Restaurant Week Update From Kathy Ciluffo

It’s Wednesday and we’re half-way through the week.  Do you really feel like cooking tonight?  Probably not.  Why not try one of Cape Ann ’s fabulous restaurants and get a three-course meal for only $22.09?

How does a Grilled Tenderloin placed atop a grilled marinated portabella Mushroom cap, topped with gorgonzola cheese and Cabernet demi glaze served with red bliss smashed potatoes and fresh vegetables sound?  Not a red meat person?  Then how about Lobster Stuffed Haddock Filet with Lemon-Tarragon Aioli stuffed with seasoned lobster stuffing, pan-roasted and served with lemon-tarragon aioli and choice of potato or vegetable?  Not a seafood lover?  Then perhaps you might want to try a Wild Mushroom Pizza, fresh herb cream sauce, wild mushroom ragout, and aged provolone?  Not into shrooms?  Then why not try a Grilled Peppercorn Duck Breast sliced and served over butternut squash raviolis with a goat cheese basil sauce, caramelized fennel and Swiss chard?

Are you hungry yet?  These are just four of the main dishes served by a few of the twenty plus restaurants participating in Cape Ann Restaurant Week.  Wednesday does not have to be Prince spaghetti night.  Go out and take your family and friends and support our local restaurants.

Finally…this does NOT have to be the best kept secret in town.  Share this e-mail with family and friends as well as the link to participating restaurants .

click the picture for more info
click the picture for more info

Autumn Harvest Cranberry Filled New England Bundt Cake

If you are feeling like you want to stretch your baking muscles this lovely fall day, try this recipe.  In 2008 I competed in NECN new’s TV Diner Bake Off and this was the winning recipe.  Other than the Topsfield Fair, this was my first head to head competition and after I won, I realized I was totally hooked on contesting!

Here’s the link to the judging portion of the show:

This is a filled bundt cake with a glaze.  There is a lot of batter and this recipe requires a large bundt pan (like the Nordic Ware original pan) that can hold 10-15 cups of batter plus the filling.  If you have a basic tube cake pan it will work as well.   Check your pan and often times they are marked with the measurement.  If all else fails, fill a one cup measuring cup with water and see how many cups your pan holds.    Make sure to grease your pan well.  I use a canola oil baking spray and go over it twice.   As always, you can email me with any questions about the cake (or any recipe I have) before you get started.  This one is worth the effort, believe me!

Taste of New England Harvest Bundt Cake

For the Filling

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup Vermont maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons Cape Cod whole berry cranberry sauce
1/3 cup dried Cape Cod cranberries, chopped

For the Cake:

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
3/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
1 cup butternut squash or pumpkin puree (canned is fine)
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Topping

1/2 cup Macintosh, Granny Smith or other tart New England apple sauce
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons apple brandy
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup New England hazelnuts, toasted and chopped ( may substitute walnuts)
1/4 cup sweetened dried Cape Cod cranberries chopped

In a medium bowl prepare the filling. Beat together cream cheese, egg, cornstarch and maple syrup.  Add brown sugar, butter, salt and cinnamon, cranberries and cranberry sauce until combined.  Refrigerate until ready to use but for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heavily grease a 12 cup Bundt pan and set aside.

In another bowl sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt and set aside.

In a large bowl beat granulated sugar, brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. With mixer running, add eggs one at time and mix until blended. Beat in squash, sour cream and vanilla until well combined. Beat in the flour mixture until just combined.

Spoon one third of the batter into the pan. Spoon filling in a circle on top of batter but do not allow filling to touch the edge of the pan (a tiny ice cream scoop is perfect for this). Top with remaining batter.

Bake for 55-65 minutes until golden brown and cake tester comes out clean.

Remove from oven and place on cooling rack for 15 minutes. Turn out on to serving plate to cool completely.

Before serving, make the glaze.  Whisk together apple sauce, confectioners sugar, cinnamon, brandy, heavy cream and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze over cake and sprinkle with hazelnuts and cranberries. Enjoy!

Dave Sag’s Thursday Night Blues Party @ the Rhumb Line

From Mr. Saggs Hisself-

“Big fun this thursday as we welcome back slumlord and guitar gunslinger Mr. Billy Loosigian, the scourge of N.H. stripmalls. Y’all remember Billy, or is it Buffalo Bilious, the famous juggler of hot blues lix, ancient rock’n’roll samples and general musical magician, courtesy of Willie Alexander’s Ragtime Band. Billy is one of the most sought-after call guys on the Boston circuit, and we got ‘im, and we’re gonna  blow a fuse. Wear rubber gloves. And, oh, by the way, girls, he’s single! and not even remotely gay! And lives out of town! Get in line! I’m sellin’ tickets!
Blacking him up will be our own Frosty The Snowman, Mr. Forrest Padgett, on Drummbulators, the nicest guy I’ve ever known, and of, course, Greg T. on catarrh, and myselph, on base. We’re gonna romp and stomp till midnite. Honk and sneeze till daylite. You come, too.”

GMG Power Rankings #9

One Word To Sum Up Good FOB Donna Ardizzone?  It’s impossible.

So I’ll give you a bunch- tenacious, effervescent, energetic, passionate.

There may be no greater cheerleader for Gloucester.   Donna does so much for the City of Gloucester and is just a light in everyone’s life that she enters.

She is part of the One Hour at A Time Gang which cleans a different section of the City each Saturday Morning, she enters the photography contests, submits pictures for the Where Zat contests, helps pick up before AND after the Block Parties.  The term “Good Egg” was tailor made for people like Donna.

A good friend as well as a good FOB- Donna Ardizzone

Donna Ardizzone
Donna Ardizzone