Friday, October 27, 2017

Apples 'n Spiced Rum Sauce


Almost nothing is better than apples in a delicious spiced rum sauce. It just pairs so well with a variety of sweet treats from ice-cream to pound cake;  heat a little up and spoon it on top, AH MAZ ING!

For savory dishes, this would be great with a roasted pork, lamb or baked ham. Mmmmmm yumm.


I chose to make this as a "small batch" but the best part is the recipe is easily doubled. Simply cook the apples and sauce down until the sauce is slightly thickened, add to jars and process.



RECIPE
Ingredients
2-3 large honeycrisp apples (or any firm, crunchy apple), peeled, cored and chopped, approx. 3 cups 
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup spiced rum (I used Captain Morgan)

Method
Place prepared apples in a large saucepan with the sugars, cinnamon and spiced rum. Bring to a boil, stirring often.

Reduce heat slightly, but keep mixture at a low boil for approx. 20-30 minutes, stirring often. Sauce will reduce some and thicken slightly.

Ladle apples and sauce mixture into 8 oz canning jars, evenly distributing the apples and sauce between the jars leaving a 1/4" head-space. Top jars with lids and bands and process in a boiling water bath or steam canner 10 minutes.

Remove jars and let cool undisturbed on you kitchen counter top 24 hours. Jars are sealed when button on lid is completely depressed and won't flex up or down. 

Store in pantry up to one year. Opened jars need to be refrigerated.

Yield: 3-4 eight ounce jars, recipe is easily doubled.

Enjoy,
Mary

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Pickled Apples


Pickled Apples ... what in the world? Pickled apples are so good in a variety of ways; make a batch for your next cheese tray or load up onto salads or sandwiches/burgers with sharp Gorgonzola or any other sharp cheese, such as a good cheddar.


Pickled apples also add a nice acidic component and make a great accompaniment to grilled or roasted pork.

While I could have used any number of spices in the brine, I chose to use cardamom this time for it's unique qualities.


But why use Cardamom? In the culinary arts, cardamom is a spice made from the seed pods of various plants in the ginger family. Cardamom has a strong, pungent flavor and aroma, with hints of lemon, mint, and smoke.

Cardamom pods contain a number of seeds, but the entire cardamom pod can be used whole or ground. There are two main types of cardamom: black cardamom and green cardamom.

Cardamom is used mainly in Indian cooking as well as Middle Eastern cuisine.

In Indian recipes, whole cardamom pods are used in preparing basmati rice and various curries. In Middle Eastern recipes, ground cardamom is used in preparing certain desserts.

Interestingly enough, one of the countries that consumes the most cardamom is Sweden, where cardamom is employed to season everything from baked goods to hamburgers and meat loaves.

Like the Swedes (and other Scandinavians, such as the Finns and Norweigians), you can use cardamom in your apple pie recipes. Consider the fact that cardamom is frequently combined with spices such as cinnamon and cloves (again, think curries and basmati rice).

Thus, it represents merely a short culinary leap to say that cardamom can be used in any of your usual autumn and winter recipes—whether it's spice cakes, puddings, casseroles and pear or apple tarts. (Source: The Spruce)


RECIPE
Ingredients
2 honeycrisp apples, cored and sliced into 1/4" thick slices (or any hard, crunchy apple)
1 cup vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp canning salt
To each jar add:
6 whole allspice berries
6 whole cloves
1 small red chile pepper (optional - may omit)

Method
In a small saucepan, add the vinegar, sugar, cardamom and salt. Bring to a boil, dissolving sugar, and remove from heat. Let sit while you are preparing apples.

Remove core from apples and slice into 1/4" thick slices, cutting each slice in half. Add 6 whole allspice berries and 6 whole cloves to each 8 oz canning jar, and top with apple slices. Top each jar with one small red chile pepper and pour brine over all leaving 1/4" head-space.

Process prepared jars in steam canner or boiling water bath 10 minutes. Remove jars and allow to sit on a kitchen towel on your counter-top 24 hours undisturbed. Jars are sealed when button in middle of lid is fully depressed and can't be moved up or down.

Store in pantry up to one year; open jars need to be refrigerated.

Cook's note - Recipe is easily doubled. Allow to sit 3-4 weeks for flavors to develop.

Enjoy,
Mary

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Holiday Stuffing Balls


I recently asked a group of women chefs I am friends with for their best sausage ball recipe. You know, the kind with sausage, baking mix and cheese; that infamous holiday party appetizer it seems everyone makes. Welllllllll ... none of them had one ... GASP ... a few had never even heard of them, say what?

Finally one of them mentioned a "stuffing" ball recipe they made and really liked, so being intrigued now, I asked about it since I'm all about stuffing. Who doesn't like stuffing and, oh my goodness, these little round balls of stuffing are my new fav!


I like to make my own New England Bread and Sausage Stuffing, so I chose to use torn white bread instead of store-bought stuffing mix, but you can certainly use either one. Then there is the addition of mild breakfast sausage, chopped dried cranberries and shredded cheddar cheese that just puts these little stuffing ball treats over the top, believe me ... sooooooo good!


They are the PERFECT party appetizer. I've made a couple batches now as a trial run just to see how we'd like them, and my husband is addicted to them, he loves them.


RECIPE
Ingredients
1 1/2 large loaves soft white bread, torn into small pieces
-OR- 1 box stuffing mix 
1 stalk celery, finely minced
1 pound mild breakfast sausage 
1/2 -1 teaspoon ground sage or poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely minced onions
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup dried cranberries, minced
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup or slightly more, chicken bone broth or stock

Method
Brown sausage in large skillet over medium heat. Add seasonings and cook until pink is gone. Add onions and celery to skillet and continue to cook until vegetables are soft and onions are clear; drain grease and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl add cheese, cranberries, torn soft bread or stuffing mix and spoon in sausage mixture. Stir in eggs and chicken broth and make sure entire mixture is completely combined (I use my hands). Add more chicken stock if needed; mixture should hold together and not be too dry or too sticky.

Use a cookie scoop, or your hands, to scoop out mixture, and shape into balls. Place stuffing balls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake in a preheated 375º oven for  approx. 15 minutes, or until tops begin to brown.

Makes 36-48 Stuffing Balls, depending on the size you make them.

Serve with a dipping sauce made with Cherry Port Jam Cranberry JamCranberry Orange {Thanksgiving Jam} or your favorite jam. Simply heat it up a bit in the microwave to make it more sauce-like and dippable.

Cook's note - Stuffing balls freeze very well. When you're ready to serve, thaw and reheat in a 375º oven 5-8 minutes, or until heated through.

Enjoy,

Mary

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Pickled Cranberries


Pickled Cranberries, say what? Yes, you heard me right ... pickled cranberries! Oh my goodness, just trust me, these are the next thing you'll want for your holiday table! 



Serve with Brie or other soft cheese on your cheeseboard, with a variety of crackers, nuts and berries. Sweet, tart and tangy, they have a robust flavor that can't be beat. These bad boys would also be awesome with a roast turkey or holiday ham.



Truthfully, I want to know where they've been all my life!