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Beet and Avocado Tartine with Perfect Instant Pot Beets

Beet and Avocado Tartine with Perfect Instant Pot Beets

Beet and Avocado Tartine with Perfect Instant Pot Beets

 

3 to 4 medium-sized beets, see notes

 

3 to 4 cooked beets, skins removed

flaky sea salt, like Maldon, or kosher salt

white balsamic vinegar

1 to 2 ripe avocados

squeeze of lemon

4 slices quinoa-flax bread or other seedy bread

handful or arugula or pea shoots or micro greens

drizzle olive oil

 

Place steamer insert and 1 cup water in the inner pot of your Instant Pot. Place beets on top of steamer insert. Secure lid in place. Turn valve to Sealing.  Select manual, high pressure, and adjust the time to 35 minutes. When the time has lapsed, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then turn the valve to venting, carefully remove the lid, carefully remove the beets. A knife should insert into the flesh of the beet easily. If it doesn’t, return beets to pot and cook 5 to 10 minutes longer. Let beets cool for about 5 minutes or until you are able to handle them. Slice off the root end. Use paper towels to rub off the skin. Thinly slice the beets. I like to do this on a mandoline, but if this makes you nervous, simply slice the beets thinly with a knife. Transfer them to a shallow bowl and while they are still warm, season them with salt and douse them with vinegar. Set them aside. Halve the avocado, remove the pit, transfer the flesh to a bowl and mash with a pinch of sea salt and lemon to taste. Depending on the size of the avocados, you may need 1 or 2. Taste this mixture — it should taste well seasoned, so adjust with salt and lemon as needed. Place slices of bread in a toaster or stick them under the broiler (watching closely) until they are lightly toasted. Spread the avocado mash evenly across each slice of toast. Stack the slices of beets into 3 or 4 small piles. Point the tip of your knife into the center of the top beet on one of the stacks, then slice straight down through the stack. Repeat with the remaining stacks. Twist each beet into a little horn and nestle onto each avocado-smeared slice of toast until each slice of toast is covered with the beets. Sprinkle a tiny amount of greens over each toast. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve.

Crepe Bar

Crepe Bar

Sweet Crepe Bar

Fruit (Berries, Slice Banana, cooked stone fruit or apples

Filling (ricotta, whipped cream, Whipped honey Cream Cheese, Fruit Curd, Pudding, mascarpone, Jam, Peanut Butter, Dulce du Leche

Toppings (Shredded Coconut, slivered almonds, granola, chia seeds, mini–Chocolate Chips, Sprinkles

 

Savory Crepe Bar

Protein (Prosciutto, Crumbled Bacon, scrambled egg, sliced boiled egg, thinly sliced steak

Cheese (Brie, Goat Cheese, Cheddar, Mascarpone, Whipped Cream Cheese, Mozzarella, Cottage

Sauce (Pesto, Mojo Sauce, Balsamic Reduction, Marinara, Tapenade,

Vegetables (Sun Dried Tomatoes, spinach, Roasted Red Pepper, Sauteed Mushroom, Caramelized Onions, Tomato Relish,

Fruits (sliced Pears,

Toppings (Herbs, Chopped Scallions

Marinated Heirloom Tomato and Nectarine Salad with Garden Herbs

Marinated Heirloom Tomato and Nectarine Salad with Garden Herbs

Marinated Heirloom Tomato and Nectarine Salad with Garden Herbs

¼ C. EVOO

3 T. Shelled, Roasted Pistachios

2 T. Balsamic Vinegar or White Balsamic Vinegar

2 tsp. Honey

12 Basil Leaves, roughly chopped

2 Springs Fresh Thyme, chopped

1 clove Garlic, grated

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Kosher Salt

2 1.1 C. Cherry Tomatoes, halved

2 Nectarines, cut into wedges

2 balls Burrata Cheese, roughly torn

2 T. snipped fresh Chives for serving

Flaky Sea Salt for serving

 

In a food processor, combine the olive oil, pistachios, vinegar, honey, basil, thyme, garlic, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and pulse until finely ground, about 1 minute. In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes and nectarines. Add the pistachio puree, tossing to coat. Let marinate at room temperature for 10 to 20 minutes or covered with plastic wrap overnight in the fridge. To serve, divide the salad evenly among six bowls and top each with some torn burrata, chives, and a pinch of flaky salt.

Zucchini Bites with Goat Cheese and Thyme

Zucchini Bites with Goat Cheese and Thyme

Zucchini Bites with Goat Cheese and Thyme

4 small or 2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into very thin ribbons

1 T. extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

6 ounces goat cheese (or ricotta if you prefer)

1 T. fresh thyme, plus more for serving

2 teaspoons honey, plus more for serving

Zest of ½ lemon

¼ C. sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped

¼ C. fresh basil leaves, chopped

10 thin slices prosciutto, sliced in half lengthwise

 

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss the zucchini ribbons with olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper.  In a small bowl, stir together the goat cheese, thyme, honey, lemon zest, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.  Working with one at a time, lay out a zucchini ribbon on a clean work surface. Spoon 1 T. of the cheese mixture onto one end and roll up the ribbon. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around the zucchini to secure. Place the rolls seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining zucchini ribbons. Bake until the prosciutto is crisp, 20-25 minutes.  They will ooze a bit, this is ok!  Let them set up on the baking sheet for 6 or so minutes before sprinkling with thresh thyme and drizzled with honey.

Butternut Squash Tart with Chile-Honey Drizzle

Butternut Squash Tart with Chile-Honey Drizzle

Butternut Squash Tart with Chile-Honey Drizzle

 

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature, plus more for the pan

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Kosher salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten

 

1 butternut squash (1 3/4 pounds), peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick half-moons

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage

3 tablespoons honey

Kosher salt

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs

1 1/2 cups gruyere cheese, cut into small cubes

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

 

Special equipment: a 9-inch springform pan. For the crust: Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Put the flour, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and process until thoroughly combined with no visible chunks of butter. Add the egg and pulse until the dough just starts to clump. Transfer the dough to the springform pan and press it evenly on the bottom and 1 inch up the sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. For the filling: Adjust an oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Toss the butternut squash slices with the melted butter, sage, 1 tablespoon honey and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle the Parmesan and breadcrumbs evenly on the bottom of the crust, then scatter over 1/2 cup of the gruyere cubes. Lay out a single layer of butternut squash slices, breaking off pieces of squash to fill any gaps. Scatter another 1/2 cup of gruyere over the squash. Top with the rest of the butternut squash slices and then the remaining 1/2 cup gruyere. Put the springform pan on a baking sheet and bake, until the squash can be pierced easily with a knife, about 1 hour and 40 minutes to 1 hour 50 minutes. (If the crust gets too dark, cover loosely with foil.) Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, crushed red pepper and the remaining 2 tablespoons honey in a microwave-safe bowl large enough to contain it (the honey may boil over in the microwave). Microwave for 30 seconds to heat up the honey and infuse the chile flavor. Reserve. Drizzle the tart all over with the chile-infused honey and serve immediately.

Bruschetta  with Fresh Burrata, Seared Cherry Tomatoes and Roasted Garlic

Bruschetta  with Fresh Burrata, Seared Cherry Tomatoes and Roasted Garlic

Bruschetta  with Fresh Burrata, Seared Cherry Tomatoes and Roasted Garlic

 

1 head of garlic – large

1½ cup cherry tomatoes

5 slices prosciutto

⅔ cup olive oil

¼ cup kalamata olives

Italian herb seasoning – a small sprinkle

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 loaf rustic Italian bread

16 oz. burrata – or fresh mozzarella

basil  – for garnish

salt & pepper

 

Prepare the Bruschetta Topping: Preheat oven to 375 F., and peel a full head of garlic. Remove all of the cloves. Slice off the little ends, and slice the large cloves either in half or in thirds. You want them to be bitesize. Place the garlic in a small bowl with 3 tbsp. of olive oil and a liberal sprinkle of salt and pepper. Gently stir to fully coat garlic in oil. Create a flat “bowl” of foil on a baking sheet or Pyrex that’s large enough that the garlic can lay without overlapping, and all of the oil stays contained. Roast garlic for 20-25 minutes (watching it carefully after 15 minutes and removing when it’s golden brown). While the garlic roasts, place 1½ cups of cherry tomatoes in a pan with 2 tbsp. of olive oil on the hottest burner. Swish them around in the pan to ensure they’re coated in oil. Cover them with a lid. Turn the heat to medium-high, and allow them to cook for 7-8 minutes without stirring them in the pan, or moving them at all. Lift the lid periodically to allow steam to release. Once the tomatoes are done, unstick them from the pan with a spoon and let them sit in the pan until the garlic is ready. Once the garlic is golden brown, remove it from the oven and drain the oil into a bowl to save for later. You’ll use this garlic oil to dip your bread into before toasting. Add roasted garlic and ¼ cup of kalamata olives to the pan with 2 more tbsp. of olive oil, 1 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar and a small sprinkle of Italian herb seasoning. Turn the heat to medium and gently sauté the ingredients for 5 minutes, making sure not to break up the tomatoes. If you intend to serve the bruschetta cold, place the topping in a container and allow it to cool for 45 minutes to an hour in the refrigerator.

 

Prepare the Prosciutto Roses: Remove a slice of prosciutto as carefully as you can from the package so it does not stick to other pieces. Use kitchen scissors to cut the piece into 4 smaller pieces. Fold each piece in half and roll each piece into a pretty rose. Do the same to another piece so you have 8 roses. Set aside.

 

Assemble the Bruschetta: Pre-heat your oven or toaster oven to 350 F., and slice bread into ½ inch slices. Add 2 more tbsp. of olive oil to the garlic oil you set aside and pour onto a plate. Dip each bread slice into the garlic oil. Toast breads for 15 to 20 minutes. Lay your garlic toasts down and add a very nice helping of burrata on the right side of each one. Spoon the tomato topping on the right side of the toast, making sure to get a little tomato, garlic and olives on each one. Top with a little prosciutto rose and basil and serve.

Mediterranean Beef Pinwheels

Mediterranean Beef Pinwheels

Mediterranean Beef Pinwheels

1 beef Flank Steak (1-1/2 to 2 pounds)

Beef Marinade:

1/3 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons dried oregano leaves

Filling:

1/3 cup olive tapenade

1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1/4 cup crumbled low-fat feta cheese

Vegetables:

4 cups grape or cherry tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Place steak between 2 pieces of plastic wrap.  Using smooth side of meat mallet, pound steak to 1/2-inch thickness.  Place steak in large food-safe plastic bag or large baking dish.  Combine marinade ingredients in small bowl.  Pour marinade over steak; turn to coat.  Close bag securely or cover dish and marinate in refrigerator 4 hours or as long as overnight, turning occasionally. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line shallow baking pan with parchment paper.  Remove steak from marinade.  Reserve remaining marinade; cover and refrigerate.  Place steak on cutting board so grain is running top to bottom.  Spread tapenade on steak.  Arrange spinach evenly on tapenade and sprinkle with feta.  Starting from side closest to you, roll the steak tightly to form a log.  Using 6 (8-inch long) pieces of kitchen string, tie log in even intervals. Cut log between string into 6 equal pieces, leaving string in place.  Place pieces, cut-side up, on baking pan.  In a medium bowl, combine reserved marinade and tomatoes, toss to coat.  Arrange tomato mixture around pinwheels.  Roast in 425°F for 25 to 35 minutes until instant read temperature inserted horizontally into center registers 165°F.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Fall Cheese Platter

Fall Cheese Platter

Fall Cheese Platter

2 medium apples, chopped (2 C.)

2 C. cranberries

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (1 C.)

1 small onion, finely chopped (1/4 C.)

3/4 C. packed brown sugar

1/2 C. golden raisins

1/2 C. white vinegar

1 1/2 tsp. finely chopped gingerroot

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

 

16 slices (1 oz. each) assorted cheeses, such as Cheddar, Colby-Monterey Jack, Monterey Jack with jalapeño peppers and Swiss

1/4 C. hazelnuts, (filberts)

Crackers

 

In 2-quart saucepan, mix all chutney ingredients. Heat to boiling, stirring frequently; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered about 1 hour, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and fruit is tender. Spoon into nonaluminum container. Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.  Cut cheese with 1-, 1 1/2- and 2-inch leaf-shaped cookie cutters. Place cheese on medium platter, overlapping leaves. Sprinkle hazelnuts on platter to look like acorns. Serve with chutney and crackers.

Baked Brie with Balsamic Cherries, Pistachios & Cinnamon Balsamic

Baked Brie with Balsamic Cherries, Pistachios & Cinnamon Balsamic

Baked Brie with Balsamic Cherries, Pistachios & Cinnamon Balsamic

2 T Cinnamon Pear Balsamic or your favorite!

2 T hot water

1/2 c. dried cherries (or could use dried cranberries)

1/3 c. pistachios, chopped (or your favorite nuts)

200 g. brie cheese wheel

2 T honey

 

Preheat oven to 350F. In a small bowl, add Cinnamon Pear Balsamic and hot water to dried cherries. Set aside and allow to soak for 15 minutes. While cherries are soaking, warm honey slightly in microwave or saucepan (to make it thin for drizzling).  Using a brie baker or a baking sheet lined with parchment, place unwrapped brie. Using a fork or a vegetable peeler, lightly score or peel top rind of brie (leave sides and bottom intact). M Drain balsamic-soaked cherries, then place on top of brie. Sprinkle the pistachios and drizzle the warmed honey. Bake for 15 minutes or until brie has just started to ooze. Transfer brie to a serving platter if desired, and drizzle with extra Cinnamon Pear Balsamic. Serve warm with crackers, crostini or baguette slices.   Chef’s Note: Try with your favorite flavored Balsamic! We would recommend Black Currant, Blackberry Ginger, or Cherry Balsamic.

Best White Bread Sandwiches

Best White Bread Sandwiches

Best White Bread Sandwiches

 

BREAD: Lay out towering stacks on a platter; it can be thin sliced white bread, or thick slices of ciabatta or sourdough, or sliced seeded whole-grain or a gluten-free option, depending on your crowd.

 

MAYO: Straight up and classic, please. Be generous. It seals the bread and keeps it from getting soggy from the next ingredient on the list. Decant into a bowl or go low-brow chic with ajar and a classy knife.

 

TOMATOES: Heirloom tomatoes, fresh from a farm or a garden, are a deserving star of this spread. Slice them thick, salt them, and let them drain on paper towels for an hour; transfer to a platter to serve.

 

CUCUMBERS: Small, fresh, snappy cucumbers add a crunchy edge and color (whether your guests put them in their sandwiches or eat them on their own).

 

HERBS: Any fresh herbs are welcome here—dill, mint, parsley, oregano—but anything flowering, like chives, gets top marks. Stand sprigs and bunches in cups in water, like flowers, for guests to pick off, or finely chop them and serve in small bowls for sprinkling.

 

SALT: A potent sea salt, like Maldon or fleur de sei, is a win; leave it at the ready in copious amounts. It is the secret to extracting even more umami from every bite.

PEPPER: Freshly ground and generous is the key here. Include a pepper mill for self-service.

Hungarian Snacking Tray

Hungarian Snacking Tray

Hungarian Snacking Tray

A proper snack tray in Hungary is teeming with sweets—doughy and poppy seed laced, or crumbly and tart. There might be butter cookies in a tin or savory cheese biscuits wrapped in a linen, and flaky stuffed strudels that disappear in a breath. No matter how unaccomplished at baking your hosts consider themselves, there will always be something deliciously home baked and there will be zero rules about eating your vegetables first. This jives with my children rather well. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been to Hungary, or never will; you can adopt this way of life as your own. Here’s how to make like a Hungarian and really live a little.

 

MEAT: If you can find it, goose liver pâté is a hallmark of Hungarian cuisine, but any pâté works great, or even liverwurst if that’s what you can find. Add ham, and plenty of sausages, thinly sliced; both csipos (hot) and edes (sweet) are welcome, though any dried Hungarian, French, or Italian sausage will do the trick.

 

CHEESE: Semisoft Trappist monk cheeses go splendidly with this spread, but there is plenty of room for interpretation. A round of soft and funky tomme, or a wedge of harder German or Alpine cheese would be right at home here. Consider your crowd and work from there.

PEPPERS: You can hunt down pale green and slightly spicy Hungarian wax peppers, as they are distinct and delicious on top of buttered bread. In their stead, use banana peppers. They’re milder but have the same crisp edge.

 

OTHER VEGETABLES: Radishes, cucumbers, and fresh spring onions or scallions, sliced thinly or served whole (with a knife handy for DIY slicing), are a must for layering with cheese and meat into open-faced sandwiches.

 

EGGS: Hard-boiled or pickled eggs are great pick-up-and-eat foods and beautiful in the mix.

 

BREAD: White bread, brown bread, rye bread, cheese biscuits—anything works here.

 

BUTTER: European-style or cultured, lightly salted butter is a treat, or use a fresh local butter (a small splurge, but think of it like cheese). Butter the bread in advance or let guests DIY.

 

MUSTARD: A single pot of strong mustard, like smooth or grainy Dijon, goes a long way.

 

FRUIT: Anything perfectly ripe and in season belongs. In Hungary, wine grapes, small apples, plums, sweet cherries, figs, pears, and apricots are usually included, depending on the season. Add your favorites, fresh or dried.

 

SWEETS: They are a must. Our favorites: poppy, apple, or sour-cherry strudel; walnut beigli; Russian tea cakes; or any other nutty, fruity, not-too-sweet pastry

Marinated Goat Cheese with Honey and Hazelnuts

Marinated Goat Cheese with Honey and Hazelnuts

Marinated Goat Cheese with Honey and Hazelnuts

4oz. log Goat Cheese

¼ C. Hazelnut Oil

1 1/2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons chopped toasted hazelnuts

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Place the goat cheese in a serving dish just a little deeper and wider than the log itself. Pour the oil over the cheese, then drizzle the honey on top. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour, turning once or twice. Sprinkle the hazelnuts, salt, and pepper on top, and serve spread on bread or crackers.

Caramelized Onion Tarts with Blue Cheese

Caramelized Onion Tarts with Blue Cheese

Caramelized Onion Tarts with Blue Cheese

1 (17.3 oz.) package puff pastry, thawed in the fridge overnight

2 1/2 lb. white or yellow onions, halved, then sliced 1/8″ thick

1 T. butter

1 T. olive oil

1 tsp. granulated sugar

1 T. dry white wine

Kosher salt

1 egg, beaten

9 oz. fig jam

5 oz. crumbled blue cheese

2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

honey for drizzling

 

Heat butter and oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and stir to coat in oil. You will cook the onions for 60 minutes total, stirring every 4-5 minutes or so. After they’ve cooked for 10 minutes add a pinch of salt. After they’ve cooked for 30 minutes, turn the heat to medium low. Don’t forget to keep stirring! After they’ve cooked for 40 minutes add a tsp. of sugar. Be sure to keep stirring them every 4-5 minutes so they cook evenly. After they’ve finished cooking for 60 minutes and are a gorgeous dark brown color, pour in the wine and deglaze the pan (scrape all the bits off the bottom) and set aside. When the onions are nearing the end of the caramelizing process, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Unroll both sheets of puff pastry and cut along the seams of each sheet, creating 6 rectangles total. Cut each rectangle into 3 squares. Use a knife to score a half inch crust around the outside of each tart. Transfer tarts to (2) parchment lined baking sheets. Arrange tarts on the two baking sheets about an inch apart.

Brush the crust portion of the tart with the egg wash. Spread a tsp. of fig jam in the center of each tart. Top that with a tsp. of caramelized onions. Top that with a tsp. of blue cheese.  Bake tarts for 18-20 minutes or until the crust is dark golden brown. Remove tarts from the oven, sprinkle each with a few leaves of thyme and drizzle with honey. Serve warm or at room temp and enjoy!

Chardonnay Italian Sausage Bites with Spicy Mustard Dip

Chardonnay Italian Sausage Bites with Spicy Mustard Dip

Chardonnay Italian Sausage Bites with Spicy Mustard Dip

5 lb. Italian sausages (sweet, mild or hot), cut into fourths

1 bottle chardonnay wine

 

3/4 C. mayonnaise, homemade or store-bought

1/4 C. plus 2 T. prepared yellow mustard

2 tsp. to 1 T. Sriracha hot sauce, more or less to taste

2 small to medium size cloves of peeled garlic, finely grated

1 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

 

Place the quartered sausages into a large pot and pour in the whole bottle of chardonnay. Cover and bring to a boil. Meanwhile whisk together the mayo, mustard, sriracha, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 40 minutes or until fully cooked. Stir the sausages occasionally to keep them from sticking. Once the sausage bites are fully cooked, remove and place them onto a rimmed metal baking sheet that is lined with aluminum foil. Arrange your oven rack so it is 4-inches below the broiler and preheat your oven to broil (on high). Slide the pan of sausage bites underneath the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, rotating the pan at 1-1/2 minutes or until all are evenly browned on top. Remove the pan and carefully turn each sausage bite before sliding the pan back under your broiler for another 2 to 3 minutes, again, rotating the pan at the 1-1/2 minute mark to ensure even browning. Remove and let cool slightly before transferring the sausage bites to a clean platter. Serve with the spicy mustard dip and toothpicks!

Mini Tortellini Kabobs

Mini Tortellini Kabobs

Mini Tortellini Kabobs

1/2 C. extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 C. red wine vinegar

3 tsp. honey

2 tsp. lemon juice

2 T. grated Parmesan cheese

3/4 tsp. garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning

pinch of cracked red pepper flakes

pinch of black pepper

For the Kabobs

8 ounce package refrigerated cheese tortellini

4 ounces provolone cheese (6 thin slices), cut into small squares

50 thin slices salami

50 pimiento-stuffed green olives

toothpicks

 

To make the dressing, put all of the ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid; shake vigorously until well blended and emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. In a plastic ziploc bag, combine the tortellini and salad dressing; seal bag and refrigerate for 3 hours (or overnight.) Drain tortellini and discard the marinade. On each toothpick, thread pasta, salami (folded in half, and then in half again), and 1-2 slices of cheese, followed by an olive. Serve and enjoy!

Filet Mignon with Mustard and Mushrooms

Filet Mignon with Mustard and Mushrooms

Filet Mignon with Mustard and Mushrooms

4 2-inch-thick filets mignons, tied (10 to 12 ounces each)

2 T. canola oil

1 1/2 T. fleur de sel

2 tsp. coarsely cracked black peppercorns

2 T. unsalted butter

12 ounces cremini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 T. dry sherry

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 T. good olive oil

1/2 C. minced shallots (2 large shallots)

3 T. Cognac or brandy

1 1/4 C. heavy cream

1/4 C. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. whole-grain mustard

2 T. minced fresh parsley leaves

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Be sure your stove is well- ventilated!  Heat a large (10-inch) cast-iron skillet over high heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Pat the filets dry with paper towels and brush all over with the canola oil. Combine the fleur de sel and cracked pepper on a small plate and roll the filets on the top, bottom, and sides in the seasoning, pressing lightly to coat. When the skillet is very hot, add the filets and sear evenly all over (top, bottom, and sides) for about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the steaks from the skillet to a sheet pan (set the skillet aside) and place in the oven for 8 to 12 minutes, until the steaks register 120 degrees on a meat thermometer for medium-rare. Remove from the oven, cover the sheet pan tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a medium (10-inch) sauté pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until they release their juices. Stir in the sherry and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until the mushrooms are cooked through. Sprinkle with 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt and 1⁄4 tsp. pepper and set aside. At the same time, add the olive oil to the skillet (don’t wipe it out), add the shallots, and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the Cognac, stirring to deglaze the skillet, and cook for 2 minutes, until the Cognac evaporates and the shallots are tender. Stir in the cream and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, until thickened. Stir in the two mustards and taste for seasonings. Remove the strings from the filets and place on 4 warm dinner plates. Spoon the mustard sauce around the filets. Spoon the mushrooms on top of the filets and sprinkle each plate with parsley. Serve hot.

Pigs in a Blanket Bites

Pigs in a Blanket Bites

Pigs in a Blanket Bites

 

Sheet puff pastry (1/2 of a 17.3 oz package)

all purpose flour, for rolling out

1 large egg

1 tsp. water

18 ounces fully cooked andouille sausage (6 sausages)

2 tsp. yellow mustard seeds

2 tsp. fine cornmeal

Creole mustard, for serving

 

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking liner. Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Roll the puff pastry into a 12×12-inch square. Brush away any excess flour. Cut the square into half horizontally, then in thirds vertically to make 6 4×6-inch rectangles. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Brush the rectangles with the egg wash. Place one sausage along the long end of the rectangle, (don’t worry if the ends stick out), and roll the pastry around the sausage. Press the edge to seal. Place on the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining sausages and rectangles. Set aside the remaining egg wash and refrigerate the sausages for 30 minutes, or up to overnight. Preheat the oven to 400F. Combine the mustard seeds and cornmeal in a shallow baking dish. Working with 1 roll at a time, brush the outside of the pastry with the egg wash. Roll in the seed-cornmeal mixture. Repeat with the remaining sausages. (If the pastry becomes warm or soft, return to the refrigerator for a few minutes.) Using a sharp knife, cut off any ends of the sausages that stick out of the ends. Cut each roll into 6 pieces. If using skewers or toothpicks, insert into the pieces and arrange on the baking sheet, alternating the orientation so the skewers don’t touch the pastry as it expands while baking. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip. Continue cooking until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes more. Remove to a rack to cool slightly before serving. Serve warm with the Creole mustard for dipping.

Peach Sunrise Cocktail Cubes

Peach Sunrise Cocktail Cubes

PEACH SUNRISE COCKTAIL CUBES

3 3-oz. pkg. orange-flavor gelatin

1 ½ cups boiling water

11/2 cups cranberry juice

¾ cup vodka

6 Tbsp, peach schnapps

Nonstick cooking spray

 

In a bowl stir together gelatin and boiling water until completely dissolved. Add cranberry juice; vodka- and schnapps. Coat a 3-qt. rectangular baking dish with cooking spray. Pour gelatin mixture into dish. Chill about 3 hours or until firm. Cut into 1-inch squares. Serve in cocktail glasses.

 

number of servings 6

per Serving 296 cal., o gfat, o mg chol., 169 mg sodium, 52 g carb., o g fiber, 52 g sugars, 4gpro.

Vegetable Spiral Tart

Vegetable Spiral Tart

Vegetable Spiral Tart

Tart Crust

2 1/3 cups all purpose flour

3/4 tsp kosher salt

16 tbs butter (chilled and cut into 1/2″ pieces)

1/2 cup water (very cold)

Vegetable Filling

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 1/4 cup parmesan (finely grated, 1/4 cup reserved)

2 tbs kosher salt

1/2 tsp pepper (ground)

1/4 tsp nutmeg (grated)

1/4 tsp chili powder

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

3-4 purple carrots (medium)

2 russet potato (large)

2 green zucchini (medium)

2 sweet potato (large)

 

Sprinkle the cold water on top and pulse again just until the dough comes together into a ball, but it won’t be completely smooth yet. You should still see small bits of butter. Place a piece of plastic wrap on your working surface and turn the dough out onto it. Fold the plastic over and press the dough into a 1-inch thick disc. Make sure it is wrapped completely and refrigerate the disc of dough for 2 hours (or overnight). When chilled, place the disk of dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out until 1/8 inch thick, periodically lifting and rotating to make sure it isn’t sticking to your surface (dust your surface as needed). Carefully transfer the dough to your tart pan, easing it in without stretching the sides, and gently press into place. Trim with a sharp knife even with the rim of your pan. Chill until firm to touch, 30 min – 1 hour. At this point it can be frozen (well- wrapped) for 2 weeks if needed. No thawing necessary if you freeze it! Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line the tart shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (or dried beans). To partially bake, bake until the surface looks dry and pale, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the paper and weights. Return to the oven a bake for 5 minutes longer.

 

Tart Crust

 

To make the dough in a food processor, put your flour and salt in the food processor and sprinkle on your cold butter pieces. Cover and pulse several times until the butter is cut into pea size pieces.

 

Vegetable Filling

 

As your tart shell is being partially baked, prep the vegetables by shaving them into thin ribbons. A mandolin would work but I find a vegetable peeler even easier and faster – and you get even finer shavings, which cuts down on the cooking time of the tart. For the potatoes and sweet potatoes, I recommend cutting them in quarters, length-wise. All the vegetables should roughly be around the same width so when they’re laid upright in the tart, you can visibly see all the pretty, colorful layers. In a large mixing bowl, combine cream, parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg and chili pepper. Whisk until combined. Toss the vegetable ribbons into the cream mixture until they’re all coated. Take a ribbon (I like to use zucchini here) since it’s so flexible. Roll it into a tight spiral and place it on the center of the partially baked tart shell. Take another vegetable and wrap it around the center spiral. Continue working outwards, alternating vegetables. The cream actually makes the vegetables stick to each other so it’s not as hard as it looks! Once you’ve reached the edge of the tart shell, brush the top of the tart with olive oil and sprinkle with a good sprinkling of finely grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 °F for 50 to 60 minutes, until vegetables are soft and cooked through. Cool in tart pan for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

 

Baking time will greatly depend on how thin your vegetables are. Using a good quality, sharp Y-peeler is preferred over a mandolin, and much safer and faster to use. If you use a mandolin, I recommend covering the tart with foil to bake for 20 minutes and then removing the foil and bake uncovered for another 45 minutes. In the spring and summer,  you can replace the root vegetables with different varieties of squash and eggplant. I would just decrease the baking time.

The Walking Dead Brain Cupcakes

The Walking Dead Brain Cupcakes

The Walking Dead (Zombie) Brain Cupcakes

Pink or white paper Cupcake liners

1 recipe batter for Red Velvet Cupcakes

1 recipe Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting

Red and black food coloring

Pastry bag and large round tip

 

Line Cupcake tins with the liners. Fill the Cupcake liners two-thirds full with the batter and bake the Cupcakes as directed in the recipe. Mix a drop of red and black food coloring into the frosting to make it a pinkish gray brain color. Using the pastry bag, pipe the frosting in a squiggly pile on half of each Cupcake top (brains have two hemispheres, you know). Now pipe the frosting in a squiggly pile on the other half of the Cupcake top.

Frosty Citrus Party Punch

Frosty Citrus Party Punch

Frosty Citrus Party Punch

2 cans (6 ounces each) frozen limeade or lemonade concentrate, thawed

3 cups cold water

2 cans (12 ounces each) lemon-lime soda pop (3 cups), chilled

½ pint lime or lemon sherbet (1 cup), softened

 

Mix limeade concentrate and water in large pitcher. Just before serving, stir in soda pop. Pour into punch bowl. Float scoops of sherbet on top.

Cannellini Beans and Fougasse

Cannellini Beans and Fougasse

Cannellini Beans and Fougasse

 

½  of 410g can cannellini beans (14oz. can)

½ – 1 clove garlic, peeled

A little virgin olive oil

A little white wine vinegar

Small bunch of summer savory

Few slices of Fougasse (a French bread)

 

Using a pestle and mortar or a fork, mash a large a large handful of canned cannellini beans, add a little chopped garlic, and drizzle in extra virgin olive oil and a splash of white wine vinegar. Mix well with a small bunch of chopped summer savory leaves.  Serve with griddled slices of fougasse.

Prosciutto and Ricotta Crostini with Honey Recipe

Prosciutto and Ricotta Crostini with Honey Recipe

Prosciutto and Ricotta Crostini with Honey Recipe

1 baguette, sliced on the diagonal into 1/2-inch slices
1 T. olive oil
1 C. ricotta cheese
1/2 pound prosciutto
2 C. arugula
2 T. honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly brush bread slices with olive oil, and then bake in the oven for 2-3 minutes until the edges begin to brown. Spread ricotta cheese onto each toasted bread slice, and then top with a slice of prosciutto, arugula leaves and a drizzle of honey.

Grilled Prosciutto, Fresh Mozzarella Garlic Toasts with Fresh Basil

Grilled Prosciutto, Fresh Mozzarella Garlic Toasts with Fresh Basil

Grilled Prosciutto, Fresh Mozzarella Garlic Toasts with Fresh Basil

1 baguette
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 T. of olive oil
8 ounces of fresh mozzarella, sliced
6 slices of prosciutto, thinly sliced
sea salt & cracked pepper
fresh basil, chopped

Prepare the bread by slicing it into thin slices. Grill bread just before serving. You can do it under the broiler in your oven, or on the grill. Brush the bread with olive oil on one side. If broiling, place them on a sheet oiled side up and place them under the broiler for 1-2 minutes. Be careful not to burn! If grilling, also grill the bread for 1-2 minutes. When you remove them from the grill or oven, let them cool slightly, then rub the raw clove of garlic on each piece. If grilling, brush the other side of the bread with oil, the put that side down on the baking sheet or tray. If you are broiling in the oven, just keep the toasts on the sheet with their toasted side up. Top each piece of bread with small, thin slices of prosciutto. Then, top each with a slice of fresh mozzarella. Grill or broil the toasts for 2 minutes, or just until the mozzarella begins to melt. Remove from the grill or broiler and top with salt, pepper and fresh basil.

Romeu e Julieta (Brazilian Romeo and Juliet)

Romeu e Julieta (Brazilian Romeo and Juliet)

Romeu e Julieta (Brazilian Romeo and Juliet)

1block guava paste

1block  queijo minas or queijo mineiro (queso fresco or canastra may be substituted)

 

Slice guava paste and cheese in thin, even slices. Layer 2-4 per toothpick, alternating colors. Serve chilled or room temperature.

Fougasse (Provençal Bread with Olive and Herbs)

Fougasse (Provençal Bread with Olive and Herbs)

Fougasse (Provençal Bread with Olive and Herbs)

1 tsp. active dry yeast

1 tsp. sugar

4 1⁄2 cups flour

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing loaves

1 tsp. kosher salt

Cornmeal, for dusting

1⁄2 cup minced kalamata olives

1⁄4 cup minced green olives

2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley

2 tbsp. minced fresh thyme

1 tbsp. minced fresh rosemary

Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

 

In a large bowl, stir together yeast, sugar, and 1 1⁄3 cups water heated to 115°; let sit until foamy, 10 minutes. Stir in flour, oil, and salt and mix until a dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead for 6 minutes. Cover with a damp towel; let sit until doubled in size, 1 1⁄2 hours.

Heat oven to 500°. Divide dough into 5 equal pieces. Working with one dough piece at a time, roll into a rough 8″ x 5″ triangle. Transfer rectangle to a cornmeal-dusted, parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, cut three lengthwise parallel slashes in middle of dough and one small slash below and parallel to middle large slash. Spread slashes apart with your fingers. Cover with a damp towel; let rest until puffed, about 30 minutes. Combine olives and herbs in a bowl. Lightly brush each dough piece with oil; sprinkle with olive mixture and season with salt and pepper. Bake, one at a time, until golden brown, about 15 minutes each.

Ultimate Bagel Brunch

Ultimate Bagel Brunch

Ultimate Bagel Brunch

Beet Cured Salmon

Bagels

Aleppo Chive Cream Cheese

Fennel Seed Lemon Cream Cheese

Everything Cream Cheese

Sliced Red Onion, Tomato, Cucumber

Capers

Dill

Creamy Potato Stacks with Garlic, Thyme, and Parmesan

Creamy Potato Stacks with Garlic, Thyme, and Parmesan

Creamy Potato Stacks with Garlic, Thyme, and Parmesan

1½ cups heavy cream

1 sprig fresh thyme

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ tsp. nutmeg

2 lbs. medium russet potatoes (about 4-5), peeled and sliced â…› to 1/16 inch thick

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375F. Spray 12 cup standard muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a small sauce pan, whisk together cream, thyme, garlic, and nutmeg. Bring to a slow simmer and remove from the heat. You want the cream just heated through. Discard the thyme. Toss the potato slices with salt and pepper and layer into stacks in the prepared muffin cups, filling each one to the top but not over the top. Spoon cream over each potato stack, filling almost to the top. You will have couple or so slices exposed. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes are knife tender and golden brown on top. Remove the muffin pan from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen up the stacks and carefully remove to a serving platter. Serve immediately.

Bûche de Noël Log

Bûche de Noël Log

Bûche de Noël Log

6 egg whites
3/4 C. sugar
6 egg yolks
3/4 C. flour
1 C. canned pumpkin
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 C. confectioner’s sugar
1/4 C. chopped pecans, toasted
2 T. each butter and milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Prepare 15″ x 10″ x 1″ jellyroll pan. Spray with non-stick cooking spray; line with wax paper; spray again. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/4 C. sugar, beating until stiff peaks form when beater is raised. Set aside. Beat yolks at high speed gradually adding 1/2 C. sugar until very thick. At low speed, beat in flour, pumpkin, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Fold mixture into egg whites. Spread into jellyroll pan. Bake at 375º for 15 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed with fingertip. Turn out on towel sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar. Remove wax paper. Roll up starting with short end. Cool on rack 1 hour, seam side down. In bowl beat cream cheese with confectioner’s sugar, pecans, butter, milk and vanilla. Unroll cake. Spread cheese mixture to within 1-inch of edges. Roll cake; place seam side down on serving plate. Chill at least 1 hour. Makes 10-12 servings. Refrigerate leftovers.

Pile o’ Presents Cheeseballs

Pile o’ Presents Cheeseballs

Pile o’ Presents Cheeseballs

1/2 C. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
24 oz. (3 packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
2 T. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground white pepper

8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
3/4 C. dried cranberries, finely chopped
2 T ginger apple chutney (or other flavorful chutney)
6-8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1 shallot, finely chopped (should yield about 1/4 c)
1 C. finely chopped pecans
8 oz. chèvre
1/2 C. green onions, finely chopped (whites & greens)
1/3 C. fresh parsley, finely chopped
Additional dried cranberries, green onions, parsley leaves, and pecan halves to “wrap” packages
Various crackers for serving


Combine butter, cream cheese, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper, salt, and white pepper in a large bowl. Mix well until smooth & creamy. Divide the mixture evenly into three separate bowls, using the original mixing bowl for one third. To the first bowl, add the cheddar, cranberries, and chutney and mix well. To the second bowl, add the feta, shallot, and pecans and mix well. To the third bowl, add the chèvre, green onions, and parsley and mix well. Find a serving platter large enough to hold three cheeseballs and crackers and set aside. Stretch out a piece of plastic wrap to about 2 feet long. Scoop the contents of one bowl onto the plastic wrap and fold the wrap around the cheese. Mold the cheese to the desired shape using your hands. Gently pull the plastic wrap away from the cheese and carefully place the cheeseball onto the serving platter. Repeat with new plastic wrap for the other two mixtures, shaping each one slightly differently to make your pile of packages more interesting. Refrigerate for at least one hour. After an hour, the cheeseballs should be fairly firm. “Wrap” your packages by arranging the additional cranberries, green onions, parsley leaves, and pecan halves (each to their respective flavor) as you would ribbons and bows. Use your creativity! Return the cheeseballs to the fridge until 1 hour prior to serving. Remove one hour prior to serving. Arrange crackers around the cheeseballs, providing an additional bowl of crackers on the side.

Yellow Tomato Virgin Bloody Maria

Yellow Tomato Virgin Bloody Maria

Yellow Tomato Virgin Bloody Maria

3 lbs. yellow tomatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces

1 or 2 green jalapeno peppers, stem removed and cut into large pieces

1 lemon, cut into wedges

1 oz. fennel spice rub

6 fennel fronds

Gray sea salt

In a stainless steel mixing bowl, toss the tomatoes with a little gray salt followed by the jalapeno pepper. Juice the mixture through a juice extractor (such as a Juiceman) then pour the mixture into a pitcher. Refrigerate. This can be done up to six hours before serving. Rub the top rims of the glasses with a lemon wedge, and dip the rims in a saucer filled with the fennel spice. The spice will cling to the rim of the glass and flavor the drink as you sip. Fill the glasses with ice. Pour the tomato juice into each glass about an inch from the top. Garnish each with a fennel frond.

Prime Rib Roast

Prime Rib Roast

Prime Rib Roast

1 (3 to 4-lb.) bone-in rib-eye roast

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 C. olive oil

Gravy:

1 large shallot, finely chopped

1/2 bottle drinking red wine, such as Malbec

5 C. beef stock

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Using a heavy hand, season rib-eye roast with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or a roasting pan. Place beef in hot pan and sear until deep golden brown on all sides. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for about 15 minutes per lb. for medium-rare, making an approximate hour of cooking time. Remove the pan from oven and transfer the beef to a cutting board. Allow meat to rest for at least 15 minutes, tented with foil, before carving. Pour off excess fat from the Dutch oven (reserve for Thyme for Yorkshire Pudding, if desired) and place on the stovetop over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until soft and brown, about 4 to 6 minutes. Deglaze the pot with 1/2 C. of the wine, scraping up browned bits from the bottom. Add remaining wine, bring to a boil and reduce by half. Add stock and simmer until reduced again by about half. Pass the gravy through a fine mesh sieve and return to the pan. Bring back to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until desired gravy consistency is reached. Taste for seasoning and adjust, if necessary. Carve beef against the grain, into thin slices, and serve with gravy.

Red Cider Zipper

Red Cider Zipper

Red Cider Zipper

1 quart apple cider, preferably fresh
8 whole cloves
8 allspice berries
3 cinnamon sticks
3 inches of fresh ginger, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
5 orange slices, including rind
4 tea bags of red hibiscus and rosehip herbal tea, such as Red Zinger or Tazo Passion
2 C. boiling water
1 tsp. honey (optional)
9 fluid oz. apple brandy (optional)
Orange or Angostura bitters (optional)

Pour the cider into a medium saucepan with all of the spices, the ginger, and the orange slices. Bring to a low boil on medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to simmer gently for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, steep the four tea bags in two C. boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags, stir in the honey, if using, and set aside. After the cider has simmered for 20 minutes, pour the herbal tea into the cider. Serve immediately or leave to mull further on low heat until ready to drink. For a cocktail, ladle 6 oz. cider into a mug or hot toddy glass. Stir in a shot (3 T.) of apple brandy and two or three dashes of bitters.

Salted Olive Crisps (Croquets Sales Aux Olives)

Salted Olive Crisps (Croquets Sales Aux Olives)


½ C. all-purpose flour
½ C. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. granulated sugar
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. black pepper
1 C. buttermilk
â…“ C. almonds, coarsely chopped
â…“ C. pitted olives, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a 9-inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Whisk flours, sugar, thyme, sea salt, baking soda, and black pepper in a large bowl. Stir in buttermilk. Fold in almonds and olives. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Decrease oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice loaf into ¼ inch thick slices or thinner, if possible. Lay the slices in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for another 30 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until both sides are golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.

Butternut Squash Chips with Cranberry Toppings

Butternut Squash Chips with Cranberry Toppings

1½ lb (1 medium) butternut squash
2–3 T. oil—walnut oil would be nice
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh sage leaves (6–7 leaves)
½ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. ground white pepper
2 T. finely chopped dried cranberries
1 T. honey
½ tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Coarse salt, such as Celtic or Maldon sea salt
Fresh rosemary for garnish

Preheat your oven to 350°F, with the racks positioned in the upper and lower thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and spray or lightly brush them with some of the oil. To prepare the squash, remove about ½ inch from the top and bottom. Divide it into two sections where the neck meets the seed bulb, then remove the skin with a sturdy vegetable peeler or a paring knife. If you plan to use the seed bulb, scoop out the seeds. Cut each section into even, ⅛ inch slices, about as thick as two stacked quarters. A Mandoline or food processer would be helpful here. If the flesh around the seed bulb is less than ½ inch thick, save it for another use. In a wide pot or deep skillet, bring about 2 quarts of water to a boil. Place a bowl of ice water near your cooktop. Cook the squash in 2 batches, boiling each for 1½ to 2 minutes. Don’t overcook them or they’ll break apart. Carefully scoop the slices into the ice water. Lay the slices on a kitchen towel and pat them completely dry.
In a mixing bowl combine the sage, black pepper, rosemary, salt, and white pepper. Pour the oil into another bowl for brushing. Combine the cranberries, honey, and lemon juice and set the mixture aside. Arrange the slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets so that they’re close but not touching. Brush them generously with the oil, flip and brush the other side, and then sprinkle them with some of the herb mixture. Bake the slices for 15 minutes, flip them and sprinkle them with more of the seasoning, then rotate the baking pans and return them to the oven on opposite racks. Continue cooking the chips until they’re a deep amber-brown and crisp—10 to 15 minutes longer, depending on thickness. Check the chips frequently—they can burn quickly—and remove the ones that finish early. Note: The chips will get crisper as they cool. To serve, spread the chips on a platter and drizzle them with the cranberry topping, coarse salt, and fresh rosemary.

You can use other winter squash for this recipe— kabocha, delicata, acorn—but I think the butternut squash was custom-designed for chip-making. Its neck section yields perfect rounds, and its sturdy, dense flesh makes it easy to handle. Look for a squash that has a long, straight neck and a small seed bulb on its end.

Fry. Butternut squash chips fry up nicely in a couple of minutes in hot oil! Par-boil and dry the slices as described above, then follow a basic frying technique

Fig Preserve Glazed Quail

Fig Preserve Glazed Quail

1 (2.25-pound) butternut squash, halved and seeded
1 T. olive oil, plus more for rub
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. crushed red pepper
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
1 T. honey
¼ tsp. grated fresh nutmeg
â…› tsp. ground allspice
4 semi-boneless quail
Wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
1½ to 2 C. Herbed Cauliflower Couscous (recipe follows)
Louisiana Fig Glaze (recipe follows)
Cane Vinegar Fennel (recipe follows)
Bacon Marmalade (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 375°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle flesh of squash with oil, and season with salt and peppers. Place squash, cut side down, on prepared pan. Roast until squash is tender, 45 to 60 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Scoop out flesh into the work bowl of a food processor. Add honey, nutmeg, and allspice; process until smooth. Adjust consistency with either water or olive oil, if necessary. Taste, and add additional salt and peppers, if desired. Set aside. Spray grill rack with nonflammable cooking spray. Preheat grill to medium-high heat (350° to 400°). Preheat oven to 400°. Lay quail on a cutting board, and straighten skin and limbs. (This allows for better grilling and presentation.) Pat dry with paper towels. Pin wings back at joints, and by gently tucking at joints, and skewer. Repeat with legs, crossing at the ankle and skewering to hold shape. Rub outside of quail with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Pick your presentation side (the prettier of the two sides), and place it on the grill first, making sure as much of the surface area of the bird is touching the grill as possible. Turn, and repeat procedure. Let quail stand until cool enough to handle. Fill cavities with Herbed Cauliflower Couscous. Place quail in a cast-iron skillet, and brush with Louisiana Fig Glaze. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 165°. Remove from oven, and glaze again. On serving plates, add a spoonful of butternut squash and Cane Vinegar Fennel; top with a quail. Add Bacon Marmalade, and serve.

Herbed Cauliflower Couscous

3 C. chopped cauliflower florets
2 T. unsalted butter
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
3 T. minced fresh sage leaves
1 T. minced fresh thyme leaves

1.In the work bowl of a food processor, place half of cauliflower; pulse until grainy. Set aside. Repeat with remaining cauliflower and any large pieces from first batch.
2.In large skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat; in batches, add enough cauliflower to cover bottom of skillet. Add water to coat skillet, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until cauliflower is tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain cauliflower, and reserve in a large bowl. Repeat with remaining cauliflower. In a large bowl, combine cauliflower, sage, and thyme; toss. Serve immediately, or let stand until cool.
Louisiana Fig Glaze

1 (11.75-oz.) jar fig preserves (about 1 C.)
¼ C. rice wine vinegar
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, whisk together fig preserves, vinegar, and oil, breaking up any figs left whole or in chunks, until combined.

Cane Vinegar Fennel

¼ C. cane vinegar
1 T. cane syrup
½ shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
â…› tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
â…› tsp. ground black pepper, plus more to taste
½ C. canola oil
½ large fennel bulb, fronds removed and reserved

In the container of a blender, combine vinegar, cane syrup, shallot, garlic, salt, and pepper; pulse to combine. With blender running on medium speed, slowly add oil, and process until emulsified. Add additional salt, if desired. Cover and refrigerate until using.
2.Cut fennel bulb in half lengthwise, and remove core. Thinly slice crosswise, and place in a bowl of ice water.
3.About 20 minutes prior to plating, pick some of the reserved fronds, and place in a large bowl. Drain fennel, and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Add fennel to fronds, and drizzle with vinaigrette; toss to dress. Taste, and adjust salt and pepper.
Bacon Marmalade

½ pound bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 large sweet yellow onion, diced
2 T. firmly packed brown sugar
2 T. apple cider vinegar

In a large skillet, heat bacon over medium heat; cook until bacon drippings have rendered. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon from pan, and reserve. Reserve 3 to 4 T. bacon drippings. Add onion, and cook until translucent. Return reserved bacon to pan. Add brown sugar and vinegar, and cook until mixture has thickened to a glaze. Serve warm. Can be made up to 7 days ahead.

 

Holiday Dungeness Crab Feast

Holiday Dungeness Crab Feast

Start with garlic-and anchovy-laced bagna cauda for dipping raw veggies and crusty bread, followed by cracked crab and pasta in a homemade tomato sauce redolent of garlic and basil.

Juicy and briny-sweet, Dungeness is celebration food. Any evening that begins with crabcakes instantly feels festive and special. And cracked crab is great to eat with close friends and family or with people you’d like to get to know better ― because it requires rolling up your sleeves and diving in with both hands.

What could be more fun than that? Reach across the table for legs and claws and just a little more dipping sauce, dig out morsels of meat, and go for it.

Cracked Crab with Lemongrass, Black Pepper, and Basil

2 stalks fresh lemongrass, ends trimmed and coarse leave

FS=Randy Mon

s discarded
2 T. chopped fresh ginger
1 T. chopped garlic
1/4 C. honey
1/4 C. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 T. freshly ground black pepper
3 fully cooked Dungeness crabs (about 2 lbs. each), cleaned, legs cracked, and bodies quartered
3 T. peanut oil or vegetable oil
1 C. loosely packed cilantro sprigs
1 C. loosely packed Thai basil leaves or small regular basil leaves

 

Chop lemongrass. Put in a food processor with ginger and garlic; whirl until minced. Scrape into a large bowl and stir in honey, soy sauce, and pepper. Add crabs and stir to coat well. Cover, then chill at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour. Pour oil into a 14-in. wok or a wide 8- to 10-qt. pot over medium-high heat. With a slotted spoon, add crabs (reserve marinade). Cover and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes (omit this cooking time if using fully cooked crabs). Uncover pan, add marinade, and cook, stirring often, until crabs are steaming and meat is opaque, about 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro and basil, then transfer crabs and juices to a serving bowl.

Ultimate Crabcakes

4 ounces sea scallops
2 T. lightly beaten egg
3 T. heavy whipping cream
1 pound (3 cups) shelled cooked crab
2 T. diced (1/4 in.) red bell pepper
2 T. diced (1/4 in.) yellow bell pepper
2 T. finely chopped cilantro
3 T. finely chopped chives, divided
2 tsp. green hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne
2 T. olive oil
Devil Sauce

In a food processor, pulse scallops and egg just until scallops are chopped. With motor running, pour in cream and whirl until smooth. Scrape scallop mixture into a bowl. Stir in crab, bell peppers, cilantro, 2 tbsp. chives, the hot sauce, salt, and cayenne, breaking up most large chunks of crab. Lay an 18-in. sheet of parchment paper on a work surface. Scoop 6 equal mounds of crab mixture onto parchment. Shape each into an even cake about 1 1/4 in. thick, using your fingers or, for neater sides, a 2 1/2-in.-diameter ring mold. Pour olive oil into a 12-in. nonstick frying pan and heat over medium-low heat. Using a thin, flexible spatula, carefully transfer cakes to pan. Cook, turning once, until nicely browned and no longer wet in center, about 10 minutes total. Divide crabcakes among 6 warm plates, scatter with remaining 1 tbsp. chives, and serve with Devil Sauce.
Devil Sauce

3/4 C. mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
About 1 tsp. red hot sauce, such as Tabasco

In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, coriander, and 1 tsp. hot sauce. Taste and add more hot sauce if you like.

Pretty Prosciutto & Fig Toasts

Pretty Prosciutto & Fig Toasts

Pretty Prosciutto & Fig Toasts¼ C. Fig Preserves
2 T. Mascarpone Cheese
2 slices Bread, Toasted
¼ lb. Prosciutto, thinly sliced
1 T. chopped Fresh Basil

In small bowl, stir together fig preserves and mascarpone until creamy. Spread on toast and layer slices of prosciutto on top. Sprinkle with basil. If you have fresh figs, slice one and add on top.