Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce

November 23, 2017

IMG_6627Woah! Here it is Thanksgiving already and no doubt Christmas will be hot on its heels. Before we blink it will be upon us! I can’t believe I’m actually able to get this post off today because the Husband and I have been craaaa-zeee busy lately. But here you go – Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce, just in time for the holiday. Yes…as I previously mentioned…I do know that Thanksgiving is today. I also would wager there are quite a few of you stuck in the kitchen right now saying ” Oh no! I’ve still gotta do the cranberry sauce”. Don’t reach for that can of cranberry jelly. You can have some lovely homemade cranberry goodness all made up in about 20 minutes or so! Easy peasy! And like a lot of things I make, this Cranberry sauce has a kick…namely Bourbon. Bet no one would notice if you took a wee nip or two while you were preparing this dish. I’m sure you need it about now if you’re cooking for the family. Consider it medicinal.

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Now I will admit, this is a bit of a cheat because I have published this recipe before but it was hidden within other recipes. Like this Thanksgiving Pie -Toffee Blonde Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust, Pumpkin Ganache and Boozy Cranberry Sauce for example:

img_3579This year, I decided it should get the limelight. (And I did mention that things have been nuts around here right…). Sweet, tangy and a bit boozy, it is the perfect complement to items on your Thanksgiving menu. Not to mention, it is wonderful to have around when you dig into all those Thanksgiving leftovers! What would the Thanksgiving leftover sandwich be without it? Or maybe you could make up these Holiday Leftover Pirozhkis that I told you about last year?

img_5322It is also wonderful stirred into yogurt or as an oatmeal topping. This Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce it so fantastic and easy to make – which is very important since preparing holiday meals can be somewhat frantic to say the least – I bet it’ll show up on your Christmas table. There is no reason it should be relegated to Thanksgiving alone.

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This sauce can actually be made up several days before your holiday event as well and does just fine chilling in the fridge. So there you have it, a quick, easy and tasty Thanksgiving side dish, just in the nick of time. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce

  • Servings: 2 1/2 cups yield, about 8 - 10 folks depending on their appetites...
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces, weight Fresh Cranberries
  • 3/4 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Loosely Packed Orange Zest
  • 1/2 cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup quality Bourbon

Directions:

Pick through the cranberries, removing any stems or berries that don’t look plump and ripe. Rinse the remaining cranberries well, then place them in a heavy bottomed medium saucepan with the sugar, orange zest, orange juice, water and cinnamon stick. Stir to combine, then place the pan over medium heat. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.

After 15 minutes, the cranberries should all have burst. Remove the pan from the heat. The sauce will look very liquidy, but will thicken as it cools. After the sauce has cooled completely, stir in the bourbon. Remove the cinnamon stick and serve the cranberry sauce at room temperature or chilled.

Cranberry sauce can be made 2–3 days ahead of time.

Enjoy!

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Zucchini Tots

October 11, 2016

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Wait….wait! I’ve got another delicious zucchini recipe to share before zucchini season is over. Zucchini Tots! Crispy on the outside and oh so tender on the inside, whether you serve them as a side, appetizer or the main event, these little nuggets are unbelievably addictive. The husband says he likes them better than regular Tater Tots. Now me…I don’t think I can go that far. Nothing against these zucchini tots, which are spectacular, but I love me some potatoes. Don’t really care how you make ’em…mashed, baked, scalloped – but fried can’t be beat. I think I’d categorize these little zucchini gems as a totally different thing. I probably should have called them zucchini bites. That being said, I certainly feel more virtuous having eaten Zucchini Tots rather than Tater Tots, so there is that.

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Another great thing about these tots is that they are really easy and pretty quick to make. Just be sure you squeeze as much water out of the zucchini as you can before mixing it in with the other ingredients so that you can achieve ultimate crispiness. You see I love the crispy bit, that’s why I rolled these tots in a bit more panko before baking them. But you can skip the panko roll step if you aren’t that into crispy or simply can’t be bothered. No matter what, these Zucchini Tots will still knock your socks off – guaranteed!

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Zucchini Tots

  • Servings: 20 tots
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: The Wimpy Vegetarian

Ingredients:

  • 2 -3 small zucchini, shredded (you should have about 2 cups worth)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup small-diced yellow onion
  • ⅓ cup grated Asiago Cheese (feel free to use Parmesan, mozzarella, or even cheddar)
  • ¼ cup Panko (bread crumbs) plus 1 cup additional for coating tots
  • 8 oz. ricotta cheese
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Don’t use foil – the tots will stick to it like super-glue. Trust me. Place 1 cup of panko in shallow bowl and set aside.

Combine all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl using a large metal spoon.

Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop the zucchini mixture into mounds. Drop zucchini mixture into the middle of the panko bowl. Gently roll to cover will Panko and gently shape into a tater tot shape. Arrange on the parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 12 minutes, gently flip over, and bake for another 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Serve warm.

Enjoy!

Zucchini Tots brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Zucchini Tots:

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop

 


Irish Potato Bites

March 16, 2016

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Goodness Gracious! Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day! How time does fly! Here is a great little St. Patrick’s Day appetizer, Irish Potato Bites! These are little, one bite sized, twice baked potatoes stuffed with Corned Beef and Irish Cheddar and then topped with a little dollop of sour cream. They are completely addictive. And another fantastic thing about this dish is that you can make these little gems ahead of time and freeze them. Just pop them into the oven straight from the freezer to bake. Once they’re done, all that is left to do is garnish with the sour cream, chives and flaky salt just before you are ready to pass around the appetizer tray.

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Truth be told, while it was great that these appetizers were small enough to just pop into your mouth, it did make them a bit difficult to work with. The smallest melon baller I owned was too big to scoop out the inside potato bit, so I had to resort to a teeny tiny dessert spoon. It was totally do able, but I also bet you could go with a slightly bigger potato and serve these as a side dish rather than an appetizer if you were a bit short on time…or patience…or both.

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But if you don’t mind a little prep work, these appetizers are ahh…mazing! When I served them up, folks were delighted. Potatoes, Corned Beef & Irish Cheddar…you just can’t go wrong!

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Irish Potato Bites

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: easy - but a bit fiddly
  • Print

recipe from: White Lights on Wednesday

Ingredients:

  • 20 Baby Red Potatoes, small (golf ball size)
  • 1/2 Cup leftover Corned Beef, chopped finely
  • 1/4 Cup Irish Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter, melted
  • Salt & Maldon flaky sea salt for serving
  • Sour cream & chives for toppings

Directions:

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil.

Add potatoes and boil until they are fork tender.

Preheat oven to 400°F

Once potatoes are cooked and have cooled cut each one in half and cut a small slice off of the rounded end so the potato will not roll over. Place the potato halves on a parchment lined baking tray.

Carefully scoop out the flesh of each potato half into a medium sized bowl.

Mash the potatoes with butter until it is smooth Add the shredded cheese and corned beef to the potato and mix well.

Salt and pepper mixture to taste.

Sprinkle some salt over the reserved potato skin halves.

Scoop potato/corned beef/cheese mixture into potato halves and then place them on a baking sheet.

Pop baking sheet in oven for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven. Pipe a small dollop of sour cream onto each potato bite and garnish with fresh chives and few flakes of Maldon Sea Salt.

Enjoy!

Irish Potato Bites brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Helpful Links to Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Irish Potato Bites:

Oxo Good Grips Melon Baller

 

 


Colcannon Cheddar Skillet Cakes

March 13, 2016

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O.k…So you know that Colcannon I told you about yesterday? It is pretty ahhhh..mazing all on its own right? Well guess what? I don’t know if you will actually have any leftovers when you make up a big old batch of Colcannon…but if you do…you can make Colcannon Cheddar Skillet Cakes the next morning!

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Squeeeeee! I love leftover recipes! And boy oh boy is this a fantastic one! You take that mouthwateringly delicious Colcannon and stir in some lovely Irish Cheddar, an egg and a bit of flour. Then you simply drop it onto a hot skillet and fry it up. Good Lord above!!! These little Colcannon Skillet Cakes are crisp and crunchy on the outside and filled with all the warm, gooey, cheesey Colcannon goodness on the inside.

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You might just have to  double your Colcannon recipe just to make sure that you do have leftovers so that you can make these Skillet Cakes. And they’re not only great for breakfast. We’ve had them as a side dish for dinner as well. So delicious! I wouldn’t have thought you could improve on Colcannon, but here we have. Comfort food nirvana has been achieved!

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Colcannon Cheddar Skillet Cakes

  • Servings: 8 cakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup leftover Colcannon
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar, grated
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • oil to grease skillet
  • sour cream & chives for serving

Directions:

Place leftover Colcannon in medium mixing bowl.

Make a well in the center of the Colcannon and add beaten egg. Mix until combined.

Sprinkle grated cheese and flour over Colcannon/egg mixture and stir until thoroughly incorporated

Heat a thin layer of oil (I used bacon grease, though any vegetable oil or even butter will work just fine) over medium heat in a cast iron skillet. Drop large cookie scoops full of Colcannon mixture into the pan. You can actually make any size Colcannon cakes that your heart desires. However, I have found that smaller cakes give you more of the crisp factor than larger cakes. But proceed as you wish.

Allow cakes to cook undisturbed until the underside is golden brown. Flip the cakes and continue to cook until the second side is browned.

Remove cakes to a paper towel lined dish covered with foil until ready to serve. Serve warm with sour cream and chives if you desire.

Enjoy!

Colcannon Cheddar Skillet Cakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Colcannon Cheddar Skillet Cakes:

Norpro 2 Tablespoon Cookie Scoop

Le Creuset Iron Handle 10 1/4 ” Skillet

Le Creuset Silicone Cool Tool Handle Sleeve

 


Colcannon (Cál Ceannann)

March 12, 2016

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Ahhhh….Colcannon! Irish Comfort food at its finest! I can’t believe in all my years of St. Patrick’s Day blogging I haven’t shared this recipe. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with this dish, it is buttery mashed potatoes whipped up with cabbage, leeks and bacon. OMG right?!!! With that list of outstanding ingredients, you just know it is going to be to die for.

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Colcannon or Cál Ceannann in Irish simply means white-headed cabbage. There are many regional variations on this dish, sometimes ham is used rather than bacon, sometimes you’ll find spring onions included rather than leeks. Indeed, I was rather horrified to discover that some peculiar folks will use kale rather than cabbage. This is disturbing to me for a couple of reasons. First off, the dish’s actual name is the word for cabbage, so….

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And then of course, I hate kale. Yup…hate it. I know it is good for me. However, I find it bitter and evil. In fact the mere thought of kale inspires this same look I have when I find caraway seeds in my soda bread.

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I’m flexible on swapping around some of the other ingredients in my Colcannon, though I do believe that leeks, cabbage and bacon are supreme. But, please… don’t get that nasty old kale anywhere near my Colcannon! Anyhoo…In Ireland, Colcannon is traditionally served on Halloween. It is a bit like Barmbrack that I just recently told you about, in that it was used in Halloween divination rituals. Several charms or trinkets, such as a ring, thimble or coins would be stirred into the Colcannon before it was served. The item you ended up with on your plate would tell your fortune. (i.e.. if you got a ring, you would be married before the year was through.) In the 1800’s, Irish immigrants brought this recipe with them to the United States and Colcannon came to be associated more with St. Patrick’s Day, rather than Halloween. I can definitely say, for me, Colcannon is great any time of the year. Sheer Comfort Food perfection!

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Colcannon (Cál Ceannann)

  • Servings: 6 -8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: Williams Sonoma

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 lb. potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup milk (or cream if you are feeling particularly decadent)
  • 4 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 large leeks, white and light green portions,
    halved lengthwise, rinsed well and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small head cabbage, about 1 lb., cored
    and coarsely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Directions:

Put the potatoes in a large pot, add water to cover the potatoes by 2 inches and generously salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain well in a colander.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, combine the butter and milk and heat until the butter melts and the mixture is hot, 8 to 10 minutes.

Set a potato ricer over the bowl of a stand mixer and press the potatoes through in batches. Mix in the milk mixture in two additions. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and set over a large saucepan of barely simmering water to keep warm.

Heat a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.

Pour off all but 3 Tablespoons of the fat from the pot. Return the pot to medium heat, add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and toss until tender-crisp, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with freshly ground nutmeg and the bacon, and season with salt and pepper. Stir the potatoes into the cabbage mixture and serve warm.

Enjoy!

Colcannon brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Colcannon:

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

Potato Ricer

 


Irish Cheddar & Thyme Potato Soufflés

March 5, 2016

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Wow! Look what I’ve got here for you today…Irish Cheddar & Thyme Potato Soufflés! Sounds quite posh huh? I must admit, that is certainly the vibe I got when I heard someone talk about a soufflé. I thought soufflés were a bit too fancy for me and I was, in all honesty, much too nervous to attempt to make one. I mean I had spent my whole childhood watching cartoons which often showed some poor soul slaving over a soufflé all day just to have it collapse after some surprising loud noise occurred. Nah…not for me. Those soufflé things just sounded too persnickety and with my quick temper, there was always the chance I would do some serious damage to the source of the aforementioned loud noise which would quite possibly land me in the jail house. And then there was the fact that I had only ever thought of sweet soufflés, I never even considered that there could be a savory soufflé.

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Well I am very pleased to say that all those Saturday morning cartoons mislead me a bit on the soufflé front, as well as many others I’m sure. I can probably need not worry about coyotes toting huge Acme anvils or sticks of TNT either. 🙂

Ha! Remember these guys?

Ha! Remember these guys?

These Irish Cheddar & Thyme Potato Soufflés were not difficult to make at all. And they taste ahhh-mazing! So light, so fluffy. And completely adorable in their little individual serving dishes. Kind of fancy, yet they also have a bit of a rustic vibe. The husband went mad for them and wondered where they had been all his life. So if you are looking for a unique potato dish for those St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, why not try these soufflés? Take it from me, no need to be scared….soufflés can be your new BFF!

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Irish Cheddar & Thyme Potato Soufflés

  • Servings: 2 - 5 inch shuffles & 4 Le Creuset mini Cocottes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: One Sweet Mess

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cubed.
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, plus more for brushing
  • 1 heaping cup grated Kerry Gold Reserve Cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped thyme, leaves only
  • 3 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
  • scant 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375° F. Generously brush the inside of 2 (5-inch) soufflé dishes, as well as 4 Le Creuset cocottes with butter.

Cut the potatoes into 1-inch chunks. Add the potatoes to a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring the potatoes to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 10 minutes.

Drain the potatoes very well. Either place the potatoes in a food mill or run them though a potato ricer. The moral of the story is that you want these mashed potatoes to be very finely processed. You can even do this with a good old potato masher. But if you do, make sure you really mash them well!

Stir in the butter, grated cheese, half and half, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the egg yolks.

Add the egg whites to a large bowl. Whisk until the whites become foamy. Add a pinch of cream of tartar to the bowl. Continue to whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Add a heaping scoop of egg whites to the potato mixture; gently fold to combine. Fold in the remaining egg whites until no streaks of white remain.

Fill each of the prepared soufflé dishes 3/4 of the way full with the potato mixture. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the soufflé is puffed and a rich golden brown color.

Enjoy!

Irish Cheddar & Thyme Potato Souflees brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients Irish Cheddar & Thyme Souflees:

Le Creuset Set of 4 Mini Cocottes

Potato Ricer

Herb Stripper

 

 


Spicy Summer Tex-Mex Quinoa Salad

September 30, 2015

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Wow! Last Wednesday was the first day of Fall and apparently for once the weather in the good old State of Virginia agrees with the calendar. Temperatures around here have been just glorious. The humidity has chilled out and the days are warm but the nights are just starting to get a bit of chill to them. I for one could not be happier, though it did seem a bit sudden. Usually summer lingers on around here for quite some time. I won’t say anything more about it though because I don’t want to speak too soon and “word” it. (Yup…I sure did word it. I wrote the last sentence about the great Fall weather over the weekend. On Monday the temperature crept back up to 80°, and was accompanied by remarkable Virginia swamp-like humidity. I knew it was too good to be true!)  I’ll just say, here’s one more great summer recipe which should carry over nicely into Fall…Spicy Summer Tex-Mex Quinoa Salad.

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This salad can be served room temperature or even chilled if the mercury starts to creep up again. And it has a bit of a spicy kick to warm you up a bit if the chillier temperatures persist. If you have any leftover Spicy Grilled Corn from those Zucchini, Spicy Grilled Corn & Cheese Pancakes that I told you about a couple of weeks ago, this is a great way to put it to good use! The husband and I usually enjoy this dish on Meatless Mondays, and I serve it over a bed of lettuce. It gives it a taco salad-y kind of vibe. Another option, if you were feeling a bit more carnivorous, would be to add in some spicy chicken or grilled steak. And although we love it as a main dish, it would also be great as a side next to a big old burrito, taco or enchilada. So there you have it… all the healthful benefits of quinoa and all the fresh spicy tastes of summer. What a winner!

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Spicy Summer Tex-Mex Quinoa Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe adapted from: Once Upon a Chef

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup pre-washed quinoa (if not washed, follow package instructions for rinsing)
  • 1-2/3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or 1 cup chopped tomatoes, from 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1-1/4 cups Spicy Grilled Corn – recipe to follow (can use canned corn if you don’t have fresh)
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, finely sliced
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, from 1 large lime
  • 1 avocado, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • Cotija cheese, crumbled
  • shredded iceberg lettuce (to serve Quinoa Salad over – if you desire)

Directions:

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minutes or so. Add the spices to the onion/garlic mixture and stir to combine

Add the quinoa to the onion/spice mixture and continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Cover the pan tightly with a lid, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 17-20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is cooked. Transfer the cooked quinoa to a mixing bowl and chill in the refrigerator.

When the quinoa is cool, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, tomatoes, Spicy Grilled Corn, black beans, scallions, jalapeno, cilantro, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and lime juice. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Right before serving, scatter the avocado chunks and Cotija Cheese over top.

Spicy Grilled Corn

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 ears of fresh corn in husk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp chili powder

Directions:

Combine olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt, brown sugar and chili powder in small bowl and whisk together.
Preheat grill.
Peel back the corn husks, discarding all but a couple inner layers. Remove corn silk, then baste with dressing, and recover corn with remaining husk.
Grill on med-high for 20-25 minutes, turning 3-4 times during cooking time.
Remove the corn from grill and allow to cool a few minutes. Once it has cooled enough to handle, cut off stem end, place the flat cut end on bottom of large bowl, and use a corn zipper to strip the kernels from the cob. Or if you don’t have a zipper, run a small sharp knife down the length of the cob, slicing off kernels.

Enjoy!

Spicy Summer Tex-Mex Quinoa Salad brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

 

 


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