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Cook's Corner


Compiled by Jean Crozier

Watermelon Agua Fresca
Serves 2

2 cups cold water
2 cups watermelon, rind removed, seeded and chopped
2 T sugar*
1-3 tsp lime juice
Ice cubes or crushed ice (optional)

* The amount of sweetener needed will vary depending on the sweetness of the fruit you are using.

Cut the watermelon into roughly 1-inch cubes. In a blender or food processor blend water, watermelon, sugar and lime juice until smooth. NOTE: Traditionally authentic aqua frescas are made without blenders and done by simply mashing the fruit with a fork or masher before adding the water and sweetener.

Pour mixture through a strainer into a pitcher, forcing through most of the pulp. Chill at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve with, or without, ice cubes. As a decorative touch, add slices or chunks of matching fruit just before serving.

From www.whatscookingamerica.net

Mulled Wine Recipe
Serves 10

2 cups pineapple juice
1 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 inches cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
3 whole allspice
2 oranges, cut into 1/4-inch strips zest
1 (750 ml) bottle dry red wine

Heat all ingredients except wine; bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Remove spices and zest; stir in wine. Heat but do not boil.

Can make ahead one week in advance adding the wine at the last minute. If doubling, do not double salt.

From www.recipezaar.com

Cajun Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Double or triple this roasted pumpkin seed recipe, depending on how many cups of seeds you have. One large pumpkin will generally yield 1 cup of pumpkin seeds, and smaller pie pumpkins will yield about the same amount.

1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 scant tsp Cajun seasoning, or to taste
Paprika for more color if desired
Salt to taste
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs melted butter or vegetable oil

Rinse seeds well and get as much of the pumpkin pulp off of them as possible. Some of the small pieces are going to adhere, but they won’t hurt the seeds at all, and might even add a little more flavor. Pat dry with paper towels. Don’t let them dry completely on the paper towels, because they might stick!

Toss pumpkin seeds with seasonings. Combine butter and Worcestershire sauce; stir into seeds until well blended and coated.

Heat oven to 300° F. Roast, turning from time to time, for about 45 to 60 minutes, or until nicely browned and crunchy.

From www.southernfood.about.com

Apple Corn
Makes 4 quarts

1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cups dried apples, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 quarts unsalted popped corn

Melt butter in saucepan. Add apples and sugar. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour over popcorn and toss until evenly coated. Store in airtight container.

From www.AAA-Recipes.com

Chocolate Peanut Pretzel Clusters
Makes about 2 dozen

1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
1 cup stick pretzels, roughly broken into 1-inch pieces

Heat chocolate and peanut butter chips in medium bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until chocolate chips have melted and peanut butter chips have almost melted. Carefully remove bowl from heat; stir in peanuts and pretzels. Drop mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, onto a greased or a non-stick baking mat. Let set for at least 1 hour.

From www.AAA-Recipes.com

Popped Wild Rice
Makes about 2 cups

2 to 3 T corn oil or vegetable oil
1 cup uncooked wild rice
1/4 cup melted butter
2 T maple sugar or maple syrup
Salt to taste

Place oil in a 12-inch, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add a layer of rice and swirl over medium heat until the kernels pop. Toss with butter, sugar and salt.

From www.AAA-Recipes.com

Collard Greens

4 bunches fresh young collard greens (about 3 pounds), stems removed and bruised or discolored leaves discarded
3 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
Salt to taste

Wash the collard greens in a large bowl of salt water to remove the grit from the greens then rinse them under cold water until the water runs clear. Lay the collard greens on a paper towel to dry.

Stack several leaves and slice them crosswise into 1-inch-wide ribbon-like strips. Repeat until all the leaves are sliced.

Heat the oil in a stockpot over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and stir to coat with the oil. Add the bay leaves and cook for 8 minutes or until the onion is tender. Stir in the collard greens (the greens will fill the pot at this point but will wilt down considerably as they cook). Add the broth, vinegar, sugar and red pepper flakes. Cook over high heat for 10 minutes, or until the greens start to wilt and the broth boils, stirring to ensure the greens cook evenly.

Reduce heat to medium to low. Gently simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the greens are tender and the liquid has reduced by about half. Season to taste with salt.

From www.food.aol.com

Tipsy Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4-8

4 large sweet potatoes
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup whiskey

Boil 4 large sweet potatoes until tender. Peel and cut into chunks. Add and mash all together remaining ingredients. Pour in casserole dish; top with pecan halves and bake in 350° F oven, about 20 minutes until hot and bubbly.

From www.AAA-Recipes.com

Creamy Ginger Pumpkin Soup
Serves 4-6

1 small onion, chopped
1 T butter
1 lb fresh pumpkin, cubed
2 cups chicken broth
2 T fresh ginger, chopped
2 tsp curry
1 tsp turmeric
1 cup half-and-half cream (or you can use lighter cream or milk depending on how creamy or light you wish to have the soup)

Melt the butter in a large pot and add onions. Cook until tender, approximately 5 minutes. Add pumpkin, broth and ginger and cook over medium heat for approximately 15 minutes until pumpkin is very tender.

Puree with hand blender (or pour mix into regular blender) until you have a smooth texture.

Add curry, turmeric and cream/milk and heat through without boiling. Add salt to taste. Serve with crusty bread.

From www.recipezaar.com

Garlicky Grilled Chicken, Portobello, and Radicchio Salad
Serves 4-6

4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
1 (4 to 4 1/2 pounds) chicken, cut in half
4 Portobello mushrooms, brushed clean and stems removed
2 small heads radicchio, halved
Watercress, to serve

Place the garlic onto a cutting board and sprinkle it with about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Using the side of a large knife, slowly mash the garlic into a paste. Put the garlic paste into a small bowl and blend in 1/2 cup olive oil, parsley, and thyme leaves. Pour half the mixture over the chicken and season it with salt and pepper. Set the chicken aside to marinate while you prepare the other ingredients for grilling.

Heat the grill to medium high. Drizzle half the remaining marinade into the mushrooms and half onto the cut side of the radicchios. Season both with salt and pepper and place them on the grill over indirect heat. Grill until the mushrooms and radicchio are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes; set them aside to cool while you cook the chicken

Put the chicken on the grill and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes per side, or until cooked through and juices run clear. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

To serve, cut the chicken into pieces, the mushrooms into quarters, and the radicchio into wedges. Gently toss everything together with some fresh watercress and an extra drizzle of olive oil.

From www.FoodNetwork.com, courtesy of Tyler Florence

Beef Stew w/ Red Wine
Serves 6

1 1/2 pounds stew beef
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 to 2 medium carrots, sliced
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups beef broth
1 cup dry red wine such as Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon
1/2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary, or a dash of crumbled dried rosemary
1 jar (15 ounces) small onions, or 10-16 ounces frozen small onions, thawed

Trim stew beef and cut in small bite-size pieces. Put in a food storage bag with the flour, onion powder, and seasoned salt; toss to coat well.

Heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven; add beef to hot oil and cook, stirring, until lightly browned. Add the onion and celery; continue cooking, stirring for about 3 minutes. Add carrots, garlic, broth, wine, and rosemary; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add drained or thawed onions. Continue cooking for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until beef is tender. Serve with biscuits or hot cooked noodles.

From www.southernfood.about.com

Pork Loin Roast w/ Mustard Rub
Serves 6

2 Tbs spicy mustard
1 tsp Creole seasoning
1 tsp dried leaf thyme, crumbled
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbs olive oil
1 bone-in pork loin roast, about
4-5 pounds
Salt and pepper

Line a 13x9-inch baking pan with foil. Heat oven to 325° F.

Combine mustard, Creole seasoning, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, and olive oil in a small bowl.

Wash pork roast and pat dry; trim and discard excess fat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub the mustard mixture all over the roast; place, fat side up, in the prepared baking pan. Insert a meat thermometer in the center of the meat, not touching fat or bone. Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the pork registers about 160° F on the meat thermometer.

From www.southernfood.about.com


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