A Nutty and Herby Cranberry Sauce from the Oven

November 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

This past Wednesday night began with roasting a perfectly sweet, tart, and herby cranberry and hazelnut sauce for Thanksgiving.  I got the inspiration here, and modified it until the recipe turned into my own.

Coat one pound of fresh cranberries in:

1 cup turbinado sugar
3 tablespoons walnut oil
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh sage
1 teaspoon fresh thyme

Roast the cranberries on a rimmed baking sheet in a hot oven (425 degrees) for about 7 minutes until the berries around the edge begin to split.  While the cranberries are in the oven heat 1/4 cup red wine with 2 tablespoons of water in a little sauce pan until it boils.   When the berries begin to split take the pan out of the oven and mix in the hot wine then return everything to the hot oven for another 10 or 15 minutes.  Stir the mixture a couple of times checking to see when the berries turn into a beautiful syrupy sauce.  Leave the oven on to toast the hazelnuts. The method for the hazelnuts is essentially the same as the cranberries.

Mix 1 cup of hazelnuts with 1 teaspoon each fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage in a rimmed baking sheet.  Then heat 3 tablespoons of red wine and 3 tablespoons of turbinado sugar until the sugar melts and mix with the herbed nuts.  Now heat the coated nut for just under 10 minutes in the hot oven.  Keep the saucy cranberries and the toasted nuts separate until just before devouring the mixture.

Eat Happily.


Pear Poaching and Thoughts on Almond Tarts

October 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

Almonds have the greatest ability to be delicious in so many forms.  Toasted almonds add the greatest nutty crunch to salads and soups.  Whereas raw almonds are milky and smooth.  The creamy texture of raw almonds has forced me to dream of making my own almond milk, and from what I gather, the process is not all that daunting.  Before any other almond fantasies could come true, I assembled a peppercorn poached pear and almond tart with an almond crust.  Unfortunately,  my favorite part was the subtly spiced perfectly tender Bartlette Pears from Barnards Orchards.

And by no means is it an unfortunate thing to have discovered my new adoration and curiosity of pear poaching, though the tart itself was just not worth the hours of effort.  But my tummy is telling me that there is still hope, and that the next variation will be magnificent.  In any case, it was a gorgeous little experiment, and I am already planning my future pear poaching and almond pasting.   No more canned almond paste.  From now on I will listen to my gut and make the almond paste with butter and sugar, only the best for my tarts.  For the pears I am envisioning the use of honey, ginger, cinnamon sticks, and maybe even some savory pears with thyme poached in a smoked sugar from Northbrook Marketplace.   Only the future can tell.

Poached Pears

4 cups water
1 1/4 cups Demerara Sugar
4 Bartlette Pears (Boscs were not ready yet, but are preferable) peeled, seeded, quartered
20 peppercorns (give or take)
Vanilla bean

Heat the water and sugar together in a large sauce pan until the sugar dissolves.  Check on it every couple minutes and stir frequently. Once the sugar has dissolved add the peppercorns and vanilla or any flavorings suited to your taste buds.  Add the pears in a layer.  Keep the water boiling very lightly and try to be sure that they stay mostly submerged by pushing them down with the back of a wooden spoon every so often, or construct a pear poaching parchment paper tool found here.  They will take about 20 minutes to become soft.  Once they have become nice and delicate like butter they are poached.  Remove them from the heat and allow them too cool until they are needed.

Eat Happily.


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