Category Archives: Recipes

As American As…

Although this post is not timely, seeing as it is after Thanksgiving and not very many people make apple pie for Christmas (in our family it’s cookies all the way), I do hope you’ll look at it, file it away it your mental recipe box, and pull it out when you feel the urge to bake something hearty and patriotic, because this recipe is IT. This is some goooood eats.

On the menu:
Caramel crusted apple pie
Adapted from this recipe at AllRecipes.com

1/2 this recipe for crust (the full recipe makes enough crust for 2 whole pies)
6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/8″ thick slices
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In preparation, roll out your crusts. The bottom crust goes in the pie pan. The top crust should be rolled out in preparation with decorative shapes cut out (I used a sharp knife to cut out hearts, but you can use any shape you have; or do a lattice crust if you prefer).

After your crusts are prepared and ready to go, melt butter in a saucepan and add flour to make a paste. Add water and sugars, and stir until melted. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Place apple slices in a large bowl. First toss with cinnamon. Next, pour 1/4 cup sugar/butter mixture over apples and toss until all the slices are relatively coated. Place crust in the bottom of your pie pan. Fill crust with apples, mounded slightly [don’t worry if you think you have a TON of apples; they really cook down].

Pour* the remainder of the sugar/butter mixture over the top crust, slowly and carefully so it doesn’t spill. Bake 15 minutes at 425. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for around 35 – 45 minutes or until the edges of your crust are nicely browned.

*Note: you may have to reheat the mixture a bit at this point, as it will thicken up VERY quickly.

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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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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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Calling All Turkeys

Dear Readers,

Today I ask your input. I don’t often ask things of you because, frankly, I’m afraid no one will answer. But today I’m asking. Thanksgiving is fast approaching and this year I’m allowed to contribute! WAHOO! In addition to making the pies for my family’s Adirondack feast, I’m thinking I’d like to make something special. Something different. I come from a family that is BIG on tradition, and we don’t really like change. But this year I want to try. Just a little. Just to see how it feels.

I found a recipe for chestnut soup but I’m not sold on it, and I’d love to hear from you! What are your families’ specialties? Any regional dishes? Any recipes brought over from Europe, Asia, Africa, that have since been integrated into the food-fueled American holiday? You don’t have to post the whole recipe, but I’d love to hear about anything that falls outside the realm of Stove Top stuffing and green bean casserole.

Leave ’em in the comments, friends. I do appreciate it.

Love always and forever amen,
Lauren E.

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Hey Punkin!

Even though the temperatures in New York feel more like June than October, I can not help but crave everything pumpkin. I suddenly remembered a point last year when I went to the grocery store to get a can of pumpkin and they were sold out. I would not let that happen again. Thankfully, they were fully stocked and I am now the proud owner of six cans of pure, delicious pumpkin. Don’t judge.

On the menu:
Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies
Adapted from this recipe at AllRecipes.com

1 cup pure canned pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp milk
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, soft together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda in the milk. Add to the flour mixture. Add flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture until completely blended. Add vanilla and chocolate chips.

Drop cookies by spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, or until the edges are brown*. Let cool for at least ten minutes, or until you literally can not take it anymore. Pour a glass of milk. Eat your cares away.

*Note: these cookies are like little pillows of heaven, soft and cakey and essentially perfection. They will still be soft when you pull them out of the oven. Also, they do not spread so you can put them close together on the tray.

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The Return of Cheesy Pasta

Happy Monday, friends! Today’s post is a bit of a throwback but with a twist. Remember this? A Sunday dinner, to me, is always made up of some sort of pasta and carbonara sounded like just the kind of warm sleep-inducing dish I needed. And when The Boyfriend requested tortellini, I knew exactly what to make.

On the menu:
Tortellini carbonara
Adapted from Epicurious.com

1 lb. multi cheese tortellini
12 strips of bacon, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 medium sized yellow onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
4 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Cook tortellini in salted boiling water until cooked, according to package directions. Drain. Save 1 cup of pasta water.

Saute bacon in a LARGE skillet until crisp. Drain bacon on a paper towel and reserve 3 Tbsp of grease in the skillet. Add mushrooms, onions, and garlic to the skillet and cook until mushrooms are softened. Add 1/2 cup pasta liquid to the skillet and raise heat so the liquid boils. Whisk egg yolks and cream together in a small bowl. Add pasta, cream mixture, and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese to the skillet and mix together quickly so the pasta is completely coated. Keep constantly stirring the mixture and scraping the bottom of the skillet for ten minutes over medium-high heat until the egg is cooked. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more reserved pasta water. Add bacon and mix in. Cook for another 3 minutes. Plate pasta immediately and sprinkle remaining parmesan cheese on top.

And in case the cup of cream, 12 slices of bacon, and 4 egg yolks didn’t tip you off, this is not a particularly healthy dinner. Maybe don’t make this one twice a week.

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Crusty

Is there anything better than pie? Well okay, maybe cake. Cake is better than pie. But in the fall, there is nothing better to ME than a beautiful concord grape pie. I’ll never forget the time my mother, the strict vegetarian, gave me a concord grape pie from a shop in Rochester and one of the main ingredients was lard. She was appalled. I was delighted. This particular recipe uses vegetable shortening as opposed to animal fat, but if I could bring myself to buy a tub of lard without literally feeling like a tub of lard, I’d use it.

Salted caramel apple pie from Four and Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn

On the menu:
Ruth’s Grandma’s Pie Crust
from Allrecipes.com

4 cups flour
1 3/4 cups shortening
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup water

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, shortening, sugar, and salt. Blend together with a pastry cutter until crumbly. In a small bowl, mix egg with water. Blend into flour mixture. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use.

*Note: I realize this is just the recipe for crust and not for filling, but that’s because this is my standard, go to, fool proof crust recipe. It is deliciously flaky and not too sweet to use in literally any fruit pie you can come up with.

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