Monthly Archives: November 2010

Post Holiday Blues

Hey remember how great it was to spend an extended weekend (or in my case, 10 days) doing nothing but stuffing your face and sleeping in and enjoying the snow from your warm snuggly couch with a cup of hot tea? I hope to carry that feeling all the way through New Year’s and ring in 2011 plump and happy. It’s a personal goal.

I realize I’m late with Thanksgiving recipes, but this next one (and tomorrow’s) can be enjoyed all winter long. It’s just comfort food, kids. No need to put a label on it.

On the menu:
Butternut squash, leek, and apple gratin
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Serves 5

3 small leeks, white part only (tough outer skin removed), halved and thinly sliced
3 large Granny Smith apples, halved, cored, and sliced 1/2 inch thick slices
1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/8 inch slices
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and 2 Tbsp of water, and sautee 3-4 minutes. Add white wine and sage, and cook 5-7 minutes until the wine has reduced by half. Remove from heat.

In a shallow baking dish, layer the butternut squash in one overlapping layer. Salt and pepper. Layer leeks over the top of the squash. Layer apples on top of the leeks. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes at 350. Raise heat to 450, remove the foil, sprinkle cheese on top and bake for 10 minutes until bubbling.

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She’s Off!

Dear friends and loyal readers,

I’m about to embark on a week-long vacation to the Adirondack Mountains where I will go to sleep at 9:00 every night, eat mountain favorites like pancakes, babyback ribs, and steamers until my pants literally don’t fit anymore, and hike through the snow-covered hills with a furry dog. It is pure bliss. I will also take on the task of making Thanksgiving dinner! Upon my return, I’ll have pictures and recipes of successes and failures, and a kick off to the great holiday cookie season!

Have a very happy Thanksgiving, kiddies!

The top of Bald Mountain in the Adirondacks

 

If you’re looking for resources to create that perfect meal on November 25, here are a few of my favorite spots:

Epicurious.com

AllRecipes.com (here you can enter in the ingredients you have/want and all the recipes that include those ingredients will come up!)

Pioneer Woman Cooking

Martha Stewart

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Hard Cider

A quick post today to plant a seed in your brain. An APPLE seed, if you will. I can not stop thinking about Thanksgiving. It is the high holy day of the food calendar and trumps any summer picnic, winter soup, or spring salad you can think of. It is a day dedicated to stuffing your face.

…Oh yeah. And those pilgrims or whatever.

What beverages do you serve at Thanksgiving dinner, friends? My family serves wine. Lots of it. And by the time pie is served everyone is ruddy-cheeked and spilling things in each others’ laps. It’s pretty magical.

This year, why not serve hard cider? It’s delicious, it’s seasonal, and it’ll get you drunk faster than beer. But you didn’t hear that from me.

My favorite is Bulmer’s which is only sold in Ireland, but its alternately-named twin, Magners, can be found in most grocery stores in the US and is worth a taste. It isn’t as sweet as other hard ciders (which I prefer) but still has the apple-y crisp flavor you’d expect. More here on hard cider, from the New York Times.

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Dear Santa

All I want for Christmas is…

It’s available at Neiman Marcus and it only costs $15K…

… Please?

Thanks very much,
Lauren E.

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Kabocha Squash

A few weeks ago I posted a recipe for butternut squash risotto, of which my boyfriend and his roommates picked out all the squash. Boys. Who understands them anyway?

So in anticipation of making dinner for a lady, I turned once more to squash for a revamp on the risotto recipe. And this time I’m turning it inside out.

This is a terrible cell phone picture; I've noticed when I'm REALLY eager to eat something my pictures come out blurry. Go figure.

On the menu:
Stuffed kabocha squash with wild rice and chicken
Serves 4
Loosely inspired by this recipe from Martha Stewart

1 large kabocha squash, quartered, seeds removed
2 Tbsp butter
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
16 oz. baby Portobello mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp dried rubbed sage
Salt and pepper to taste
6 oz wild rice blend (I used an Uncle Ben’s box and threw out the seasoning packet)
3 large chicken breasts, diced into 1 inch cubes
1 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, arrange squash with one cut side down. Roast until tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about 40 minutes (test doneness after 40 minutes but if it isn’t tender, leave it in for another 10).

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallot, garlic, mushrooms and sage; season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add rice and 1 3/4 cups water; bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until tender, without stirring, about 25 minutes.

Heat olive oil over medium/high heat. Cook chicken until cooked all the way through and browned.

Remove rice from heat, and stir in chicken and cheese. Season stuffing with salt and pepper to taste. Plate squash, skin side down, and heap stuffing into squash quarters. Top with more grated parmesan cheese. And if you’re like my friend Meagan, grate a tiny pile of parmesan cheese on your plate and eat it with a fork. Ain’t no shame.

*Note: My boss gave me 2 gorgeous kabocha squash from her CSA, one orange and one green. You could replace the kabocha with any squash that is on the sweet side: butternut, acorn, etc. Just test the doneness of the squash when roasting after about 25 minutes so it doesn’t turn to mush.

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Sneak Peek!

Last week my lovely boss gave me three beautiful squash. One I knew was a butternut and two I had no freaking idea about. They looked like tiny pumpkins: one green and one orange. I did a quick search and discovered that they are called kabocha squash! And I can not wait to experiment with them. Tomorrow, a gorgeous recipe.

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Comfort Food

I know everyone has their own version of comfort food, and that there are also standards in this food genre: PB&J, mac and cheese, hot chocolate. All the warm fuzzies you cave to when your day isn’t going quite as planned.

I am the proud owner of a beautiful new tart pan (thanks, Aunt Cheryl!!) and was planning on making some sort of apple tart with a thin layer of cheesecake-y goodness as the crust (bear with me, it’s still in the brain-stages). But last night was colder and darker than I thought it would be, and when I got home I found out an apartment in my building had been broken into (don’t worry, Mom, I’m fine). I needed my own version of comfort food and a snuggle in my bed with an old movie. Good thing I just got back from Rochester and the fridge was stocked with it.

I took this opportunity to plug one of my favorite cold-weather spots in Rochester. If you’re ever in town you have to stop by this place cause it’s the freaking best.

Schutt’s Apple Mill 1063 Plank Road, Webster, NY. This is the kind of small-town spot that hasn’t changed in the twenty-five years I’ve called Webster “home.” They may have added a few new products and removed the rabbits (why, Schutt’s, why?!) but the bins of apples, gallons of cider, and oh-my-god-good donuts are exactly the same. I’ve tried dozens of different ciders in New York City and none of them holds a candle to Schutt’s cider.

Also, it’s worth noting that you should pick up some cheese curds while you’re here. Cheese curds are the solid parts of sour milk, and they’re totally edible and insanely delicious. When I said to my friends, “I love their donuts! And cider. And the cheese curds!”, everyone made a face. I thought I’d explain.

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