Monday, November 29, 2010

Double Chocolate Dream

Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Peppermint Cookies

Chocolate, chocolate chips and peppermint? You can’t go wrong with these delectable cookies! Eat them straight out of the oven with a tall glass of milk. They’re exactly the kind of cookie that Santa would want on his plate, don't you think?

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Yield: 3 dozen cookies


1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chunks (or chips)
Small handful of crushed peppermint candies, or peppermint snow


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) and beat together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and peppermint extract.

3. In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter mixture and beat until combined.

4. Stir in the chocolate chunks until evenly mixed.

5. Drop dough in 2 tablespoon portions (about 1/8 of a cup) 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Sprinkle crushed peppermint over the top of each cookie.

6. Bake for 6-9 minutes, or until cookies are set on the edges. Carefully remove from baking sheet using a wide spatula and cool on wire racks.

Cranberries in the Snow

Christmas Cranberries

The cranberry stands alone in all her ruby-red glory in this simple recipe, adapted from here. Baked instead of simmered in the saucepan, this sauce tastes wonderful with roasts of all sorts, or even over ice cream. Try stirring some of this into your favorite orange marmalade to create a pink-hued marvel to spread over scones...or give as a gift.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Yield: about 1 half-pint of sauce


3 cups of fresh cranberries (frozen would work too, but you may need to increase the baking time)
1 cup of granulated sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place cranberries in a 8x8 inch square baking dish and sprinkle with sugar. Do not stir.

3. Bake cranberries for 35 minutes, stirring twice during baking. Remove from dish into a bowl, cover and refrigerate.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cranberry-Rosemary Martini

Garnet Martini Syrup

We enjoy this gorgeously-hued cocktail on Thanksgiving, and again on Christmas. Strain it into a nice bottle, and it makes a wonderful gift as well. Be sure to attach the martini recipe.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Yield: makes about 16 martinis


6 cups of fresh or frozen cranberries
4 1/2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary


1. Bring all ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes until a glossy syrup has formed.

2. Strain through a fine sieve into a pitcher and chill for at least 3 hours or up to a couple of weeks.

3. To make one martini, shake 1 part syrup with 2 parts vodka with a handful of ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a martini glass (with a sugared rim, if you'd like). Garnish with a sprig of rosemary if desired.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Oh My, Cranberry Pie

Nantucket Cranberry Pie

This recipe is so easy to make, and so easy to eat. The tart cranberry underbelly is spiked with walnuts then topped with a glorious almond scented-butter batter that turns golden and crunchy when baked in the oven. I've adapted it from Laurie Colwin's recipe that originally appeared in Gourmet Magazine in November of 1993.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
Yield: serves 6-8


2 heaping cups of fresh or frozen whole cranberries
1 scant cup of walnuts or pecans
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
Zest from one orange
1 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon almond extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a deep dish pie plate or 8 inch cake pan and set aside.

2. Place cranberries in the bowl of your food processor fitted with the steel-blade attachment, and pulse until they are chopped. Pour into the pie plate.

3. Place walnuts into your food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped (but not a paste) and pour over the cranberries.

4. Sprinkle the cranberries and walnuts with the orange zest and 1/2 cup of sugar.

5. Rinse the bowl of your food processor and return it to the base. Add the rest of the sugar, the flour, eggs, butter and almond extract. Run the food processor just until the mixture is evenly mixed.

6. Pour the batter over the cranberry and walnut mixture, and sprinkle the top with additional sugar if desired. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Spiked with a bit of curry powder, ginger, and nutmeg, this gorgeous soup will warm you right through. Serve it as an appetizer in little shot glasses (mix and match is fine...even preferable), or as a meal, accompanied by a loaf of freshly baked bread. Adapted from a recipe by Susan Branch.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Yield: serves 6 as a main course...and lots more as an appetizer


1 2 1/2 pound butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, scrubbed and sliced
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 quart of chicken stock, plus more to thin if needed
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
large pinch of ground ginger
large pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Cut squash in half length-wise and scoop out all the seeds and gooey flesh. Rinse seeds, and if desired, roast as you would pumpkin seeds for a garnish.

3. Place squash, cut side down onto prepared baking sheet and bake fore 45 minutes, or until the squash can be easily pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and let cool a bit.

4. While squash is baking, heat olive oil and butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions and carrot slices and cook, stirring occasionally until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and one quart of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until potatoes and carrots are quite soft. Remove from heat.

5. Scoop squash flesh out of its skin and stir into the stockpot along with the potatoes. Add curry, ginger and nutmeg and stir to combine.

6. Carefully ladle the soup into a blender, filling only about half full. Vent a bit, to allow steam to escape and pulse soup until smooth. Pour off into a large bowl and continue blending soup in this way until it is all pureed.

6. Return soup back to the pot and add more stock if necessary to get your desired thickness. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if desired. Serve hot, garnished with a swirl of heavy cream and the roasted seeds, if using.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Microgreen Omelet

Microgreen Omelet

This petite omelet is a perfect light breakfast. You can fill it with baby spinach or arugula in place of the microgreens if you can't find any.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
Yield: serves 1

1 extra large egg
salt and pepper to taste
1 pat butter
1/2 jalapeno, thinly sliced
1 scallion, thinly sliced
small handful grated cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1/2 tomato, chopped
small handful microgreens


1. Beat egg in a small bowl and add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

2. Heat a medium, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add butter and swirl pan to coat evenly.

3. Put the scallion and jalapeno in the pan a cook, stirring occasionally, for a couple of minutes until they become tender and lightly golden brown.

4. Pour egg into the pan, tilting it so that the egg completely coats the bottom of the pan. The egg will cook through almost immediately, but spread any gooey egg to the edges, taking care not to tear the middle.

5. When the egg has set, sprinkle the cheese, tomatoes, cilantro and microgreens down the middle. Carefully fold omelet in half and slide out onto a plate. Serve immediately.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hallowe'en Spirits

Orange Stinger Martini

It's been awhile since I've shared a cocktail recipe. And I think that this one is especially appropriate for the upcoming holiday. It's a devil of a drink, sweet and sour upon first sip, with a heat that slowly builds in your mouth and on your lips that just makes you want another sip...and then another. Before you know it you're gulping down martini number two. Honestly, you should stop right there, because as we know (some of us all too well)....

Martinis are like breasts--one is not enough and three are too many.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 martini


2 jalapeno slices
2 shots (about 1 1/2 ounces each) Absolute Mandarin
1 shot Patron Citronge (or other orange liquor)
1 shot freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 large pinch sugar


1. Muddle the jalapeno slices in a cocktail shaker to release all the spicy juices.

2. Add 2 handfuls of ice, and the rest of the ingredients.

3. Cover and shake well, until martini is thoroughly chilled.

4. Rub the rim of a martini glass with a slice of lemon and dip in a plate that's been coated with sugar. Strain martini into the glass and garnish with another slice of jalapeno if desired.