Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sweet & Sour Braised Red Cabbage with Apples & Onions

This was adapted from a recipe of Wolfgang Puck's that I found in the Chicago Tribune a number of years ago. Finding myself with a red cabbage from our CSA farm I decided to try the recipe.  Arthur really liked it a lot and said I should post it. He's probably hoping that I'll make it again next season with a red cabbage.  I divided the recipe in half and it still makes a lot. 

2 tablespoons oil
1 small to medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 apples, preferably tart, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup each red wine and orange juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 pounds red cabbage, quartered, cored and thinly sliced.  I found this easy to do in food processor.

Heat the oil and add the onion. Cook until translucent.  Sprinkle in the brown sugar; cook until it is melted and starts to caramelize.  Add the apples and stir to combine with the onions and sugar.  Add the vinegar.  Stir in the wine, orange juice, cinnamon stick and ginger.  Season with salt and pepper.  Heat the liquid to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer briskly 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the cabbage and simmer covered for about 45 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  If there is too much liquid at the end, uncover the pan and let some of liquid cook off.  This can also be cooked in a 350 degree oven instead of on top of the stove.  Check to make sure the cabbage is very tender and if not continue to cook.  The dish can be made a day ahead and reheated.

Sweet Potato Pear Soup

This is a great soup that uses local seasonal ingredients (mostly) and is easy as well as delicious.

1 tablespoon oil
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 - 1 cup chopped celery
3 cups (about) sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups (about) ripe pears, cored and cubed (no need to peel) I used pears from Future Fruit
3-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (depending on how thick you like your soup)
1/4-1/2 cup dry sherry or vermouth (optional but tasty)
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Plain yogurt or sour cream (optional)
Thin slices of pear as a garnish for the soup
Chopped fresh parsley if you have any

Heat the oil and saute the onions and celery until tender but not brown (about 10 minutes). Add the sweet potatoes, pears, broth, sherry, cinnamon stick, orange zest, thyme and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 30-35 minutes or until the sweet potatoes and pears are tender. Remove the cinnamon stick.

Using either an immersion blender or food processor, puree the soup until smooth. Check seasonings.

Serve the soup with thin slices of pear and some yogurt or sour cream. You can sprinkle with chopped parsley if you wish.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cranberry, Orange Walnut Scones

I went to a tea party Sunday afternoon and brought these scones.  I think they may be some of the best that I've every made.  Naturally I tweaked the original recipe.

2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter (has to be butter)
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup walnuts
1-2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients in your food processor, except for the sugar.  Add the butter.  Pulse on and off until butter is the size of peas.  Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Put the cranberries and sugar in the processor and pulse on and off until coarsely chopped. Add the chopped cranberries, walnuts and orange zest to the dry ingredients.  Add the buttermilk and stir until the dough comes together.  Gather into a ball and knead 6-8 times.  Add a bit of flour if it is too sticky.  Cut into 2 pieces.  Flatter each piece into a circle about 7 inches in diameter.  Cut each circle into 8 wedges using a pizza cutter dipped in flour or a sharp knife.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.  You can paint the scones with a little cream or beaten egg and sprinkle with baker's sugar as a little extra if you choose.  Remove the scones to wire racks to cool.

The original recipe had a recipe for orange butter which I didn't make, but sounded good.
3/4 cup of butter
1/4 cup of chopped cranberries
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange peel

Combine ingredients.  Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.  Let it come to room temperature so it is easy to spread.

Adapted from allrecipes.com