Archive for December, 2009

A perfect Sunday evening:

We turned up the Christmas music…

Enjoyed this delicious Red Wine Risotto…

Trimmed the tree…

Put up the lights…

Hung our stockings with care…

Decorated the house…

and the dog!…

(he was not amused)

‘Tis the Season!

Red Wine Risotto


  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3 1/2 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 large portabella mushroom caps (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish)
  • Salt and pepper


In a medium pot, bring the broth to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover the broth and keep it warm over low heat. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for about 8 minutes (until translucent). Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add rice and stir for about 2 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add ¾ cup of broth and simmer over medium heat, stirring until absorbed. Add another ¾ cup of broth and stir until absorbed. Stir in mushrooms. Repeat adding ¾ cup of broth at a time, stirring until absorbed, until all of the broth is incorporated and the rice is tender and creamy. Add ½ cup of cheese and flavor with salt and pepper. Scoop risotto into bowls, grate additional cheese on top, and serve!


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Thanksgiving Pie

I baked an Apple Cranberry Pie and a Pumpkin Pie this Thanksgiving. Simple and Tasty. The classics rule during the holidays for both sides of our family and that is fine by me!

Apple Cranberry Pie with Crumble Topping

Filling Ingredients

  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 clementine (or orange)
  • 5 cups of peeled, sliced apples (approximately 5 medium ap ples)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh whole cranberries
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat oven to 400. Place dough in the pie dish and refrigerate while you make the filling and topping. To make filling, mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. To make topping, mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. The topping mixture should clump when pressed together. Add filling to cold pie crust and scatter topping all over the filling. Bake at 400 degrees until the juice in the center of the pie is bubbling, about 1 hour. If the crust or topping becomes too dark, cover the pie loosely with foil. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely before serving.

To me the holidays are about tradition and I don’t feel there is any need to experiment or try anything different. Of course a new kind of Christmas cookie is always welcome or a new twist on a staple dish is fine, but in general Thanksgiving or Christmas is not the time to try out that new Baked Tofurkey recipe (remember that year Mom?). We expect certain dishes to be there every year and that is part of the comfort and excitement of the holiday.  Everyone looks forward to Tony’s Mom’s famous sweet potato pie.  My Dad makes the BEST mashed potatoes and they are mandatory.  And if my Mom’s mushroom croustade appetizers do not make an appearance at some point between Thanksgiving and Christmas the relatives get rowdy!

Every family has there own traditions that make every holiday special- even those unwanted traditions like the fruitcakes from your Great Aunt are special in that they become the source of an ongoing family joke. What are some traditions that you and your family incorporate every year? Any you wish wouldn’t stick around? Somehow Rochester Hots appeared on the Maurer Thanksgiving table this year and I fear they might make a reappearance next year if my Dad and Tony have anything to say about it!

Well, the holiday season has officially begun and I can’t wait to get decorating, wrapping and of course baking! We are getting our Christmas tree tonight and I can’t wait!

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