The Best Cranberries For All Seasons

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Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries is hosting a blogger challenge. I am thrilled to participate and bring this kind of quality product to my blog.  For more than 70 years the Rhodes family has been harvesting cranberries. Just open a bag of their cranberries and you will see nothing but bright red and fresh beautiful fruit. Available all year long, I have never seen cranberries like these before. They are like jewels and I just could not wait to create some recipes with them.

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Just last week I was eating the best cranberry lemon muffin I had ever tasted. It came at a premium price from a high-end coffee shop. It was so good I went back the next day and purchased another. I knew I needed to try and make these muffins at home and I did. Light and buttery these muffins are filled with cranberries and tart lemon curd. Husband approved these muffins are perfect for all those overnight holiday guests.

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Fresh Cranberry Lemon Muffins

1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon lemon extract

Zest of 1 large lemon

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons milk

1 and 1/2 cups Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries (do not thaw)

1 jar lemon curd

Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Spray a 12 count muffin cups with nonstick spray or line with cupcake liners that rise above the rim of the pan (like the tulip shaped liners in the photo). In large mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. In medium mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add eggs; beat until well blended. Add yogurt, vanilla, lemon extract, zest, lemon juice and milk; blend well. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in cranberries. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups filling to the top. Bake for 5 minutes at 425F degrees, then lower the oven temperature to 350F degrees and bake for 20 to 24 more minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely. With a melon baller tool scoop out the top center of the muffin. Fill with a small spoonful of lemon curd. Replace muffin tops.

Please note that if you use standard liners that just fit the size of your muffin tin that your yield will be up to 15 muffins and your bake time will be a few minutes less. [/recipe]

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While most of us use cranberries in baking have you thought about adding them to a main dish or entree? Tapping into my Sicilian roots I thought Cape Cod Select cranberries would be perfect in an agrodolce sauce recipe. Agrodolce translates to sweet & sour and these cranberries shine in a savory mix of onions, vinegar, apple cider, rosemary, ginger and brown sugar. Can you say dinner on the table this busy holiday season in 30 minutes? Yes, you can!

Festive Cranberry Agrodolce Chicken

4 to 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs*

1-teaspoon kosher salt

½-teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger

1/8 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes

1 small to medium onion, chopped

1 cup Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 ½ cups apple cider or juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves plus additional for garnish

1 ½ tablespoons dark brown sugar

cooked spaghetti squash; optional

Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat olive oil over medium heat in large skillet. Add chicken; cook until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate. To same skillet, stir in ginger, pepper flakes, onion and cranberries; cook for 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add butter, apple cider or juice, red wine vinegar and rosemary; stir well and bring to a boil. Gently boil for 15 to 20 minutes or until sauce is reduced by half. Stir in brown sugar. Return chicken and any accumulated juice to pan. Cook for 10 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked and tender. To serve: spoon cooked spaghetti squash over center of plate. Top with chicken and sauce. Garnish with fresh rosemary. Serves 4.

*We love chicken thighs in our house, but feel free to substitute boneless chicken breast if that is what you prefer. Just leave the chicken skin intact to avoid overcooked chicken.

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How about that gorgeous drink featured in my first photo? Greet your guests at the door with my Holiday Cranberry Pear Rosemary Spritzer and they may never leave. It’s your fault that you are treating your friends and family to the best of the best.

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Cranberry Pear Rosemary Spritzer

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup pear brandy

¼ cup Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries

1 sprig fresh rosemary plus additional for garnish

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

½ cup (4 ounces) good quality vodka

1 cup (8 ounces) cold prosecco or cranberry flavored seltzer

In small saucepan, over medium heat, swirl sugar, pear brandy, cranberries and rosemary until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes just to a boil. Let mixture steep and cool for at least 30 minutes. Remove and reserve cranberries. Remove and discard rosemary sprig. In a shaker filled with ice, combine cranberry pear syrup, lime juice and vodka; shake well. Pour over 4 ice filled glasses. Top each with ¼ cup (2 ounces) prosecco or cranberry flavored seltzer. For glass garnish: skewer reserved cranberries onto fresh rosemary sprigs and drape on top of glass.

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Thanks Cape Cod Select for sponsoring this recipe contest and sharing your delicious cranberries with me and my readers. For more fresh recipes, fabulous photos and how to purchase check out the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/capecodselect/#

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CapeCodSelect

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/capecodselect/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/capecodselec

For the store locater link: http://www.capecodselect.com/store-locator/

 

Fresh “Funfetti” Zucchini Bread

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No sugary sprinkles here. Even as a child I did not like what we referred to as “jimmies”. While visually lovely, sprinkles have a weird waxy texture that turns me off and easily ruins a perfectly delicious creamy bowl of ice cream or icing on the cake. So, I created a fresh from the garden “funfetti” with an array of colorful carrots, beets and dark green zucchini. These beautiful vegetables are being harvested from my garden right now. Following a cue from Mother Nature, it just seems right to join them in a moist and not too sweet quick bread with a crunchy walnut topping.

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Start by trimming the ends off of dark green zucchini; grate on that large hole of your box grater. Toss the shreds with a little sugar and salt, weight it down in a sieve and let it drain. Then squeeze it. I ended up with 1/2 cup of slightly salty, sweet zucchini water that got tossed into a gazpacho. It would probably be good in a smoothie, but if your not feeling the goodness just dump it in the sink.

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Next, cut the carrots to size and blanch for 2 minutes in boiling water. The beets get cooked, too, but in retrospect, I think I would skip them entirely as they don’t look as pretty as the carrots after baking. They bleed a bit. Maybe golden or white beets next time.

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Make the quick bread batter. Have you tried avocado oil? I found it at Costco. With a high smoke point, avocado oil is perfect for grilling, frying and roasting. Its mild flavor makes it very good for baking, too.  This heart healthy fat is high in Vitamin E plus it helps the body absorb other good nutrients like carotenoids. Think antioxidants like beta-carotene. Yay-there are carrots in the bread. This quick bread is so super moist and tender. I suspect the avocado oil has a lot to do with that.

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Now layer in the vegetables. I dusted the veggies with dried ginger for some flavor, but also to prevent them from sinking. It worked !

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Bake it for an hour (turn your pan half way through for more even baking) or until you see the tell-tale crack down the center and an instant read thermometer inserted in the center registers around 205F.

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Let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Turn it out and let it cool completely. Don’t be tempted to slice it while still warm. In fact, it’s best served the next day. Enjoy those crunchy sugar coated walnuts on top and then marvel at the pretty colors inside.

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Fresh Funfetti Zucchini Bread

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

3 small to medium zucchini (12 oz. after you trim the ends)

2/3-cup sugar, divided

1-teaspoon salt, divided

3 colorful carrots, peeled, cut to size

1 beet, roasted or boiled until a bit underdone, peeled and diced

½ teaspoon ground ginger

2 cups all purpose flour

1-teaspoon baking powder

1-teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

¼ cup sour cream

½ cup avocado oil

½ lime, juice and zest

1/3-cup chopped walnuts

2 teaspoons turbinado sugar

Heat oven 375F. Coat a 9×5-inch loaf pan with baking spray (or grease and dust with flour). Shred zucchini on the large hole of a box grater. Toss zucchini with 1 tablespoon of sugar and ½ teaspoon of salt. Transfer zucchini to a sieve sitting over a bowl. Press a plate on top of zucchini and weight down for 20 to 30 minutes to drain. Meanwhile, cook carrots in boiling water for 2 minutes; drain and let cool. Dust carrots and beets with ginger; set aside. In large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and remaining ½ teaspoon salt; set aside. In another bowl, whisk eggs, remaining sugar, sour cream, avocado oil, lime juice and zest; set aside. Squeeze fistfuls of zucchini draining out more liquid then pat dry with paper towels. Using a rubber spatula, stir zucchini and egg mixture into flour mixture until blended and dry ingredients are moistened. Layer 1/3rd of batter over bottom of prepared pan. Top with some carrots and beets in a single layer. Top with another 1/3rd of batter smoothing into an even layer. Top with remaining carrots and beets. Cover with remaining batter smoothing the top. Sprinkle evenly with walnuts and then sugar. Bake 55 to 60 minutes, turning pan after 30 minutes, or until golden brown and internal temperature of about 205F. on an instant read thermometer.There should be the classic quick bread crack down the center. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

My garden is a constant source of joy. Sprinkle some seeds in the dirt and grow funfetti.

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The Best Gluten Free Cinnabon Pancakes

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People often ask me, “how do you come up with your recipes?” My typical response is that my recipes are inspired by who I am, where I have been and my love for family. So when this recipe for gluten free cinnabon pancakes popped into my brain I took a personal look to see how it was born.

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First and foremost I am NOT a gluten free girl. Over the many years of my medical practice I took care of a few patients with celiac disease and that illness is no trendy joke. Those afflicted really do suffer and I am thankful the disease is not all that common. Back then it was tough for patients to find delicious substitutes for every day foods like bread and pasta. Many of the products either tasted like cardboard or were quite expensive to purchase on-line. Luckily, much of that has changed.

Back to the original question of how this recipe came about:

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my niece, Christy with my nephews Paul and Cameron

#1 I love my family. The only reason I had King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Baking Mix in my pantry is because I absolutely adore my niece, Christy. She is gluten free and came to visit me not long ago. I purchased the mix so she and I could bake biscuits together.

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#2 It’s about being inspired by places I have been. A few weeks ago my husband and I took a ride to the Amish market. The place was filled with the enticing scent of cinnamon rolls. Completely sucked in we purchased a package and looked forward to the next mornings breakfast treat. Sadly, much like the old-time gluten free products, the cinnamon rolls were heavy and dense. BLECH! Of course, y’all remember my trip to the King Arthur Flour Baking School in Vermont.

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#3 It’s about who I am. I was still craving a good Cinnabon, but something I could easily accomplish for breakfast on a whim. Pancakes it would be and gluten free to boot since that is what was on hand in my pantry and I wanted something quick and easy right now.

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And while I am still waiting for baby grand-daughter to be born (any day now) this is how my recipes are born. I hope you like this one inspired by who I am, the places I’ve been and those that I love. These pancakes are light and luscious and will totally remind you of a perfectly baked cinnabon. Top them with a cream cheese icing if you dare or lots of butter and syrup. BTW, I am sure the recipe will work with any ready made pancake batter you like, gluten free or not.

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Good Morning Sunshine

Gluten Free Cinnabon Pancakes

1-tablespoon sugar, divided

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Mix

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon melted butter

¾ milk

½ teaspoon vanilla

1-teaspoon water

In small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon of sugar with cinnamon; set aside. Whisk remaining sugar and baking mix together in a medium bowl. Add egg, butter, milk and vanilla; blend well. Let batter rest for 10 minutes, so baking mix fully hydrates and batter thickens. Scoop out a level 1/4th cup of batter and place in a small bowl. Add water and reserved cinnamon-sugar mixture; blend well. Push cinnamon batter through a fine sieve to smooth out any lumps; transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Preheat a greased griddle. Spoon batter onto the griddle spreading with the back of the spoon into even circles. Pipe spirals of cinnamon batter on top of each pancake. Cook pancakes until edges look dry and the top is no longer glossy. They should be golden brown. Flip pancakes and cook another minute or until cooked through. Serve with your favorite toppings or try this cream cheese icing syrup. Makes 8 pancakes.

Cream Cheese Icing Syrup: in a small saucepan over low heat whisk ¼ cup of butter 2 ounces of softened cream cheese and 2 tablespoons real maple syrup until melted and blended and warmed through.