Monday, January 16, 2012

Cooking with Friends: Apricot and Walnut Stuffing

A few months ago I read in one of my student's journals that she like to cook.  Taking my comment-making pen (green, by the way, and not red) I wrote, "Me too!  It would be fun to cook together sometime!"  I continued reading, closed that journal, and moved on to the next one, probably to read about a crush on Justin Bieber or something else incredibly important my little 9-year-olds share with me.  Later that day, however, this particular little girl came up to my desk and said, "I would love to cook with you.  When will you have me over?" 

You gotta give the girl some credit -- she knows how to go after something she wants.

Because I was already friends with this particular family (I have had more than this child as my student) and have actually know them outside of school, I did invite her over and we spent a day cooking together.  First, we made French Toast (her request) for brunch.

Then we *attempted* to make homemade peppermint hot chocolate.  Only I didn't know that Dutch Process Cocoa and regular unsweetened cocoa were so different from each other.  Our hot chocolate was OK, but it was definitely pepperminty.

And last but not least, we made apricot and walnut stuffing.  We had a recipe straight from England from one of my friends who lives there, but it was made very differently than I know stuffing so we adapted it and sort of made up our own recipe as we went.  You will also notice that this stuffing made a repeat appearance in my house and showed up on our Christmas table last night.  It was that good.

Cutting up the sourdough to make croutons

The Super-Crouton-Maker

Sauteing the onion, garlic, and celery

We did it!  A day full of cooking!

The finished product.  Yes, it is purple and gold.  I guess it would be a good treat for any LA Lakers fans out there.  Or nobility.  (Anything else you can think of that is purple and gold???)

1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
5 slices sourdough bread cut into small cubes
1/2 cup dried apricots, cut in small pieces and soaked in water for an hour
1/2 cup walnut pieces
3 cups chicken broth
3 T butter
garlic salt

1.  Make croutons.  Take the bread squares and drizzle half of the butter -- melted -- over them.  Sprinkle with garlic salt and mix.  Transfer to baking sheet and cook for 13 minutes on 350 F.
2.  Meanwhile, saute onion, celery, and garlic in remaining butter over medium-high heat.  After about four minutes add broth. 
3.  When croutons are finished, mix in a large bowl with apricot pieces (water drained out) and walnuts.  Slowly pour broth mixture over the top.  Mix.  Allow to sit for five minutes.
4.  Transfer to a baking dish and bake at 375F for 30 minutes, until top is lightly browned. 

COST: $6.70     COST PER SERVING (6): $1.12

And my favorite picture of the day:

"Look, if I turn the apron around I am a super hero!  I am here to save the day!!!"

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