Monthly Archives: November 2009

Cranberry-Apple Pie

Okay, this is finally it for the cranberries! After this, it’s on to bok choy – this week’s secret ingredient.

This might be my favorite cranberry item so far. Although, I must confess now – I still did not make homemade pie crust. I actually quite like the Pillsbury refrigerated ones, and they’re so easy.. it’s sort of addictive. They make pie happen so much faster. Someday I will make a homemade pie crust. I just get scared.

This pie is delicious. It gets Travis’s stamp of approval as well, and he’s pretty picky. It’s very simple, the cranberries are tart and the apples are sweet. It requires more sugar than a standard apple pie would, probably to be sure that the cranberries don’t end up too bitter. The instructions call for “tart apples”.. I always use Granny Smith, but I suppose there are probably other variations of tart apples as well. The recipe comes from Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook.

Cranberry-Apple Pie

Pastry for Two-Crust Pie
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
dash of salt
5 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (5 medium)
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) cranberries

1. Heat oven to 425. Prepare pastry.

2. Mix sugar, flour and salt in a large bowl. Stir in apples. Turn into pastry-lined pie plate. Dot with margarine.

3. Cover edge with 3-inch strip of aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning. Remove foil during last 15 minutes of baking. Bake 40-50 minutes or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust. Cool in pie plate on wire rack. Serve warm if desired.


Blogger Challenge: Cranberry!

This week, it was my turn to pick the secret ingredient! I wanted to do something related to Thanksgiving, and cranberries just seemed like the thing to do. It’s so easy to find fresh ones right now, and it’s an ingredient that I’ve grown to like a lot more in the last couple of years than I did as a kid. I still have fresh berries left, so I’m planning a cranberry-apple pie later today. (I’m on a spree of trying desperately not to waste any food.)

I settled on making cranberry-orange muffins. The original recipe was for a streusel muffin, but I left off the streusel topping in the interest of making them slightly healthier. The recipe is from Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook (the 1996 edition).

The muffins are really yummy. The cranberries are a little tart, but it blends nicely with the sweetness of the muffin. I’m not sure I ended up with quite enough orange zest, but there is still a hint. The orange smell is stronger than the orange taste, if that’s possible. Also, the recipe calls for the cranberries to be halved. I chopped mine up a little smaller, because I don’t really like big chunks of fruit in my muffins.

Cranberry-Orange Muffins

1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1//2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cranberry halves
1 tablespoon grated orange peel

1. Heat oven to 400. Grease bottoms only of 12 medium muffin cups with shortening or line with paper baking cups.

2. Add orange zest to milk. Beat milk, oil, vanilla and egg in a large bowl. Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder and salt all at once, just until flour is moistened. Batter will be lumpy. Fold in cranberries. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

3. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan to wire rack. Serve warm if desired.

I also had leftover canned cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving, so I made Paula Deen’s Berry Steak Sauce. It was delicious on pork chops! It can be served either hot or cold (mine was cold) with pork, beef, or chicken. The recipe calls for jellied cranberry sauce, but I had whole berry. It was still good – the only problem with using whole berry is that there were still some berry bits in it. I think it would be slighly better with jellied sauce, just because it would be smoother.

Berry Steak Sauce

1 16 oz can jellied cranberry sauce
1/3 cup bottled steak sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons prepared mustard

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.

Finally, here are some other cranberry recipes that the Iron Chef bloggers have made this week!

Cranberry Cinnamon Muffins
Cranberry Sorbet


Another successful Thanksgiving has come and gone. I’ve moved onto Christmas decorating now, the tree is up with lights and just needs ornaments. Today is also my last day to finish my recipe for the Iron Chef Blogger challenge, the secret ingredient is cranberries. Actually, I’m making two different cranberry dishes today, which should be fun.

I didn’t host Thanksgiving at my apartment this year, but I did make four different things. It was really fun! The fourth was a lemon gooey butter cake, but I somehow neglected to get a picture of it. It was pretty tasty though.

This is Paula Deen’s broccoli salad. It is: a head of broccoli, chopped up into small pieces, some crumbled bacon, halved cherry tomatoes, cheddar cheese cubes, and red onion. The recipe also calls for 1/2 cup of raisins. I swapped this out for 1/2 cup of chopped almonds. The sauce is mayonnaise with some sugar and vinegar. It doesn’t sound amazing, but it was really good.

I finally managed to make some cornbread dressing with sausage. It was not quite as good as my mom or dad’s, but it was still pretty tasty. It just got a little dry, I wasn’t really paying enough attention to it. With the addition of some gravy, it was scrumptious.

And who doesn’t love sweet potatoes with tiny marshmallows? Tiny marshmallows don’t take 10 minutes to brown, don’t believe Food Network Magazine!

Thanksgiving was amazing, as always. Michele F makes a mean maple-bacon turkey and fantastic mashed potatoes. Not to mention the sweet tea, mmm!

No time for full recipes today, I’ve got muffins to bake and a tree to decorate! Travis just brought in the cut pieces from the tree, they smell so wonderful. Happy holidays, hope everyone had as wonderful a Thanksgiving as I did!

Maggie’s Blogger Challenge: Coconut Milk!

My friend Maggie is also participating in the Iron Chef Blogger Challenge. Since she doesn’t have a blog, I’m posting her blog for her. I’ve known Maggie since we both were going to school in Knoxville. She’s super fun and lives in Huntsville now with her husband, Michael, who is also pretty great. So, I think that’s enough bio for now, onto the curry!

Chicken & Vegetable Curry

1 can coconut milk
Like 14 thousand tbs of green curry (because I made the mistake of buying tyling from the grocery store)
3 chicken tenderloins (cubed)
1 small onion
2 small potatoes (parboiled for 4 minutes)
½ cup green peas
At least 2 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs fish oil
Chili paste
Lime juice
Fresh basil
Salt to taste

In one saucepan, combine the coconut milk, green curry, fish oil, and brown sugar. Bring to soft boil and stir occasionally for 10 minutes. Season additional curry, sugar, & optional chili paste & lime juice to taste.

In a small amount of oil, sauté the chicken, onions, and parboiled potatoes. When browned, add the sauce and simmer whole dish for additional 5-10 minutes.

Garnish with fresh basil & serve on jasmine rice.

This was just okay – I’ve made curries before but bought the paste from asian grocery stores. I mark against this recipe based on my chosen ingredients. It really needed the chili paste, lime juice, sugar, and salt desperately.

– Maggie

Pumpkin Pie + Variation

I made two pies yesterday, one pumpkin and one from Paula Deen’s The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook called a Thanksgiving Pie.

I beat the pumpkin shortage by having had a giant can of pumpkin in my cabinet for the past several months. There is really no keeping me from my pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. It turns out that for Thanksgiving dinner I’m actually making a lemon gooey butter cake, and it seemed a shame not to make pies at some point.

This is the pumpkin pie. I made it from a recipe in my beaten up and broken copy of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. It actually needed a bit more evaporated milk, but I’m assuming that adding whipped cream will solve this just fine (it’s just a smidge to “spicy” for me – by this I mean full of spices rather than spicy-hot). Then it was on to the Thanksgiving Pie!


3 eggs
1 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
1 9-inch unbaked pie shell
Whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350. With hand beater, beat eggs well. Beat in corn syrup, sugar, butter, pumpkin, and vanilla until well blended.

Arrange pecans in bottom of pie shell.

Slowly pour egg mixture over them. (As I learned, if you are using an aluminum pie plate, it would really be best to do this on the oven rack.)

Bake for 1 hour or until knife inserted 1 inch from edge comes out clean. Served with whipped cream.

I didn’t even use the whipped cream, and this pie was amazing. It might even be better than regular pumpkin pie. It’s like all the best parts of pumpkin pie and pecan pie combined into one. Has a texture sort of like custard. I’m trying to wait until after dinner tonight to eat another piece, but I might not make it! I was planning to take both pies to work tomorrow, but I may hold onto this one out of selfishness…

Also, I did not burn either pie crust! This is unusual for me, because I almost always burn my crust. I remembered to put foil around them before putting them in the oven. I think it also may be because I followed Alton Brown’s advice and used aluminum pans instead of a glass pie plate.

I still used the refrigerated dough that you unroll for these, but the next time I make a pie, I’m hoping to be brave enough to try homemade crust. We’ll see how that goes.

Finally, the secret ingredient this week for the Iron Chef Blogger Challenge is cranberries! It was my week to pick, and I wanted to do something with a bit of a Thanksgiving theme. I’m excited to see how it turns out.

Blogger Challenge: Coconut Milk!

I was so excited when Carrie picked the secret ingredient this week and it was coconut milk. I’ve actually had a can in the cabinet for a few weeks, with the intention of making this Thai Coconut Soup. I love Thai food, but I’ve never actually cooked it. It was really quite exciting!

Squirrels love Thai Coconut Soup. You have to watch out for them.

As a side note, this is also my favorite pot to cook in – it’s an enameled cast iron dutch oven.


Saute 3 sliced garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons grated ginger, 1/4 cup chopped lemongrass, 1 teaspoon each cumin and coriander and a Thai chile in oil.

Add 1 sliced raw chicken breast and 1 sliced onion, cook 5 minutes.

Add shredded bok choy, 4 cups water, 1 can coconut milk, cilantro, and two tablespoons fish sauce. Simmer 8 minutes.


This was really delicious. I didn’t use the Thai chile, because I was concerned that it might be too spicy. Fish sauce smells really strong, but it was pretty mellow when cooked into the soup. It was really fast to make, with the one exception being that it me forever to grate the ginger. I’m going to call this my most successful week yet!

Here are some of the other coconut milk recipes from this week:

At Two Friends Cook: Indonesian Coconut Chicken, Coconut Scones, and Chicken Satay

Brazilian Soup and Pan de Coco

Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Leek, and Coconut Milk Soup

Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

Blogger Challenge: Rhubarb!

The blogger challenge begins with: rhubarb! I settled on rhubarb crisp after a few missteps, since pies were ruled out. This is my first time having ever tasted, much less cooked with rhubarb, and it was an interesting experience.

This morning at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, I considered myself quite lucky to be able to find fresh rhubarb, since it seemed like everyone else had to get it frozen. After wandering about the market a little longer, I headed home. Only when I get there, I realized I no longer had any rhubarb. So, back I went, only to find it at the bagel stand.

Then, as I was getting to start on the glaze for a rhubarb-glazed pork roast, I discovered I had only purchased enough rhubarb for 2 cups chopped, when I needed 4. So, off to Ralph’s to supplement with frozen, only by then it was too late for glaze. Hence, the crisp.

So… the crisp is… okay. I don’t love it, but I wouldn’t say that I dislike it either. The topping is made of oatmeal, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter. The rhubarb is more tart than I expected. I think I might like to try making a pie with it someday, but certainly not tonight. I have had way too many rhubarb adventures for one weekend.

Over at Two Friends Cook, you can see Carrie’s Wild Blueberry Rhubarb Pork Chops and Sarah’s Rhubarb Pudding Cakes (which look beautiful… my food photography skills are still a bit lacking). Can’t to see what everyone else has made.

That’s all for this week, but keep an eye out, because the next week? It’s time for Blogger Challenge: Coconut Milk!