Maple Bourbon Potatoes with Green Peppercorns, Olives, and Scallions

bourbon-maple-potatoes

Maple Bourbon Glazed BBQ Pork Chops with Maple Bourbon Potatoes with Green Peppercorns, Olives, and Scallions

Ingredients:
4-6 medium sized “new potatoes”, Red Pontiac, Melody, or Russet, cut in bite size pieces
6-8 large pimento-stuffed Manzanilla Olives, sliced in thirds perpendicular to the pit (optional)
4 Scallions, cut in 2-3mm pieces, white separated from the greens
1 Tbsp Green Peppercorns
1/4 cup Bourbon
1/8 cup Maple Syrup
1 tsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/2 tsp Ground Chipotle Pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic powder
1/2 tsp Onion powder
1/2 tsp Light Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp White Pepper
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  • In a small bowl, toss the Cumin, paprika, Chipotle, Garlic powder, Onion powder, Brown Sugar, Salt, and Black & White Pepper. Use a fork to mix well.
  • In a saute pan, on medium heat, add the Potatoes and cook until browned, about 7 minutes–you want a crust on them.
  • Toss in the white portion of the Scallions, Olives, Green Peppercorns, and Spice mixture, and stir while it cooks for 1 minute.
  • Remove the pan from the stove, and pour in the Bourbon. Replace the pan to the heat, mindful that the alcohol may flare up. To avoid injury, keep your body away from the pan, and do not have your face near it.
  • Drizzle in the Maple Syrup and adjust the seasonings. Let cook for 1 more minute, allowing the maple syrup to glaze over everything.
  • Plate, and garnish with the green portion of the Scallions.

Makes about: 4-6 servings

Notes: I cannot emphasize enough the need for caution when adding the Bourbon to the hot pan. The risk of flare up is decreased by removing the pan from the heat. I recommend you have a lid ready, just in case, and of course a working fire extinguisher. In general, if you remove from the heat to add the alcohol, the likelihood of it flaring up is much reduced, verses if you were to just add it while over the flames, the vapors could ignite like flash paper.

The Olives are optional–but I recommend trying it with them because they offer a flavor contrast to the spicy and sweet bbq glaze.

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.

Butternut Squash Roasted with Apples, Pears, & Sausage

Ingredients:
2 Butternut Squash, skinned, and cut in bite-size chunks
4 Apples, cut in bite-size chunks
2 Pears, cut in bite-size chunks
5 links Sweet Italian Sausage
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Yellow Onions, diced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Sage, chopped fine
2-4 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Allspice

Directions:

  • Remove the casing from the Sausage, crumble and brown it in a Skillet on medium-low heat with the Olive Oil. Drain excess grease.
  • In a baking dish, combine all Ingredients (including the Sausage), and mix well.
  • Bake at 400F for 20 minutes, or until the Squash is tender.

Makes 8 Servings.

NOTES: This is a great way to introduce folks to Squash at a holiday meal. The Sausage, Fruit, and Maple Syrup add a festive flare that feed off the savory-sweet nature of Butternut Squash. You can substitute other varieties of winter squash for the Butternut Squash–just don’t use canned or frozen pureed squash! It won’t work!

Brussels Sprouts in a Maple Butter Sauce

Brussels Sprouts in a Maple Butter Sauce

Ingredients:
2 cups Brussels Sprouts, cleaned, quartered
2 Tbsp Butter
4 Tbsp Chicken Broth
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 clove Garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a sauce pan on high heat, melt the Butter into the Chicken Broth with the Maple Syrup.
  • Add all other Ingredients, and coat the sprouts well.
  • Cook for 5-7 minutes on high heat, stirring constantly, or until the sprouts are tender.

Makes 4 servings

NOTES: This is a super simple way of doing Sprouts with a nice Autumn flavor. The Butter and Maple Syrup cut the bitterness of the Sprouts amazingly. I love Brussels Sprouts and finding new ways to eat them is a treat.

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.

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Apples & Sausage

Dedicated to Brian H. and Lisa W.
Acorn Squash Stuffed with Apples & Sausage

Ingredients:
1 Acorn Squash
1 Red Delicious, skinned, pitted, diced
1 small Yellow Onion, diced
1/2 lb Sausage
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1/4 tsp Caraway Seed, crushed
2 tsp Sage, cut fine
1/2 tsp Nutmeg, ground
1 cup White Bread, crust removed, diced fine
1 Egg
2 Tbsp Butter
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 400°F.
  • Prepare the Squash: Cut the Acorn Squash in half Vertically. Scoop out the Seeds and stringy tissue using your hands and a spoon. The Squash is rounded, so you may slice a flat surface out of the skin side of the Squash to give it a base, but don’t take too much out.
  • In a skillet, brown the Sausage with the Onion.
  • Remove from the Skillet to a bowl.
  • Mix in the Spices, Maple Syrup, Bread, and Egg using your hands to fully incorporate.
  • Place the Squash in a baking dish, and fill with 1/4″ water, to assist with keeping the Squash moist while baking.
  • Spread the butter along the inside of each half of the Squash.
  • Divide the stuffing into the two halves of the Squash.
  • Cover the Dish with a lid or Aluminum Foil.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes.

Serves 2 people.

Baked Acorn Squash

Dedicated to Barbi C. and Blane F.
Vegan Variation dedicated to Abigail W.

Ingredients:Vegan VariationVegetarian
1 Acorn Squash
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 tsp Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Black Pepper
1/8 tsp Salt
2 tsp Honey

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Prepare the Squash: Cut the Acorn Squash in half Vertically. Scoop out the Seeds and stringy tissue using your hands and a spoon. The Squash is rounded, so you may slice a flat surface out of the skin side of the Squash to give it a base, but don’t take too much out.
  • Place the Squash in a backing dish, and fill with 1/4″ water, to assist with keeping the Squash moist while baking.
  • Spread the butter along the inside of each half of the Squash
  • Sprinkle the Brown Sugar, Nutmeg and Seasonings evenly over the two Squash. The Butter will help catch it.
  • Drizzle with the Honey.
  • Place in the oven for about 1 hour, or until fork tender.

Serves 2.

NOTES: This is a purist recipe for basic Acorn Squash, and it is tasty. Acorn Squash is obviously called so because of its shape like an acorn. It is a traditional autumn squash, though many places have it year round now. Still, whenever I think about it, I think of autumn leaves.

Variations:
Ṽ›Ɣ – Substitute Margarine for the Butter, and use Maple Syrup instead of Honey. Even if you’re not doing a Vegan version, the Maple Syrup tastes wonderful with it.

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.