Saturday, December 29, 2012

Moroccan Mint Tea Recipe

Classic Moroccan Mint Tea is made by steeping green tea with spearmint leaves. Many families serve it more than once a day.

Moroccan tea pots vary in size, but a small pot typically holds about a half liter (six glasses) of tea, while a larger pot holds approximately a liter (12 glasses).

The measures below are for a small pot of tea and are approximates since tea leaves vary in quality and strength. Try a variety – not a brand – of green tea called Chinese Gunpowder.

The recipe reflects the fact that most Moroccans like their tea quite sweet. Adjust sugar to your personal taste.

Serves 2 to 4.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon Green Tea leaves
  • 1 large handful fresh spearmint leaves, washed  ** we have this growing in the side yard!
  • 1/2 liter (about 2 cups) boiling water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  1. Boil at least a liter of water. Rinse a small tea pot with about 1/4 cup of the water.
  2. Add the tea leaves and another 1/4 cup boiling water. Swirl the pot to wash and rinse the leaves, and pour out the water.
  3. Add the mint leaves and the sugar, and fill the pot with 1/2 liter (about 2 cups) boiling water. Leave the tea to steep for five minutes or longer, or set the tea pot over medium-low heat and bring the tea to a simmer. Remove from the heat, and allow to steep several minutes more.
  4. Gently stir the tea, pour into small tea glasses and serve.

Cranberry Sauce

It's interesting that this year Cindy, Barbara and I all made cranberry sauce rather than buying the cans. Somehow there is a feeling of accomplishment or beating the system to make it from scratch.   Just like pecan pie, it's something to make the night before or early in the day so there is time to get cold.

I prefer the whole berry kind of sauce, and I like to taste the cranberries, rather than tasting apples, or oranges or anything else.  Given that, I can't remember why I added blueberries this year.  Make the sauce so it didn't get as firm as it did when I only used cranberries.

  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 1 cup (250 mL) water
  • 4 cups (1 12-oz package) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • Optional Pecans, orange zest, raisins, currants, blueberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice.

  1. Wash and pick over cranberries. In a saucepan bring to a boil water and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst.
  2. At this point you can add all number of optional ingredients. We typically mix in a half a cup of roughly chopped pecans with or without a few strips of orange zest. You can add a cup of raisins or currants. You can add up to a pint of fresh or frozen blueberries for added sweetness. Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice can be added too.
  3. Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.
Cranberry sauce base makes 2 1/4 cups.

From: (but I think it's what is on the back of a bag of cranberries too)

Cindy made this recipe, it has less sugar but adds pear to add the sweetness:

Pear-Cranberry Sauce

  • 12 ounce(s) fresh cranberries 
  • 1 cup(s) water 
  • 1/3 cup(s) sugar 
  • 2 ripe pears
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon 
  • 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla 
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, water, sugar and pears. Cook over medium heat until mixture is boiling, then reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking until berries pop, about 10 minutes. 
  2. Remove from heat; stir in cinnamon and vanilla. Refrigerate, covered, until serving time. 

This recipe sounds interesting so I'm pasting it here to remember.

Lani’s Cranberry Sauce with Dates and OJ Recipe 

  • 2 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • juice from one orange
  • a dozen pitted dates (doesn’t matter what From:, I used a mix of medjool and deglet noor)
  • 1/4 + cup water
  1. soak the dates overnight in the orange juice (you can probably skip this step if in a hurry – if so, maybe cook them a little to soften!)
  2. blend the dates with the juice and water
  3. put the dates/juice/water in a pot with the cranberries, bring up the heat quickly to get it hot and then and cook over medium/low heat for 15 minutes.
  4. There you have it! You may need more or less water, depending on how juicy the orange, dates, and cranberries.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Spaghetti With Sweet Potatoes and Ricotta

This year we made with the non-gluton noodles Alex brought.  We had four over - but had more than half left over!

Serves 4
Hands-On Time: 25m
Total Time: 25m
  • 12  ounces  spaghetti (3/4 box)
  • 2  tablespoons  olive oil
  • 2  small yams, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 small sweet potato, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • seasoned black pepper
  • 1/2 red onion sliced
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4  cup  grated Parmesan (1 ounce)
  • 1/3 - 1  cup  ricotta
1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
3. Add the potatoes, seasoned black pepper. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
4. Add the onion and rosemary. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
5. Toss the pasta with the potato mixture, Parmesan, ricotta to taste and reserved cooking water. 
This creamy dish is also great with butternut squash in place of the sweet potato. 
Nutritional Information
Calories 551; Fat 13g; Sat Fat 4g; Cholesterol 16mg; Sodium 566mg; Protein 20g; Carbohydrate 87g; Fiber 7g

Original recipe here:

UPDATE 2015:
Made even quicker variation.
1 bag butternut squash (was frozen) - put in frying pan with a little oil, cook until brown 
1/4 bag eggless noodles - prepare as it says on package
1 red onion - chop and saute until getting color in frying pan
2 small containers cottage cheese

Combine the drained noodles, squash, onion, cottage cheese, rosemary and salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Pecan Pie

This year I just got a frozen 9 inch crust from Windmill Farms and made the pie following these directions (except I added some butterscotch chips on the bottom of the crust).  The chips did not add much flavor I think so okay to skip that step.  Maybe chocolate chips would be fun to add another time.

Incredibly easy pie to make.

Makes one pie.

Prep Time:  5 minutes
Bake Time:  60 to 70 minutes
Chill Time:  2 hours
Yield:  8 servings

  • 1 cup Karo® Light OR Dark Corn Syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon Spice Islands® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecans
  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked or frozen** deep-dish pie crust


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust.

  3. Bake on center rack of oven for 60 to 70 minutes (see tips for doneness, below). Cool for 2 hours on wire rack before serving.

  4. **To use prepared frozen pie crust: Place cookie sheet in oven and preheat oven as directed. Pour filling into frozen crust and bake on preheated cookie sheet.

  5. RECIPE TIPS: Pie is done when center reaches 200°F. Tap center surface of pie lightly - it should spring back when done. For easy clean up, spray pie pan with cooking spray before placing pie crust in pan. If pie crust is overbrowning, cover edges with foil.

  6. NUTRITION TIP: To reduce calories, substitute new Karo® Lite Syrup for the Karo® Light or Dark Corn Syrup.

  7. High Altitude Adjustments: Reduce sugar to 2/3 cup and increase butter to 3 tablespoons. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

  8. VARIATION: coarsely chopped walnuts may be substituted for pecans to make a walnut pie.