Tag Archives: cranberries

Paleo Week 2: Harvest Salad

I told myself that I would not have any obligation to post everyday during this 30 day challenge, and I’m glad about it.  I went to a conference this past weekend (Friday & Saturday) in Seattle.  I was pleasantly surprised, because my expectations were very low.  I went prepared, while carrying around my little strawberry tote bag everywhere, which was loaded with Paleo supplies (celery sticks, nuts, apple slices, hazelnut butter, etc).  I also discovered that club soda is not nearly as awful when your taste buds have been devoid of sugar.  In fact, the soda water was AMAZING!

It also must be said that I still miss chocolate, red wine, and ice cream doesn’t sound too bad.  However, despite those non-L&G foods, I think I could see making this as part of our lifestyle.  Not necessarily 100%, but in the high percentages.  I will let you know about next week, because I’m told that come third week–your body feels better than good.  The downside to the challenge during this second week is how my performance at the gym has been low.  When running–my legs feel like lead.  When lifting–my arms feel like noodles.  I’m hoping week three will be better than good.

This salad is probably my go to salad.  My friend Jessica fell in love with it that she went out to get the ingredients that day.  And you can easily make it Paleo by nixing the blue cheese (just make sure the cranberries don’t have sugar with them).

A Year Ago: Roasting Pumpkin

Harvest Salad (printable recipe)

Ingredients:

Head of lettuce (romaine, red leaf, green leaf), washed, dried, & torn into bite sized pieces

1 apple (Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, whatever you want–just not Red Delicious)

1/2 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, chopped

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese, Roquefort

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 Tb mustard (regular or dijon)

1 tsp dried basil (crunch it in your hands to release the oils)

Directions:  Pretty straightforward, put the washed/torn lettuce into a big bowl.  Sprinkle the nuts, dried cranberries, & blue cheese on the lettuce.

In a bowl or glass measuring cup, add extra virgin olive oil & balsamic vinegar.  Add the mustard and whisk together.  It should start to combine.  Add the basil.  No need to pour all of it on the salad, but start small and mix to combine.  If you need a bit more, then add it:)

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Meyer Lemon-Cranberry Scones

I have been thinking a lot about New Year’s Resolutions of late and whether I want to participate in them. I read recently on Simple Mom blog, where she renamed resolutions as “goals.” Now that’s my kind of anti-resolution, yet wanting to participate sort of thinking.  As I have personal goals within my physical, mental, emotional, & spiritual being, there are also those goals, which aided in the advent of this blog.  I have a couple, or a few, or…well maybe a few times a couple times a few more cookbooks in my library.  And as I love food, there are so many tastes I haven’t experienced.  But even more, as an avid baker & cook, there are even more foods I have yet to handle myself.

To say browsing through a cookbook to untouched foods is a bit daunting is an understatement.  Seriously, where does one begin?  Especially, considering food is ever evolving while your budget is not.  All of this aimless wandering got me thinking about people and their bucket lists.  The typical bucket list encompasses the places yet traveled or adventures yet conquered.  And although I have places yet traveled and adventures yet conquered…it is the food yet melded, the dough yet risen, the desserts yet tamed in my red kitchen.  Life is too short and I feel it only necessary to create a Baking Bucket List (more on this list later).

There are many categories in the baking world I have made many of, while other categories are completely lacking.  One category that I know quite a bit about is…scones, which is good for me and you.  Because if you stick with me on this, you will be happy at the end of eating them.  I remember volunteering to make a breakfast item for a bunch of college students many years back.  I intended to make cinnamon rolls (long story for another post), but it didn’t work out, so I bought this tiny, modest scone cookbook (before food blogs & quick recipe find).  Only pictures of scones lie on the cover, while the rest are drawn.  It goes to show that great cookbooks aren’t all about the pictures.  These scones were have a hint of Meyer lemon, subtle tartness from the cranberries, richness from the cream & butter and sugary crunch from the turbinado sprinkled on top.

Meyer Lemon-Cranberry Scones (printable recipe)

This recipe is inspired from the Cran-Orange Scones found in my trusty scone book, Simply Scones. This dog-eared cookbook warrants fantastic scone results and has never failed me yet.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup chopped fresh or thawed frozen cranberries, drained

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed

2 tablespoons heavy cream (you could substitute whole milk)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

zest of one Meyer lemon (for more flavor, add more zest)

coarse sugar for sprinkling & heavy cream for glaze

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400F.  Put parchment paper or silpat sheet liner on a baking sheet, set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the cranberries & 2 tablespoons of the sugar.  Let stand about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder & salt.  Cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes and distribute them over the flour mixture.

In another small bowl, stir together the eggs, juice, heavy cream, vanilla & Meyer lemon zest.  Add the egg mixture to the dry mixture and combine using a fork.  After the mixture is 3/4 combined, add the cranberries to the dough.  Combine the rest until all of the dry mixture has been combined with the wet, forming a cohesive mound.  Being careful you don’t over mix or over handle.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface, or directly onto the parchment and gently pat it into a 9-inch diameter circle.  Cut about 1/8 inch into the dough, creating 8 slices (see image above), but not cut through the whole way.  Lightly brush the scones slices with cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar.  Bake for 25-27 minutes.

Remove baking sheet to a cooling rack and leave for about 5 minutes.  Cut all the way through the initial cuts and serve warm as is.


Cranberry-Orange Crostata

It’s been extremely cold outside lately.  I took my oldest with me to the grocery store and just walking from the car to the store, I was regretting my decision to leave my gloves at home.  But what got me was what I witnessed on our way home.  A middle school aged boy walking home with shorts, lightweight sweatshirt & basketball jersey.  Seriously?!  I checked the temp stat once I got home…31 degrees, but feels like 21.

This makes me happy knowing we have heat in our home, a pot of chicken stock cooking, beds that are “just right” (I’ve been telling a lot of Goldilocks these days) and a family that is in anticipation during this Advent season.  I was reminded yesterday about the need to believe again.  Believe in the unseen & seen.  To believe what continues to turn up empty.  So, as Ben is sick in bed and me listening to the rhythm of the dishwasher, I will continue to hope.

And I think part of that hoping is tied up with food.  We look forward to events to share life with one another, but also the food involved in the communal feast.  This crostata or galette (there pretty much the same thing) is a delightful Holiday feast with the flaky crust, tangy cranberries, zest of orange & cardamom to bring it all together.

Cranberry Crostata or Galette (printable recipe)

I made this for a dear friend after she had her first baby.  The crust is one I have used to make mini pecan tartlets, which is from The Pampered Chef.  When I made it, I doubled the crust, in order to make another for later.

Ingredients:

Crust

1/2 cup butter

1/2  cup cream cheese

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 beaten egg

turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Filling

2 cups frozen cranberries or fresh

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

zest of one orange

juice from one orange

2 tablespoons Triple Sec (or Cointreau)

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Crust: Combine all ingredients into a food processor to combine until it forms a ball.  You could also beat your butter & cream cheese in a mixer, then add your flour.  Separate into two equal disks.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Filling: Combine all of the ingredients into a pan over medium heat.  Stirring to combine and wait till it starts to bubble.  Turn to low heat and allow the cranberries to pop.  Some of the cranberries will keep their form, while others will not.  It will thicken up a bit, around 15 (if frozen) minutes.  Taste to see if it needs more sugar.  You still want the sour tang, but not overpowering you that you’re in a constant pucker face. Take off heat.

Assemble: If you have a pizza peel, then you could put some parchment on it and roll out your pastry dough on top.  I have a pizza stone in my oven at all times & I simply slide the parchment with galette onto the stone.  If you don’t have either of these, then put the parchment paper on a jelly roll sheet or cookie sheet.  Roll it to 12 inches.  Pour all of the cooked cranberries in the middle of the rolled out dough.  You should have about a 2-3 inch circle of dough without cranberries on it.  Carefully, fold up one part of the dough onto the cranberries.

Then, going counterclockwise, continue making folds with pleats, until you get to the last fold of dough.  Brush your beaten egg over the dough & sprinkle with turbinado sugar.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  OR…till the pastry puffs & is a lovely golden color.  Let it cool for around 25 minutes before you slice into it.


P.A.C. Crisp (pear, apple, cranberry)

IMG_4268

Crisp ala mode, what could be better?  

Yesterday we had an Autumn Family gathering with the other families from our playgroup we go to Thursday mornings.  I made this delicious crisp, along with the help of my trusty 2.75 year old assistant.  I have to say that this crisp is exceptionally tasty.  No, let’s not kid ourselves…it’s a complete foreshadow of everything Autumn (which is a GOOD thing indeed).

I was looking for something rustic, simple, and a ‘knock your socks off type of good,’ to make for dessert.  I actually had never made it before, but I knew my Ina Garten hadn’t let me down so far, and her Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook would for sure have a crisp recipe. I made a few adjustments from the original recipe, by using rapadura sugar, whole wheat pastry flour, using cranberries instead of dried, and adding cardamom (since there was orange in the recipe, cardamom screamed to be used).  All of these made it taste great, especially the addition of cardamom.

IMG_4235

The pears, apples, & cranberries sitting in sugary, spicy goodness.

Since my two year old helped make the crisp, she couldn’t stop talking about it the rest of the afternoon.  The party was at 4:00 and she still needed to take a nap.  She had a bit of a meltdown when I informed her that we weren’t going to the party quite yet, because she needed to take a nap.  Her eyes quickly filled up with tears and some speaking in tongues began, to which effect something about not being able to eat the crisp was murmured.   Poor girl, she even got a bit anxious as we were walking up to our friend’s door, where she looked around for the crisp then blurted with panic, “CRISP! CRISP?”  And yes, she was the only kid at the dinner table eating her crisp after dinner, while all the others were playing downstairs (Then, was it bad to serve this for breakfast to her?  I did put my foot down and say no to the ice cream she requested).

IMG_4237The crumb crust before entering the oven.  Yes it’s a lot of topping, but keep piling it on.


And it must be said that I adore all of these ladies whom I get to share life with (almost) every week.  We have been meeting weekly since just after V’s first birthday, which is almost two years now.  I love how we have our similarities and differences, yet we still choose to be more than co-mothers, but friends.  Each one of them brings a different gift to my life as a woman, wife & mom.  There isn’t judgment on how we parent different or how we fail, but grace, because we understand (period).  I also love how everyone is real & genuine.  No one comes in with a, “Wow, I LOVE being a mother every second of the day (or everyday for that matter).”  But there’s also not this, “Whoa, I hate being a mom and my kid is a….”

Instead, it’s a sincerity and a realness of “this mothering/parenting job is hard, and I don’t always like it, and I’m not going to be fake and make you think it’s the best job in the whole world 100% of the time.   But I do value something higher, which means I will give up some of my rights, in order to provide my children with something greater.  I not only value something higher, but love these stinkers so deep it hurts and am willing to go above & beyond for them.”  That’s who these women are to me and I love them for it.  So thanks Biz, Lindsey, Becky, Christine, Bethany, Megan & Talia–my Thursday mornings (although always running late & a bit disheveled) are my diamond in the rough as a stay at home mom and you ladies’ bring out a different spectrum of light in my diamond.

IMG_1673Last year’s Halloween party before many of the siblings were born.

P.A.C. Crisp (pear, apple, cranberry) (printable recipe)

Recipe is adapted from the Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook. **A little side note: If you’re not familiar with other sugars like rapadura, I would encourage you to start baking & cooking with them.  I get mine from the bulk section at our local Co-op, which is cheaper than buying it pre-packaged in the health/natural section of your grocery store.** The recipe also called for Macoun apples, but I used what I had on hand and I’m not too particular when the recipe calls for say ‘Granny Smith.’  Instead, I use what I know could create a good end product and wouldn’t dissolve into mush (say Red Delicious).  My apples came from a friend’s tree, so I have no idea what they are called.

Ingredients:

3 ripe Bosc pears

5 apples (I have no idea what kind I used)

3/4 cup frozen cranberries (that’s what I had on hand, but you could use fresh)

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Squeezed juice of one orange

Squeezed juice of one lemon

1/2 cup evaporated cane juice sugar (this is sugar which is less refined and has a golden color to it)

1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Topping:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup rapadura sugar (however, I know most people don’t have this, so do 3/4 of the above sugars)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel and core the pears & apples. Cut them into large chunks. Put the fruit into a large bowl, toss with cranberries, zests, juices, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, & cardamom. Pour into a 9×13 baking dish.

For the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the mixture is in large crumbles. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely. You’ll notice that this is a lot of crisp topping, but keep packing it on and you won’t be disappointed.

Place the baking dish on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is brown and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm (with vanilla ice cream to live on the wild side).

IMG_4221Maybe sitting by the fire eating the crisp with this little cutie could be better.