My friend Raquel is the master of the wild rice salad. She tosses it up in huge quantities for party buffets at her house and there’s never any left over. I’ve been meaning to do a version of my own and today was the day. The only difference between my version and hers, is that I’ve added an orange juice-based vinaigrette – just a wee-tiny bit, because this salad can even stand on its own without any vinaigrette, but I love orange and cranberry flavors together, so I thought it would only make this great salad greater.
Hey, it’s vegan and gluten-free. Can’t beat that.
Wild Rice, Cranberry and Toasted Almond Salad with a hint of Orange Serves 4 as a side
2 cups cooked wild rice (still warm)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted almonds slivers
1. Cook rice according to package directions (it takes about 45 minutes). Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a frying pan with no oil over medium high heat for about 5 minutes or until just starting to brown.
2. While the rice is still warm, toss it with the dried cranberries and the almonds. This will allow the cranberries to swell and their flavor to meld.
3. While the rice mixture is cooling, whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette until an emulsion is formed. Once rice mixture has cooled to room temperature toss the vinaigrette with the rice and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate and serve chilled.
It was a rare sunny day yesterday in San Francisco and upstairs at Waterbar on the Embarcadero, several members of the food media and food blogging world gathered to enjoy an event hosted by the Cranberry Marketing Committee. Waterbar’s Executive Chef, Parke Ulrich, prepared an amazing array of cranberry-themed savory bites (recipes to come) and Waterbar’s Executive Pastry Chef, Emily Luchetti presented a beautiful assortment of cranberry sweets. But the highlight of the afternoon (and there were many, to be sure), may have been the drinks prepared by Waterbar mixologist, Jennifer Philpot. She was generous enough to provide the recipe for the lovely drink pictured above. Called The Velvet Rope, it is a tangy, sophisticated drink that complemented perfectly the Cranberry Cheesecake with Oatmeal Streusel Crust we were enjoying with it. Crisp and refreshing, it would serve equally well at brunch, an afternoon picnic, or an evening on the terrace.
The Velvet Rope Recipe courtesy of Jennifer Philpot, bartender at Waterbar
2 ounces Vodka
1 1/2 ounces 100% Cranberry Juice
1 ounce Orange juice (StreamingGourmet’s note: freshly squeeze if possible)
1 ounce Vanilla infused syrup (see below)
3 dashes Peach bitters
Top with a splash of Prosecco
Shake all ingredients but the Prosecco with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Serve with a splash of Prosecco on top. Garnish with a long orange twist or two skewered fresh cranberries.
How to make Vanilla-Infused Syrup
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 vanilla bean
Heat the water in a medium saucepan over high heat until just boiling. Add sugar while stirring to dissolve completely and simmering, but not boiling rapidly. Reduce heat. Split vanilla bean down the middle to expose soft, flavorful interior. Add bean to the saucepan and allow to simmer very gently for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove bean and transfer liquid to a glass container. It should keep for a couple of months.
I’ve had this book for almost 20 years and it is still a “go-to” for me. Back then, it was the first cookbook I used when attempting to host elegant dinner parties for my friends (at the ripe old age of 20). The fact that this was her version of a 30-minute meal was lost on me. It all seemed so over-the-top. Menus like: Chicken Paillard, Risotto with Porcini, Hot Salad of Escarole and Pancetta, Italian Flat Breads and Oranges in Red Wine don’t exactly evoke the thought, “quick and easy,” but indeed, while these recipes are very elegant, they’re not sooo time-consuming.
Like this cranberry kuchen for example. Basically, you make a compote in one pan, whip up a batter in a bowl, pour them both in a cake pan and bake. If you have an oven-proof, decorative, round pan, then definitely bake it in that. Then you’ve got oven-to-table ease. A springform pan would be another way to go. I currently have neither of those, so I ended up cutting the cake into bite-size pieces and serving them on a platter, which would be a good way to present it on a buffet table. It’s definitely best served hot from the oven. That way, the cake part is moist and fluffy and the cranberry compote is warm and comforting. It’s almost like a cobbler in that state. You can also serve it with cream and a sprinkling of sugar.
Martha’s recipe calls for the juice and zest of an orange. I decided to try it with a grapefruit and compensate with a little extra sugar. It was fine, but an orange might be better. Try it and let me know what you think.
The other substitution I made was to substitute Oikos Greek Yogurt for the sour cream that is called for in Martha’s version. The nice people at Stonyfield Farms recently sent me a few free sample coupons, so I’ve been using it in recipes that call for sour cream and it’s great. It has absolutely NO fat in it. Amazing.
Cranberry Kuchen (Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Quick Cook)
Makes one 9-inch round cake
12 oz bag of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup water
Juice of 1 grapefruit
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cups milk
3 Tbsp Stonyfield Farms™ Oikos yogurt
Grated rind of 1 grapefruit
Fresh grated nutmeg to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spray a 9-inch round baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a small saucepan, combine all of the ingredients for the topping. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook until the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring well to incorporate.
4. Sift together the flour and the baking powder. Stir the flour into the butter mixture, a little at a time, alternating with the milk and the yogurt. Stir in the grapefruit rind and nutmeg.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and top with the cranberry mixture. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and serve immediately with cream and a sprinkling of sugar.
Day 6 of 14 Days of Apple and I bought an apple peeler/corer/slicer today. Yes! It turns a whole apple into peeled, perfectly uniform thin slices in a snap. I’m going to make apple tarts every day now.
It’s available on Amazon:
Tonight, I’m hosting a dinner party for some friends and when I was at the grocery store yesterday, I saw they had fresh, organic, free-range turkeys. I decided to cook an early Thanksgiving dinner since I won’t be cooking the full meal later this month. I thought it would be fun to create a cran-apple compote – or chutney – or relish – or sauce. Does anyone know the difference?
This recipe is so easy because you bake it in the oven rather than simmer it on the stove. There was no mess and no risk of burning it. The other day, I left something simmering and reducing on the stove and came back from an extensive Twitter session to find a kitchen full of smoke and a dead saucepan. This recipe is super easy and open to interpretation, so feel free to play with it. Add raisins for a more texture or cinnamon for another flavor accent. Most of all, have fun.
Stay tuned for more posts from my pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner.
Apple Cranberry Sauce Serves 6
3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced
2 cups fresh cranberries
A few squeezes of fresh lemon juice
5-6 large orange zest pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup orange juice
1. Lay all of the ingredients in a baking pan. Cover and bake in a pre-heated 350˚F oven for about 1 hour. Remove and let cool. Pour off excess liquid when transferring to a bowl. Stir to mix and crush ingredients further. Cool completely. Serve chilled.
We’re back, live, with another food-blogging marathon. This month, we’re streaming APPLES and we’re kicking it off with a scrumptious apple-orange-cranberry loaf. I say “we.” It’s just me – back from an exciting weekend at the Breeders’ Cup down at the Santa Anita race track near Los Angeles. Zenyatta, the filly, came from behind to beat all the boys yesterday. It was a thrill to be there for the historic event, surrounded by the stars of my favorite tv shows, no less. Somebody pinch me. It’s time to wake up and make the donuts. Or the quick bread as the case may be.
When I saw these gorgeous beans (still in the shell) at the market, I just had to buy them. I had no idea what they were or what I was going to do with them, but they were too beautiful to pass by. Turns out, their flavor is just as pleasing: nutty, rich, creamy. They’re like eating a bowl of health.
“What are they?” you ask? At the store, they were labeled “Raspberry Beans,” but my subsequent research has shown that they are more commonly called “Cranberry Beans.” They are related to the Italian ‘borlotti’ bean. The best explanation of the origin and history of the Cranberry Bean can be found over at The Culinary Addict. He explains how the Cranberry Bean was first cultivated by the Aztecs and the Incas thousands of years ago. It’s believed to have been crossed with the white bean to create today’s larger, kidney-shaped Cranberry Bean. It was brought to Italy in the 1500’s and has thrived there ever since. Check out The Culinary Addict’s photos of the beans still in their shell.
Unfortunately, the beautiful marbled color does fade with cooking, but the flavor more than makes up for the lost colors. I decided to cook mine in a garlicky, low-fat broth. This would be great served with lamb shanks or osso bucco, but I’ll be honest. I ate mine without any accompaniment.
1. Bring 6 cups of salted water to boil. Add beans and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in heavy-bottom medium sauce pan. Add leeks and sautée gently until starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and sautée for 1 minute. Add cooked beans and stir to coat. Add broth, butter and salt and bring to a gentle simmer. Add bay leaf and let cook uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring as needed. Add additional chicken stock to keep beans moist, if necessary.
3. While beans are cooking, mix grated lemon zest, chives and minced garlic in a small bowl. Add this mixture to the beans near the very end of the cooking time. Remove bay leaf, add fresh ground pepper to taste and enjoy.