Tag Archives: recipes

Easy Homemade Cranberry Relish

23 Dec

Cranberry relish from a can will never set foot in my house. Instead, this super simple orange-cranberry relish is our holiday favorite. Start by zesting one orange. Set the zest aside and peel the orange. Then take a bag of fresh cranberries (or frozen would probably work too) and put them in a food processor (after washing, of course), add 1/4 cup of sugar, and chunks of the orange flesh. Blitz until the consistency you like. Taste for sweetness, you may need to add more sugar (or honey or maple syrup). Put the relish in a festive bowl and mix in some of the orange zest. Sprinkle the rest of the zest on top. Done!

Play with the proportions there is nothing magical about this recipe. You can’t go wrong when mixing orange, cranberry, and sugar!

Orange-Cranberry Relish

Orange-Cranberry Relish

Fall Pumpkin Lasagna

3 Nov

The farmer’s market is full of fabulous  fall vegetables and fruit: pumpkins, kale, turnips, pears, and butternut squash. This being Georgia, we also have the last remaining tomatoes and peppers as well. To celebrate the fall, I decided to make fall pumpkin lasagna for some friends. I had a  sage and butternut squash lasagna once and it was wonderful. This receipe is loosely based on that.

pumpkins ready for chopping and roasting

My first step was to roast the pumpkins. Well, actually, my first step was to forget the ricotta cheese at the store, which changed my plan slightly. Back to pumpkin roasting- because pumpkins are very hard to cut,  this time I tried microwaving the whole pumpkins for 5-6 minutes. Be very careful in this step. Microwaving the pumpkins for more than 5 minutes might result in exploding and/or cracking pumpkins. The pumpkins will be very hot and the stem will fall off easily.

This quick zap softened the pumpkins enough that I didn’t cut my hand off in the process of cutting them half. Scoop out the seeds for roasting later.  I rubbed a little bit of olive oil on the inside and roasted them in a 400-450 degree oven until soft (30-40 minutes?). Meanwhile, chop onions and carmelize them in a saute pan. 

Roasted pumpkin cooling on the window sill at dusk.

As the pumpkins finish roasting, begin making a basic white sauce. Melt approximately 4 tablespoons of butter in a saute pan (I set aside the carmelized onions and reused the pan. This means more flavor and less dishes to wash.) Once the butter is melted, slowly sprinkle in approximately 4 tablespoons of white flour, stirring as you go.

cooking butter and flour to make a white sauce

Cook the combination flour/butter for a few minutes, then slowly whisk in milk. I used skim milk, because that is what I had on hand. Use whatever you have in the frig. Once combined, add whatever cheese you would like. I used soft goat cheese, parmesan, and mozzarella. Remember, the cheese will thicken the sauce so if it gets too thick, whisk in more milk. Add any herbs you would like. I used oregano. Sage would be perfect with this receipe.

goat cheese melting in the white sauce

While making the white sauce, slice the kale (or other quick-cooking leafy green) into ribbons and steam the greens. Once the pumpkins are roasted and cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Add the carmelized onions, salt, pepper, and chopped basil (or other favorite herb). In  a 9×13 inch pan, layer the pumpkin mixture, the cooked kale, and sliced portabella mushrooms, putting no-bake lasagna noodles on the bottom, top, and in between each layer of vegetables. Also put a thin layer of the white sauce on top of each vegetable layer. Make sure each of the noodles is fully covered, or they won’t bake. It wouldn’t hurt to put a trickle of water in the bottom of the pan, to prevent drying. Cover the lasagna in aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.

The finished lasagna

a close-up of the layers of fall lasagna

I was aiming for pink

5 Oct

My creation style is a bit slap dash. Freestyle fashion is fearless. Try something, if it doesn’t work, try something else.  I applied my usual methods to a new pasta dish for “Picnic in the Park”, an annual event here in Savannah.

This year’s theme was Pinknic in the Park in honor of breast cancer awareness. A friend made pink cupcakes. I brought pink prosecco and tortellini in red pepper cream sauce. I was aiming for a pink sauce. Rather than go the obvious route, pink vodka sauce, I decided on red peppers.

I roasted 6 small red peppers and 3 small chilies. Then I whirred them up in the blender with a few ounces of goat cheese, fresh basil, a half of a small tomato, a dash of heavy cream, sea salt, and pepper. Similar taste-wise to pesto, the sauce had the texture of mousse. I tossed the sauce with cheese tortellini and capers. Fabulous! The only down side- the sauce is orange not pink.

The next day I pepped up the leftovers with more capers, fresh basil, and some halved cherry tomatoes. Next time around (and there will definitely be a second time) I will use fresh linguine, rather than tortellini. This sauce deserves to be the center of attention.

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