Archive for November, 2011

From Dish Danielle:

I had the pleasure of being served this dish a few weeks back.

‘Ohmygoodness this is amazing. I NEED to make this…tell me how!’ I exclaimed to Yewande moments after I took my first bite. Although Yewande isn’t a contributor to this site, she is one Saucy. Little. Dish. She works for Saveur and Bon Appetit in recipe R&D, so it’s no wonder that her casserole was met with rave reviews.

Here is my rendition of Miss Yewande Komolafe’s recipe, told to me as I stood in the kitchen, gobbling up her delicious dish. She made hers in a round cast iron skillet, which I also recommend using if you have one.

5 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin (be brave and use a mandolin if you can)
2c heavy cream
1c whole milk
6oz grated gruyere
3-4 garlic cloves
1 bunch thyme, pruned
1-2 tsp grated nutmeg
6 oz grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 casserole dish. Start by placing a layer of potato slices on the bottom of your dish.

In a small saucepan, place the cream, milk, most of the gruyere (reserve 1/3c for later), and most of the thyme (save 1-2 tbsp for later), over low heat. Whisk periodically to mix cheese & milk thoroughly. Using a micro-plane, grate the garlic into the liquid. Season with S&P. Taste. Adjust until you get the seasoning just right.

Once liquid is ready, pour a bit atop the potatoes in the dish. Sprinkle a layer of parm as well. Then arrange another layer of potatoes atop that and repeat until you’ve filled the dish. I recommend adding liquid in small increments until it reaches about halfway up the pan, even if that means not pouring liquid over the last layer or two of potatoes. Too much liquid results in a soggy casserole, which is exactly what I got the first time I cooked this. Once you’ve filled the dish, finish with the remaining parm, gruyere, and thyme and bake for 45min-1hr, or until the top layer has browned a bit. Let it rest for a good 20 minutes before serving to make sure it sets properly.

I served this on Thanksgiving day as one of my contributions to a wonderful Turkey Day potluck.

Archie & Emily of Neighbor Supperclub hosted us, and our entire meal was outstanding!

So much to be thankful for this year. Reflect, eat, enjoy, repeat. I hope you all had a lovely holiday.

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From Dish Erin:

I know what you’re expecting. Some sort of pie or Autumnal side dish for Thanksgiving. But I’m forgoing the obvious this month and taking a trip to Korea. Think of it as a healthy way to prep for the holiday overindulgence that’s about to happen.

Korean restaurants are sort of like dry cleaners in NYC–there’s one on every corner. It’s a cuisine with really distinct flavor components, thanks to the liberal use of chili paste and intense flavors (which is always the key to my heart). One of the most ubiquitous Korean dishes is Beef Bulgogi, which literally translates to “fire meat.” Thin slices of meat are marinated in a mixture of spices and sauces that create a salty/sweet/spicy flavor that’s uniquely Korean. I was craving it tonight, but since I had a hamburger for dinner last night, I opted for salmon instead of beef.

For marinade
1 large garlic clove, peeled
1 scallion, chopped roughly
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice vinegar
1 tablespoon peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce like sri-racha

2 salmon fillets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 shallot, minced
cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced
2 cups baby bok choy, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips

Blend all marinade ingredients in mini processor. Pour into a medium sized bowl, nestle the salmon in, and marinate about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Arrange fish, with some marinade still clinging, on rimmed baking sheet. Transfer any marinade in dish to small saucepan. Roast fish until just opaque in center, about 8 minutes. Bring marinade in saucepan to boil; set aside and reserve for glaze.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add shallot and using garlic press, press in last remaining garlic clove. Cook for about 1 minute. Add bok choy and mushrooms. Stir-fry until mushrooms are tender and bok choy is wilted, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide vegetables among plates. Top with salmon and brush with remaining glaze.

Enjoy and express your gratitude for being able to recreate Korean delights in your American kitchen. Happy Thanksgiving, ya’ll!

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From Dish Nicole:

As soon as the leaves start to change, I get very excited for all things pumpkin. What is cozier than a warm house with a hint of pumpkin spice wafting through the air? Not a whole lot. The boyfriend and I just recently moved into a new apartment and we couldn’t wait to have our first dinner party to make it really feel like home. So when Dish Danielle’s mother, Laurel, came to town, I couldn’t think of a better reason to christen our apartment with friends and food. (Side note: Danielle and I have been friends since 4th grade and Laurel was like a second mom to me). Pumpkin lasagna was the first dish that came to mind. I had made a vegetarian version of this recipe last fall for some friends and they loved it, so this time I decided to spice things up with some spicy Italian sausage. In addition to this recipe being delicious/a crowd pleaser, it’s extremely easy (thanks to the greatest invention: no boil lasagna noodles). I have once again perused many variations and cherry-picked what I think are the best ingredients and came up with my own recipe. So let’s get started:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lasagna Ingredients:
15 ounces of pureed pumpkin
15 ounces of ricotta cheese
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
2 boxes of no boil lasagna noodles (1 should be enough but buy 2 just to be safe)
1 medium onion diced
1.5 lbs spicy Italian sausage- removed from casings
3 medium sized zucchini – peeled into ribbons using a vegetable peeler
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Béchamel Sauce ingredients:
3 cups whole milk
3 tbsp butter
¼ cup flour
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste

Start by preheating your oven and prepping your ingredients. The next step is to cook the onion and sausage in a sauté pan over medium heat. You will want to chop up the sausage into pieces while cooking. Once the sausage is no longer pink, set aside for later use.

In a mixing bowl combine the ricotta cheese, pumpkin puree and salt and pepper and set aside as well.

For the béchamel sauce you will want to start by melting the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute then add in the milk. Whisk constantly being careful not to let it burn to the bottom. Whisk in the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. The sauce will start to thicken at which point you can remove from heat.

Now it’s time to assemble the lasagna, which is the best part! Start by ladling about 3tbs of the béchamel sauce onto a casserole dish. Add a layer of noodles and top with a generous portion of the ricotta/pumpkin mixture.

Next add a layer of the zucchini and top that with a layer of sausage and onion.
Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of mozzarella cheese. Repeat this process one more time. The last layer will just be the noodles sprinkled with remaining mozzarella, remaining béchamel and top off with the parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes covered with foil. Remove the foil and cook for another 10 minutes or until the lasagna starts to become golden brown.

With the above recipe I had enough ingredients left over to make a mini vegetarian version on the side. (In all honesty, the sausage version was the crowd favorite.)

I couldn’t have been happier with the outcome. The house was brimming with delicious smells, laughter and love.

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From Dish Rachelle:

There is nothing like cutting into a pumpkin.

As those closest to me know, I have, since early childhood, been obsessed with Halloween: costumes, Jack-o-Lanterns, candy, witches, monsters. I’ve always had a bit of a dark side, and each year, as the weather changed and the crisp smell of falling leaves filled the air, I was eager to indulge it. As if that’s not enough, I am madly in love with wigs, makeup, hats, crazy outfits and weird characters, so any chance I get to play with those things (and not look like a certified nutter) is pretty darn exciting. I even had a Halloween-themed bridal shower so I could double-down on dress-up this October.

Anyway, pumpkins. I love them, too. Each year while I was growing up, my parents took me to the pumpkin patch so I could pick just the right one to carve. And although I’m kind of disappointed in myself when I admit that it’s been a while since I’ve made a legitimate Jack-o-Latern, I still get that fluttery feeling as I poke a knife through the hard flesh and feel it penetrate to the soft, stringy center, inhaling that fresh squash-y smell…

What was I saying about that dark side? Cutting (get it?) to the chase: Halloween pumpkins aren’t eating pumpkins, but sugar pumpkins are in season. So. There are lots of great recipes that take them beyond the pie shell, and hopefully you’ll like this one.

Start by making pumpkin puree. You’ll need:

1 sugar pumpkin
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 325. Cut your sugar pumpkin in half and gut it, reserving the seeds and pulp. Spread a bit of olive oil on a baking sheet, season your pumpkin with S&P, and place it cut side down in the oil. Bake for about 30 minutes, until flesh is soft.

In the meantime, prep your seeds by removing them from the stringy orange pulp. I did this under running water, over a sieve, and unless you’re naturally meticulous, don’t drive yourself crazy – you will lose some seeds in the process, and you might not be able to remove every ounce of pumpkin. Put the seeds in a bowl. You might even get all willy-nilly with said bowl and spill half your seeds on the floor in the process, but don’t worry. Just toss whatever remains in some olive oil, S&P and spread out across a baking sheet (I covered mine with a silpat) and throw them in the oven with your pumpkin. These should bake for about 20 minutes – check on them at least once to make sure they’re not burning.

As tempting as they are, don’t taste your pumpkin seeds fresh out of the oven. Let them and the roasted pumpkin halves cool – to busy yourself, start prepping your chili.

1 small white or yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic, kept whole and crushed under the flat side of your knife
1 lb. lean ground turkey
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 sugar pumpkin’s worth of pumpkin puree
3/4 cup canned diced tomatoes
2 chipotles, canned in adobo sauce, roughly chopped (go ahead and add more if you like a lot of spice)
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
Hot Sauce (optional)

In a cast iron or soup pot, saute onion, celery and garlic over medium heat, until translucent. Add your ground turkey, season with S&P, and mix with the wilted vegetables while breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Saute until cooked through.

While the turkey is cooking, you can make your pumpkin puree. Scoop the flesh out of the roasted pumpkin shell into a food processor. Process until smooth. At this point, there are tons of things you can do with your fresh pumpkin puree. I contemplated turning it into a soup, but as you all know, I’m trying to branch out.

Once the turkey is cooked, add the spices (cumin, oregano, cocoa powder and chili powder) and stir until fragrant – about 1 minute. Add chipotles, tomatoes, and pumpkin puree, and stir to combine. You might think that pumpkin puree is a strange addition to chili, but there’s reason behind this madness: first of all, it adds a subtle autumnal flavor. More importantly, it brings texture to your turkey chili. Using a lean meat, it’s difficult to achieve that silky mouth-feel that comes from cooking fatty ground beef. The pumpkin brings velvety thickness in a healthy way, much like apple sauce can sub for butter in vegan baked goods (or so they say).

Cook your chili over low heat, mostly covered, for about 30 minutes. I used that time to make some sweet buttermilk cornbread, which is delicious, and also helped me get rid of the buttermilk that I bought to make biscuits a month ago and has been sitting in my fridge. While we ate, my cat, who has quite the adventurous feline palette, confirmed that cornbread is in fact his favorite food. He helped himself to some cat-sized bites as my back was turned:

Add black beans and season chili with salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste. Let cook for another 10 minutes, and then serve with reduced fat sour cream and a sprinkle of roasted pumpkin seeds.

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From Dish Paige!:

Even though it snows in October now, it’s still most decidedly Fall (or Autumn if you’re fancy), which brings us ever closer to MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY OF ALL TIME, Thanksgiving. My reasons for loving this holiday are pretty simple: 1) I loooooooove stuffing, specifically my mom’s sausage stuffing and only varietals thereof and 2) as someone with drawing skills at the Elementary level, I really like making that “turkey by tracing your hand” picture. All of this brings me around to last night’s dinner, which I stumbled upon in what I would consider a moment of genius.

1 acorn squash, cut in half and seeded
3-4 slices crusty bread (I used an amazing multi-grain rye, but go crazy), cubed
1 small onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 sausages (I used a combination of sweet and spicy Italian, but again, use what you like)
5 sprigs of thyme
2 leaves of sage
A handful of dried cranberries
A sprinkle of breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 475.

Place the prepared acorn squash in a roasting dish, lightly drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the squash halves in the oven until they are fork tender, about 35 minutes. Remove the squash from the oven and carefully scoop out the pulp into a bowl, leaving about a 1/4 inch buffer around the shell. Save the shells for later.

While the squash is in the oven, lay out your bread cubes on a baking sheet and lightly toss with olive oil, put them in the oven and crisp up into crouton form. Don’t forget about them like I did, unless you like “slightly” burnt croutons.

In a pan, saute the onions and celery in olive oil until they begin to soften. Remove the sausage from the casing and add to the vegetables, making sure to break up the big pieces of sausage. Just before the sausage is done cooking, sprinkle in the thyme and the sage and mix well. Add this mixture, along with your NOT BURNT croutons to the reserved acorn squash pulp and stir to combine.

Lower the oven to 350.

Scoop the stuffing into the reserved acorn squash shells, sprinkle with the dried cranberries and breadcrumbs and pop back into the oven until the stuffing is heated through, about 25 minutes.

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From Dish Amelia:

About a month ago a good friend of mine went on an adventure to the southern Mexican state
of Oaxaca. To my shock and awe she sneakily brought back an obscene amount of fabulous things, such as cinnamon. This kind of cinnamon smells and tastes different than the store-bought variety. It is a bit milder, and the sticks are papery and light. When you grind them they instantly disintegrate. She brought um…a lot, so it’s being put to good use everywhichway…Woo-hoo!

Adapted from Gourmet.

Yields 30 biscuits.

4 1/2 cups AP flour, plus a bit more
5 T sugar
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
2 T ground Mexican cinnamon (about 5 or 6 broken sticks)
1 1/2 stick butter (cut in 1/2 in. cubes, very cold)
2 1/4 cups shaken buttermilk
cream for brushing on tops

Preheat oven to 425. Cut cold butter and place in a bowl in the freezer to extra-chill the pieces. Sift all dry ingredients together through a tamis and whisk a few times. Put butter and dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse several times to incorporate the butter somewhat evenly. Pour in half of the buttermilk and pulse once or twice. Pour in the rest of the buttermilk and pulse again. Sprinkle sticky dough with flour so it is less sticky and turn out onto a floured surface. Roll once or twice with a floured roller so you have a slab about three-quarters-of-an-inch thick. Cut into two inch pieces with a floured cutter, or knife.

Reroll scraps. Do this in a fast, careless way, acting as if you don’t care about the dough, so you do not pay too much attention and overwork it. Place biscuits on a sheet tray with parchment and and bake for 12-15 minutes until pale golden at the edges.

Biscuits will be fluffy and aromatic when you split them open and you will want to sleep there.

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