Hard Cider Dried Fruit on Vanilla Ice Cream



Door County (my home area!) is full of wonderful locally-made products.   One of my favorites is the hard cider made at Island Orchard Cider located in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin.

Made in the French-style, the ciders use apples, pears and our locally-grown Montmorency cherries as a base.   The cider’s low alcohol level make them perfect for cooking….and they are all gluten free.

Here is a delicious recipe that incorporates Island Orchard Cider into a topping for vanilla ice cream.  Make it ahead and store in the refrigerator.  It will be keep for several weeks refrigerated.  If you are feeling ambitious, make some homemade crepes, fill them with whipped cream and finish with the delicious cider-infused fruit.

Door County Island Orchard Marinated Fruit
I like to use their Apple Cherry hard cider, but the Pear cider works nicely as well!
Make approximately 2 cups

  • 2 firm cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons hard cider (cherry apple or pear cider work well)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • one teaspoon pure vanilla extract, or the scraping of the inside of one vanilla bean
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped dried figs
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries
  •  optional - 1 to 2 teaspoons of cornstarch dissolved in 1 to 2 tablespoons of water (use as needed)
  1. Place the butter in a large saute pan.   When hot, add the apples and toss to lightly coat in butter.   Let sauté until lightly brown.   Add more butter only if the apples are sticking.  Too much butter will not allow the apples to caramelize.
  2. Deglaze the pan with the two tablespoons of hard cider.
  3. Add the additional cider, brown sugar, vanilla or scraped vanilla bean and spices.    Add the dried fruit.   Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, allowing the mixture to reduce and thicken.  The dried fruit will absorb some of the liquid and should create a syrup-like sauce.  If the sauce appears to thin, simply dissolve the optional cornstarch with some water.  While on a simmer, drizzle enough of the mixture into the hot fruit sauce to thicken.
  4.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  If not using immediately, let mixture cool then store in the refrigerator.
Posted in Uncategorized

Lobster Quesadilla


Lobster Quesadillas with Mango Salsa

Makes 6 quesadillas -  this makes 6 luncheon size entrees or appetizers for up to 12

  •  6 ounces of cooked lobster meat, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of cooked shrimp, coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces of goat cheese
  • 4 ounces of Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable, olive oil or butter plus additional for sauteing the quesadillas
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, ribbed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 flour tortillas (6 inch)

Mango Cream

  • 2 ripe mangoes
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Mango Salsa

  • 2 ripe mangoes, peeled, seeded and chopped in 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 cup red onion, chopped in 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, seeded and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste


To make the quesadillas filling:

1.  Place the chopped lobster and shrimp in a large mixing bowl.  Cover and set aside.
2.  In a saute pan, place the 2 teaspoons oil or butter and heat on medium.  Add the onion and garlic and saute until translucent.  Add the red bell pepper and green onion.  Saute for several minutes but do not overcook.  Vegetables should still be firm.  Remove from heat.
3.  Cool the vegetables slightly.   Add to the chopped lobster/shrimp meat.  Add the two cheese, cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.  Toss to combine.
4.  Spread the mixture evenly over 6 tortillas.  Top with the other 6 tortillas.
5.  Heat the butter or oil in a saute pan large enough to place an entire tortilla.   Cook the tortillas until lightly brown, then flip and cook the other side.  Remove and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Continue with remaining tortillas. (To keep them warm, place the baking sheet in a 175 degree oven while make remainder.  You can also pre-make all the quesadillas and reheat on parchment lined baking sheet.  Reheat in a 325 oven until warm – about 10 minutes) 

Mango Salsa

Combine all ingredients and toss gently to combine.   Refrigerate until ready to use.

 Mango Cream

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  Pulse on and off to combine.   Refrigerate until ready to use.

To serve
Cut a quesadilla into four triangles.  Place on individual serving plate.  Garnish with salsa and mango cream.  If serving for a group, slice quesadillas and place on a large serving platter.  Serve the mango cream and salsa in side dishes.







Posted in Appetizers, Holiday & Entertaining | Tagged , ,

The Pigskin Cheese Ball

Pigskin cheese ball close up

Looking for a great appetizer to enjoy during a football game?   This cheese ball Pigskin will be just up your alley!   Plus it’s a fun project to make with your with your family.    Make extra bacon as those creating the Pigskin have a tendency to munch during the pigskin forming process.

Serves 15 to 20

  • 2 pounds of sliced bacon, divided
  • 1 medium Jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 20-ounces of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1½ cups shredded white cheddar cheese plus 2 slices of white cheddar cheese for decoration
  • 3 green onions, roots and tough top greens removed, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon Creole seasoning

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.    Lay the bacon sliced in even layers on two baking sheets.  Bake until crisp, about 12 minutes.   Remove from oven and drain bacon on paper towels.  When cool, coarsely chop and set aside.

 Place the room temperature cream cheese and 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer.     Mix on medium speed until combined.

Add the green onions, ½ cup chopped cooked bacon, chopped jalapeno, garlic salt, white pepper and Creole seasoning.   Mix to combine.

Place a large piece of plastic wrap on a work surface.   Place the cheese mixture in the middle of the plastic wrap and form it into a football.  Cover loosely with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.

When ready to serve,  remove the cheese ball from the refrigerator and place on a work surface.   Cover the cheese ball completely with the remainder of the cooked bacon.    Slice the reserved white cheddar cheese slices into ¼-inch wide strips.   Place two longer strips down the middle of the football.   Place five smaller strips of cheese over the long strips to create the football laces.   Transfer to a serving platter.


Posted in Appetizers, Holiday & Entertaining, Uncategorized | Tagged ,