Saturday, October 26, 2013

Jalapeno Pineapple Preserves

Jalapeno Pineapple Preserves are a sweet pepper preserve with a pineapple twist, the spicy flavor provides a great taste that can be used as a glaze on meats, or for a fast appetizer with cream cheese and crackers.  The preserves just have a hint of the jalapeno with the sweet taste of the pineapple.  When served with cream cheese on a salty cracker, this appetizer will be the talk of the party!
If you are using canned pineapple, you can whip this up in no time!  Great to give as a hostess gift and a quick, tasty appetizer.  It's hard to eat just one or two!
2-1/2 cups sugar
4 cups fresh pineapple or
2 - 20 oz. cans Crushed Pineapple in own juice, well drained
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 jalapeno pepper, seeds and veins removed, finely minced
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 pkg. fruit pectin

If using fresh pineapple, dice and pulse in food processor or blender.
In a 4 qt. pot, combine the sugar, pineapple, lemon juice, jalapenos and butter
Cook over high heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a full rolling boil.
Stir in the fruit pectin; return the mixture to a full rolling boil and boil for 1 minutes.

Ladle the hot preserves into sterilized jars and top with lids to seal.
Let come to room temperature and refrigerate.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Vineyard Lobster Bisque

I have recently returned from an amazing weekend in Martha's Vineyard for the Fall Festivals.  It's a quaint and cozy little island that is always hopping with fishing contests, festivals and fun.
We ventured out to the other end of the island to a small fishing village to visit Larsen's Fish Market.  It's a small little shack that sells fresh fish, lobster rolls, chowder and bisque.  Everyone in town recommended that we stop by for a steamed lobster.  We got there mid-morning and decided just to try the soup and enjoy the view.  No tables, just some driftwood and barrels to sit on.  It was the best lobster bisque I have ever had.
  They couldn't give me the recipe - not that it's Top Secret - the owner says it depends on what's fresh for the day.  Sometimes she'll use broth from steaming mussels or clams and it varies from day to day.  This is a close as I could come for a great lobster bisque - now all I need is a dock and a barrel to sit on.

Vineyard Lobster Bisque
2 lobster tails, split in half
4 cups water
1 Tablespoon sea or kosher salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup unsalted butter plus 1 Tablespoon
1 cup fennel, chopped
1/2 cup shallot, chopped
1 cup fresh tomato, peeled, seeded, diced
2 Tablespoons brandy
2 Tablespoons raw white rice
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
1 bay leaf
1 thyme sprig
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
You will need 2 lobster tails (about 10 oz. each). It's alright to use frozen tails if fresh are not available. Make sure they are completely thawed out. Split the tails in half with a sharp knife starting at the fan and slice the knife down and through the meat.
Devein the split tail. Look for the vein along the edge of the shell, between the shell and the meat.
Steam the lobster tails, shell-side down (the shell protects the meat from the intense heat of the steam) in 4 cups salted (sea or kosher) water.  Steam the tails for 5-7 minutes and reserve the steaming water for the stock.
When cool enough to handle, remove the tail meat with a fork to pull out the steamed tail meat in one piece. Chill the lobster meat until ready to use.
Sauté lobster shells in 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat for five minutes to release the flavors.

Deglaze the pan with 2 cups dry white wine, 3 cups chicken stock and reserved lobster water from the steaming of the tails. Simmer until reduced to 6 cups; about 45 minutes. Then strain the shells from the stock.
While the stock is simmering prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Sauté fennel and shallot in 1/4 cup unsalted butter, about 5 minutes.
Stir in strained lobster stock, diced tomato, brandy, raw white rice, tomato paste, paprika, cayenne, bay leaf and thyme sprig; simmer 45 minutes. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprig.

Blend the soup in batches and return to pot.  Add heavy cream and 2 Tablespoon of unsalted butter.  Add diced lobster meat to warm through and serve hot.

Visit to see more!
~Adapted from Cuisine at Home

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Apple Fritters

It would be a mistake to judge apple fritters by their appearance.
Once you bite into that crunchy crust, you'll find a moist, fluffy dough filled with pieces of Granny Smith apples and the warm spices of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Fritters are usually served covered with powdered sugar, but in the recipe  we double the apple flavor by adding apple cider to the sugary glaze.

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4" pieces
2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup apple cider
2 large eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Peanut or vegetable oil


2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup apple cider
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl.  Whisk cider, eggs, and melted butter in medium bowl until combined.  Stir apples into flour mixture, stir in cider mixture until incorporated.

Set wire rack on baking sheet.  Heat oil in cast-iron pan over medium-high heat to 350 degrees.  Use 1/3 cup measure to transfer 5 portions of batter to oil.  Press battler lightly with the back of a spoon to flatten.  Fry until deep golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side.  Let fritters cool 5 minutes.

When fritters cool, whisk sugar, cider, cinnamon and nutmeg in medium bowl until smooth.  Top each fritter with 1 heaping tablespoon glaze.  Let glaze set for 10 minutes.

~Adapted from Cook's Country

Friday, October 4, 2013

No-Fuss Skillet Lasagna

When you want to make a homemade lasagna, we all know what is involved.  Prepare the meat sauce, boil the noodles, mix the ricotta with eggs and cheese, layer and bake.  Lots of dishes to clean and waiting for the lasagna to settle before slicing.
It's well worth it for a delicious lasagna, but this is the next best thing!  Everything in cooked in a large skillet.  No mess, no fuss and the best tasting lasagna ever!
I used brand names for this dish.  I haven't been compensated at all from these companies.  I find these to be the best for authentic Italian flavors.
1 (35-ounce) can Tuttoroso peeled plum tomatoes, blended
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
1/2 to 1 tsp. dried oregano
1-1/2 lbs. meatloaf mix ( a mixture of ground beef, pork and veal)
10 curly-edged lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch lengths
1-1/2 cups Victoria Low-Sodium Marinara sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup whole or part-skim ricotta cheese
2 cups 4-cheese blend mozzarella cheese
Fresh or dried basil
Place tomatoes in blender and puree until smooth making sure you have 4 cups of tomato puree.  Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add onion and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add meat and cook, breaking up meat until it is no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
Scatter pasta over meat but do not stir.
No need for exact Martha Stewart measurements, just break them up into about 6 pieces.  You'll have half a box left for the next time you make this...and you will make this again!
Pour tomato mixture and marinara sauce over pasta, cover and bring to a simmer, stirring after 10 minutes, until pasta is tender, about 20-25 minutes.  Add oregano.
Off heat, stir in Parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Dollop heaping tablespoons of ricotta over the top, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
While lasagna is resting preheat broiler.
Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and and oregano and broil until cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Artisan Cast Iron Dutch Oven Bread

This recipe is a typical one with two rising periods.  Most of this time it's the yeast working and not you! 2 cups water 1...