Friday, November 30, 2007

Holiday Gourmet - Melissa & Heidi

November 28, 2007

Thank you Heidi & Melissa for such a wonderful evening. I think we all got some great ideas and, of course, great recipes. I personally, can't wait to try them. We'll see you all in January . . . best of luck to Shelly and Lindsay.

Holiday Gourmet

Ginger Ale poured over Raspberry Ice Cubes
Cold Shrimp Cocktail in Frozen Ice Bowl
Greek Chicken Strudel
Potato Crisps with Dip
Cornucopia Salad
No Knead Bread
Pork Loin with Pomegranate and Orange Glaze
Rosemary Mashed Potatoes
Devil’s Food Cake with Chocolate Satin Frosting
Coconut Pecan Shortbread Cookies with Carmel Filling
Cinnamon Ice Cream Snow Balls with Hot Fudge Sauce
Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti

Potato Crisps with Dip

¼ C. olive oil
3 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise into 1/8-inch slices
1 T. kosher salt or coarse sea salt
2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 T. chopped fresh rosemary
1 T. chopped fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Brush a large baking pan with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and place the potatoes on it in a single layer. Brush the tops of the potatoes lightly with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle lightly with the salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme. Bake 15-18 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Let the potatoes cool on the baking sheet so they stay crisp, then serve.


1 c. sour cream
1 c. mayonnaise
2 t. bon appetit (this is in the spices)
2 t. dill weed

2 t. minced onion

Mix together sour cream and mayonnaise. Add bon appetit, dill weed, and onion and mix well. (This dip is also very good with chips or raw vegetables.)

Greek Chicken Strudel

12 sheets filo pastry
Butter, melted for brushing
3 c. chicken stock
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
6 c. loosely packed chopped spinach leaves, well washed

3 T. olive oil
1 ½ c. minced green onions
1/3 c. chopped fresh dill
1/3 c. chopped fresh parsley
¾ lb. feta cheese, crumbled
5 oz. Monterey jack cheese, grated

3 eggs
½ t. freshly grated nutmeg
1 t. ground coriander
¼ t. cayenne pepper
¾ c. chopped toasted walnuts
Salt and pepper to taste

To make filling, bring enough stock to cover the chicken breasts to a boil in a wide sauté pan. Add the breasts, reduce the heat and poach, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Lift out and let cool, then shred or chop the meat.

Place the spinach with the water clinging to it in a large frying pan and stir over medium heat until wilted, about 3 minutes. Drain well and squeeze dry.

Heat the oil in a sauté pan, add the green onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Place in a bowl with the chicken, spinach, dill, parsley, feta cheese, jack cheese, eggs, nutmeg, coriander, cayenne and walnuts; stir until well combined. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

Preheat an oven to 325 degrees. To assemble the strudels, brush a sheet of filo with the melted butter. Place another sheet on top, brush again, repeat for 2 more layers, then place a thin row of chicken mixture along the long side. Tuck in the ends and roll up. Repeat until all the filling and filo are used up; you will have 3 strudels. Transfer to baking sheets and bake on the middle rack of the oven until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, then cut into 1-inch slices crosswise with a serrated knife.

No-Knead Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting (I substitute ½ to 1 cup whole wheat flour)
¼ t. instant yeast
1 ¼ t. salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Ad 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is ok. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Cornucopia Salad

¼ c. slivered almonds
1 T. sugar
1 head ice burg lettuce
1 head romaine lettuce
1 Granny Smith apple, cut up, skin on
1 11 oz. can mandarin oranges

1 small jicama peeled and cubed
½ c. dried cranberries

Caramelize sugar over almonds. Cook on low heat until lightly browned. Clean and tear lettuce. Add almonds, apples, oranges, jicama, and cranberries. Toss with dressing.

½ t. grated orange peel
1/3 c. fresh orange juice
2 T. red wine vinegar
½ c. vegetable oil
2 T. sugar
1 T. Good Seasons dry Italian dressing mix.

Rosemary Mashed Potatoes

4-6 medium russet potatoes
2/3 c. creamy garlic chicken broth
Fresh Rosemary (1 sprig or so)
1/3 c. fat free sour cream
Salt and pepper

Skin potatoes and boil until tender. Drain water and set aside. Pour broth and rosemary in a skillet and simmer for 15 minutes. Add broth and rosemary to potatoes and mash well. Stir in sour cream and salt and pepper to taste.

Pork Loin with Pomegranate and Orange Glaze

Serves 6
Pomegranate syrup is available in specialty markets. Marinate the pork in the spice paste overnight for fullest flavor.

1 boneless pork loin, about 3 lbs. tied for roasting

Spice Paste:
2 t. minced garlic
2 T. hot Dijon mustard
Finely grated zest of 1 orange

1/3 c. fresh orange juice
2 T. grated, peeled fresh ginger
2 T. pomegranate syrup
2 T. soy sauce

Basting Sauce:
1/3 c. fresh orange juice
3 T. honey
3 T. pomegranate syrup
2 T. soy sauce

Place the pork in a glass or plastic dish. To make the spice paste, in a bowl, combine the garlic, mustard, orange zest, and juice, ginger, pomegranate syrup, and soy sauce. Rub onto the meat, cover and marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before cooking.

Mix all ingredients for basting sauce. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the marinated pork loin in a roasting pan and roast, brushing often with the basting sauce, until nicely glazed, about 1 hour and 10 minutes or until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 140 degrees for medium.

Devil’s Food Cake with Chocolate Satin Frosting

5 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
½ t. salt
12 T. unsalted butter, softened

1 ¾ c. firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 T. pure vanilla extract
1 ½ c. sour cream
1 ½ c. boiling water
1 recipe Mrs. Milman’s Chocolate Frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch cake pans and set aside. Place the chocolate in a double boiler and melt over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate melts. (Do not let the chocolate cool too much or it will harden. If this happens, place the pan back on the heat for a few minutes.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Cream together the butter and brown sugar in a separate bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, to the butter mixture, and beating well after each addition. Beat until well blended. Add the vanilla and melted chocolate and stir by hand to mix.

Add the flour to the mixture, alternating with the sour cream, to the egg- butter mixture and stir just until the dry ingredients are moist and blended. Do not over-mix. Stir in the boiling water and mix until well blended (the batter will be fairly liquid and runny). Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, until the cakes are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Remove from the pans and continue to cool on a baking rack.

Once the cakes have cooled completely, use a serrated knife to slice of the top rounded portion of each cake to make a flat, even surface. Discard the trimmings. Place one of the layers cut side down on a cake plate. Top with about one-third of the frosting and spread evenly over the top of the cake. Place the other layer on top, cut side down. Top with the remaining frosting and spread over the top and sides of cake.

Mrs. Milman’s Chocolate Frosting


Makes 6 cups.

  • 24 ounces semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup


1. Put chocolate and cream into a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat; stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, until thick, 30 to 35 minutes. Rem ove from heat. Stir in corn syrup. Transfer to a large, wide metal bowl. Refrigerate until frosting is cool enough to spread, about 2 hours, checking and stirring every 15 minutes. Use immediately.

Cinnamon Ice Cream Snowballs
With Hot Fudge Sauce

1 quart good quality vanilla ice cream, softened
1 t. ground cinnamon
sweetened coconut

Mix together softened ice cream and cinnamon. Form the ice cream into 2-4 inch balls (depending on the serving size you want). As you form each ball, place them individually onto a square of wax paper and wrap paper around ball to hold its shape. Freeze ice cream balls until hardened. When ready to serve, unwrap each ball and roll in coconut. Drizzle hot fudge over snow ball! (Peppermint stick ice cream is also fun to use.)

Hot Fudge Sauce:

6 oz. chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
6 T. water

Heat all ingredients slowly in a sauce pan until chocolate is melted. Do not boil. Serve immediately.

Coconut Pecan Shortbread Cookies
With Caramel Filling

Bake at 350 for 5-7 minutes
½ c. sweetened coconut
½ c. pecans chopped

Cookie Dough:

1 c. unsalted butter at room temperature
½ c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
½ t. salt

Cream together sugar and butter. Mix in by hand vanilla, flour, and salt. Add pecans and coconut once cooled. Chill dough for 45 minutes. Flour surface and roll dough into ¼ inch thickness. Cut into desired shape. Chill dough again for 15 minutes. Bake 10-15 minutes at 350.

(I did 2 star shapes. On half of them I did a small hole in the middle.)

Caramel Filling:

2/3 c. sugar
3 T. water
¼ c. heavy cream
2 T. butter

In a large skillet pan over medium high heat dissolve the sugar in water. Let it come to an amber color flavored syrup stirring every once in a while. Whisk in heavy cream and butter it will bubble. Transfer to stainless steel bowl and let cool. Drizzle ½ t. caramel over cookie and place another one on top. Can also drizzle stripes over the cookie.

(Note: I cheated and bought some caramel!)

Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti

2 c. flour
1 ½ t. baking powder
½ t. salt
2 eggs
¾ c. sugar
½ c. butter, melted and cooled
1 ½ t. grated orange zest
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. almond extract
1 c. coarsely chopped pistachio nuts, toasted
½ c. dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In another large bowl, combine the eggs and sugar. Beat on medium speed until light in color and thick, about 3 minutes. Beat in the melted butter, orange zest, and vanilla and almond extracts on low speed until blended. Add the dry ingredients and beat until incorporated. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the pistachio nuts and cranberries. The dough will be soft and sticky.

Scoop out half of the dough onto one half of the prepared baking sheet, and form it into a log 10 inches long. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the logs 3 inches apart. Press the logs gently to make them 3 inches wide. With damp fingertips, gently smooth the surface of the logs.

Bake the logs until they are crisp and golden on the outside, 20-25 minutes. The centers will be soft. Remove from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Let the logs cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.

With a wide spatula, transfer the logs to a cutting board and, using a serrated knife, cut each log crosswise on the diagonal into slices ¾ inch apart, on the baking sheet. Return to the oven and bake until the cookies are crisp and brown on the outside, 17-22 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. The interiors of the cookies become crisp as they cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.