Cheryl’s Cuisine: March 2018

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

Life can be full of simple pleasures.  One of these such pleasures is a steaming hot drink on a cold night.  Even though it’s March and days may be in the 50’s, evenings are still cold.  So here are some great ideas to enjoy while sitting back and reading, watching your favorite shows, or just “chilling out.”   

My husband doesn’t care for a hot drink at night, so I usually refrigerate the leftover quantities and reheat the next evening—one of my simple pleasures…

Brazilian Chocolate:

cocoa1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 cups milk
1 Tbsp. grated orange rind
1/4 tsp. almond extract

Blend cocoa with sugar.  Gradually stir in the water and milk.   Heat to boiling point. Add orange rind and almond extract.  

If you’d like, beat with rotary beater until frothy. Makes 1 quart.  

NOTE: Some like this chilled then beaten. Your choice. Enjoy!

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Hot Vegetable Punch:

2-10 1/2 oz. cans condensed beef consomme’
2 cans water
5 cups tomato juice or V-8
6-8 stalks celery, chopped
2 small onions, diced small
1 small bay leaf
7-8 whole black peppercorns
Few carrot slices
Sprinkling of fresh parsley
Juice of 1/4 lemon

Simmer condensed consomme’, an equal amount of water and tomato juice with celery, onions, bay leaf, peppercorns, carrot slices and parsley.  When vegetables are thoroughly cooked, add lemon juice. Makes 8 servings.

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Russian Tea:

cinnamon1 quart water
4 tea bags
1 stick cinnamon
1 Tbsp.  whole cloves

Boil these ingredients for four minutes.  Strain into the following mixture:

2 quarts water
1-6 oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate
1-6 oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate
1-16 oz. can pineapple juice
1 1/2 cups sugar

Stir all together and reheat.  Makes 25 servings.

NOTE: I’ve even frozen much of this mixture for later use.  

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Yummy Apple Cider:

Slow-Cooker-Apple-Cider-SQUARE6 whole cloves
3 whole allspice
3-3″ cinnamon sticks, broken
1 Tbsp. grated orange rind
2 quarts apple cider
1 cup orange juice
1 cup cranberry juice cocktail
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 cup apple brandy

Tie cloves, allspice, cinnamon stick and orange rind in a cheesecloth bag.  Combine spice bag and cider in large saucepan. Bring mixture to full boil; reduce heat to medium and cook 35 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 4 cups.  Discard spice bag, stir in orange juice and remaining ingredients. Simmer over medium heat just until heated through. Yields 8 cups.

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Chocolate Delight:

3/4  cup cocoa
2/3 cup sugar
4 cups milk
1 1/2 cups strong coffee
1 cup Kirsch or brandy
Whipped cream

Blend cocoa with sugar.  Gradually stir in milk. Heat to boiling point.  Remove from heat and add coffee and Kirsch or brandy.  Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream. Makes 8 cups.

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atomic-hot-chocolateRich Hot Chocolate:

7 1/2 cups milk
10 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Whipped cream

Bring milk to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat.  Pour half of hot milk into blender. Add half of chocolate, 2 tsp. sugar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla.  Cover, blend on low speed until chocolate melts and mixture is foamy.

Pour into mugs. Repeat with remaining hot milk, chocolate, sugar and vanilla.  Garnish each mug with whipped cream and serve. Makes 8 servings.

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Lights Out:

2 cups hot espresso coffee
1/4 cup coffee liqueur (such as Kahlua)
2 Tbsp. Southern Comfort
Sugar
1/2 cup whipped cream
Grated semisweet chocolate

Combine espresso, coffee liqueur and Southern Comfort in medium bowl.  Flavor mixture with sugar to taste. Divide among 4 cups. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with grated chocolate.  Makes 4 servings.

Cheryl’s Cuisine: October 2017

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

One of the true pleasures of fall is apple cider. Walking through the Scranton  Farmers’ Market, customers are not only drawn to the fresh vegetables, but also to the variety of apples, the refreshingly cold apple cider, and cider doughnuts sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.  RFMLogo960open8_7_

The same applies to Ritter’s Farm Market in  Mount Cobb. It’s a tradition for many families to visit the farm market and experience what the season means to Northeastern Pennsylvanians. It only happens once a year, so don’t miss out.

Cider is crisp and  thirst quenching when served cold.  When served warm in your favorite mug, it gives one a cozy, warm, comforting feeling.  You can also use it in some other ways.  So take advantage of the season and these recipes.

Apple Cider Wassail:

6 cloves
5 allspice berries
1 gallon apple cider
1 cup brown sugar
1-6 oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate
1-6 oz. can frozen orane juice concentrate
1 Tbsp. nutmeg
6 cinnamon sticks
1 pint light or amber rum

Tie cloves and allspice berries in a cheesecloth bag.  Put all ingredients except rum into a large pot with spice bag and simmer 20 minutes.  Remove spice bag.  This may be done ahead of time.  Reheat to serve.  Add rum when serving.  Serve warm.  Makes 25-6 oz. servings.

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What’s the Secret Salad?

apples1 1/2  cups apple cider, divided
3 Tbsp. red cinnamon candies
1 pkg. (3oz.) lemon-flavored gelatin
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 cups applesauce

In a saucepan over medium heat, boil 1 cup cider.  Add candies and gelatins, stirring to dissolve.  Remove from heat.  Stir in applesauce and remaining cider.  Pour into a lightly oiled 1 1/2 quart mold or serving bowl.  Refrigerate until firm.  Makes 6 servings.

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Easy Chicken Normandy:

2 apples, peeled and sliced
1 chicken, cut up in small pieces
4 Tbsp. raisins
4 Tbsp. honey
5 Tbsp. apple cider
Salt and pepper, to taste

Place apples in a pie dish.  Place chicken on top followed by remaining ingredients.  Cover and cook in 400 degree oven for 45 minutes basting from time to time.

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Apple Pork Chops:

cider4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
4 pork loin chops, 1″ thick
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 medium onions, quartered
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup cream
Minced parsley

In heavy skillet, heat oil over medium heat; add chops and brown both sides.   Add pepper, cinnamon, mushrooms and onions.  Cook 15 minutes, turning chops occasionally.  Remove chops, onions and mushrooms to platter; keep warm.   Add cider to skillet; scrape meat bits from bottom.  Gradually add cream to pan; cook until slightly thickened.  Pour sauce over pork and vegetables.  Sprinkle with parsley.  Serves 4.

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Apple Cider Cupcakes with Cider Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:

Cupcakes:
3 cups apple cider
3/4 cup vegetable shortening or butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt

In large saucepan boil cider until it is reduced to about 1 1/2 cups; let cool.  In large bowl with mixer, beat shortening or butter with sugar until mixture is fluffy; beat eggs in one at a time.  Into bowl, sift together the flour, cloves, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.  Stir in reduced cider and combine mixture well.  Divide batter among 18 paper-lined 1/2-cup muffin tins and bake in middle of preheated 375 degree oven for 25 minutes or until tester comes out clean.  Transfer cupcakes to rack.  Let cool and remove from tins.

Frosting:
2 cups apple cider
2-3 oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Pinch of salt

In saucepan boil cider until reduced to about 1/4 cup; let cool..  In bowl with mixer, beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, reduced sugar and salt until smooth. Frost cupcakes.  Note: You can also reduce cider in a glass measuring cup in microwave.

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Granny Stoudt’s Apple Cider Pie:

3 cups apple cider
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
5 large Granny Smith apples
3 large Golden Delicious or Cortland apples
2 already prepared pie crusts
1 1/2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

Boil apple cider in heavy saucepan for about 20 minutes or until reduced to 1/2 cup.  Cool about 20 minutes.  Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg in large bowl.  Halve, core, peel and slice apples.  Add to sugar mixture along with the reduced apple cider.  Toss evenly until well-coated.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Put rack in lowest part of oven.  Spoon filling into pie crust, mounding it high in the center.  Lay other pie crust on top.  Brush with water and sprinkle with granulated sugar.  Place pie on baking sheet to catch drips.  Bake 25 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Bake 40-50 minutes longer until crust is golden brown.  When it bubbles pie is done.

NOTE: If you’d rather a Crumb Topping, combine  1/2 cup flour, 5 Tbsp. sugar and 3 Tbsp. softened butter and mix.  Sprinkle over pie last 15 minutes before done.

apples (1)