Compliments of: Laurel Run Cooking School
With cranberries in season during the holidays, this brilliant red salsa makes a festive appetizer. A nice change of pace from heavier dairy-based appetizers, it is fat-free and can appeal to vegan-vegetarian guests. Try serving it over a sautéed chicken or pork tenderloin cutlet.
- 1-12 ounces bag fresh or frozen cranberries (no need to thaw if frozen)
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and cored
- ½ large red pepper, cut into chunks
- ½ medium red onion, cut into chunks
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1/3 cup apple juice or cider (drink or freeze leftovers)
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper (for more heat, add seeds too)
- 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
- Purchased tortilla chips or homemade tortilla chips (recipe follows)
- Put the cranberries, apple, red pepper and onion in a food processor and pulse until chopped into a fine consistency (do not over process…leave texture as you would have it for a fresh fruit salsa)
- Transfer to a bowl and add the sugar, apple juice, cilantro, jalapeno, and lime zest.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving so that cranberries can macerate with the sugar and blend the flavors. It can also be made up to 2 days in advance.
HOMEMADE TORTILLA CHIPS
Spray or brush corn tortillas with olive or vegetable oil.
Cut into 8 pie-shaped wedges. Sprinkle with salt.
Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees until crisp and slightly golden, about 10 minutes.
Cranberry-Orange Pecan Log
Make Ahead Tip: make the log up to the point of rolling in the pecans. Roll in plastic wrap, and place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 1 month. When ready to serve, thaw at room temperature and roll in pecans before plating.
- 1-8 oz. package room temperature cream cheese
- ½ cup dried cranberries, chopped
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- ½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped coarsely
- Crackers of choice
- In a mixing bowl, blend the cream cheese and 2 tablespoons water until soft. Add the cranberries and orange zest. Blend to combine.
- On a piece of saran wrap, form the cheese into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes. When ready to serve, place the pecans on a plate and roll the log in the pecans. Serve with crackers.
Warm Brie with Raspberries and Fruited Balsamic Glaze
- 1 pound wheel of Brie
- ½ cup blackberries or raspberries
- ¼ cup of fruity balsamic vinegar or a rich aged balsamic
- ¼ cup of seedless berry jam (preferably the same as the berry used)
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a glass measuring cup, microwave the seedless jam until liquid, then add the balsamic and mix until well combined. Taste for a balance of flavor. Set aside.
- With a serrated knife, carefully remove the top of a 1 pound wheel of brie.
- Place on a Silpat lined baking sheet. Place in the oven and heat until cheese becomes soft, about 3-5 minutes.
- Transfer to a pedestal plate or a small platter
- Place the berries on top of the cheese and drizzle with the balsamic-jam reduction.
- Serve with crackers or crostini.
This simple dessert can be made hours ahead. Pour into any dish you choose: a martini glass makes an elegant presentation. Makes 4 servings
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons Nutella, heated to pour (optional)
- Raspberries or Chocolate curls to garnish
- Combine chocolate chips and water in the top of a double boiler. Do not stir until chocolate is completely melted, then stir until smooth. Cool.
- Beat cream until stiff. Add sugar and vanilla extract. Slowly fold in chocolate mixture. Spoon into cups or use a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and pipe mousse. Loosely cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, drizzle the slightly warm Nutella over each one and garnish with fresh raspberries and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar or chocolate curls.
- 2 cups cold heavy cream
- ½ cup powdered sugar (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup Nutella, heated to a pourable consistency
- Raspberries or Chocolate curls to garnish
- Beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form; add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and whip until a little stiffer. Fold in the Nutella.
- Pipe or spoon into cups (martini glasses are attractive). Chill.
- When ready to serve, shave chocolate over each one or a drizzle of Nutella.
What is Nutella? The product that became Nutella was created by an Italian bakery owner called Pietro Ferrero in the 1940s. He decided to try and create a cheaper alternative to chocolate, which, due to the Second World War, was in short supply. It was made by combining hazelnuts, which were easily available locally, and a little cocoa. Nutella, the original hazelnut spread, is a combination of roasted hazelnuts, skim milk, and cocoa with a creamy consistency and a chocolate taste with a hint of roasted nut flavor. Nutella is to Italians what peanut butter is to Americans.