Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gabi's Pumpkin Mac n Cheese

  • Gabi's kick-ass pumpkin mac and cheese

  • I sized up the recipe by about 6 times to feed an army!

  • 4 16-oz packages of fusilli
  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter plus more for the pan 
  • 3/4c flour 
  • 4.5 cups milk 
  • 2.5 cans unsweetened canned pumpkin $1.50 for a 15-oz. can
  • 2 blocks aged white cheddar, approx 4 cups
  • dash nutmeg 
  • salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray or butter 2 big glass dishes
Cook macaroni in salted boiling water according to package directions.
While macaroni cooks, melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. As soon as it begins to brown, add the flour and whisk until you have a very sticky dough.
Slowly whisk in the milk to form a creamy white sauce.
Continue whisking as you add the pumpkin and 1/2 cup of the white cheddar. You should have a very creamy orange sauce. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Drain the pasta and return it to its pot. Use a rubber spatula to scrape all of the sauce over the pasta and stir to coat the pasta evenly.
Scrape the sauced pasta into the prepared pan(s) and top with the reserved cheddar plus more salt and pepper.
Bake for 30+ minutes or until the cheese is very bubbly and lightly browned on top. Serve hot.
Serves a LOT

Zucchini Spaghetti

Julienne 6 zucchini
Boil almost 12 oz whole wheat spaghetti
Steam julienned zucchini for about 2-3 minutes until just softened, add in to pasta at end
Make a simple pesto by blending garlic, olive oil, basil, parmesan, and pine nuts, then simmering on stovetop
Toss together, top with extra parmesan

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tagliatelle with Mushroom Cream Sauce

Cream sauce recipe:

6-8oz of sliced crimini mushrooms
1c cream
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
Dash of olive oil
1c chicken stock
1/2 cup (or more) shredded parmesan
Salt, pepper
Dash of truffle oil - optional

On medium-high heat, sautee garlic for a few minutes before adding mushrooms.  Sautee 5-10 minutes until soft.  Add cup of chicken stock and bring to simmer, then add cream and continue to lightly simmer until reduced by half.  Add parmesan and reduce further til desired consistency.  Add truffle oil if using.  Season with salt and pepper, toss al dente tagliatele in pot with sauce.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Honey Thyme Flatbreads

Crisp Flatbreads with Honey, Thyme and Sea Salt

Makes about 16 flatbreads
1 3/4 cups (7 3/4 ounces or 220 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup (118 ml) water
1/3 cup (79 ml) olive oil
2/3 to 3/4 cup (about 3 ounces or 85 grams) grated Mahon cheese or Manchego
1/3 to 1/2 cup (79 to 118 ml) honey
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Flaky sea salt such as Maldon

Preheat oven to 450°F with a heavy baking sheet or pizza stone on a middle rack.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
Make a well in center, then add water and oil and gradually stir into flour with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.
Knead dough gently on a work surface 4 or 5 times. It will feel quite oily (but just think of how great your hands will look later!).
Divide dough into 4 pieces and roll out 1 piece at on a sheet of parchment paper into a longish irregular rustic shape; mine were about 12″x6″. The dough should be rolled thin and it be crazy oily.
Slide rolled out dough and parchment paper together onto the preheated baking sheet or stone, and bake about 5 minutes, until lightly golden.
Leaving the oven on, remove tray from oven and quickly sprinkle with 1/4 of grated cheese. Bake an additional 3 to 4 minutes, until browned at edges and in thinner spots.
Remove flatbreads from oven a final time, quickly drizzle each with honey (1 used about a tablespoon per flatbread, but the restaurant used more; they were truly flooded with honey and it was delicious), sprinkle with sea salt and garnish with thyme leaves. Cut each cracker width-wise into 4 sections (about 3″x6″ each) with a sharp knife. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough. Serve warm.
Do ahead: Should you want to prepare these ahead of time for a party, I’d bake them including the cheese about 1 minute less than needed. Shortly before you’re ready to serve them, re-toast them in the oven and then drizzle on the honey/thyme/sea salt.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

1 large butternut squash
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups of flour, more as needed
1 egg
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt

Sauce: butter, thyme or sage, poppy seeds

Peel squash, cut into small cubes, cook in a pan of 1/8 inch water for about an hour at 425.

Let it cool well, then add in all of the other ingredients, mix together and add extra flour to bring dough together - should be sticky but able to roll into logs.  Roll on floured surface, cut logs up into slices, then drop into boiling water.  Gnocchi are done when they float.  Toss with browned butter sauce - brown the butter in a pan on medium/high heat, add thyme leaves (or sage) for flavor, then remove.  Poppy seeds optional.  

Thursday, October 13, 2011


2 hours of work, and all for 8 little pies?  They looked measly in comparison to the pile of dishes to wash and discouragingly non-chocolatey.  I didn't even try one til 4 hours later, because anyone who knows me knows that anything with fruit does not count as a dessert (except chocolate fondue).  But then I did try one. And then there were 5 (Bill helped).

All Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough - Smitten Kitchen
Makes enough dough for one double-, or two single-crust pies.
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces, 16 tablespoons or 1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold
1 cup ice water (you may not need all of it)

Filling: 3 medium apples, squeeze of lemon juice, 1/3c sugar, 1tsp ground cinnamon, nutmeg, any other spices

DO NOT LET DOUGH GET WARM.  EVER.  Warm dough melts the butter pieces and results into almost no flakiness.

Pre-cube butter then re-refrigerate, chill cup of ice water
Blend first 3 ingredients in food processor, then add butter and pulse until pea-like
Transfer to big mixing bowl
Add water a little at a time until clumpy, form into dough by hand
Divide into two discs in plastic wrap, refrigerate about 2 hours
Roll out into flat pieces, then re-chill
Mini-pie assembly: cut with cookie cutter circles (or loosely by hand into circles), re-refrigerate, then take them out only two at a time to add filling (small amount!), add water along edges, add top piece, crimp together using fork, brush with egg yolk, and sprinkle with a bit of sugar.  To be fancy (recommended!) use some extra dough scraps to cut out a simple shape (star? diamond?) to stick onto the top of the pie with water.  Bake at 350, check at 20 min.

Pumpkin pie: 
Use 1/2 of pie dough recipe, press chilled dough into pie plate, refrigerate 15 minutes, fold under sides of pan, place on baking sheet, cover with sheet of foil and pie weights or pennies.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then remove foil/weights, rotate, and bake another 5-10 minutes.

Pork Tenderloin

Marinated pork tenderloin

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons sherry
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tabl
espoons olive oil
1 pinch garlic powder
1 or 2 pork tenderloins
fresh herbs

Sear pork in medium/high heat on skillet

Bake in oven at 350 for about an hour

Pork is done at internal temp of about 150/160 max

Spinach White Bean Stew with Poached Egg

Smitten Kitchen's spinach and white bean stew 

1 pound baby spinach or swiss chard
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup (5 1/4 ounces) chopped carrots
1 cup (5 ounces) chopped celery
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) chopped shallots, about 4 medium
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 15-ounce cans (or about 3 3/4 cups) white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups (or more to taste) vegetable broth
1 cup pureed tomatoes (from a can/carton/your jarred summer supply)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
whole wheat slices to toast

*Immersion circulator shortcut: poach multiple eggs at once by dropping whole egg (with shell) into water bath of 167 degrees for 13 minutes. Or 145 degrees (or slightly higher to avoid runny whites) for an hour.

Heat olive oil over medium in pot. Add carrots, celery, shallots and garlic and saute for 15 minutes. Add wine and cook it until it reduced by three-fourths. Add beans, broth, tomatoes, a few pinches of salt, freshly ground black pepper, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add chard and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove thyme and bay leaf. Add more broth if you’d like a thinner stew and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle the stew over thick piece of toasted country bread or baguette that has been rubbed lightly with half a clove of garlic, top that with a poached egg (crack egg into dish, create whirpool with spoon in pot of almost-simmering water, drop into middle of whirpool and cook for 3-4 min until egg comes together, dry on paper towel) and a few drops of sherry vinegar and/or some grated cheese.  Also add some chopped chives.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Lamb Burgers

2 lbs lamb seasoned with 1 tsp each parsley and dill, salt, pepper, 1/4c breadcrumbs, oregano. Sprinkle cumin, cinnamon, and coriander. Top with tzaziki, grilled onions, and crumbled feta.