Friday, December 31, 2010

The 10 best recipes I reviewed in 2010

I bravely issued the challenge to myself: Decide on the 10 absolute best recipes you reviewed in 2010 and present them on Recipes That Worked.
   After agonizing over the dozens and dozens of recipes I have reviewed from major cooking magazines and cookbooks in 2010, I managed to do it.
   All the recipes I write about are very good, but these are the cream of the crop, the top of the heap. They're my favorites, my secret weapons, the ones that get raved about when I make them.
   Here they are:

Tunnel of Fudge Cake: A crowd-pleasing treat from America's Test Kitchen that will score on special occasions.

Sticky Chicken Wings: For a casual party or weeknight dinner, these yummy fix-it-and-forget-it-wings from Everyday Food can be prepared in one dish.

Orecchiette with Fennel, Sausage and Tomatoes: This is the best pasta dish I've ever had, at home or in restaurants. It comes from Fine Cooking magazine.

Fast Chicken Fajitas: Have a delicious dinner on the table in a jiffy in this winner from Everyday Food.

Cincinnati Chili: A savory mild chili made with cinnamon and allspice that's served over spaghetti, this family-pleaser is an America's Test Kitchen creation.

Chocolate Mint Cream Pie: The dessert recipe that got me an offer of marriage, from the cookbook 375 Sensational Splenda Recipes by Marlene Koch.

Rum Punch with Passion Fruit and Lime: An easy-to-make, no-fail pitcher drink from Bon Appetit magazine that will bring a summer backyard party to roaring life.

Ray's Cafe Salmon Burger with Basil Mayonnaise: The best burger I've ever tasted or made -- they're good for weeknights or even a casual dinner party.

15-Minute Chocolate-Walnut Fudge: Delicious fudge that takes just 15 minutes to make? Who knew? This time- and sanity-saver is from America's Test Kitchen.

Orange Butter Cookies with Grand Marnier Glaze: I made this for the first time this December, and it instantly became a favorite. Knock their socks off with this confection from Fine Cooking magazine.

Please join me in 2011 as I embark on a new year of letting you know about which recipes I tried that worked.

To get the latest buzz from this blog, join Recipes That Worked on Facebook.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Garlic and Cheese Crostini - a cocktail's best friend

Sometimes I’ll see a recipe and file it away in the “must try” area of my brain.
   There it lurks until one day it springs forward, wanting to be made, sometimes jogged from its place in storage by a fitting occasion to make it.
   In the case of Garlic and Cheese Crostini (click for the recipe) from Gourmet magazine, it was a Saturday night with my husband and a bottle of red wine that seemed like a good time it. I’m very glad I did.
   Just as the recipe’s description on says, this appetizer is garlicky and salty – a great accompaniment to cocktails.
   They’re so easy to make.
   Slices of baguette are arranged in a layer on a baking sheet and brushed with olive oil.
   More olive oil, finely-grated Pecorino Romano cheese, minced garlic cloves, salt and pepper are stirred together in a small bowl.
   The baguette slices are sprinkled with the cheese mixture, and baked until the topping just starts to melt.
   The crostini are sprinkled with parsley and served.

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A killer cocktail: The Champagne Cosmo

I’ve got a recipe for a cocktail that guarantees merriment and exclamations of “oooh” and “aaah” – Champagne Cosmo (click for the recipe) from Fine Cooking magazine.
   It’s a delicious, refreshing, fizzy concoction that’s very easy to make.
   The recipe makes enough for eight people, but it can easily be halved, doubled or tripled if necessary!
   I’ve never bothered with the business of holding a strip of lime zest over each glass and squeezing it to release the essential oils. The drinks are still amazing without this step, but if you want to do it, go for it!
   Chilled cranberry juice cocktail, Grand Marnier and fresh lime juice are combined in a pitcher.
   The juice mixture is divided among champagne flutes (or any other glass you have!) and topped with chilled brut sparkling wine or Champagne.
   You may want to make one cocktail and do a taste test – lucky you – playing around with the ratio of juice mixture to Champagne. After you’ve got the combination right, serve it to others and enjoy!

Serve Champagne Cosmos with Garlic and Cheese Crostini for a full cocktail and appetizer combination.

Pin It

Sunday, December 26, 2010

What am I going to feed them while they're in my house?

It's the week after Christmas, and you still have a house full of guests. How are you going to feed them all without going insane?

I have a few suggestions for recipes that will keep the crowds, and you, happy. The dishes are quick to make and are easily doubled or tripled. Many are family-friendly as well.

Fast Chicken Fajitas

Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Sticky Chicken Wings

Cincinnati Chili

Zucchini-Ribbon Lasagna

Perfect Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce

Chile and Cheese Tart

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Friday, December 24, 2010

What I'm making for Christmas Day

I'd like to wish all Recipes That Worked readers a very Merry Christmas! Thank you for taking the time in your day to check out this blog.

These are the dishes I wrote about on Recipes That Worked that I will be making for our holiday feast on Christmas Day. Click here for the whole list of recipes I recommended for the holidays.

Pomegranate Punch
Orange and Cumin Pork Loin
Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Smoked Gouda and Chives
Warm Spinach, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Salad
Toffee Millionaires - My sister is a Skor bar addict, and this treat uses them to their most gratifying potential.

In the next week, I'll be suggesting some dishes that will be good for feeding a house full of guests, recommending a cocktail and appetizer that are perfect for a New Year's bash, and listing the absolute best recipes I reviewed this year.

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Amazing fudge in just 15 minutes -- it's true!

Wait a minute, you might be thinking to yourself. Fifteen minutes for fudge? Doesn’t that go against the laws of physics or something?
   The recipe’s physics-fighting secret ingredient is baking soda.
   I’ve long ago forgotten how Cook’s Illustrated magazine, published by America’s Test Kitchen, explains why the baking soda approximates the same action as the “soft-ball stage” technique usually used for making fudge.
   But let me assure you, it works like a charm for 15-Minute Chocolate-Walnut Fudge (click for the recipe).
   An extra bonus about this fudge: It is not sickeningly sweet as some fudge can be. It’s simply delicious, and it’s family-friendly.
   I always get requests for this recipe when people taste the product. "It's much better than any fudge I've ever made," is usually the comment.
   It will keep well in the fridge for up to five days.
   The recipe I linked to above is on, and is exactly the same as the one I use.
   One pound of semisweet chocolate and two ounces of unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine, baking soda, and salt are tossed together in a medium heat-proof bowl.
   Sweetened condensed milk and vanilla are added, and the bowl is set over a saucepan containing simmering water. The mixture is stirred until the chocolate is almost fully melted, and is stirred some more off heat until it is completely smooth. Coarsely-chopped walnuts are added.
   The fudge is transferred to an eight-inch square pan and refrigerated until set, about two hours.
   The recipe I linked to doesn’t have this awesome variation listed: 15-Minute Peanut Butter Fudge. To make it, 18 ounces of peanut-butter chips are substituted for the chopped chocolate, and the walnuts are omitted.

Pin It

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Comforting and party-starting
Golden Onion & Thyme Dip

A good dip (the food kind) possesses remarkable powers.
   It’s comforting: You can cozy up on the couch with it and enjoy it with your favorite veggies, crackers or chips.
   It’s a party-starter: It can attract a crowd and get some conversation going.
   I’ve got a dip recipe that can do both of these things: Golden Onion & Thyme Dip (click for the recipe) from Fine Cooking magazine.
   It’s easy to make, family-friendly, and will suit any type of dipping material. The recipe suggests pita chips, and that’s definitely a good choice, but anything you associate with dipping will do.
   The dip will keep well for about three to five days in the fridge.
   One large Spanish onion or two large yellow onions, finely diced, are seasoned with salt and sautéd.
   The browned onions are transferred to a food processor and pulsed with cream cheese, sour cream, fresh thyme leaves and a pinch of cayenne until well-combined.
   Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Friday, December 17, 2010

Gratifying Gingerbread Cake

When I was a kid, I thought gingerbread existed in just one form: As cookies.
   When my mom made gingerbread in cake form and served it as dessert after supper one day, it kind of rocked my little world.
   Mom explained she used to make gingerbread for her Dad and brothers as a treat for when they came home after a long day of farm work.
   She served it the same way to us as she did to them: With a dollop of whipped cream on top.
   In my adult years, I started to look for a gingerbread recipe that I could put in my own collection, and I found one: Gingerbread from Cook's Illustrated, a magazine published by America’s Test Kitchen.
   The recipe I’ve linked to is a comment on a post about gingerbread on a blog. You’ll need to scroll down until you see the comment from Mary, posted on Dec. 5, 2007, that opens with “I adore gingerbread . . .”
   The recipe Mary provides is exactly the same as the one I use.
   It’s so amazingly easy to make, and produces delicious results.
   The whole family will love a piece of this gingerbread.
   I found it didn’t even need whipped cream on the side – it’s just perfect as it is. And you don’t even need a plate and fork – you can pick up and piece and enjoy it that way!
   It will keep well for about five days if stored in the fridge.
   Flour, ginger, cocoa, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, baking soda and salt are mixed together.
   In a different bowl, melted butter, molasses, sugar, egg, buttermilk and milk are beaten together. The dry ingredients are added and the batter is beaten until smooth, then poured into an 11” by 7” pan.
   The gingerbread is baked for about 40 minutes, then cooled for at least 10 minutes.

More terrific dessert recipes

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Crowd-friendly Pomegranate Punch

Pomegranate Punch (click for the recipe) from the December 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine is smooth, with just the right amount of sweetness.
   Children and adults will like it (although there is a carbonated beverage added, possibly making it inappropriate for younger children). It would work at any type of gathering, from brunch to a dinner party.
   You can spike it with vodka or keep it non-alcoholic – both ways are delicious.
    It could be served in a punch bowl or individually in tall glasses. If you choose to add vodka, I recommend using individual glasses, and adding about ½ ounce of vodka to each drink.
   A couple of tips and tricks I learned from making the recipe:
   1. It calls for apricot nectar. I substituted a peach/apple/orange juice blend in the same amount – ¾ cup. It worked like a charm.
   2. You’ll get a better hint of mint – highly recommended – if you stir the mint syrup, pomegranate juice and apricot nectar (or juice!) together and let it chill for a few hours in advance of serving with seltzer (or club soda). This is also a good thing to do if you don’t want to serve all the punch at once – you can add seltzer or club soda when you’re ready to serve more.
   3. As noted in point 2 above, we used club soda instead of seltzer! It was chilled in the fridge before being added to the syrup-pomegranate juice blend.

   The punch is very easy to make. The recipe is for 12 servings, an amount that can easily be halved or even doubled.
   Sugar (I substituted an equal amount of Splenda), water, and pieces of sliced, peeled ginger are brought to a simmer in a small saucepan. The pan is removed from heat and fresh mint is added.
   The mixture is left to stand for 30 minutes, and is then strained. I recommend refrigerating the mint syrup until it is cold. It will keep well in the fridge, covered, for at least week.
   The syrup, pomegranate juice, apricot nectar (or substitution such peach/apple/orange juice) are stirred together. I recommend refrigerating it for a few hours.
   Pour the pomegranate mixture in a punch bowl with ice, or into individual ice-filled glasses. Add vodka if desired, then seltzer or club soda, and stir.

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Charming Chocolate Dulce De Leche Bars

Though the recipe for Chocolate Dulce De Leche Bars (click for the recipe) was first published in the July issue of Gourmet magazine, these babies are suitable for satisfying treat cravings all year long.
   They will appeal to folks both young and old. I chose to make them for a party I threw for my parents for that very reason.
   In essence, the bars are pieces of shortbread with a caramel-chocolate topping.
   The recipe calls for dulce de leche, which means "milk caramel" in Spanish.
   I have found jarred dulce de leche in a couple of places in the supermarket: With the jams and jellies, and with the ice-cream sundae making supplies alongside other chocolate and caramel sauces.
   Although the recipe says the bars can keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one day, I find they can be refrigerated up to a week and still taste delicious.
   This recipe is easy to make. You don’t even need to haul out a stand or hand mixer for it. However, it does require a shallow 9 to 9½ inch square baking pan and an instant-read thermometer.
   Butter, light brown sugar, vanilla, salt and flour are sifted together in a bowl until a soft dough forms.
   The dough is pressed evenly in the baking pan, pricked all over with a fork, baked, then cooled completely.
   Heavy cream (I used whipping cream) and dulce de leche are brought to a simmer until the dulce de leche has dissolved. Egg yolks are slowly whisked into the hot cream mixture until it registers 170 F on an instant-read thermometer.
   Finely-chopped bittersweet chocolate is whisked in, the mixture is poured over the cooled shortbread and the bars are chilled, uncovered, for at least two hours before serving.

Pin It

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Orange and Cumin Pork Loin - absolutely fabulous!

Orange and Cumin Pork Loin (click for the recipe), from the December 2010 issue of Everyday Food, is simply fabulous.
   It’s absolutely delicious, easy to make and family-friendly.
   The dish, a creation of chef Emeril Lagasse, tastes citrusy and just a tiny bit spicy, thanks to the cumin.
   Make sure you serve the pan juices with the pork loin, so people can pour the juices over the loin just as they would gravy on potatoes.
   As we always do, my husband and I substituted parsley for the cilantro, and if you’re serving this to a family, you’ll want to do the same.
   I took the time to get a tied boneless pork loin at the butcher I frequent.
   The recipe I linked to above is on, but it is exactly the same one I used from Everyday Food.
   A three-pound boneless pork loin, tied at two-inch intervals with kitchen string, is rubbed with olive oil and seasoned with cumin, salt and pepper.
   In a large skillet, the pork is browned, and is then transferred to a baking dish.
   The recipe says to make sure the pork fits snugly in the dish. This is a good instruction – using a baking dish that is too big will send the orange juice topping out thinly and far away from the loin, possibly contributing to lost flavor. The loin needs to be basted frequently too, and a baking dish that’s too big will make this task a pain.
   Orange juice, white-wine vinegar and marmalade are whisked together. The recipe says to use a small bowl for this, but I whisked everything together in a glass measuring cup to make easier work of the next step: Drizzling the orange juice mixture over the pork.
   The pork is roasted at 400 F for 45 to 50 minutes (the Everyday Food recipe says to use an instant-read thermometer, stick it in the thickest part of the pork, and make sure it reads 140 F). Frequent basting is required; my husband did it about every seven minutes.
   The pork is taken out of the oven, sprinkled with parsley, and let to rest for 10 minutes.
   After slicing, the pork is served. Put the pan juices into a glass measuring cup or gravy bowl so people can drizzle it on top of the juicy, tasty slices.

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Monday, December 13, 2010

Trying out Tourtière

My husband and I attempted making Tourtière (click for the recipe) the last week of December 2009 after spotting a recipe for it in Cook’s Country magazine.
   It looked like a simple enough recipe, and making it would be a way to use up some of the leftover mashed potatoes my mother sent home with us after Christmas dinner.
   We were glad we tried it. It was delicious, warming comfort food, perfect for a cold winter night. It’s even worth making mashed potatoes just to prepare it for Christmas!
   Tourtière is a meat pie made with ground pork, beef or veal that originated in Quebec. It’s traditionally served on Christmas Eve.
   The recipe I linked to above is on the Cook’s Country magazine website, and a log-in is required to access it completely (there is a free 14-day website trial.)
   Here’s the closest free recipe to the one I used that I could find online: The Ultimate Tourtière on It uses ground pork and mashed potatoes like the one my husband and I made.
   However, there are so many other differences between the two recipes it’s not worth going through them all! The main one is that The Ultimate Tourtière recipe doesn’t have a step for simmering ground pork in beef broth, which I believe is key to the Cook’s Country’s version’s fantastic taste.
   For the Cook’s Country recipe I used, there are a couple of important things to note.
   First: Two nine-inch pie dough rounds are needed. We bought pre-made deep-dish pie crusts to use in the recipe, and were glad we did. Regular-size pie crusts are too small to hold the filling and to stretch over the top.
   Because we used pre-made pie crusts, I was sure to let them thaw as directed on the package so they were pliable enough to work with as needed – you’ll need to straighten out the crust to put it on top of the meat, for example.
   Second, the recipe doesn’t specify what size of pie plate to use. Because there was far too much pork filling for a nine-inch pie plate, we used a round glass casserole dish with a nine-inch base and slanting sides that were four inches high.
   The tourtière is quite easy to make.
   Ground pork, chopped onion, minced garlic, dried thyme, dried sage and ground nutmeg are cooked in a Dutch oven or large soup pot.
   Purchased beef broth is added, and the mixture simmered. Off heat, mashed potatoes are stirred in, and the pork mixture left to cool for at least 30 minutes.
   The casserole dish is lined with one pie dough round, filled with the pork mixture and topped with the second round. Four vent holds are cut in the top, and the tourtière is baked until the crust is golden brown.
   Let cool for 15 minutes and serve.

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Sunday, December 12, 2010

White Chocolate & Peppermint Brownies:
A wintery landscape on a plate!

Serve up a plate of little windswept winter landscapes with White Chocolate & Peppermint Brownies (click for the recipe).
   The swirling white chocolate frosting on the brownies reminded me of snow drifts – the pleasant, lovely type of snowdrift that’s perfect for making snow angels, not the kind of drift that makes you get stuck with your vehicle.
   With the topping of chopped peppermint candies or candy canes, the Christmasy feel is complete.
   It’s a delicious, family-friendly treat. (Make sure if you are serving this to children, though, that the peppermint candies sprinkled on top are chopped very finely).
   The free version of the recipe I linked to above is on a blog. The original recipe I used is White Chocolate & Peppermint Brownies from Cook's Country, which can be accessed by members of the magazine’s recipe website.
   The blog recipe differs slightly from the one I used from Cook’s Country magazine.
   The main, and most key difference, is the fact the blogger breaks up the recipe into two sections. First, he presents the recipe for the brownies, then adds the White Chocolate and Peppermint part as a variation on the basic brownie.
   Make sure you don’t cool the brownies to room temperature after baking as his “basic brownies” section directs. Go instead to his “White Chocolate and Peppermint Brownies section,” where he correctly directs to sprinkle white chocolate chips on top of the brownies right after they come out of the oven. The chips are left to soften, about five minutes, and are then smoothed evenly on top of the brownies for a frosting.
   The blogger says to melt the chocolate and butter for the brownies in a “small bowl (micro. or stove.)” The enlarged version of this is “melt chocolate and butter in a small bowl in microwave or in a heatproof bowl set over pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally to combine.”

Another good recipe: Peppermint Brownies

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Friday, December 10, 2010

A holiday treat that stuns:
Orange Butter Cookies with Grand Marnier Glaze

If you’re looking for a treat that will absolutely stun people with its deliciousness, look no further.
   I’ve found one: Orange Butter Cookies with Grand Marnier Glaze (click for the recipe) from Fine Cooking magazine.
   I may be hyperbolizing when I say these cookies make you ponder the wonders of the universe when you eat them, but you will be very thankful that oranges grace our lovely planet and that someone invented Grand Marnier liqueur.
   Everyone to whom I have served these cookies has raved about them.
   The cookies are soft and almost creamy, with a comforting citrus tang.
   Thank goodness these magical cookies of such good taste and beauty are easy to make.
   The recipe says it makes about three dozen cookies, but I was able to comfortably make two dozen.
   Buy about four large oranges for this recipe – you’ll need that many for the required orange zest.
   Flour, salt and baking powder are whisked together.
   Butter, sugar, and finely-grated orange zest (orange peel), egg yolks and vanilla are beaten together (the recipe said to use a stand mixer but a hand mixer works just fine). The flour mixture is added and mixed in.
   The resulting dough is turned out onto sheets of plastic wrap in two equal piles, shaped into flat five-inch disks, wrapped in the plastic and refrigerated for at least 30 minutes or up to three days. (The dough can also be frozen for up to one month).
   The dough is rolled out, and with a 2 ½-inch cookie cutter (I used a glass with a mouth that wide), is cut into circles.
   The cookies are baked, and cooled completely.
   To make the glaze, confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar), Grand Marnier, heavy cream and orange zest are combined.
   Use the recipe’s direction to put 1/2 teaspoon of glaze on top of each cookie – it’s the perfect amount.
   The cookies are left at room temperature until the glaze is set, about two hours.
   Serve and stun.

Another delicious treat: Toffee Millionaires

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A savoury and sweet side dish: Noodle Kugel

The ingredients immediately grabbed my attention when I first saw the recipe for Noodle Kugel (click for the recipe) in Martha Stewart Living magazine a couple of years ago.
   Egg noodles, sour cream, cream cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg and apples were present.
   I predicted it would be sweet and savoury all at once – and my expectation was correct.
   It was also absolutely delicious.
   This recipe is a version of the classic Jewish kugel, a dish made with egg noodles or potatoes that is often served as a dessert or side dish.
   Noodle Kugel definitely works as a side dish. The recipe makes a lot, and it’s family-friendly.
   The recipe also suggests serving Noodle Kugel for breakfast, and that makes sense to me. A brunch table would a terrific home for the dish, alongside some sausages. It reminds one a bit of crepes and whipped cream.
   Unfortunately, Noodle Kugel is not the leanest dish around – carbs, fat and cholesterol do a delicious little dance within it.
   I found it quite easy to make.
   One pound of egg noodles are boiled, drained and returned to the pot.
   Six eggs, sour cream, sugar, melted butter and cream cheese are mixed together.
   Sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg are tossed occasionally in a skillet with butter until soft and caramelized.
   The apples are stirred into the egg mixture, and this is in turn poured into the noodles and the whole mixture is tossed.
   The noodles are poured into a prepared dish, drizzled with melted butter and sprinkled with sugar, and baked until the top is golden, about 30 minutes.

More great recipes for side dishes

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

An unfussy-to-make rack of lamb

Rack of lamb. It sounds so elegant, so fancy – and fussy to prepare.
   I've found a recipe, though, that I didn’t find at all difficult to make, and it worked beautifully.
   Pistachio-Crusted Rack of Lamb (click for the recipe) from Bon Appetit magazine is delicious. It would be a tremendous main dish for a dinner party.
   I envision it sitting grandly in the table’s center, surrounded by glasses of bubbly and happy faces.
   Racks of lamb can be a bit skimpy, though, so if you’re making this recipe for more than four people, you may want to increase the recipe accordingly, or make sure you have side dishes in abundance.
   I could only find small racks of lamb at the supermarket, and so prepared two small to equal the one large (2 ¼ lbs) referenced in the recipe. I found frozen racks of lamb at Superstore in Canada, and defrosted them according to the package directions.
   The recipe calls for unsalted pistaschio nuts. This means shelled pistachios without salt. I could only find salted shelled pistachios and so I used those, and the recipe didn’t taste salty.
   Here’s how the rack of lamb is prepared:
   Pomegranate juice, dried currants and garlic are boiled in a skillet until the liquid is syrupy. The liquid is transferred to a processor, and chilled butter, cinnamon and cumin are added and the mixture chopped until a coarse purée forms. The processor bowl is put in the freezer for 10 minutes to slightly firm the butter.
   The rack(s) of lamb are placed bone side down on a baking sheet lined with foil. The pomegranate butter is spread on the racks, and chopped pistachio nuts and panko (Japanese breadcrumbs – look for it in the bakery or the Asian foods section of the supermarket) is pressed into the rack(s) to adhere.
   The rack(s) are roasted in the oven at 400 F for 30 minutes, then left to rest for 10 minutes. The lamb is cut between the bones, and served drizzled with any juices from the foil.

More great dinner party recipes

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Yo ho ho and a plate of Anna's Walnut-Rum Wafers!

Anna's Walnut-Rum Wafers (click for the recipe) taste ever so slightly with the dark rum from their name. The rum taste, in turn, blends perfectly with the walnuts within.
   They’re a little bit sophisticated and a whole lot sassy, and the smaller size lends itself perfectly for scooping up a few at a time for munching.
   The wafers will keep well for a week at room temperature in an airtight container. They are amazingly easy to make.
   Butter, sugar, egg, rum, flour, salt and chopped walnuts are mixed together.
   The resulting dough is dropped by two-teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets, and then the sheet is put into the oven for about four minutes. The sheet is taken out, more walnut pieces are sprinkled on top of the cookies, and the sheet is returned to the oven for eight minutes more.
   After a short cooling time, these dandies are ready to eat.

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Monday, December 6, 2010

Good wintery greens: Warm Spinach,
Mushroom and Goat Cheese Salad

It’s not the easiest task finding a good “wintery” salad, one that goes well with the richer dishes and red wine of cold weather as opposed to the hamburgers and margaritas of summer.
   I’ve found one that I really like, though – Warm Spinach, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Salad (click for the recipe) from Bon Appetit magazine. It’s rich-dish and red-wine ready.
   When goat cheese is featured in a salad, it often steals the spotlight because of its soft, creamy texture and pleasing taste.
   But that’s not the case here – goat cheese just blends in nicely with the rest of the ingredients.
   My husband and I tinkered with the recipe just a bit.
   It calls for six bacon slices, chopped, to be cooked in a skillet, removed, set aside, and the drippings to be used for cooking the rest of the ingredients.
   The bacon is sadly never heard from again in the recipe, and my husband and I didn’t think that was fair. We sprinkled the bacon on top of our salad servings, and found it was a perfect addition.
   Also, the recipe calls for half of a medium-size red onion cut into paper-thin slices. My husband and I did this, but ended up taking out the red onion pieces out of our salad servings anyway – we’re really not fans of it raw (we love it cooked, though!)
   I think you can easily skip the red onion and still get delicious results.
   After the bacon is cooked and removed from the skillet, a large red bell pepper, chopped, is added to the drippings and cooked. The mushrooms follow suit.
   The bell pepper, mushrooms, spinach and red onion (skip it if you want!) are tossed together in a large bowl.
   Olive oil, white wine vinegar and sugar are added to the now-empty skillet and are brought to a boil. The resulting dressing is poured over the salad ingredients, enough to coat them well (you may not use all of the dressing.)
   The salad is put onto plates, and sprinkled with goat cheese.

More great salads and sides

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Strike it rich with Toffee Millionaires

One does feel like they've hit the jackpot when biting into a Toffee Millionaire (click for the recipe) from Martha Stewart Living magazine.
   It’s a delicious, family-friendly square that does nothing but please the taste buds.
   People who love Skor or Heath bars will feel like they won the lottery, as either of these two bars are chopped up and melted into cream to comprise a Toffee Millionaires layer.
   That sounds so good, and tastes so good, that I have to repeat it again: Skor or Heath bars, chopped up and melted into cream.
   And that’s not all – pieces of the bars are scattered overtop the cream mixture to provide the perfect crown to a perfect treat.
   I deviated from the recipe in one aspect: The shortbread layer baking time. The recipe says to bake it until it is golden brown and the center is firm, about 70 minutes.
   That length of time kind of freaked me out, so I checked the shortbread at 50 minutes and took it out then, as the golden brown and firm center requirements were filled. The Millionaires tasted terrific, so it didn’t suffer from a shorter baking time.
   Make sure to heed the recipe’s advice, though, when it comes to finely chopping the bars that are melted into the cream. Smaller pieces of bar will make the melting process much faster.
   Toffee Millionaires are quite easy to make.
   Butter and brown sugar are mixed together and combined with flour and salt. The resulting dough is pressed into an 8-inch square baking pan and chilled for 45 minutes.
   The dough is pierced all over with a wooden skewer, then baked (I baked it for 50 minutes instead of 70), and left to cool for a few minutes.
   Meanwhile, finely-chopped chocolate-covered toffee bars are heated with cream in a saucepan (I used whipping cream) until the bars are melted and the mixture is smooth.
   The mixture is poured over the shortbread, and sprinkled with coarsely-chopped toffee bars (don’t worry if they melt slightly). The shortbread is cut into squares and left to cool completely.

More delectable desserts

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Friday, December 3, 2010

Review: The America's Test
Kitchen Family Cookbook

The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook has a reassuring look about it, as if all the cooking advice contained within will be as sound as if Grandma herself was passing it on to you.
   This is a good all-around general cookery book. Want to make brownies? There’s a recipe for brownies. Mac and cheese? Check. Need some advice on how to grill a steak? It’s there. Want to make gravy without pan drippings? There’s one that uses soup broth instead.
   Recipes for common family-friendly food abound, such as grilled cheese sandwiches, sloppy joes, hamburgers, chicken noodle soup, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken fingers, meatloaf, beef stroganoff and chili.
   Some pages contain several different varieties of a popular food item. Potato salad, for example, is represented with recipes for American, German and French versions.
   There are chapters for appetizers, salads, sandwiches, soups and stews, vegetables, rice, grains and beans, pasta, eggs and breakfast, fish and shellfish, poultry, meat, grilling, slow cooker and pressure cooker, bread and pizza, quick breads, cookies, cakes, pies and tarts, fruit desserts, pudding and custards, frozen desserts, sauces and condiments and light recipes.
   Because the cookbook is from America’s Test Kitchen, there’s a very good chance that many of the recipes have reliable methods that will yield delicious results.
   Recipes that take less than 30 minutes to make are labelled “fast” – great help when you are looking for a speedy weeknight meal.
   I’ve written about Banana BreadCreamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese and Curried Singapore Noodles on Recipes That Worked, all of which are contained in the ATK Family Cookbook.
   There are others I'd like to try. Ones that are catching my eye include:
- Creamy Polenta with Butter and Parmesan
- Pan-Seared Scallops with Lemon, Shallots and Capers, or Orange and Thyme
- Weeknight Skillet Fajitas
- Cream Scones with Currants
- Ultimate Fudgy Brownies
- Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook at

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Review - Ready for Dessert:
My Best Recipes by David Lebovitz

When I tried a couple of David Lebovitz’s recipes earlier this year for the first time, I became an instant fan.
   After making and absolutely loving his Red Wine-Raspberry Sorbet recipe, which appeared in Bon Appetit magazine, I felt compelled to buy the renowned pastry chef’s latest cookbook: Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes.
   While I’ve only had time to try one other recipe from this book, No-Machine Banana Ice Cream (to die for), I will no doubt be trying more.
   This cookbook is full of just the kind of recipes you’d expect from a chef who took his baking training and France and Belgium and now lives in Paris: Desserts that are culinary classics, but have a lovely twist to them.
   As a fellow food blogger once said: “All of David’s desserts are magical.”
   David writes that the book was 30 years in the making: It’s a culmination of years of baking professionally and at home.
   The recipes range in difficulty. Some look easy to make, while others are harder mostly due to many ingredients and steps of preparation.
   I would recommend this cookbook for people who currently bake and are looking for some interesting recipes to try.
   They will certainly find them Ready for Dessert: There are more than 170 recipes for cakes, pies, tarts, crisps, cobblers, custards, soufflés, puddings, ice cream, sherbets, sorbets, cookies, candies, dessert sauces and fruit preserves.
   The book has baking basics, such as chocolate chip cookies, brownies and gingersnaps, to recipes with names such as Chocolate Pave, Marjolaine, Gateau Victoire, Cherry Gateau Basque, Sesame-Orange Almond Tuiles, Chocolate-Port Truffles and Frozen Caramel Mousse with Sherry-Glazed Pears.
   At the beginning of each recipe, David has an often-amusing story about how its creation came about.
   Here are some recipes I have my eye on to try:
- Irish Coffee Cupcakes
- Nectarine-Raspberry Upside-Down Gingerbread
- Bahamian Rum Cake
- Banana Butterscotch Cream Pie
- Champagne Gelee with Kumquats, Grapefruits and Blood Oranges
- Watermelon-Sake Sorbet
- Simple Cherry Sorbet

Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes at

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Review: Food Network Kitchens Favorite Recipes

Food Network Kitchens Favorite Recipes is a cookbook that comes from behind the scenes.
   It’s a compilation of best recipes chosen by the people that work in the TV network’s test kitchens: Chefs, testers, food stylists, bakers and recipe developers.
   The cooking professionals in the kitchens have tested recipes for thousands of episodes of Food Network shows.
   I trust that they know what they’re talking about when they say these are the best recipes that have passed through the kitchens.
   Actually, I know for sure myself the recipes are the best because I’ve tried a few of them and they have been absolutely terrific (and easy).
   Nothing in the book looks too crazy to make. There are many recipes for relatively common dishes such as gazpacho, crab cakes, pork satay, bruschetta, lobster rolls and quesadillas.
   One of the recipes my husband and I absolutely love is Miso Soup. It’s killer delicious, amazingly simple to make, and better than any miso soup I’ve ever had in a restaurant.
   Other favorites of ours from this cookbook are Thai Shrimp & Rice Soup, Thai Rice Noodles, Little Tomato Salad with Fresh Herbs and Heirloom Tomato & Mint Salad.
   Recipes I’ve got my eye on to try are Blue Cheese Steak Sandwiches; Grilled Halloumi, Scallion & Mint Flatbread; Celery & Soppressata Salad with Lemon; Blueberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake; Little Cheesecakes with Strawberry Sauce, and Tiramisu Rapido.

Food Network Kitchens Favorite Recipes at

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review: 375 Sensational Splenda Recipes

375 Sensational Splenda Recipes is a cookbook I ordered online when I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes more than two years ago.
   Now it’s a cookbook that I look to for delicious and reliable recipes.
   One of the very best recipes in my collection, Chocolate Mint Cream Pie, comes from this book. It never fails to impress, and I even got an offer of marriage over it. (I wrote about that earlier this year on Recipes That Worked.)
   I often substitute equal parts of Splenda for sugar in cold drinks, cocktails and sorbets without trouble, but I’ve always been hesitant to do so in baking – it’s much trickier, getting the substitution right.
   Rather, I let an expert who has tested recipes with Splenda over and over tell me how to use it. That’s Marlene Koch, the author of the cookbook, who is a registered dietitian, cooking instructor, and nutrition educator.
   Not only does Koch employ the use of Splenda, she also ingeniously incorporates other unusual ingredients to compensate for the taste and texture provided by the absent sugar.
   For example, for two of my favorite recipes from the book, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies (with cocoa powder and chocolate chips), prune purée is used in addition to Splenda to help sweeten up the cookies. I buy the prune purée in the baby food aisle at the supermarket.
   Although there are recipes for salads, dressings, marinades, condiments, dipping sauces and entrees, I turn to this book most often for baked goods, frozen desserts and drinks.
Here are some of the other terrific-looking recipes in the book:
- Cold drinks: Lemonade, strawberry lemonade, sparkling limeade, Hawaiian Fruit Punch, Citrus Splash.
- Warm drinks: Decadent Hot Chocolate, Chai Tea, Krista’s Spiced Tea, Apple Spiced Tea.
- Breakfast dishes: Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes, Apple Cinnamon Puffed Pancakes, Crispy Cornmeal Waffles.
- Muffins: Oat Bran, Banana Bran, Blueberry, Chocolate Cherry, Sour Cream Chocolate Chip, Strawberry-Filled Cinnamon, Apple Oatmeal Streusel.
- Quick breads and coffee cakes: Wholesome Banana Bread, Cranberry Orange Tea Bread, Butter Pecan Crumb Cake, Raspberry Almond Crumb Cake, S’More Crumb Cake.
- Frozen desserts: Berry Sorbet, Lemon-Lime Sorbet, Chocolate Sorbet, Double Cherry Ice Pops, Fresh Strawberry Lime Ice Pops
- Cookies: Peanut Butter, Oatmeal, Soft Sour Cream Sugar, Chocolate Brownies
- Pies: Pumpkin, Strawberry Rhubarb, Peach Custard, Key Lime, Peanut Butter, Banana Cream, Coconut Cream, Chocolate Chiffon
- Cakes: Unbelievable Chocolate Cake, Fresh Banana, Chocolate Carrot, Chocolate-Almond Torte, Orange Sunshine Cupcakes
- Cheesecake: Chocolate, Mocha Chip, Cherry Ricotta, Chocolate Peppermint, 10-Minute No-Bake Strawberry Cheese Pie
- Sweet Sauces: Raspberry, Blueberry, Cherry, Strawberry, Chocolate Fudge, Easy Chocolate Cream Frosting
- Cocktails: Mojito, Daiquiri, Margarita, Lemon Raspberry Slush

375 Sensational Splenda Recipes on

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Monday, November 29, 2010

Review: The Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook

This is the first of five days of reviews of terrific cookbooks on Recipes That Worked, beginning today and running to Friday, Dec. 3.

The Fast Easy Fresh section of Bon Appetit is my favorite part of the magazine.
   Every month, I flip to the section first, eager to find the recipes that the Bon Appetit test kitchen has created to deliver quick and easy meals.
   I’ve found some of the most reliable recipes in the Fast Easy Fresh section – ones I turn to again and again because they are delicious and easy to make.
   The Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook is a collection of 1,100 recipes that have appeared in the magazine.
   I love having this handy book nearby, because I can pick a seasonal ingredient I have on hand, look in the cookbook’s index and find a great recipe to match.
   With 1,100 recipes and over 750 pages, there is surely a recipe that will match an ingredient that you have on hand, too.
   There are sections for chilis, stews and soups; salads; sandwiches, burgers and pizza; pasta and rice; chicken and poultry; salmon and fish; shrimp and shellfish; beef, pork and lamb; potatoes, grains and beans; vegetables; breakfast and brunch; quick breads; frozen desserts; cookies, brownies, pies, tarts and easy cakes; custards, puddings and fruit desserts and drinks.
   Several of my fave Bon Appetit recipes are in the book, including Grilled Peaches with Pecorino and Proscuitto; Mixed Greens with Feta, Almonds and Blueberries; Goat Cheese and Asparagus Pizza; Chicken with Asiago, Proscuitto and Sage; Grilled Steak with Fresh Garden Herbs; Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Cherry Chutney; Pork Medallions with Chili-Maple Sauce; Zucchini, Red Onion and Two-Cheese Flatbread; Summer Melon with Basil-Mint Granita; Root Beer Granita Float; Mom’s Blender Chocolate Mousse with Lemon Cream and Rum Punch with Passion Fruit and Lime.
   And there dozens more I have my eye on to try. These include:
- Winter Salad with Hoisin Vinaigrette
- Zucchini and Tomato Salad with Garlic-Chili Dressing
- Green Apple and Celery Salad with Walnuts and Mustard Vinaigrette
- Warm Spinach, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Salad
- Sweet-and-Sour Cucumbers with Fresh Dill
- Turkey and Fresh Tarragon Cheeseburgers
- Flank Steak Salad with Roasted Shallots and Goat Cheese
- Soft Tacos with Sausage and Feta
- Mocha Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Pecans
- Sorbets: Ginger-Pear; Raspberry-Plum; Chocolate-Orange and Blackberry
- Chocolate-Cinnamon Gelato with Toffee Bits
- Butter Pecan Ice Cream Pie with Caramel Topping
- Peachy Mimosa Punch
- Vodka-Lime Cooler
- Pomegranate Mojito
- Fresh Mint and Ginger Lemonade
- Caramel-Swirl Hot Chocolate

The Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook on

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Scene-stealing Peanut Butter &
Chocolate Shortbread Bars

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Shortbread Bars (click for the recipe) from Fine Cooking magazine are like scene stealers in a movie.
   Sometimes in a film, an actor or actress will periodically march into a scene and proceed to act circles around everyone else.
   It’s the same with these shortbread bars. You could put all your heart and soul into the rest of the meal and a trickier dessert, and they’ll still show up everything else on the table.
   Everyone will want one, or two, or three of these bars.
   They’re an addictively good, family-friendly treat. Peanut butter lovers will be in heaven.
   The bars are easy to make, and they will keep well at room temperature for up to one week.
   The crust is made by mixing together melted butter, sugar, salt, flour and chopped peanuts, pressing the resulting dough into the bottom of a 13x9 inch foil-lined pan, then baking it for about 45 minutes.
   The filling is made by mixing peanut butter, melted butter, confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar) and vanilla together. The recipe says to use a stand mixer but my hand mixer worked just fine. The filling is spread over the fully-cooled crust.
   The top layer, a ganache, is made by bringing heavy cream to a boil, pouring it over chopped bittersweet chocolate, letting it stand for a few minutes then stirring until it’s smooth.
   The ganache is spread over the peanut butter filling, and the bars are left at room temperature or put in the fridge to let the ganache set.
   Cut, serve, and watch Peanut Butter & Chocolate Shortbread Bars proceed to steal the food scene in your home.

Pin It

Friday, November 26, 2010

Four reasons to make Braised Chicken
with Dates and Moroccan Spices

Braised Chicken with Dates and Moroccan Spices (click for the recipe) from Bon Appetit magazine has so much going for it, I don’t quite know where to start.
   First, it’s delicious. Every bite was amazing. I had to close my eyes several times to savour the taste of juicy chicken and dates clothed in ginger and cinnamon.
   Second, it would work for a dinner party. It is impressive, but not pretentious.
   Third, it feeds six without a lot of extra work, making it a good recipe if you have guests. If you don’t have six to feed, it can easily be cut back.
   However, this is more of a dish for adults. It’s not overly spicy or anything like that, it’s just more suited to an adult palate.
   Fourth, it’s not very difficult to make, but it does take some time, particularly the part when the chicken is initially browned. If you use more than one skillet to brown the chicken, though, this process will go more quickly.
   The recipe says to serve the chicken with couscous. My husband and I served it with jasmine rice instead, and it worked beautifully.
   The recipe calls for two pounds of shallots, or 11 large shallots, for six servings. Ignore the pound measure and use the number instead – two pounds of shallots is a lot!
   Since we cut back the recipe to four servings instead of six, we also cut back the cooking time for the shallots from 18 minutes to about 10 minutes.
   We used parsley instead of cilantro.
   To make the dish, chicken pieces such as halves, thighs and drumsticks are browned in a large heavy pot, then transferred to a platter.
   Shallots, cinnamon sticks, ginger, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, chicken broth and lemon juice are added and simmered until the shallots begin to soften.
   The chicken pieces are placed on top of the shallots and simmered, then both the chicken and the shallots are transferred to a platter.
   The juices left behind in the pot are boiled until slightly thickened, then pitted dates and more lemon juice are added and simmered gently for a short time. The sauce is poured over chicken, which is then sprinkled with almonds and parsley (or cilantro.)

Pin It

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Fast Chicken Fajitas: Quick and delicious!

Fast Chicken Fajitas (click for the recipe) from Everyday Food magazine lives up to its name.
   Fajitas can sometimes take a long time to make, especially if there is marinating or grilling involved.
   But this recipe is fast, fast, fast -- and delicious, delicious, delicious.
   My husband and I never tire of this recipe, and I’m always pleased by how well it works considering the few ingredients and little time involved.
   The secret ingredient is chili powder. It nicely seasons the chicken, but not to an overwhelming degree.
   I would say children ages 12 and up would easily be able to eat these fajitas, but skip the cilantro if you are serving it to young people.
   In fact, skip the cilantro entirely no matter who will eat the fajitas! I always do. (My husband and I don’t like it.)
   The recipe calls for chicken cutlets, but we’ve used boneless, skinless chicken breasts if these weren’t available.
   The chicken is placed on a baking sheet, rubbed with oil, sprinkled with chili powder and put under the broiler for a short time. It is thinly sliced crosswise.
   On a different baking sheet, bell peppers, red onion and garlic are tossed with oil and broiled.
   Set out chicken and peppers with tortillas, sour cream and salsa for people to assemble their own fajitas.

Pin It

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving recipe review

Since the beginning of November on Recipes That Worked, I have been writing about great fall and winter recipes that would work well at American Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.
   I've concentrated on soups, side dishes, desserts and cocktails.
   Let's review those recipes, shall we? (No quiz at the end.)

Opening sips
Pear Sidecar
Blackberry Herb Cocktail

Soup starters
Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque
Red Pepper and Hazelnut Soup with Marinated Anchovies

Sensational side dishes
Celery Root and Apple Salad with Hazelnut Vinaigrette
Simple Two-Potato Gratin
Braised Fingerling Potatoes with Thyme & Butter
Sauerkraut with Gin and Caraway
Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Smoked Gouda and Chives

Finishing desserts
Pecan-Chocolate Chip Pie
Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins
Mom's Apple Squares
Buttery Apple Cake

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Keep the neighborhood vampires away and impress your guests with Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Smoked Gouda and Chives

I love a big, steaming pile of . . . . mashed potatoes on my plate! There’s nothing quite like creamy (or fluffy) potatoes making a lovely little pillow for a piece of pork, turkey or steak.
   That’s why I’m stoked that I’ve found a killer recipe for mashed potatoes.
   If you serve it to guests, they will ask for the recipe as they wolf it down, exclaiming at its deliciousness.
   The recipe is Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Smoked Gouda and Chives (click for the recipe) from America’s Test Kitchen. The recipe I link to here is a reprint of the recipe on the website.
   I was absolutely amazed at how delicious the potatoes were when I first tried them. My husband loves them too.
   The roasted garlic is the secret ingredient. Don’t be afraid to use all 22 cloves – it will keep the neighborhood vampires away, it won’t produce an excessively strong garlic taste, and it’s essential to the recipe’s success.
   The garlic is toasted in a skillet over low heat for about 22 minutes (a minute for each clove!), and then left to stand off heat until they’ve softened. The cloves are then peeled.
   My husband and I found the 22-minute toasting time directed in the recipe wasn’t enough to produce soft cloves after the standing time. We ended up microwaving them for about five minutes, and letting them stand again.
   The potatoes (we used russet) are simmered for about 20 to 30 minutes. The potatoes are then peeled and cut into rough chunks.
   Working in batches, garlic cloves and potato chunks are put in a food mill or potato ricer and processed into a large saucepan.
   Melted butter, warm half-and-half and smoked gouda cheese are stirred in until the cheese is melted and incorporated.
   Off heat, chopped fresh chives are stirred in.
   Serve immediately in steaming piles on plates.

Pin It

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bringing back the original blackberry with Blackberry Herb Cocktail

Once upon a time, children, blackberries grew on trees, not in people’s hands.
   Honestly! I ain’t lyin’.
   There is a luscious, jewel-like berry that grows on bushes. You don’t talk into them or touch their screens – you eat them!
   They lend a delicious taste to salads, pies, tarts and drinks.
   A good way to prove to people that you’re not telling a tall tale about blackberries is by serving Blackberry Herb Cocktail (click for the recipe) from Bon Appetit magazine.
   The cocktail is a blend of the berry’s juice with a lovely hint of rosemary, topped off with Prosecco, a type of Italian sparkling white wine.
   It makes an elegant start to dinner, and would go well with appetizers.
   If you’ve had a Kir Royale before, a combination of crème de cassis (blackberry liqueur) and champagne, you’ve had something similar to this cocktail.
   But Blackberry Herb Cocktails have something the Kir Royale doesn’t – that hint of rosemary that blends in perfectly.
   These cocktails are easy to make (just as easy as operating the handheld device!)
   Fresh blackberries, sugar (I used Splenda instead), water and chopped fresh rosemary are simmered until thickened and reduced.    The mixture, now a simple syrup, is strained into a glass measuring cup, and chilled into cold.
   The recipe says to divide Prosecco among champagne flutes, then pour some syrup into each drink.
   I did just the opposite: I put some syrup in the flutes, poured in Prosecco, then gave the cocktails a stir (I poured in the Prosecco over the sink in case it foamed up.) That way, I could add more syrup to taste if I wanted.
   You can also serve the syrup with non-alcoholic fizzy drinks, too, such as club soda or ginger ale.

More great recipes for fall and winter

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hop into a Pear Sidecar

According to trusty Wikipedia, a sidecar is a classic cocktail traditionally made with Cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice.
   (A sidecar is also a one-wheeled car for a single passenger attached to the side of a motorcycle, but this blog entry is concerned with the cocktail.)
   The first time I tried this drink was last weekend, when I mixed up a variation on the classic recipe: Pear Sidecar (click for the recipe).
   This recipe, from Fine Cooking magazine, called for pear brandy, triple sec, lime juice and lime zest.
   I loved the Pear Sidecar – it was a lovely combination of the slight sweetness of the brandy mingling with citrus tastes from the triple sec and the lime juice. It smelled terrific, too.
   Serve it with an appetizer before dinner, and it will be a classy way to get things started.
   I ran into one problem, though, when embarking on making the Pear Sidecars. I couldn’t find pear brandy in my local liquor store!    They had discontinued Poire Williams, a common type of pear brandy.
   Looking for a substitute on the Internet, I found one that worked well: Substituting equal parts brandy and pear juice.
   So, for the recipe I linked to above, which calls for ½ cup pear brandy for two cocktails, I used ¼ cup pear juice and ¼ cup brandy.
   The recipe calls for shaking up the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. I’m a fan of leaving the cocktail in the shaker for a minute or two before straining – it seems to add just a welcome touch of water to the cocktail, mellowing out the flavors a bit.
   To make a Pear Sidecar, pear brandy or a substitution, triple sec and lime juice are combined in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. After being shaken well, the cocktail is strained into glasses (champagne flutes or martini glasses are nice). Lime zest is twisted into spirals and dropped into each glass.

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A 'sauerkraut martini':
Sauerkraut with Gin and Caraway

“Think of it as a sauerkraut martini,” I said to my husband as he looked skeptically at the shredded fermented cabbage simmering with gin in the soup pot.
   As my husband loves martinis, this statement seemed to lighten his pessimistic outlook a bit about Sauerkraut with Gin and Caraway (click for the recipe), an unusual recipe from the November issue of Bon Appetit that I’d wanted to try from the moment I saw it.
   However, he was never completely won over: He ate his portion, but merely said it wasn’t bad.
   But I absolutely loved it – I munched away at it, pleased as punch with the very, very slight licorice taste instilled in the sauerkraut from the gin and the caraway seeds.
   If you include the consumption of sauerkraut in your life now, whether on a hot dog, or in perogies, or when you visit grandma’s house, then I think you’ll like this recipe, too. Lovers of pickles or cabbage soup will probably embrace this as well.
   Molly Wizenberg, a Bon Appetit columnist and author of the Orangette blog, created this recipe. Sauerkraut has been a traditional Thanksgiving side dish in her family as long as she can remember.
   It’s an extremely easy dish to make, because you don’t actually have to make the sauerkraut yourself.
   Purchased sauerkraut, dry gin, and caraway seeds are simmered in a large heavy saucepan (I used a soup pot) for about half an hour. Diced chilled butter is stirred in until it is melted. Serve warm.

More great cool-weather side dishes

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pecan-Chocolate Chip Pie:
Delicious even when burned!

I love recipes that are so reliable that the result is good even if something gets screwed up.
   Such is the case with Pecan-Chocolate Chip Pie (click for the recipe), a recipe from Emeril Legasse.
   The top of the pie burned, but it was still absolutely delicious.
   I followed the cooking time of one hour, but clearly I should have checked it along the way, at perhaps the 45-minute mark.
   If you bake this pie to its proper lovely golden-brown goodness, it will be even better than what I produced, I’m sure. It is a very family-friendly pie.
   There are directions on how to make a crust, but I find making pastry-style crusts quite frustrating (plus I’m lazy), and so I used a bought deep-dish pie crust and baked it before embarking on the rest of the recipe.
   The recipe calls for 100 per cent pure cane syrup. Roger’s Golden Syrup, which can be found in many supermarkets (in Canada at least!), is 100 per cent pure cane syrup.
   The cane syrup is used in a mixture that goes overtop the pecans and chocolate chips. I found I had about ½ cup extra of the syrupy mixture left over – the pie would have overflowed if I used it all!
   The pie is extremely easy to make if you go the purchased pie crust route.
   Pecan pieces and chocolate chips are scattered over the bottom of the pie crust.
   Eggs, sugar, brown sugar, pure cane syrup (golden syrup), corn syrup, vanilla, salt and melted butter are combined and poured over the pecans and chocolate chips.
   Bake (check what it looks like along the way!) and let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

More great dessert recipes for fall and winter

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook

Friday, November 12, 2010

An elegant soup with comfort food appeal:
Red Pepper and Hazelnut Soup with Marinated Anchovies

The first time I decided I wanted to make a recipe with hazelnuts, I set out in search of them in the baking aisle of supermarkets.
   When I was unable to find them there, I went to the local health food store, where a clerk kindly explained that hazelnuts are also called filberts (and the store had them).
   Aha! It was a welcome piece of info – there are filberts in the baking aisle of many supermarkets!
   Many recipes call for taking the skin off of hazelnuts (filberts), and I’m much too lazy for that.
   I look for recipes that don’t call for skinning hazelnuts, such as Red Pepper and Hazelnut Soup with Marinated Anchovies (click for the recipe) from Bon Appetit magazine.
   This is a fantastic soup. While it is elegant, it also has a comfort-food appeal with its creaminess (without a drop of cream!)
   It has a slightly zesty taste that makes one think feta cheese is lurking within, but there isn’t!
   This soup would make a lovely first course at a dinner party, or for a meal on a weeknight with salad and bread.
   The anchovy garnish that goes on top of the soup is essential to its success. My husband and I stirred the garnish into our soup before eating (slurping?), and the anchovies added a wonderful salty flavour.
   I wasn’t able to find the recipe on the or websites, but I was able to find it on a website called, and that’s what I linked to above.
   Although the soup looks like it may be complicated to make, it’s actually not.
   Three chopped red bell peppers, an onion, a tomato, dry sherry, olive oil and garlic cloves are simmered in a large heavy saucepan for about 20 minutes.
   Vegetable broth, hazelnuts, smoked paprika (McCormick offers this type of paprika), are added and simmered. A splash of sherry vinegar (we used red wine vinegar as a substitute) is added, and the soup is pureed. We used a hand blender so we didn’t have to transfer the soup to an upright blender.
   The garnish, which can be made up to two hours ahead and left at room temperature, is comprised of chopped anchovies, a shallot, chopped toasted hazelnuts, olive oil, fresh lemon juice and finely grated lemon peel.

More great recipes for soups

Join Recipes That Worked on Facebook