Monday, May 18, 2009

I Am a Baaaad Blogger

So much for that. I promised myself I would put something up here at least once a week.

Last weekend I had a blast teaching a cooking lesson for a great group of women: a mother and her 3 adult daughters. After the lesson I had a lot going through my mind - the complex and beautiful relationships between sisters and between mothers and daughters; what cooking together means; how food unites us; how people come to cooking and what it means to cook for someone, etc.

Basically a bunch of thoughts that are *waaaay* too deep for my superficial little vanity project (this here blog o' mine).

Since I can't really make sense of what I originally planned on writing, I'll share with you some of the recipes we made that day. This will be the first of 5.

I came up with this recipe a few years ago for Thanksgiving. I had finally managed to wrestle the holiday from my mother's grubby paws (well, they had to be in town for a wedding so instead of the annual trip to mecca, er, I mean Florida, we celebrated Thanksgiving in NYC). After a lovely morning at the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade I knew we'd be hungry long before dinner was served. We always make so much cranberry sauce and I figured this was a good way to put the extra to good use. And, really, what doesn't taste good with melted brie on top? Every time I make this cranberry sauce I have to remind myself to make it more often. The crystallized ginger adds a nice kick and is an unexpected flavor. It's delicious as a spread for sandwiches (try it with curried chicken salad), on pancakes, or drizzled over ice cream as well. It also freezes nicely.

If you don't have the urge to make cranberry sauce you can substitute raspberry preserves or a fig spread in its place.

Puff Pastry with Cranberry Ginger Sauce and Brie
Yields 30 single bite portions

1 12-ounce bag cranberries
3/4-cup sugar
1/3 cup orange juice (the juice of one orange - Valencia work well in this recipe)
1/3-cup water
1 tsp grated orange zest
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup (about 2 ounces) minced crystallized ginger (easily found in health food stores)
2 packages pre-made puff pastry/phyllo cups - Athens Foods Mini Phyllo tart shells (do not thaw)
8 oz Brie, rind removed, cut into 1” cubes
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine first 6 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan.
  • Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil until cranberries pop, stirring occasionally, about 10-12 minutes.
  • Cool mixture entirely. If you're in a rush place it in a bowl and place that bowl in a larger one filled with ice and cold water and stir until chilled. Mix in crystallized ginger. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
  • Place shells on a baking sheet.
  • To assemble – place a dollop of cranberry sauce into each shell. Top with a cube of brie and cook for 8-10 minutes, until cheese melts.

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