dessert

Holiday Cheer and Humor With Christmas Dinner Bingo

by Anne Maxfield on December 25, 2017

Christmas RifThe Accidental Locavore wants to relieve some of the stress of the holidays and put a smile on everyone’s face. How? Try Holiday Bingo! When we used to go to Rancho La Puerta, the highlight of the week for everyone was bingo night (probably because there was unlimited popcorn). I still have the set of 5 papiermâché napkin rings I won one night (is five a significant number at Mexican dinner tables?). You may have heard about Meeting Bingo, where you track all the tired business clichés…”at the end of the day, teambuilding, thinking outside the box, metrics, etc” (and thanks to About.com, someone’s already figured out how to use this to teach you how to be a better manager), but if you haven’t tried Christmas Dinner Bingo, you’re missing a big opportunity!

A couple of years ago, the Cleveland Plains Dealer had a way to bring entertainment hilarity to Christmas dinner, or any family gathering: Holiday Bingo. You mark down on a card every time you hear someone saying something really dumb, annoying, or just plain typical. On their site you  can download game boards, but why not create your own? The prizes can be whatever you were looking to re-gift, or just another helping of dessert.

Accidental Locavore Christmas BingoFor my family I created my own Christmas Dinner Bingo cards, little realizing what the reaction would be. My mother was laughing so hard, the Yorkshire pudding almost didn’t happen and my father could barely stop wheezing (his highest form of laughter) long enough to fulfill his wine-pouring duties.  Since then, I’ve had them laminated (for easy clean-up) and they’ve become part of our Christmas tradition. If you’re curious about my family’s clichés, or just want a good laugh, click here to access the game cards.

What would be on your Holiday Bingo cards?

Happy Holidays to all!

 

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Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

by Anne Maxfield on December 18, 2017

Accidental Locavore Pineapple Upside-Down CakeWhen was the last time you had a pineapple upside-down cake?

I had some pineapple leftover from making Thai duck curry and thought I’d put it to good use.

This used up all the rest of the pineapple and made a 9” square pan.

Topping

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 20-ounce can pineapple rings in juice, drained, or fresh pineapple, cleaned and cut into ¼” rings
  • Candied red cherries or maraschino cherries (optional)
  • Diced pecans or walnuts (optional)

Cake

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9″ cake pan.

Accidental Locavore Pineapple for CakeTo make the topping:

Melt the butter, and mix with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan.

Space the pineapple rings atop the brown sugar mixture. If you’re using them, place a cherry in the center of each ring and scatter the nuts in any empty spaces.

To make the cake:

Beat the butter and sugar until fairly smooth.

Beat in the egg, then the salt, baking powder and vanilla.

Add the flour alternately with the milk, mixing at medium speed and beginning and ending with the flour. Once the last of the flour is added, mix briefly, just until smooth.

Spoon the thick batter into the prepared pan, spreading it to the edges of the pan. It may not cover the pineapple entirely; that’s OK.

Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven, wait 3 minutes, then turn the pan over onto a serving plate. Wait 30 seconds, then lift the pan off. If anything sticks in the pan, just lift it out and place it back on the cake.

Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!

My verdict: A delicious classic!

I used a silicone baking pan and the cake slid out of it perfectly.

Thought briefly about putting some dried cherries in the center of the pineapple slices, but just went for the plain version (no nuts or cherries).

A recipe I saw talked about adding some dark rum to the topping and that might be good if you’re looking for a more grown up version.

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Clafoutis, An Easy Fruit Dessert

by Anne Maxfield on September 11, 2017

Accidental Locavore ClafoutisThink of clafoutis as being French equivalent to a cobbler, but being French, a little more elegant.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s one of those desserts you have to fuss over. It’s actually easier than a cobbler—all you do is pop a few ingredients in a blender and pour them over some fruit.

Traditionally the fruit is cherries, but any fruit that can be baked can be used.

I had some cherries, peaches and blueberries, on their own, not enough to make a pie or anything and a few too many to eat before they went bad, so clafoutis seemed like the way to go.

Accidental Locavore Cherries for ClafoutisClafoutis

  • 1 ¼ pounds (570 grams) sweet cherries
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar (mixed use)
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • Softened butter for greasing the baking dish

Preheat the oven to 375°.

Liberally grease a shallow 2-quart baking dish with butter.

Stem and pit the cherries. Place them in a single layer in the baking dish.

In a blender, mix the eggs, flour, vanilla and almond extracts, ½ cup sugar and milk together until smooth.

Pour the batter over the cherries and sprinkle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Bake about 45 minutes until it is just set. A knife or toothpick poked in the center should come out relatively clean.

Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Clafoutis BatterMy verdict: It’s super easy and delicious. We served it warm, but you can serve it warm, room temperature or cold—all good.

I used a mix of cherries, blueberries and a peach that I cut into small chunks (but didn’t peel).

Since I’ve had nut allergies in the past, I didn’t use any almond extract, which probably made it really non-traditional, but it didn’t take away from the taste.

Another added bonus is that it’s really good for breakfast the next day, whether you bother to warm it up or not.

It’s a versatile recipe to know about, you can switch up the fruit or take the sugar out, substitute some cheese, add veggies and make it a savory dish.

 

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An Extraordinary Dessert Experience

by Anne Maxfield on May 29, 2017

Accidental Locavore Mohonk Mountain House First DessertDessert, the grand finale of the Chef’s Table at Mohonk Mountain House is truly spectacular and at some point in your life, you deserve it.

After polishing off ten amazing savory courses, including a cheese course with “carbonated” grapes—yup, they distract you by making a preview dessert–little ice cream magic with homemade mini ice cream cones and liquid nitrogen, which essentially turns anything creamy into ice cream in a flash.

While you’re enjoying the cones, two giant strips of matting cover the table. The head pastry chef, Audrey Billups starts the dessert by coming along with a glass full of chocolate sauce which she artistically blobs and smears the length of the surface

Accidental Locavore Mohonk Mountain House Dessert BeginningBehind her, another chef with a vial of mango puree, dashing and dribbling alongside the chocolate.

They repeat this, building the dessert by adding crème fraiche, pistachio cream, bits of frozen raspberries, and squares of Amaretto jelly.

Over that are dustings of brown butter crumbs, oatmeal crumble, cocoa, the thinnest sheets of blueberry,  and and and…

When it’s decided that the table is properly decorated (or more likely they’ve run out of space), meringues, gilded and filled with white chocolate and strawberries are placed in front of each diner.

Accidental Locavore Mohonk Mountain House Dessert DesignedThat’s followed by a small hockey puck of dark chocolate cake and just when you think they’ve run out of stuff – a blob of frozen chocolate mousse is plopped down and smashed, sending the shards through all the different flavors.

The idea of this dessert extravaganza is to do exactly what your mother told you never to do—play with your food!

Smear the chocolate cake through the mango and chocolate purees and hope to pick up a bit of frozen raspberry on the journey.

Try sticking the meringue with some of the blueberry paper and hmm, maybe the crème fraiche.

Or, what turned out to be my favorite, the brown butter crumbs on almost anything, but especially the frozen chocolate mousse fragments and the chocolate sauce.

Accidental Locavore Mohonk Mountain House Dessert DesignedThere’s no one, even in my group of chefs, who isn’t smiling.

And, even after the ten or so previous courses, there’s no one who didn’t clean their place.

Okay, so we do still listen to our mothers.

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