Posts Tagged ‘dried cranberries’

Kitchen Tips Thursday: Dried Fruit

December 8, 2016

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What exactly is Kitchen Tips Thursday, you may be asking? It’s when I am too busy to get the post up in time to call it Kitchen Tips Tuesday! Better late than never, right?
Today’s tip is about using dried fruit in baking. Before you stop reading, this isn’t just about fruit cake. In fact, I have never made a fruit cake, nor have I even considered it. I do however make delicious scones, and oatmeal walnut cookies, both of which use dried fruit in different ways.

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For the scones, the dried fruit (usually cranberries, but sometimes raisins, currents, dried cherries, dried blueberries or combination there of) are tossed in flour before being mixed into the dough. This is to keep them separated, and prevent them from getting sticky. This technique is often used in muffins when the fruit is fresh, as in the case of blueberry muffins, for example, to allow the fruit to disperse within the batter, rather than drop down to the bottom. Both of these items have heartier dough, and allow the fruit to become imbedded into the scone or muffin, thus protecting it from the heat of the oven.

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The opposite is the case for the cookies. My recipe calls for the dried fruit ( they use the classic raisins, but I make mine with cranberries) to be soaked in lightly beaten eggs and vanilla for an hour before getting added to the dry ingredients. This makes them plumper and prevents them from sucking the life out of the delicate cookie dough during baking. A very dry raisin will try to seek hydration from the moisture in the cookie, and it can also end up almost petrified after baking dries it out further. This method takes a bit longer ( get it started and go do something else for an hour) but it is well worth it for the end result.

Happy holiday baking!!!

photos: Glasshouse Images

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It’s Not Easy Being Green: Unrecipe of the Weekend

September 28, 2012

Friday night is pizza night at our house. Over the last year, I have chosen to abstain and prepare something simple and healthy for myself, without worrying about whether or not anyone else will like it. I wake up feeling more energized, and everyone is happy with his or her meal.

Last Friday night, I worked with what I had on hand, trying to use some of my CSA items.

 

I split and roasted the acorn squash with a little honey and butter in a hot oven for about 45 minutes.

I sautéed a tiny shallot, and some finely shredded kale in a little olive oil, and lightly browned some pignoli nuts in the pan. I tossed the vegetables with some quinoa cooked in stock and stuffed it into the cooked squash cavity. You can toss in a few dried cranberries for a sweet and colorful pop.  A sprinkling of black pepper and a little chopped parsley provided a finishing touch. Easy, healthy and flavorful!

The stuffed squash a nice glass of red wine were the perfect early fall meal.

I have now used the squash, kale, lettuce, kohlrabi, and a little of the parsley. The pineapple sage did not survive the night.

I just have the collards and parsley left to go. What shall I do with it?

Unrecipe of the Week: Homemade Granola

August 15, 2012

I have never been keen on granola, but once I tried this homemade version, I am hooked!

Since discovering the high iron content of dried fruits and nuts, I was inspired to whip up another batch tonight.  It is quick and easy, and has none of the additives found in the store bought versions.  It does pack some calories, so use it as I do: as a topping for plain Greek yogurt and fruit.

Here is the ultimate “unrecipe”. Use this as a guideline and tailor it to suit your taste.

Homemade Granola:

Mix together 2 cups of old fashioned rolled oats (dry oatmeal), 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, 1 cup of slivered almonds, ¼ cup vegetable oil, and about ¼ cup of honey. Stir to coat and pour onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees, stirring often until golden brown. This should take about 30 minutes. Watch it carefully: it goes from brown to burnt quickly!

Remove the granola from the oven and allow it to cool slightly. Add diced dried fruit to taste. I used a combination of figs, apricots and cranberries. Dried cherries could be a nice addition too. You can also add some additional nuts, such as cashews or pecans. Sprinkle with a little brown sugar to sweeten, and mix well.

Store the cooled granola in an airtight container and enjoy!

Unrecipe of the Week

August 7, 2012

This wild rice salad is a refreshing summer side dish, that can be made in advance and served at room temperature.

It is filled with juicy oranges, dried cranberries, green grapes and toasted pecans and tossed with a tangy raspberry vinaigrette.

Wild Rice Salad with Fruit and Pecans:

Cook 1 cup of wild rice in 4 cups of salted boiling water and simmer until tneder, about  50 minutes.

Cook 1 cup of brown rice in 2 cups of boiling salted water  until  tender, about 45 minutes

Drain, and mix the rice together in a large bowl.

For the dressing, whisk together about 1/4 cup each of olive oil, orange juice and raspberry vinegar. Add 1/2 cup of dried cranberries and allow the

mixture to sit so that the cranberries start to plump a bit. ( this can be made in advance and refrigerated.)

Toss the rice with the vinaigrette. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Mix in  2 oranges, peeled with white pith removed and cut into small pieces, 1 cup of green grapes, cut in half, and 3/4 cups of chopped, toasted pecans. Mix in 2 scallions, thinly sliced.

Let the rice mixture to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop and enjoy!

photo: Spencer Jones / Glasshouse Images exclusively for indigo jones

Unrecipe of the Week

May 23, 2012

Are you looking for a healthy, tasty salad that packs a ton of flavor? Look no further.

This Kale Salad has edamame and chickpeas for protein, and dried cranberries for a sweet touch. The zesty lemon dressing ties it all together beautifully.

Cleaning the kale takes a bit of work, but one bunch yields a lot.

Lemony Kale Salad:

For the salad:

Cut the ribs out of a bunch of kale, and chiffonade* it into small, narrow pieces.

Add a handful each of fresh mint leaves and fresh basil leaves, also chiffonade cut.

Toss in about 1/2 cup each of chickpeas and steamed, shelled edamame.

Add several cherry tomatoes, sliced in half, and a large handful of dried cranberries.

For the dressing:

Mix the juice of 1 lemon with several tablespoons of olive oil. Add salt, pepper, and about 1 teaspoon each of dried oregano and dried basil. Mix in a garlic clove that has been pressed but not chopped. Whisk the dressing well and allow it to sit to let the flavors develop.

Toss the salad with the dressing and enjoy!

*To chiffonade: stack the leaves on top of one another and roll them up. Slice the roll into thin pieces. Gently separate the strips.

Unrecipe of the Week

January 28, 2012

Ahh, the glamorous life of a fashionista! I just returned from a week away from home, doing presentations in Scandinavia.  Sounds wonderful, until you realize that every night after work, we got on a train or a plane, skipped dinner and went to bed late, only to wake up and do it all over again. Lunch was served at 11:15, and tended to be a stand up affair.

After finishing my final presentation in Copenhagen, I opted for a short walk and a quiet seated lunch before heading to the airport. I am a little embarrassed to admit that where I ended up was Hard Rock Café!  The real surprise was the delicious salad I had there. It was a light and healthy blend of lettuce, fresh fruit and grilled chicken that they referred to as the “anti Cobb”.  Here is our take on this yummy salad:

Indigo Jones’ Anti Cobb Salad:

shredded lettuce

sliced Granny Smith apples

diced mango

sliced avocado

sliced strawberries

orange sections

dried cranberries

diced roasted chicken breast (optional)

Layer the fruit in rows over the shredded lettuce. Toss with balsamic vinaigrette and enjoy!!!

Balsamic Vinaigrette:
Whisk together 2 parts olive oil and 1 part balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

photo: Glasshouse Images

 

 

 

 


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