Lemon Thyme and Ginger

Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail

Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail reicpe

Cocktails, Recent Posts, Recipes | November 17, 2017 | By

After you make Triple C Cranberry Sauce, you will have extra cranberry juice that needs a purpose. You could drink it plain for breakfast. Crantini’s are nice cocktails. Or, infuse the juice with herbs and spices for a festive signature cocktail. The latter is my choice, especially since I love martinis made with fruit  juice muddled with fresh herbs and spices. Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail takes its inspiration from the classic Cosmo Cocktail and is perfect for entertaining.

Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail Recipe

There are many fun cocktails for the holidays, but my inspiration came for the need to use up some leftover juice, and a request from Joe, “If you’re going to make a cocktail, make a vodka cocktail.” How could I refuse? Vodka has a clean alcohol flavor which mixes well with many fruit juices. I am not a fan of flavored vodkas, they just taste artificial to me. It is also less expensive to flavor the vodka myself then buy 3 different types of flavored vodka. All you need to get the flavors of herbs and spices in your drink, is to add a small herb sprig or fruit, and muddle it to release its oils. Then add the remaining ingredients and shake away.

The scents and flavors of my cranberry sauce got me thinking about new ideas for a vodka cocktail. Many herbs pair nicely with cranberry and I started dreaming about adding rosemary, ginger and orange bitters to cranberry juice. I tried steeping rosemary, ginger, lemon peel and allspice into the cranberry juice. Unfortunately, after 36 hours the juice tasted no different. I am going to work on this some more, but until then a cocktail shaker and a muddle gets the job done.

Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail recipe

When we drink cocktails, vodka is our preferred libation. Though I am not remiss for trying other beverages like tequila for a Classic Margarita, and stout in a Guinness Stout Float. Even cooking with spirits is fun like, Chocolate Stout Cake

I am particular about my drinks, because I prefer them on the dry side. Many cocktails are too sweet for my tastes. Yet, I recognize some drinks need a touch of sugar for the flavors to balance out. There is a fine line of how much simple syrup to add before it gets too much, but it does make a difference. Spiced cranberry vodka cocktail needs just a pinch of sugar to offset the harsh vodka and tart cranberry juice. It is amazing how even a small amount can change a drink from good to wow.

Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail recipe.

Granulated sugar does not dissolve in cold beverages, but simple syrup does. Imagine that layer of sugar at the bottom of a glass of iced tea and you’ll get the picture. No one wants that slurry in a cocktail. That is why simple syrup is used. Depending on how sweet your juice is, you may or may not need the simple syrup. The first time you make it, taste as you go to figure out how much simple syrup you need to reach your desired balance of flavor. Simple syrup is a good option to have at your disposal, whether you want a cocktail or a non-alcoholic beverage.

Spiced cranberry vodka cocktail is a remake of two classic drinks, Crantini and a Cosmo. The fresh herbs and spice from the ginger make this cocktail a festive and refreshing beverage. It would also taste great in a non-alcoholic beverage using the herb infused cranberry juice with seltzer or ginger ale.

Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Category: Cocktail/Bererage

Cuisine: American

1 cocktail

Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail

When cocktails are made to order, everyone gets exactly what they want. Although this recipe takes its inspiration from the classic Cosmo cocktail, it has more herb and spice flavor without being sweet. I like my cocktails on the dry side and usually with some fresh herbs. In this cocktail, a touch of rosemary and ginger add a layer of welcomed flavor with the cranberries. You don't want to add too much rosemary, or it will taste medicinal. A few drops of orange bitters and simple syrup round out the drink nicely.

Ingredients

    Spiced Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) sugar
  • 1 1/2-inch (4 cm) slice fresh ginger, sliced thin
  • 1/6 tsp (pinch) ground allspice, or 3 allspice berries
    Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail
  • 1 inch (2.5 cm) piece of a rosemary sprig
  • 1 thin slice of fresh ginger
  • 2 oz (60 ml) vodka
  • 2 oz (60 ml) cranberry juice
  • 2-3 dashes of orange bitters
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Less than 1/2 tsp of spiced simple syrup

Instructions

    Spiced Simple Syrup
  1. Add all the ingredients for the simple syrup into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. When the sugar is dissolved, turn down the heat to medium low and simmer for two minutes. Stir the whole time you are cooking the simple syrup, and gently pound the ginger with a wooden spoon to release its flavor.
  2. Turn off the heat and cool for twenty minutes.
  3. Pour the simple syrup through a fine mesh strainer resting over a glass container. Store in a glass container with a lid in the refrigerator. Simple syrup will keep for two weeks, stored in the refrigerator.
    Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail
  1. Add the rosemary, sliced ginger, into a cocktail shaker and muddle the herbs to release their flavors.
  2. Fill the shaker with ice, then pour the vodka, cranberry juice, lemon juice, simple syrup if needed, and 2-3 dashes of orange bitters. Cover and give it a good shake.
  3. Pour into martini glasses and serve.
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Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail Recipe

© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Triple C Cranberry Sauce

Triple C Cranberry Sauce Recipe.

Cranberry sauce is an essential Thanksgiving side dish. I am so accustomed to eating turkey with cranberry sauce it is hard to imagine serving turkey without it. Of all the side dishes made for this yearly feast, it is one of the easiest. The sauce takes about 20 minutes tops to prepare, then chills in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. It is so quick and easy, I do not understand why more people don’t make it. The canned sauce is convenient, but there is no comparison to homemade cranberry sauce.

Triple C Cranberry Sauce Recipe.

As a kid, I knew there must be a better alternative to the canned sauce. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, Mom proudly displayed the solid jellied cranberry sauce on its’ own plate. It’s cylinder shape and distinctive ribbed markings revealed its canned origin and was futile to disguise it. As each person reached over to slice off sections of the jellied cranberry cylinder, one never knew where it would roll. It slid around so much, we needed an extra utensil to hold it still. More times than not you heard the distinctive thwack of a knife hitting the plate when it slipped off the cranberry sauce. I never knew if it was going to slide away and knock over the gravy boat.

Passing the cranberry sauce around the table was challenging as well. It took adept balancing skills to keep it from rolling off the plate and landing on your lap. Every holiday as each family member carefully carved out their portion, I secretly chuckled to myself wondering if this was the year the cranberry sauce got away.

Triple C Cranberry Sauce Recipe.

I am happy to say, eating canned cranberry sauce did not turn me off this condiment for good. I did like it, but I wanted something fresher. Once I was on my own, I did not waste time and quickly learned to make it from scratch. In fact, I learned how to make homemade sauce before I learned how to roast a turkey. In my opinion, homemade cranberry sauce is key to tying the whole meal together.

Whenever I host Thanksgiving it is for a large crowd of 30 family members. Everyone contributes a dish for this feast. The cranberry sauce must compliment every and any side dish in the buffet. As a result, my recipe does not have a lot of different herbs, spices or alcohol, but offers the classic pairing of tart cranberries with bitter-sweet orange zest and marmalade. This combination of bittersweet flavors goes with everything.

More holiday side dishes: My Favorite Stuffing Recipe

Green Beans with Roasted Onions

Sweet and Spicy Herbed Carrots 

Triple C Cranberry Sauce Recipe.

I believe the original recipe comes from Bon Appetit magazine, probably around the early 1990’s. The publisher and author information are missing, but I believe this is an accurate guess since I subscribed to Bon Appetit at the time. I made one small change to the original.

The original recipe includes frozen concentrated cranberry juice cocktail. Unfortunately, finding frozen cranberry juice is getting harder and harder with each passing year. As a result, I make it one of two ways: reduce 2 cups of cranberry juice to one cup, or just add one cup of regular cranberry juice. Either way the cranberry sauce has a deep red color with tart cranberry flavor. If you can find frozen cranberry juice, feel free to use it.

Tripple C Cranberry Sauce recipe.

I call it Triple C Cranberry sauce because it has three different cranberry ingredients, fresh cranberries, dried cranberries, and cranberry juice. It also has three layers of orange flavorings, orange zest, orange juice and orange marmalade. Altogether these 2 x triple layers of cranberries and oranges, makes a tart and fruity cranberry sauce with a touch of sweetness for balance. It is not too thick or too thin, and spoons easily over your Thanksgiving meal. I promise, this cranberry sauce won’t roll away.

Triple C Cranberry Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Category: Condiment

Cuisine: American

2 1/2 cups (625 ml)

Triple C Cranberry Sauce

Fresh cranberries, dried cranberries and cranberry juice give this sauce its bright flavor. Mixed together with the bittersweet flavors of orange zest and orange marmalade, makes it a classic sauce. A perfect condiment for roast turkey, and the traditional side dishes of Thanksgiving or Christmas.

The total time does not include the minimum two hours to chill the cranberry sauce needed before serving.

Can be made 3 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator in an air tight container.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (250 ml) cranberry juice, or frozen juice concentrate thawed
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) sugar
  • 1- 12 oz (350 g) package of fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) dried cranberries
  • 3 TB orange marmalade
  • 2 TB orange zest
  • 2 TB fresh orange juice
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice

Instructions

  1. Add the cranberry juice and sugar into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves. Turn the heat to medium and add the fresh or frozen cranberries, and the dried cranberries to the juice. Stir and cook until the cranberries begin to pop, about 5 - 7 minutes. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes to reach the desired texture of popped cranberries to whole ones. I think it is nice to have an even ratio of both.
  2. Turn off the heat, and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to evenly combine.
  3. Pour the cranberry sauce into a storage container and cool. Once cooled, cover and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.
  4. Serve chilled.

Notes

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Triple C Cranberry Sauce Recipe has bright cranberry and orange flavor. Delicious and easy recipe.

 

© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Fresh Herb Omelet with Goat Cheese

Fresh Herb Omlet with Goat Cheese Recipe.

One of my earliest posts on my blog was a story about when I first learned to make an omelet. It was a treasured moment between me and Aunt Bunty. I will never forget it. The post included two omelet recipes. Currently, my recipe plugin only allows one recipe per post, and now each recipe must stand on their own. Fresh herb omelet has bright flavor from the fresh herbs, goat cheese and roasted peppers. I believe it is outstanding, and compare all other omelets to this one. Click on this link to read the story and recipe for Cheese Omelet.

I still stand by my premise from my original post: If you can only learn how to cook one thing let it be with eggs. An omelet is perfect for any meal of the day, inexpensive, and provides a nutritious meal. Fresh herb omelet with goat cheese is fancier than the standard cheese omelet, but it is worth knowing how to make. You never know when you will need to make something impressive.

Fresh Herb and Goat Cheese Omelet recipe.

Fresh Herb Omelet with Goat Cheese recipe.

No matter what age, starting out on your own is daunting. Learning to cook is no different. Having the skill of making a meal, such as an omelet, can help soften any transition be it work, school or learning how to cook.  There will come a time when friends and/or family members will put out a call to action for the in-house “chef” to satisfy a hankering of a home cooked anything. The person, who can satisfy this need, usually reaches celebrity-nobility status for life.

Your friends might not remember your record-breaking accomplishments throughout your tenure in college or successful career, but they will remember your late-night comfort food and thank you for it. An omelet is a great place to start. If you can only cook one thing, make it with an egg.

The fresh herb omelet with goat cheese and roasted red pepper is inspired by a Barefoot Contessa episode “Fines Herb Omelet”.   It is a creamy and luxurious omelet. Fines herb is a French term for the fresh herb combination of tarragon, chervil, chives and parsley. Unfortunately, I cannot get chervil at any market around me, so I usually use whatever fresh herbs I have at home. Use equal amounts of fresh herbs in any combination of 2 to 4 fresh herbs to your liking. Great combos are: 1) basil and parsley (you could also add mint), 2) chives, tarragon and parsley, 3) Fines Herbs, 4) dill, 5) whatever suits your taste.

Enjoy.

Fresh Herb Omelet with Goat Cheese

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 12 minutes

Category: Breakfast or Brunch

Cuisine: American

1 omelet

Serving Size: 1 omelet

Fresh Herb Omelet with Goat Cheese

For all the goat cheese lovers, this omelet is for you. It is brusting with fresh flavor from the blend of your favorite herbs and roasted red pepper. The goat cheese gets really soft and creamy. You will want to savor every bite.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 oz (28 g) goat cheese (crumbled)
  • 2 TBS mixed fresh herbs (any combination of minced herbs, tarragon, chive, parsley, basil, mint, chervil)
  • 1 oz (28 g) chopped roasted red pepper
  • 1/2 TBS (7 g) butter

Instructions

    Mise en Place
  1. Get all your ingredients prepped and ready for cooking.
  2. Mix the two eggs in a small bowl until they are completely combined.
  3. Chop the herbs and mix half of the herb mixture into the eggs.
  4. Chop the red pepper.
  5. Measure and gently crumble the goat cheese. Set all ingredients to the side of the stove for easy access.
  6. Get all your cooking utensils and pan ready. I use an 8-inch frying pan, a heat proof rubber spatula and a pancake spatula.
    Cooking the omelet
  1. Place an 8-inch frying pan on a burner and turn the heat to medium high. Heat the pan and melt the butter.
  2. When the butter is completely melted, lift the pan and swirl the butter around so that the butter completely covers the bottom of the pan and up the sides.
  3. Pour the mixed eggs into the center of the pan. Let the egg mixture settle for a few seconds. Using your utensil, (fork, wooden spoon, heat proof rubber spatula), gently pull the eggs from the edge of the pan towards the center. If needed, slightly tilt the pan by lifting the handle, to help guide the eggs into the cleared space.
  4. Repeat this step 3-4 times going all the way around the perimeter of the pan.
  5. Before the eggs are cooked all the way through, the eggs will still be a little wet on the top, place the rubber spatula between the edge of the pan and the eggs and slide it all the way around the perimeter to make sure that the eggs are loose and not sticking to the pan.
  6. Slide the spatula under the eggs then flip the omelet over like a pancake. Once flipped, immediately sprinkle the goat cheese, roasted red pepper and half of the remaining herbs down the middle of the omelet.
  7. Turn off the heat.
  8. Tri-fold the omelet: Using your spatula, fold over one side of the omelet over the center of the omelet to cover the cheese and herbs
  9. Continue to gently roll the omelet over, using your spatula to encourage the omelet to roll over onto itself, towards the other side of the omelet.
  10. Place your serving plate at the edge of your pan and slide the omelet onto your plate seam side down.
  11. *A slightly easier way to tri-fold your omelet after you have sprinkled your fillings down the center of the omelet, fold over one side of the omelet to cover the cheese filling in the center, then fold over the opposite side toward the center to cover the filling. Use your spatula to lift the omelet out of the pan and place it seem side down onto your serving plate.
  12. Sprinkle the omelet with salt and pepper and the remaining fresh herbs and serve.

Notes

I prefer to make an individual omelet with two eggs verses a larger omelet with more eggs and for more portions. The one portion omelet cooks quickly and more thoroughly. If you want to make larger omelet you should use a 10-12-inch skillet, (depending on how many eggs), and possibly not flip the omelet over like a pancake, just fold the omelet in half. A larger sized omelet will be more fragile and it could rip. Once folded in half the eggs will continue to cook while the cheese melts.

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© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Baked Eggs in Sautéed Greens with Zesty Yogurt Sauce

Baked Eggs in Sauteed Greens with Zesty Yogurt Sauce Recipe.

It’s time for me to revise my list of brunch meals and come up with more selections. I have a couple of good options, like Zucchini Frittata or Maple Apple Dutch Baby Pancakes, but I wanted something different and made with eggs. One of the best ways to cook eggs for a crowd is to bake them in the oven. Oven baked eggs are very convenient and becoming more popular. One dish that is particularly popular now, is Shakshuka. I wanted something similar in style, but with hearty greens as the base instead of tomatoes.

Ultimately, I decided to combine the two and sautéed hearty greens with tomatoes as the foundation for the baked eggs. Additionally, I wanted a bright creamy sauce to drizzle over the eggs, but nothing too heavy because I did not want it to detract from the vegetables and eggs. I pushed myself to stay away from cheese and heavy cream and try something lighter instead. It is rare to come across a healthy and creamy combination, but recently I discovered yogurt is a great substitute for heavy cream. Yogurt brings more tang to the meal, but it has a similar smooth texture as cream without the weight. As a result, baked eggs in sautéed greens with zesty yogurt sauce was born.

Baked Eggs in Sauteed Greens with Zesty Yogurt Sauce recipe.

Baked eggs in Sauteed Greens with Zesty Yogurt Sauce recipe

I love baked eggs with greens, but they are usually cooked with lots of heavy cream and melted cheese. I live for creamy-cheesy foods. Yet, there are times I want a lighter start to my day and not require a nap after breakfast. Yogurt comes to the rescue. I first learned about how well yogurt and eggs taste together when I made Julia Turshen’s Olive Oil Fried Eggs with Lemon Yogurt Sauce. These eggs are delightful. The lemon yogurt sauce invigorated the fried eggs with a creamy and bright citrus flavor. Keeping the flavors of this dish in mind, I set about to create the same zesty flavor with baked eggs and greens.

Eggs and spinach is a classic food pairing. Unfortunately, cooking spinach causes it to wilt down to nothing. You need five times the amount of fresh spinach to make one small spoonful of cooked spinach. I decided a combination of Swiss chard and spinach would provide more foundation to bake the eggs in. Swiss chard is one of my favorite hearty greens to cook with. It’s texture and flavor are somewhere in the middle of spinach and kale. Spinach is soft and mild, and kale is hearty and tough. Swiss chard is the perfect compromise of the two. Combining the two greens with the tomatoes adds more depth of flavor and body for the eggs to nestle in.

Baked Eggs in Sauteed Greens with Zesty Yogurt Sauce Recipe.

To give this recipe some pizzaz, I decided to layer the spices and seasoning by steeping them in the juices from the canned tomatoes. Then, I divided the perky tomato sauce between the vegetables and the yogurt sauce. My seasonings include minced ginger, saffron, and mini pinches of ground cayenne and cinnamon. There are many flavors here and require a delicate touch for everything to blend as one. The main flavors are saffron, ginger and lemon. The cayenne and cinnamon round out the flavors and highlight the swiss chard and tomatoes.

Baked Eggs in Sauteed Greens with Zesty Yogurt Sauce Recipe.

A small pinch of cinnamon adds warmth and sweetness to the sauce. The amount is intentionally small. Too much cinnamon will ruin it and be overbearing.

In my opinion, Swiss chard tastes better with a little dash of chili pepper. The spice helps reduce the bitter taste. Be cautious when adding both the cinnamon and cayenne so they do not overpower the other spices.  Keep in mind when you taste the steeped tomato liquid the flavors will seem strong, but become less potent when added to the vegetables and the yogurt. If needed, add more granulated sugar and/or Kosher salt to balance them out.

I find the most difficult part of making baked eggs, is determining when the eggs are done. Just like making any egg meal, it takes practice to learn the visual clues. It is not like you are going to cut one open to check. For this recipe, the eggs bake in the oven nestled in sautéed tomatoes and leafy green pockets. Ideally, the eggs are done when the egg whites are just cooked through. Hopefully, at the same time the egg yolks are cooked, but are soft and runny. Have faith and trust your intuition and experience. 10 minutes was the perfect amount of time in my oven set at 400°F (204°C), but your cooking time could vary.

Baked Eggs in Sauteed Greens with Zesty Yogurt Sauce Recipe.

Baked eggs with sautéed greens and zesty yogurt sauce has the right balance of spunk and comfort to ease into your day. It is creamy, bright and nourishing.  If you are not a fan of yogurt, substitute it with crème fraîche. Serve baked eggs with crusty artisan style toasted bread, like a baguette or sour dough batard, to mop up the vegetables laden in runny egg yolk and sauce.

Baked Eggs with Sauteed Greens and Zesty Yogurt Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Category: Breakfast or Brunh

Cuisine: American

4 servings

Serving Size: 1 egg with greens

Baked Eggs with Sauteed Greens and Zesty Yogurt Sauce

Eggs baked in Swiss Chard and tomatoes get an extra kick with a zesty yogurt sauce. This recipe is perfect for brunch or a light supper, and for the times you want something creamy without the weight or guilt. The yogurt sauce is made with lemon juice and the spiced tomato juices for an invigorating flavor when paired with the baked eggs and cooked vegetables.

If you are not a fan of yogurt, substitute it with crème fraîche. You can also substitute the heavy cream with more stock.

This recipe is easily doubled. You might not need a double amount of stock, so adjust as you go. Instead of a skillet, cook the eggs with the vegetables in a large shallow baking dish, large enough to hold all your eggs, but not too big that your vegetables get spread too thin.

Ingredients

  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 1 TB boiling water
  • 1 14.5 oz (411g) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • Shy 1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • Shy 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 oz plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 TB Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1- 8 oz bunch Swiss chard, cleaned and stems removed
  • 1- 8 oz bunch spinach, cleaned and stems removed
  • 1/4 cup (125 ml) vegetable stock
  • 2 TB heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 slices of toasted and buttered baquette

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the rack in the middle position in your oven.
  2. Place the pinch of saffron into a small bowl and add 1 TB boiling water to the saffron. Let the saffron threads steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Drain the liquid from the diced tomatoes into a small bowl. Reserve the tomatoes and pour the tomato liquid into a small sauce pan. Turn on the heat to medium and add the minced ginger, the saffron threads with their water, and a tiny pinch of each cayenne pepper, cinnamon, sugar, and Kosher salt to the liquid and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the liquid steep for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, zest your lemon and reserve it for later. In a small bowl add the juice of one lemon, a small pinch of Kosher salt and the yogurt. Stir to combine. Set aside to rest.
  5. Fold the chard and spinach leaves in half and slice in one-inch slices across the width. Heat an
  6. 8-inch skillet on a burner over medium-high heat. Add the extra virgin olive oil and when the oil starts to shimmer add the chard leaves and spinach. You will need to add them gradually into the skillet, so they do not spill over the sides. Turn the greens over to get coated with olive oil and begin to cook the greens. Sprinkle a small pinch of Kosher salt and a few rounds of freshly ground black pepper. Add the diced tomatoes and stir to combine.
  7. Drain the tomato liquid through a fine mesh strainer and reserve the liquid. Add the collected minced ginger and saffron from the strainer, 3 TB of tomato liquid, vegetable stock, and heavy cream to the skillet. Stir. Cook until the greens are tender and most of the liquid is almost completely reduced, about 10-12 minutes.
  8. While the greens are cooking, add the remaining tomato liquid to the yogurt. Add just enough to reach your desired consistency. You want the yogurt to have some body, but thin enough to easily coat the vegetables. Add any remaining liquid to the chard, spinach and tomatoes. Make sure you scrape out any stubborn saffron threads from the strainer and add to the greens or the yogurt.
  9. If you added more liquid to the skillet, cook it down with the greens a few minutes more.
  10. Use the back of a wooden spoon to make 4 impressions in the cooked greens, creating a nest for the eggs. One at a time, crack the eggs and carefully add them to the vegetable nests.
  11. Place the skillet into the oven and cook for 10 minutes, or until the eggs are done. The whites will be set and the yolks runny. Or to your desired level of doneness. I check the eggs after 7 minutes to see how they are progressing.
  12. Garnish the eggs and yogurt sauce with the reserved lemon zest.
  13. Serve immediately family style, or plate for individual servings. One egg with greens and one piece of toasted bread.
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Baked Eggs in Sautéed Greens with a Zesty Yogurt Sauce Recipe. A healty brunch or light supper recipe.

 

© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

My Favorite Stuffing Recipe

My favorite turkey stuffing recipe.

Every Thanksgiving I cherish a vivid childhood memory of making stuffing with Mom. After all, this special occasion only happened once a year. Helping Mom with the dinner prep had two advantages. First, getting the turkey quickly in the oven meant the rest of our day was free for outdoor playtime. The rest of the day’s activities was on hold until the turkey was ready for roasting. My parents held Thanksgiving dinner in the early evening to allow for a full day of being outside. Traditionally, we either hiked along the Marin Headlands, or played touch football at Cronkite Beach. None of that was going to happen until the turkey was prepped, stuffed, and then popped in the oven. Not even breakfast.

Mom made a standard stuffing and it was delicious. Any little helpers got to “taste test” the mix, just to make sure the seasoning was perfect. Nowadays, the FDA discourages consuming food with raw eggs, but in the 60’s and 70’s no one thought about it. I loved her uncooked stuffing just like I love eating raw cookie dough. Together we mixed the stuffing, then tasted it a couple of times, “Just to be sure.” Slyly, I sneaked in as many nibbles as I could get away with. With the savory flavors from rich stock and aromatics cooked in gobs of butter, what’s not to like?

My favorite turkey stuffing reicpe.

My favorite turkey stuffing recipe.

My Favorite Stuffiing for Turkey recipe

Fast forward to 2017, the spirit of my childhood Thanksgiving’s traditions is ever-present, especially when I make stuffing for our holiday turkey. Faithfully, I work to replicate the flavor memory of Mom’s stuffing. It is not as easy as it sounds because my stuffing is an entirely different beast. As a small seasonal side business, Joe bakes delicious sourdough bread. His bread is my staple ingredient, along with homemade stock and lots of add-ins.

I have nothing against the store-bought bread cubes. They make consistent and delicious stuffing. Yet, I have a freezer full of Joe’s Dough Artisan Bread, and I believe you use what you got. To be honest, it is more challenging using artisan bread for stuffing, and the results are less consistent. My theory is, the airier the bread the less stock you need. To get consistent results, it is more important to pay attention to how the bread soaks up the stock, then religiously follow a recipe. The first few times I made stuffing with Joe’s bread, the stuffing was either too wet or too dry. It took me several tries to figure it out. Fortunately, my mistakes and some extra research taught me a few tricks.

My favorite turkey stuffing recipe.

Three tricks for successful stuffing

First, when toasting the bread cubes in the oven, don’t let them get too brown. They should be just starting to brown. You are not making croutons here, just drying out bread for stuffing. The browner the bread the less stock it absorbs. It seems counter intuitive, yet keep the bread cubes light in color, but completely dried out.

The second and third tricks are interconnected. Add the stock in stages and give the bread mixture time to absorb it. At first, add half the stock then let it rest 10 minutes. Then, gently toss it about and see how wet it looks. This wait period makes a huge difference in understanding how much stock you need. I remember the first time I made stuffing with Joe’s Dough Bread, I only used half the stock required in the recipe because the bread cubes appeared to be swimming in stock. Unfortunately, the stuffing baked very dry and I was disappointed. Had I waited a few minutes, I would see the bread soak up the stock. Artisan bread has its own temperament that varies from day-to-day and year to year, no matter how consistent the baker is.

If you like your stuffing on the wet side, add more stock. If you want your stuffing moist but not wet, add less stock. Keep in mind how dense your bread is as well. I am still testing this theory, but the denser the bread the more stock you need. It takes some time to figure everything out, but eventually you will get to know the look and feel of the bread and stock ratio to get consistent results.

My favorite turkey stuffing recipe.

Do you need a gluten-free pie for Thanksgiving? Try Double Coconut Pie.

Great appetizer idea for Thanksgiving: Crispy Potato Skins 2 Ways

Stuffing variations

If you looked at stuffing recipes from around the country, you would see regional food trends and traditions. Each region uses ingredients that are abundant in their local area and lifestyle. I have a freezer full of bread, so it is my choice for stuffing. Additionally, in the Hudson Valley locally grown apples are easy to come by, and I love their sweet taste with savory herbs and aromatics. Other regions use local ingredients that are abundant in their area, like corn, oysters, sausage, wild rice, or cranberries.

Stuffing is so easy to adapt to suit your personal preference. If you want sausage, add about one pound of crumbled cooked sausage or bacon. Substitute fennel for the apples, or dried cranberries or raisins. You can also omit the apples altogether. If you do add dried fruit, soak it in some apple cider to soften it up. Also, leeks are a great substitute for onions, or use a combination of the two. Anything goes, just adjust the amount of ingredients accordingly.

My favorite turkey stuffing recipe.

In my opinion, Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving without stuffing. I love it paired with gravy and cranberry sauce. The turkey may be the centerpiece of the meal, but I think it is the foundation for all the bright and savory flavors of the other side dishes.  It’s all good.

My Favorite Stuffing Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Category: Side Dish

Cuisine: American

10-12 servings

My Favorite Stuffing Recipe

This stuffing has great depth of flavor from good quality bread, rich homemade stock and lots of aromatics like mushrooms and apples with the traditional celery and onions. A compliment of fresh herbs like sage and rosemary, add another savory dimension. If you want to replicate the flavor of old fashioned stuffing, use turkey stock to develop a taste like stuffing cooked inside the turkey. Use the recipe as a guide and add the stock in increments. Also, allow time for the bread cubes to absorb the stock before adding more stock. Use your discretion to determine the amount of stock you need, based on how moist or wet you like your stuffing.

If you desire, there is a long list of substitutions to add to your stuffing. Add 1 lb of cooked and crumbled sausage, or 1/2 lb of cooked and chopped bacon, sliced fennel, leeks instead of onions, or dried fruits. Keep in mind the herbs in your stuffing should compliment the herbs used in the other side dishes in your meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb loaf (750 g) artisan quality bread*
  • 10 TB butter (141 g) - divided, plus more for greasing pan
  • 12 oz (350 g) mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt, divided**
  • 1 large crisp apple like Granny Smith, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) dry white wine
  • 4 stems of parsley, roughly minced
  • 6 sage leaves, minced
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme, minced
  • 3 eggs
  • 3-4 cups (up to 1 liter) vegetable, chicken or turkey stock**

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F / 150°C and place the racks in the upper and lower third of the oven.
  2. Slice the bread in even one-inch slices, then tear each slice into pieces smaller than an inch. Divide and lay the torn bread evenly across two rimmed sheet pans. Place in the oven and bake until dry, but not browned, for about 25 - 30 minutes. Rotate the pans from top to bottom half way through the baking time and turn the bread pieces over. It is ok if it the bread cubes turn very slightly brown. When done, remove the toasted bread cubes from the oven and cool. Once cool, slide the bread into a large mixing bowl. If making ahead of time, store in an air tight container for a couple of days, or freeze up to one month.
  3. Raise the oven temperature to 350°F / 175°C and move the rack to the middle position. Butter a 3-quart shallow baking dish. (More surface area gives you more crispy pieces on top.)
  4. Melt 2 TB (28 g) butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until the liquid is released and evaporated. Remove to a small bowl or plate and reserve for later.
  5. Add the remaining 8 TB of butter (1/2 cup / 113 g) to the skillet. Once melted add the chopped onion and celery. Stir to coat. Season with up to 1/2 tsp of Kosher salt and a few grinds of fresh ground pepper. Cook the onions and celery until they are very soft, about 12 minutes. Add the reserved mushrooms and chopped apples and cook until the apples are starting to get tender and no liquid is in the skillet, about 5 minutes. The vegetables should be very tender, but the apples still have some bite left in them.
  6. Add the wine and scrape up any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Cook until wine has evaporated.
  7. Turn off the heat then add the prepared herbs to the cooked vegetables. Add the vegetable mixture to the toasted bread cubes and gently toss together. Let the mixture sit and cool for 10 minutes.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and 2 cups (500 ml) of the stock.
  9. Add the stock mixture to the bread. Add 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt, (if your stock is salty add less), and 1 tsp fresh ground pepper. Stir until everything is evenly combined. Let the stuffing mixture sit and absorb all the stock for 10 - 15 minutes. Give the stuffing a good toss to help the stock get absorbed in the bread.
  10. Slowly add the remaining stock, as needed, to the stuffing mixture a cup (250 ml) at a time. Stir to get evenly mixed. Let the stuffing rest for a few minutes and stir again. Add more stock as needed. This rest time allows the bread to soak up the stock. Let it rest a few minutes more if more stock needs to get absorbed.
  11. Pour the stuffing into a prepared baking dish. Cut off a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover the baking dish and smear butter over the dull side. Cover the stuffing with foil, butter side down, and bake in the oven until the stuffing is hot all the way through. Instant read thermometer should read 160°F (71 °C), 30-40 minutes.
  12. When the stuffing is cooked all the way through, remove the foil and turn the oven temp up to 425°F (220°C). Bake the stuffing until golden brown, and crispy on top, about 30 minutes more.
  13. Stuffing can be made one day ahead up to the first half of baking. Toast the top of the stuffing after you reheated the stuffing, before serving. Keep in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to two days or freeze up to one month.

Notes

* The amount of stock you need will vary depending on the type of bread you use. Use your discretion to determine the total amount of stock.

**If you use store bought stock, look for low salt or no salt stock.

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My favorite recipe for turkey stuffing .

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