Sunday, November 22, 2009

Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta

I grew up hearing that brussel sprouts were yucky, but then, my Gourmet Group friend, Christina, brought the most delicious brussel sprouts to a Thanksgiving dinner we shared. Unfortunately, I lost that recipe that she gave me, but these are just as good with a hint of nuttiness, so it's a dish that fits perfectly at my family's holiday table.

Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta
Giada De Laurentiis

1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces paper-thin slices pancetta, coarsely chopped I can never find pancetta, so I've only ever used proscuitto and added it at the end with the chicken broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth

Partially cook the Brussels sprouts in a large pot of boiling salted water, about 4 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until beginning to crisp, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until pale golden, about 2 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts to the same skillet and saute until heated through and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the broth and simmer until the broth reduces just enough to coat the Brussels sprouts, about 3 minutes. Serve.

Sweet Potato Casserole

It's a little embarrassing to admit that this dish is one of the ones that made me sad when Asher was first diagnosed with all his food allergies because really, could his life be complete without ever tasting these? :)

But, this year, I'll make them without the eggs and watch him not even try a bite. That's ok, though. More for me!

Sweet Potato Casserole
Janice Rose

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
½ c brown sugar
½ c butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 t vanilla
½ c milk

1/3 c melted butter
1 c brown sugar
½ c flour
1 c chopped nuts

Mix together first six ingredients and put into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Mix together topping and spread on top of potatoes. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Serves 10 to 12.

Favorite Thanksgiving dishes

The Peterson Shrimp Brick: sounds gross, looks a little gross, but trust me, it's a delicious appetizer!

Deer Valley Turkey and Black Bean Chili: to take care of the leftover turkey

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Carmelized Apples: my new favorite way to eat sweet potatoes

Sweet Potato Casserole: my old favorite way to eat sweet potatoes

Nate's Marshmallow Salad: because it wouldn't be Christmas or Thanksgiving without it

Katie's Dinner Rolls: while my grandma's rolls are what really reminds me of the holidays, Katie's are easier to adapt to to Asher's allergies and just as tasty!

Brussel Sprouts with Proscuitto: people who don't like brussel sprouts enjoy these because of the magic of proscuitto

What are your favorite Thanksgiving dishes?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pumpkin Cookies With Brown Butter Icing

I have made these cookies every fall for the last couple of years and they never fail to be crowd-pleasers. I am very biased since I love anything pumpkin-y and vanilla-y, but these cookies are definitely in my Top Ten Best Cookies. You can make the cookies ahead of time and then make the icing on the day you intend to serve them. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

adapted from Martha Stewart's original recipe here

2 ¾ cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoons sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 ¼ teaspoons ground ginger
¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly ground if possible)
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened (I use organic cultured butter)
2 ¼ cups packed dark-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (14 ounces) (I roast pumpkin, then puree)
¾ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I use Pure Bourbon Vanilla from Trader Joe's)

4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted (I use unbleached, organic powdered sugar)
10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Make cookies: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.
2. Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low. Add pumpkin, milk, and vanilla; mix until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture; mix until combined.
3. Using small ice cream scoop, drop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until tops spring back, about 12 minutes. Cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely.
4. Make icing: Put confectioners' sugar in a large bowl; set aside. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Immediately add butter to confectioners' sugar, scraping any browned bits from sides and bottom of pan. Add milk and vanilla; stir until smooth. Spread about 1 teaspoon icing onto each cookie. If icing stiffens, stir in more milk, a little at a time. Cookies can be stored in single layers in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cook's Country Meat Loaf

We (okay, I've) been working on getting us to eat less meat around here for the past year, so I usually don't make an entree that's all meat and when I do, I don't usually post it here. But, this recipe is such a hit at my house among all four of us that I couldn't not share it. I'm NOT a meatloaf fan, and even I like it. Luke will take fistfuls of meat and cram it in his mouth when I make this. And with the cauliflower on the side, this makes a delicious dinner. This is THE only meatloaf I'll make for quite a while.

Glazed Meat Loaf
Cook's Country, Feb 2009

1 c ketchup
1/4 c packed brown sugar I reduced to 2 T; couldn't tell a difference
2 1/2 T cider vinegar
1/2 t hot sauce I used 1/8 t cayenne pepper; I left it out the first time since our family doesn't like spicy food, but I definitely felt like this needed a little heat

Meat Loaf
2 t vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 c crushed saltine crackers (about 17) I used left over Chicken in Biskit crackers because I liked the seasoning on them
1/3 c whole milk I've used skim and 1%--couldnt' tell a difference
1 pound 90 percent lean ground beef grass-fed from Sprouts--yay!
1 pound ground pork
2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk egg is used as a binder in meat loaf, so it doesn't really add flavor. We leave it out because of allergies, which just makes the meat loaf more crumbly.
2 t Dijon mustard
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t dried thyme
1/3 c finely chopped parsley
Salt and pepper

1. Make glaze: whisk all ingredients in saucepan until sugar dissolves. Reserve 1/4 c glaze, then simmer remaining glaze over medium heat until sightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Cover and keep warm.
2. Cook vegetables: line rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat lightly with cooking spray. Don't skip this step--it saves LOTS on clean up time!

Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Cook onion until golden, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to large bowl.

3. Process meat: Process saltines and milk in food processor until smooth. Add beef and pork and pulse until well combined, about ten 1-second pulses. Ok, the first time I did this, I totally overprocessed the meat, making a meat paste. Now, I mix the pork and beef together first, throw it in the processor for about 3 1-second pulses, and really mix everthing in the next step:

Transfer meat to cooled onion mixture. Add eggs and yolk, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, parsley, 1 t salt I added 1/2 t because my crackers were so salty, and 3/4 t pepper to bowl. Mix with hands until combined. Was it Rachael Ray who said to work the meat loaf as little as possible or else it will get tough? Can't remember, but I'm sure someone said it.

4. Broil: Adjust oven racks to upper (about 4 inches away from broiler element) and middle positions and heat broiler. Transfer meat mixture to prepared baking sheet and shape into 9 inch by 5 inch loaf. I think this is one of the reasons why I like this recipe so much. Cook's Country writes, "Problem: Greasy, Pale Loaf, Solution: Bake the Loaf Free-Form--Skip the loaf pan, Baking the laof on a rimmed baking sheet allows the fat and juices to drain and exposes more surface area for a better crust." Amen!

Broil on upper rack until well browned, about 5 minutes.

Brush 2 T uncooked glaze over top and sides of loaf and then return to oven and broil until glaze begins to brown, about 2 mintues.

5. Bake: Transfer meat loaf to middle rack and brush with remaining uncooked glaze.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until meat loaf registers 160 degrees, 40 to 45 minutes.

Transfer to carving board, tent with foil I haven't tented with foil, and let rest 20 minutes. Slice and serve, passing cooked glaze at table.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli

Thanks to EmilyCC for inviting me to blog here. I have an appreciation of a great recipe, so I am looking forward to sharing some standouts that I have found over the years.

This broccoli recipe is a recent find, but I have made it repeatedly since we have basil growing in the backyard and the ingredient list would double as a "K's Favorite Foods List". It must be the Italian part of me! I took the recipe from Ina Garten on her show Barefoot Contessa, found here in it's original form. I have written the recipe with slight changes below, due to my preferences. Enjoy.

Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli

4 to 5 pounds broccoli
5-6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (I use pink Himalayan salt, and I do not measure. I just do a large pinch, enough to sprinkle over all the broccoli liberally)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, zested and then cut in half to squeeze out juice
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I use Trader Joe's grated parmesan for a shortcut)
fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves, or a large handful)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 8 cups of florets. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5-6 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.
  3. While broccoli roasts, toast pine nuts in a dry stainless steel sauce pan (non-stick will give off fumes used dry) over medium heat, tossing occasionally. Standing right next to pine nuts, julienne the basil leaves on a cutting board, making a pile. Zest the lemon over the top of the pile of basil leaves and set aside for juicing. When the pine nuts are done toasting, ease them out of the pan over the basil-lemon pile. Put Parmesan cheese on top of the pile. Give the pile a loose chop, mixing gently as you go.
  4. Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately drizzle with more olive oil. Sprinkle basil, lemon, pine nuts and Parmesan mixture over the whole pan of roasted broccoli. Cut reserved lemon in half and squeeze juice over the entire pan. Serve hot, immediately.
Picture of Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli Recipe

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cauliflower with Almonds, Raisins, and Capers

This was a delicious side dish with the meatloaf I made for dinner tonight--the only meatloaf I'll eat because, you know, the two words, "meat" and "loaf" together, just don't sound that good.

I've only had cauliflower steamed with lots of butter and/or cheese, but I love the texture that came with a light saute and some roasting. I made it with almonds and butter, but this recipe could easily be made Top 8 allergen-free with olive oil replacing the butter and pepitas replacing the almonds. I think I'll try it that way next time.

Also, this recipe is a simplified version of what's on the Smitten Kitchen website. Here's what I did because I'm lazy :)

Cauliflower With Almonds, Capers and Raisins
from Smitten Kitchen

1 head cauliflower, trimmed of leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh soft bread crumbs I ground up 2 slices of white bread in the food processor 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons whole almonds or pepitas, I used sliced almonds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper a light sprinkling from the salt shaker and a couple grinds from the pepper mill
2 tablespoons golden raisins I only had craisins
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped tarragon didn't have
1 teaspoon finely sliced chives

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut cauliflower from top to bottom in 1-inch slices. Place a large ovenproof skillet over low heat and add one tablespoon butter. When it has melted, add bread crumbs and toss until toasted and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer crumbs to a plate and wipe out pan. My version: Toast the almonds first in the skillet. Once they start to turn golden, add the breItalicad crumbs and/or olive oil. Then, salt and pepper the crumb/almond mixture and set aside. That will omit steps 1 and 2.

2. Return pan to medium heat and add one teaspoon olive oil. Add almonds and toss until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer almonds to a plate, let cool, and cut each almond into three pieces*; set aside.

3. Wipe out pan and return to medium heat. Add remaining one tablespoon olive oil and cauliflower slices. Sauté until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer pan to oven and roast until tender, about 12 minutes. (I had to brown my cauliflower in batches, not having enough surface area in my pan, but tossed everything back in to roast it.) Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, melt remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter and add raisins, vinegar and 1 tablespoon water. Simmer until raisins are plump and soft, about 5 minutes; drain and set aside. In a small bowl, combine almonds, capers, raisins, parsley, tarragon and chives. See directions in 4 for what I did here. Season with salt and pepper and toss to mix.

4. Arrange roasted cauliflower on a serving platter. Spoon almond-herb mixture evenly on top and sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs. Serve immediately. When the cauliflower was cooked and the craisin/vinegar/butter (or oil) mixture was done, I put the cauliflower in a serving bowl, poured the craisin dressing on, and after a brief toss of the almonds, capers, chives, parsley, and bread crumbs, I sprinkled all that on top of the cauliflower.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Carmelized Green Beans

I used to make these delicious deep fried green beans with ground pork served over rice for dinner. Then, I got tired of doing all the work of deep frying the beans, so I haven't made them for a while. Maybe one day I'll post that recipe here.

Right now, though, I don't think I have to because I found these delightful Carmelized Green Beans from Our Best Bites. I've had the recipe for a while, but I didn't try it until last night. I think I was intimidated by the length of the recipe, but really, it's quite easy. My only suggestion is to add a larger onion. I would have liked more onion in mine.

Such a winner, though. It tastes a lot like my deep fried green beans but with much less work (and fat :) ).

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Brie en Croute

I got this recipe from my Catholic friend in my Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) group when I was in chaplaincy training. I miss those days! She, of course, just rattled it off the top of her head. I've added the measurements I used to make mine.

Brie en Croute
Patricia Shea

Circle of brie I used a small 8 oz brie circle
1 package of Pepperidge Farm frozen pastry dough, thawed I only used one sheet since I used the smaller sized brie
1 jar apricot jam I used 1/4 c jam
slivered almonds I used 2 T

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut into two circles of pastry bigger than the brie. Place one circle on baking sheet. Place brie in the center of the circle. Ease the edges of the dough around the brie. Use water to hold cimpring.

Spread jam on top of the brie and sprinkle with almonds. Place second circle of pastry over brie and crimp the edges to fit and attach to bottom layer. Brush dough with egg yolk wash. Decorate by designing patterns with a knife on the top layer. Bake for 30 minutes until lightly brown and puffy.