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Pfeffernusse Cookies

I made these nice pfeffernusse cookies for Yule. Because I changed a few things, I’ll put down what I actually did here.

Start with:

1/2 cup molasses

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup butter

Put the molasses, honey, and butter in a saucepan over medium heat; cook until just boiling. Then allow to cool to room temperature.

2 eggs

Beat and add them to the molasses mixture. (I actually forgot this until the end, oops).

Then the dry ingredients into a separate bowl:

4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon broken star anise

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground white pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the wet ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325oF. Roll the dough into well formed 2 cm balls. Arrange on baking sheets, spacing at least 1 inch apart.

Bake in preheated oven 10 minutes on convection setting. Move to a rack to cool.

Next day I did a glaze based on a comment (#7) to the recipe:

Beat 1 eggwhite with 1 tablespoon of honey and 1/2 teaspoon almond (or anise) extract. Gradually sift in 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, mixing until smooth. (This makes way more than you need, could cut in half easily).

Dip tops of cookies into glaze. Let harden.

These cookies were spicy the first day. They just keep getting better!!

14:00:33 . 2012/12/25 . Susan . 237 words . 1536 views . Food .

Pulled Pork

I’ve had an itch to try doing homemade pull porked for a few weeks, and I finally got my act together last night and this morning to analyze recipes, and get started reasonably early.

Most of the recipes I found online were for the slow-cooker. We’ve got one of those, but the ceramic pot part is presently doing duty as the crock for a batch of mincemeat (a post for another day…). On top of that, pulled pork from a slow-cooker crock-pot just doesn’t feel like it’s even close to being true to style. On the other hand, we don’t have a smoker, and the incipient snow that is mixed in with the usual Vancouver December rain today makes the prospect of using the gas grill, er, uninviting. So, oven roasting it shall be.

My inspiration is this recipe from the CBC Vancouver Cooking Club that features the work of George Siu and Park Heffelfinger of Memphis Blues Barbeque House. That said, I’ve strayed a long way from their recipe…

Let’s start with the rub. I decided to use ingredients on hand, substitute some fresh ingredients for dried, and use way less salt:

A bowl of wet rub

fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped (~1/2 cup)
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped (~2 tbsp)
1 large shallot, finely chopped (~3 tbsp)
1 tbsp dried oregano
1.5 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper

It’s plenty moist thanks to the fresh cilantro, garlic, and shallot, so I guess we have to call it a wet rub…

Rubbed on to all sides of a 4.7 lb pork butt roast, and ready to got into the over, fat cap side up:

Ready for the oven

About 90 minutes into initial roasting

About 90 minutes into the initial roasting for 3.5 hours at 300ºF, and looking yummy. I used the “traditional” top and bottom heat setting on our convection oven (no fan) for “low and slow” cooking.

After 3.5 hours of roasting, I removed the roast from the oven and wrapped it in foil so that it would finish cooking by steaming in its own moisture. Then it was back into the oven (still at 300ºF, traditional) for 90 more minutes, with a check for doneness (is it ready to fall apart?) at that time. If it wasn’t ready to be pulled, it could have been cooked for another half hour, but that wasn’t the case.

After the pulling...

The roasting pan was well coated with caramelized and burned juices, so I opted to transfer to a big bowl for the pulling. I kept the juices that were inside the foil, and drained what juices I could from the roasting pan. Then I went to work with a pair of forks and pulled the meat apart. The bone just fell out to be discarded. By the time I had shredded all of the meat with the forks it had cooked enough that I could dive in with both hands, and “knead” the juices into the meat. Yum!

The first meal that we had from this roast was paired with Driftwood Fat Tub IPA for me, and Merridale Scrumpy cider for Susan. The sides were a bean salad, and my mother’s Johnny Cake:

Dinner is served!

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup corn meal
1 c buttermilk
1-1/3 cup sifted flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2-1/2 tsp baking powder

Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg. Add the corn meal and buttermilk. Sift the remaining dry ingredients together, add to the wet, and mix.

Bake 20 minutes at 400ºF on the pizza setting of our convection oven (or 30 minutes on the traditional, no fan setting).

I had run out of energy to do anything special about a sauce, so we just used some Compliments Kansas City style sauce left over from a Whistler weekend in the summer. Thinking about sauces, though, reminded me of the 6 or 8 different ones that we tried at Kev’s Smoke House in Stayton, OR on our cycletour in August. Must look some of those up for next time…

Overall, I’m happy with how this turned out. It takes time, but mostly it’s just cooking time. Having done it once I know that as long as I get started before noon, I can just relax and enjoy the great smells from the kitchen the next time I get the itch.

20:01:44 . 2012/12/15 . Doug . 708 words . 1544 views . Food .

Baked Apple Pancake

This recipe has a long story for us. We first had apple pancake at the Tranquility Bay B&B in Sechelt. Tranquility Bay is now the Tuwanek Hotel. Google lead us to the recipe below, on allrecipes.com, I think, though it has disappeared from there now (that’s why I’m blogging it here). It may not be exactly what Krista a Tranquility Bay made, but we like it just fine. Our friend Deirdre has her own variation on this, but we keep coming back to this one. The credit for this version goes to Ann WOW, although her version calls for 4 eggs, and Susan generally uses only 3.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large apple, cored and sliced
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Melt butter in 10 inch frying pan with oven proof handle. Combine 3 tablespoons sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over butter. Arrange apple slices over sugar mixture in pan. Cook over medium heat 3-4 min. Cool slightly. Meanwhile, beat together eggs, milk, flour, 1 tablespoon sugar and salt. Pour gently over
apple slices. Bake at 400 until golden grown and sides are puffy, approximately 15 mn. Serve immediately.

10:30:36 . 2010/12/25 . Doug . 190 words . 2255 views . Food .

Christmas Fruit Cake

My Christmas Fruit Cake recipe this year is derived from 3 recipes:

  • Sarah Waxman’s Back Roads and Country Cooking
  • Edna Staebler’s More Food That Really Schmecks
  • my great-aunt Minnie Robinson’s recipe in our Robinson family cook book

The Sarah Waxman recipe is the core, as (I think) it has been the last 2 or 3 times I’ve made fruit cake.

  • 225 g Thompson raisins
  • 225 g golden raisins
  • 225 g dried currants
  • 115 g glacé peel
  • 225 g glacé cherries
  • 115 g slivered or sliced almonds
  • 115 g pecan halves
  • 125 ml Jamcian rum

Mix together in a large bowl the raisins, currants, peel, cherries, and nuts with the rum. Cover and let stand overnight.

  • 500 ml all-purpose flour
  • 5 ml salt
  • 5 ml cinnamon
  • 2.5 ml nutmeg
  • 2.5 ml ground cloves

Mix together the flour, salt, and spices. Stir the flour mixture into the soaked fruit.

  • 190 ml butter
  • 250 ml brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 65 ml maple syrup
  • 65 ml orange juice
  • zest of 1 orange
  • zest of 1 lemon

In a another bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in maple syrup, orange juice, and zests. Pour into fruit and flour mixture and mix well.

Line loaf pan with parchment paper. Pour batter into pans and spread it smooth. Moisten top with a few drops of warm water. Cover pans with aluminium foil.

Bake at 175ºC for 1 hour, then turn oven down to 150ºC and bake for 2 hours more.

After removing cake from the oven, cool 5 minutes, then removed cakes from pan and cool on a rack. When cool, wrap the cake in rum soaked cheesecloth and aluminium foil, and age in the refrigerator.

18:31:04 . 2010/12/04 . Doug . 266 words . 2115 views . Food .

Roast Turkey, Gravy & Stuffing

We used the same roast turkey, gravy, and stuffing recipes for the 3rd time at our family Thanksgiving at Whistler this year. The turkey recipe is from CBC Radio One’s Q program, but I’m repeating it here because somebody at the CBC apparently doesn’t believe in cool URLs - the recipe is still in the Q blog archive, but the URL from 2008 is broken and the page has moved to the URL given here - who knows for how long?

The stuffing recipe is from the Chef John Folse & Company site, but it’s repeated here too so that I know that we have it.

We usually cook a 12 to 14 lb, fresh turkey and it takes 3 to 3½ hours to reach the recommended 170°F temperature. We use calvados in the gravy instead of jam or jelly to match the calvados in the stuffing.

Roast Turkey

  • 12 to 14 lb fresh turkey
  • 250 g butter
  • 750 mL bottle dry white wine
  • salt
  • cheesecloth

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Melt 250g of butter in a saucepan, and add 750 ml of dry white wine. Bring to a simmer.

Remove the neck and gibbets from the turkey cavity, rinse the bird, and stuff the cavity with onions, carrots, and celery cut in big pieces. Tie string around the bird to hold the wings against the body, and to hold the legs together.

Cut and/or fold the cheesecloth to form 4 layers about 18 inches square. Soak cheesecloth in the butter and wine mixture in the saucepan.

Place turkey on wire rack in roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt. Place soaked cheesecloth on top to cover breast and legs.

Roast in oven 3 to 3½ hours, basting every half hour with butter/wine mixture. Turkey is cooked when juices run clear or a meat thermometer placed in thickest part of thigh (do not touch bone) registers 180°F (82°C) for a stuffed bird, or 170°F (77°C) for unstuffed.

While turkey is roasting, make stock by simmering neck and gibblets (except liver) along with a carrot, small onion and herbs of choice in water to cover for at least 2 hours. Strain; discard solids.

Remove turkey from oven. Carefully peel off cheesecloth. Let stand about 15 minutes before carving.

Turkey Gravy

Redcurrant or blackcurrant jam work best but raspberry or plum would be fine.

  • 2 tbsp fat from turkey drippings
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups turkey stock
  • 1 tbsp Calvados
  • Salt and pepper

Redcurrant, blackcurrant, raspberry, or plum jam or jelly can be substituted for the calvados.

Whisk flour into turkey fat in a saucepan to make a roux. Gradually add turkey stock and whisk while bringing to a boil. Add calvados, and salt and pepper to taste.

Fruit and Nut Stuffing

  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • 5 oz. day old French bread, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1/8 pound unsalted butter
  • ½ cup onions, finely chopped
  • ½ cup celery, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper
  • ½ cup dried apricots, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 1¼ cups green apples, peeled and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup Calvados, applejack or apple cider
  • 1/16 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried sage
  • 1 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:
Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

Toast pecans on a baking sheet until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. On another large baking pan, brown French bread cubes, stirring occasionally until crisp and dried. Do not overbrown. Cool and place along with pecans in a large mixing bowl.

In a 1-quart sauce pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Sauté onions, celery and red bell pepper for 3-5 minutes until wilted. Add apricots, cranberries and apples. Sauté 5-10 minutes, then add Calvados. Add cloves, thyme and sage.

Add chicken stock, bring to a low boil and reduce to simmer. Season the stock to taste using salt and pepper.

Pour the seasoned stock over the bread mixture, tossing to incorporate. Spoon the dressing into a 3-quart casserole dish and bake, covered, for about 45 minutes. Additional stock may be added to retain moisture. Uncover for 5-10 minutes to brown lightly, if a crispier top is desired.

22:23:29 . 2010/10/10 . Doug . 663 words . 2409 views . Food .

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