – Slow Cooker Make-Ahead Mashed Potato Recipe:

Mashed Potatoes in slow cookerYou can use this crock pot/slow cooker version, if you need to free up your oven for other dishes when making my holiday meals.

Take the prepared mashed potatoes out of refrigerator about 3 1/2 hours before serving time.  See Preparing Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes above.  Place the mashed potatoes in the crock-pot/slow cooker.  Cover and use low heat for approximately 3 hours, stirring once or twice.

When you are ready to serve the mashed potatoes, stir, and then add some additional dollops of butter.

Grandma’s Do-Ahead Thanksgiving Gravy


So much goes into preparing the Thanksgiving meal, especially when turkey is on the menu.  I always love shortcuts and tips on things you can do the day before to help ease the pressure on the big day.  Grandma Peggy’s Do-ahead Gravy is one of them.  You can prepare this up to three days in advance and then just add the final ingredient, the  pan drippings from the turkey, right before you are ready to serve.

Grandma Peggy’s Do- Ahead Gravy

Yield: about 4 cups

Ingredients:

6 T. flour
6 T. butter
4 cups chicken broth or stock
salt and pepper
Turkey pan drippings (added 15-30 minutes before ready to serve)

Instructions:

In a medium sauce pan, melt butter and whisk in flour. Cook over medium high heat until flour is incorporated and white bubbles begin to form on the top. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Gradually add broth, whisking constantly. Stir until gravy is thickened and mixture boils. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Cool and refrigerate for up to three days.

To serve:

On Thanksgiving day, heat the gravy. When turkey is done, pour off drippings into a jar or fat separator. Skim or spoon off all the fat and stir the drippings into the gravy.