Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hard Cider Cheese Soup


  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves peeled garlic, minced
  • 2 T corn starch
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 16 ounces beer (or upgrade to Springgate Vineyards' Hard Cider)
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon or stone-ground mustard
  • 10 ounces white extra sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • Salt & Pepper


  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the carrot, onion, and garlic; saute 10 minutes.
  3. Cook, stirring frequently, for until onions are clear.
  4. Combine the milk and half-and-half. Slowly pour into flour mixture, whisking constantly until combined.
  5. Mix 4 oz of Springgate Hard Cider and corn starch in a separate container and add to pot.
  6. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the remaining beer and mustard. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently until foam subsides.
  7. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes until thick. Remove from heat and whisk in the cheese a handful at a time. 
  8. Add turmeric and whisk in completely.
  9. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Serve immediately.

Toasted Cheese Crostini Topped with Sauteed Apples & Onions in a Balsamic Reduction

Apple & Onion Topping Ingredients
1/2 of a Granny Smith apple, cored, peeled and sliced into 1/8" slices
1/4 of a medium yellow onion, sliced lengthwise into 1/8" slices
1 t olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 t white sugar

Crostini Ingredients
6 slices of baguette sliced on a long bias making 4-5" slices 3/8" thick
6 thin slices of extra sharp cheddar

1. heat a small non-stick skillet over low heat
2. Add Olive oil when heated, spread evenly
3. Add onions first, then cover with apple slices
4. saute  until onions begin to soften, then add balsamic vinegar
5. allow to simmer for several minutes, softening the apples
6. Stir in sugar and continue to simmer on low for another 5 minutes. Balsamic should be reducing and getting slightly thicker. Stir occasionally and make sure heat remains low.
7. Place a cheese slice on each slice of baguette and toast in a toaster oven or in an oven broiler until the cheese is melted and the edges of the baguette slice begin to brown. Then remove from oven.
8. To server, place baguette slices on a plate and spoon apple/onion/balsamic mixture onto each slice, making sure to keep portions even.

Serve immediately.

This goes well as an accompaniment or appetizer for Cheese Soup and served with cold Springgate Hard Cider. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Reuben Pizza

3 c rye flour
2 c white flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 T olive oil
1/2 c molasses
2 pkgs. yeast (4 1/2 t bulk dry yeast)
1 1/2 c warm water
1 t light brown sugar

I added:
2 T expresso powder (for color)

3 c shredded swiss cheese
1 c shredded corned beef
Thousand Island Dressing
Sauerkraut Latkes (here)

1. Dissolve the yeast with the sugar in 1/2 c of warm water. Set aside for at least 5 minutes. 
2. Dissolve expresso powder in remaining 1 c of warm water.
3. Sift the rye flour and 1 1/2 cups of the white flour together with the salt in a large bowl. 
4. Add the olive oil, the molasses, 1 cup of warm water and the yeast mixture. Mix the ingredients together with your hands or in a mixer with dough hook. Knead for 10 minutes. Add more white flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking.
5. Coat the interior of a bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and then turn it over so the top is coated as well. Cover and place in a warm, draft-free place for 1 1/2 hours. 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
6. Roll out the dough onto a lightly oiled jelly roll pan or onto two pizza pans.
7. Sprinkle a light coating of shredded swiss cheese.
8. Add broken up Sauerkraut Latkes evenly over the surface.
9. Add shredded Corned Beef evenly over the surface.
10. Sprinkle a generous layer of shredded swiss cheese over all.
11. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.
12. Remove from oven and drizzle top with Thousand Island Dressing.

Makes two large round pizzas (16"+)

Sauerkraut Latkes

1 can sauerkraut, drained (about 2 c)
2 eggs
4 T flour
salt & pepper

1/4" oil in frying pan


Heat oil in pan on the stove - do not allow to smoke.
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands.
2. Form patties, squeezing out extra liquid - about 3/8" to 1/2" thick
3. Fry Latkes, browning well on one side before flipping to brown on the other.
4. Drain on paper towels.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sausage, Onion, Pepper & Bean Curry

2 c white beans (soaked for 24 hours)
4 c sliced green peppers & onions (3 c peppers to 1 c onions)
3 c chopped cooked sausage (I used smoked sausage)
1 qt chicken stock
5 t curry powder
1 T corn starch in 1/2 c cold water

4 c rice
8 c water

1. Put beans, peppers & onions, sausage, chicken stock and curry in a crock pot and mix well. Turn on low and let cook for 4 hours. Stir again. Raise temperature on the crock pot to high and mix in corn starch and water. Allow to cook for 4 more hours.

2. Put rice and water in a large pot, put on stove set to high. When it boils, move the pot askew and reduce heat to low. Set a timer for 15 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE POT

3. When 15 minutes are up, remove the pan from heat and allow to sit for 20 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE POT.

4. To server, put rice in a bowl and spoon curry mixture over top. Serve with Naan or Pita bread.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Caramel Sauce


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, without stirring. If necessary, use a wet pastry brush to wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color (I look for the first hint of smoke and remove the pan from the heat immediately) -- about 5 to 6 minutes.
  2. Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble. Stir in the unsalted butter, and salt. Transfer the caramel to a dish and cool.

Based on a recipe I found at

Mini Cheese Cake with Caramel Topping

(I forgot to take a photo with the caramel on top.)


  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt (I couldn't get fat free Greek yogurt, so I used regular)
  • 12 ounces ⅓-less-fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • Caramel Sauce (here:


Instead of the 12-cup muffin tin, I used a 6-cup jumbo muffin tin. There was still enough cracker crust mix and cheese cake mix to make about four more cakes. 

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, combine the melted butter, 1 tbsp sugar and graham cracker crumbs until evenly wet.
  3. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin well with cooking spray. Spoon about 1 packed tablespoon crumb mixture into each muffin cup; press crumbs firmly into bottom. Bake at 300° for 7 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; cool.
  4. Place brown sugar, yogurt, and cream cheese in processor, mixer or blender; process until smooth. Add vanilla, table salt, and eggs; process until smooth.
  5. Spoon about 3 tablespoons batter into each muffin cup.
  6. Bake at 300° for 18 minutes or until centers of cheesecakes barely move when pan is touched. Remove pan from oven; cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Cover pan; refrigerate cheesecakes 3 hours or until well chilled.
  7. Run a thin knife around outside edge of each cheesecake. Carefully remove cheesecakes from pan; place on a platter. Chill cheesecakes until ready to serve.
  8. In a double boiler, melt the caramel squares and milk, stirring occasionally.
  9. Spoon about 1 tablespoon caramel over each cheesecake.

Creamy Leek & Potato Soup


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (1/2 lb or 1 c)
  • 2 leeks (about 1" diameter), sliced lengthwise then into 1/2" pieces. Break up and wash under cold water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 quart chicken broth (I used homemade chicken stock)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 cups Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups heavy cream


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Cook leeks in butter with salt (to help sweat out the liquid) and pepper until tender, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. I let mine caramelize lightly.
  2. Stir cornstarch into broth and pour broth into pot. Add the potatoes and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the cream, reduce heat and simmer at least 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

Based on a recipe found at