Luncheon Recipes 2012 (and beyond)

Ya gotta eat, after all...

Here are some recipes I've enjoyed (and some I've even made and brought along) for Master Gardener Luncheons and other culinary occasions.  They are in no particular order.  Most come from the Internet. except for the last ones in pantheon- they are from Christopher Baker.

And if you "hunger" for more, refer to Luncheon Recipes 2013, Muffins a la Grace, and Sandwiches.

  • Frosted Cranberries - Easy recipe; prepare at least the night before to let the berries dry.  I avoided the whole salmonella debate by using light corn syrup.  My other "tricks" are below.  The real secret is to use good quality cranberries.  The berries you buy should look very firm - no shriveled ones.  Even if a fair percentage are not ruby red, a fresh firm yellowish berry will trump an flaccid or bloated red one.  Sometimes the harvest years aren't so stellar and the berries in your store look kind of rotten.  Don't bother trying to sort out the bad berries.  Skip the whole thing.  Even the good-looking berries won't be that tasty and they will deteriorate too quickly.  Likewise, these are best served from cranberries just harvested - not those that have been in storage waiting for Christmas.    I found the recipe on a website.  Read the recipe and all the helpful reviews at:
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Frosted-Cranberries/Detail.aspx

photo of frosted cranberries

Frosting "Tricks" - I dried the cranberries thoroughly after washing them.  To drizzle the corn syrup over them, I put a small batch in a flat-bottomed colander and put the colander over a wide dish.  I drizzled corn syrup over the berries and used a fork to get the excess syrup to drain.  Then I coaxed the berries (not the extra syrup) out of the colander into a big bowl of sugar.  Using the fork, I rolled the berries in the sugar until they were coated.  Coaxed the berries OUT of the sugar bowl onto a wire baking rack.  Some of the berries will fall out of the rack, so have a dish underneath to catch them.  Refill the sugar in your sugar bowl, pour another batch of berries into to the colander and repeat...  Let them dry overnight and store in an open bowl (a closed bowl has too much humidity).

If you get your berries too saturated with corn syrup the sugar will "glump" up and not crystallize.  No worries.  Place the glumpy berries in a separate dish with a little extra sugar.  Let them dehydrate overnight.  Then roll them in the sugar bowl again - they should be dry enough to work with.  Then place these super-coated berries on the baking rack for another dry-out session.

Update 2013 - Cranberry quality can deteriorate after several days if left at room temperature.  You can store your frosted cranberries in the fridge with no worries if you keep them separated from each other (uncovered on a cookie sheet).  The taste more flavorful if  served at room temp, so about an hour before serving, remove from the fridge an put cranberries back on a rack to allow air to flow through.


SALADS


  • Salad with Pears, Nuts, Blue Cheese and Walnut Oil Dressing - Emeril's recipe calls for frying the cheese.  I just used crumbled blue cheese. I did not add any garlic or scallions (and didn't bother with the cheese frying).  I substituted pecans for walnuts.  And I used pears instead of apples; since I cut them  up the night before I kept them from browning by immersing  them in a diluted version of the salad dressing.   That kept them more appealing looking and infused them with a light taste of the dressing.  Oh, and I threw in some dried cranberries and golden raisins for a little extra color.  The recipe is at:



BREADS


  • Sourdough Pumpernickel swirl bread option is discussed in the two sourdough recipes above.
  • Maintaining and Using Your Starter.  Points to Remember:  A starter is living thing.  It needs food (flour/complex carbohydrates).  The warmer it is the more it feeds.  Kept in the fridge it doesn't need feeding more than once a week.  Use the instructions here to feed/maintain the starter.  Use your starter in a recipe approximately 12 hours after you feed it (it will be vigorous then).  If it's not used, back in the fridge it goes.  Starters can go bad - even deadly!  Find out how to assess your starter by reading the Troubleshooting section.  This is not a common occurrence, but it's best to know what you're putting into your body.
  • Make Your Own Starter  The King Arthur Flour company has detailed instructions for making your own starter from flour; also there are links to variations on starters, including a gluten-free version.  Points to Remember:  A typical starter needs about two weeks of diligent feeding before it's ready for use (or storage in the fridge/freezer).   Each time you feed your starter, you'll end up with TWICE as much starter as before the feeding.  Plan to give some to friends or to freeze it after it has developed.  I haven't used the stuff I freezed just yet, but I figure, if I can't revive it, I have plenty unfrozen.  Once your two week feeding period has ended you are ready to use the Maintaining and Using Your Starter section above.
  • Greek Easter Bread with Colored (Jello Jiggler) Eggs - Homemade bread was a given around the holidays in my family.  We would make a sweet rich yeast bread, And bake it with a few colored hard-boiled eggs decorating the top.  The bread in this recipe reminded me of the bread we'd bake around Easter in my Italian household.  The recipe didn't include the colored eggs, so I'll explain how they get into a holiday bread.  The basic bread recipe is at:
http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/greek-easter-bread-10000001031632/

The only tweaking I did was: 1) the spices.  I just used off-the-shelf spices, and approximated the amount the recipe would have used.  The cinnamon I used was Saigon Cinnamon, available at a higher-end grocery store,  This is cinnamon with a kick.  Be sure you know how it stacks up taste-wise before using it in a recipe.  It gave my bread a more exotic taste, which is fitting for an Old World holiday treat.

Once you have braided the dough for the last rising, you will need to add the colored eggs - or not.  You can just bake the loaf according to the recipe and you will have a very authentic tasting holiday bread.  If you want your bread to look like the photo below ("lifted" from http://www.instructables.com/id/Italian-Braided-Easter-Bread/ )  proceed with the instructions for the eggs.  Then bake according to the bread recipe.

Easter Bread with colored eggs

Now for the eggs.  A purist would use real dyed eggs, three-four of them of them is about right.  We cooked them, died them, and then put them in the bread.  I have seen recipes calling for the eggs without cooking them  - they get cooked during the baking process, according to the recipe.  If you use real eggs, put them in the shaped bread for the final rise and then just cook the bread with them.   Most of the photos I found that show holiday bread with eggs feature the bread braided into a "basket" holding the eggs, rather than a loaf decorated with eggs.  We always used a loaf; it is easier to slice and serve.

Back to the jello jiggler eggs.  I did not want to use the last of my eggs so I settled on a substitute that was popular in the '80's - jigglers.  But I needed a creamy substance to give my jigglers a more egg-like appearance.  Since I had jello, cream cheese, and some "egg molds"  I opted for creamy jello egg jigglers.  The recipe for the creamy jello is:

2 packs jello
8 oz cream cheese softened (not whipped)
1 cup hot water
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup cold water

Mix jello into boiling hot water until smooth.  Blend pineapple juice and cream cheese - or whip it until creamy.  Add to jello.  Mix in cold water.  Pour into jiggler egg molds that have been greased with veggie oil.  Refrigerate until set.

Since you can't bake the bread with THESE eggs, you can cheat.  I braided the bread in preparation for the last rising.  Then  I took a real egg, and made three indents in the pre-risen bread dough to outline the proper shape.  To "hold the shape" I wrapped a clean egg-sized stone (the type you'd use in an indoor fountain) in aluminum foil and put three of them in the bread.  I let the bread rise and baked according to the recipe with the "stones" in place. 

When the bread cools, remove the "stones".  Just before serving take the jello eggs out of the molds and place them in the "wells" in the bread.  Do not store the bread with the eggs.  If you have leftovers, just scoop the jello into a container and put in the fridge.  The bread can be covered and put in a bread box.

Here's the end result.  The bread has been braided thickly here because I didn't have a very long baking sheet - so I made the braids fat.  Don't forget to brush bread top with egg yoke - makes a truly special looking bread.  If you forget, you can always brush the cooked (but still warm) loaf with egg yoke and pop back in the oven for about 3 minutes, or until the yoke is baked on.



Happy Easter!


  • Rapini Rice Stuffing (a Gluten-Free Alternative) 
Serves:
10 people? You can modify the ingredients to taste and need. Piquant rapini, also called broccoli rabe, is in the turnip family. Use kale, mustard greens or collard greens in its place, if you like.
Cooking Method - Temperature, Pan prep:

For the stuffing: During the last hour that the turkey is roasting, grease a medium-size baking pan or Corning Ware server; set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium hot over medium high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add rice and toas…
For the stuffing: During the last hour that the turkey is roasting, grease a medium-size baking pan or Corning Ware server; set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium hot over medium high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add rice and toast, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in broth and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until moisture is absorbed and rice is just tender, about 20 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside to let rest for 5 minutes; discard bay leaf and fluff rice with a fork.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, pepper and salt. Add cooked rice mixture, rapini and cheese; toss to coat. Transfer rice mixture to prepared pan and bake until hot and just golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
Ingredients:

Stuffing:
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 eggs
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 packed cups rough…
Stuffing:
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 eggs
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 packed cups roughly chopped rapini (thin stems and leaves)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
6 slices of bread (gluten-free bread is available at Publix and Whole foods in the frozen foods section. It is usually available from local health and organic food stores, again in frozen form. Just defrost the bread in the fridge. You can toast it if you like.)
Steps:

This is a great recipe if you are cooking for someone with gluten (wheat) allergies*. Most people really like the taste, although the bitter vegetable (rapini) may make it unsuitable for younger audiences. Even folks who have no trouble digesting wheat products will not feel "deprived" when eating…
This is a great recipe if you are cooking for someone with gluten (wheat) allergies*. Most people really like the taste, although the bitter vegetable (rapini) may make it unsuitable for younger audiences. Even folks who have no trouble digesting wheat products will not feel "deprived" when eating this stuffing. If parmesan cheese is too strong, a cheddar would work fine. A a low fat cheese and egg beaters would make it heart healthy. AND if you have diabetics, try brown rice (and whole wheat bread, if you are OK with the gluten).

I found this recipe at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/recipe.php?recipeId=2347 – however, the procedure mentions toast, but toast is never listed in the ingredients, so I have improvised in my cooking of it. I’m also improvising on the rapini this year, using arugula which has a very peppery taste that we favor. I went to two stores and they were sold out of rapini. I’m sure kale, mustard or collard greens would suit other families that favor a more traditional southern vegetable.

*Celiac (or sprue) is a disease that renders the body incapable of digesting wheat (the gluten in the wheat). Celiacs who ingest gluten over long periods of time increase their risk of intestinal cancer or osteoporosis. There are tests that determine celiac and a remedy that sounds simple – eat no gluten. But it turns out there are hundreds of products (including medications) that contain or can be contaminated by gluten.

The symptoms of celiac look just like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, so the root cause, a gluten allergy, can go undetected for years – with devastating results. It is a genetic disease, but it may not get triggered until later in life, and it may appear at any age. If you have or know someone who has puzzling digestive problems, consider a food allergy like celiac (or nut allergies) may be causing the problem. See the Center for Celiac at http://www.celiaccenter.org/ and WebMd http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/celiac-disease/default.htm
Serving / Storage Suggestions:
Holiday dressing or alternative to a starch at any meal.


  • Spinach Feta Pie or Casserole
image of spanakopita from AllRecipies.com
Real men WILL eat "quiche" - which is what the casserole approximates, EXCEPT, it has more veggies!  Of course, you can always use lowfat or fat free cheeses and eggs if you are on a restricted diet.  See recipe HERE.  If you have trouble opening the document, there is also a link to it at the bottom of this page and you can try that.  Google has been making some changes to how things work so we're in new territory here...  Contact me at battled@gmail.com if you can't open the recipe.  Or just go to allrecipes.com/recipe/spanakopita-greek-spinach-pie for the original recipe.
  • Eggnog Texas Sheetcake for the Holidays
Serves:
24 [more or less, depending on how you slice it]
Cooking Method - Temperature, Pan prep:
Preheat the oven to 400F  DB turned oven to 375
Grease a 15 x 10 x 1 pan
Bake for 20 minutes
Ingredients:

Cake:
2 cups sugar [or 2 1/2 cups Splenda - Splenda will cause cake to cook faster]
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
2 sticks butter
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup eggnog
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp white vinegar

Icing*:
1 stick butter
1/4 cup cocoa
1/3 cup milk [or eggnog]
1 pound [box] 10X sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans [optional]
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies [optional]
Steps:

Cake:

Mix sugar, flour, baking soda, and spices in a large mixing bowl. Bring butter, water, and cocoa to boil. Stir until well blended. Pour over flour mixture and stir well. Mix eggnog, eggs, vanilla, and vinegar together. Add to flour mixture. Beat by hand until smooth. Batter will seem th…
Cake:

Mix sugar, flour, baking soda, and spices in a large mixing bowl. Bring butter, water, and cocoa to boil. Stir until well blended. Pour over flour mixture and stir well. Mix eggnog, eggs, vanilla, and vinegar together. Add to flour mixture. Beat by hand until smooth. Batter will seem thin and bubbly. This is normal. Pour into prepared pan and smooth to edges. You may shake it around to settle it but don't bang the bubbles out of it.

Bake 20 minutes until springy. DO NOT OVERBAKE!! [Note:  Using  Splenda can cause your cake to bake faster - keep an eye on it!]

During the last five minutes of baking, start the icing (see Splenda icing below if going "sugar free").

Icing:

Boil butter, cocoa, and milk together stirring to blend well. When blended, add sugar and beat with a hand mixer or by hand until smooth and creamy. Add nuts and/or candy and stir in by hand. Pour carefully over hot cake and smooth to edges.

*Splenda Icing:
 
This icing was "cobbled" up by D. Battle for the Splenda/diabetic version of this cake. 

8 ozs cream cheese (not whipped, but you can use whatever"slab" type you like) -  you can also substitute or combine with butter
1 cup splenda granulated
1 tsp vanilla
a little eggnog, just to thin the frosting somewhat
optional:  add spices like those used in the cake, or put in some cocoa - be sure to use NO MORE than half of these ingredients (a little goes a long way)
optional:  sprinkle with chopped nuts or with crushed no-sugar peppermint candy
NOTE:  let cake cool before frosting

Cool completely before cutting.
Serving / Storage Suggestions:
This is a great cake for potlucks. Use disposable pans so you can leave the leftovers [if any] behind without losing a pan.

Otherwise, store on the counter loosely covered with plastic wrap or in a pan with a lid. It won't last long enough to get stale.
Recipe Author or Source:
Christopher Baker [cobbled together from many sources over the years]
Recipe Date:
Eggnog version - 12/14/2009 - St. Augustine


  • Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Serves:
50
Cooking Method - Temperature, Pan prep:
You need a really big pot and a really big frying pan for the massive version.

Divide the recipe to a third for a large family potful.
Ingredients:

10 lbs dark meat chicken quarters
3 large onions, cut in chunks
celery leaves and trimmings
2 Bay leaves, fresh if you have a Bay tree
1 tbl salt
1 gallon reserved broth
1 lb bacon
6 lbs smoked pork sausage like Andouille
3 lbs sweet onions, rough chopped
2 heads celery, washed and trimmed
4 large green peppers, rough chopped
4 large red peppers, rough chopped
3 bunches of scallions, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cans creamed corn
1 lb fresh or frozen okra
1 tbl dried thyme
1 cup brown roux [recipe below]
2 large bunches of parsley, chopped
Cajun or Creole seasoning to taste
Hot sauce to taste
Less
Steps:

Place chicken, onion chunks, celery trimmings, and salt in large stockpot; add water to cover. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 45 minutes, or until chicken is tender and falling off the bone. Strain the pot contents into another large pot or bowl, reserving the broth. Move the …
Place chicken, onion chunks, celery trimmings, and salt in large stockpot; add water to cover. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 45 minutes, or until chicken is tender and falling off the bone. Strain the pot contents into another large pot or bowl, reserving the broth. Move the chicken to a large sheet pan to cool until you can handle it. Discard the onion and celery trimmings. Remove the chicken from the bones and reserve.

While the chicken is stewing, dice the bacon and fry on medium heat until fully rendered and crisp. Do not over cook the bacon. Remove the bacon to a separate bowl. Reserve the bacon drippings. Cut the sausage into bite-size pieces and fry until browned. Reserve the sausage and the sausage drippings.

Add some of the bacon fat to a large skillet over medium-high heat and saute the peppers, onions, celery, scallions until tender but not limp. Put the vegetable mixture back into your large stockpot. Add some of the reserved broth to deglaze the pot, if necessary. Add the reserved chicken to the stockpot along with the bacon and sausage pieces. Add the remaining broth. Stir in the tomatoes, creamed corn, and okra. Add the thyme and creole seasoning to taste. Hot sauce is optional. If your sausage is spicy, be careful to check for seasoning as you go. Bring the gumbo back up to a simmer.

Brown Roux:

Make a brown roux by heating 1 cup of oil on medium-high heat to just below smoking. Whisk in 1 cup of all purpose flour. Reduce heat to medium and constantly stir the roux until it is as brown as you like it. The browner the roux, the less thickening power. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When your roux is where you want it, add it a little at a time to your simmering gumbo. Be careful, roux is like napalm if you get it on your skin and it will bubble up in the gumbo as you add it. Stir in as much as you want to reach the consistency you like. Taste as you go and adjust seasoning as required. You may not need all of it.

Let the final mixture simmer for another 30 minutes or until you can't wait any longer. Toss in the chopped parsley just before serving.

The flavors will improve as it sits. It will be even better the next day [if there's any left].
Less
Serving / Storage Suggestions:
Serve over white rice, dirty rice, rice & beans, or cornbread.

Store in the refrigerator or freeze. Leave sufficient head space in your container if freezing. Thaw in the refrigerator.
Recipe Author or Source:
Christopher Baker [adapted from several sources] St. Augustine


  • Chicken Mungo
Serves:
4 to 6 depending on appetites
Cooking Method - Temperature, Pan prep:
4-qt Crock Pot on High - 4 hours

Saucepan on high - 10-20 mins
Ingredients:

1 Tbl good olive oil
2 Tbl honey
10 pieces frozen chicken [dark meat]
2 large onions, peeled and sliced thick
10 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 1/2 cups dehydrated mushrooms
1 Tbl ground sea salt
1 Tbl fresh ground mixed peppercorns
1 tsp Mrs. Dash
1 Tbl Lea & Perrins worcestershire sauce
1 cup Marsala
1/2 cup Cream Sherry
1/2 cup chicken stock
Steps:

Pour olive oil and honey in bottom of crock pot.

Add frozen chicken separated by rinsing with cold water if necessary.

Cover with onion slices and garlic. Toss in mushrooms.

Grind salt and pepper over all. Sprinkle Mrs. Dash over all.

Add worcestershire, Marsala, Sherry, and chicken stock.

Crank the crock pot to High and let 'er rip for 4 hours or until chicken is done. This is from frozen state so give it time but check back after a couple hours depending on your crock pot.

[If chicken is fresh or thawed, it won't take anywhere near that long. This dish was designed for cooking when you forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer in advance.]

When chicken is done, remove from crock and cover to keep warm while reducing sauce.

Pour the cooking liquid with the solids into a saucepan twice the size of the volume of liquid to prevent boil over.

Reduce liquid on high [with constant attention] for 10 to 20 mins or until reduced to a syrup consistency that coats the back of a spoon.
Serving / Storage Suggestions:
Arrange chicken on a platter and pour reduced sauce over it. Serve any remaining sauce on the side.

I have no storage suggestions because there was never any left over to store.
Recipe Author or Source:
From the kitchen of Christopher Baker
Recipe Date:
Created in 2004 in Palm Coast, Florida



Ċ
Dianne Battle,
Oct 6, 2013, 8:48 AM
Ċ
Dianne Battle,
Nov 21, 2013, 6:23 AM
Ċ
Dianne Battle,
Oct 6, 2013, 8:46 AM
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