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.

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Festive Noodle Kugel

Ingredients:
12 oz Egg Noodles
8 oz Cream Cheese
8 oz Sour Cream
8 oz Ricotta Cheese
4 Eggs
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Mace
1/2 tsp Salt
3-4 cups Graham Crackers, crushed
1/2 – 1 cup Raisins (optional)
Water for Boiling
Pinch of Salt for Water

Directions:

  • Bring Water to a Boil and add Salt and Egg Noodles. Cook till al dente. They will cook much quicker than regular pasta, so don’t leave it unattended.
  • Drain the Noodles, and set aside.
  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Divide the Graham Cracker crumbs and sprinkle on the bottom of a casserole dish (9″ x 13″ approximately).
  • In a large bowl combine the Dairy, Eggs, and Spices (and Raisins if using them). Mix well.
  • Fold in the Noodles.
  • Pour mixture (think scoop) into the Casserole dish, and even it out with a spatula.
  • Sprinkle with remaining Graham Cracker Crumbs.
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes.

Makes 6-8 servings.

NOTES: This Central European Jewish dish is traditionally served at Hanukkah, though it can be served throughout the year as a festive pudding/custard. I first learned this dish when I found evidence that a section of my family was Ashkenazim and had converted to Catholicism in the 1800s.

Sesame-Crusted Chicken with an Apricot Ginger Sauce

Sesame-Crusted Chicken with an Apricot Ginger Sauce

Ingredients:
2 skinless, boneless Chicken Breasts, butterfly-cut
1-2 cups All-Purpose Flour (for dredging)
1 Egg, beaten (for dredging)
1 Tbsp Water (for dredging)
1 Tbsp Honey (for dredging)
1 cup Sesame Seeds (for dredging)
Salt and Pepper for seasoning the Chicken
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Sauce:
1 cup dried Apricots, diced fine
1 Tbsp fresh Ginger, julienne cut
1 cup Peach Schnapps
2 Tbsp Butter
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Salt
Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Soak the Apricots in the Peach Schnapps for 1/2 an hour.
  • Set up dredging stations: 1 tray with Flour; 1 tray with Egg, Water, and Honey; and one tray for Sesame Seeds. Do not put all the Sesame Seeds in the tray, as you can always add more, but after you’ve dredged, can’t use the left overs.
  • Pat the Chicken breasts dry with a paper towel, and season with Salt and Pepper.
  • Dredge the Chicken in the Flour on both sides; then the Egg mixture on both sides; and finally the Sesame Seeds. Set to the side.
  • Turn the Oven on to 200F, and cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a cooling rack over the pan. Set to the side.
  • Heat the Olive Oil in a skillet, and brown the Chicken on both sides. Place the Chicken breasts on the cooling rack, and then in the Oven to keep warm.
  • In a Sauce Pan, melt 6 Tbsp of Butter.
  • Add the Garlic and Spices, and let cook for 2 minutes, stirring.
  • Add the Schnapps-soaked Peaches (liquid and all) to the Pot, and stir well. Heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Plate the Chicken and cover in the Apricot Ginger Sauce.

Makes 4 Servings.

NOTES: This is a recipe I came up with to appease Michael–he loves Apricots. I’m not really a big fan, though from time to time I will eat one. It has a sort of Asian feel to it, though I personally see it as more of a Middle-Eastern flavor. Regardless, I hope you enjoy it.

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.

Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

Ingredients:
2 cloves Garlic, minced fine
2 Tbsp Butter, unsalted
2 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
2 cups Heavy Cream
4 oz Gorgonzola, crumbled
2 Tbsp Asiago vecchio, grated
1/2 tsp ground Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  • In a sauce pan on medium heat, add the Garlic and Butter. Cook until the Butter is melted.
  • Stir in the Flour and make a roux, and let cook for about 3 minutes
  • Stir in the Heavy Cream
  • Add the Nutmeg, Gorgonzola, and Asiago, and heat until melted.
  • Add Salt and Pepper to taste.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

NOTES: This sauce goes well with Gnocchi, Penne, Farfalle, Orecchiette, or Conchiglie–pretty much any pasta that has a place for the creamy sauce to collect. You can also make it with Shells, and bake it with a bread-crumb and herb topping. The first time I had Gorgonzola sauce was, oddly, in Stirling, Scotland. I fell in love with it immediately. I still claim that the best I ever had was at that little Italian place in Stirling.

Schnitz un Knepp

Ingredients:
2-3 lb Ham, pre-cooked
2 cups dried Apple Rings
3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
4 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1 Egg, beaten
3 Tbsp Butter, melted
1/2-2/3 cup Milk
Water for Ham and Apples

Directions:

  • Put the Ham in a large pot, and cover with water.
  • Bring to a boil, and then cover and simmer for 2 1/2-3 hours until the ham is very tender.
  • Put the Apple slices in a bowl and cover with water, letting them soak the duration it takes to cook the Ham.
  • Add the Apples, the soaking Water, the Brown Sugar, and the Onions to the Ham, and bring to a boil.
  • In a large bowl combine all the dry Ingredients, Egg, and Butter. Slowly add the Milk to the batter–you may not need all 2/3 cup–you want it to be a sticky and gloppy batter, not runny.
  • Drop Tablespoon size-balls of dough into the Ham pot, and cover.
  • Simmer for 15 minutes, and then serve.

NOTES: Schnitz un Knepp is an Amish dish popular in Pennsylvania. Literally translated, it means “Slices and Buttons”. Schntiz comes from Schnitzen – slices and Knepp for button referring to the dumplings. I don’t know who the ham angered, that it didn’t make it into the name! The first time I had this was at YMCA camp in Ohio, when they took us to an Amish farm. The meal is very simple, and easy to serve to a large group of folks–and not what one gets every day in non-Amish circles. I recommend this with left-over ham after a holiday, or in the fall or winter. I’ve also seen this spelled Schnitz un Gnepp, as well as with the “un” spelled out “und”. The Amish German dialect pounces it “schnitz-un-nep”, alighting the ordinarily pronounced K/G sound right out.

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

Quiche Lorraine

Ingredients:
Pâte Brisée for 9″ shell
6-8 strips of thick-cut Bacon, diced, cooked
4 Eggs
1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp ground Black Pepper
1/4 tsp ground Nutmeg

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 375° F
  • Place the Pâte Brisée in a Spring-Foam Pan or Tart Pan or Pie Pan, and crimp the sides and edge as desired.
  • Bake for 15 minutes and remove to the side.
  • Sprinkle the Bacon pieces throughout the Pie shell.
  • In a large bowl beat the Eggs and combine with the Heavy Cream, Salt, Pepper, and Nutmeg.
  • Pour over the Bacon in the Pie shell.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes.

NOTES: Quiche Lorraine does not traditionally have Cheese, however most recipes do add Gruyère or Swiss. The addition of cheese or other ingredients connotes a different type of Quiche such as Vosgienne or Alsacienne (Cheese and Onion). Because I am someone who enjoys the fine details, below in the Variations section you will find the similar Quiches that are often all called Quiche Lorraine.

Quiche originated in the medieval German region of Lothringen or what is the modern day Alsace/Lorraine region of France. It was called Küche in the original Lorraine Franconian dialect.  French pronunciation influence changed the name to “kishe” and later quiche.

Variations:
Quiche Vosgienne – Add 1-2 cups shredded Gruyère Cheese on top after adding the custard mixture.
Quiche Alsacienne – Add 1 small diced white Onion when adding the bacon. Add 1-2 cups shredded Gruyère Cheese on top after adding the custard mixture.

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.

Sweetened Creamed Corn

Ingredients:
8 cobs of Corn (about 4 cups of Corn)
2 Tbsp Butter
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt

Directions:

  • Prepare the Corn: If using cobs, remove husk and silk, and boil for about 7 minutes. Use a chef’s knife to cut off one end of each cob, forming a flat edge. Place the corn flat side down, standing up on a plate. Use your chef’s knife and slice down parallel to the cob and remove the corn kernels. Rotate and repeat until the kernels are on the plate. Use the back of the knife perpendicular to the cob and slide down scrapping off any excess corn. Place in a bowl, and repeat for each cob.
  • In a skillet, combine the Butter, Corn, Cream, Nutmeg, Sugar, and Salt.
  • Stirring constantly, heat for 7-10 minutes, allowing the cream to thicken. Depending on your skillet, the time may vary.

Serves 4.

NOTES: If you opt from using fresh Corn, do not use can, but instead get frozen corn. Before using it, thaw it out, and place in a large zipping storage bag, then crush it with a rolling pin, to break the Corn up.

Variations:
Creamed Corn (savory)
Cobb Creamed Corn

Ṽ›Ɣ – Substitute Margarine for the Butter. Use unsweetened Soy Milk for the Heavy Cream, but whisk in 2 Tbsp Corn Starch before adding to the Skillet.

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.

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)  
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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.

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

Caramel Apple Cookies

IngredientsNut Alergy WarningVegetarian
2 1/2 cups All purpose Flour
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Ginger
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Butter, room temperature
1 Egg
1/2 cup Apple Cider
1 Red Delicious Apple, skinned, cored, grated
3/4 cups Pecans, crushed
1 – 2 cups Caramel Butterscotch Sauce
1 cup Powdered Sugar

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl cream the Sugar and Butter.
  • Add the Egg and mix well, then the Apple Cider.
  • In a second bowl combine the Spices, Baking Soda, Salt, and Flour.
  • Slowly incorporate the Dry Ingredients into the Wet Ingredients.
  • Fold in the grated Apple and Pecans.
  • Spoon onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until turning light brown.
  • Remove to cooling surface and wait till they are completely cool.
  • In a double boiler, heat up the Caramel sauce and add the Powdered Sugar.
  • using a spoon, spoon some Caramel Sauce onto the Cookies.

Persimmon Cookies

Fuyu PersimmonsFuyū 富有 Persimmons

Ingredients:Nut Alergy WarningVegetarian
Pulp of 3 medium sized Fuyū 富有 Persimmons
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 cup granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Egg
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground Cloves
1/2 tsp ground Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Raisins
1 cup Walnuts, crushedDirections:

 

  • Preheat the Oven to 350° F.
  • In a food processor, pulse the Persimmon Pulp and Baking Soda until a puree forms. Set aside
  • In a large bowl combine the Sugar, Vanilla, Butter, and Eggs, mixing well.
  • Pour in the Persimmon Pulp, and mix well.
  • In a second large bowl sift in the two types of Flour and Spices.
  • Slowly incorporate the Dry Ingredients with the Wet Ingredients, mixing as you go.
  • Add the Raisins and Walnuts, folding the mixture rather than beating it.
  • On greased baking sheet, spoon teaspoon fulls of batter 2″ apart from each other.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes; remove to a rack; and repeat till done.

Makes about 3 dozen little cookies.

NOTES: Persimmons come in two real varieties: Astringent and Non-Astringent. The most common Astringent Persimmon is the Hachiya 蜂屋 and tends to look like a bee-hive or heart in shape. You can tell it astringent because when you bite into it, it dries out your mouth. If you can only find this type of Persimmon, then double the Baking Soda, also look out for the large seeds. Fuyū 富有 Persimmons are a variety of the Non-Astringent Persimmons, and look a little bit like a squashed tomato. They lack the strong dryness of the Astringent varieties, and taste good eaten by themselves. Because of their sweet flavor, lack of dryness, and no seeds, I prefer Fuyū 富有 Persimmons.

Variations:
Substitute dried Cranberries for all or part of the Raisins. Substitute Pecans for all or part of the Walnuts

Alfredo Sauce

Ingredients:Vegetarian
1/4 cup Butter
4 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Sherry
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
1/2 cup Romano, grated
1/2 cup Asiago, grated
1/2 tsp Nutmeg

Directions:

  • In a sauce pan, combine the butter and Flour.
  • Heat on low heat stirring constantly for 3 mins.
  • Add the Sherry and Cream, stirring constantly; heat for 10 minutes
  • Add the Garlic, Nutmeg, and Cheeses.
  • continue to cook until the cheese is thoroughly melted.

Makes about 4 servings.

Serving Suggestions:
Pour over Fettuccine or your favorite Pasta.

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.

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:Vegetarian
2 cups prepared Pumpkin pulp
4 Eggs, beaten
1 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Water
3 1/2 cups all purpose Flour
2 cups Granulated Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon, powder
1 tsp Nutmeg, powder
1/2 tsp Cloves, powder
1/2 tsp Allspice, powder
1/2 tsp Ginger, powderDirections:

  • Preheat Oven to 350° F
  • In a large bowl combine Pumpkin, Eggs, Oil, Water, and both Sugars, mixing well.
  • In a second bowl combine all dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Carefully add the Dry Ingredients to the Wet Pumpkin Mixture, mixing as you go. Do this in portions and mix well before adding the next portion.
  • Grease two loaf pans.
  • Pour the batter into the pans.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 2 loaves.