Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Red & Blue Cobbler

Leftover cranberries and an orange sat in my fruit drawer, and I had plenty of Triple Sec but lacked other ingredients needed to make my favorite margarita. As we endured our 13th day of snow-covered ground, with more on the way (the first time that's happened in the Kansas City area for almost three decades), the idea of comfort foods sounded better and better. I'd already made rustic turkey soup** and homemade spaghetti sauce in the last 48 hours and we'd finally finished all of the holiday desserts.

So, with the help of the cranberries, orange, liqueur, and some frozen blueberries, and taking cues from a cranberry sauce recipe supplied by the Culinary Center of Kansas City* and the topping from an ancient magazine recipe, I made a sweet and satisfying cobbler that I hope you'll enjoy too.

Let me know what you think!

Red & Blue Cobbler
Makes 9 large servings


1/4 cup orange liqueur
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
       (VOE - my original recipe called for 1/2 cup liqueur and 1/4 o.j.; I have reversed these to reduce the sweetness a bit)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons orange rind
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups cranberries, after rinsing and sorting
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
3 teaspoons cornstarch
         (VOE - I originally added the cornstarch, stirred into 1/2 cup of water, but this made the  mixture too soupy, so I've left it out here)

Topping I:

1/8 cup oatmeal
1/8 cup walnuts

Topping II:

4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar

In a crockpot, stir together liqueur, orange juice, cinnamon, orange rind and sugar until sugar dissolves. Add cranberries and cook on high for one hour.

Stir in blueberries and cook on low, about five hours until all berries are soft. Stir in corn starch and let cook one more hour. Grease a square baking pan and pour berry mixture into it. Spoon off some excess liquid.

Topping I: Chop nuts and oatmeal fine, in food processor, and sprinkle over top of mixture.

Topping II: Melt butter in medium microwave-safe bowl, about 45-60 seconds. Stir in flour and brown sugar and cover bowl with lid or vented plastic wrap. Cook on high for 2-2 1/2 minutes, stirring after one minute, until slightly bubbly. Distribute mixture across a piece of foil and let cool until easy to handle; 3-5 minutes. Break up topping into small bits and sprinkle across berry and Topping I.

Refrigerate at least 6 hours or until set.

*I work part-time at the Culinary Center of Kansas City
**see this recipe at

Monday, January 4, 2010

Klavon's Ice Cream Parlor - A Pittsburgh Landmark

When was the last time you bought a single scoop of premium ice cream for just $2.11? Or a gigantic, decadent Turtle Sundae - with chocolate and vanilla ice cream, caramel and fudge sauce, pecans, whipped cream, and a maraschino cherry, for only $4.75? Or tried a scoop of vanilla ice cream doused in thick, rich hot fudge sauce, and a handful of chopped pecans, for less than the cost of a fast food milk shake?

Locally-made Reinhold’s ice cream is what draws most people to  Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor, located in an Art Deco building near the edge of Pittsburgh’s famed Strip District. In fact, it's been a destination for lovers of old-fashioned soda fountain fare for decades.

The family-owned Klavon's actually began as a soda fountain drugstore, in 1925. You'll sit amidst mahogany shelves full of 1920s medicine bottles, a plethora of penny candy, and a marble soda fountain that transport you back in time from the moment you take a seat beside the stained glass windows full of 'Christmas' lights.

Order a tall, frosty ice cream soda, a phosphate, or the long-time Pittsburgh favorite – Large Pecan Balls. These baseball-sized scoops of vanilla ice cream arrive covered in pecans and smothered with customer’s choice of chocolate, hot fudge or hot caramel topping plus a large dollop of whipped cream.

And there's no need to leave non-ice cream fans at home. They can chow down on a gyro or souvlaki sandwich, or savor a bowl of sirloin beef vegetable soup. But, for the best of both worlds, enjoy your lunch plus ice cream, and then take a nice long walk through the neighborhood. It's an easy bet that Klavon's will quickly become a favorite place to treat yourself.