Pear Upside-Down Gingerbread Cake

Just in time for the holidays. A homey gingerbread cake dressed up with caramelized pears around the top. Along with a secret to ensure the pears come out on the cake instead of sticking to the pan. 

Read More
Print Friendly and PDF

Brined Roast Turkey Breast

If you think of turkey breasts as dry meat that needs gobs of gravy, you probably wouldn't think of roasting a whole breast.  But after trying a slew of different brines, I've finally found a mixture that actually makes the meat moist; plus, it gives it fabulous flavor.  A rolled breast with no bones is also a no brainer to carve and very low in fat. Hopefully I've convinced you to try it.

To begin, you need to purchase a whole boned and rolled turkey breast with the skin that weighs between 4 to 6 pounds. I bought the one for my class from Whole Foods. 

The marinade recipe comes from chef extraordinaire, Jan Birnbaum. Year's ago I ate the best turkey breast I'd ever tasted at one of his restaurants and he was kind enough to give me the recipe. I came across it in an old file and decided to give it a try, after being frustrated with so many other attempts that didn't add enough moisture or flavor. .

You'll want to make the marinade in a large pot.  Bring it to a boil and cool it completely before using. Put the turkey into a large stock pot or a 3 gallon zipper bag. If using a zipper bag, line a large pot with the bag, add the turkey and then slowly pour in the cool marinade. You will need to add weight to keep the turkey submerged.  Refrigerate a 4 pound breast for 8 hours and a larger one for 10. 

If you like a crispy skin, you can leave the roast uncovered in a roasting pan in the fridge overnight.  Although it does give the roast a more golden sheen and the skin becomes crisper, it is completely optional. 

At my class I served the roast with a tangy Warm Port, Cranberry, Orange Sauce that beautifully balances the flavors in the turkey.  Look up the cranberry sauce recipe.   

Brined Roast Turkey Breast

1 boned rolled turkey breast with skin (4 to 5 lbs.)

Brine
½ gallon (8 cups) water
½ cup white vinegar
1½ cups kosher salt
1½ cups golden brown sugar
1 small onion, cut into eighths
2 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
1 bay leaf, crumbled½
2 tablespoons black peppercorns, crushed

Roast
1 cup chicken stock or white wine
1 to 2 tablespoons melted butter

To brine: Bring all brine ingredients to a boil. Remove from heat and cool completely. 

Place roast in large plastic bag or large saucepan and pour marinade over. It must cover the roast completely.  Seal securely or cover and refrigerate for 8 to 10 hours.

  1. Remove from marinade and pat dry.

  2. To roast: Preheat oven to 375°F.  Place the turkey in a roasting pan that it will fit in comfortably. If it is too big, the drippings will burn. Pour stock or wine into bottom of pan. Brush turkey with melted butter. Roast for 20 minutes per pound. (About 80 minutes for 4 lbs.) If the turkey gets too brown, cover loosely with foil. The turkey is done when it reaches 160°F.

  3. Remove to a cutting board and cover loosely with foil. Let rest 20 minutes. Cut off strings and carve the turkey into 1/3-inch thick slices.

Serves 8 to 10.

Here I am carving with an electric knife the turkey breast I roasted in a class for Foster City Village. Carving was so easy it was actually fun.   

Here I am carving with an electric knife the turkey breast I roasted in a class for Foster City Village. Carving was so easy it was actually fun.   

During the class we forgot to get a close up picture of the whole turkey when it came out of the oven, but we did get some with it sliced. It is shown here with Cornbread Stuffing Muffins from the class. 

During the class we forgot to get a close up picture of the whole turkey when it came out of the oven, but we did get some with it sliced. It is shown here with Cornbread Stuffing Muffins from the class. 

Turkey Breast with Warm Port, Cranberry, Orange Sauce cranberry sauce recipe. and Cornbread Stuffing Muffins

Turkey Breast with Warm Port, Cranberry, Orange Sauce cranberry sauce recipe. and Cornbread Stuffing Muffins

 
This is a whole turkey breast boned and rolled weighing 6 pounds.  Whole Foods rolled and tied it for me at no extra charge. . 

This is a whole turkey breast boned and rolled weighing 6 pounds.  Whole Foods rolled and tied it for me at no extra charge. . 

Here is the roast in a bag filled with the marinade. The turkey floats to the top. 

Here is the roast in a bag filled with the marinade. The turkey floats to the top. 

A large can on the top keeps the turkey under the marinade so it is completely submerged.   

A large can on the top keeps the turkey under the marinade so it is completely submerged.   

Print Friendly and PDF
In

Warm Port, Cranberry, Orange Sauce

Brined turkey breast (see Meats) with sauce and Corn Stuffing Muffins.

Brined turkey breast (see Meats) with sauce and Corn Stuffing Muffins.

When I finally finalized my turkey breast recipe, I didn't want to mask the meat with traditional gravy.  So I came up with this sweet and tangy cranberry sauce. In looks it resembles regular cranberry sauce, but it is warmer, thinner and has more layers of flavor. 

The trick is to make it any time you like, up to 3 days ahead, and finish it right before serving.  The sauce keeps getting thicker and thicker as it sits, which isn't a problem because right before serving, you thin it out with port wine and Balsamic. You want a definite kick from the vinegar as your final taste. 

WARM PORT, CRANBERRY, ORANGE SAUCE
12 ounces fresh cranberries
Zest and juice from 2 oranges (about ½ cup juice)
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup port wine, tawny preferred
2 to 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, to taste

1. In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, orange zest and juice, stock, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat.
2. Reduce heat to medium and cook until berries pop. Lightly smash them against side of pan to break them up.
To make ahead:  Sauce may be refrigerated up to 3 days. Reheat before cont
3. Just before serving, stir port and 2 tablespoons vinegar into heated sauce. Heat just until hot and taste. Do not allow to boil. If desired, stir in more vinegar. The sauce should taste sweet and tart.
Makes 6 servings.

Print Friendly and PDF
In

Cornbread Stuffing Muffins

Stuffing Muffins.jpg

Baking stuffing in muffin cups has many advantages. These  are universally popular, because it seems everyone likes cornbread. Here are several other advantages:

  • Each cup is an individual portion.
  • They have something for everyone--crispy on the outside and moist within. 
  • They are easy to dish up.
  • They can be frozen and reheated. 
  • They are incredibly easy to make. If you purchase onions and celery already cut, you don't even need to take out a knife. 
  • If you use vegetable stock or broth, they can be vegetarian.

Cornbread Stuffing Muffins

1 tablespoon butter or margarine
3 cups packaged onion and celery chopped for stuffing
4 cups packaged cornbread stuffing (about 8 ounces)
1¼ cups vegetable or chicken broth or stock
½ cup canned creamed corn
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
Small sage leaves, for garnish, optional

  1. Place rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Spray 9 or 10 muffin cups with nonstick coating. 
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter.  Add onion and celery and cook until soft, about 8 minutes.  
  3. Place stuffing mix in large bowl.  Stir in broth, corn, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, egg and sage. Stir in onion mixture.  Spoon into greased muffin cups.  Do not pack them down. 
    To make ahead: Unbaked muffins may be refrigerated overnight.
  4. Bake in top third of oven for 20 minutes or until tops are crisp. Insert a knife into the edge and remove. 
    To make ahead: Muffins may be held at room temperature for up to 8 hours. Reheat at 400°F for 3 to 5 minutes until hot.
  5. Before serving, garnish each with a small sage leaf.

Makes 9 or 10 muffins, depending on how full you like them.

Print Friendly and PDF

Buckwheat Crepes with Chard, Mushrooms & Caramelized Onions

Find out how I made breakfast for 28 people in San Francisco and took it with me to Venice Italy. 

Read on to learn how I gave Meals on Wheels new meaning. 

Read More
Print Friendly and PDF
In

Melon, Apple & Pear Chutney

Making chutney may not be on your bucket list, but if you taste this version, you will want to make it.  

Read More
Print Friendly and PDF
In

Apple Cake With Raisins, Pecans & Spices

Bake this awesome apple cake for the High Holidays and it will guarantee your reputation as a great baker for the entire year. P.S. You don't need to be Jewish to enjoy it!

Read More
Print Friendly and PDF

Perfecting Hard Boiled Eggs

Eggs steaming.jpg

I am about to make an embarrassing confession. You’ve probably all heard the idiom, “She can’t even boil an egg.”  It is not a compliment. It refers to someone who is a really lousy cook.   I’ve never understood it because I am a good cook who has never been able to properly boil an egg.  Oh I can boil one all right, I just can’t get the damn peel off without tearing off half the white. It is obvious that whoever made up that saying knew nothing about cooking.

I have tried every conceivable way to boil an egg to get them to easily peel.  I’ve started them in cold water, in boiling water, cooking them off the heat, on the heat.  You name it. I’ve tried it. I’ve even left them in the fridge for weeks because I’d heard  that old eggs peel easier.  That helped a little, but for the small amount of success, it didn’t pay off.  The only constant was that I always took them off the heat and put them into a bowl filled with ice water.

It looks like I’m not the only one with this problem, because in the last 2 months three national food magazines have articles on how to boil eggs so the peel slips right off.  Cooks Illustrated even has a report card on Eggs Peelability.  Mine fit in the Mangled category. Mangled describes the eggs as well as my frustrated brain.

I tried this new, simple technique and am so excited that I can’t stop boiling eggs. Old ones, new ones, they all peel the same. I have 24 in the fridge right now. If you can relate to my egg peeling miseries, here’s a discovery that will have you boiling eggs everyday until the sheer joy becomes common place.  It’s simple.  Instead of boiling the eggs in water, steam them.

  • Choose a saucepan in which the eggs will fit in a single layer. Fill with 1-inch of water. Bring water to a boil.
  • Add a steamer basket and arrange eggs in it in a single layer.
  • Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 13 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to a bowl filled with cold water and 3 hands full of ice cubes.  Leave eggs for 15 minutes and then drain. They can be used immediately or refrigerated.

If you don’t have a steamer basket, you don't need to run out and buy one. You can boil the eggs in 1-inch of water and they will still peel perfectly.  You don’t even need to peel the eggs right away. They will peel just as easily after being refrigerated for several days.

Print Friendly and PDF
In

Mini Coconut Popovers with Chutney

GET INSTANT SUCCESS WITH THESE BITE-SIZE APPETIZERS

These new, lactose-free popovers can be baked large to serve in place of bread or in mini muffin tins for appetizers. They each have their own personality, just like our kids. 

Read More
Print Friendly and PDF

Whole Wheat Muffins with Yogurt & Banana

It's great to make your own muffins, because you know what's in them. In this case only wholesome ingredients and very few calories--160 each to be exact. 

Read More
Print Friendly and PDF
In

Mexican Eggs In Purgatory

This Mexican take on Italian Eggs in Purgatory is  a deliciously hellish way to start the day.  How deep you want to delve into purgatory is completely up to you. 

Read More
Print Friendly and PDF
In

White Chocolate Berry Roulade

This started out to be strawberry shortcake. But I never do what's expected.  I like raspberries in my shortcakes because their tartness adds a layer of flavor to dulcet strawberries. Whipped cream is great, but wait until you taste it with white chocolate mixed in. 

Read More
Print Friendly and PDF

Grilled Skirt (Flat Iron, Flank, Flap or Hanger) Steak With Balsamic & Rosemary

Marinating an inexpensive tough cut of beef–easy. Cooking to the right temperature and carving without mutilating are the real secrets to tender, juicy steaks. The right marinade helps, too. 

Read More
Print Friendly and PDF
In

Spring Greens with Roasted Asparagus, Fennel & Strawberries with Tahini Vinaigrette

This salad is delish, but it's the tahini vinaigrette that is amazing. It is so good that it makes a great dip for veggies, too. This dressing will change the way you think about salads. Guaranteed. 

Read More
Print Friendly and PDF
In

Hummus with Lima Butter Beans & Cumin

Trendy hummus can be made in a rainbow of flavors from beet to spinach. I keep mine simple by substituting buttery limas for the garbanzos, which makes it wonderfully creamy. 

Read More
Print Friendly and PDF

Roasted Cauliflower Crumbles with Panko & Gruyere

"Wow! Risotto!" my vegetarian daughter, Caryn, exclaimed when I set a bowl of finely chopped and roasted cauliflower on the table. "Not exactly," I explained, "unless you want to call this roasted cauliflower risotto."

Read More
Print Friendly and PDF

Set It & Forget It Meringue Torte with Fresh Raspberry Sauce

Here is a terrific spring dessert to top off your Passover Seder or Easter feast. It is so light and airy that if it isn't topped with a luscious raspberry sauce, it might float right off the plate. 

Read More
Print Friendly and PDF

Spinach with Garlic, Currants & Pine Nuts

You won't want to pass up this simple spinach recipe that I guarantee will turn over a new leaf in your spinach cooking repertoire. It has revolutionized cooking plain spinach for me–and you can even make it for crowd. 

Read More
Print Friendly and PDF

Fudgy Chocolate Pretzel Cookies

Crispy, fudgy, salty-sweet, these simple cookies may look ordinary, but wait until you taste them. They are like a potato chip. It's hard to eat just one.

Read More
Print Friendly and PDF
In

Beef Stew with Côtes du Rhône & Balsamic

I have a few tricks up my sleeve to make the most stellar stew imaginable. The first one you will thank me for. 

Read More
Print Friendly and PDF
In