December 30, 2014

Black Garlic Porcupine Bread

1 head black garlic*, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
pinch salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 sourdough boule
3 sprigs worth of thyme leaves
1/3 cup coarsely grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350.

Cut the bread lengthwise and widthwise, leaving about 1/4 inch thick crust at the bottom, creating 1/2 inch cubes. Meanwhile, melt the butter, oil, garlic, anchovy paste, salt and pepper in a small saucepan. Place the bread on enough to foil to wrap the entire loaf. Drizzle the bread with the oil then sprinkle with cheese, taking care that the majority of the mixture and cheese seeps into the cracks of the bread. Sprinkle with thyme. Wrap with foil and bake, on a baking sheet for 10 minutes. Unwrap and bake an additional 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

*Look for it at Whole Foods and other well-stocked supermarkets or substitute regular garlic. Black garlic is sticky fermented garlic.
My thoughts:
This is a type of bread I remember seeing at parties back in the '90s (along with dip in a bread bowl--the '90s were lousy with sourdough boules it seems) and it seemed like time to bring it back. I've heard it called "pull apart" bread but porcupine bread is so much cuter sounding. If you were crafty, I bet you could even make it look like a porcupine by cutting out ears and using olives for eyes or something. It is fun for a party but it also a great alternative to regular garlic bread at a good, old-fashioned, Italian-American meal.

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December 23, 2014

Pepperjack Turducken Slammer

4 (1/4 inch thick) slices turducken, warmed*
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/2 head bibb lettuce, separated into leaves
4 slices pepperjack cheese
8 slices country white bread
optional: mayo or mustard


Place the lettuce on 4 slices of bread. Top with cheese slices, then the turducken, onion and tomato. Spread remaining slices of bread with mayo or mustard, if desired. Top with remaining bread. Serve immediately.

*I used leftover turducken I sliced while cold then warmed in a nonstick skillet for 1-2 minutes on each side. I didn't brown the slices but you want it warm enough to melt the cheese.

My thoughts:
Let's just start out by saying that this is not a sandwich for the fainthearted. It is possibly the most filling sandwich I have ever had and I am including a whole muffaletta from Central Bakery in that claim. Anyway, when I ended up with quite a bit of leftovers from my bacon-wrapped, Italian sausage stuffed Turducken (you can get one too from Costco) I wondered what to do with it all then remembered the episode of Supernatural where Dean tried the Pepperjack Turducken Slammer which turned out to literally turn people mad. As Dean said about turducken, "It's like the perfect storm of your top three edible birds.". I studied the scene and decided to recreate it at home. On Supernatural it was on a bun but that seemed too, well, bready so I went with slices of country white bread. The result? A super filling, savory, over-the-top sandwich that will drive you crazy (in a good way).

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December 19, 2014

Cranberry-Tangerine Ketchup

1 1/2 lb fresh cranberries
3 cloves garlic, quartered
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup fresh tangerine juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon Ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground dried orange peel
1 teaspoon ground roasted ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


Prep your jars/lids. Place all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed nonreactive pot. Bring to a rolling boil and cook until most (if not all) the cranberries have burst and the mixture has thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Use an immersion blender or ladle in a regular blender to pulse until smooth. Return to a rolling boil and cook until thickened to ketchup consistency if necessary. Ladle into pint jars leaving 1/4 inch headroom. Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.

Yield: 4 pints

My thoughts:
This ketchup is the best way to use up your last bag of cranberries. I love it on turkey or ham sandwiches after the holidays, but it is also good when used like my nemesis, tomato ketchup. Try it on latkes!

 This recipe is part of Ball Jar's 25 days of Making and Giving so consider giving this as a hostess gift this holiday season. Check out the Ball Canning 25 Days of Making and Giving, presented by Jarden Home Brands, until December 22, 2014.

To enter the Making and Giving Promotion, visit  Follow the instructions to enter. One can enter once a day, each day, to win that day’s Daily Prize. Each entry during the first 24 days for a Daily Prize also grants an entry toward the Grand Prize (the FreshTECH Automatic Home Canning System – valued at $299!) which will be selected once the contest concludes.

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December 17, 2014


2/3 lb ground pork
2/3 lb ground lean beef
2/3 lb ground veal
1 big carrot, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 1/2 cup cider
1 1/4 cups mashed Russet potatoes*
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon crushed rosemary
1/4 teaspoon chervil or savory
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
pastry for a 2 crust pie
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large skillet, sauté meat until no longer pink, breaking up any large chunks. Drain off any fat. Add onions, carrots and spices and saute until the carrots are tender, 8-10 minutes. Add cider and bring to a simmer. Simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat, remove bay leaf, then stir in potatoes and allow to cool to nearly room temperature.

Line a 9-inch pie pan with pastry. Fill with meat filling. Cover with remaining pastry. Pinch shut. Brush with egg. Vent and bake 40 minutes. Allow to sit 5 minutes prior to serving.

*I used roasted Russet potatoes

My thoughts:
Tourtière is a Canadian meat pie served traditionally around Christmas and New Year's. This version is roughly in the style of what is served in Manitoba and has quite a mix of spices! Tourtière in other parts of French-speaking Canada vary in which spices they use but most serve it with chutney or other pickle-y items. It is a bit time-consuming but very easy to make and your whole house will smell fantastic as it bakes! The finished dish is flavorful and well spiced and really does taste like the holidays.

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December 15, 2014

Broiled Oysters with Bacon and Leeks

12 oysters (unshucked)
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 leeks, minced (white parts only!)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup bread crumbs or matzo meal

Saute the leeks and garlic in 1 1/2 tablespoons bacon grease until soft. Remove from heat. Add the bread crumbs and bacon bits and stir to combine. Shuck the oysters. Discard top shell.

Place oysters in their shells on large baking sheet or broiling pan.

Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over each oyster.

Broil until crumbs are golden, about 3 minutes.

My thoughts:
Oysters are my favorite food if I have to pick just one. Maybe it is growing up in Baltimore but add oysters to anything and I am in! Oyster stew, po'boys, oyster casserole, scalloped oysters, oyster stuffing, oyster Eggs Benedict, whatever! I even put a Buffalo fried oyster on the half shell recipe in my new cookbook. So when I could add two dozen oysters from Barren Island Oysters to my produce delivery one week, I had to do it! We hadn't shucked oysters at home before and it was a little tricky because the oysters' shells were so irregularly shaped but we got the hang of it. If you don't have an oyster knife, you can place them in a 350 oven for about 3-5 minutes or until they start to open. Then you can pry the shells off pretty easily. Since I had the oysters in the half shell, I came up with a savory, bacon-y stuffing for them. It was so good; not overpowering of the oysters at all but a fun, flavorful change from just having raw oysters. Serve as a meal or as an appetizer. The recipe can be easily doubled.

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December 10, 2014

Stripetti Squash with Sage and Romano Cheese

1 2 1/2-lb Stripetti*, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, small dice
5 leaves sage, chiffonade
1/3 cup grated romano cheese
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Place the squash cut side down on the parchment. Bake for 30 minutes or until the skin is easily pierced with a fork. Scoop out the insides. Set aside.

Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet. Cook the onion until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the sage, squash, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed through and all ingredients are evenly distributed. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese. Serve immediately.

*Stripetti is a cross between delicata squash and spaghetti squash which has thinner, milder strands than typical yellow spaghetti squash. Regular spaghetti squash can be substituted.

My thoughts:
I probably sound like a broken record but I am still really enjoying my weekly produce box. I get a good variety of vegetables and fruit and I have a lot of fun trying to think of ways to use it all up! Sometimes I am surprised, like when my turnip was pink inside or when instead of regular spaghetti squash I got Stripetti. I ended up liking it even more than regular spaghetti squash. I hope it makes it into the box again. I kept it simple and just tossed with with some sage and romano cheese. So good!

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December 05, 2014

Bacon-Apple Kalette Salad

2 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
8 oz halved kalettes, lightly steamed and cooled
3 oz crumbled feta
1 large crisp apple (I used Gold Rush) cubed
2 tablespoons aged apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Toss together the bacon, kalettes, feta and apple in a medium bowl. Drizzle with vinegar, oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
My thoughts:
My mom called me all excited about a new vegetable she had read about in a magazine called kalettes. It is a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts. I'm a little eh about kale but I like Brussels sprouts so I wanted to give it a try. I couldn't find it anywhere so I finally emailed the kalettes people via their website and they said it is mostly available in California but some Trader Joe's nation-wide sell it under the name "kale sprouts". I do not really care for TJ's (mostly because of many bad experiences at our local one) but I did manage to track it down. I did some experimenting to come up with this salad. Raw, the kalettes were a bit bitter and too tough but a quick steam and cooling took the edge off enough that they could be used in a salad. So, it was a little more work than just tossing them in raw but it the salad was hearty and tasty despite the simple ingredients.

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December 01, 2014

Cranberry-Ricotta Cake


2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
2/3 cup half and half, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
pinch salt
1 cup fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a standard loaf pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.

In a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the egg, ricotta, half and half, oil and vanilla paste. Slowly stream in the dry ingredients (while the mixer is running!) and mix to combine. Fold in cranberries. Pour into prepared pan, bake 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean. Unmold to a wire rack and cool.

My thoughts:

I was asked to come up a recipe that paired well with Lipton tea. Since it is the holiday season, I thought I'd come up with a simple cake that could be served as dessert or better, yet for breakfast! I combined rich ricotta and fresh cranberries to create a cake that is moist, slightly tangy and full of bright cranberry flavor.

I ate it plain, but it would also be good with a drizzle of thinned leftover cranberry sauce, sprinkled with powdered sugar or even toasted and spread with butter. The choice is yours: classic dessert or decadent breakfast?

Sponsored post by Lunchbox, all opinions and recipe are 100% my own.

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