This morning I had the pleasure of cooking on Breakfast Television. I also had the pleasure of meeting Santa! The segment was on what to bring to a Holiday Potluck. Break free from Spinach Dip in Sourdough and Sweet Potatoe Casserole!
Here are the recipes for the savoury items - Cauliflower Gratin, Mushroom Pate, and Cranberry Sauce. The desserts can be found here.
This is based on a Martha Stewart recipe that I first tried years ago. To be honest, I never found it again, so I had to make it up the next time I tried it. The original is actually now in The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The New Classics. I'm not too far off, just a little bit less of everything. My recipe serves 4-6 as a side (depending on how many other sides you have) or 3 of us at lunch, eating it straight from the pan.
1 head cauliflower
Juice of 1 orange
2 tbsps flour
salt and pepper
6 ounces goat cheese (1 and a 1/2 grocery store logs)
2 tbsps fresh thyme
50-75 grams thinly sliced pancetta or proscuitto
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 8 casserole dish.
2. Cut cauliflower into bite size pieces. Steam for 5 minutes. Set aside.
3. Combine orange juice and water to equal 1/2 cup. Combine water, flour, 4 ounces (1 log) crumbled goat cheese, and thyme. Mix well. Combine with cauliflower and pancetta/proscuitto. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into prepared pan.
4. Bake for 30 minutes, covered with foil. Bake another 30 minutes uncovered.
One of the bridal showers hosted for me back when Hubby and I were getting married was an in-house cooking class. Brad Smoliak came to my in-law's house and shared an amazing repertoire of appetizer recipes with all my girlfriends. The mushroom pate he shared has made the rounds of nearly every party any of us now attends. It takes the creaminess of spinach dip that we all like and turns it around into a richness unlike anything else. Like the recipe for Cauliflower Gratin, I couldn't find the original and made it up as I went. Today I made it with a surfeit of chanterelles a neighbour left me, but it can be made with any combination of mushrooms.
1 pound finely chopped mushrooms
1 large shallot or 1/2 a small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup cognac, brandy, or whiskey
3 tbsps cream cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp fresh thyme
Salt and Pepper
1. Combine mushrooms, shallot, and garlic in large frying pan. Drizzle with olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat until the liquid from the mushrooms is evaporated, approximately 10 minutes.
2. Pour in alcohol of choice. Cook until the liquid is evaporated.
3. Stir in cream cheese until melted in to mushrooms. Add cream, thyme, and a few splashes of worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Unless you have a nostalgic fondness for the ridges on the wiggling cylinder of canned cranberry jelly I strongly recommend that you commit to making your own cranberry sauce. It is ridiculously easy and the flavours can be customized to your own taste. Here is the basic recipe, but you can change it up any way your like. What about using pomegranate juice instead water or orange juice? How about throwing in some cardamom and cloves? Or, using molasses and ginger with some pears and dried currants?
1 bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup brown or white sugar
1/2 water or juice
Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the cranberries have popped and the mixture is slightly thick. It will thicken more as it cools.