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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Pan-Seared Duck in a Gingered Cherry Glaze with Fried Sage

Pan-Seared Duck in a Gingered Cherry Glaze with Fried Sage

Ingredients:
2 1lb Duck Breasts, with Fat
Salt and Pepper to taste
8-12 fresh Sage Leaves
2 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Cherry Juice
3 oz Kirschwasser
1 tsp Ginger Powder
1 Tbsp Butter

Directions:

  • Score the fat of each Duck Breast, crisscross.
  • Sprinkle liberally with Salt and Pepper
  • Heat a skillet on medium heat, and place the Breasts fat-side down in the Skillet.
  • Cook for 7-8 minutes, rendering the fat.
  • Flip the Breasts, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10-12 minutes or until Medium Rare.
  • Remove from the pan.
  • In the hot duck fat, place the Sage leaves, and fry for 1-2 minutes, until crisp. Remove to papertowel.
  • Remove the excess fat. You can save it for use in other dishes.
  • On medium heat, deglaze the Skillet with the Kirschwasser and Balsamic Vinegar.
  • Add the Honey, Cherry Juice, and Ginger.
  • Cook for 2 minutes until bubbly, then melt the Butter into the Sauce.
  • Take the Duck Breasts and return them to the Skillet, turning them over in the Sauce to coat.
  • Plate the Duck.
  • Slice the Duck then drizzle some Sauce over the Duck.
  • Garnish with the fried Sage.

Makes 2-4 Servings…each breast is 16 oz, and would make each a very hearty portion. Depending on serving sizes, you could feed up to four people.

NOTES: Duck is a lost poultry to most people. This is probably one of the simplest meals for Duck and it packs an amazing flavorful taste. The Gingered Cherry Sauce compliments the bold flavor of the Duck Breast. The Sage gives an aromatic crispy edible garnish. I would recommend this dish during Christmas, especially a romantic Christmas dinner for two.

Pumpkin Seed and Sage Crusted Tilapia with Roasted Garlic

Pumpkin Seed and Sage Crusted Tilapia with Roasted Garlic

Ingredients:
2 heads of Garlic
2 tsp Olive Oil (for roasting)
1 tsp Salt (for roasting)
4 Tilapia fillets
Salt and Pepper to Taste)
1 cup Pumpkin Seeds
1 Tbsp dried Sage
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 400°F.
  • Take a 12″ x 12″ square of Aluminum foil and crinkle into a nest or bowl, big enough to support the heard of Garlic.
  • Using a chopping knife, cut off the top of the Garlic head, exposing the tops of the cloves.
  • Place the Head in the nest, and drizzle the Olive Oil over the exposed Garlic cloves.
  • Sprinkle with Salt.
  • Place nest on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes or until the Garlic is tender to the touch. Remove when done and set aside.
  • While the Garlic is roasting, place the Pumpkin Seeds and Sage in a food processor and pulse until mealy, like bread crumbs.
  • Salt and Pepper both sides of the Fillets.
  • Place the Pumpkin Seed crumbs in a bag, and dip the Tilapia filets one at a time, pressing the crumbs onto the fillets.
  • Heat the Olive Oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
  • Fry the Fillets for 3-5 minute on each side, until golden brown.
  • Remove the fish and rest on a cooling rack or paper bag to remove excess Oil.
  • Plate the Fillets.
  • Using the Aluminum foil to hold the Garlic, squeeze the cloves out into a bowl, like a paste.
  • Top the Filets with the Roasted Garlic paste.

Makes 2-4 servings, depending on the size of the fillets.

NOTES: Pumpkin Seeds are an almost forgotten ingredient, but used as a breading they add a healthy nutty crust. I love this dish also because it smells so good while its being prepared–tips hat to roasted Garlic. Though there are a lot of “steps” to the roasting of the Garlic, this is actually a rather simple yet flavorful meal–the best kind.

Mushrooms in a Balsamic Cream Sauce

Mushrooms in a Balsamic Cream Sauce

Ingredients:
1 lb Table Mushrooms, cleaned
4 cloves Garlic, cut in slivers
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Chicken Stock
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  • Add the Mushrooms, Garlic, Olive Oil, and liberal Salt to a medium sized skillet on medium heat.
  • Slowly heat the Mushrooms stirring constantly and flipping every few minutes.
  • After 5 minutes, drizzle in the Balsamic Vinegar. Keep stirring.
  • After 2 minutes, add the remaining ingredients.
  • Cook for an additional 5 minutes, being sure to scrape the sides.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES:

This is a very simple side dish with tons of flavor. The Heavy Cream and Balsamic Vinegar add an almost caramel quality sauce. I am sure there is some sort French name for this type of sauce, but I have no clue what it is.  If you want, you can half or quarter the mushrooms.

Turkey Cutlets with Roasted Apples and Onions

Ingredients
2 Turkey Breasts, skinless, boneless, butterfly cut
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, miced
2 large Apples (Fuji), medium sliced
2 Tbsp fresh Sage, chopped fine
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Allspice
2 tsp Ginger
1 cup Apple Cider

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 350°F.
  • Pour the Olive Oil in a Dutch Oven, and coat the bottom well.
  • Place the Turkey Breasts in a Dutch Oven.
  • Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper.
  • Cover with Sage, Apples, Garlic, and Onions.
  • Pour the Apple Cider over everything.
  • Sprinkle with remaining Spices.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, covered.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: This dish could not be simpler or more healthy. The turkey breast marinates in the onions, apples, and cider making it moist and flavorful. This is one of my favorite one-pot dishes for Autumn.

Roasted Mushrooms and Cipollini Onions

Ingredients:
1 1/2 – 2 lbs Table Mushrooms, cleaned
12-15 Cipollini Onions, peeled, and quartered
2 Tbsp Corn Starch
4-6 cloves Garlic, cut in slivers
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Butter
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
1 1/2 cups Mushroom Broth or Beef Broth
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Place the Corn Starch in a quart-size plastic bag with the Mushrooms and shake to coat them.
  • Place all ingredients into a Dutch Oven with a lid.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, stirring mid way

Makes about 4-6 Servings.

NOTES: So I love these…I love mushrooms in general, but roasted is my favorite. And these are very simple and have a nice Autumnal flare to them. They make a great side item maybe with some crusty bread to sop up the broth–Great with roasts or steak too!

Cipollini onions are like mini sweet onions and have a buttery sweet taste to them. If you cannot find them, use a sweet yellow onion diced.

Mustard and Sage Rainbow Carrots

Ingredients:
8-12 Carrots, various colors
2 Tbsp dried Sage, crushed
2 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Butter, room temperature
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Cut a 1 1/2″ long piece of Aluminum Foil.
  • Clean the carrots, removing tips, greens, and dirt. No need to skin them, but if there is a knick cut it out. If the carrots are longer than 8 inches, cut them in half.
  • Place them on the center of the Aluminum foil, length-wise.
  • In a bowl, combine the Butter, Honey, Mustard, and Sage
  • Brush the sauce over the Carrots evenly.
  • Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Pull the ends of the Aluminum Foil together and form a pocket. Fold the edges in so that the Carrots are sealed into the packet.
  • Place on a cookie sheet, folded edges up, and bake for 20 minutes.

Makes 4 Servings.

NOTES: I had not really tried rainbow carrots in the past, opting for the more common orange variety, but there they sat at the local market staring at me and telling me that they would be the best new thing of the fall for me to eat. I will admit, that though I am not a fan of cooked carrots, these are actually pretty tasty. There indeed is a slight difference in taste between the purple, red, orange, and yellow carrots. The Mustard and Sage add a nice autumn flavor to the mix, and the honey retains the sweetness. If you cannot find rainbow carrots, the orange kind work just as well.

Published in: on September 5, 2011 at 10:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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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!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients
2 cups Brussels Sprouts, halved
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Steak Spice Rub
1-2 tsp Olive Oil
Water for Steaming

Directions

  • Preheat the Oven to 400°F.
  • Place the Sprouts in a steamer, and bring to a boil.
  • Cook until the Sprouts start to turn bright green, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Toss the Sprouts in a bowl with the Olive oil, Steak Spice Rub, and Salt.
  • Place on a baking sheet, and roast for 15 minutes.
  • Turn on the Broiler.
  • Move the baking sheet under the Broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until a desired brown is on the top.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: Brussels Sprouts are one of my favorite vegetables–looking at the various recipes on this blog can show you that. I loved them from a young age…probably due to the Jolly Green Giant’s buttery version. This, so far, has been Michael’s favorite version of Brussels Sprouts, as they are extremely healthy, but also very flavorful.

Though in general, I use Kosher Salt or Sea Salt, I have to really push the Sea Salt for this, because of its coarse nature–roasts amazingly.

Roasted Figs Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Sausage

Roasted Figs Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Sausage

Ingredients:
12 fresh Figs
8 Breakfast Sausage Links
12 Walnuts
12 tsp Chèvre Goat Cheese
1 tsp Rosemary, minced
1 tsp Mint, minced
2-4 tsp Honey
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 cup Water (for sausages)

Directions

  • Preheat the Oven to 400°F.
  • Add the Water to a skillet, and cook the Sausage Links on medium heat. The water will evaporate as the Sausages cook, allowing them to not burn, yet cook all the way through.
  • Remove the stem of the Figs, and slice an x 1/3 of the way deep with the crux where the stem would have been. This allows for the Fig to be partially divided so that you may stuff it. Dipping a paper towel in Olive Oil, rub the Fig with it and set to the side.
  • Stuff with one walnut to each fig, and then 1 tsp of Chèvre on top.
  • Place on a non-stick baking sheet and put in the oven for 10-12 minutes. You can do this while the Sausage is cooking.
  • When the Sausage is cooked through, remove from the skillet, and pat with paper towels to remove excess grease.
  • Slice each Sausage into thirds. I recommend doing this at an angle for aesthetic value. Set to the side.
  • Remove the Figs from the oven. The Chèvre will have a slight crust, but should not have browned.
  • Plate the Figs and sprinkle the Herbs on top.
  • Drizzle the honey on the figs, and top with a piece of the Sausage.

NOTES: This makes an excellent nibble food for a Brunch or Tea. I recommend using a Maple-flavored Sausage link if you can find them. Do not use a dark strong honey, but rather an orange blossom or wild flower honey. As far as figs go, you can use any ripe fig variety.

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.

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.

Soupe à l’oignon – French Onion Soup

Dedicated to my mother who LOVES French Onion Soup, and who introduced it to me.
Vegetarian Variation is dedicated to Abigail Wickes, my favorite vegetari-friend.

Ingredients:
5-6 Vidalia Onions or Sweet Yellow Onions, cut in 1/8″ wedges
3 Tbsp Butter
1/2 cup Sherry
6 cups Beef Broth
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Bouquet Garni – 4 sprigs Thyme, 2 springs Parsley, 2 Bay Leaves, wrapped in twine
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Baguette, cut in 1/2 inch pieces (about 6 pieces)
2-2 1/2 cups Gruyère, shredded

Directions:

  • Heat a large pot on the stove on low heat, with the Butter, Onions, and Salt.
  • Cook until the Onions start to break down, and turn a warm color, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the Sherry (careful of flames), and deglaze any pieces of Onion. Continue cooking for 10 more minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the Beef Broth, and deglaze again. Onions should start turning darker. Continue cooking for 10 more minutes.
  • Add the Garlic, the Bouquet Garni, and the remaining Beef Broth. Taste and add Pepper and/or Salt to taste. Scrape any pieces of onion from the bottom of the pan, and raise the heat to high.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower to medium, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • After about 15 minutes of simmering, preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Arrange the Baguette slices on a baking sheet, and cook for 8-10 minutes, or just until starting to crisp.
  • When the Soup and Croûtons are finished, remove from heat.
  • Ladle the Soup into oven-safe bowls (1 bowl per person, about 6-bowls), leaving space for the Croûtons to rest on top. Discard the Bouquet Garni when you get to it.
  • Place bowls on the baking sheet; add the Croûtons, and cover with the Gruyère.
  • Turn on the Broiler, and carefully place the baking sheet as close to it as possible. If this is an electric broiler, you will need to raise your rack to the top level PRIOR to turning it on, keeping in mind it will be hot from the making of the Croûtons. If this is a bottom broiler, place in the drawer, and push it in.
  • Broil for about 4-6 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly with a few touches of brown. Be careful removing the baking sheet from the oven, as it and the contents on it will be extremely hot. Serve each bowl on a small plate, so as to help absorb the heat

Serves about 6.

NOTES: Onion Soup is one of the oldest soups that is known, with documents showing its production back to at least the Roman times. In the 1960s there was a resurgence of French cooking, and the “French Onion Soup” hit its American hay-day. Now most diners and steakhouses serve some variation of the soup. What is amazing, is how many actually taste GOOD–folks giving in to high-sodium broths, and dried herbs. This is easily one of my favorite soups.

Variations:
M›Ṽ – Use Mushroom or Vegetable Stock instead of Beef Stock, and add 1 drop of Liquid Smoke to give it a deeper flavor.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Caramel Butterscotch Sauce

Caramel  Butterscotch SauceCaramel Butterscotch Sauce

Ingredients:Vegetarian
1 cup Granulated Sugar
2 Tbsp Water
1 tsp Corn Syrup
1 Tbsp Butter
4 Tbsp Heavy Cream
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Butterscotch Morsels

Directions:

  • In a deep sauce pan or saucier pan, Whisk the Sugar, Water, and Corn Syrup. Heat on medium heat.
  • As this heats up, keep in mind it will get VERY hot – like 265°F. You cannot leave this unattended, and you must be very careful.
  • Whisk as it heats up.
  • The Sugar dissolves in the Water and is mixed with the Corn Syrup preventing crystallization. As it cooks, there will be several stages to watch for.
    1. Large bubbles: This means that you are nearing the creation of caramel–just keep whisking.
    2. Small bubbles: You are getting even closer, and you should start seeing a caramel color.
    3. No bubbles: This means the caramel is cooked. Time to remove from the heat
  • When the caramel reaches the “No Bubbles” stage, CAREFULLY add the Heavy Cream. There will be steam, and it will be very hot, so be very careful.
  • Remove from the heat and add the Vanilla, Butter, and Morsels, stirring constantly. The mixture is still very hot.
  • Caramel Glaze is ready

You can use this as a Dip or a Sauce to cover deserts.

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.

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