Holiday Cranberry Apple Citrus Punch

Holiday Cranberry Apple Citrus Punch

original Joelen recipe

1 2-liter bottle ginger ale or lemon lime soda

1 64-oz bottle of cranberry juice
1 frozen tube of apple juice concentrate
apple slices for garnish
ice

Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl and stir.

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Apple Galette

The following recipe was prepared during my International Chefs Dinner. You can read about it and check out the other recipes that were made for the event HERE.


Apple Galette
shared at the event by Joelen
recipe courtesy of Jacques Pepin

1/2 recipe pate brisée (or prepared pie crust dough) 5 large apples

1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons apricot preserves
1 tablespoon Calvados or Cognac (optional)

Roll out the dough 1/8 to 1/16 inch thick, in a shape that fits roughly on a cookie sheet—approximately 16 X 14 inches. (The best cookie sheets are made of heavy aluminum that is not too shiny.) If the dough is not thin enough after you lay it on the cookie sheet, roll it some more, directly on the sheet.

Peel and cut the apples in half, core them, and slice each half into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside the large center slices of the same size and chop the end slices coarsely. Sprinkle the chopped apple over the dough. Arrange the large slices on the dough beginning at the outside, approximately 1 1/2 inches from the edge. Stagger and overlap the slices to imitate the petals of a flower.

Cover the dough completely with a single layer of apples, except for the border. Place smaller slices in the center to resemble the heart of a flower. Bring up the border of the dough | and fold it over the apples. Sprinkle the apples with the sugar and pieces of butter, and bake in a 400-degree oven for 65 to 75 minutes, until the galette is really well browned and crusty.

Slide it onto a board. Dilute the apricot preserves with the alcohol (or use 1 tablespoon of water if the jam is thick and you prefer not to use spirits) and spread it on top of the apples with the back of a spoon. Some can also be spread on the top edge of the crust. Follow the design so that you do not disturb the little pieces of apple.

Serve the galette lukewarm, cut into wedges.

Feasting on Fall Flavors

Tonight called for a dinner that would warm us from the crisp and cool temps in the air. I figured now was a good time as any to prepare a fall dinner to highlight the season’s flavors. With apples, thyme, maple syrup, and sweet potatoes on hand, we thoroughly enjoyed the bounty that graced our table. I didn’t use any particular recipe but rather, used the ingredients in my pantry to come up with a meal. Bare with me as I share what I did to create our dinner…

Roasted Maple Sugar Pork Tenderloin

This past Sunday I visited my favorite spice shop, The Spice House, and picked up a new seasoning to try. Their “Gateway to the North Maple Sugar Seasoning” was perfect with pork with hints a sweet and savory flavor. To prepare my pork tenderloin, I generously coated them with this seasoning… and roasted them on top of a bed of chopped apples, onions, a few garlic cloves and added a couple bay leaves and springs of thyme. After baking covered in a 350 degree oven for an hour, remove the pork from the apple/onion mixture and pace on a separate baking sheet.

Savory Applesauce

With a roasting pan of apples, onions, garlic, bay leaves and thyme left to play with, I thought a savory spin on the traditional applesauce would serve as a nice accompaniment with the pork. With this in mind, I removed the bay leaves and thyme from the pan and used a potato masher to get a finer texture on the apples, onions & garlic. What’s wonderful about this mixture is that it doesn’t need to be seasoned since the juices and maple sugar seasoning that coated the pork have filtered down into them. Once you’ve mashed it to your preferred texture for applesauce, you’re set! Place the savory applesauce in a serving dish or individual ramekin and garnish with a fresh thyme stem.

Maple Pecan Sweet Potatoes

We love sweet potatoes at our house, even more than the russet, white or Yukon gold variety. While we’re on a fall flavor kick, I roasted some sweet potatoes and scooped out the soft flesh into a casserole dish. To add some additional sweetness, I stirred in about 1/4 cup of real maple syrup and salt to taste. Top it with chopped pecans and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.

To round out our meal, I added some steamed broccoli for color and to add to our daily veggies for the day.

Caramel Applesauce Cupcakes

This recipe was featured in my Springtime Cupcake swap event, which you can read about HERE.

Erin’s Caramel Applesauce Cupcakes:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup finely chopped, peeled apple
(Granny Smith or Jonagold apples for baking)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups applesauce

1/2 cup melted butter

Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, butter, and applesauce. Mix for 2 minutes at slow speed. Scrape bowl. Mix at medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape bowl, and stir in chopped apples and walnuts.

Your oven should be preheated to 350 degrees. spoon cupcake batter into cupcake pans lined with paper or foil cupcake liners. You should fill each cup approximately 1/2 to 2/3 full making sure you have the same amount of batter in each cup.

Bake your cupcakes for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the applesauce cupcakes from the pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.
Top with caramel topping or frosting and enjoy!

Bread Pudding Pleasures

What do you do when you have lots of leftover bread that you’d hate to throw away? You could make breadcrumbs or better yet, bake up some bread pudding! Because it was such a dreary, damp and dark spring day here in Chicago, some comforting bread pudding definitely fit the bill.
I used this Butterscrotch Bread Pudding recipe as my guide, but to put my own spin on it, here’s my recipe for Caramel Apple Bread Pudding with Fresh Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream.

1 1/2 loaf of old bread, 1″ cubed
( I used an artisanal italian pane, but you could use a french baguette, french bread or even bagels)
3 cups half & half
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)
1 cup caramel chips
3 medium apples, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon

PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees. Coat 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray or butter.

COMBINE all ingredients in large bowl. Allow bread to soak in liquids, especially if the bread is really dry. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

BAKE in preheated oven for 1 hour, until nearly set. Serve warm or cold, with a dollop of whipped cream.

For the vanilla bean whipped cream:

1 tablespoon vanila paste (or vanilla extract)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 cups heavy cream

Place all ingredients in your stand mixer and whip with whip attachment until it thickens to whipped cream consistency.

Pizza… Sweet & Savory

After a big and flavorful Vietnamese lunch today, we opted for a lighter dinner. Tonight I made a brie, apple & proscuitto pizza using prepared pizza dough.Here’s my simple recipe for a light and flavorful Brie, Apple & Prosciutto pizza:

1 ball prepared pizza dough (I used Trader Joe’s plain dough)
1 large wedge of brie cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped havarti cheese
2 medium sized granny smith apples, peeled & sliced thin
1/4 cup finely chopped prosciutto
fresh basil, chiffonade

Preheat your oven to 425.
In a pizza pan or baking sheet, flatten pizza dough & spread out.
Bake pizza crust in preheated oven for 5-7 minutes.
Remove partially cooked dough from oven.
Spread softened brie on dough of dot the dough with brie (whichever is easier).
Place a layer of apple slices over the brie layer.
Sprinkle the prosciutto over the apples.
Top the pizza with havarti cheese.
Place pizza back in the preheated oven and bake until golden brown and cheese has melted.
Serve hot and garnish with fresh basil.

Harvest Salad & Raspberry Vinaigrette

Tonight is focused on my Traditional fare menu and some desserts. Everything is set for the most part… and I approached it as if it were just one of my cooking class events where everything is prepped and ready to assemble. Here are recipes of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes on my menu.

Harvest Salad & Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing:

½ cup oil
½ cup raspberry puree
½ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon italian seasoning salt & pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients well.
This dressing will accompany my harvest salad that includes baby spinach, mache, Danish blue cheese, dried cranberries, chopped walnuts and chopped apples.