Nov 25, 2015

Apricot Glazed Carrots

This is what we are having for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.

2 pounds carrots, cut on diagonal
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup apricot preserves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange peel
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Cook scraped and cut carrots in salted water until just tender, about 20 minutes, then drain. Melt butter and and stir in preserves until blended. Add nutmeg, salt, orange peel, and lemon juice. Toss carrots with apricot mixture until well-coated. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Nov 21, 2015

Chocolate Pecan Pie

This is a pie you should definitely add to your Thanksgiving or pie repertoire. It is very easy to whip up and very rich and yummy. The pie is another winning recipe from Chef John over at You can see a video demonstration here.

1 9-inch pie shell, unbaked
2 eggs
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a whisk, beat the eggs until pale-colored, light and frothy. Add the milk and vanilla and give the mixture a stir. Blend in the brown sugar, white sugar, and flour. Then add the hot melted butter and blend together. Finally, add the chopped pecans and mix well.

Spread the chocolate chips evenly in the bottom of the pie crust and pour the pecan mixture carefully over the top so that the chocolate chips remain evenly distributed.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and filling is set. If it jiggles when you take it out of the oven, cook it a bit longer. Let cool completely. Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Nov 14, 2015

Cream of Mushroom Soup

From sugary mushroom-like creations earlier this week to using actual mushrooms in this wonderful soup. This recipe comes from one of my favorite food bloggers, Chef John, over at I love mushrooms, and this cream soup version is full of delicious mushroom flavor.

1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 pounds sliced fresh mushrooms
1 pinch salt
1 yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 sprigs fresh thyme (I used 1/4 teaspoon dry thyme)

2 cloves garlic, peeled
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves for garnish, or to taste

Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat; cook mushrooms in butter with 1 pinch salt until the mushrooms give off their juices; reduce heat to low. Continue to cook, stirring often, until juices evaporate and the mushrooms are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Set aside a few attractive mushroom slices for garnish later, if desired. Mix onion into mushrooms and cook until onion is soft and translucent, about 5 more minutes. Stir flour into mushroom mixture and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes to remove raw flour taste. Tie thyme sprigs into a small bundle with kitchen twine and add to mushroom mixture; add garlic cloves. Pour chicken stock and water into mushroom mixture. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. Remove thyme bundle. Transfer soup to a blender in small batches and puree on high speed until smooth and thick. Return soup to pot and stir in cream. Season with salt and black pepper and serve in bowls, garnished with reserved mushroom slices and a few thyme leaves.

Nov 11, 2015

Mushroom Meringues

This is a treat that my mother always used to make for Christmas, both for the family and to give to friends and neighbors, beautifully packaged in cellophane bags. Mushroom meringues are traditionally associated with the French dessert Bûche de Noël, but we like them on their own. They can be impressive looking yet are quite easy to make. My sister Emily recently demonstrated them for a Relief Society cooking class in our ward, so I thought it would be a good time to put up the recipe as well as a few pictures.

½ cup egg whites, room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup superfine sugar (I use regular granulated)
Unsweetened cocoa
6 ounces semisweet chocolate

Beat egg whites in a large bowl until foamy. Beat in salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla. With mixer set at low to medium speed, add sugar gradually until it is mixed in. Then beat at high speed, 6 to 7 minutes, until stiff.

Place meringue mixture in a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip, at least 3/4-inch in diameter. A disposable pastry bag or gallon-sized Ziploc bag can also be used. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Make mushroom stems first, while meringue is firmest. To shape stems, pipe out the meringue in 3” long strips (they will be cut in half later; each length will create two stems). Pipe out caps in mounds about 1 inch in diameter. Try to keep them high and puffy rather than flat. If caps have points, dampen finger and press points flat before sprinkling with cocoa. Sprinkle stems and caps very lightly with cocoa.

Place cookie sheets in preheated 200 degree oven. Bake for at least 2 hours (humidity can affect the baking time). Check to see if they are dry and not soft at all. Meringues can be left in a warm oven with heat turned off for several hours to completely dry. Try not to open the oven door too frequently during baking.

To assemble tops and stems, cut stems in half with a sharp knife. Melt chocolate and allow it to cool a little. Spread melted chocolate on flat side of mushroom cap with a knife and attach a stem. Allow to cool upside down. If kitchen is warm, cool in freezer until chocolate hardens. Store in airtight container.

Assembling the mushrooms

Waiting for the chocolate to cool

Oct 3, 2015

Lentil Soup

This easy and healthy soup comes from Giada De Laurentiis.

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 pound lentils (approximately 1 1/4 cups)
11 cups low-salt chicken broth
4 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs (I just used about a half teaspoon dried ground thyme)
2/3 cup dried elbow pasta
1 cup shredded Parmesan

Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and saute until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices. Simmer until the juices evaporate a little and the tomatoes break down, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the lentils and mix to coat. Add the broth and stir. Add the thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are almost tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.