A Thirty-Minute Supper for the Chilly Beginning of Spring

Grilled Sausages, Savoy Cabbage and Bacon, Apples with Caraway SeedsLooking at my calendar I notice that this is the first day of spring, but peering out my window I view mounds of snow in our yard while the thermometer hovers in the 40s. So, as much as I am ready for a seasonal change, it’s still cold here in New England, and I’m craving foods to stave off the chill.

Grilled sausages served with pan-sautéed cabbage and bacon plus apple wedges sautéed in butter with caraway seeds is just the sort of no-fuss menu I love in this blustery weather. For the sausages choose a favorite cooked one (I always opt for kielbasa) and slice it into 3- to 4- inch lengths before grilling in a stove top grill pan or skillet until lightly charred. The two side dishes featured here, though, are the real stars of this meal. Each calls for only three primary ingredients and takes only minutes to prep and cook. Continue reading

Two Favorite Thanksgiving Sides

At our house there would be a revolt if I didn’t roast our Thanksgiving turkey slathered in herb butter and serve it with shallot pan gravy prepared from the drippings. And, our clan definitely expects me to make Southern cornbread and leek dressing to accompany the bird. Where I get some leeway, though, is with the sides for my family leaves those choices up to the chef (moi!). This year I’m turning to two favorites–Brussels Sprouts, Apples, and Bacon as well as Roasted Butternut Squash and Pears with Blue Cheese.

Striking with their vibrant autumnal hues and robust flavors, either or both of these dishes would make a delectable accompaniment to your bird. Each recipe serves six, but can be doubled if needed.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

 

A Great Roast for Christmas Dinner!

photo by Susie Cushner

photo by Susie Cushner

Last week my son, Mike, who hosts our family’s Christmas dinner, asked what we should make for this special meal. It took me only a second to answer, “Let’s do those racks of pork from my Sunday Roasts.” He wasn’t convinced so I continued to push my choice, enthusiastically listing the recipe’s merits. Racks of pork are inexpensive, but they look stately and impressive. They cook in far less time that a turkey, and pair well with countless vegetables and sides, I explained. Finally, I got his attention.

This recipe for racks of pork is one of my favorites and is simplicity itself to prepare. The Cranberry Apple Chutney 1 a 3084x2583 2969x2446racks are brushed with curry oil (made by whisking curry powder into olive oil) and baked with red onion wedges. I suggest using two racks of five ribs each to serve ten generously, but you won’t find these racks displayed in your grocery’s meat department. You’ll need to call the butcher, and order them ahead. In the original version I served the pork with a fall apple chutney, but for this holiday variation I reworked that condiment adding cranberries for color and replacing cider vinegar with balsamic. Continue reading

Goodbye Summer! Hello Fall!

Fall Salad with Apples in Cider Honey Vinaigrette 1  1816x1320In the space of a week our weather here in New England has gone from reaching a high in the 90s during the day to a low of 40s at night. Fall is definitely making an early arrival this year! The markets are also beginning to reflect a change of seasons, especially in the produce aisles where the bins are filled with apples. Macintosh, Mollie’s Delicious, Ginger Gold, Gravenstein, and Macouns (my personal favorite) are all on proud display.

I’ve been buying them in varying hues, slicing them thinly, and using them along with fresh sage leaves (from my herb garden) to garnish wedges of local blue and aged goat cheese. This week I branched out and used them in a robust fall salad.

Eating Lean After Too Many Indulgences

Winter Greens Salad with Apples, Smoked Trout, and Walnuts 1It’s hard to turn down delicious temptations when you’re in Paris. This week alone, my husband and I have dined out with friends at five different restaurants. At Semilla, the stuffed pintade (guinea hen) served with white polenta and fresh truffles was irresistible, as was my creamy risotto with chorizo and fresh orange segments at Muxu, a Basque restaurant. Petite grenaille potatoes sautéed in duck fat at La Laiterie Sainte-Clotilde, and an incredible apple dessert garnished with lime ice cream and a streusel crust at Pirouette were good for our spirits, but hard on our waistlines.

After eating without counting calories, we felt the need for a light entrée such as the winter salad of mixed greens, sliced apples, and smoked trout that I made a few days ago. It takes only about 20 minutes to assemble, and bursts with flavor and color. I marinated sliced apples, Belgian endive, and radishes in a lemon/mustard dressing, then tossed them with mixed greens. For serving, the salad was mounded on dinner plates, garnished with smoked fish, and sprinkled with coarsely chopped walnuts. Continue reading

Cider-Roasted Pork –Perfect for Crisp Fall Nights

Cider Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apples, Shallots 1As soon as the first bottles of local cider appear in our markets, I put one in my cart, not just for sipping, but for cooking as well. I love to cook seasonally, and nothing says fall more clearly than fresh cider.

This year, along with serving mugs of warm spiced cider, I’ve used this fall libation to baste pork tenderloins seasoned with sage, thyme, and rosemary. After browning the tenderloins with some sliced shallots, I add cider to the pan, slide it into the oven, and then halfway through the roasting arrange apple wedges around the pork. As a finishing touch I prepare a quick pan sauce with more cider, a hint of cider vinegar, and some butter. Continue reading

Cider-Baked Pork, Red Cabbage and Apples

A Great Dish for Cool Fall Nights

When the first fresh cider arrives in our markets each fall, I buy a quart and bring it home, not only for sipping but also for cooking dishes like Cider-Baked Pork, Red Cabbage, and Apples. For this hearty casserole, sliced red cabbage, onions, and apples are sautéed in butter, then simmered in cider along with seasonings of sugar, vinegar, and crushed fennel seeds. The cabbage and apples are spread in an oven-to table dish, topped with pan-fried slices of pork tenderloin, and then baked. Although this main course is substantial enough to be stand alone accompanied by a simple salad, creamy mashed potatoes or buttered noodles would make tempting sides. Continue reading