Category Archives: Winter

Dried Apple Cake

Makes one 9- by 5-inch loaf

3 eggs

1/2 cup unsalted butter

3 cups dried apples

21/2 cups sugar

1 cup raisins

1 cup currants

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon cloves

Allow

3 eggs

1/2 cup unsalted butter

to come to room temperature. Meanwhile soak together

3 cups dried apples

5 cups warm water

When the fruit has been rehydrated, about 30 minutes, drain fruit, reserving liquid. Chop apples and add

21/2 cups sugar

1 cup raisins

1 cup currants

(Chopped figs, prunes, dates or dried cranberries can replace some or all of the raisins and currants.) Cook with very little water (you can use the reserved apple-rehydration water if any remains) until the apples are soft. Let cool. Preheat oven to 350°.

In another bowl, combine

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon cloves

Beat eggs well. Add eggs and softened butter to the fruit mixture. Stir in the flour mixture and mix well. Bake in a greased and floured 9- by 5-inch loaf pan for one hour in a 350° oven.

Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Cabbage

A few basic ingredients make a delicious dish
Serves 4 as a main dish

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1/4 cup olive oil

2 large onions

4 large cloves garlic

6 cups thinly sliced cabbage

2 tablespoons dried oregano

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 pound pasta

Freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Heat in a large heavy skillet

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

over medium-low heat. Add

  • 2 large onions, cut into 1/4-inch slices, broken into rings
  • Salt and pepper

Saute until soft and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Do not try to rush this step. Add

  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups thinly sliced cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Stir well, add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover and cook over medium heat until very tender, about 45 minutes, stirring often and adding a little more water if it dries out. Meanwhile, cook

  • 1 pound pasta

in boiling salted water. Add drained pasta to pan when the cabbage is done, toss well to combine for about 5 minutes. Serve hot, with

  • freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Adapted from teriskitchen.com

Apple-Ginger Mini-Cakes

This started off from a recipe in the King Arthur cookbook, but I don’t like cooked raisins and it collapsed at the center even though it was definitely done cooking at the edge. I did some thinking and adjusted it a bit.

Preheat oven to 325 F. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine

  • 11/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I used about 1/4 cup of brown and the rest was white)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice

Combine and then add

  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into 1/4-inch dice (about 21/4 cups once chopped)
  • 1/2 cup candied ginger, cut into raisin-size pieces or smaller (see note)
  • 2 TBL soft butter
  • 2 eggs

Mix until dough forms. Add

  • A hand-full of pecan halves

Stir to mix in the nuts and spoon into greased cake molds. The ones I used are silicone and a little bigger than a cup-cake tins, but with straight sides. I filled them almost up to the top, pushing down with a spoon to eliminate any air pockets. I also tried a ramekin, and it worked, but the cake didn’t rise evenly because it came above the sides a bit sooner. This made 7 mini-cakes. The ones in the silicon baked about 35 minutes; the one in the ceramic ramekin was overbaked after 35 minutes. I think 30 minutes would have been right for the silicon, 25 minutes for the ramekin.

NOTE: I really prefer using the “uncrystallized ginger” from Trader Joe’s because it isn’t coated with sugar.

Turkey Soup

I love gathering up turkey carcasses that family and friends want to throw out at Thanksgiving dinner. Sometimes they are loaded with meat, but even if well trimmed, they yield a delicious soup.

Soak overnight in separate bowls 1 cup barley and 2 cups dried lima beans. I soak them separately.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the carcass(es) on one or more oven-safe trays, along with 2 onions., a few carrots and celery stalks. Be sure the trays have sides as there tends to be some juice attached to the carcasses that will liquefy as it heats. From time to time, turn the bones and vegetables as they brown.

Transfer the bones and vegetables to a stock pot, breaking the rib cage if it doesn’t fit in your stock pot. Add just enough water to cover the bones and vegetables. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add salt and bay leaves. Let cook for at least an hour. When the stock tastes good, remove the bones and vegetables to a colander. Pour the stock through a fine strainer. Pick the meat from the bones and reserve. You can force the carrots through the sieve to impart their flavor to the stock. Discard the vegetables and bones.

Add the barley and beans to the stock, and bring to a boil. Cook until the beans and barley are nearly done. Add a mixture of diced carrots and parsnip. Cook for 15 minutes and add the reserved meat. Adjust seasoning and serve with egg noodles, dumplings or anything else you like.

Delhi ‘dempte

Saute a diced medium onion and 2 21/2 cloves garlic, minced, in oil in a stew pot. When soft, add

  • 3/4 tsp garam masal
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp ground chili
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 2 cups canned tomatoes and their juice
  • 12 chicken thighs (skin removed)

Bring to boil, lower immediately to lowest possible temperature at which it can simmer. Cook for 40 minutes; occasionally move things around in the pot so the chicken is covered in the sauce. Add

  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets

Cook 20 minutes more. Serve over basmati rice.

Mexi-Dempte

Flavors of enchiladas and pozole.

In a stew pot heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Saute 2 minced onions and 3 cloves garlic. Add a teaspoon of salt. Continue to cook until golden without browning. Add 12 skinless chicken thighs and cook until meat gets some color; turn to cook other side.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat 1/4 to 1/3 cup vegetable oil —not olive oil, please.  (Each time I make this the amount of oil grosses me out, but then I remember back to all the lard that got used when I worked in a Mexican restaurant and I somehow accept what I’m doing.) As it heats up, add 1/4 cup flour and stir to make a roux. Make sure it cooks long enough so it won’t have a floury taste.  Add 1/3 cup (medium-hot) chili powder and stir in 3 cups of water, stirring until smooth. Add 11/2 tsp salt. Add mixture back in with the chicken.

Add drained cans of pozole (a.k.a. white hominy): I used 3 29-ounce cans for this batch but I really love hominy. You can probably get by with less.

Bring to a simmer and cook covered on lowest possible heat. Stir from time to time so all the chicken gets moved around in the sauce. Make sure nothing sticks or burns. Serve with Sadie’s Spanish Rice and refried beans.

Apple Maple Cobbler

Well, cake-y cobbler, but yummy.

Peel

  • 5-6 Granny Smith apples, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Place in a greased 3-quart casserole or a 9×13-inch pan.

Measure

  • 2 tsp vinegar

into a liquid measuring cup and add

  • milk to make 3/4 cup

Let sit while you cream together

  • 11/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Combine

  • 11/2 cups flour
  • 11/2 tsp baking soda
  • 11/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Add soured milk, dry ingredients and

  • 11/2 tsp vanilla

and beat to combine. Spoon mixture over apples, distributing evenly. Over top, pour

  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 11/2 cups broken walnut pieces.

Bake at 350 F for 50-60 minutes, until golden. Let rest for 10+ minutes before serving.

Adapted from the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion.[/source[

Gedempte Chicken

Dice one large onion and mince 2 cloves garlic. Heat oil in stew pot, saute garlic and onions. It’s okay if they brown a little. Season with salt, pepper and paprika (or cayenne, my personal preference). Push vegetables to one side of pan and chicken pieces (one whole chicken cut in pieces or use your favorite parts) in one layer. Brown on both sides. Continue until all meat is browned, lifting vegetables on top of meat. The more color the meat gets, the more flavor the dish has.

Add about 1/3 cup water, cover and lower heat to lowest possible temperature you can just get a slight simmer. Every 15 minutes. turn pieces of meat so each side of each piece gets to cook at the bottom of the pan, making sure it doesn’t dry out — but don’t add any extra water beyond the minimum needed. When the meat is tender, it’s done.

Some variations: This recipe was originally for beef, but chicken works well, or meatballs. You can add potatoes cut into large chunks just as you turn down the temperature. The recipe works well in a pressure cooker, but be careful to add enough water so you don’t risk cooking the pressure cooker dry!

Winter Squash Soup

Chop, clean and saute 1 large leek in some olive oil. While it softens, trim 4 cups of winter squash into 1- to 2-inch cubes. Add to pot and add a mixture of water and chicken stock to cover. Add 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne and either 1/2 tsp cumin or 1/4 tsp pimenton. Bring to simmer for 35-45 minutes (until squash is soft). If using a pressure cooker, it will need about 10 minutes. Puree in blender and strain. Add a bit of light cream and serve.

NOTE: If saving for later, reheat and then add the cream.

Meyer Lemon Ice Cream

Heat 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup whole milk, 1 cup heavy cream and 1 TBL butter until just shy of simmering. Remove from heat.

With a mixer, beat 4 egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar until it’s thickened and the color is very yellow. Continue beating the mixture and add the hot cream, in a very slow stream so you don’t cook the eggs by raising the temperature too quickly. When it’s all combined, return to heat and bring to 185 degrees. The mixture will be thick and coat the spoon. Pour through a strainer to remove any lumps.Chill in refrigerator.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water and 1 TBL grated lemon rind and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice. Pour through a strainer to remove the rind (it’s bitter) and any pulp or seeds in the juice. Chill.

When the flavoring and custard are both thoroughly chilled, combine and process in an ice cream maker.

NOTE: I had only Meyer lemon juice and regular lemon rind. It worked very well.

Braised Chicken with Mushrooms

This is a complete reworking of a recipe that started out with rabbit meat and cooked in the oven for hours. Years ago, I started cooking this recipe using chicken meat but only recently did I realize how perfect it is for the pressure cooker. It’s much faster, simpler and every bit as tasty.

In a pressure cooker, brown

  • 6-8 skinless chicken thighs

Work in batches if necessary. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and remove from pan.

Over medium high heat add

  • 1 stalk of celery, sliced
  • 1-2 carrots, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced

Season with salt and pepper, stirring until softened. Add

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 8 to 16 ounces of chopped, mixed mushrooms (see notes, below)
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme or 3/4 tsp dried thyme

Stir occasionally and cook for about 10 minutes, until all liquid is gone. Add

  • 1 cup white wine

and raise heat and reduce by half, then add

  • 2-3 cups chicken stock

Close pressure cooker and cook at high heat for 24 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then use a quick release technique.

The meat and bones will separate so working carefully, remove chicken pieces from pot. Add

  • 2/3 cup pitted black olives, coarsely chopped

ATTN I like oil-cured Moroccan olives although they can be too salty for some people. Cook until flavors have blended and sauce has thickened a bit (10-15 minutes). While it cooks, remove bones and gristle from the chicken pieces and return the meat to the pot.  Let chicken heat up completely, or remove from heat and reheat completed dish when ready to serve.

This is delicious served over Creamy Polenta, Whole Wheat Pappardelle or Fried Polenta.

Note: I like to use about 4 ounces of any exotic mushroom (such as Maitake or Oyster) except not Shiitake plus about 8 small Cremini mushrooms. I break or cut the caps of the exotics into recognizable pieces. chop up the stems finely and slice the Creminis finely. You could use button mushroom for a less expensive alternative. Sometimes I use rehydrated porcini mushrooms, saving the liquid to replace some of the chicken stock.

Andouille Sausage with Black-Eyed Peas

In a 6-quart (or larger) pressure cooker, heat 1+ TBL oil. (Don’t use less, as it keeps the beans from foaming and causing problems later on.) Saute 1 medium onion, diced, until soft. Add 1 cup dry, rinsed black-eyed peas, 1 minced stalk celery, 1 diced large red pepper, 1 minced jalapeno pepper, 1 minced carrot, 5 andouille sausage cut diagonally into thirds, a chunk of smoked turkey meat, 3 cups canned diced tomatoes with liquid, 1/2 cup water, 1 bay leaf and 1/2 tsp dried oregano.

Cover pressure cooker and bring to high pressure following directions for your model. Cook at high pressure for 11 minutes. I let the pressure come down naturally, but if you’re in a hurry to serve it right away, you may need to cook it for a few minutes longer after you open the cooker. Once it’s done cooking, check the salt level and add salt after cooking, if necessary.

Serve with rice.

Note: I used a 12-ounce package of Bilinski’s chicken-meat sausage.

Root Soup

This started out as potato soup originally, and it’s morphed into a much more interesting dish.

Peel and cut up 2-4 potatoes, 4-5 parsley roots, 3 carrots and 2 leeks. place in pot and cover with water. Add 2 tsp salt and bring to a boil; reduce to a strong simmer. Skim any starchy foam that accumulates on the surface. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Turn off heat.

In a skillet, melt 3 TBL butter over medium heat. When it starts to foam, add 11/2 to 2 TBL flour. Stir to make a smooth mixture and keep stirring until it’s a nut-brown color, but be sure you don’t let it burn. Add it to the soup, keeping it mind it will splatter. When the mixture is thoroughly combined, bring the soup back to a simmer for another 20-30 minutes.

If you want the soup less chunky, use a potato masher to break some if up. Let cool and reheat the next day; it will be much thicker. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Candied Pomelo Peel

This is sweet from the honey, but retains a nice bitter edge. It’s simple and delicious. And it’s really fast to make.

Pomelos usually show up in the market at the height of winter. They look like really big grapefruit, sometimes having a slight pear-like shape. Skins range from yellow to yellow-green. Find a pomelo that has no blemishes on the skin.

Cut the fruit into quarters, through the stem end. For each quarter, make a small cut between the fruit and the pith nearest one end, and then running your thumbnail around the fruit, separate the peel and fruit. You should be able to remove the peel on each quarter in a single piece. Reserve the fruit for eating.

Cut the peel into strips about 5/8 of an inch wide, but the size and shape is up to you. Turn each strip on its side and trim the pith down so the thickness of the peel is about 3/8-inch.

Put the peels into a pot full of water. Bring it to a strong boil, let it boil for one minute and drain off all the water. Add cold water and in under a minute the peels should be cool enough for you to squeeze out the water without burning yourself. ATTN Repeat the process of boiling, draining and squeezing the peel three more times. Each time you do this it removes some of the bitterness, so you can adjust the bitterness to your taste according to how many times you boil the peel. If you really like a bitter flavor, only boil it a total of three times, not four.

Set up a cake rack and place a sheet of wax paper or foil underneath it.

After the last boiling, put the drained peel back in the pot with 1 to 11/4 cups of honey. (You don’t have to measure it precisely because if it’s too dry you can add more and if there’s a little extra it will boil down or drain off.) Bring to a simmer and move the peel pieces around with tongs or chopsticks. The honey level may seem low, but you will need to get all the sides of the peel covered, so turn them as necessary. Add a little more honey as it cooks down, if needed. When the honey is disappearing and  ATTN the peel is translucent, transfer the pieces to the rack. Make sure the pieces aren’t touching. I find some pieces are done faster (they become translucent as they absorb the honey) and I remove them and let the rest keep cooking.

Preserved Lemons

Cut 6 Meyer lemons as follows: quarter them (almost) going from just below one end almost down to the other. The lemon will remain intact, but if you squeeze it by pressing the two ends towards each other, some juice will ooze out and the segments will be accessible. Using 1/4 cup kosher salt total, press a generous teaspoon of salt into the open segments of each lemon. Squeeze the lemons into a wide-mouth quart canning jar, along with the rest of the salt. Be sure any juice that comes out the lemons as you squeeze them makes its way into the jar. Add juice of 2-3 more lemons (Meyer or otherwise). Add water if necessary, or more lemon juice, to fill jar.

Seal jar with lid. Invert several times to mix contents and help salt dissolve. For the next 7 days, leave jar on counter, inverting each morning. Place in refrigerator after 7th day.

You can make these with any kind of lemon, but Meyer lemons work well, and they are only available in the wintertime.