Tag Archives | Late Fall-Holidays 2012 Recipes

WENDY LEVY’S EASY FONDUE

It’s best to have an actual fondue pot, but you could always use a regular saucepan and have everyone stand around the stove… No. Maybe a fondue pot is a crucial ingredient. Keep your eyes open when you’re in thrift stores. Not everyone has caught on to the fondue renaissance, and some people may actually want to get rid of their fondue pots!

  • 1 garlic clove, cut in half horizontally
  • 1½ cups dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons kirsch or lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 pound total (approximately 4 cups) of coarsely grated Alpinestyle cheeses, such as Emmentaler, Gruyère, Appenzeller, Fontina Val d’Aosta, Comté, etc.
  • Good-quality bread cut into 1-inch cubes
  1. Rub interior of a heavy 4-quart saucepan with the cut sides of garlic. Discard garlic.
  2. Pour wine into saucepan and bring just to a simmer over medium heat.
  3. Stir cornstarch into kirsch (or lemon juice) in a cup. Set it aside.
  4. Add cheese to saucepan in ¼-pound increments, melting as you go along. Stir constantly in a zigzag pattern (not a circular pattern, to prevent cheese from clumping together) until cheese is just melted. Do not allow the cheese to come to a boil.
  5. Stir the cornstarch mixture again and stir it into the fondue. Bring fondue to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until fondue begins to thicken, about 6 minutes.
  6. Transfer contents of saucepan to a fondue pot set over a flame.

Serve with bread.

Please note: Conventional wisdom precludes serving cheese fondue with chilled water. Apparently this causes the cheese to solidify in your stomach. While we have no scientific evidence to back that up, and it does sound suspect, it’s best to serve fondue with white wine, juice or hot tea.

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DUCK ELDERBERRY DUMPLINGS

elderberries

If you can find them, use local duck breasts to make these tender, flavorful dumplings. I get mine from Tangletown Farm in Middlesex. I suggest serving these dumplings with a local red wine, such as the Frontenac or Coach Barn Red from Shelburne Vineyards.

Serves 4

For the dumpling dough

  • 4 cups whole-wheat bread flour (such as Gleason Grains or King Arthur)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 cups hot water

For the filling

  • Vegetable oil, for the pan
  • 2 boneless duck breasts, locally sourced if possible
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cups minced kale
  • ½ teaspoon each coriander, cumin,
  • cloves and salt

For the sauce

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen elderberries
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup sunflower or vegetable oil (such as Rainville or Butterworks brands)
  • ¼ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped and toasted
  • ½ teaspoon each coriander, cardamom, cinnamon and salt
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  1. Prepare the dumpling dough: Combine the dough ingredients in a large bowl and mix until the dough begins to form a single mass. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rest for half an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: Heat a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over high heat and coat with thin layer of vegetable oil. Add the duck breasts skin side down and cook for 5 minutes, until the skin is well browned. Carefully flip the breasts over and continue to cook for 5 minutes more. Add the orange juice, water, kale and spices. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, adding an additional ½ cup of water if necessary to prevent the pan from getting too dry. Turn off the heat.
  3. Remove from cooked breasts from the pan, rinse with cold water and finely shred the meat by cutting it repeatedly with 2 knives. Return the shredded meat to the pan, mix with the sauce and set aside.
  4. Prepare the sauce: Combine the elderberries with 2 cups of water in a small saucepot over high heat; boil for 10 minutes (this removes any toxins in the berries). Drain the berries and rinse well. Set aside. Add the toasted walnuts, ½ cup water, the spices, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and cooked berries to the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce begins to thicken. Keep warm.
  5. Assemble the dumplings: Roll out the rested dough between two pieces of parchment paper to a ¼-inch thickness. Cut the dough into about 8 circles using the top of a widemouthed Mason jar.
  6. Put a teaspoon of filling in the middle of each dough circle. Wet the outside edge of each circle with water; fold the circle in half so that the filling remains in the center of the dumpling. Pinch the edges of the dumpling together with your fingers to seal.
  7. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Add the dumplings so that they are touching but not overlapping. Cook for about 6 minutes, or until they start to brown on the bottom.
  8. Reduce the heat to low and remove the skillet from the burner. Wait a moment to let dumplings cool and to avoid splattering hot oil. Add enough water to cover the dumplings halfway. Cover the skillet and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes until all water has evaporated from the skillet.

To serve, garnish the dumplings with the sauce.

Healing Properties:

Elderberries have anti-viral and antiinflammatory properties that strengthen the body’s immune system and help it heal. Their astringent qualities stimulate appetite and improve stomach function. In the tradition of Lewis Hill, a well-known elderberry cultivator and propagator who lived the Northeast Kingdom, many Vermonters still use this healing plant to prepare natural remedies. Photo at left by Carole Topalian, above from iStock.com

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VENISON AND ROASTED PUMPKIN STEW

venison stew

This hearty stew combines sweet roasted pumpkin with rich venison meat and warming spices like cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Serve this satisfying coldweather dish with a hunk of sourdough bread, braised greens and a glass of fruity red wine such as Vermont’s Huntington River Vineyard Frontenac.

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for pumpkin seeds
  • 2 pounds venison stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 cups stock (chicken, beef or vegetable)
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more for pumpkin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon each freshly ground black pepper, nutmeg and allspice
  • ½ teaspoon each cloves and cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 medium pumpkin, about 3 pounds
  • Plain whole-milk yogurt, for serving
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the venison and cook, stirring the meat gently to brown it evenly. This should take about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the stock, potatoes, carrots, garlic, onion, salt and spices; cover and cook at a gentle simmer for 2 hours, or until the venison is tender. Discard the bay leaves.
  3. Meanwhile, roast the pumpkin and the pumpkin seeds: Preheat oven to 375°. Wash the pumpkin and remove the stem. Slice the pumpkin in half from top to bottom; scoop out the seeds. Rinse the seeds, toss them with a little bit of vegetable oil and salt and roast on a cookie sheet until they get crispy and toasted, about 30 minutes.
  4. Slice each pumpkin half into four wedges and place in a shallow baking dish with plenty of water. Bake for 1 hour, or until soft. When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, place in a bowl of cold water and rinse quickly. Peel the skin off of each wedge and add the peeled wedges to the stew.

To serve, top each bowl of stew with a spoonful of yogurt and a scattering of pumpkin seeds.

Healing Properties:

Pumpkin contains antioxidant-rich manganese, vitamin C and alpha-linoleic acid, which reduces inflammation, supports healthy bones and improves digestion.

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BRAISED RABBIT

braised rabbitBraising calls for cooking meats and vegetables in liquid until tender. It is similar to stewing but requires less liquid, and you can use larger cuts of meat and whole vegetables. I use this technique to turn a whole rabbit from Tangletown Farm in Middlesex into a simple and delicious dinner. Serve the tender rabbit over rice or polenta with sautéed chanterelle mushrooms and a glass of Lincoln Peak Vineyard’s Marquette, a dry, robust red wine from New Haven.

Serves 4 generously

  • 1 whole rabbit, about 4-5 pounds
  • Vegetable oil, for the pot
  • 3 large yellow onions, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch-long pieces
  • 4 to 5 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch-long pieces
  • 1 cup dry red wine, plus more if necessary
  • 5 cups organic chicken stock, plus more if necessary
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh thyme sprigs
  1. Wash the rabbit well under cold running water. Place in a stockpot with a tightfitting lid, cover with cold water and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook the rabbit for 15 minutes to allow any excess blood and marrow to seep out. Drain, rinse under cool running water and set aside.
  2. Cover the bottom of the same stockpot with vegetable oil. Add the vegetables and raise the heat to high. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the vegetables soften and begin to brown. Reduce heat to medium, add the rabbit and cook, uncovered, stirring to avoid sticking, for 5 more minutes or until the rabbit is evenly browned on all sides.
  3. Add 1 cup of the wine and enough chicken stock to cover the rabbit and vegetables (you should need about 5 cups of stock). Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Bring to a bare simmer. As soon as you see bubbles on the surface, turn the heat down to low, adjusting as needed to maintain a steady, gentle simmer. Cook until the rabbit is fork tender, about 2 hours.

Healing Properties:

Thyme is an antiseptic herb that supports overall health. It contains thymol, a volatile oil that helps relieve chest congestion and opens up bronchial passageways. Its carminative and anti-spasmodic properties also promote healthy digestion.

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PUMPKIN MUSHROOM POT STICKERS

pumpkin mushroom pot stickers
Photos by Kathryn Vanderminden

This is really a fun and different way to use any extra pumpkin you have. I like to make these up ahead of time and freeze them for a quick dinner, snack or special party food. This is a great food that is gluten- and dairy-free as well as vegan. To make the purée I peel the pumpkin with a Y-shaped vegetable peeler, scoop it out and cut it into 2-inch chunks. Sprinkle the pieces with salt and roast in a 425°F. until very soft. Let it cool and purée it in a food processor. Pumpkin can be frozen this way for later use.

Yields about 45 pot stickers

  • 10 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (fresh is best but canned may be substituted)1 leek, cleaned* (see below)
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 3 drops sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce (I like Mae Ploy brand)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 package premade wonton wrappers

Sear mushrooms in a pan with 1 teaspoon vegetable oil. Set aside in a large bowl. Sprinkle leeks with extra salt and cook them in the other teaspoon of vegetable oil until very soft and starting to brown. Add them to the mushrooms and set aside.

Add the pumpkin purée, ½ teaspoon salt, sesame oil and sweet chili sauce to the mushroom-leek mixture. Using a microplane or other small grater, grate in the garlic. Mix well.

Place 1 teaspoon of the mixture in a wonton wrapper. Be careful not to overfill; less is best. Lightly moisten 2 sides of the wrapper and pinch shut into a triangle shape with your fingers or a wonton press. Continue this until all wrappers are filled. (You can freeze them in a single layer on a sheet tray for 24 hours and then put them in a zip-top bag for later use. They will keep this way for about 3 months).

To cook them, heat a nonstick pan (I like to use a ceramic-coated frying pan) over medium-low heat until very hot, add 1 teaspoon of oil or spray with nonstick spray. Place as many pot stickers as will fit in a single layer in the pan. Cook 2–3 minutes to brown, then flip them over to brown the other side. Once both sides are browned, add 2 tablespoons of water to the pan. Wait until the water has evaporated and serve with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Grade B maple syrup
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled

Add soy sauce, vinegar and maple to a small dish. Grate garlic into mixture. Stir and serve with wontons.

* To clean a leek I like to cut the tough green top off. Then cut the leek in half lengthwise and then cut the halves into 1-inch pieces that end up looking like half circles. Put these pieces in a large bowl and fill with cold water. Separate the leek pieces and swish around aggressively in the water. The clean leeks will float and the dirt will sink. Carefully scoop the leeks out and place in a colander to drain, leaving the dirty water behind in the bowl.

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PUMPKIN SUSHI

pumpkin sushi

I need to use more pumpkin. I need to eat more sushi. I remembered this delicious sushi I once had that had sweet potato in it along with other spicy items. I didn’t order it because I tend to go for fish when eating sushi but my friend did. I was wrong. It was sweet and creamy and lovely next to spicy. This recipe was born. Feel free to cut this recipe in half.

Yields 70 pieces of sushi roll

  • 3 cups sushi rice (prepared as directed on package), cooled down to room temperature
  • 10 sheets dried nori
  • 1 small fresh pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch-thick logs, the longer the better but no more than ½ inch thick. You will need about 20 logs. I was able to get this many from ¼ of a small pumpkin. I puréed the rest of the pumpkin to make Pumpkin Mushroom Pot Stickers or freeze for later use.
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and cut into ½-inch sticks about 3 inches long
  • Scallion greens, sliced long and thin
  • Black or toasted sesame seeds (optional)
  • Spicy mayo (see below), soy sauce, wasabi paste and pickled ginger

Roast the pumpkin in a single layer on a well-greased sheet until brown and tender, about 20 minutes; let cool. Place a nori sheet on a bamboo mat that is well wrapped in plastic wrap. Have a cup of cold water on your workspace. Using wet fingers, spread a thin layer of rice on most of the nori sheet, leave a 1-inch space at the top of the sheet with no rice on it (this will be where you seal the roll). If your fingers become sticky, moisten them again and continue. Sprinkle the sesame seeds lightly over the rice. At the bottom of the sheet lay 2 logs of pumpkin, side by side across the rice. Do the same with the cucumber logs and scallion strips. Using the mat, roll the sushi away from you from the bottom toward the top into a tight roll. Use a bit of the water to wet the 1-inch strip left with no rice on it to seal the roll tight. Lightly wet your knife to cut the roll into 6 to 8 clean pieces. Serve with spicy mayo, wasabi paste, soy sauce and pickled ginger.

Spicy Mayo:

  • ½ cup plain mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, Sriracha is most commonly used
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 5 drops sesame oil

Place all ingredients in a bowl and grate the garlic in. Stir well and serve with pumpkin sushi, pickled ginger, soy sauce and wasabi paste.

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CINDERELLA PUMPKIN DIP

pumpkin dipThis dip takes its name from the variety of pumpkin used. Cinderella is an heirloom that is a beautiful deep burnt orange color with a flattened, squished pumpkin shape. This dip is very similar to guacamole! It was a fun recipe I developed for a wedding once in which the only nonlocal ingredients were olive oil, spices and salt. I needed a vegan dip that utilized only things from that farm’s September harvest. I like to use one pumpkin for the dip and another one to serve it in.

Yields about 2 cups of dip

  • ½ of a medium-sized Cinderella pumpkin (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded and cut into 3-inch cubes
  • 1 small Cinderella pumpkin, hollowed out, ready to fill
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cumin
  • ½ teaspoon or several grinds fresh pepper
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (I like sherry, maple or apple cider varieties best for this recipe)
  • Pita bread for dipping

Sprinkle the pumpkin with salt and roast in the oven until very tender; let come to room temperature. Put pumpkin, garlic, salt, cumin, pepper and vinegar in food processor to purée. Use a bit of water to get a nice consistency for dip. Check seasonings, and then fill into hollowed pumpkin. Serve with fresh pita bread or tortilla chips.

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PORK PUMPKIN STEW

pumpkins

This is a robust stew similar in texture to beef stew but a fun fall alternative. The great thing about this recipe is that it can be altered many ways. Add a few teaspoons of your favorite curry powder or paste or substitute coconut milk for the stock. Serves 8

  • 2–3 pounds pork shoulder
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ cup fresh apple cider
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 small red potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half
  • 3 stalks celery, washed and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 pound of pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch chunks (about ½ a small pumpkin)
  • 7 baby carrots, scrubbed
  • 1 apple, peeled and cored
  • 1 leek, cleaned and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 quart pork or chicken stock
  • 5 shakes hot sauce (not enough to make it hot, just enough to add depth)

Salt both sides of pork and sear in vegetable oil until all sides are well browned and place in a Crock-Pot. Deglaze pan with cider and add juices to Crock-Pot. Sprinkle flour over meat and juices. Add onion, garlic, potatoes, celery, pumpkin, carrots, apple and leek to Crock-Pot. Pour stock over top, add hot sauce and place lid on Crock-Pot. Set to high for 6 hours, until pork is very easy to pull apart. Serve with crusty bread, rice, wide egg noodles or other grain.

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BUTTERNUT APPLE CRISP

From Alison Baker and Cedar Circle Farm

At the 2011 Pumpkin Festival the farm was eager to get away from the heavy, cloying desserts most often seen in autumn. The farm’s stores were bursting with winter squash and bushels of apples that looked so good side-by-side, they decided to pair them in this twist on a classic crisp. At the farm, they get their apples from Champlain Orchards in Shoreham, Vermont, or from their own trees. This recipe works well if half of the apples are the type to hold their shape, and the other half dissolve easily when cooked.

Serves 8

  • 1 cup raw whole almonds
  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon, preferably organic
  • ¾ cup organic cane sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon tapioca starch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 cups (about 1¼ to 1½ pounds) Butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ⅛-inch slices
  • 6 large tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and cut into ⅛-inch slices

For Topping

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup organic cane sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 200°. Place almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, approximately 40 minutes. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish and set aside.

Combine lemon zest, lemon juice, sugars, vanilla extract, tapioca starch, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a large bowl. Add the squash and apples and toss to coat. Spoon into prepared baking dish. Cover and bake until the squash is fork tender, approximately 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the topping: Place almonds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until coarsely ground. Add the flour, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and butter; pulse until crumbly.

When squash is tender, stir apple/squash mixture, remove from oven and spread topping evenly over the squash-apple mixture. Bake uncovered until crisp is light golden brown and bubbling, approximately 30 minutes.

Cool crisp slightly, allowing juices to absorb.

Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Note: If you use a mandolin, preparation for this dish is very quick and easy. Otherwise, slicing up the squash and apples takes some time, but larger pieces will work just as well.

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QUICK PUFF PASTRY

making puff pastry

Adapted from Pie It Forward

Puff pastry is called puff because it puffs! It’s true. The procedure of folding the butter in “turns,” a process known as lamination, creates alternating layers of butter encased in flour. When touched by the heat of your oven, these become puffed layers of infinite flakiness. The resulting pastry is glorious and unruly—and perfect with custards, which, at their heart, are astoundingly rich and sweet. The Quick Puff crust, with its insane buttery crispness, puts what could otherwise be over-the-top sugary creaminess in its place.

This version is called “quick” (or “blitz”) because you cut the butter into the dough instead of going through a proper lamination, as you do with Traditional Puff Pastry. You also make all the folds and turns at once instead of resting in between, as in the traditional method.

making puff pastryMakes approximately 4 pounds 11 ounces of dough

  • 2 pounds cold all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds unsalted butter, chilled and cut into tablespoon-size pieces
  • 1½ cups cold water
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and butter.

Massage the butter into the flour with the tips of your fingers until the butter pieces are a bit smaller, about the size of a dime. Add the water and smoosh everything around with a wooden spoon or with your hands, coating the mixture with water (this gets terribly messy and sticky). Gently knead until the whole mess looks like it’s just barely holding together. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a loose square.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 10 minutes on the counter, where the flour will continue to absorb moisture from the water and the butter. Then roll it out gently, sprinkling flour on your work surface and your rolling pin to keep everything from sticking.

Roll the dough into a rough 12-by-20-inch rectangle. Make a single fold by bringing one short edge of the dough to the midline of the rectangle, then fold the other side over on top of the first fold—just like folding a letter (that’s why this process is also called a letter fold)! Turn the dough 90°, roll the dough out again to the same size rectangle and make another letter fold. Do this twice more, to make 4 folds and turns in total. This is a holy mess until you get to the last turn. Bits are going to plop off willy-nilly. Don’t worry. Just be patient. Shove the errant dough chunks back into the whole and persevere!

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before using.

A NOTE FROM THE SWEETIE PIE

Delicate crusts like Quick Puff often slough down around the edges during blind baking. Here’s a trick to prevent this from happening: Lay a sheet of parchment on top of your chilled dough in the pie plate; then, instead of weighing down with pie weights, stack another like-size pie plate on top. Flip the two sandwiched pie plates over onto a sheet pan and bake the crust, upside down, for 20 minutes.

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