Wednesday, December 26, 2012

vacation eats

Merry Christmas!  I've had a lovely holiday week filled with eggnog, cocoa, cookies, movies, board games, reading, ice skating, snow shoeing, and lots of delicious food!

"Red Lentil Soup with Greens," from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers:

One of my favorite quick and easy soups of all time, because it is light without being watery, nutritious yet totally delicious, making a perfect winter lunch with a side of lightly buttered naan.

Cranberry Bread:

A family recipe I've altered slightly -- here's my version!


yield: one 9-inch loaf

Combine dry ingredients:
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Toss with dry ingredients:
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup raisins

Combine wet ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice

Add dry ingredients to wet, and stir together just until combined.  Bake at 350 for about an hour, (longer if your cranberries were frozen,) or until a toothpick inserted in the center of your loaf comes out clean.

"Black Beans with Pickled Red Onions," from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers:

I ate huge quantities of this meal several days in a row this past week, and am still not sick of it.  :)  I love black beans, I love the simple seasonings on these black beans, and I love the gorgeous, tangy pickled red onions!  I love a little acidity with beans, and these pickled onions are practically perfect!

Homemade pizza #1:

Half whole-wheat homemade crust, organic pizza sauce, mozzarella, parmesan, onion, garlic, cremini mushroom, green bell pepper, and sliced black olives.  Delicious for lunch, and delicious leftover for breakfast the next morning!

Christmas Eve supper:

I was looking for something light yet substantial to serve for supper on Christmas Eve, as I had a long evening ahead of me!  (Hour-long rehearsal followed by 2 hour church service starting at 9 pm . . . !)  I settled on Basic Quiche, hasselback sweet potatoes, and Vegetarian Southern-Style Collard Greens.  A delicious, nutritious, filling, hearty, yet light meal that fueled me through a long evening of singing!

Christmas breakfast tradition growing up always included "Baby Jesus Coffee Cake:"

My mom would make this cake yearly, and stick a candle in it while we sang "Happy Birthday" to baby Jesus.  I still make the cake, but skip the candle.  :)

"Baby Jesus" Coffee Cake
yield: one 8-inch pan (double to make a 9X13 pan)

Streusel ingredients:
1/4 cup sugar
14 cup flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter

Dry ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda

Wet ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla

Additional ingredient:
1/2 cup sour cream (I used sour cream I cultured myself!)

1. Cut the butter into the streusel ingredients until crumbly.  Reserve.
2. Combine the dry ingredients.
3. Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the egg and vanilla, and stir until well-combined.
4. Add the dry ingredients and sour cream to the wet ingredients alternately, beginning and ending with the flour.  (I recommend 1/3 the flour, 1/2 the sour cream, 1/3 the flour, remaining sour cream, remaining flour.)
5. Spread half the batter in a greased 8-inch baking pan.  Sprinkle over half the streusel, then carefully spread over the remaining batter.  (I like to dollop out the batter in small spoonfuls, as it is kind of thick and hard to spread over the streusel.)  Top with the remaining streusel.
6. Bake at 325 for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Cool before cutting and serving!
(P.S. this freezes beautifully, if you want to make it several days in advance and pull out to thaw on Christmas Eve!)

Plated, with cheesy eggs and fruit:

Homemade pizza #2:

"Christmas pizza" this time, topped with broccoli, roasted red peppers, and more sliced olives.  

And Spanikopita for Christmas dinner, a new John & Catherine tradition:

My version, loosely based on the recipe from The Cheese Factory Restaurant Cookbook . . . 

1/2 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried dill
zest of one lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 onion, chopped, and 1 clove garlic, minced, softened in 1 tbsp olive oil
5 10-ounce packages frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 pound feta, crumbled

Additional ingredients
1 pound filo, thawed
1 stick butter, melted

1. Whisk together the cream, eggs, zest, herbs, and spices.  Stir in the onion/garlic mixture, spinach, and feta until thoroughly combined.
2. Lightly butter a 9X13 baking dish.  Begin layering sheets of filo, 4 at a time, building up a "crust" around the sides.  Butter the tops of the filo, then continue layering until you've used at least half of the filo.  (Cover the remaining filo with a damp towel while you are working.)  Add the filling, spreading evenly.  Layer the remaining filo, buttering every-other, until you get to the last 10 sheets.  Layer the remaining 10 sheets, buttering each.
3. Cut the pie into 12 pieces.  Bake at 325 for about an hour, or until the top is evenly golden brown.  Allow the pie to rest for 10 minutes before re-cutting and serving!


Hope you had a Merry Christmas!

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