Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage-Apple Chicken Meatballs in a Spinach Vermouth Sauce

12265847_779290548826_2173721953493967764_oPumpkin Gnocchi with Sage-Apple Chicken Meatballs
in a Spinach Vermouth Sauce

Ingredients:

Pumpkin Gnocchi
2 Russet Potatoes, skinned, cubed
1 cup prepared Pumpkin
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Black Pepper
1/8 tsp Salt
1 – 2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 Egg

Sage Apple Chicken Meatballs
1 lb Ground Chicken
1/2 cup Sage, finely chopped
1/2 Vidalia Onion, minced
1/2 Granny Smith Onion, skinned & minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1/8 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Black Pepper, coarsely ground
1 Egg
Olive Oil for cooking

Spinach Vermouth Sauce
6 cups Baby Spinach
1/2 Vidalia Onion, Sliced
1/2 Granny Smith Apple, sliced
1/4 cup Vermouth
2 Tbsp Butter
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1/8 tsp Oregano
1/8 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Black Pepper

Shaved Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  • Prepare the Gnocchi: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and boil the potatoes until fork tender.
  • Drain the potatoes and mash in a large bowl.
  • Incorporate the Pumpkin pulp, Spices, & Egg.
  • Start incorporating the Flour into the mixture. You may not use all the flour, or you may need more. What you are looking for is a dough forming that you can handle, and roll. It should be cohesive to itself, but not sticky.
  • Divide the dough into six parts.
  • On a floured surface, start rolling each part into a rope, about 1/2″-1″ thick in diameter.
  • Start cutting into 1/2″-1″ pieces. Think little pillows for the shape. You do not want to saw, you want to come down with your knife.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough. Set to the side.
  • Prepare the Meatballs: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands.
  • Form into 1 1/2″ balls.
  • Heat the Olive Oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add the balls to the oil, but do not over crowd them.
  • Let the balls cook a minute and then roll them to a raw side. Repeat until all sides are cooked. Let cook an additional minute so that they cook through. Remove to a plate and repeat until all meatballs are completed.
  • Cook the Gnocchi: Bring a pot of salted water to boil.
  • Add all the Gnocchi. They will sink.
  • As the Gnocchi start to float, they are done, and can be ladled out.
  • Prepare the Sauce: Using the skillet that was used to cook the meatballs, deglaze with the Vermouth, and add the Butter.
  • Add the Onions and Apples, and cook till tender.
  • Add the Oregano and Crushed Red Pepper.
  • Toss in the Spinach until it wilts.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Add the Gnocchi and Meatballs and toss well.
  • Plate and garnish with shaved Parmesan.

Serves 6.

NOTES: Gnocchi are simple to make for scratch. I’ve seen many recipes that exclude the use of Potatoes, but in my opinion, it is the Potato that makes the Gnocchi.
This dish was inspired by a recipe that I found through a cooking club, but I decided to improve upon it and make it in my own way.

Advertisements

Spiced Lentil Soup

Spiced Lentil Soup

Spiced Lentil Soup

Dedicated to my fellow parishioners at the Episcopal Church of St. Luke in the Fields, Greenwich Village, NYC

IngredientsVegan
7 cups Vegetable Broth
2 cups Red Lentils, dry, rinsed
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 cups Sweet Yellow Onion, diced
2 cups crushed Tomatoes
1/2 cup flat-leaf Parsley, chopped fine
1 cup Celery, diced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp ground Cumin
1 tsp Zaatar
1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp ground Marjoram
1/2 tsp ground Coriander Seed
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/4 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Lemon Zest
1/4 tsp Salt

Lemon wedges

Directions:

  • In a gallon size pot on medium heat, combine the Onion, Salt, Pepper, and Olive Oil; cook until the onions softens.
  • Add the Garlic, Lemon Zest, Lemon Juice, and Celery. Continue to saute until the Celery starts to soften.
  • Add all the other spices, and mix well so that the spices get into the oil and juices in the pot.
  • Add the Tomato, Vegetable Broth, and Lentils; bring to a boil, stirring often so that nothing sticks.
  • Reduce to a simmer, add the Parsley, and let cook until the Lentils become tender.
  • Taste, and adjust the seasoning and spices to your preferred tastes.
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge. Squirt the juice on the Soup.

Makes about 6 servings

NOTES:Lentil Soup is eaten in various parts of the world. This recipe utilizes spices from Northern Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Zaatar a spice blend used in North Africa, especially Egypt and Libya, often added to meats or rubbed in olive oil on flat bread. It is made up of Sumac, Oregano, Sesame Seed, often with other spices.

Lentil soup can be modified to your prefered tastes and needs. You can add chopped spinach or kale, or diced carrots or sweet potatoes. Keep in mind if you add additional starches, you may need to add additional spices. This meal is vegan, however one can add meat like chicken or lamb to it–or even sausage. It is also common to garnish with sour cream or yogurt.

Blackened Chicken with Grilled Fruit

Blackened Chicken with Grilled Fruit

Ingredients:
3 Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless, butterfly cut
3 Tbsp Butter, melted
1/2 – 1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Blackened Seasoning
2 1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Onion Powder
2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp Coriander Seed
3/4 Tbsp Paprika
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 Tsp Black Pepper ground
1/2 Tsp White Pepper ground
1/2 tsp Thyme dried
1/2 tsp Oregano dried
1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds dried

Grilled Fruit
1 Papaya, skinned, cut in chunks or slices
1 Pineapple, skinned, cut in chunks or slices
1-2 Mangoes, skinned, cut in chunks or slices
1-2 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper ground
1/2 tsp Cinnamon

Directions:

  • Prepare the Fruit and place on Skewers.
  • Brush with Olive Oil.
  • Sprinkle with Salt, Pepper, and Cinnamon.
  • Place on a hot grill or in the Broiler for 5 minutes per side. Set to the side, or cook while you prepare the Chicken.
  • Put all of the Ingredients of the Blackened Spice Rub in a Mortar and rub with the Pestle to mix well and open up some of the spices and herbs. Place to the side.
  • Begin heating a cast-iron skillet on high with the Olive Oil. You do not need to use all of it, just enough to coat the skillet. You do not want a puddle of oil.
  • Dredge the Chicken in the melted Butter, and then coat with the Spice Rub on all sides.
  • Place in the Skillet, and cook both sides. They will blacken because of the Butter and herbs. Each side should be about 5 minutes. Because the Chicken was butterfly cut, it will cook all the way through.
  • Plate the Chicken and cover with the Grilled Fruit (on or off the skewers, your choice).

Makes 3 Servings.

NOTES: Blackening is a technique of cooking often associated with Cajun cooking. I have read some places that attribute it however to a modern chef named Paul Prudhomme (who specializes in Cajun cooking). Whether an old technique, or a modern one, it extremely flavorful. I recommend playing with the amounts of spices–some like it hot, some don’t like it as hot–but Blackened is intended to be Spicy. If you are wanting to cheat, pick up some Hot Shot instead of the various types of Peppercorns, but do not skimp on the flavors. A lot of folks seem to want to avoid using Butter in the recipe–it is essential for true Blackened food, as the milk solids are part of the Blackening process. If you want a spicy chicken on the grill with the rub, great, but it’s not truly Blackened… just spicy ;-).  

Also, just a note, this Blackened Spice Rub can be used on Fish (it’s original intention), as well as other forms of protein.

Almaunde Gingyuer Sawse for Capouns Ysode – Chicken in an Almond-Ginger Sauce

Almaund Gingyeur Sawse for Capouns Ysode

Ingredients:
1 Roasting Hen
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 head garlic/top removed.

Bouquet Garni:
2 Bay Leaves
2 Sprigs Rosemary
2-4 Sprigs Parsley

Sauce:
1 cup Almonds, raw or blanched (preferably)
1/2 cup Ginger, diced
3 Tbsp Butter
1 cup Chicken Stock
1/2 cup White Wine
2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Allspice
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Corn Starch

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325°F
  • Wash Chicken inside and out, and wipe dry.
  • Stuff the Bouquet Garni and Garlic Head into the Chicken.
  • Truss and tie the legs together.
  • Sprinkle Chicken with Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Roast the Chicken, uncovered, breast side up. Baste it occasionally–the more you baste, the juicier the meat. You should allow 30 minutes per pound or until a meat thermometer placed in the breast reads 160°F. Be sure not to be touching a bone with the probe.
  • Using a food processor, combine all ingredients of the Sauce.
  • Pulse until the Sauce is smooth
  • On a low heat, cook in a Sauce Pot until a rolling boil, stirring constantly.
  • Carve the Chicken and plate.
  • The Sauce may be poured over the Chicken, or used for dipping.

Makes 1 Roasting Hen, (2-4 servings, depending on size).

NOTES: This recipe is one that I came up with reading Medieval English recipes. It is really a hybrid of two recipes, Sawce Gingyeur and Sawce Blaunche for Capons Ysode. Both recipes are below in the original Middle English. The sauce came as an inspiration also from reading the ingredients purchased by a King of France while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London–his “court” served roast chicken and lamb covered in a Ginger and Almond sauce. Unfortunately, that mere reference was not enough for a recipe–so I compared it to what recipes were available to me and came up with this sauce. For the choices of ingredients, I wanted to use fresh Ginger, as that was what was used by imprisoned king’s chef.  I added a few spices that would be commonly used at the time, and substituted cornstarch for the process of straining vinegar-soaked bread for thickening.  Also, as it is not common to find verijuice, I used a combination of White Wine Vinegar and White Wine.  Finally, I did add Butter and Chicken Stock to add a smooth and rich texture and flavor.  Though this may not be a word-for-word rendition of a recorded Medieval recipe, I do feel it is in the style and spirit of one.

Sawce Gingyeur
Take white brede, stepe it with vynegre, and draw it .ij. or .iij. tymes thurgh a straynour; and thanne put ther-to poudre gingere, and serue forthe.

–from Ashmole MS 1439

Sawce Blaunche for Capouns Ysode
Take almaundes blaunched and grynde hem al to doust; temper hit vp with verious and powdour of gyngyuer, and messe it forth.

–from 140. Curye on Inglish: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth-Century

Prickly-Pear Fruit Salad

Ingredients:
4 Prickly-Pear Cactus Fruit
2 Kiwi
1 Mango
1 Orange
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1-2 tsp Granulated Sugar
Dash of Cinnamon
1 tsp Orange Zest
Fresh Mint for Garnish

Directions:

  • Prepare the Fruit.
    • Prickly-Pear Cactus Fruit: Cut off the top and bottom, and cut a line across the flesh lengthwise, about 1 cm deep (at most). Carefully pull the Skin from the magenta flesh. Be careful, as there may still be spines on the skin. Slice in disks or dice into bite-size pieces. Be careful not to make them too small.
    • Kiwi: Peel the skin and then slice into disks. Discard the ends.
    • Mango: Peel the skin, and slice the flesh off the core. Dice the flesh into bite size pieces.
    • Orange: Using a knife, cut away the skin, exposing the orange slices. Use a sharp knife and cut out the segments.
  • In a Bowl, whip the Cream, Sugar, and Cinnamon until peaks form.
  • Plate the Fruit in small bowls, and add a dollop of the Whipped Cream.
  • Add Orange Zest and Mint as a Garnish.

Makes 3 servings.

NOTES: Prickly-Pear Cactus Fruit are also known as “Indian Figs” or tuna in Spanish, and are the fruit of the Opuntia genus of cacti also known as Nopales. They come in a variety of colors, but I like the magenta ones.  The consistency is somewhat like watermelon, and the seeds are edible.  This fruit salad is great especially when chilled in the freezer for 20 minutes before serving (Obviously, you’d not put the Whipped Cream on till after you take it out and plate it).

Chess Pie

Ingredients
1 Pâte Brisée for 9″ shell
1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp Cornmeal
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
5 eggs
2/3 cup Buttermilk

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Cream the Sugars, Butter, Corn Meal, Cinnamon, and Vanilla Extract.
  • Slowly beat in each egg.
  • Finally, beat in the Buttermilk gradually.
  • Roll out your Pâte Brisée to 1/8 inch thick, and big enough for a 9″ pie. Place in pie pan and crimp the edges as you desire.
  • Pour filling into the shell.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until it has set. The edges may brown slightly.

Makes 1 pie.

NOTES: I cannot find any definitive reason why Chess Pie is called so. Some theories say it is because it came to the Americas from Chester, England. Other theories say it comes from a pie chest (or piece of furniture for pies). All I know, is it is very common in the South, and always made with buttermilk! I highly discourage making this with cream or milk, unless you add a little of vinegar.

Applesauce

Ingredients:
8 Apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 cup Apple Juice
2 Tbsp Honey
5 strips Lemon peel (just the zest)
1-2 Tbsp Cinnamon, ground (depending on taste)
1 tsp Cloves, ground

Directions:

  • Add all Ingredients to a large pot and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce and simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Remove the Lemon Peel.
  • Use a Potato Masher to mash the Apple mixture to your desired chunkiness.
  • Serve hot or cold.

Makes about 6-8 servings (less if you’re like me and want a big serving!)

NOTES: Who doesn’t like applesauce? This is like the best thing Eve could have made Adam–and it is so simple, yet folks still insist on buying it in the store with preservative and HFCs in it. Stop the insanity and make your own!

When picking your apples, think of sweeter varieties, rather than tangier ones like Granny Smith. You can mix up the varieties as well, and get a fuller flavor of apples. I often substitute a natural Apple Cider for the Apple Juice to make it even richer. If you taste the prepared Applesauce and it is too bitter, just add a little more honey or a tsp of Brown Sugar.

Apple Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:
2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 tsp Cinnamon, ground
1 tsp Nutmeg, ground
1 tsp Cloves, ground
1 tsp Ginger, ground
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
4 Eggs, beaten
1 cup Applesauce
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 cups Zucchini, shredded
1 cup Apples (Red Delicious), skinned, seeded, diced or shreaded
1 1/2 cups Pecans, chopped

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl, sift together all Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt, and Spices. Set to the side
  • Combine the Eggs, all Sugar, Honey, Maple Syrup, Vanilla, and Apple Sauce in another bowl, and mix well.
  • Slowly incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing well. You may use a mixer for this, as the batter will be fairly thick.
  • Fold in the Apples, Zucchini, and Pecans.
  • Divide the batter into greased loaf pans (9×5).
  • Bake for 55 minutes to an hour, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Please let them cool for 10 minutes before removing them to wire racks to cool further.

NOTES: The first time I had zucchini bread, I was very skeptical. I mean the majority of my zucchini was sauteed with garlic, so the idea of it serving as a sweet stumped me. Still after trying it, this then 8 year old was pleasantly surprised. Zucchini bread can be used as a side item at an Autumn or Winter dinner, or with brunch or tea. I still think it is a great side for Thanksgiving, served warm with dinner, with fresh butter.

Zucchini bread apparently had its hay-day in the 1960s in the US when the idea of using Butter was on the decline, with folks instead wanting to use Oil. I, however think the use of Apple Sauce (something that seemed to happen in the 90s to replace the oil) instead of Vegetable Oil is a better fix. Apple Zucchini Bread is a quick bread, and can easily be modified into muffins, as a result.

Horchata de Arroz – Mexican Rice Milk

Horchata de Arroz

Ingredients:
2 cups long-grain white Rice
3 cups warm Water, for soaking
1/2 cup blanched Almonds, ground
3 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Tbsp Vanilla
1 cup Evaporated Milk
3 cups Cold Water
1/2-3/4 cup granulated Sugar

Directions:

  • Place the Rice, Warm Water, ground Almonds, and Cinnamon in a bowl overnight. For the Almonds, you can use a Food Processor to grind them–doesn’t have to be a fine powder.
  • Remove the Cinnamon Sticks and discard.
  • Pour the mixture into a Blender, and blend for 30 seconds.
  • Strain through a Sieve, Cheesecloth, or Coffee Filters into a pitcher.
  • Add Evaporated Milk, Vanilla, Sugar, and 2-4 cups
  • Using a Whisk, stir well, and adjust the taste with more Sugar if needed.

Makes about 1/2 a gallon.

NOTES: This beverage is a true Meso-American fusion food. It came from Spain where it was made with tigernuts. In the Americas, due to lack of tigernuts, other ingredients were used. Depending on the Latin American country, you will see Rice or various types of seeds used. Most Mexican varieties are made with Rice with Cinnamon–some adding strawberries or Prickly Pear.

Now the Historian in me read that the name comes from Valencia Spain from orxata deriving from the word for Barley. In traditional Meso-American cooking, it looks like a metate (a stone motar tool) would have been used to grind the rice mixture. One day, I want to get a metate and make it that way LOL!

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Ginger
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Vegetable Oil
4 Eggs
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 cups Carrots, Shredded
1 cup Raisins
1 cup chopped Pecans
2-3 cups Cream Cheese Frosting
Pecans for decoration

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt, Sugar, Brown Sugar, and Spices.
  • Slowly incorporate the Eggs, Vegetable Oil, and Vanilla Extract.
  • Mix in the Carrots, Raisins, and Pecans.
  • Grease 2 8″ round cake pans and coat with flour.
  • Divide the Batter between the two pans.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Remove from the pans and cool on a rack.
  • Place one cake on a plate or cake plate, and spread frosting on the top.
  • Place the second cake on top and frost the top.
  • Carefully add frosting to the side and rotate the plate to spread the frosting along the sides.
  • Decorate the top with Pecans. If you prefer you can crush the Pecans and place along the sides of the Cake.

Makes 1 cake

Apple and Pecan Pie

Ingredients:
Pecan Pâte Brisée, divided in 2 disks
6 cups Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, sliced
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 cup chopped Pecans
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground Ginger
1/4 tsp ground Nutmeg
2 Tbsp Butter, cold and cut into pieces.
1 Egg yolk
1 tsp Water
8-12 Pecan Halves for decorating

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 425° F
  • In a large bowl toss the Apples, Lemon Juice, chopped Pecans, Sugars, Flour, Salt, and Spices, coating the Apples well.
  • On a very clean, floured surface, roll out 1 of the disks of Pâte Brisée into a circle about 10″ for a 9″ Pie Pan.
  • Placing your rolling pin mid way across the crust, fold back half of the crust over the rolling pin, so as to utilize the rolling pin to move the crust over the Pie pan. Unroll and gently fit into the Pie pan. It is ok for crusts to hang over the sides.
  • Place the Apple mixture into the pie crust and dollop with the pieces of Butter
  • Repeat the rolling and placement with the second disk of Pâte Brisée, this time placing over the apple mixture in the Pie Pan.
  • Press along the edges of the two crusts to seal the dough.
  • Using a knife, trim the excess dough.
  • You may crimp the crust as you see fit.
  • Cut slits in the top of crust to allow for steam to escape.
  • Decorate with the Pecan Halves
  • In a small bowl, beat the Egg Yolk with the water.
  • Brush the Egg mixture over the crust.
  • Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to 350° F and cook for an additional 40 minutes.

NOTES: If you fear the crust may burn, after the first 15 minutes, wrap aluminum foil around the edges.

Fruitcake

Dedicated to my Mom and to Lucile F. Locher Mishler “Mum”, her maternal grandmother.

Traditional Fruitcake

Ingredients:
2 cups mixed Dried Fruits, minced
1 cup Rum
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Ginger
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
5 Eggs
3 Tbsp Canola Oil
1/4 cup Rum
1 Tbsp Lemon Zest
1 Tbsp Orange Zest
1/2 cup Pecans, chopped
1 cup Pecans, whole
1 cup Candied Red Cherries
1 cup Candied Green Cherries
1 cup Candied Pineapple

Directions:

  • Soak the minced Dried Fruits in 1 cup of Rum overnight.
  • Preheat the Oven to 300°F.
  • Sift together the Flour, Baking Powder, Salt, and Spices into a large bowl.
  • In a second bowl cream the Eggs with the Sugars.
  • Whisk in the Olive Oil and 1/4 cup Dark Rum.
  • Slowly incorporate into the Flour mixture.
  • Fold in the Dried Fruits, Zest, and 1/2 cup of crushed Pecans.
  • Grease a bunt pan well.
  • Pour mixture into the bunt pan, and lightly tap it against the counter.
  • Decorate with the Candied Fruits and whole Pecans.
  • Bake on the middle rack for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in it comes out clean.

NOTES: Fruitcake has always been one of my favorite deserts.  My mom tells me about how when she grew up her grandmother “Mum” used to make Fruitcake in early fall, and stick it in cheesecloth a tin.  Every couple weeks she’d pour Port on top of it.  By Christmas it was amazing.  I’m still nervous about keeping a cake in a tin and pouring alcohol on it for over a month…so here’s my version with a less pungent Rum.

Mixed Dried Fruit can include Cranberries, Raisins, Dates, Figs, Apricots, Apples, Pears, Pruns, etc.

Maple Butternut Squash

Dedicated to Karen J.

Ingredients:Nut Alergy WarningVegan VariationVegetarian
6 cups Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded, cut into cubes
1/2 cup Butter
1/4 cup Milk
1/3 cup Maple Syrup
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Salt
2-3 cup Pecans, crushed

Directions:

  • Steam or Boil the Squash until tender.
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • In a large bowl, mash the Squash and add the Milk, Syrup, Spices, and Salt.
  • Pour the Squash into a baking dish (9″x9″).
  • Top with the crushed Pecans.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.

Serves 6.

Variations:
Ṽ›Ɣ – Substitute Soy Milk for the Milk, and Margarine for the Butter.

Pumpkin Gnocchi in a Maple Sage Sauce

Ingredients:VegetarianNut Alergy Warning
2 Russet Potatoes, skinned, cubed
1 cup prepared Pumpkin
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Black Pepper
1/8 tsp Salt
1 – 2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 Egg

Maple Sage Sauce
1/2 cup Butter
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp Sage, minced

Garnish:
1 cup Walnuts
Grated Parmesan

Directions:

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and boil the potatoes until fork tender.
  • Drain the potatoes and mash in a large bowl.
  • Incorporate the Pumpkin pulp, Spices, & Egg.
  • Start incorporating the Flour into the mixture. You may not use all the flour, or you may need more. What you are looking for is a dough forming that you can handle, and roll. It should be cohesive to itself, but not sticky.
  • Divide the dough into six parts.
  • On a floured surface, start rolling each part into a rope, about 1/2″-1″ thick in diameter.
  • Start cutting into 1/2″-1″ pieces. Think little pillows for the shape. You do not want to saw, you want to come down with your knife.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to boil.
  • Add all the Gnocchi. They will sink.
  • As the Gnocchi start to float, they are done, and can be ladled out.
  • In a saucepan, start heating the stick of Butter on low heat. Use low heat to prevent smoking
  • As the Butter melts, it will start to caramelize along the edges.
  • Stir in the Maple Syrup and the Sage, cooking for an additional 30 seconds or so.
  • Pour on the Gnocchi, and garnish with Walnuts and Parmesan.

Serves 6.

NOTES: Gnocchi are simple to make for scratch. I’ve seen many recipes that exclude the use of Potatoes, but in my opinion, it is the Potato that makes the Gnocchi. This is a dish that is great for an Autumn night. I recommend it with a side of green beans.

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:Vegetarian
3 large Eggs
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 cups Prepared Pumpkin
1 tsp Cinnamon, ground
1 tsp Nutmeg, ground
1/4 tsp Ginger, ground
1/4 tsp Cloves, ground
1/4 tsp Allspice, ground
1/4 tsp Cornstarch
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1 Pâte Brisée

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, cream the Eggs with the Sugar.
  • Slowly incorporate the Pumpkin pulp.
  • In a second bowl, add the Spices, Salt, and Cornstarch, and whisk together so there are no clumps.
  • Slowly whisk in the Heavy Cream.
  • Whisk the Cream mixture into the Pumpkin Mixture.
  • Preheat the Oven to 425°F
  • Roll out the Pie Crust and place into a pie pan. Crimp edges as desired.
  • Place the Pie pan on a cookie sheet.
  • Pour the Pie filling into the crust.
  • Place the Pie in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to 350°F, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. The traditional way of testing is to use a knife inserted into the center. If it comes out mostly clean, it is done.

NOTES: Pumpkin Pie is a very American dish, pumpkins naturally growing in North America. I’ve read that pumpkins were first exported to France and England, where the pie was actually developed by chefs, but that it never became popular there. For many pumpkin pie is all about the Holiday time, and for me it is especially. It connects me with the romanticized idea of family eating desert by a warm hearth.

I have no problem using canned pumpkin, so long as it is PURE pumpkin. Some cans will use other squash types. If you want to do real pumpkin on your own, the best option is to get a small pumpkin and slice it, de seed it, and steam it. Then scoop out the pulp and puree it in a food processor.

Tom & Jerry

Ingredients:Undercooked WarningAlcoholicVegetarian
8 Eggs, separated
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
1 cup Brandy
1 cup Rum
2 Tbsp Nutmeg
2 tsp Cinnamon
12 cups Milk

Directions:

  • In a large bowl beat together the Egg Yolks and 1/2 the Sugar until thick and buttery.
  • Slowly add the Rum and Brandy, beating so it remains frothy.
  • In a separate bowl beat the Egg Whites and the remaining Sugar until stiff peeks form.
  • Slowly fold the Egg Whites mixture into the Egg Yolk mixture. This constitutes the Base, and can be refrigerated until before your plan on serving it.
  • About 30 mins before you serve the Tom & Jerrys, remove the Base from the fridge.
  • Mix in the Milk, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg, and heat in a Saucepan on low-medium heat until mixture is desired temperature. Do not boil, or milk may scald.
  • Serving Style:
    • In cups:
      • Put 1 Tablespoon of Base into each cup.
      • Pour in Milk mixture leaving room for a topping of a second Tablespoon of the Base.
    • As a Punch:
      • Pour half of the Base into a punch bowl.
      • Add the Milk mixture, and top with the remaining Base mixture.

NOTES: Tom & Jerry is a variation of Eggnog, served warm, and usually alcoholic. The name predates both “Tom & Jerry” the cartoon cat and mouse duo, as well as the renowned bartender and mixologist Jerry Thomas.  Rather it is believed to have been a promotional drink for Pierce Egan’s book Life in London, or The Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn Esq. and his Elegant Friend Corinthian Tom (1821) which was turned into the play Tom and Jerry, or Life in London published the same year. This reminds me of Green Goddess Salad Dressing, which also was developed as a promotional tool for a play.

It should also be noted that the eggs in this recipe have not been cooked, and although there is a large presence of alcohol, there is a small chance of bacteria like salmonella.

Variations
Modern Eggnog
Traditional Eggnog

Published in: on November 7, 2009 at 2:45 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , ,

Christmas Coffee

Ingredients:Vegan VariationVegetarian
Ground Coffee (for regular pot of coffee)
Water (for regular pot of coffee)
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Powdered Sugar
1/8 tsp Vanilla Extract

Ingredient amounts above are for 4 cups coffee. If your coffee machine makes more or less, adjust the amounts accordingly

Directions:

  • Prepare your Coffee Grounds and Water as usual for coffee.
  • Add the Spices to the Coffee Grounds, and mix.
  • Start brewing your Coffee.
  • In a bowl, start whipping the Heavy Cream with the Powdered Sugar and Vanilla until stiff peeks form.
  • Serve Coffee in individual cups, topped with a dollop of the Whipped Cream.

NOTES: You can adjust the spices as you see fit. If you use a darker roast, consider a little more Nutmeg and Cocoa Powder. This is not an exact science, but completely based on your taste.

Variations:
Ṽ›Ɣ – Do not make your own Whipped Cream. Use a Non-Dairy Whipped Topping instead…or omit altogether and just use a flavored Non-Dairy Creamer.

Mulled Wine

Ingredients:AlcoholicVegan
1 bottle of Port
1 cup Water
1/2 cup Brandy
1/2 – 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1 medium sized Orange, sliced horizontally
2 Cinnamon Sticks
6-8 whole Cloves
1 Allspice Pod
1/2 tsp Mace

Directions:

  • In a large Saucepan, heat the Wine, Water, Brandy, and Sugar on low-medium heat until Sugar is dissolved. Never allow to boil.
  • Add the Orange, and Spices  and let steep on low heat for 1 hour.
  • Serve Warm, strained.

Serves 12

NOTES: This English Mulled Wine recipe is my interpretation of Mrs. Beeton’s, as listed on paragraph 1961 of Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, a Victorian guide to everything in the house with etiquette, tips, and recipes. I prefer to add Brandy to any mulled wine, as well as Orange for some citrus overtones. You can use a different Red wine than Port, but you’ll probably need more sugar. Her recipe is as follows:

1961.-TO MULL WINE.

INGREDIENTS.- To every pint of wine allow 1 large cupful of water, sugar and spice to taste.

Mode.-In making preparations like the above, it is very difficult to give the exact proportions of ingredients like sugar and spice, as what quantity might suit one person would be to another quite distasteful. Boil the spice in the water until the flavour is extracted, then add the wine and sugar, and bring the whole to the boiling-point, when serve with strips of crisp dry toast, or with biscuits. The spices usually used for mulled wine are cloves, grated nutmeg, and cinnamon or mace. Any kind of wine may be mulled, but port and claret are those usually selected for the purpose; and the latter requires a very large proportion of sugar. The vessel that the wine is boiled in must be delicately cleaned, and should be kept exclusively for the purpose. Small tin warmers may be purchased for a trifle, which are more suitable than saucepans, as, if the latter are not scrupulously clean, they spoil the wine, by imparting to it a very disagreeable flavour. These warmers should be used for no other purpose.

Variations:
Glögg / Gløgg
Finnish Glögi
Glühwein

Published in: on November 6, 2009 at 2:15 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , ,

Glögg – Gløgg

Ingredients:AlcoholicVeganNut Alergy Warning
1 bottle of Merlot
1 bottle of Port
2 cup Brandy
1/2 – 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar (inversely to wine quality)
2 medium sized Orange, sliced horizontally
4 Cinnamon Sticks
12 whole Cloves
3 Allspice Pods
2 Cardamom Pod
3/4 cup blanched Almonds
1/2 cup Raisins
5 dried Figs, quartered

Directions:

  • In a large Saucepan, heat the Wines, Brandy, and Sugar on low-medium heat until Sugar is dissolved. Never allow to boil.
  • Add the Orange, Spices, Almonds, and Fruits and let steep on low heat for 1 hour.
  • Serve Warm, strained.

Serves 12

NOTES: This is a Scandinavian Mulled Wine, originating in Sweden, and was a traditional drink of King Gustav I of Sweden and was called “glödgad vin”.  The distinct nature of this version of mulled wine is the use of Almonds and dried Fruits.

Variations:
English Mulled Wine
Finnish Glögi – Substitute Vodka for 1/2 or all of the Brandy.
Glühwein

Glühwein

Ingredients:AlcoholicVegan
1 bottle of Merlot (750mL)
1 cup Brandy
1/2 – 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar (inversely to wine quality)
1 medium sized Orange, sliced horizontally
2 Cinnamon Sticks
6-8 whole Cloves
2 Allspice Pods
1 Cardamom Pod

Use similar proportions for each additional bottle of wine.

Directions:

  • In a large Saucepan, heat the Wine, Brandy, and Sugar on low-medium heat until Sugar is disolved. Never allow to boil.
  • Add the Orange, and Spices, and let steep on low heat for 1 hour.
  • Serve Warm.

Serves 6

NOTES: Glühwein is a German Mulled Wine. If you do not have Merlot, you can use a Burgundy or Franconian red wine–what you’re looking for a is a wine that will hold up to the sugar and brandy and not loose flavor. With regards to the quality of wine, I would not use the expensive stuff because with all the flavors, you’re not just tasting wine–conversely do not use the cheapest wine either. If you have a crock pot, you can add all the ingredients and let it slow cook to perfection.

The big thing to think about is how sweet or spicy you want your wine to be–the amounts above are just suggestions.

Variations:
English Mulled Wine
Glögi
(Finnish Mulled Wine)
Glögg/Gløgg (Swedish/Danish Mulled Wine)

Published in: on November 6, 2009 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , ,

Modern Eggnog

Ingredients:AlcoholicSugar Free VariationVegetarian
4 cups Milk
2 Tbsp Nutmeg, ground
1 Tbsp Cinnamon, ground
2 tsp Cloves, ground
12 Eggs yolks
1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
4 cups Heavy Cream
1 cups Rum (optional)
1 cup Brandy (optional)

Directions:

  • In a saucepan, heat the Milk, Cinnamon, Cloves, and Nutmeg on medium heat. You want it to near boiling, but not scald or boil.
  • As the Milk nears boiling, remove it from the heat, and set to the side.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the Egg yolks, Sugar and Vanilla Extract until buttery and thick.
  • Temper the Milk and Eggs by pouring a little of the Milk into the Yolks, whisking. This raises the temperature of the Eggs high enough that it can be poured into the rest of the Milk without cooking the egg.
  • So, in following take the tempered mixture and add it to the Milk mixture in the Saucepan, and return it to medium heat.
  • As it cooks, the mixture will thicken like custard or an ice-cream base. When you can stick a spoon in it and it completely coats the spoon, remove from the heat.
  • This constitutes the Eggnog base. Pour into a pitcher and refrigerate for at least two hours.
  • When ready to serve, stir in the Heavy Cream and alcohol.
  • Eggnog is ready to serve, but the longer it cools, the better.

NOTES: Eggnog is originally from England, and was an upper-class drink in the holiday times, dairy and eggs not being readily accessible to lower-class people. There are several theories as to where the name “eggnog” came from. The one that makes the most sense to me is that there was a wooden cup used for alcoholic beverages that in Middle English was called a “noggin”. An Egg Noggin would be an alcoholic beverage with an obvious egg component. The second is that the name came from the Americas. The theory is that as the American colonies developed, there was regular access to dairy and eggs, however not for Brandy so people used Rum, which sometimes was called Grog…the idea being Egg’n’grog which was shortened to Eggnog. The second one seems more contrived to me and doesn’t answer what the drink was called before then.

Because this mixture is cooked, it is safe to drink it without alcohol–in fact I prefer it this way.

This is called “Modern Eggnog” to differentiate its cooking from the uncooked Traditional Eggnog, which is more like what was traditionally done.  In addition, the substitution of Rum, an American variation, takes the flavors from the older Bourbon that was used.

With regards to alcohol, really you can play with some of your favorites, Rum, Bourbon, Brandy, Cognac, and even Sherry…I do not recommend Vodka or Gin.

Variations
Tom & Jerry
Traditional Eggnog

S›Ƨ – Substitute Splenda® for the Sugar, and omit the Alcohol completely.

Traditional Eggnog

Ingredients:Undercooked WarningAlcoholicVegetarian
12 Eggs, separated
4 cups Milk
4 cups Heavy Cream
1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 cups Bourbon
1 cup Brandy
2 Tbsp Nutmeg
1 Tbsp Cinnamon

Directions:

  • In a large bowl beat together the Egg Yolks and Sugar until thick and buttery.
  • Slowly incorporate the Bourbon and Brandy into the Egg Yolk Mixture, continuing to mix. This constitutes the Eggnog base, and can be refrigerated until before your plan on serving it. (At least 1 hour is advised)
  • About 30 mins before you serve the Eggnog, remove the Base from the fridge.
  • Mix in the Milk, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg.
  • In a second bowl, whip the Heavy Cream until stiff peeks form; set to the side.
  • In a third bowl, whip the Egg Whites until stiff peeks form.
  • Carefully incorporate the Egg Whites into the Eggnog Base by folding the mixture in.
  • Repeat with the Heavy Cream into the Eggnog Base, again folding into the mixture.
  • Eggnog is ready to serve.

NOTES: Eggnog is originally from England, and was an upper-class drink in the holiday times, dairy and eggs not being readily accessible to lower-class people. There are several theories as to where the name “eggnog” came from. The one that makes the most sense to me is that there was a wooden cup used for alcoholic beverages that in Middle English was called a “noggin”. An Egg Noggin would be an alcoholic beverage with an obvious egg component. The second is that the name came from the Americas. The theory is that as the American colonies developed, there was regular access to dairy and eggs, however not for Brandy so people used Rum, which sometimes was called Grog…the idea being Egg’n’grog which was shortened to Eggnog. The second one seems more contrived to me and doesn’t answer what the drink was called before then.

It should also be noted that the eggs in this recipe have not been cooked, and although there is a large presence of alcohol, there is a small chance of bacteria like salmonella.

Variations
Modern Eggnog
Tom & Jerry

Spiced Apples with Cranberries

Ingredients:Vegan VariationVegetarian
8 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup Butter
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Cornstarch
1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Rum
Directions:

 

  • In a bowl combine the Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cornstarch, and Butter.
  • Place the compound Butter into a skillet and heat on medium heat.
  • Add the Apples, and saute, about 5 minutes.
  • Add all remaining ingredients, and stir.
  • Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for about 10 minutes.

NOTES: My mom used to make Spiced Apples with me when we lived in Ohio. We had an apple tree outback.

Variations:
Ṽ›Ɣ – Substitute Margarine for the Butter.

Spiced Date Bread

Ingredients:Nut Alergy WarningVegetarian
16 oz Dates, chopped
2 cups Water, boiling
2 Tbsp Butter
1/2 cup Honey
2/3 cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
2 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Cinnamon, ground
1 tsp Ginger, ground
1/2 tsp Cloves, ground
1/2 tsp Nutmeg, ground
2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 cup WalnutsDirections:

  • In a medium bowl, place the Dates and pour the Hot Water over it; let it soak for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat Oven to 350°F
  • In a large bowl, cream the Sugar, Honey, Butter, Vanilla, and Eggs.
  • Mix in the Dates and Water.
  • In a second bowl, combine the Flour, Spices, Baking Soda and Salt, and mix well.
  • Slowly incorporate the Wet Mixture into the Dry Mixture.
  • Once incorporated, add the Walnuts and mix well.
  • Pour into greased loaf pan.
  • Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Vanilla Pudding

Vanilla Pudding with Dark Chocolate ChipsVanilla Pudding with Dark Chocolate Chips

Ingredients:Sugar Free VariationVegan VariationVegetarian
4 cups Milk
1 cup granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Cornstarch
1/2 tsp Salt
3 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp Butter

Directions:

  • In a large sauce pan, combine the Cornstarch, Salt and Sugar.
  • Slowly add the Milk, whisking with a balloon whisk. Whisk well to prevent any lumps.
  • Heat on low-medium Heat, stirring constantly. Do not bring to a boil.
  • As the pudding heats up, the cornstarch will start to thicken the sauce. Be vigilant as it will go from broth to custard almost with no warning. When it starts to turn to custard, it is done cooking.
  • Remove from the heat and mix in the Vanilla and Butter.
  • Place in a serving bowl and put in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.

Makes about 6 servings.

Variations:
Ṽ›Ɣ – Substitute Soy Milk for Milk and Margarine for Butter. If you use Vanilla flavored Soy Milk, reduce the Vanilla Extract by 2/3.
›Ƨ – Use 1/2 cup Splenda® instead of sugar. Do not pack it down; it’s fluffier than regular sugar.

Cherry Vanilla Pudding

Ingredients:
2 doz. Bing Cherries, pitted, quartered
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
4 cups Milk
1 cup granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Cornstarch
1/2 tsp Salt
3 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp Butter

Directions:

  • Dust the Cherries with Cinnamon in a large bowl, and toss.
  • In a large sauce pan, combine the Cornstarch, Salt and Sugar.
  • Slowly add the Milk, whisking with a balloon whisk. Whisk well to prevent any lumps.
  • Heat on low-medium Heat, stirring constantly. Do not bring to a boil.
  • As the pudding heats up, the cornstarch will start to thicken the sauce. Be vigilant as it will go from broth to custard almost with no warning. When it starts to turn to custard, it is done cooking.
  • Remove from the heat and mix in the Vanilla and Butter.
  • Pour over the Cherries, stir, and put in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.

Makes about 6 servings.