Cheery Cranberry Chutney

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Cranberries are definitely an underused fruit in my opinion.

This recipe stretches the season a bit, though it works fine as regular cranberry sauce.

I was especially intrigued by the no-work initial cooking method, which is baking rather than the traditional sauce pan boil.

In any event, it’s a great taste, and works especially nice as an appetizer paired with the cream cheese spread I posted yesterday.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 c pecans, chopped roughly and roasted in the oven at 350° for 10 minutes or in a saute pan for about 3 minutes. Careful not to let them burn.
  • 1 pkg. cranberries
  • 1 c sugar ( I substituted 1/3 c erythrithol  + 2 pkts of stevia or any sugar substitute that you like)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 c Smucker’s (or other) low sugar orange marmalade (I couldn’t find this, so I used a fancy brand with a mix of orange, grapefruit, and tangerine)
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Wash your berries and then drain.
  2. Place in a 9 x 9 baking dish along with the sugar and cinnamon, and mix
  3. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350° for 45 minutes.
  4. Cool, and then add nuts and marmalade and lemon juice.
  5. Refrigerate.

SERVES: 2 cups

NOTES: There is no reason not to put this up in 1/2 c servings and freeze for later in the year. Some interesting variations would be to add some jalapeño minced or some raisins perhaps. We in the Southwest are addicted to adding heat to just about everything. Perhaps if you can get it, some chile honey might be substituted for some of the sugar at the beginning as well.

SOURCE: Maridee Dugger and Jacqueline Bryant, friends from Iowa sent these recipes to me.

Cream Cheese Extravaganza

Feta-Cheeseball21Sometimes simple is best.

This is so easy to make, and provides a perfect base for a variety of toppings. I had it recently with cranberry chutney and it was wonderful. You could also go savory with perhaps something like sun-dried tomatoes and olives, or smoked salmon. The possibilities are endless.

This is another base recipe upon which you can let your creativity bloom.

So get busy.

And enjoy.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 8 oz package of cream cheese
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped fine

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1.  Bring both the cheese and butter to room temperature and then blend together, until well mixed.
  2. Press into a bowl or mold and chill. Easiest to do if you line the bowl or mold with plastic wrap first. You can smooth out the lines after you unmold.
  3. Invert on a plate and press in the onions and scatter around the edges.

SERVES: 12

NOTES: You can of course add other things such as olives, bacon, salami, and an endless list, but then of course you would defeat the entire purpose of using it as a base for a variety of toppings. At a party, using this as is, with the choice of toppings would make it a very versatile appetizer.

SOURCE: Jacqueline Bryant

Devilishly Good Deviled Eggs

Jalapeno-Deviled-Eggs-w-Candied-Bacon-Recipe-IMG_5647I know, I know, deviled eggs, who doesn’t do them? It’s one of those old standbys that illicit no oohs and aahs from anyone. Pedestrian, old fashioned, *gasp* shall I say, too too Midwestern and working class?

Ah, but you have not had these.

This recipe takes deviled eggs to a whole ‘nother level. It is sublime. It is the stuff of dreams.

Well, you get the idea.

Really it’s good. And for all of you who hate deviled eggs mostly because you hate peeling eggs, I have a way of doing that that actually works. I mean it. It works.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 dozen eggs, hard boiled and peeled, and sliced lengthwise
  • between 1/3 -1/2 c of mayonnaise (homemade would be excellent here)
  • 3 -4 tbsp of a good mustard. Think of Dijon or a spicy brown, but again a good mustard, i.e., not yellow.
  • 1 heaping tsp of horseradish
  • 1 large jalapeño, roasted, peeled and seeded and then minced. (3-4 tsp) in all.
  • a couple of tbsp of chopped fresh  parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • candied bacon

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Once the boil starts, time for 13 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and pour off the water, replacing with cold water.
  3. Take a large bowl, fill with about 4 cups of ice. Place eggs in the ice bath and leave until ice has melted.
  4. Place the now cold water with eggs in the fridge until ready to peel. (this can be an hour to days)
  5. Crack eggs and the shells pretty much come off in two or three pieces. This works for like almost every egg. Maybe one will give me trouble.
  6. Depending on the size of the yolks, add the rest of the ingredients together in amounts that give the right texture. Not too dry, but not sloppy. Obviously start with the lower amounts. The jalapeño amount is up to you.
  7. Spoon or pipe into the egg shells.
  8. Add a piece or two of the bacon on top.

SERVES: 24 halves

NOTES: How elegant these are depends on the quality of ingredients of course. Do swap out jalapeños for Poblanos or Hatch if you wish. Also, it’s easy to do half a dozen eggs and adjust the ingredients accordingly.

SOURCE: Modified slightly from Rufus’ Food and Spirit Guide

Candied Bacon

baconOh sweet Jesus, this is the best of all worlds. When bacon becomes a sweet divine thing to be worshiped as it trips along the tastebuds.

Really, it’s that good.

Seriously.

And it’s so easy to make that there is no excuse not to have it always on hand. It has more uses that you might imagine. I’ve seen it added to pie crust for goodness sakes. What is not to like?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb of bacon (thick sliced or regular)
  • brown sugar (about 1/4 to 1/3 c will do)
  • freshly ground pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Line cook sheets with parchment paper and lay out a single layer of bacon slices across, touching is fine.
  2. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
  3. Crack fresh pepper along each slice.
  4. Place a second sheet of parchment over the top and press lightly.
  5. Place in a pre-heated 325° for 30 minutes. (Mine was perfect at 25 minutes so adjust to suit your oven)
  6. Cool on paper toweling, and store in refrig in container. (break up into pieces once cool)

SERVES: 1 lb bacon candy

NOTES: Wonderful accompaniment to deviled eggs. Be inventive!

SOURCE: Rufus’ Food and Spirit Guide

Horiatiki (Greek Salad)

Greek-Salad-280x231I spent years working two blocks from Greek Town in Detroit. So I know Greek food quite well. This is standard just about everywhere, but there are purists and there are purists.

Since this is peasant food, every Greek on the face of the earth has their own recipe, and they vary to a degree, but not too much. I’m giving you the one that I like best, but will note some of the variations.

What a true horiatiki does not contain is lettuce. This makes it great fare for leisurely meals or for the buffet, since lettuce only wilts.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 c of tomatoes (use any variety, from cherry to romas), in bite-sized chunks (do note that the seedier types will be more juicy. Small cherry varieties can be left whole to minimize this)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and then chunked
  • 1 half of a fairly good-sized red onion, cut in rings, not razor thin, more like 1/4 inch
  • 1 small green pepper, in a large dice
  • 2/3 c beets, canned or pickled (this was common in Detroit, not so much elsewhere but a personal favorite)Blot dry before adding to minimize the bleeding.
  • 1 c olives kalamata or black as you desire. I prefer the tang of the kalamata.
  • 1/2 c pepperoncini peppers for garnish
  • 1/2 c or more feta cheese (purists like it in one chunk laid on the top, others are fine with diced up)
  • juice of one lemon (purists again use red wine or no acidic addition at all)
  • 2/3 c EVOO
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Assemble all your veggies in a bowl
  2. Whisk the lemon, olive oil, oregano and salt and pepper together and pour over the salad, garnish with the pepperoncini.
  3. Alternatively, serve the dressing on the side and allow people to drizzle what they want onto the salad.

SERVES: 6

NOTES: If you leave the salad undressed, it can be stored for several days quite well. If dressed, a couple of days is about all you can expect. Use the best quality feta you can get, the brick forms I find are better than the crumbled form.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

Crock Pot Gingerbread Cake*

Slow-Cooker-Gingerbread-4I must say that I have avoided slow-cooker cakes like the plague. I figured they weren’t very good.

But in the quest to reduce carbs, well, you try a lot of new things anyway.

This actually worked amazingly well. This cake was moist (a real problem for a lot of lo-carb cakes) and very flavorful.

About the only drawback is that it’s hard to determine the exact cooking time, since slow-cookers are so varied in size and power. Just stick to “medium” and check it every thirty minutes or so after the first hour. Experienced cake bakers know how to test for doneness with the old skewer that comes out with crumbs not gooey.

 

INGREDIENTS:
2  1/4 cups almond flour or sunflower seed flour, or any combination

1/3 c Swerve or other sugar substitute

1/3 c date puree

2 tbsp coconut flour

1 tbsp dark cocoa powder

1 1/2 tbsp ground ginger (or more, if you like it really gingery)

1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter, melted

4 large eggs

2/3 cup milk

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (if using sunflower seed flour – helps keep it from turning green)

1 tsp vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS:

Grease the  interior of a 6 quart slow cooker well.

In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour or sunflower seed flour, sweetener, coconut flour, cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, cloves and salt.

Stir in melted butter, eggs, milk, lemon juice if using, date puree, and vanilla extract until well incorporated.

Pour into prepared slow cooker and cook on medium low  for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until set.

Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

SERVES: 10

NOTES: I used a combination of almond flour, sunflower seed flour, and whole wheat. You can use what you have pretty easily since the spices are enough to control the taste. When it has cooled in the cooker, I just inverted it onto a plate. It came out nicely in one piece.

SOURCE: Adapted from A Sweet Life

Fudgy Goodness Fudge*

Peanut-Butter-Cup-FudgeI must say, I’m not a huge fan of fudge. I find most of it frankly uneatable. However, eating low carb means that I crave chocolate and so anything that promises real chocolate flavor is something I’m going to try.

This recipe actually works beautifully and delivers. In fact it makes me like fudge. It’s creamy and rich and a small square hits the spot with no need to eat too much to assuage one’s chocolate jones.

So give it a try. You can of course package this up easily and freeze it so you can always have a chocolate fix on hand.

INGREDIENTS:

Chocolate Layers:
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered Swerve Sweetener
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp liquid stevia, depending on how sweet you like it
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces good quality unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
Peanut Butter Layer:
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered Swerve Sweetener
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS:

    • Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper and oil the paper.
    • In a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the whipping cream, sweeteners, and vanilla extract until sweeteners dissolve.
    • Bring to just a simmer, remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let sit 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth.
    • Pour half into the prepared pan and spread evenly to the edges. Transfer to the freezer for about 20 minutes to firm, and put a lid over the remaining chocolate to keep warm.
    • Meanwhile, place peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high in 30 second increments until melted. Stir in sweetener and vanilla extract.
    • Remove first chocolate layer from freezer and pour peanut butter layer overtop, spreading to the edges. Return to freezer for a few minutes to firm up.
    • Finally, spread remaining chocolate mixture over peanut butter. Refrigerate until set, about 1 to 2 hours. Cut into small squares.

SERVES: 24

NOTES: Note that you use powdered sugar here, and the only sugar-free powdered sugar that I am aware of is Swerve. I have no idea how it would work with granular sugar, but I suspect it would be more gritty in texture. But the heating process if long enough might melt it out sufficiently. If you should try it with regular sugar substitutes, and it works, please let me know.

SOURCE: All Day I Dream About Food