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Archive for December, 2012

RECIPE: Fingerling Potatoes In Mushroom Sauce

Rich in flavor and texture: a delicious potato-
mushroom casserole. Photo courtesy


Are you making a special New Year’s Eve dinner? This dressed up fingerling potato dish in a rich wild mushroom sauce is a festive side. Plus, it’s an easy, one-skillet dish.

It’s from the United States Potato Association, which has many more delicious potato recipes at



  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes (any shape, size and color), halved lengthwise
  • 2 cups sliced mixed wild mushrooms (such as small portabella, crimini or shiitake)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried mixed wild mushrooms (half of a 1-oz. package)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 cup fraîche or heavy cream (buy or make this crème fraîche recipe)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh thyme
  • Preparation

    1. MELT butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes; cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. (Tenting with foil will speed up cooking.)

    2. STIR in fresh mushrooms, garlic and shallot; cook for 10 minutes more. Add broth, dried mushrooms, mustard and herbs; cook over high heat for 5 minutes or until most of the broth has cooked off.

    3. STIR in crème fraîche and cook for 5 minutes more. Season with pepper and fresh thyme.

  • The different types of potatoes.
  • The different types of mushrooms.

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Blood Oranges Are In Season

    In the produce world, few things are more memorable than a good blood orange. The emphasis is on “good,” of course: Some farmers grow delicious fruit, others grow less-than-tasty fruit to meet the so-called demands of the marketplace for lower price points.

    (Honestly, though: Who wouldn’t willingly pay more for an orange or an apple that tastes great, rather than bland and boring?)

    The good news is, blood oranges from California are in abundant supply from December through March; and if you keep trying them, you may find the ones with luscious, raspberry-orange-flavored flesh.

    Named for their deep pink or red-streaked flesh, blood oranges are smaller than other oranges and have slightly rougher skin.

    You can send them as a healthy New Year’s gift by calling at 1.800.588.0151, or email with your request.


    These blood oranges have deep raspberry-colored flesh. Other varieties are pale pink and everything in between. Photo courtesy Baldor Food.


    Blood oranges are not the same as Cara Cara* oranges, which are red-fleshed (the flesh is actually pink or raspberry in hue) navel oranges.

    More about blood oranges.

    *The variety originated at the Hacienda de Cara Cara in Valencia, Venezuela. The taste is sweet with undertones of cherry, and a low acid profile.


    We love a glass of blood orange juice or a dish of blood orange sorbet (use any orange sorbet recipe). But there are many ways to enjoy blood orange juice.

  • Blood Orange Dessert Sauce
  • Blood Orange Margarita
  • Blood Orange Soufflé
  • Blood Orange Vinaigrette
  • Lamb Loin With Blood Orange Sauce
  • Pepita-Crusted Halibut With Blood Orange Chutney
  • White Chocolate Truffles With Blood Orange Ganache

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Christmas Leftovers Pot Pie

    Cut the air vents on the crust with
    star-shaped cookie cutters. Photo courtesy
    Betty Crocker.


    Last month, chef Johnny Gnall suggested creative ways to use Thanksgiving leftovers. Today, he does the same with Christmas leftovers. If you have questions or suggestions for tips, email Chef Johnny.

    This past Thanksgiving, I got creative and turned my leftovers into dumplings: from turkey, to Brussels sprouts, to cranberry sauce, to some mascarpone leftover from making scrumptious mashed potatoes, I made sure all leftovers were represented, resulting in a delicious array of flavor combinations.

    Now, what to do with the Christmas in the fridge? Make a delicious pot pie!


    One dish with universal appeal is the classic turkey pot pie. You can substitute ham, lamb or whatever your holiday protein.

    Pot pies are a refreshing and different way to turn leftovers into excitement. What might have seemed boring becomes nestled in a savory sauce beneath a savory, gold-brown crust.



    Making the pie dough is pretty simple:

  • START with 1½ cups of all-purpose flour. I like to do a mix of whole wheat and white flours, about half and half, but the choice is yours.
  • ADD a heaping tablespoon each of salt and sugar, plus a couple of drops of apple cider vinegar.
  • MIX in ½ cup of chilled butter that has been coarsely grated on a box grater. Grating the butter makes it easier to incorporate into the flour without overworking.
  • ADD ice water, a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough comes together; then knead and form into a ball.
  • WRAP in plastic and chill for an hour, then remove and roll into a sheet roughly ¼ inch thick.
  • STRETCH the dough over a greased pie dish and cut around with a knife to fit the dish, gently pressing the dough flush against its surface to create your shell. Then collect the scraps, and re-roll to cut out the “lid” for your pie.
  • VENT the lid: Lightly puncture the top crust with a fork a few times or cut slits so that steam can escape while the pie bakes. Or, use a miniature cookie cutter to create decorative vents as in the photo.
  • BAKE for 10-15 minutes at 350°F just to get the shell dry, but not baked to golden-brown. Doing this will help the bottom crust stay dryer and crisper once it’s filled. Set the pre-baked shell aside to cool and the lid in the fridge until it’s time to use it.


    When it comes to making the filling for your pie, the goal is a moist, flavorful base, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to ingredients for filling.

  • Shredded or diced turkey, ham or lamb plus vegetables like peas or carrots are obvious choices. But you can think outside the box: Toss in a little bit of leftover green bean casserole. Or how about some stuffing for a little carb-on-carb lovin’?
  • Get creative in using up those dishes that always seem to sit in the fridge for the longest after the holidays.
  • I like the combination of Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes with a hit of cranberry sauce for a slightly lighter, vegetarian recipe.
  • All ingredients should be cut or torn into a small dice or similar size.

    You can also make individual pot pies. Photo courtesy McCormick.



    You need a sauce to bring everything together in your pot pie; the type is up to you.

  • I like to collect all the gelatinous drippings from the bottom of the turkey pan and use that as my sauce. With all the fat and collagen and gelatin that a slow-roasted turkey releases, often that roasting liquid can be all you need.
  • If you find your drippings to be on the thin side, you can strain them and make a basic velouté, which is what you make when drippings or stock are whisked into roux. For assistance making a roux, check out our tip on thickeners.
  • You can also whisk in some cream or milk instead of just stock, which is sort of a hybrid of velouté and béchamel. However you arrive at it, make sure you season your sauce well, as it provides the backdrop of flavor that brings your whole pie together.

  • COMBINE the sauce and leftovers. Pour the mixture into the pre-baked shell and top with the vented lid.
  • DRIZZLE with a thin stream of honey and a generous sprinkling of sea salt. If you have it, use flaked salt, like Maldon. The honey will caramelize as your pot pie bakes and create a beautiful pattern.
    Don’t worry if your first pie isn’t perfect. You may need to scale up the dough recipe if you find that your shell or lid aren’t quite big enough, but this shouldn’t be a problem as the ingredients for crust are inexpensive.

    Have fun and experiment with ingredients. You may create a new holiday leftovers classic!


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward All

    Christmas cupcakes. Photo courtesy


    Very Best Holiday Wishes

    From All Of Us At




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    RECIPE: Christmas Meringues

    No-fat, no-gluten meringues are a light
    dessert with coffee or tea. Photo courtesy


    Meringues are a light dessert that go well with coffee, tea or a scoop of ice cream. They’re dairy-free, fat-free and gluten-free. They’re a treat for your guests or a a delightful gift for your holiday hosts.

    Lauryn Cohen of shows how to turn the pallid white meringue into a holiday meringue bursting with red and green accents.



  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Red food coloring
  • Green food coloring
  • Disposable piping bag or plastic bag with corner cut
  • 1M star tip for piping
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 200°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

    2. ADD the egg whites, sugar and vanilla in the metal bowl of a stand mixer add. Place over a medium saucepan of simmering water. Stir until the sugar melts and the mixture is almost clear.

    3. PLACE the bowl into the stand mixer and, using the whisk attachment, whip for 8 minutes on medium-high. The meringue should be glossy and stiff.

    4. BRUSH a line of red food coloring onto the inside of the piping bag, using either a small paint brush or a lollipop stick. Repeat with the green on the opposite side of the bag. Fill with the meringue and pipe into roses or star dollops onto your baking sheets.

    5. PLACE in the oven and bake for 1 hour 45 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a wire rack.


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