Friday, November 22, 2013

Potpourri: Thanksgiving Prep: Curried Apricots

I wanted to share one more potpourri/Thanksgiving prep post this week. My mother always makes this dish for Thanksgiving. It's incredibly easy to make, makes your house smell great, and tastes wonderful (especially if you love curry).
What are some of your family's "always make" dishes for Thanksgiving?
Curried Apricots from my Mom's Best Recipes Cook Book
Can of Apricots (any size)
Curry Powder
1+ Tablespoon brown sugar
Put apricots, upsides down, and juice in pan. Sprinkle a healthy amount of curry powder on top of apricots. Sprinkle brown sugar over each piece. Bake 350°F until bubbly and serve warm.
Bake well and prosper!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Potpourri: Thanksgiving Prep: Corn Pudding

One of my best friends is currently in England right now for a year long grad school program. She wrote to me last week requesting the recipe for the corn pudding I made four years ago for Thanksgiving. She wants to make it for her college friends' "Thanksgiving" dinner. (I used quotation marks because they are having it the day after Thanksgiving and IN ENGLAND!
I kid...I just like teasing my friend about England while she's over there. Once she's back I shall desist. I promise.)
Anyway, her request for one of my favorite T-day dishes got me thinking about posting the recipe on my blog. Now, while this is not dessert, it IS sweet and DOES contain sugar. It's also called Corn PUDDING. AND you bake it in the oven. When it's finished baking, it's nice and shiny on top.
This dish is served warm and is very sweet with a little touch of savory via the butter. It's very easy to put together and I highly recommend adding it to your Thanksgiving meal (or as a side dish to any meal!)
Corn Pudding (adapted from my Mom's Best Recipes Cook Book)
1 15 oz can creamed corn (any size from 14-16oz will do)
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 C sugar
2 eggs
Combine melted butter, sugar, and eggs and beat with rotary beater. Add to corn and put into greased casserole dish. Bake 325 degrees F for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Serves 3-4 people.
(To double, use 3 cans of corn and double everything else.)

Erika's Extras: This dish can be running on the bottom, so make sure to serve via a slotted spoon to drain some of the liquid.
Bake well and prosper!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Pineapple Pumpkin Punch

I love the name of this drink since it's an alliteration. It's rather fun to say especially when you add the fact that it's with pecans. Just say it out loud and enjoy the consonants spitting from your mouth.
Or not...
Here's something you can enjoy: Photos of fall.
I had wanted to go up a little north of NYC to be a leaf peeper for the past two weekends and finally, yesterday, I got to go on a lovely day trip to Cold Spring, NY.
Cold Spring is a quaint town with a lovely view located on the Hudson River.
I'm so glad I got to catch the last bit of fall foliage before winter really settles in.
If it's still fall in your neck of the woods, here's a good punch to make for fall parties. If made a day or two ahead, the spice from the cinnamon really develops which nicely compliments the rum and pumpkin.
Pineapple Pumpkin Punch (adapted from foodnetwork)

2 cups packed dark brown sugar
cinnamon sticks
1 29-ounce can pure pumpkin (about 3 1/2 cups)
2 limes
Splash of rum, for serving
Pineapple chunks and/or pecans, for serving

Combine 12 cups water, the brown sugar and cinnamon sticks in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the pumpkin and return to a simmer. Meanwhile, remove the zest from the limes in wide strips using a vegetable peeler; add the zest to the pot and simmer 15 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate until the liquid is cold and the pumpkin pulp settles to the bottom, 2 to 3 hours.
Working in batches, slowly pour the liquid into a fine-mesh strainer set over a pitcher (repeat if necessary to strain out all the pumpkin pulp). Discard the pulp and lime zest. Return the cinnamon sticks to the punch and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Erika's Extras: you can actually serve this warm if your prefer. I also found that the punch has a better cinnamon flavor after a day or more in the fridge.)
Pour the punch into ice-filled glasses. Add rum, pineapple, and pecans. Serve with the cinnamon sticks. 
Bake well and prosper!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Gluten-free Pistachio Cake with Blackberry Sauce

I had pistachios left over from these amazing dessert bars. There also happened to be a recent sale on blackberries at the local organic deli. So, while at the deli, I looked up desserts that used both pistachios and blackberries and found this winner. I quickly bought the ingredients I was missing and promptly went home to start baking.
Aren't those the best kind of days?
Processing the pistachios to make the "flour" was fun and I always find separating eggs rather calming. (Which is slightly weird, I know.) While the process to make this batter is a little time consuming, I enjoyed it a lot.
The cake was pretty with a slight hint of green when it came out of the oven.
Adding the blackberry sauce made this cake even prettier!
Don't you agree?

This cake ended up being gluten free since the pistachios acted as the flour. With the mixture of powdered and white sugar this cake ended up being very light, almost like an angel food cake or like a cake version of a macron. If you are like me and happen to have some pistachios on hand, this recipe is a good use for them.
Pistachio Cake with Blackberry Sauce (adapted from SugarHero which adapted it from Simply Recipes)

For the Pistachio Cake:
1 1/2 cups shelled pistachios, either roasted or raw
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs at room temperature, separated into yolks and whites
zest from one orange
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided use
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

For the Blackberry Sauce:12 oz fresh blackberries
3 tbsp granulated sugar (or more, to taste)
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tbsp corn starch

To Make the Pistachio Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Place the shelled pistachios in the bowl of a food processor and process for about 10 seconds, until they’re in small pieces. Add the powdered sugar and continue to process in 10-second intervals until the pistachios are a fine powder. Stop and scrape the corners of the bowl occasionally if you see pistachios are starting to build up there. The goal is to get the nuts as finely ground as possible. Don’t over-process them or you’ll risk them becoming greasy and turning into pistachio butter.
Once the nuts are finely ground, transfer them to a small bowl, add the baking powder, and whisk everything together.

In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks, orange zest, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and whisk well. Add the pistachio mixture and stir with a rubber spatula. The mixture will be very thick and sticky.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a large stand mixer, and whip them on medium speed with the whisk attachment until they become foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to whip the egg whites, gradually increasing the speed until you reach medium-high. When soft peaks form, start adding the remaining 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until it’s all incorporated. Whip until the egg whites form firm peaks but are not crumbly—they should be glossy and have body, like shaving cream.

Add a quarter of the egg whites to the pistachio mixture which will be a sticky and stiff process at first. Once it’s incorporated, your batter should be looser, so add another quarter and fold it in gently, then add the remaining egg whites in two batches, folding gently so as not to deflate the whites.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes, until it is puffed, golden, and the sides are pulling away from the pan. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Cool the cake on a wire rack, then release it from the springform pan to serve.

To Make the Blackberry Sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the blackberries and the sugar. As the berries heat up, they will soften and release their juices. Cook the berries, stirring occasionally until they start to lose their shape. You don’t want them completely liquefied, but they should break down a little bit and be very, very juicy.

Meanwhile, whisk together the orange juice and corn starch in a small bowl until the starch dissolves. Once the berries have broken down, whisk the starch mixture into the berries and cook it for a few minutes until it starts to thicken. (It won’t be a drastic change.) Remove the pan from the heat and cool the sauce until it is room temperature. As the sauce cools, it will continue to get thicker. Store extra blackberry sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Bake well and prosper!

Monday, November 4, 2013

SexyPop Brazilian Coconut Popcorn

A couple of weeks ago I was the lucky recipient of some SexyPop popcorn. Are you familiar with Pirate's Booty? Well guess what! That company recently introduced this fun, yummy, gluten free, cholesterol free, GMO free and rbGH free popcorn line. I enjoyed munching on the pepper flavored ones. Also the cheesy ones. Oh, and the salted ones. So, I guess I enjoyed them all!
When I first tried the Brazilian Coconut flavor, I instantly wanted to make it into a popcorn dessert.
So I did!
I took 3 ounces of dark chocolate, melted it in a pan on the stove with a teaspoon of coconut oil. Once it was nicely melted I drizzled it over the popcorn and then tossed in some organic shredded coconut and some chopped up macadamia nuts. The combo was light and delightful. I stored the left overs in the freezer so the chocolate wouldn't get too messy.
The next day I took it to my cheering spot for the NYC marathon. It was the perfect snack to eat while cheering on the marathoners as they gallantly ran by me.
Aren't the trees AND the runners amazing? I enjoyed my view and cheering on the runners. Cheering works up an appetite and this popcorn treat hit the spot for the couple of minutes I took from cheering to fill my tummy!
Bake well and prosper!