Let’s cook something new for Christmas Eve: “Tapioca Duchess Crem Gruber Christmas Dessert.” It is made using pearl tapioca and is a light and soothing dessert. Unlike bubble tea and bobo which are popular Taiwanese beverages using pearl tapioca, this recipe is over 200 years old and originated in Austria. The pudding has a fascinating connection to “Silent Night,” one of our most beloved Christmas carols. I remember eating tapioca pudding as a child; haven’t eaten it in years, so thought I’d try a new recipe this year.
When I think of Mardi Gras, I think of New Orleans and recall all of our adventures to the city during carnival season. New Orleans has a distinct and rich cuisine; we’ve eaten at many restaurants over the years during these times. Blackened redfish, made famous by Cajun Chef Paul Prudhomme, is one of the memorable dishes of this city. With carnival season and Mardi Gras arriving soon, here’s my “blackened recipe,” a version using chicken rather than redfish.
I wanted to bake something really unique for a fall covered dish supper. I kept looking at the persimmons ripening on my backyard tree. How about a persimmon sponge cake roll? Now that’s different. Well I was in a hurry — the egg whites didn’t get stiff and my husband ate one of only two ripe persimmons. But I took the cake anyway and was pleased that it all disappeared. The cinnamon in the cake and cream cheese filling really toned down the flavor of the persimmons. Many folks said how tasty the cake was. Think I’ll make it again — this time properly.
I decided to make a batch of pickled jalapeno peppers with my remaining garden produce. I have just enough of the peppers for three small jars. And surprise. It is really quite easy to make your own pickled peppers. These brined peppers turned out to be crunchy and full of hot flavor — much better than store bought ones, in my opinion. Although they can be kept in the refrigerator for several months, I doubt if they will last that long.
When we held the estate sale of our parent’s home, one item that we didn’t sell was my mother’s heavy marble slab that she used for making candy. She made the best Peanut Brittle every year at the Christmas holiday season. I kept the marble slab and recently located her Peanut Brittle recipe. Here’s my attempt to duplicate it.
This year the Chanukah holiday — “Celebration of Lights” or “Feast of Rededication” — begins on December 13. I’m making Potato Latkes which are small fried potato pancakes traditionally served during this holiday. The holiday observance begins at sundown on the preceding evening; so I’ll serve my Potato Latkes at dinner tonight. My recipe is perhaps a bit unusual; I stumbled on an ingredient which adds “zing” to the pancakes quite by accident.
Here’s another homemade gift idea for the holidays–Meyer Lemon Marmalade. It’s a little different twist on traditional jelly or jam. The Meyer Lemon tree in my backyard that I planted 2 years ago was prolific. I was so excited with the 100 or so lemons that it produced and decided that this would be a good time to try making marmalade. It turned out very well–sweet yet tart with a fruity flavor.
Plums are an economical, plentiful and healthy fruit in the late summer. But what do you cook with them? I become intrigued with a cookbook which dedicated an entire chapter to plum recipes–providing lots of ideas. My kind of cookbook. Here is “Malinda’s Plum and Apple Chutney”. The recipe includes plums, apples, onions and Indian spices. Wow, it was delicious.
Let’s make Banana Pepper Jelly! Home canning pepper jelly is a new adventure for me — but I’m willing to give it a try. My Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) basket was full of large banana peppers. These peppers are mild, with a distinctive flavor. I don’t often use banana peppers in cooking and hate to throw them away. So making jelly seemed like a good solution. The jelly turned out so well that I made a batch of Hot Jalapeno Pepper Jelly, too.
I’ve tried several recipe ideas to use the 13 Meyer lemons from my backyard tree before they “sour.” With cold weather and two freezes now, I picked the entire lemon crop. Don’t want to waste a single lemon. I love cheesecake and experimented with making a “lighter” version of traditional cheesecake using the Meyer lemons and ricotta cheese.