Sunday, December 22, 2013

Pear Upside Down Cake with Maple Mascarpone Cream

This dessert is a combination of recipes I put together from Fine Cooking and From Laptop to Tabletop 
and as festive treats go, it was a total winner!

 Smothered with a generous dollop of maple infused mascarpone cream, it will put a smile on everyone's face - whether they were on your naughty or nice list this year!




















Visit the printable recipe here: Pear Upside Down Cake with Maple Mascarpone Cheese or enjoy my easy to follow step by step video!




Prep Time: 40 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 8

Pear Topping Ingredients
  • 2-3 medium firm-ripe pears (about 1 lb.), peeled and cored
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 oz. (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
Pear Topping Directions
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x2-inch round cake pan (don't use a springform pan, as the caramel might leak out during baking). Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment and butter the top of the paper.
  2. Peel, core, and cut the pears lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the pear slices on the bottom of the pan in a circle around the edge, overlapping them slightly, with the pointed ends towards the center. If necessary, cut a little off the pointed ends to make the slices fit better. Or if the pear slices don't reach all the way to the middle, arrange a few of the shorter slices in the center to cover the bottom of the pan.
  3. In a heavy-duty 2-quart saucepan, stir the sugar, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup cold water. Brush down the sides of the pan with water to wash away any sugar crystals. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan, until the mixture starts to color around the edges, 12-15 minutes. Gently swirl the pan once to even out the color and prevent the sugar from burning in isolated spots.  Continue to cook until the sugar turns medium amber, about 30 seconds more. (Once the mixture begins to color, it will darken very quickly, so keep an eye on it.)
  4. Reduce heat to low and stir in the 4 tbsp butter until smooth and pour evenly over the pears in the pan.
 Cake Ingredients 
  •  1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 oz. (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
Cake Directions
  1. Sift the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, and salt into a medium bowl. Stir to combine. 
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the milk and vanilla.
  3. Beat the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.Turn the mixer to medium and slowly add the brown sugar. Increase the speed to high and continue to mix until lightened in texture and color, 2 to 3 minutes total. Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Reduce the speed to low and alternate adding the flour mixture and milk mixture in five additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix each addition just enough to incorporate, as overmixing will lead to a tougher cake. Scrape down the sides of the bowl one last time and mix briefly to blend well.
  5. Spoon the batter in large dollops over the pears and smooth it into an even layer with an offset spatula. 
  6. Bake the cake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan. 
  7. Turn a cake plate upside down on top of the cake pan and, using pot holders, carefully invert the cake pan onto the plate.
Maple Mascarpone Cheese Ingredients

  •  ¼ c maple syrup
  • 8 oz container mascarpone cheese
  • 2 c whipping cream
In a large mixing bowl beat whipping cream, mascarpone and maple syrup on high speed until soft peaks form. Serve in dollops over slices of the cake.



***

Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Eve Pasta - Shrimp Lemon Pepper Linguini

One of my favourite movies over the Christmas season is The Holiday starring Cameron Diaz and  Kate Winslett. Not only is the English cottage setting for one of the story lines enchanting, the second story line, which takes place in Los Angeles, is equally magical because both stories blossom into love - and what could  be more wonderful over the holidays than that?

Especially when my two favourite characters indulge in a Christmas Eve tradition that is simply lovely: Christmas Eve pasta.

As I said in my last post, this year my husband and I have rented a romantic winter cottage for the holidays and on Christmas Eve, in honour of The Holiday, I will be making this dish for two!

Succulent prawns are enveloped in a buttery herb and  lemon wine sauce and tossed with linguini or spaghetti pasta. Serve this with crusty bread and chilled Proseco and toast the season in style!

Visit the printable recipe here: Shrimp Lemon Pepper Linguini

Please enjoy the easy to follow step by step video.





Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4 - Recipe easily doubles

Ingredients
  • 1 (8 ounce) package linguine or spaghetti pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
Directions
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add linguine, and cook for 9 to 13 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and saute garlic about 1 minute. Mix in chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is reduced by about 1/2.
  3. Mix shrimp, butter, parsley, and basil into the saucepan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until shrimp is opaque. Stir in the cooked linguine, and continue cooking 2 minutes, until well coated.


***

Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

Facebook Twitter YouTube

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Roasted Pork Loin with Wild Rice Stuffing

Happy Holidays dear readers and visitors! I hope your festive season is a time of hope and joy. This year is a little different for my husband and I as our son is spending Christmas out of town on a ski trip. Not to be outdone by his holiday plans, we've rented a winter cabin and are planning an amazing retreat of our own.

Being the Kitchen Witch you know me to be, the holiday will be replete with an amazing assortment of great meals starting with one of my favourite ways to make a pork roast festive...


And that's by stuffing it with a gorgeous mixture of wild rice, toasted almonds, apple, and maraschino cherries. Serve drizzled with sherry infused pan gravy, and toast the cook with cool sparkling Proseco.




















Today's recipe is a little more labour intensive than my usual fare, but when cooking something special for the holidays, sometimes you just have to go all out!

Visit the printable recipe here: Roasted Pork Loin with Wild Rice Stuffing. 

Please enjoy my easy to follow step by step video. It will take you all the way through the recipe, from butterflying the pork, to making the stuffing!




Prep Time: 45 minutes
Brine Time: 12-24 hours
Roast Time: 2 1/2 hours

 Ingredients
  • 1, 4-5 lb boneless pork loin roast
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp each kosher salt, garlic powder, black pepper, herbes de provence or thyme
 Brine Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup Kosher salt (or 6 tablespoons of table salt)
  • 3 cups of hot water
  • 5 cups of cold water
  • 3 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • 10 medium garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed 
Directions
  1. In a large, wide pan or bowl, dissolve the sugar and salt in 3 cups of hot water
  2. Add the Bay leaves, Allspice, peppercorns, garlic and 5 cups of cold water; stir to combine
  3. Add the pork loin to the brine and cover the container with plastic wrap
  4. Refrigerate 12-24 hours
  5. Remove the pork loin from the brine and pick the spices off the meat
  6. Dry the pork loin thoroughly with paper towels
Wild Rice Stuffing Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup wild rice 
  • 1 cup low sodium beef stock 
  • 1 cup chopped button mushrooms 
  • 1 granny smith apple, chopped 
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped 
  • 2 cloves minced garlic 
  • 1/4 cup sherry 
  • 1/2 tsp thyme 
  • 1/8 tsp sage 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper 
  • 1/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries 
  • 1/4 cup softened cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds 
Directions
  1. Cook the wild rice in beef stock, covered on low for 45-55 minutes until stock is all absorbed
  2. In a non stick pan sprayed with cooking spray, sautee the mushrooms, onion, and apple until caramelized and mushrooms have released their water. 
  3. Add garlic and sautee another minute. 
  4. Add sherry, thyme, sage, salt, and black pepper. Simmer 2-3 minutes until the alcohol has cooked off.
  5. Remove to a medium bowl with the cooked wild rice.
  6. Fold in the cherries and almonds. 
  7. Stir in the cream cheese until everything is well blended.
  8. Store covered in a cool place until ready to stuff.
To Prepare the Dish
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400
  2. Butterfly the pork loin as per the video instructions
  3. Rub both sides of the roast with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and garlic mixture,
  4. Pat the wild rice stuffing in a flat layer all over the center of the butterflied roast (as per video)
  5. Roll the roast and secure with butcher's twine.
  6. Place on a roasting rack in a roasting pan and roast uncovered for 20 minutes.
  7. Turn the heat down to 325 and continue roasting for 2 hours or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165.
  8. When the roast is done, cover with foil and let rest for 30 minutes before carving.
  9. Serve in slices with the gravy drizzled over all. 
Gravy Ingredients 
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary (optional)
  • 1 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup beef or pork stock
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper (or to taste)
Directions
  1. De-glaze the pan with sherry and fresh rosemary. 
  2. Melt the butter into the pan drippings and sherry. 
  3. Add flour to make a roux. 
  4. Add the beef stock, salt and pepper to taste. Whisk briskly until the gravy thickens.



***

Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

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Monday, December 9, 2013

The Canadian Food Experience Project - Pudding Chomeur - A French Canadian Delight!

I experienced Pudding Chomeur or "Poor Man's Pudding" at the home of my friend Raymonde about 12 years ago. The occasion was a book club dinner that brings a group of dear friends together once a month to discuss a book, share a glass or two of wine, and enjoy what is always a memorable feast.

We've been getting together since October, 1998 and our very first book was "She's Come Undone" by Wally Lamb. I served dinner at my place - roast beef with Yorkshire Puddings and my mom's recipe for apple crisp.

In the years since, we've read well over 150 books and have added new recipes to our cook's arsenals - like today's recipe for Pudding Chomeur for the Canadian Food Experience Project.

When I tasted this family recipe passed down from Raymonde's mother in Gerrardville Quebec, I knew this traditional dish was going to become my family's Christmas dessert - and it also proves my theory that the very best recipes are the old time ones.

This fudgy, gorgeous masterpiece is so simple to put together and is made with ingredients most people always have on hand - but when served hot with a big dollop of vanilla ice cream it's as good a dessert as any I've had in the best restaurants.

If you've never tried Pudding Chomeur, I hope this post will inspire you to give it a go and, I promise, you won't be disappointed!

Please enjoy my easy to follow step by step video.
The printable recipe can be found here: Pudding Chomeur




Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 6

Sauce Ingredients
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • Boil for two minutes
Cake Ingredients
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp shortening or butter
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
Directions
  1. Beat all the cake ingredients together and put in the bottom of greased square 8x8 cake pan.
  2. Pour the sauce evenly over top of the cake. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. The sauce will turn to a creamy fudgy layer onthe  bottom of cake. Slice and scoop with a spatula making sure to get lots of caramel sauce.
  3. Serve warm with ice cream.
Cooks Note
The recipe can be made the day ahead and then re-heated for ten minutes at 350 just before serving.



***

Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

Facebook Twitter YouTube

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Fish Florentine Casserole (Perfect for Christmas Eve!)

It's December 1st, which in the life of this Kitchen Witch, means the Christmas season has officially begun! For me, Christmas isn't a day, it's a feeling I nourish and watch grow from the first weekend in December when our tree and decorations go up.

In the evenings I look forward to walking the dog past the many homes with beautiful light displays, reflecting on all of the things I have to be grateful for, and pondering the recipes and ideas I wish to share with friends and readers via this blog.

For the entire month of December I will be featuring recipes I've developed with the holiday season in mind, and if you're looking for something specific, make sure to visit my recipe index page: Holidays and Special Occasions because all of my tried and true recipes for the holidays can be found there!

To kick things off this season, I thought I'd begin with a wonderfully luscious make ahead casserole featuring fish.

 White fish filets are baked with tender baby spinach, a luxurious creamy lemon herb sauce, and topped with golden, fluffy, mashed potatoes making this the perfect casserole after a long day of Christmas shopping or the Christmas Eve table for families who observe the Catholic tradition of eating fish on that wonderful night.


Light hints of lemon and thyme hit all the right notes and I promise, it's a recipe everyone is going to just love!

If you visit this blog, please, don't be a stranger. Leave me a comment to let me know you've been by. Better still, if you try this recipe, let me know how it turned out for you.

Visit the printable recipe here: Creamy Fish Florentine Casserole

Please enjoy my easy to follow How To video!



Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes
Yield: Makes 6 4x4 slices


Ingredients
  • 4 large white fish filets like halibut, haddock, Pacific cod, catfish, or basa
  • 2 tsp lemon herb salt, divided (Visit recipe here: Lemon Herb Salt )
  • 1/2 tsp pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme 
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 6 cups raw spinach cooked and well drained
  • 6 medium russet potatoes (about 2 lbs)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 large egg yolk

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, and chicken stock in a medium sauce pan and heat almost to the boil. Add the cup of cream cheese and stir to make a cream sauce. Stir in the fresh thyme. Set aside.
  3. Boil the potatoes until they’re soft and tender.
  4. Lightly mash and add the butter, milk, and 1 tsp of lemon herb salt. Let cool slightly and then add the egg yolk. Continue to mash until they are completely fluffy with no lumps (I use my immersion blender with the whipper attachment).
  5. Arrange the fish filets in the bottom of a 2 quart rectangular baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the fish with the second tsp of the lemon herb salt and 1 tsp of pepper. 
  6. Cover with the spinach and pour the lemon cream sauce over all. 
  7. Spoon the mashed potato mixture over the top and spread evenly with a fork. Use the tines to make a pattern in the top. (Note: the recipe can be covered and stored in the refrigerator at this point for up to 8 hours. Make certain if not baking right away that the cream sauce and potatoes are completely cooled).
  8. Bake uncovered 45 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned.
  9. Cover with tinfoil and let rest 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
*Cook's Note: If you do not have a 2 quart rectangular casserole dish, an 8x8 square pan will also work just fine.



***

Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

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