A couple of years ago I made corned beef from scratch for the first time. The process is super easy and the results are delicious.
There are two potential challenges with this recipe: it may take you time to track down pink salt – this is a preserving salt not just a pink colored salt like Himalayan salt; and pickling (corning) the beef takes about five days – which isn’t really a challenge unless your refrigerator is already packed to the gills. Finding space for the container might be hard but this recipe is definitely worth it.
I wrote a post with all the details the first time I made it. If you get started now you’ll have plenty of time and you’ll be rewarded with your own scrumptious corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day!
Apparently this is my winter of making lighter, frozen confections – first the tangerine sorbet and now this espresso/coffee granita! A nice thing about granita is that you don’t need special equipment to make it, so anyone can enjoy this icy delight. It does, however, take a little time as you break up the ice crystals throughout the freezing process.
You can make this recipe with either espresso or strong coffee. I used a combination because I wanted the richness of espresso but the ease of making a pot of coffee. And I chose decaf beans so I wouldn’t mess up anyone’s sleep when I served it as the finale of a recent dinner.
It’s traditional to top this granita with whip cream but you could also use a shot of a favorite liqueur (think Bailey’s, Frangelico or Kahlua) or even just cream straight from the carton.
You’ll need space in your freezer where a 9″x13″ pan can lay flat, but there’s no special equipment required for granita.
based on a recipe from The Perfect Scoop
Makes about 2 quarts
- 1 cup of freshly brewed espresso
- 3 cups of freshly brewed very strong coffee (I used 2-3 times the normal coffee amount)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
Mix all ingredients together while the coffee and espresso are still warm. Stir until the sugar is well dissolved. Cool the mixture to room temperature or cooler.
Pour the mixture into a 9″x13″ pan and place it in the freezer. (Alternatively, it may be easier to put the pan in the freezer and then pour the mix, to avoid sloshing.)
Freeze for 1 hour, then take a fork and break up any ice crystals that have formed around the edges of the pan. Drag them towards the center of the pan. The mixture will still be almost all liquid so be careful if you need to remove the pan from the freezer to break up the crystals.
From this point on, every 30 minutes rake the mixture with a fork, breaking up the crystals and pulling them to the center of the pan. It will take a few hours for the mixture to completely freeze.
I believe citrus fruit is in season during the winter months to keep us from going stir-crazy during frigid and gray winters. With their bright colors and sweet-tart flavor they shock us out of seasonal malaise. This tangerine sorbet brings a jolt of sunshine and a spring to my step even on the dreariest of days. It’s super simple to make – there are just three ingredients and two of them come from the tangerines!
There’s a fine line between some sorbets and granita and this is one of them. This recipe uses an ice-cream maker; but take the same ingredients, freeze them in a long, wide container (like a 9”x12” pan), then occasionally scrape with a fork and you’ll have granita, instead of sorbet. In fact, you can see that I scraped more than scooped to fill my little bowl.
Remove the sorbet from the freezer 10 to 15 minutes before serving to let it soften a bit. With just fruit juice and sugar the mixture will freeze rock-solid.
- Zest from 1 or 2 tangerines
- 3 cups tangerine (or other citrus) juice
- ¾ cup sugar
Add the sugar to 1 cup of the tangerine juice. Heat over low heat just until sugar is dissolved. (It won’t take long.) Let it cool to room temperature.
Add the zest to the remaining 2 cups of the tangerine juice and, when the sugar-juice mixture has cooled, combine all the juice together. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 hours until completely cold.
Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
I’ve never made pecan pie before. Which is odd because I really like a good pecan pie and cringe when I have a bad one. So it seems I should have tried my hand at making one (or more) to learn what makes a good pie. Since one of my assignments was the “other” pie for Thanksgiving, other than pumpkin, that is, I decided to give it a try. Lucky for me I used the recipe from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook so my very first pie was great!
The filling in the Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie is rich but not too sweet like some pecan pies are. The molasses and bourbon in the recipe add depth and balance the sugar. Toasting the pecans results in a nuttier flavor. The filling was really easy to pull together.
I even decided to try the suggested pastry recipe instead of my normal go-to recipe. The pastry was pretty time intensive, because there is a lot of chilling at various steps along the way. But it’s really good and would have been even better if I didn’t make an error while blind baking the shell – I somehow turned off the heat when I placed the shell in the oven. Crazy! When I realized what I’d done I had to get the oven back up to temperature and then continue baking. Of course all the time spent keeping the pastry cold before placing it in the oven went down the drain. But even with my error it was still rather flaky, if a bit crispy, too. You can also see that I didn’t get the crust properly anchored to the pan – that’s why the crust is not covering the rim of the pie plate. Not all the filling will fit in the pie crust if it shrinks, but I don’t really stress out over that. I just bake the leftover filling in a little ramekin and save it as a treat for myself – there are positive aspects to making mistakes sometimes!
The only thing I might do differently next time is try to squeeze in a few more nuts – but maybe not. I need to think about that a little more.
If you have a baker or would-be baker in the family, this cookbook would make a nice holiday gift. In the meantime you can find the pie recipe here.
I love this salad dressing recipe and am rarely without it once fresh cranberries appear in the grocery store. Not only is it delicious, but the color is vibrant and cheery – a perfect way to brighten gray autumn or winter days. Over the years it’s become a family favorite. Whenever I’m responsible for the green salad for Thanksgiving dinner this is the salad dressing that’s requested. I think this year I’ll use spinach as the base for the salad; add finely sliced red onions; sliced mushrooms; pieces of Satsuma; and sweet-spicy walnuts.
The original recipe is from a really great cookbook (you’ll love all the recipes), Dishing with Kathy Casey: Food, Fun, and Cocktails from Seattle’s Culinary Diva. If you are looking for a holiday gift for someone who loves to cook this is a good option!
- 2/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar or distilled vinegar
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed Satsuma juice*
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepperPlace cranberries, sugar and vinegar in small saucepan and heat over medium heat until cranberries pop, 5 – 10 minutes.Let cranberries cool slightly and then transfer to a blender. Puree (being careful to make sure the top doesn’t pop off if they are still warm) the mixture until fairly smooth – there will still be pieces of bright red skin. Add the mustard and Satsuma juice and lightly mix.Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Slowly, slowly add the oil while continuously whisking until all oil has been incorporated and the mixture is emulsified.Use immediately or store in the refrigerator.* Use any sort of orange-flavored citrus you have on hand. The original recipe called for orange juice but I love the tang of tangerine or satsuma!
I’m just about to jump into full-on holiday baking for this year. With Thanksgiving late in November this year, the time until Christmas is going to fly! Especially since my family always gathers the weekend before Christmas, leaving me just over three weeks to get everything done. So I’m starting a little earlier than usual.
Each year I bake many of the tried and true favorites that my family enjoys but I also try to include one or two new things. This year, I’ve decided to attempt panettone, a slightly sweet, Italian Christmas bread dotted with fruit. After searching through my cookbooks I chose a recipe from the Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. In the cookbook she makes the recipe into two larger panettone but for my experiment I chose to make smaller breads as in this version.
Traditional panettone is baked in star-shaped pans. I have a sunflower baking pan similar to this Nordic Ware Bouquet Pan, that I decided to use, since it has angles similar to the star pans.
Following Martha’s instruction for the small loaves this first attempt resulted in slightly dry loaves, and that included reducing the baking time fairly substantially. I’m guessing that since my heavy metal pan would be hotter than the paper molds used in the recipe the baked the bread more quickly. The resulting bread was good enough though and sometime this next week I’ll experiment again – this time with larger loaves. I’m excited to see my next results!
This recipe has been a long time coming…. It was more than three years ago when I first made Grilled Asparagus Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette and a Crispy Egg and I’m finally getting around to writing about it.
Araxi is one of my favorite restaurants in Whistler Village. I always stop in at least for a bite of something at the bar, if not for a full dinner. When some friends visited Whistler several years ago I recommended Araxi as a place they had to visit. They had a wonderful meal and also became fans. When the Araxi cookbook was released in 2009 they decided to host a dinner where we’d all make something from the cookbook. Six of us got together in May 2010 and this is the dish I made.
I loved this recipe from the beginning but must have held off posting it because there are several steps, so the instructions are long. Luckily for me, procrastination has paid off. A year or so after the dinner with my friends, James Walt, the Araxi chef who wrote the cookbook, appeared on a local program and they posted this recipe online. Can you say cut and paste?
This recipe is listed as a dinner starter in the cookbook, but would also make a nice brunch or lunch main course.
When I made this dish I was very concerned about handling and deep-frying the poached eggs but found that they are actually pretty tough when they’ve cooled. I didn’t have any trouble breading or frying them. I would, however, recommend poaching a couple extra, “just in case” for your peace of mind, but there’s a very good chance you won’t need your extras.
I’ve tried to get my head around the burgeoning distillery scene in the Seattle area, or maybe I should expand that to read in the state of Washington. Every time I make a teeny dent in it there’s another surge of new options – either places that I’m just hearing about or those that have recently begun producing. A few years ago my friends decided we should do a hard liquor tasting tour – like a wine tasting tour – but at the time tasting rooms were few and far between so our plans didn’t make it off the ground. Now, however, you could actually choose a distillery “region” and taste several distiller’s spirits in rather close proximity. I really need to get on it.
In the meantime, I was invited to a tasting at Copperworks Distilling Company. You’ll find Copperworks along the Seattle waterfront, near the aquarium, in one of the buildings next to the viaduct. The tasting room opened in early October on the day they bottled their first gin. They are currently offering vodka and gin. In a few years, once it has aged, they’ll also bottle and offer whiskey but for now it’s sitting in barrels mellowing and acquiring character.
On the night of our tasting they offered the gin in a cocktail and also in a standard gin and tonic. While the cocktail was good, I loved the gin and tonic. Great flavor and crisp like you want a gin. Their gin is London-Dry style, generally considered the best style for classic martinis, gin and tonics, and other cocktails where drier is better.
Copperworks makes two style of vodka: All-Malt Vodka, which is a limited edition barley vodka; and their Copperworks Vodka which is lighter and meant for mixing. We sampled the Copperworks Vodka and I loved the viscous mouth-feel.
My favorite part of the event though, was meeting the people of Copperworks. Warm, friendly and knowledgeable. It’s the sort of company you want to support just because you like the people so much – although it doesn’t hurt that they are on their way to creating a great line of products, too!
Copperworks Distilling Company is currently open for tours and tastings Wednesday and Thursday from 2:00pm – 6:00pm; Friday and Saturday from noon – 7:00pm; and Sunday from noon – 5:00pm. More information regarding tours is on their website.
Copperworks Distilling Company
1250 Alaskan Way
If some of the appetizers in the photos look familiar there’s good reason. All the food was provided by Elliott’s Oyster House!