Cranberry Orange Pop Tarts

Cranberry orange pop tarts are a must.

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Wow it has been a while since my last post. I must say that I have really missed this space. Even though I do not consider myself a writer, it is great to gets things out. Being consumed with work has left me to do a lot of thinking and refocusing. Making sure to make time for things that I enjoy—instead of just work, work, work.

So, here I am with a new tasty recipe for ya’ll to try. Holidays are here at full steam and I have the perfect sweet for you to make, cranberry filled pop tarts! 

With a hint of orange because, it is the perfect pairing.

Adulting all the way with these cranberry orange pop tarts! I remember sneaking boxes of pop tarts into the basket while my parents shopped. 

My brothers and I would always fight over them and then found out that they are also tasty without being zapped in the toaster. 

Cranberry Orange Pop Tarts-beyondthebayoublog-003-3.jpg

Still trying to cook out of my comfort zone, I choose cranberries because I hardly cook with them. I am trying to incorporate ingredients that I would not alway grab or cook with. The only form of cranberries that I am familiar with during holiday time is the one the comes in the can. But me being me, I cannot resit making something from scratch.

What I loved most about these little pockets of deliciousness is that…

  • They are not super sweet 

  • They are homemade! (a big plus)

  • Freezer friendly—especially if you do not want to indulge in the whole batch at once. 

The cranberry jam filling is so easy to make. A little fact, cranberries contain A LOT of pectin—so it doesn’t take a lot of sugar to reach a gelling point—but cranberries are pretty tart, so you will need to adjust to your taste buds. 

I added freshly squeezed orange juice and orange zest into the liquid which is just fresh cranberries, juice and zest from one orange and sugar. That.Is.It. The pastry dough is a recipe from King Arthur Flour which worked really well and I can’t wait to use again. Leftover jam made for the glaze, powdered sugar, milk, cranberry jam and orange zest made for the perfect glaze.

Wishing you all a happy holiday season!

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Cranberry Orange Pop Tarts

Pop Tart Dough:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

16 tablespoons unsalted butter cut diced

1 large egg

2 tablespoons milk

Cranberry Orange Filling :

1 cup cranberries 

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup orange juice

Zest from 1 orange

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon orange liquor

Cranberry Frosting :

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon of milk or heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon cranberry orange filling

Orange zest


To assemble the pop tarts: 

Place one piece of the dough on a generously floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8" thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9" x 12". Trim off the edges; place the scraps on a baking sheet, and set them aside, along with the 9" x 12" rectangle of dough.

Roll the second piece of dough just as you did the first. Press the edge of a ruler into the dough you've just rolled, to gently score it in thirds lengthwise and width-wise; you'll see nine 3" x 4" rectangles.

Beat the egg, and brush it over the entire surface of the dough. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each marked rectangle. Place the second sheet of dough atop the first, using your fingertips or a chopstick to press firmly around each pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides.

With a fork, press all around the edge of the rectangle. Cut the dough evenly in between the filling mounds to make nine tarts. Press the cut edges with your fingers to seal, then press with the fork again to seal.

Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries. Sprinkle the tarts with cinnamon-sugar, if desired. Refrigerate them, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Remove the tarts from the fridge, and bake them for 30 to 35 minutes, until they're a light golden brown. While pop tarts bake, make the frosting. Combine all ingredients into a bowl and whisk together until smooth and creamy. Place aside. 

Remove pop tarts from pan and let cool. Drizzle frosting all over. 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

salted caramel apple pie-beyondthebayoublog.comYes! You read right, salted caramel apple pie! It's pie season--or can it be pie season all your round?! Regardless, this pie will change your life. Period. Tender apple slices, buttery pie dough all layered with salted caramel goodness. This recipe I have been eying forever. Slowly but surely, I'm beginning to love baking and making pastry. Check out my lattice! Still a long way to go but I was super happy with it.

 

salted caramel apple pie-beyondthebayoublog.comA lot of recipes I tried, the dough just didn't hold together--but I found the perfect recipe and cannot wait for y'all to try it out. Thanks to Rachel over at Two Loves Studio for the recipe!

Another  new technique I tried with this caramel apple pie was cooking the apples first. Once I laid my attic over the pie, I did not want my filling to shrink and leave a big gap.

So, I cooked the apples first with the spices and thickeners, let cool, and then added them to my prepared pie dough.

This recipe was inspired by four and twenty salted caramel apple pie and the salted caramel sauce from my go to cookbook, Taste and technique.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Pie Crust

  • 250 grams All-purpose Flour
  • 150 grams butter, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • a Pinch of fine sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon cold milk

Apple Filling

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 large apples
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Salted Caramel

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 3/4 teaspoon flakey sea salt

Pie Crust

  1. Heap the flour onto a clean surface and make a well in the center. Place the butter, salt, sugar and egg into the well. Using your fingertips, mix and cream these ingredients together. Then, little by little, draw in the flour to work the dough until it has a grainy texture. Add the milk and incorporate gently with your fingertips until the dough begins to hold together. Knead the dough about 5 times by pushing the dough away from you until it is smooth.

  2. Roll the bottom crust to fit a 9-inch pan, and cut the top crust as a lattice, approximately 1-inch in width. Chill the rolled crust while you prepare the salted caramel and apple filling.

Salted Caramel

  1. Place the sugar, hot water, and salt in a heavy saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Pour in the water and sugar, making sure to keep the sugar crystals from splashing around the sides of the pan. Place pan over low heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved. Your goal will be to try and dissolve the sugar become it comes to a boil.
  2. Cover the pan, turn the heat to medium, and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook the sugar until it starts to take on some color. Keep cooking until the sugar starts to smoke a little and turns deep mahogany brown. Remove pan from the heat and pour in about 1/4 cup of the hot cream, stirring with a long-handled wooden spoon.. The caramel will bubble, so watch out. Keep stirring and slowly add the remaining cream. Strain the caramel sauce through a fine-mesh strainer. Let cool.

Apple Filling

  1. Melt butter in a large saute pan set over medium-high heat and add apples to the pan. Stir to coat fruit with butter and cook, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, whisk together the spices, salt and .75 cup sugar, and sprinkle this over the pan, stirring to combine. Lower heat and cook until apples have started to soften but not completely soft, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle the flour and cornstarch over the apples and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pan from heat, add cider vinegar, stir and scrape fruit mixture into a bowl and allow to cool completely.

Assembly of Pie

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. Gather your rolled pie crust, salted caramel, and apple mixture. Begin by layering 1/3 of the apples in the bottom of the crust so that there are minimal gaps. Pour 1/3 of the caramel over the apples. Add 1/3 of the apples and caramel for a second layer, and then add a third layer of apples, and then the caramel again.
  3. Assemble the lattice crust and flute the edges of the crust. Pour the last bit of caramel on top. Brush the crust with the beaten egg and lightly sprinkle with raw sugar and sea salt.
  4. Bake the pie on a baking sheet larger than the pie pan for 20 minutes . Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees, lightly cover with foil and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake a little longer if your crust is not nicely browned. 

 

Roasted Vegetables & Apples w/ Bacon & Pecans

Roasted Vegetables with apples and bacon-www.beyondthebayoublog.com Roasted vegetables with bacon and pecans--yes! This hash-type dish was spot on! What I enjoyed most about this dish was the different textures. I used two of my favorite types of sweet potatoes, a Japanese and the Red Garnet each different in their own right. Then the earthiness from the Brussel sprouts and the slight sweetness from the apples.

Oh, and towards the end, sprinkle some chopped pecans and brown sugar all over--delicious!

I was cooking some pork and wanted a side that would pair nicely and this worked perfectly.

I know everyone is in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and it is all most over.

Roasted Vegetables with apples and bacon-www.beyondthebayoublog.com

The holidays mostly fly by me since I work in retail, but I'm excited about  since I'm able to be back home to NOLA and spend time with family.

I'm really expecting to do no cooking--none, nada! I want to eat some homey food from my parents and be sure to go to some of my favorite spots and try a few new ones. What have y'all been looking forward to? Holidays to be over or never ending?

Roasted Vegetables with apples and bacon-www.beyondthebayoublog.com

 

Happy Eating!

Roasted Vegetables With Bacon & Pecans

  • 3 cups sweet potatoes
  • 2 apples cubed
  • 1 cup brussel sprouts halved
  • 3 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • a few cracks of black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.


  2. Toss the sweet potatoes, apples, brussel sprouts, bacon, and thyme together. Add the olive oil, salt and black pepper and combine. Spread mixture out on sheet pan and then roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Make sure to stir and move ingredients around every 5-10 minutes. The last 5 minutes, sprinkle on top the pecan pieces and brown sugar. Taste for seasoning and serve!

 

Pears Foster Dutch Baby Pancakes

pears-foster-dutch-baby-pancakes-recipe-www.beyondthebayoublog.com-2.jpg

pears foster dutch baby pancakes Bananas foster move aside! This pears foster dutch baby pancakes are a must make! Quick and perfect for a weekend morning breakfast. I had to try and control myself to not eat it all by myself, but failed happily.

The pears foster syrup can be drizzled over some ice cream, pancakes or even waffles. Oh the possibilities!

pears foster dutch baby pancakes recipe-www.beyondthebayoublog.com

pears foster dutch baby pancakes recipe-www.beyondthebayoublog.com

Happy eating!

Pears Foster Dutch Baby Pancakes

Dutch Baby Pancakes

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • a pinch of salt

Pears Foster

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scrapped or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 pears sliced
  • 1 ounce of rum
  • powdered sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a blender combine the eggs, flour, milk, sugar, and salt. Blend until combined. In a 10 inch heavy bottom skillet, melt the butter over medium-heat. Once melted, pour in batter and then place into oven. Bake for 20 minutes and then the last 5 minutes lower temperature to 300 degrees. Prepare syrup while pancake bakes. 

  2. In a skillet, melt the butter and brown sugar together. Add the cinnamon stick and vanilla. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the pears and then sauce for another 2-3 minutes until they begin to soften a little bit. Carefully add the rum and shake the pan back and forth to warm the rum and flame the pan. Or off heat, you can light a match and burn off the alcohol. You should have a nice thin syrup, if you want your syrup thicker, reduce a little while longer. 


Stuffed Turkey Breast With Dirty Rice

Stuffed turkey breast with dirty rice-www.beyondthebayoublog.com Stuffed turkey breast with dirty rice, need I say more?!

Moist turkey breast wrapped in dirty rice and then finished with a spicy sweet glaze--so good!  Dirty rice pairs so well with sweetness, so this glaze is everything! All the flavors pop in your mouth.

Stuffed turkey breast with dirty rice-www.beyondthebayoublog.com

Right now I'm thinking about planning a dinner before Christmas and I'm thinking that this recipe is a top contender.

This is a recipe that will impress and be great at a dinner party! Work has gotten the best of me, but my mind is racing with recipes and ideas that I want to make next and share with y'all.

Stuffed turkey breast with dirty rice-www.beyondthebayoublog.com

Stuffed turkey breast with dirty rice-www.beyondthebayoublog.com

Stuffed turkey breast with dirty rice-www.beyondthebayoublog.com

Don't forget to grab the dirty rice recipe here!

Stuffed Turkey Breast With Dirty Rice

  • 1 boneless turkey breast, pounded to a even 1/2 inch thickness
  • 1 teaspoons creole seasoning
  • 1/2 granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup dirty rice (recipe link in post)
  • 1/2 cup cane syrup
  • 1/2 cup cane vinegar
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay turkey breast out on a flat surface. Season with creole seasoning, kosher salt, granulated garlic, thyme and butter. Take dirty right and place on one side of the breast. Roll tightly and secure with twine. Sprinkle salt and a knob of butter on top. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes. Until breast is cooked through but still moist. 

  2. In a skillet, heat up cane syrup, cane vinegar and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat. When turkey is cooked, serve with glaze on the side. 

Spiced Pear Old Fashioned

spiced pear old fashioned-www.beyondthebayoublog.com I love a good cocktail and love creating, trying out different liqueurs and liquors. I was inspired by all the pears in the grocery store to make a spiced pear old fashioned. A few years ago I was on a kick of learning all the classics. There is nothing like a delicious cocktail after a long day.

This spiced pear old fashioned is delicious. I made a pear syrup with a bunch of different aromatics and then strained it. An old fashioned is typically made from bourbon or rye whiskey, bitters and simple syrup.

spiced pear old fashioned-www.beyondthebayoublog.com

Shopping at my local liquor store, I was showed this amazing rye whiskey by Redemption Rye and I feel in love with it! To pair with the lovely spices of cinnamon, clove and cardamon, I brought some cardamon bitters from a great company called Scrappy Bitters.

Spiced Pear Old Fashioned

  • 1 tablespoon allspice berries
  • 1 cardamon pod
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2 pears rough chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 1/4 ounce spiced pear syrup
  • a dash of bitters (I used Scrappy's cardamon bitters)
  1. Toast spices in a pan and then add the pears, water and sugar. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover and let steep. Strain liquid.
  2. Combine the whiskey and cardamon bitters into a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir for 10-15 seconds to chill. Strain into glass and enjoy!

 

Autumn Pear Salad With Pomegranate & Candied Walnuts

autumn pear salad with pomegranate-www.beyondthebayoublog.com I have been going crazy for pears lately. So, I decided to make a delicious roasted pear salad with pomegranate seeds and candied walnuts. I made a yummy dressing out of cane syrup and cane vinegar. But feel free to sub the cane syrup with maple syrup and the vinegar with white wine or apple cider!

autumn pear salad with pomegranate-www.beyondthebayoublog.com

 

autumn pear salad with pomegranate-www.beyondthebayoublog.com

I love making candied walnuts. Back in the restaurant I remember making big batches to get ready for service. This recipe requires you to boil them first, then toss in powdered sugar and fry! Tasty little candied bites!

 

Autumn Pear Salad With Pomegranate & Candied Walnuts

  • 2 pears cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • a pinch of kosher salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • oil to fry in
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup cane syrup or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons cane vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • one package of your favorite salad blend
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and preheat oil to 350 degrees. Drizzle olive oil over pears and lightly season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes until tender. While pears are roasting, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add walnuts and boil for 5-6 minutes. Drain and toss with powdered sugar while still hot (making sure to coat them really well) . Fry in oil until golden brown, drain and reserve. 

  2. In a bowl whisk together the cane syrup vinegar and olive oil. Toss salad greens with a little bit of the vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Add remaining ingredients and a little more vinaigrette and enjoy!

 

Sweet Potato Olive Oil Cake

sweet potato olive oil cake-www.beyondthebayoublog.com Tis the season of baking and then some more baking. Here, I have an extremely moist sweet potato olive oil cake. Which is so good! The first recipe was a fail. I love the taste and texture of a Japanese sweet potato, which to me is more dense and pudding-like that your regular sweet potato. Also, for me the regular contain more water, the Japanese sweet potato is also sweet to me. If you have never tried one, I highly recommend finding one at Whole Foods Market or your local grocery store.

Sweet Potato Olive Cake-www.beyondthebayoublog.com

I love cooking with olive oil...

But how many of y'all decided to make an olive oil cake!?

I had the privilege of having some Colavita Olive Oil sent to me--thank you! It has always been a staple in my pantry. From cooking, to marinades or even for finishing drizzles over a nice salad--its just a great everyday olive oil

Sweet Potato Olive Cake-www.beyondthebayoublog.com

This cake pairs together warm spices, orange and orange zest, rum and vanilla. Ok, how can this be bad? I would even recommend adding chopped toasted walnuts, because I'm sure it would be a great idea.

This cake is finished with just a dollop of whipped cream.

I can't wait to try it with some yummy vanilla ice cream and plan on making it for my family when I see them!

 

Sweet Potato Olive Cake-www.beyondthebayoublog.com

 

Sweet Potato Olive Oil Cake

  • 2 cups pastry flour
  • 1 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice, ground
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree
  • 1 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • juice from one orange
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup rum or brandy
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • a slash of brandy or rum (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • powder sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all the dry ingredients and place aside. In another bowl. Whisk together the sweet potato puree, olive oil, eggs, orange juice, vanilla extract and rum or brandy. Carefully add the dry ingredients into the wet, making sure everything is combined but not over mixed. Add int he orange zest. Pour into an oiled 9 inch spring form pan. Place the springform pan onto a baking sheet and into the oven on the middle rack. Cook for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

  2. To make the whipped cream, add the cold heavy whipping cream to the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Whisk for 3-4 minutes until stiff peaks form. Add in the powered sugar, brandy (if using) and orange zest. Continue to whisk until cream stiffens a bit more or to your desired consistency. Serve with cake. Dust cake with powdered sugar!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Bacon With Cane Syrup

roasted brussel sprouts bacon syrup-www.beyondthebayoublog.com Thanksgiving is two weeks away and the holiday prep is on! These roasted brussel sprouts with bacon and cane syrup should be on your holiday table! As much as the turkey is considered the main attraction, the side dishes play a big role as well.

Roasted veggies, dressing (cornbread for me) and Mac-n-cheese--yes please! Decisions on top of decisions on who makes the cut and who doesn't. One of my favorite vegetables to roast and cook are Brussel sprouts. For me they are like little baby cabbages that pack more punch and flavor.

roasted brussel sprouts bacon syrup-www.beyondthebayoublog.com

For this recipe I combine some of my favorite things. Bacon and cane syrup. Its that simple. Beautiful roasted Brussel sprouts tossed in a bacon-cane syrup-vinegar reduction. Oh, and a little bit of creole mustard to round everything out. That is it. Quick and simple.

roasted brussel sprouts bacon syrup-www.beyondthebayoublog.com

If you cannot find cane syrup or cane vinegar, which I use in this recipe. Feel free to substitute with maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. They both will do the trick! Happy side dish hunting!

roasted brussel sprouts bacon syrup-www.beyondthebayoublog.com

Roasted Brussel Sprouts With Bacon & Cane Syrup

  • 1 lb brussle sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt to season
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 pound bacon, diced
  • 1/2 cup cane syrup or maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup cane vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon creole or dijon mustard
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Toss brussel sprouts with a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Place on a sheet pan, making sure to spread the Brussel sprouts out evenly. Place in oven and roast for 20 to 35 minutes until evenly brown and crispy. Make sure to shake pan every 7-10 minutes for even cooking. 

  3. While Brussel sprouts cook. Prepare the glaze. In a pot over medium heat, render the bacon until nice and brown. Add the syrup, vinegar and red pepper flakes. Cook until reduced in half. Whisk in creole mustard. Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Toss brussle sprouts in glaze and serve.

Duck Confit

duck confit recipe-www.beyondthebayoublog.comI recently had a get together with some friends that I've been planning for months now. I love throwing dinner parties and plotting a menu that takes me forever to decide on. It allows me to try out any recipes I've been marking or any creative ideas that have been spinning around waiting come to life. One item in particular that I wanted to make was duck confit. If you have never had duck confit, then I highly recommend you find some duck legs, a ton of duck fat (no really, like 2 quarts), and a glass of wine or beer--because they have to cook low and slow.

duck confit recipe-www.beyondthebayoublog.com

When I first tried duck confit my first reaction was, "where has this been all my life?" Tender, luscious duck confit, seasoned perfectly with warm spices and aromatics that goes with practically anything. Duck confit can be paired with a lot of things.

Think crispy potatoes.

A nice salad with pickled beets.

Tacos! Yes!

The sky is the limit. For duck confit, I particularly love the spice blend of toasted allspice, clove, black peppercorns, coriander, salt and fresh thyme.

When prepping the duck legs, make sure to take a knife and score around each end of the leg. Making sure to cut through the tendon. When meat cooks it shrinks, so if you want a nice presentation when serving, make sure to do this.

For the cure, I toasted the spices and blended them up in a spice grinder. I just cured the flesh side and not the skin. Roughly for each leg, you want 1 teaspoon to 1 1/2 teaspoon on each leg and let it cure overnight.

There are many ways to make your cure. You can even add a little bit of sugar to the process or omit it entirely.

If you are unable to find duck fat, olive oil can be used. I had to use olive oil this round because I could not find any duck fat. The oil can be saved and will be flavorful. Use it for fried eggs in the morning or to toss over some potatoes and roast until tender and crispy.

Do you find making duck confit intimidating? I would like to know!

duck confit recipe-www.beyondthebayoublog.com

 

Duck Confit

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon allspice berries
  • 4-5 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • a few fresh thyme
  • 8 whole duck legs
  • 6 to 8 cups of duck fat or olive oil
  • 2 heads of garlic cut in half
  • a bunch of fresh thyme
  • 3 fresh bay leaves (or 2 dried bay leaves)
  1. Toast the spices and grind them up. Take the leaves off the thyme sprigs and then combine with the spices and salt. Mix thoroughly. Set aside.
  2. Rinse and dry the duck legs. Pull away and discard any excess fat from the duck legs. With a sharp knife or kitchen shears, score all around the bone to cut away the tendon. Season the flesh side of the legs with roughly 1 teaspoon of the salt cure, evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Rinse and dry each leg with paper towels. Place in a large roasting pan skin side up with the garlic, thyme and bay leaves. In a saucepan gently heat up your duck fat or olive oil until melted. Pour the fat over the duck legs, until covered by at leave 1/4 inch. Cover with parchment paper and then with aluminum foil.
  4. Make sure to monitor the cooking process. After 1 hour check on the duck legs. With a small pairing knife, place in the thick part of the duck and check the resistance. It should still be pretty tough. Cook for upwards of 3 hours, making sure to check after each hour passes. You want the meat to be tender but not falling apart. Remember, once you take it out of the oven, the meat will continue to cook in the duck fat.
  5. When the duck is cooked, remove the foil and parchment paper and cool for 30 minutes.
  6. To store. Refrigerate the fat separately from the duck legs. When it cools and solidifies, you want just the fat. A lot of the meat and juices will sink to the bottom. Scoop the fat and gently reheat until melted. Place the remaining duck legs in a container. Pour the melted fat over them and make sure they are completely submerged in fat. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 months.

Braised Calamari & Sausage

braised calamari Tender braised calamari? Spicy sausage? This is a recipe that contains a handful of things that I love. Seafood, sausage, and potatoes. All these items are simmered in a rich flavorful tomato broth that is seasoned with fennel, onions, garlic, and white wine. Honestly, how can we go wrong here?

braised calamari and sausage

I am a big fan of braises, especially since the weather has taken a dive under 50. For this recipe, I seared the sausage, wiped out the pan and continued on with my other ingredients. There was some seafood stock stashed in the freezer that I used, but chicken or vegetable stock would work just fine.

braised calamari and sausage

I was afraid the calamari would be tough--yes we have all heard horror stories. But, it was perfect. Add the potatoes in last, we do not want mashed potatoes, but want them to keep their integrity and texture a little bit. As they cook, they soak up the delicious broth and become super tasty. Grab a bottle of wine, a nice baguette and enjoy this yummy dish.

Bon appetite!

Braised Calamari & Sausage

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound spicy sausage (removed from casings and divided into patties)
  • 1 small fennel bulb diced (reserve fonds for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 cup onions diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cups white wine
  • 1/2 cup seafood stock
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato pureed or diced
  • 1 pound squid (bodies and tentacles)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 large potato diced (reserve in water until ready to use)
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add sausage patties and fry on each side for 4 minutes. Remove from skillet and place aside. Whip out any excess fat, leaving behind 1 tablespoon. Add fennel, bell pepper, onions, garlic and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 4 minutes.
  2. Add white wine, seafood stock, tomato, smoked paprika and worcestershire. Simmer for 3 minutes.
  3. Return sausage to skillet and add squid. Cover skillet with a lid and braised for 20 minutes.
  4. After 20 mintues, add potatoes, cover, and cook for an aditonal 15 mintues.
  5. Cook until squid is tender. Taste for seasoning and add lemon juice at end. Sereve with crusty bread and fennel fonds.