Sunday, November 30, 2008

'RESTLESS' NOVEMBER ... 'PEACEFUL' MUM (flower of the month)

"We only part to meet again."

~ 'But beautiful'
____________

"Yea, I have looked, and seen November there;
The changeless seal of change it seemed to be,
Fair death of things that, living once, were fair;
Bright sign of loneliness too great for me,
Strange image of the dread eternity,
In whose void patience how can these have part,
These outstretched feverish hands, this restless heart?"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

FAREWELL FAIR FEAST! ~ THANKSGIVING WEEKEND STRATA / TURKEY CARCASS SOUP

~ November beauty
(flower of the month)
_________________
THANKSGIVING WEEKEND STRATA
~ Delicious use of several leftovers ... stuffing, turkey, rolls, and cranberry sauce (old Free Press clipping from Whole Foods Market)
_________
4 cups leftover Thanksgiving bread stuffing
4 cups cubed bread (any will do like leftover dinner rolls a great option)
2/3 cup whole milk
2/3 cup half & half
6 organic eggs
1 1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp hot sauce (optional)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups white or assorted quartered mushrooms
2 1/2 cup cook leftover diced turkey
1/3 lb. shredded cheddar cheese (or favorite melting cheese like Pepper Jack and Gorgonzola)
2 cored and diced large apples, sprinkled with lemon juice to prevent browning
1-2 cups leftover cranberry sauce
  • Butter 9x12x2-inch baking dish.
  • Combine leftover stuffing and cubed bread in large bowl. Place half of mixture at bottom of baking pan and set aside.
  • Whisk together milk, half & half, eggs, Dijon mustard, hot sauce, salt & pepper; set aside.
  • Heat butter in pan and saute mushrooms and onions quickly on high heat. Combine mushroom and onion mixture with half of the green onions, leftover turkey, cheddar cheese and apples.
  • Arrange mixture evenly on stuffing and bread mixture on top. Slowly pour liquid mixture into baking dish, making sure to distribute evenly. Sprinkle remaining green onions on top for garnish. Press down on bread cubes, if necessary, to ensure that all bread is coated with liquid. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  • When read to bake, preheat oven to 350-degrees. Bake strata, uncovered, until top is golden and knife inserted into center comes out clean, approximately 60 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with cranberry sauce on the side. (4-6 servings)

____________________

TURKEY CARCASS SOUP

" To make a good soup, the pot must only simmer, or 'smile'."
~ French Proverb

____________


Strip the carcass leaving sweet meat close to the bone. The essence of how the turkey was prepared will remain in the pot. (Especially tasty if stuffed). Add only a coarsely chopped onion and a few cloves of garlic, including the skin which will all be discarded. Plop into a large stock pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Simmer gently on the back burner for 4 hours. Drain stock over colander into another large stock pot, discard bits and bones, and begin anew. Chill and skim fat from top. The rest is fun.


Pull out leftover vegetables from Thanksgiving dinner; for example, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, broccoli, green beans, Brussels sprouts, corn, mushrooms, etc. Eye freshness and consider them for the pot. (If you feel you haven't had your fill of 'Holiday Fat', slip in some leftover gravy when no one is looking). Bring stock to a boil. Add 1 large chopped sweet or Spanish onion, 3-4 chopped garlic cloves, 3-4 stalks celery plus leaves, 4-5 large chopped carrots, 1 chopped green onion, 1 chopped red onion, 1 cup white wine, 1/2 cup chopped parsley, 1 heaping tsp. savory, 1 heaping tsp. thyme, heavy dashes of Lawry's Seasoned Pepper, coarse salt & cracked pepper to taste. Simmer on the back burner for 20-30 minutes until vegetables are cooked. Return some shredded or chopped roasted turkey back into pot. Adjust seasonings and savor the essence of Thanksgiving ... until next year!

Friday, November 28, 2008

GIVING THANKS FOR LEFTOVERS ~ TURKEY SALAD with CRANBERRIES & TOASTED PECANS / GINGER SWEET POTATO MUFFINS with CANDIED GINGER BUTTER

"I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and and the new."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

~ November mums
___________

TURKEY SALAD with CRANBERRIES & TOASTED PECANS

~ Yes ... leftovers are delicious!

_____________

2 cups shredded or diced turkey

1 diced and cored Granny Smith apple

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped green onion

1/4-1/2 cup dried cranberries

3 Tbsp. coarsely chopped toasted pecans

1 (11oz.) can drained mandarin oranges

coarse salt & freshly cracked pepper

1/2 cup light mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. sour cream or plain yogurt

1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

8 Red leaf lettuce leaves

additional toasted pecans

  • Combine turkey, apple, celery, onions, pecans, and oranges. Season with salt & cracked pepper.
  • Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, and parsley. Pour over turkey mixture and gently fold in. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • Line 4 plates with 2 lettuce leaves each. Mound 1/4 cup of salad on top of leaves. Garnish with additional chopped pecans. (4 servings)

_________________


GINGER SWEET POTATO MUFFINS

~ Leftover sweet potatoes! No problem (More Muffins)

_______________

1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 cup cool mashed baked sweet potato
1/2 cup room temperature milk
2 large room temperature organic eggs
3 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4-1.3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Spray muffin pans with Pam.
  • In large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ground ginger.
  • In another bowl, stir together sweet potato, milk, eggs, oil and vanilla until well blended.
  • Make a well in center of dry ingredients and add milk mixture and stir just to combine. Stir in crystallized ginger.
  • Spoon batter in prepared muffing cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Remove muffin pans to wire rack. cool 5 minutes before removing muffins from tin. Serve warm with Candied Ginger Butter or cool completely and store in airtight container at room temperature. (12 muffins)
CANDIED GINGER BUTTER
1/2 room temperature unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 Tbsp. honey
dash salt
Combine butter, ginger, honey and salt in small bowl until well combined. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature before serving. (1/2 cup)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

'LET US BE GRATEFUL' ~ THANKSGIVING WISHES

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
~ Marcel Proust


~ Thanksgiving Roses



"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
~ John F. Kennedy



Wednesday, November 26, 2008

'GATHERING FAVORITES FOR THE FEAST' ~ THAI PUMPKIN SOUP /

"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving."

~ H.U. Westermayer




THAI PUMPKIN SOUP
(unusual spicy twist from traditional)
2 32-oz. boxes of organic chicken broth
1 28-ounce can pumpkin
1 quart mango nectar
1/2 heaping cup chunky peanut butter
4 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
6 Tbsp. minced green onion
2 minced cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 heaping tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
juice of 1 lemon plus zest
chopped fresh cilantro
  • Combine chicken broth, pumpkin and nectar in large saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Process 2 cups pumpkin mixture, peanut butter, green onion, garlic, pepper flakes and ginger in blender until smooth. Return to remaining pumpkin mixture in pan. Whisk in vinegar, lemon juice and zest. Correct seasonings.
  • Thoroughly heat and ladle into soup bowls. Sprinkle with cilantro.
    (10 - 12 servings)
_______________

SPINACH SOUFFLE
~ Not a true souffle but adapted retro~favorite for almost 40 years
(thanks Morans!)
*
4 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach
(defrost, drain and squeeze dry)
1 24-ounce carton cottage cheese (drain liquid through sieve)
4 beaten eggs
cracked pepper to taste
1 heaping cup Parmesan cheese
1 bunch chopped green onions
1 heaping cup grated Monteray Jack
Sprinkled parsley
Combine spinach, cottage cheese, eggs, cracked pepper, Parmesan cheese and green onions. Top with Monteray Jack and sprinkle with parsley. Cook in buttered souffle dish at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until set. (Impossible to hard to tell how many it serves. Have known 1 'goat guest' to DEVOUR IT ALL!)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

'COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS' ~ ROAST TURKEY with HERB BUTTER & CARAMELIZED ONION GRAVY / WILD RICE DRESSING with APPLES & CHESTNUTS

"The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings."

ROAST TURKEY with HERB BUTTER & CARAMELIZED ONION GRAVY
~ Delicious, easy and rich favorite bird
(adapted from Bon Appetit-Nov 2002)
____________
Onion Base for Gravy:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
4 large thinly sliced onions
1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp. honey
Turkey:
6 Tbsp. (3/4) stick room temperature butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 21-22 lb. turkey
1 large quartered onion
3 1/2 cup organic chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine (or chicken broth)
2 large fresh rosemary sprigs
2 large fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
coarse salt & freshly ground pepper
  • Gravy Base: Melt butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until deep brown, about 40 minutes. Mix in rosemary and thyme, then flour; stir 1 minute. Add vinegar and honey; simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. (Can make ahead 1 day. Cover and chill.)
  • Turkey: Mix butter and herbs in small bowl. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry. Place on rack in large roasting pan. Sprinkle inside and out with salt & freshly ground pepper. Starting with neck end, slide hand between skin and breast meat to loosen skin. Spread 1/4 cup herb butter over breast meat under skin. Rub remaining butter over outside of turkey. Place turkey parts and onion quarters in pan around turkey. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
  • Set rack in lowest position in oven and preheat to 350-degrees. If stuffing turkey, spoon stuffing loosely into main cavity and neck cavity. Tuck wing tips under; the legs together loosely to hold shape. Roast turkey uncovered 1 hour. Tent turkey breast and tops of drumsticks loosely with foil; roast 1 hour longer. Add 1 cup wine (or broth), herb sprigs, and bay leaf to drippings in pan. Continue to roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175-degrees, basting with 3/4 cup broth and pan juices every 30 minutes, about 2 hours 30 minutes longer for unstuffed and 3 hours longer for stuffed. Transfer turkey to platter; let stand 30 minutes (internal temperature will increase 5-10 degrees.)
  • Strain pan juices into 8-cup measuring cup; spoon fat off top. Heat gravy base over medium heat. Whisk in flour, then pan juices. Boil until gravy is reduced to 7 cups, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Season with salt & pepper. Serve turkey with gravy. (14 servings)
    ________________

WILD RICE DRESSING with APPLES & CHESTNUTS

~ A delightful change from traditional dressing and easily doubled for more hungry guests or if stuffing turkey.

__________

1 cup wild rice

1 (7.25 oz. jar peeled whole chestnuts, halved)

1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casing removed and crumbled

1 large chopped Spanish or sweet onion

1 chopped red pepper

2 unpeeled, 1/2-inch cubed tart apples (e.g. Granny Smith)

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme (2 1/2 tsp. dried)

1 cup organic chicken broth

coarse salt & freshly ground pepper

  • Cook wild rice in large saucepan of salted boiling water until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain.
  • Combine cooked rice, chestnuts, and parsley in large bowl.
  • Saute sausage and onion until meat is browned and cooked through, stirring frequently breaking up meat with fork. Drain excess grease and add olive oil. Add red pepper, apples and thyme and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in chicken broth, scraping browned bits from bottom of pan. Pour sausage mixture over rice and stir to combine. Season with salt & pepper. (At this point, either continue or cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before baking.)
  • Butter 13x9x2 inch baking dish. Transfer mixture into dish and bake in preheated 425-degree oven for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. (8 servings)

Wine suggestion: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir.

Note: Click for last year's MAPLE GLAZED TURKEY, CRANBERRY BOURBON RELISH and WILD RICE DRESSING with ROASTED GRAPES, APPLES & CHESTNUTS.

Monday, November 24, 2008

CRANBERRY CRAZED ~ SPICED CRANBERRY RELISH / ROASTED SWEET POTATOES & ONIONS with ROSEMARY & PARMESAN / CRANBERRY-ORANGE SPICE CAKE

"There are several theories as to the origin of the name 'cranberry.' One is that the open flowers look like the head of a crane; another is that cranes like to these sour berries. The Pequot Indians of Cape Cod called the berry ibimi, meaning bitter berry. Algonquin Indians were among the first to harvest wild cranberries. They used them for food, medicine, and as a symbol of peace. Native Americans pounded cranberries into a paste and mixed with dried meat, and called this mixture 'pemmican.' One of the first references to cranberries was made in a letter written by Mahon Stacy to his brother in England dated April 26, 1680."


~ American cranberries meet English flow-blue
______
SPICED CRANBERRY RELISH
~ Another favorite cranberry sauce recipe
( Wolfgang Puck 1993 on Good Morning America)
_______
Peel and juice of 1 medium orange
Peel and juice of 1/2 medium lemon
3 cups port
1 package (12 ounces) fresh cranberries, washed
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1 ounce fresh ginger, peeled and cut into julienne
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier


  • Cut orange and lemon peels into julienne. In small saucepan, heat juices and 1/2 cup port. Over medium-high heat, cook peels until tender, about 10 minutes. Reserve.
  • In medium saucepan, combine cranberries, onion, 2 cups port, ginger, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Over medium-high heat, cook until relish thickens, 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup port, Grand Marnier, and reserved orange and lemon peel mixture. Cool. Transfer to serving bowl, cover and refrigerate. (Can make up to 1 week ahead.)
_____________

ROASTED SWEET POTATOES STUFFED with CRANBERRIES, PEARS, AND PECANS

~ Delicious side clipped from Bon Appetit (Nov 2002) can be prepared ahead and reheated 20 minutes before serving.

___________

8 8-oz. scrubbed red-skinned sweet potatoes

1 cup dried cranberries

4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) butter

2 large firm but ripe pears, peeled, cored, cut in 1/2-inch cubes

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

4 tsp. minced peeled fresh ginger

4 tsp. packed golden brown sugar

2 tsp. plus 1 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

  • Position rack in cent of oven and preheat to 350-degrees. Line baking sheet with foil/ Pierce potatoes in several places with fork; place on prepared baking sheet. Bake until tender when pierced with fork, about 55 minutes. Cool slightly.
  • Meanwhile, place cranberries in small bowl; pour enough hot water over to cover. Let stand 5 minutes to soften. Drain well.
  • Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pears and saute until tender and golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in cranberries, pecans ginger, and brown sugar; saute 1 minute, Mix in 2 tsp. vinegar and q/2 tsp. salt.
  • Cut off top 1/4 of each potato lengthwise; discard tops. Using fork, gently mash pulp inside each potato. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
  • Melt remaining 2 Tbsp. butter in small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp. vinegar. Drizzle abut 1 tsp. butter-vinegar mixture into each potato; mix with fork to blend.
  • Mound cranberry mixture in sweet potatoes. (Can prepare 4 hours ahead. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let stand at room temperature. Rewarm sweet potatoes , uncovered in 350-degree oven until heated through, about 20 minutes.

________________

CRANBERRY-ORANGE SPICE CAKE

~ Tangy cranberries, fresh orange, spices and simple glaze ... perfect ending for the festive day (Williams-Sonoma favorite)

_________

Cranberry Streusel:

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

2 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

Cake:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 Tbs. ground cinnamon

2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg'1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 Tbs. grated orange zest

4 eggs

3/4 cup milk

Glaze:

1.2 cup fresh orange juice

1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • Have all ingredients at room temperature.
  • Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 325-degrees. Grease and flour bundt pan; tap our excess.
  • Streusel: In small sauce pan over medium-high heat, combine cranberries and orange juice. Bring to simmer and cook until liquid is nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Let cook, then coarsely chop cranberries. Transfer to small bowl, add brown sugar and pecans and stir to combine. Set aside.
  • Cake: Over sheet of waxed paper, sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder and salt; set aside. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 30 seconds. Add Granulated sugar and orange zest and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes., stopping mixer occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with milk and beginning and ending with flour. Beat each addition until just incorporated, stopping mixer occasionally to scrape down sided of bowl. Spoon 1/3 of batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with half of streusel. Repeat layering, then spoon remaining batter on top. Bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 60-65 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cake cool upright in pan for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make glaze: In small saucepan over medium-high heat combine orange juice and granulated sugar. Heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Remove fro heat.
  • Tap Bundt pan gently on work surface to loosen cake. Set rack over sheet of waxed paper, invert pan onto rack and lift off the pan. Using pastry brush, brush warm cake with glaze. Let cake cool completely, at least 2 hours before serving. (16 servings)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

'TIME TO BE THANKFUL' ~ CREAMY MUSHROOM CHESTNUT SOUP with THYME CROUTONS / GRILLED CRANBERRY BOURBON TURKEY TENDERLOIN / ROASTED VEGETABLES

“Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.”

~ Oprah Winfrey

~ November
___________

CREAMY MUSHROOM CHESTNUT SOUP
with THYME CROUTONS
~ Rich autumn flavors in each creamy spoonful. Adapted from Cooking Light Nov 2007.
________

1 1/2 lbs. assorted stemmed and sliced gourmet mushrooms
(cremini, shiitake, oyster, baby bella, portabella)
3 Tbsp. minced shallots
1/2 tsp. coarse salt, divided
1 large clove minced garlic
5 cups organic chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup roasted chestnuts
(bottled chestnuts like Trader Joes are fine)
2 thyme sprigs
4 Tbsp. light sour cream
freshly ground pepper to taste
2 slices cooked and crumbled applewood-smoked bacon
additional sour cream
thyme croutons
(prepare while soup is cooking or make ahead)


  • Coat large stockpot with cooking spray. Add mushrooms and saute 15 minutes until liquid evaporates. Add shallots and saute 1 minute. Add 1/4 tsp. salt and garlic; saute 1 minutes. Remove 1/2 cup mushroom mixture and set aside. Add broth, wine, chestnuts and thyme to pan. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; discard thyme.
  • Puree in pan with a hand-held immersion blender until smooth or place 1/2 of broth in blender and puree, repeating procedure with remaining broth.
  • Stir in remaining 1/4 salt, sour cream, and black pepper. Return reserved mushroom mixture to pan with cooked crumbled bacon.
  • Ladle hot soup into serving bowl and top with additional dollop of sour cream and sprinkling of thyme croutons. (6 servings)

THYME CROUTONS

1/2 medium baguette, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme


Toss croutons with olive oil, salt & pepper. Bake on large baking sheet in 375-degree oven for 6 minutes. Turn and toss with chopped thyme and continue baking 6 minutes or longer until golden crisp. Can make ahead and store in airtight container. (5 cups)
___________
GRILLED CRANBERRY BOURBON TURKEY TENDERLOIN
~ Fast and easy recipe for small group or holiday time crunch
_____
2 cups favorite orange cranberry sauce*
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2/3 cup bourbon
juice of one fresh lemon
2 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
4 lbs. turkey tenderloins
1 Tbsp. coarsely ground pepper
coarse salt

  • Place 2 cups of orange cranberry sauce, brown sugar, bourbon, lemon juice and lemon zest in saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature. Remove 1/2 cup and reserve remaining mixture.
  • Prepare grill. Rinse and pat dry turkey tenderloins. Sprinkle with salt & cracked pepper. Brush with cool cranberry mixture and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Grill over medium-high heat 10-12 minutes on each side or until meat thermometer registers 165-degrees in thickest portion of tenderloin. Remove from hear and let stand 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with remaining cranberry sauce. (8-10 servings)

--------

* FAVORITE ORANGE CRANBERRY SAUCE

12 ounce bag fresh cranberries

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

grated zest from oranges

Rinse cranberries and pick off stems. Combine sugar and orange juice in medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Add cranberries and zest and boil gently until cranberries begin to pop, about 7 minutes.

_________________

ROASTED VEGETABLES with PECAN GREMOLATA

~ Sure to become an autumn favorite from old (Nov 2003) Bon Appetit.

___________
1 lb. medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, then crosswise

1 lb. medium parsnips, peeled, halved lengthwise, then crosswise

1 lb. turnips, peeled, halved, cut into 1-inch thick wedges

1 1/4 lbs. brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved

6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided

coarse salt & freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup pecans

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 oz.)

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, divided

1 Tbsp finely grated lemon peel

1 clove minced garlic

  • Preheat oven to 425-degrees. Toss carrots, parsnips, turnips, and brussels sprouts in large brown with 3 Tbsp. oil. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with salt & freshly ground pepper. Roast until vegetables are tender, tossing often, about 1 hour. Transfer vegetables to large platter; cool.
  • Using on/off turns, chop pecans in processor until coarsely ground. Transfer ground pecans to small bowl.; stir in grated cheese, parsley, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, lemon peel, garlic and 1 Tbsp. oil. Season gremolata to taste with salt.
  • Drizzle vegetables with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and remaining 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. Sprinkle gremolata over vegetables just before serving. (8 servings)


Saturday, November 22, 2008

'FEAST, FUN AND FEED' ~ CARAMEL PECAN PIE

"The true essentials of a feast
are only fun and feed."
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
~ Muted mum
___________
CARAMEL PECAN TART
~ Sensational easy twist on traditional pecan pie ... shortbread-like crust meets buttery-rich brown sugar-honey topping. A favorite clipped from Southern Living 2007.
________
3 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
2 cups flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cups cubed unsalted butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
2/3 cup unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. whipping cream
  • Arrange pecans in single layer on baking sheet. Bake at 350-degrees for 5-7 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cool on wire rack 15 minutes or until completely cool.
  • Pulse flour, powdered sugar, and 3/4 cup butter in food processor 5-6 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pat mixture evenly on bottom and up sides of lightly greased 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom.
  • Bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on wire rack 15 minutes or until completely cool.
  • Bring brown sugar, honey, 2/3 cup butter and whipping cream to boil in 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in toasted pecans, and spoon hot filling into prepared crust.
  • Bake at 350-degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Cool on wire rack 30 minutes or until completely cool. (12 servings)
______
CARAMEL PECAN BARS
Prepare recipe as directed, pressing crumb mixture evenly on bottom and 34 inch up sides of lightly greased heavy-duty aluminum foil-lined 13x9-inch pan. When completely cook, using foil as handles, carefully lift tart from pan and transfer to serving tray, Cut into squares.

Friday, November 21, 2008

PLANNNING THE FEAST ~ CRANBERRY PEAR PIE with OATMEAL STREUSEL

"The Indians and English use them much, boyling them with Sugar for Sauce to eat with their Meat, and it is a delicious sauce."
~ John Josselyn
(while visiting New England in 1663)


~ Cranberry
_______________

CRANBERRY PEAR PIE with OATMEAL STREUSEL

~ Save room for a piece (or least a forkful) of this delightful seasonal dessert (from stockpile favorites Cooking Light - Nov 2007)

____________

STREUSEL:

3/4 cup regular oats

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

dash of salt

2 Tbsp. chilled butter, cut into small pieces

FILLING:

3 cups (2 large) 1/2-inch cubed, peeled Anjou pear

2 cups fresh cranberries

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

2 1/2 Tbsp.cornstarch

________

1 unbaked 9-inch deep dish pastry shell

  • Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
  • STREUSEL: Combine oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  • FILLING: Combine cranberries, pear, 2/3 cup brown sugar and cornstarch in large bowl; toss well to combine. Spoon mixture into pastry shell; sprinkle streusel over mixture. Bake for 1 hour until bubbly and streusel is browned. Cool at least 1 hour on wire rack. Serve with good vanilla ice cream.



Thursday, November 20, 2008

"WAS THERE EVER SUCH AN AUTUMN?"

"Was there ever such an autumn? And yet there was never such a panic and hard times in the commercial world. The merchants and banks are suspending and failing all the country over, but not the sandbanks, solid and warm, and streaked with bloody blackberry vines.You may run upon them as much as you please--even as the crickets do, and find their account in it. They are the stockholders in these banks, and I hear them creaking their content. "

~ Henry David Thoreau
(Journal, October 14, 1857)


~ Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive
(Sleeping Bear Dunes)
________________
___________________
"You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this."
~ Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

'IN NAKEDNESS, A POEM, A SONG ..."

"Have you ever noticed
a tree standing naked against the sky,
How beautiful it is?
All its branches are outlined, and in its nakedness
There is a poem, there is a song.
Every leaf is gone and it is waiting for the spring.
When the spring comes,
it again fills the tree with
The music of many leaves,
Which in due season fall and are blown away.
And this is the way of life."

~ Naked tree against the sky
(Hubbard Lake)
________________

Monday, November 17, 2008

AUTUMN 'GOODIES' ~ AGING OAKLEAF / MAPLE ROASED BRUSSELS SPROUTS with CHESTNUTS

"I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its tone is mellower, its colours are richer, and it is tinged with a little sorrow. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and its content."


~ November beauty

~ Early autumn

~ Summer

~ Aging cycle

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MAPLE ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS with CHESTNUTS

~ Delicious bittersweet autumn taste to enjoy now and tuck away for Thanksgiving ( from Food & Wine/Nov 2005)
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1/2 cup canola oil
2 1/4 lbs. baby brussels sprouts or regular halved lengthwise brussels sprouts
coarse salt & freshly ground pepper
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter (cut in tablespoons and soft)
2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
1/4 cup Grade A pure maple syrup
1 1/2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 cup coarsely chopped vacuum-packed roasted chestnuts
1 Tbsp. walnut oil

  • Heat canola oil in very large skillet until shimmering. Add brussels sprouts and season with salt & pepper. Cook over high heat without stirring until browned, about 2 minutes. Add unsalted butter and brown sugar and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally until brown sugar is melted. Add Maple syrup and cook, stirring occasionally until brussels sprouts are just crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in cider vinegar. Add chestnuts and walnut oil and cook until hot.
  • Transfer brussels sprouts with slotted spoon to bowl. Boil cooking liquid over high heat until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Pour sauce over brussels sprouts and serve. (10 servings)
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Brussels sprouts can even help to improve your skin (not to mention fight off infections), as they're rich in vitamin A and beta carotene. These tiny powerhouse also contain vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, manganese, fiber, potassium, vitamin B6 and thiamin (vitamin B1), iron, phosphorous, protein, magnesium, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin E, copper and calcium.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

'FROM SUMMER COTTONS INTO WINTER WOOLS'

"The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools."
~ Henry Beston, Northern Farm

~ Hubbard Lake (November)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

'SPICY AUTUMN SMELLS' ~ PUMPKIN CHILI / WHITE CHEDDAR SCALLION MUFFINS

"The spirits of the air live on the smells
Of fruit; and joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat;
Then rose, girded himself, and o'er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load."
- William Blake
( To Autumn)


PUMPKIN CHILI
~ An adventuresome autumn twist on traditional chili, rich in flavor and ... the simmering smell ... simply divine!
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2 lbs. lean ground beef
2 large chopped onions
1 chopped red pepper
1 chopped green pepper
4 cans (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
2 cans rinsed black beans
1 large can pumpkin puree
1 can sliced black olives (optional)
1 bottle (12 oz.) Pumpkin Ale
(e.g. America's Original Pumpkin Ale - Buffalo Bill's Brewery
or Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale)
2 heaping Tbsp. chili powder (or more)
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 pinches of brown sugar
coarse salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
sour cream
chopped green onions
  • Cook beef in large stockpot until well browned. Drain excess fat.
  • Add onions and peppers and cook until soft. Add tomatoes and juice, beans, pumpkin, black olives, beer, spices, brown sugar, salt & pepper. Bring to boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Adjust seasonings. Serve or refrigerate (even better).
  • Ladle hot chili into bowls and, if desired, top with dollop of sour cream and chopped green onions. Warm White Cheddar Scallion Muffins are delicious on the side.
Note: Easy make ahead treat for Thanksgiving house guests.
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WHITE CHEDDAR SCALLION MUFFINS
~ Tasty muffins are a favorite clipped from Food & Wine Oct. 2006
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1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 cold Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup very finely chopped scallion greens
3 oz. (1 cup) shredded extra-sharp white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. cold milk
  • Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Lightly grease two 12-cup mini-muffin tins.
  • In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne. Using 2 knives, a pastry blender or fingers, work in the butter until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small pieces of butter still visible. Add scallion greens, cheese and milk. Stir with wooden spoon just until dough comes together.
  • Scoop dough into prepared mini-muffin tins. Bake for about 25 minutes, until muffins are lightly browned on top. Transfer to wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm. (2 dozen mini-muffins)

Friday, November 14, 2008

'GOLDEN DAYS' ~ PRALINE PUMPKIN TORTE

"The thinnest yellow light of November is more warming and exhilarating than any wine they tell of. The mite which November contributes becomes equal in value to the bounty of July."
~ Henry David Thoreau


~ Golden days
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PRALINE PUMPKIN TORTE

... A perfect ending for a festive dinner (from Sunset clipping ~ Nov 2005)

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3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/3 cup unsalted butter

3 Tsp. plus 1 3/4 cup whipping cream

1 cup chopped pecans

4 large eggs

1 2/3 cups granulated sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups cooked pumpkin (canned fine)

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

3/4 tsp. ground ginger

3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup powdered sugar

  • Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Butter 2 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms of pans with parchment.
  • PRALINE: In heavy 1-2 quart pan over low heat, stir brown sugar, butter, and 3 Tbsp. whipping cream until melted and blended, about 5 minutes. Pour half the brown sugar mixture into each of the cake pans. Sprinkle 3/4 cup chopped pecans evenly into pans.
  • CAKE: In a bowl, bet eggs, granulated sugar, and oil until well blended. Stir in Pumpkin and 1/2 tsp. vanilla. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, spices, baking soda, and salt to blend. Whisk dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture until well blended. Pour half the batter into each of the pans; smooth top.
  • Bake cake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Let cool in pans on racks about 5 minutes; invert onto racks and remove pans and paper. Let cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.
  • TOPPING: Up to 6 hours before serving, beat remaining 1 3/4 cups whipping cream on high speed in chilled bowl until soft peaks form. On low speed, beat in powdered sugar and remaining 1/2 tsp vanilla just until blended.
  • ASSEMBLE: Set one cake layer, pecan praline side up, on serving platter. Spread two-thirds of whipped cream mixture over the top. Set second layer, praline side up, on top. Cover with remaining whipped cream mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup chopped pecans. (12 servings)