Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Priscilla's Tesuque Thanksgiving Southwest Dressing and yet another southwestern-style recipe!

My late sister made this incredibly delicious stuffing for the first time at our Thanksgiving celebration in 1991.  She still lived in Tesuque, New Mexico, and we had a wonderful time visiting her there.  I have great memories of that particular holiday.  Over the years I made the dressing even when my young children (and who can blame them?) turned up their noses at the nontraditional ingredients found in the recipe.  
Now, it is a ritual for me to make this dish.  I think of my sister while I make it, think about the fun we had making it together for the first time, and really, that is all I require of it.  The fact that it is absolutely delicious is a bonus!

I have taken a few liberties with the original ingredients.  I substituted red peppers for green because green peppers do not agree with me.  Why I can't eat them and love all the other, hotter peppers, is a great mystery to me.
Also, I have substituted craisins for raisins.  The taste and color are more appealing to me.
Recipes are "suggestions", really.  Play around with this one and "tweak" it to satisfy your own palette.
My sister would expect nothing less from you!

Priscilla’s Tesuque Pinon Dressing

(this recipe is adequate for a 10-12 pound turkey)

1/3 cup craisins
1/3 cup tequila or mescale
2 large red peppers
2 green chilis (or one small can chopped green chili)
1 large chopped onion
1 or 2 minced garlic cloves
½ cup butter
4 cups dry bread crumbs
2 T minced cilantro
1 teasp salt, or to taste
¾ tsp dried oregano (or 1 Tablesp fresh)
½ tsp chili (I use chipotle or ancho for a smokier taste)
½ tsp dried sage (or 1 Tablesp fresh)
ground pepper to taste
1 cup pinion nuts, lightly toasted

Soak craisins in tequila or mescale for at least 30 minutes.  Roasts and char skins of peppers, close in small paper bag and steam for 10-15 min.  Peel and remove seeds, pat dry, and chop coarsely.  Drain craisins and discard tequila.
Melt butter in large skillet over low heat.  Add onion and garlic, cook until tender.  Add mixture to dried breadcrumbs, then add cilantro, salt, oregano, chili powder, sage, and pepper.  Fold in pinon nuts, craisins, pappers, and chilis.

This can (and should!) be made the day before.  The flavors need time to meld.

Preheat oven to 500.  If stuffing turkey allow a bit more cooking time.  Otherwise,
350 to bake stuffing in casserole.

*Broth may be added to increase moisture of the stuffing and also as a way to reduce the butter content.


And now, here is another recipe that is quite similar.  I'm thinking that I might meld the two of these recipes together.  The idea of putting some apples into the mix really appeals to me.  Check this out:

This dressing has a very similar look to my sister's version.

Dorothy’s Southwest Stuffing

This is wonderful as is, or with traditional gravy, if you like.  To make it vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • Splash of sherry (dry rather than sweet sherry; optional)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed and roughly chopped into strips
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 2 (6-ounce) bags seasoned cornbread stuffing mix (12 ounces total)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 2 apples, cored, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 1/2‑1 cup toasted pecans, chopped roughly
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • A few shakes red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sage (or a few leaves of fresh sage, minced)
  • Low-salt, fat-free canned chicken broth (have 2  15-ounce cans on hand)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large, lidded baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
Put raisins and currants in a 2-cup glass or plastic measuring cup, cover with water by 1-1 1/2 inches, and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to soak while you prepare the rest of the stuffing. (Add a splash of sherry to the water if you wish; this is optional).
In a large skillet, melt butter and sauté onion, celery and red pepper until it softens, about 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently; you do not want it to brown. Add minced garlic toward end of sautéing time so garlic doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and set pan aside.
Put dry stuffing mix in your largest mixing bowl. To this, add sautéed onion mixture, drained raisins and currants, drained corn, diced green chiles, apple chunks and roasted pecans. Using large wooden spoons or your hands (more fun!), toss gently to combine.
Sprinkle cumin powder, red pepper flakes, chile powder and ground sage over, and toss gently, again, to combine well. You want the spices to be distributed evenly throughout.
Heat 1 can chicken broth (you can do this in a measuring cup in the microwave) and add small amounts at a time to the stuffing, tossing with your wooden spoons between additions, until the stuffing is moistened but not wet. You will use at least 1 can of broth. I recommend you have 2 cans on hand, just in case your mixture still seems too dry, but you probably won’t use too much of the second can. One trick is to mix it up using 1 can of broth, and let it sit undisturbed for about 5 minutes, to let the moisture spread evenly. Then if it is still too dry, begin slowly adding a portion of the second can. Add additional broth with a light hand, because if mixture is too wet, it will turn into concrete stuffing.)
Spoon stuffing into a greased baking dish with a lid (or one that can be covered tightly with foil); don’t pack it in, just spoon it lightly. If it won’t all fit into one dish, portion it between 2 dishes. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.
Serves 8-12, depending on appetites and how much else you have on the table!
Ingredient noteCurrants are like tiny, dark raisins, made from the seedless Zante grape. You can find them in the supermarket aisle with raisins.
Cook’s noteDo not try to “taste test” this stuffing after you have it all mixed together and before baking, because the herbs and spices might taste harsh. With some dishes, at the point before you bake it you can taste test it to make sure all the spices are right, but not with this one. It really takes baking to marry these spices, so if you taste it while it is still “raw” you will not get an accurate taste test.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Crab Quiche

This recipe comes to you via the executive chef at
The Pampered Chef

Crab Quiche 

1 7 1/2-ounce boxed, refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature, fitted into deep dish baker
1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, the best available, undrained
4 ounces diced shallots or sweet onion
8 ounces grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons Flour
3 jumbo eggs
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice, preferably fresh,
2 teaspoon old bay seasoning more or less, to taste
additional flour, for preparing quiche dish

Step 1. Place the shallots (or onion), cheese and flour in mixing bowl.
Step 2. Using two forks, toss, as you would a salad, until shallots and cheese are evenly coated in the flour.
Step 3. Using a spatula, fold in the crabmeat, just enough to evenly incorporate it into the cheese mixture. You don't want to break up or mash the big lumps of crabmeat.
Step 4. Sprinkle a light coating of flour evenly over bottom of prepared pastry shell.
Gently spoon the crabmeat mixture into shell. Distribute the mixture evenly, mounding it slightly towards the center, but do not compress the mixture or press down. You want it to remain light and airy.
Step 5. In a 1-quart measuring bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice and old bay.
Slowly drizzle the cream mixture over and around the top surface of the crab mixture. Go very slowly, so as to give the liquid all the time it needs tto drizzle down into the cracks and crevasses of the light and airy crab mixture.
Step 6. The quiche is now ready to bake on center rack of preheated 350 degree oven for 50 minutes.
Quiche will be golden brown, puffed throughout and a knife inserted into the center will come out clean.
Remove from oven and cool on rack, about 30-60 minutes, prior to slicing and serving warm or at room temperature.

Friday, November 15, 2013

What's For Dinner?…An Exhibition at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, 2013

Leslie and Jamie
Photograph taken by the Houston Chronicle

Every evening without fail, Jamie asks her friends on Facebook a question:  What's For Dinner?
The list includes everything from multi-course gourmet meals to a pint of ice cream.  It is always entertaining.
Jamie and I began this little cooking blog a few years ago after deciding that it would be easier to have a blog about cooking and share our recipes and restaurant adventures than to constantly send pictures and recipes via SMS.  Well, we still do that (hello Instagram!).  But, basically, that is how the cooking blog came into being.

Fast forward to the fall of 2012.  The Special Exhibits coordinator for the International Quilt Festival was thinking about putting together a food-related quilt exhibit.  She remembered Jamie's nightly ritual on Facebook.  And that is the gist of how the exhibition evolved.

The call for entry was for artists to create a piece about the size of a placemat:  15inches by 24 inches.
Jamie and I juried the exhibition via an online site.  I lobbied for the exhibit to be presented as a dinner party.  We printed the artist statements on pages laminated and set up like a restaurant menu.  Table tent cards listed the name of the piece and the artist who made it.

Jamie and I were absolutely thrilled with the amazing work that was submitted.  The exhibit made a fun little splash at the International Quilt Market and Festival and we had a writer & photographer from the Houston Chronicle, as well as a reporter from the local PBS station come interview us.

The following are some photos I took during the festival, and a link to the article in the Houston Chronicle:
My former college job came in handy:  I made 4 bouquets for the table,
which was larger than I anticipated!

Here is the "menu" of artist statements.

Here are a couple of the images taken by the photographer from the Houston Chronicle:

Here is Jamie with her curator's piece, "Four Food Groups".

Here I am with my curator's piece, "Nourishment & Tradition".

In case you missed the link above, the article in the Houston Chronicle can be found here.
There are many more photographs of the individual pieces. I hope you check it out!

I think two of the nicest things I heard about the exhibition were 1) People seemed to love the presentation of the pieces on a table versus the traditional method of hanging them on a curtain or wall, and 2) several people told me they thought Judy Chicago would like it.  That thrilled me!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cranberry Chutney

One of my most favorite recipes for the Thanksgiving table.  Homemade Cranberry Chutney! Just listen to those cranberries popping as they cook.  It is also great with a pork roast, or on a turkey sandwich.  Enjoy!

Cranberry Chutney
1 C water
1 C sugar
4 cloves
1 t cinnamon
1/2 C chopped onion
1/2 clove garlic
1/2 t salt
1/4 C vinegar
dash of cayenne
Simmer for 5 minutes, then add:
1/2 C raisens, 1/2 C dates, 1/4 C diced preserved ginger, 1/4 C brown sugar, 2 C cranberries
Cook until all cranberries POP open
Makes 1-1/2 pints

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Trip Down Coffee Lane in New York City!

Our first stop was 'Mud' and it is a charming place with seating inside and out in their patio. I love the sign.  I felt like I was stepping back into another time in my life.  The food was excellent, and they make a mean iced coffee too.
For lunch I had a bowl of their homemade granola, yogurt and fresh fruit and it was divine.  I would imagine their brunch menu would be divine!

We shared this quesidilla made with black beans and mango and it was excellent

I heard about The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop on the food channel, so being lovers of ice cream, we had to go and try it out!

We shared a 'Salty Pimp' and I would highly recommend it - vanilla, caramel, sea salt and dipped in chocolate.  It was well worth the subway ride.

Harney and Sons Tea Lounge in Soho, after a tiring day of walking, shopping and having fun.  Sit down for a brewed pot of tea and a cookie.  Divine.  An unbelievable variety of teas - we had Jasmine Pearl Tea.

The great wall of tea!
We took the subway over to Brooklyn for an arts festival.  Had a nice sandwich and a pretty darn wonderful latte at The Brooklyn Roasting Company. They had tables and living room settings inside an industrial building.  The coffee was smooth, rich and delicious.

A view of the Brooklyn Bridge
Between subways, we ran into this place with huge fabric donut pillows on the wall.  They make gourmet donuts.  Donut Plant - jelly donuts are square. We picked up a few and were on the run!

Stopped in for breakfast at The Popover Cafe

I had a bowl of oatmeal and this amazing light, fluffy and enormous popover with strawberry butter!  And a good cup of coffee!
Can you tell that breakfast is my favorite meal?  The Grey Dog Cafe.  A greeter shows you a bandana, and you have to remember the color, because that bandana is marking where your table is inside the restaurant.  You stand in line to order your breakfast.  We shared a spinach and feta cheese omelet, and some very delicious french toast with a side of fruit.
The latte, also amazing, on a very unique table top of an old map of NY
Birch Coffee.  I've actually had their coffee before, and they make a cold brew too, that you can make yourself and store in your frig for more coffee delights.

We both ordered their regular size latte.  It was the most delicious of all of the latte's that I had this week.  Hands down.  Should have ordered the larger size. I could have easily ordered a second, but I restrained myself.
And last, but certainly not least, breakfast at Irving Farm.  It's a long narrow place, like most NY establishments.  The best bakery section, with unusual morsels of goodness.  I had a rhubarb scone, and a cup of stick to your ribs oatmeal, and a vanilla latte.  I had heard that they make their own vanilla syrup, so I had to give it a try. Creamy deliciousness in a cup. I want to go back and have one of their muffins, and another vanilla latte.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Hobbit Restaurant in Orange, CA

My dinner group (Jamie Fingal), which meets every month to go out to dinner, for the last four years, had a lovely dining experience at The Hobbit Restaurant in Orange, CA. It is one of our favorite places to dine! This is our table.  The Hobbit has been open since 1972 and is touted as a unique dining experience serving up a 7-course prix fix menu. I remember dining here in the 80's, where we had to get our reservations 6 months in advance.  We began our adventure at 7:00pm in the bar on the second floor.

The main dining room which is elegant, but also feels like you are in a 'home' setting with the decor, windows, fireplace and very friendly and helpful staff.  Michael Philippi is the chef and owner of The Hobbit, along with his lovely wife, Debra, who coordinates events, and greets you at the door of your culinary experience.The Hobbit has been a family owned business since it began in 1972.
Loved the look of this table pedestal in the bar area

Champagne and Hors d'Oeurves are served in the cellar, and this is where you select your bottle of wine for dinner.  This is a wonderful area to walk around and talk to your table guests, as well as, others who will share the dining room with you, if you so desire.

Some of the Hors d'Oeurves - oysters, stuffed dates, cucumber wedges with caviar, beef sticks, cold soup, just to name a few
The Menu

The butter, sculpted in the shape of a rose.  I didn't want to cut into it, but when the rolls were offered, and smelled absolutely heavenly, the butter was carved into.  Nothing like butter!

First course - Cornmeal crusted smoked catfish, with sauteed mustard greens and Creole sauce.  It was delicious.  I didn't know that catfish could taste like this!

The toast to friendship and the September birthday girls - Ann and me!

The wine!  Delicious and full bodied wonderfulness

Roasted duck leg with pineapple chutney, and hose made Pappardelle pasta.  The duck was so succulent and I cherished every bite of this masterpiece.  This was quite memorable.

Watermelon and Baby Mache with peach balsamic vinaigrette.  Wonderful and refreshing flavors.  I thought the cucumbers were a nice touch, with their flower-like presentation.
Intermission.  We walked out to the patio with our wine and rested for a bit.  This vine on the wall was intriguing.

White peach sorbet, upon our return to cleanse the palette.  I wanted more.

Wild mushroom stuffed filet is what three of us had, with seasonal vegetable, and two lovely roasted and caramelized carrots, which I would have loved more of.  The steak was cooked to perfection, as I enjoy my steak more on the rare side.  It literally melted in my mouth.

Jacquin had the fresh herb pesto crusted Wild Coho Salmon with Beluga lentils and sauteed pea tendrils.  We all had a taste, and the flavors from my first bite of Salmon were amazing - full of deep flavors, but not heavy.

Dessert - double chocolate lava cake with sea salt and bourbon caramel with fresh berries!

and an extra bonus, for the birthday girls.  A champagne glass with whipped cream and three melt in your mouth handmade chocolate truffles and a candle.  Made my wish and blew out the candle.  What an amazing evening.

This is the wine that we enjoyed during the last half of our dining experience.  If you are ever in Orange, California - make a reservation at The Hobbit.  10:00pm over and out.  This is a dining experience that I would highly recommend.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Lemon Basil Ice Cream

I rarely eat dessert, but I do love ice cream.  So, I decided to search for the best recipe for what I thought would be a winning combination of flavors.  Lemon Basil.  I found a basic custard recipe on-line from all recipes.com.  Ingredients are 1 cup of heavy cream, 3 cups of half n'half, 8 egg yolks, 1 cup white sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt. I am using a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker, where you have to freeze the cylinder for a couple of days ahead of time.  I began with separating the eggs into a large bowl.

8 eggs, and you could save the whites to make an omelet for breakfast

Add one cup of sugar and salt

Mix with spoon, and it will be thick.  Set aside.  I admit, that I started with a smaller bowl, and soon realized that it wasn't big enough, because I would have to add the warm cream mixture to it.  So, start with a large bowl.

In a saucepan add the one cup heavy whipping cream and the three cups of half n'half.

Flame on Medium Low, you do not want this to boil, but to simmer, using a whisk to stir.   When simmered, slowly pour about 1/2 cup of hot cream mixture into egg yolk mixture, whisking as you go.  When you have added all of the cream to the egg mixture, return all of the contents to the saucepan to cook on the stove, with the same Medium Low heat.  You want a nice slow simmer, whisking constantly.  When you can coat the back of a spoon with the contents.  This is the custard base of the ice cream.  At this point you can add other ingredients to make what you desire.

I used about 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil, and about a teaspoon of lemon zest.  I also added a teaspoon each of vanilla extract and lemon extract.

So, I mixed in the remaining ingredients, careful to not let it boil, did the spoon test, and turned off the heat.  I poured the ice cream base into a 8 cup glass measuring bowl and let it cool for 20 minutes.  When cool, place in the refrigerator overnight (I put it in for 6 hours).  When ready, pour it into an ice cram maker, and turn it on.  The Cuisinart ice cream maker takes about 20 minutes.  Remove from ice cream maker, pack into covered container, and freeze for 2 hours before serving.

   But, if was my best attempt at making really good ice cream!  It was frozen, creamy and delicious.  I served it with simple butter waffle cookies.  It makes about 8 cups.  Now I want to come up with some new combinations!