Category Archives: Savory

Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce

Apple Cider Cranberry SauceMy mother makes the best cranberry sauce in the world, but that’s not the recipe I’m sharing today.* Sorry to disappoint.

*Just kidding! I wrote her original recipe in the notes at the end. It’s a Thanksgiving two-fer 🙂 Apple Cider Cranberry SauceI have a good reason for holding out on you. My mom’s cranberry sauce is made with a large amount of brandy, which gets cooked off over the course of an hour in the oven. As I have mentioned previously though, I cannot safely consume alcohol, and therefore do not keep it around, even for cooking.

Since I quit drinking five and a half years ago, cranberry sauce is one of the only dishes that I have really missed. I’ve found work-arounds or substitutes for all sorts of other recipes, but I just couldn’t find one that hit all the same buttons as my mom’s.Apple Cider Cranberry SauceIn case you’re wondering, those buttons include:

  • It’s gotta be whole berry. No weird can-shaped cranberry jello here.
  • It can’t have more than three ingredients. I’ve had cranberry sauces with nuts and spices and other fruits and all sorts of other silliness, and all of it was completely unnecessary.
  • It shouldn’t have any citrus. Orange and cranberry are complementary flavors, but I can’t stand them together in cranberry sauce. This is more of a personal preference than anything, but I mean, this is my personal food blog.
  • It can’t be too sweet. I hate when cranberries are so over-sweetened that their natural tartness is completely masked.
  • It has to be easy. Like ridiculously easy. So low-maintenance, it’s silly. And if it can be made more than a day ahead, that’s ideal.
  • If nothing else, it must be so delicious that I want to eat it every time I spot the jar in the fridge.

Apple Cider Cranberry SauceApple Cider Cranberry SauceIt’s taken a few years and many sauces with unrecognizable berries, too much sugar, flavors I didn’t care for, and a lot of feeling sorry for myself, but I’ve finally made a cranberry sauce that hits all those buttons. And the missing ingredient was looking at me the whole time in the form of a seasonal fridge staple: apple cider. It has flavor, but not enough to overwhelm the cranberries, and it’s sweet without being saccharine. Perfection.Apple Cider Cranberry SauceApple Cider Cranberry SauceThis sauce comes together over the course of an hour in the oven. It gets stirred twice, but needs no help otherwise.Apple Cider Cranberry SauceThe result is soft, bursting berries that slump into a sweet, sticky sauce. It’s just divine. As is the fact that it can be made today and nuked in the microwave just before you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, it’s probably even better that way. Love that.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers.Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce

Want more cranberries? See here and here. For more apple cider, see here and here.

Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce*
makes about 3 cups

2 12-ounce bags whole cranberries
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine all ingredients in a 9×13-inch casserole dish and stir together. Bake 60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.

Remove sauce from oven. Cool for a few minutes before transferring to a serving dish. Serve.

Cranberry sauce may be made up to two days in advance; it reheats well in the microwave.

Note:

If you want to try my mom’s cranberry sauce, swap the cider for brandy and double the sugar. Everything else is the same.
Apple Cider Cranberry SauceApple Cider Cranberry SauceApple Cider Cranberry Sauce

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Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions

Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsIf you go back and look at the order of recipes on this blog, you can clearly see my train of culinary thought. Last week, I posted three pies back-to-back. Last month, I posted a cake per week. Earlier in the year, I was making doughnuts right and left. I can’t help that my inspiration is so obviously linear.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsThis week, I’m caramelizing everything. On Wednesday, it was Brussels sprouts. Today, it’s onions. But they’re not just any old caramelized onions. Nope. These are nestled with a wheel of brie, wrapped in buttery pastry, and baked into a puffy, golden appetizer worthy of any Thanksgiving spread!Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked brie is always a holiday hit—what’s not to love about the combination of melty cheese and flaky pastry?!—but I am all about the sweet addition of caramelized onions here. They’re cooked low and slow until they’re soft, sweet, and deeply browned. I like to add some minced garlic and fresh rosemary (it’s another thing I’m into right now) at the end of cooking, just for a little dimension.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsAfter the onions cool, it’s time to assemble the baked brie. Roll out a sheet of puff pastry (I use rough puff, but the frozen all-butter stuff works too) and pile the onions on top.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsSmear a little dijon on one side of a wheel of brie and place it on top of the onions. The mustard flavor isn’t too pronounced here, but it’s sharpness helps offset the richness of the cheese and pastry.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsWrap everything up tight, give it an egg wash glaze, and decorate with some little pastry leaves, if that’s the sort of thing you’re into.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBake the brie until the pastry puffs and turns golden. Wait a few minutes before serving it with seasonal fruit and the crackers you made your roommate go get from the overpriced cell-phone-dead-zone grocery store behind your building (and you didn’t even complain when he came back with some weird flavor instead of plain because you’re an adult and someone did you a favor)…Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions…um, what was that? Oops. Back to baked brie.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsYou’re going to love this brie, y’all! It’s rich and buttery, and oozes in the best possible way. One bite of this melty, cheesy, salty-sweet treat is worth every second it takes to cook those onions, I promise. I know all your holiday guests will agree.Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions
Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions
makes one 5-inch (13.4 ounce) baked brie

Rough Puff Pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 ounces unsalted European-style butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup water or milk, very cold

Caramelized Onions:
2 medium sweet onions, sliced into thin half-moons
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

For Assembly:
1 5-inch (13.4 ounce) wheel of brie
1-2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

For Serving:
seasonal fruit
bread or crackers

Make the pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in cold water or milk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough out onto surface, and use your hands to pat it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough into an 8×10″ rectangle. Fold dough in thirds, and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8×10″ rectangle again, fold, and turn. Repeat rolling, folding, and turning until it has been done six times total. Wrap folded dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours.

Caramelize the onions. Melt butter in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they reduce in volume and are deeply browned (but not burnt!). Add garlic and minced rosemary and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Do not rush this process. Set aside to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

Assemble the baked brie. Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unfold dough. Roll dough out to 9×12-inch rectangle. Slice off a 2×9-inch strip and refrigerate it for later. Place onions in a 6-inch circle in the center of the remaining dough.

Spread mustard on one side of the brie. Place the brie, mustard-side-down, on top of onions. Fold pastry over the top, leaving no exposed cheese. Place wrapped brie, smoother-side-up, on prepared pan. Refrigerate.

Make an egg wash. In a small bowl, combine egg and water. Whisk with a fork until smooth.

Remove reserved strip of dough from the refrigerator. Use a knife or decorative cookie cutters to cut decorative pieces, if desired.

Remove brie from the refrigerator. Paint with egg wash. Top with decorative pieces and paint with more egg wash. Bake brie for 25-30 minutes, or until puffed and golden.

Let cool for at least 15 minutes before removing to a serving platter. Serve with fruit, bread, or crackers, if desired.

Baked brie is best on the day it’s made, but may be wrapped tightly in the refrigerator for a few days.
Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized Onions

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Caramelized Brussels SproutsI don’t spend much time writing about vegetables, seeing as this is a baking blog and all.Caramelized Brussels SproutsBut the truth is that I eat a lot of vegetables. A lot. Gotta balance out all the baked goods somehow, you know?

Let’s not discuss how many times I’ve had pie and salad for lunch over the last three weeks. #bakerproblemsCaramelized Brussels SproutsThese Caramelized Brussels Sprouts are one of my fall/winter favorites. They’re basically your standard roasted brussels sprouts with the volume turned up. Plus, they’re super easy to make and have this sweet-salty-herby-spicy thing going on that makes them totally irresistible. Like, good luck getting them from the pan to the table without eating half the batch. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Caramelized Brussels SproutsI make Caramelized Brussels Sprouts for regular weeknights all the time, but they’re also great for dinner parties and holidays. I made them for Christmas dinner last year and they were a huge hit with my whole family! I can’t help but think they’d make a great Thanksgiving side dish, too.Caramelized Brussels SproutsCaramelized Brussels Sprouts are very simple to make. Start by trimming the brussels sprouts and removing any banged-up outer leaves. There’s no need to slice them in half—minimal prep is the name of the game!Caramelized Brussels SproutsPut the sprouts on a baking sheet and toss ‘em with fresh rosemary, red pepper flakes, salt, a little sugar, and olive oil.Caramelized Brussels SproutsRoast the brussels sprouts for 40 minutes, giving the pan a good shake every 15 minutes. The resulting sprouts will have deeply browned (but not burnt!), crispy exteriors and buttery-soft centers.Caramelized Brussels SproutsRemember that “sweet-salty-herby-spicy” thing? Well, add “crispy-buttery.”Caramelized Brussels SproutsAnd maybe “-things-dreams-are-made-of.”
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
makes 6-8 servings

2 pounds whole raw Brussels sprouts, trimmed & kept whole
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, based on your preference
1/2-3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, based on your preference

Preheat oven to 400F.

Combine all ingredients on a dry rimmed baking sheet and toss together with clean hands. Spread coated brussels sprouts into one layer.

Roast 40 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes. Brussels Sprouts are ready when the exteriors are deeply browned (but not burnt) and the centers are tender. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts are best the day they are made, but may be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.Caramelized Brussels SproutsCaramelized Brussels SproutsCaramelized Brussels Sprouts

Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula Pizza

Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaAround this time every year, I draw a bit of a blank when it comes to this blog. I mean, I have plenty of ideas, but they are all autumn-related right now and I am a stickler for seasons. I know it’s getting cooler and the light is changing and all that, but it is technically still summer.Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaWe still have some berries and decent tomatoes left, but my desire to work with them has waned considerably—the pumpkin tunnel-vision is real, y’all. It doesn’t help that my social media feeds have been loaded with autumnal treats since August 15th. Regardless, I’m holding out on pumpkin and apples until September 21st. Nine more days.Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaSo, if I’m done with most summer produce and am not ready for fall, what’s left? Figs. So many figs. They are everywhere right now!
Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaYou know what goes great with fresh figs? Salty prosciutto. And arugula. And gorgonzola. And balsamic vinegar.Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaI could have taken all of these things and made a salad or something, but instead I threw them all on a pizza and you should, too.Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaI take great pride in the quality of pizza I make at home. So many homemade pizzas come out on the bready side of things, which is great if that’s what you’re into, but it simply does not appeal to me. Instead, I go for a dough that is simple and stretchy, baking up paper thin in the center and puffy and chewy at the edges. Here it’s covered with a thin layer of tomato sauce and a few ounces of fresh mozzarella, along with prosciutto and some quartered figs.Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaI let it start in a 500F oven before pulling it out, scattering some crumbled gorgonzola and a few more figs over the top (for variance in texture), and then throwing it under the broiler. I like to let it get a little crispy for a coal-oven-esque flavor.Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaProsciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaNext comes a bed of arugula that’s been tossed with olive oil. I love the contrast of these peppery greens with the saltiness of the prosciutto and the jammy figs.Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaProsciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaThis pizza gets finished off with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar that’s been reduced to a thick, sweet syrup. Mmhmm.Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaProsciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaOh, y’all. This is really good. Like I-ate-half-a-pizza-and-feel-absolutely-no-remorse good.Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaIt’s a good thing the recipe makes two pizzas. That’s one for you and one for me, okay?!Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula Pizza

Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula Pizza
makes 2 pizzas

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 batch Pizza Dough (2 dough balls)
4-6 tablespoons strained tomatoes, tomato purée, or other sauce, divided
6-8 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces, divided
4 ounces prosciutto, sliced into bite-sized pieces, divided
8-10 fresh black figs, trimmed and quartered, divided
1/4 cup gorgonzola crumbles, divided (optional)
2 cups baby arugula, packed
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

If you have an in-oven broiler, place one rack about 6 inches from the heating element. Preheat oven to 500F for at least one hour–the entire oven needs to be very hot.

While the oven is heating, reduce the balsamic vinegar. Pour it into a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Simmer 8-10 minutes, or until thickened and reduced to 1/4 cup. Transfer to a small bowl. Aside.

When oven has heated for one hour, flour 2 rimmed baking sheets, tapping out any excess.

Flour your hands. Working with one ball of risen pizza dough at a time, place your hands (palms down underneath the dough, lifting it from the pan it rose on. Moving your hands slowly, let dough stretch with gravity, moving your hands slowly in a circular motion to allow for even stretching. Gently place dough on one of the prepared pans. Stretch further with your fingertips until the desire shape is reached. Pinch the edges to form a crust. Set aside while you stretch and shape the other ball of dough.

Working with one pizza at a time, pour 2-3 tablespoons of sauce in the center. Use a spoon or ladle to spread the sauce in a circular motion, leaving blank space at the crust. Scatter torn mozzarella over the top, followed by 2 ounces of prosciutto and 3 quartered figs (12 quarters). Set aside while you top the other pizza.

Working with one pizza at a time, bake pizza (in the lightly-floured pan) for 6-8 minutes on the floor of your oven. Remove from oven. Lift edges with a spatula to ensure bottom crust is browned. If it isn’t, bake for an additional 1-2 minutes, checking bottom crust after each minute. Repeat process with other pizza.

If you do not have an in-oven broiler, turn off oven and heat broiler for 5-10 minutes, until very hot. If you do have an in-oven broiler, turn it on and proceed immediately.

Scatter 2 tablespoons gorgonzola crumbles and 1-2 more quartered figs (4-8 quarters) over each pizza.

Broil each pizza 1-4 minutes, until crust and cheese are bubbly and a bit charred. Check pizzas after each minute, and every 30-45 seconds after the 2 minute mark. My pizzas broil in 2 1/2-3 minutes. I like to rotate the pans after 1 1/2 minutes for even browning. Let pizzas cool for five minutes in their pans.

In a medium mixing bowl, toss together arugula and olive oil.

Remove pizzas to cutting board(s). Top with arugula and a drizzle of balsamic reduction (you will have leftover reduction). Slice pizzas with a sharp chef’s knife (or pizza cutter) and serve immediately. Wrap any leftovers in foil and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Arugula will wilt over time.Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaProsciutto, Fig & Arugula Pizza

Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini Sauté

Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini SautéLast Monday night, I took a picture of a dinner I had made at work that included this simple Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini Sauté, among other delicious things. I have received multiple requests for the recipe and, as it’s so dang easy, I am happy to oblige.Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini SautéThis quick, fresh one-pan meal is one of my summertime staples. It’s made with all sorts of great seasonal produce like corn and zucchini (duh), tomatoes, spinach, and fresh herbs. And shrimp. And a squeeze of lemon.Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini SautéIt’s my favorite meal this time of year.Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini SautéI measured all the ingredients out so I could write the recipe for you, but I usually just make this by feel—it’s that simple.Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini SautéThis dish is the sort of thing that works just as well for a weeknight meal as it does for a party. It can be scaled up and down without any fancy math—a relief after all the math I did last month.Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini SautéYou can adapt this recipe any way you please—take this and make it your own. Don’t care for shrimp? Swap in chicken (but, uh, cook that longer). Halve the amount of corn. Add more zucchini. Nix the tomatoes. Fold in fresh arugula instead of spinach. Use bacon grease instead of butter. Heck, you could even take this in a southwestern direction by adding jalapeño, black beans, cilantro, a dash of cumin and a squeeze of lime! Really, the possibilities are endless.Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini SautéHowever you choose to make this…well, just make this.Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini Sauté

Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini Sauté
makes 3-4 servings

2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound peeled, deveined raw shrimp (fresh or thawed frozen)
cloves garlic, minced
1-2 shallots, finely diced (about 1/3 cup)
2 cups diced zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)
2 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 4 ears of corn)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 packed cups fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
juice of 1/2 medium lemon

For serving:
chopped fresh parsley
sliced or torn fresh basil
lemon wedges

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil, and swirl until the butter is melted and any foaming has subsided. Working in batches, cook shrimp about 2-3 minutes per side, until pink and tightly curled. Set aside.

Add remaining tablespoons of butter and olive oil to the pan, and swirl until butter is melted. Add garlic and shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and starting to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add diced zucchini and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in corn and cook for another minute or two. Stir in halved grape tomatoes, salt and pepper. Fold in half the chopped fresh spinach leaves, followed by the other half. Remove pan from heat. Stir in the juice of half a lemon.

Divide sautéed vegetables among four shallow bowls and top each with 1/4 of the shrimp. Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley and basil over the top of each bowl and serve with lemon wedges.

Sauté is best the day it is made, but may be refrigerated for up to three days. I like to reheat the vegetables by themselves and then stir in the shrimp cold, so as not to overcook them.Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini Sauté Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini Sauté