Jacques and Julia’s Cranberry Chutney

This recipe is adapted from Julia Child and Jacques Pépin, as seen on “Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home”. If you are a Hulu Plus subscriber, you can view the episode here:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/233296#i0,p4,s1,d0

I made some changes to the recipe to suit my own taste, so this is a slightly different version from what is found on the TV show.

Ingredients

  • 1 large Granny Smith apple
  • Juice of 1 lemon, medium-size
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2.5 cups fresh cranberries (one 12-ounce bag)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Preparation

  1. Peel and core the apple, then cut into small chunks (should be about 1.5 cups)
  2. Using a lemon zester, take the zest from 1 lemon, then juice the lemon.
  3. Pour the orange juice and cranberries into a sturdy 2 or 3-quart saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir all together.
  4. Cover the pan and bring to the boil over high heat.
  5. Stir the ingredients, reduce the heat to medium, and cook covered for about 10 minutes, until all the cranberries have burst. Uncover the pan, reduce the heat, and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, until the chutney is thick.
  6. Cool to room temperature before serving. The Chutney will keep in the refrigerator several weeks, or longer if you freeze it.

Egg Rolls

Delicious, crispy egg rolls with a sweet and sour dipping sauce…  What could be better?

Ingredients

  • 1 package of egg roll wrappers (quantity ~20)
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, finely minced
  • 2-3 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1.5 Cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1/2 Cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1/2 Cup shredded carrots
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 Cup sprouts (about 1/4 lb)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce (you can also use oyster sauce)
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • Canola oil (for frying)

If you prefer to make a vegetarian version, just leave out the ground pork and fish sauce, using a little more of the vegetables instead.

For the sweet and sour sauce:

  • 1/2 Cup orange juice
  • 1/2 Cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp potato starch (can also use corn starch or arrowroot)
  • 1 Tbsp water

Preparation

To prepare the egg rolls:

  1. Place 2-3 Tbsp sesame oil in a large wok or skillet over high heat and add minced ginger and ground pork. Sauté until lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the shredded cabbage, carrots and green onions, cooking an additional 2-3 minutes, until tender.
  3. Add the soy sauce and fish sauce, stir, then remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool.
  4. Fill the egg roll wrappers by placing about 2 Tbsp of the mixture in the center of each wrapper, then roll half way from one corner of the wrapper. Brush the remaining exposed part of the wrapper with water, then fold in the two side corners and roll up the rest of the way.
  5. In a large skillet (I prefer cast iron), heat the canola oil to about 350 degrees.
  6. Place rolls flap side down, about 3-4 at a time, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Then remove to a wire rack or paper towels to drain.
To prepare the sweet and sour sauce:
  1. Mix the potato starch (or corn starch or arrowroot) and water in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix the orange juice, brown sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add the pre-mixed potato starch and water to the sauce, then stir constantly until it thickens.

Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet potato chips are so much tastier than boring old potato chips. And much better looking!

There’s no secret to the recipe here – just sweet potatoes and some sea salt. However, there are several tricks to getting them to turn out right:

  1. The oil has to be very hot, around 375 degrees. (I use canola oil, both for its health benefits and because it has a higher smoke point than other oils)
  2. The sweet potatoes have to be cut very thinly, with consistent thickness. The best way to do this is with a good mandolin, set to the thinnest setting (on the one I use, it’s 1/32 inch).
  3. After slicing, rinse the potatoes in cold water, then dry them thoroughly. It’s very important to make sure they’re dry before frying them. I use a good salad spinner, but paper towels would work too.
  4. Small batches. I fry about 20 chips at a time. Too many at once, and it lowers the oil temperature and the chips come out chewy.

After frying, place them on paper towels and sprinkle them with sea salt right away. Optionally, garnish with some chopped chives, chervil or parsley for a little added color and flavor.

Hummus

Hummus is another delicious vegetarian recipe that’s super-easy to make. Just mix the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy (about 3 minutes). I have to give credit to my mom for this recipe. She’s been making this for me since I was a small child, and now offers this as one of many delicious vegetarian dishes in her cafe in Woodstock, IL – Expressly Leslie Vegetarian Specialties. This is a modified version of her recipe. If you happen to live in the Woodstock area, stop into her cafe for this and other delicious vegetarian cuisine!

Ingredients

  • 1 large can (29 ounces) Ziyad Chick Peas (or roughly 3 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 Cup Tahina (recommend the Ziyad brand again here)
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 rounded teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/2 Cup bean liquid

Preparation

  1. Drain the chick peas, setting the liquid aside
  2. Place cloves of garlic in a food processor and pulse to mince (scrape from sides of bowl as needed)
  3. Add all other ingredients except the bean liquid (drained from the can of chick peas)
  4. Turn on food processor, then slowly add the bean liquid through the food processor’s tube while it’s running (you may choose to use more or less bean liquid to get your desired consistency)
  5. Blend until smooth and creamy (about 3 minutes)
  6. Place hummus in a bowl, then drizzle some Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sprinkle some paprika on top
  7. Serve with fresh, warmed pita bread

Guacamole

Fresh guacamole is one of my favorite dishes. It’s easy, it takes just minutes to prepare, and it tastes great!

Ingredients

  • 3 medium avocados, chopped finely, but not mashed
  • 1 medium tomato (or 2 Roma tomatoes), peeled, seeded and chopped
  • About 1/3 to 1/2 of a medium onion (I use yellow Vidalia onions, but red or white would be fine)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped Serrano or jalapeño pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A small amount of chopped tomato, onion and cilantro for garnish (optional)

Preparation

Personally, I prefer my guacamole to have a chunkier texture, rather than being mashed as is commonly done. The key difference is that I chop the avocado finely and then stir it gently with the other ingredients, but I don’t mash it all together.

  1. Cut avocados in half, peel them, remove the seeds, then chop them into small bits. Place in a bowl.
  2. Dip the tomato into boiling water for about 10 seconds.  After this, the skin can be peeled off easily.  Remove seeds and dice (chop into small pieces). Add to the bowl.
  3. Dice the onion, then add to the bowl.
  4. Mince the Serrano pepper (make sure it’s minced very finely so nobody bites into a big piece of hot pepper). Measure about 1 1/2 teaspoons (more or less, depending on how spicy you want your guacamole to be), and add to the bowl.
  5. Add the chopped cilantro, lemon juice, and salt.
  6. Stir everything together gently. Try not to mash it too much – just mix the ingredients.
  7. Sprinkle some chopped tomato, onion and cilantro on top as garnish (optional).
  8. Serve with tortilla chips.

I suggest serving this right away, when it’s fresh. However, if you need to prepare it ahead of time, cover it with plastic wrap and press down gently so the plastic wrap is in contact with the guacamole. This minimizes the amount of air coming into contact with the guacamole, which will help prevent it from turning brown. Refrigerate until ready to serve.