In October a young friend and former assistant told me of a Concord Grape Upside Down Cake that she had baked for a special dinner. Intrigued, I asked for the recipe, but put off trying it for a few weeks. By the time I got around to testing this seasonal dessert, Concord grapes had passed their peak, and my results were lackluster. The clever concept for an unusual upside down cake, however, stayed etched in my mind, and I began to think of other possibilities. Continue reading
If you need an impressive, yet quick appetizer to serve during the holidays, try these Pistachio and Goat Cheese Grapes. When you bite into one of these delectable morsels, wrapped in creamy goat cheese scented with mint and coated with chopped pistachios, you’ll savor an enticing combination of flavors and textures. The grapes are juicy and sweet, the cheese salty and smooth, and the nuts crunchy with a slight roasted accent. These chic, little starters take only minutes to assemble, hold up beautifully for 2 days in the fridge, and best of all are a hands-down crowd pleaser.
Here’s a sandwich that will make you look forward to some post-Thanksgiving eating! The idea is so simple, I can’t imagine why I didn’t think of it sooner. Spread sourdough or rye slices with a dressing prepared with mayo and chili sauce, then add slices of Gruyère and turkey, and some purchased sauerkraut. Sauté the sandwiches until hot and golden brown, then serve these special Reubens with kosher dills and potato chips. Continue reading
If you’re like me, you’ll probably include sweet potatoes as part of your Thanksgiving menu. But, you don’t have to turn to those predictable preparations of baked sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows, or serve them mashed and seasoned with spices. There are far more exciting ways to use this versatile tuber. Continue reading
As soon as the leaves start to turn and the glorious fall season gets underway here in New England, our friends, family, and, yes, even just acquaintances, start calling or emailing to ask if they can come for an overnight to savor the gorgeous foliage. These visits usually include breakfast so I am always searching for new creations for the first meal of the day. This year, I’m in luck since I’ve just completed Sunday Brunch, which is due out in Spring 2012. Although there is a cornucopia of recipes in this collection, an espresso-scented coffee cake is one of my favorites. Continue reading
Rosemary-rubbed pork chops cooked with fennel in an aromatic mixture of broth, wine, and garlic, and enriched with an addition of cannellini beans make an irresistible main course for cool, crisp autumn evenings. Serve this robust entree with mashed potatoes or buttered noodles. Add a baby romaine salad and a basket of warm crusty peasant bread to round out the menu. Continue reading
Typically, gingerbread is baked in a pan and then cut into squares, but in the following version the batter is ladled into standard-size muffins tins. When using tins, the baking time is cut almost in half, a big advantage for busy cooks. These muffins rise above the rims of the molds, but do not spread out as much as traditional ones. They are especially moist and tender because of a generous addition of butter, and have a deep brown hue from plenty of dark brown sugar and molasses. There’s also a double dose of ginger in these little cakes; ground ginger (along with other fragrant spices) is added to the batter, and halfway through the baking, chopped crystallized ginger is sprinkled atop each muffin.
I grew up in the American South where pulled pork barbecue sandwiches were at the top of the food pyramid. My parents thought nothing of driving well over an hour to indulge in the best pulled pork in the region. The pork featured here could easily rival those of my youth. A boneless shoulder is rubbed with a handful of seasonings, then roasted slow and low until it is so tender it can be “pulled” apart with table forks. When ready to serve, you mound the pork atop soft hamburger buns, then slather on the simple homemade barbecue sauce.
Here’s a great side dish to use some of that ubiquitous corn which as the lyrics go is “as high as an elephant’s eye” at this time of year. Diced chorizo, the slightly spicy Spanish sausage, fresh corn kernels, and chopped leeks are sautéed, then combined with eggs, half and half, and sour cream. Grated Gruyère and fresh chopped parsley provide more flavor. When baked, the gratin boasts a golden crust that covers a creamy custard mosaically studded with bits of sausage, corn, and leeks. This dish would make a fine garnish to barbecued chicken, grilled steaks, or sautéed pork chops.
Is there a more quintessential summer dish than ratatouille? This Provencal mélange is prepared with a medley of the season’s most colorful and omnipresent produce. Last week I easily found everything needed for this dish at my local farmers’ market. Dark shiny eggplants, zucchini and bell peppers picked just that morning, tomatoes that were deep crimson inside and out, and bunches of fragrant basil all found their way into my straw basket. Continue reading