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Archive: Nov 2013

Roasted Delicata Squash, Pomegranate and Arugula Salad

This is a gorgeous show stealer for the Thanksgiving table. You can roast the Delicata squash the day before if there is no room in the oven on the day.

Serves 4 to 8

2 medium delicata squash, around 1 and 1/4 lbs total
1 tbsp olive oil
Fine grain sea salt
4 heaping cups baby arugula (or mixed greens if you prefer)
2/3 cup pomegranate seeds (or a generous handful of dried cherries or cranberries)
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or pecans
4 oz Greek feta cheese, crumbled

Maple-balsamic vinaigrette
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp real maple syrup
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 F
Wash the squash and scrape off any tough bits of skin with a knife. Slice the squash into 1/2 inch rounds. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds from each round. Drizzle the squash with a generous tbsp of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Use your fingers to lightly coat all the surfaces of the squash with olive oil.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the squash is tender and golden, flipping halfway.

In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, toast the pepitas (or pecans), stirring frequently, until they are fragrant and lightly golden on the edges. Remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and Dijon mustard with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Once the squash has had a few minutes to cool, combine the arugula, pomegranate (or dried fruit), pepitas (or pecans), crumbled feta and squash in a serving bowl. Toss with enough dressing to lightly coat the leaves. Serve immediately.

Yields 4 substantial side salads or up to 8 small servings.
To make this recipe vegan, skip the feta or serve it on the side.

Cornbread, bacon, pecan and leek stuffing

Another great stuffing to add to the repertoire

2 cups pecans
2 cornbread (rounds, squarers or loaves, 8 inches each) coarsely broken into 2 inch pieces (16 cups)
3 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for the dish
8 slices smoked bacon, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
4 celery stalks, chopped nto 1/2 inch pieces
4 leeks (white and pale-green parts only), chopped into 1/2 inch pieces, rinsed well.
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups turkey or chicken stock (preferably homemade)
4 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 F
Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 7 minutes. let cool slightly; coarsely chop. Mix together pecans and cornbread in a large bowl.

Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Cook the bacon in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat until almost crisp, about 3 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium; add the celery and leeks. Cook until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
Stir in thyme and 1 1/4 tsp salt; season with pepper.
Transfer to a large bowl.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat, and add the stock; bring to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits and stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
Add to the bowl with the bacon-vegetable mixture.
Stir in the eggs.
Gently mix in the cornbread mixture. (Do not overmix)
Transfer to a baking dish, dot the top with butter.
bake until golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes

A frozen“Wild Turkey” cocktail for the Holidays

This is from a fellow blogger “View from a Great Island.”  If you want to “taste” the Holidays and feel really special while you figure out the menu, recipes etc, make yourself one of these. It will make your toes curl!!

Serves 2 – 4 (or in our house, 1!)

1 pint container Haagen-Daz butter pecan ice cream
1 oz Wild Turkey 101, or a little more, at your discretion
1 oz Amaretto Liqueur, or a little more

Caramel Sauce

1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter

Make the caramel sauce by mixing the sugar, cream, butter and salt in a saucepan and heating to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, then pour into a jar and let cool. If the sauce thickens too much after cooling, microwave it for a few seconds

For the cocktail; blend the ice cream, the Wild Turkey and the Amaretto in a blender until smooth.
Serve in fancy glasses with a drizzle of the caramel sauce.

If you would like to make this ahead, put the whole blender container back in the freezer after blending and then give it a quick re-blend right before serving

Chicken, sausage and whatever you have in the fridge traybake.

This is the most simple, stunning dish you can have in your repertoire. You can throw it together in minutes and let it roast and caramelize for about 45 minutes and your whole meal is on one roasting dish.

All you need is a very large bowl, at least 16” diameter (great to have anyway) and a large shallow baking tray, minimum 16” x 12” x 1”

The other day I was working and we only had 1 hour before needing to be downtown for a concert.
I took out my large bowl and started to throw stuff into it, tossed it all in olive oil and fresh herbs, some salt and pepper and spices and threw it all onto the baking tray, tossed it in the oven and 45 minutes later, we had a really stunning meal.

You can vary the meat and vegetables according to what you have in your imagination/fridge

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 350 F

1 lb organic boneless, skinless chicken thigh, each cut into 3 chunks (Don’t use breast, as it gets too dry)
1lb of sausage you like, chorizo, Sweet Italian, Spicy Italian, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 large onions, red or white, cut into 1 inch chunks
As many cloves of garlic as you want, peeled, and half of them crushed and half of them left whole
A yellow, red and/or orange pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 lb cherry tomatoes, some halved, the others left whole
3 zucchini, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 eggplant, cut into 1 inch chunks
8 oz baby crimini mushrooms,
8 oz Brussel sprouts, halved
1/2 butternut squash, or 2 cups in 1” cubes
Very small potatoes, or cut up ones, as they need to cook till tender

Throw all this into the large bowl and toss together with;

1 tsp paprika, sweet, hot or smoked, depending on your preference
2 good handfuls fresh basil, torn
A good amount of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp dried oregano, or any other herb you fancy
Some dried chile, if you like a kick
Liberally glug in some really good olive oil, at least 1/4 cup

Mix it all together well so everything is well coated and then tip everything out onto the large roasting tray. Shake till it’s evenly distributed, then put into the oven until it’s starting to get browned and beginning to singe at the edges.
Remove from the oven, taste and re-season.

* Some crumbled feta or blue cheese can also go over everything in the last 15 minutes of cooking

You will start playing around with the flavors and ingredients, trying different combinations, vegetarian, more meat, less vegetables….  The worlds your oyster on this dish!


Blueberry and brioche brunch bake

Another fab Holiday brunch dish prepared the night before. This one oozing with sweet blueberries then covered in a warm blueberry sauce for good measure.

Makes 6 servings

For the breakfast casserole

4 brioche (about 14 oz in all)  or 8 x 1” thick slices of brioche or other white bread, cubed
1/4 lb cream cheese, cut into cubes
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 1/2 tbsp grated orange zest
6 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

For the blueberry sauce

3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
2 tsp unsalted butter
3/4 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice

Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 12 x 9 x 2 (approx) baking dish

Arrange half the brioche slices or cubes in the bottom. Scatter the cream cheese cubes, 3/4 of the blueberries and the orange zest over the brioche or bread. Top with the remaining brioche or bread cubes.

In a bowl, stir the eggs, milk and maple syrup to blend. Pour this egg mixture evenly over the entire casserole. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Remove the casserole from the fridge 30 minutes before you cook it.
Bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered until puffed and golden, about another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the blueberry sauce;

In a large saucepan, blend the sugar and cornstarch, then stir in the water. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture boils, thickens, and becomes clear, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the blueberries. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the blueberries burst, about 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice and keep warm until the casserole is done.

Cut the baked casserole into 6 squares, and transfer to plates. Pour abut 1/4 cup blueberry sauce over each portion and serve hot.



Baked Panettone with ricotta and mandarin oranges

Go out and buy a lovely fruity panettone and prepare this the night before, for a Thanksgiving or Christmas breakfast. All you have to do in the morning is pop it in the oven and you will think you’ve died and gone to Italian heaven!

Makes 6 servings

1 tbsp butter, preferably unsalted
8 oz fresh whole-fat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp Cointreau or Grand Marnier ( or a litte more!)
Six 1/2 inch thick slices of panettone
One 11 oz can of mandarin oranges, drained
6 extra large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Orange marmalade or maple syrup to serve

Preheat the oven to 350 F
Generously grease a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish with all the butter

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the ricotta cheese, sugar, cream and Cointreau together until the mixture is very dense and smooth

Arrange 3 panettone slices over the bottom of the greased baking dish, covering it completely.
Cover the panettone slices with the ricotta mixture and then arrange the mandarin oranges slices over the ricotta mixture. Cover with the remaining 3 slices of panettone.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and cinnamon until well blended. Pour this mixture over the panettone in the baking dish.

*At this point the dish can be covered with plastic wrap and put in the fridge over night until you’re ready to bake it.

Bake the casserole until dark golden brown on top, about 30 mins or so.

* If you have refrigerated it overnight, remove the dish from the fridge, uncover it and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking it.

Serve with the orange marmalade or maple syrup or both!

This one was done in a round baking dish


Grilled zucchini, Amalfi-style

Light, fresh, simple and stunning flavors. Lovely to serve alongside some marinated fish as a starter. Thank you Marcella Hazan.

Serves 4

2 lbs zucchini, as young and firm as possible, thoroughly cleaned, ends removed
4 garlic cloves; peeled and slightly mashed
2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, torn into bits
Light olive oil; or vegetable oil, for frying
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper

Cut the zucchini into rounds or slices lengthwise and place in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and mix gently. Let stand for 30 minutes to allow the water to come off the zucchini.

Put the mashed garlic and mint into a large bowl.

Remove the zucchini from the colander and pat dry. Heat the oil in a large skillet until very hot, then place the zucchini in a single layer in the skillet. Cook on both sides until golden brown, then transfer to the bowl with the mint and garlic.

Sprinkle the zucchini with a little vinegar, then continue cooking any remaining zucchini. Sprinkle with more vinegar when done.

When all the zucchini are done, add olive oil and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
Serve immediately or the next day

Pumpkin seed stuffing with chorizo

This is a terrific stuffing as it uses the “pepitas” pumpkin seeds. This recipe was voted best recipe of the year for Bon Appetite magazine in 2008.  Toasted pepitas, fragrant Spanish chorizo, chiles and cornbread. Would could be nicer?
You can make this the day before but only if you’re not putting it in the turkey. I like to cook this separately.

Serves 6 to 8

* Pumpkin seed oil can be found online or in well stocked supermarkets and is worth having. For a little extra heat, roast 2 to 4 jalapeno chiles with the poblanos, then clean, stem, seed and chop them before adding them to the stuffing.

10 cups cubed corn bread, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup pumpkinseed oil, divided
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 1/4 tsp salt, divided
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups shelled pumpkin seeds
4 poblano chiles
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) butter, divided
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 lb Spanish chorizo, cut crosswise into 1/8 inch slices
1 1/2 cups fresh corn, from about 2 medium corn cobs
2 onions, cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 tsp minced garlic
1/3 cup dry white wine
3/4 tsp cumin (I roast my own)
1/2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
2 to 3 cups chicken or turkey broth

Preheat the oven to 375 F
In a large bowl, gently toss the corn bread with 3 tbsp pumpkinseed oil, the thyme, oregano,1/2 tsp salt and several grinds of black pepper.

Spread the cubes in a single layer on a large, foil lined baking sheet and toast for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly golden, shaking the pan every 5 minutes for even coloring. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then place in a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, toss the pumpkin seeds with the remaining tbsp pumpkinseed oil, 1/4 tsp salt and several grinds of black pepper. Place the seeds on a foil lined baking sheet and toast until fragrant, puffed and lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Remove and cool, then add to the cornbread.

Meanwhile, roast the chiles on the stove top directly over a hot burner until charred on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove to a sealed bag to rest until cool enough to peel.
Peel the charred skin (do NOT rinse under water as this will remove the flavor)
Halve the chiles lengthwise, stem and seed. Cut the halves crosswise into 1/8 inch sttrips. Add to the cornbread.

Heat a large, heavy-bottom skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp butter and the olive oil, then the chorizo and cook until lightly browned, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan, and add the chorizo to the stuffing mixture.

Stir the corn and onions into the pan and season with 1/4 tsp salt and several grinds of black pepper.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is crisp-tender and the onions have softened and are translucent, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and cook until it is aromatic, about 30 seconds.
Stir in the white wine and cook, scraping any bits of flavoring from the pan, until the white wine has almost evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.  Cool, slightly, then add to the stuffing mixture.

*(You are building layers of flavor with all these steps)

Gently toss in the cumin and smoked Spanish paprika, and season the stuffing with 1/4 tsp salt or to taste.
Melt the remaining butter and drizzle over the stuffing. Drizzle 2 cups of chicken or turkey broth over the stuffing and gently toss. Add additional broth as desired.

Place the stuffing in a buttered 13 by 9 inch baking dish, cover and place in the oven. Bake for 20  minutes, then remove the cover and continue to bake for another 20 to 30 minutes until the top is lightly toasted.
Remove and serve.


Spicy, sticky baked Native Indian Pudding

Sticky, gooey, spicy and easy pudding. It’s a must!

Makes 12 servings   (you can halve the recipe if you like, but you won’t want to )

2 quarts milk
1 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated)
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/3 tsp ginger
2 cups molasses
2 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups whole eggs
1 tsp cinnamon

Bring 2 quarts of milk to a boil in a heavy pan.
Add the cornmeal to the milk and blend with a wire whisk until it thickens.
Add the molasses, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and bring to the boil, whisking.
In a separate container, blend the 2 1/2 cups of milk and eggs together and add the hot mixture to it and stir.
Place in a buttered and sugared casserole.
Bake in a 350 F oven for approximately 1 hour.
Test the pudding with a knife for doneness.
Let stand and then serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream