Scalloped Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato Gratin

This is one of my holiday staples. I made it for Christmas last year and Thanksgiving this year. I love scalloped potatoes of any kind but this combination of sweet potatoes and fresh herbs is so delicious! I got this recipe from an old Bon Appetit magazine back in 2008. Its a huge crowd pleaser, simple and bound to be a hit at your next gathering! Enjoy!

Scalloped Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato Gratin (Click for Printer friendly version)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium red-skinned sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups (packed) coarsely grated Gruyere cheese (I used Jarlsberg)

Working with 1 Yukon Gold potato at a time, peel then cut into 1/8-inch-think rounds and place in a bowl of cold water. Repeat with Sweet Potatoes. (I used my cuisnart to cut the potatoes, a mandolin or sharp knife will also work)

Combine cream, butter, and garlic in medium sauce pan bring to a simmer (this will boil over so make sure to watch it… I forgot this..) Remove from heat. Mix all herbs in small bowl. Mix salt and pepper in another small bowl.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish. Drain potatoes, then pat dry with kitchen towels. Transfer half of potatoes to prepared baking dish using your hands to spread evenly. Sprinkle with half of salt and pepper mixture, half the herb mixture and half the cheese.

Repeat process with remaining potatoes, salt and pepper, herbs and cheese. Pour cream mixture over gratin, pressing lightly to submerge potato mixture as much as possible. Cover tightly with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until top of gratin is golden and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes; serve.

Serves 12. This can be made 6 hours ahead of time. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until you are ready to bake.

In between cooking, baking and eating, Jake and I went out for a few runs.

We rounded off our Thanksgiving meal (and our belly’s) with Uncle Jay’s Cheesecake. YUM!

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Absurdly Addictive Asparagus

I hope all of you are recovering from your turkey comas and excess family time. Its weird how a 4 day vacation that revolves around eating can make you feel like you need a vacation after your vacation (or at least a gym membership). I had a wonderful weekend of eating, skiing and relaxing (and cooking) with Jake and friends. This recipe is one of my favorites from Food52 – which is literally one of the best cooking websites I’ve ever been to. You really can’t go wrong with pancetta, leeks and asparagus… So enjoy this Absurdly Addictive Asparagus recipe that is super simple and a guaranteed crowed pleaser (for your next holiday gathering) or a quick fix on any night! Enjoy!

Absurdly Addictive Asparagus (Click for Printer friendly version)

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces pancetta, cut into 3/8 inch to 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound asparagus, woody ends trimmed and sliced into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cup leek, thinly sliced crosswise (white and pale green parts only)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 1-2 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

First, chop pancetta, asparagus, and leeks and set aside. In a large non-stick pan, saute pancetta, stirring frequently until golden brown and slightly crispy.

Add 1 tablespoon of butter to pan. Add asparagus pieces and leeks and saute until asparagus becomes tender, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic, lemon and orange zest, toasted pine nuts and parsley and saute another 1-2 minutes until fragrant and asparagus has reached desired tenderness. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. This dish can be served along side just about anything! The citrus flavors of this dish work perfectly with a simple linguine with shrimp and lemon oil recipe that I love!

A French baguette to push it all onto your fork does the trick!

Just put the F*cking Turkey in the Oven…


Mary Risley of Tante Marie’s Cooking School in San Fransisco created this video as a “guide” to cooking your Thanksgiving turkey, gravy and cranberry sauce. It’s freaking fantastic… and I quote, “I used to compare myself to a turkey, big breasts and short legs.” This is one of the best cooking videos I’ve ever seen. My family has known Mary Risley for many years and I had the pleasure of visiting her cooking school one year to taste some of her delicious recipes. She is an outstanding chef and culinary guru. If you haven’t already, sign up to get her monthly news letter which always has awesome recipes! I blogged on one of her recipes earlier this fall Pumpkin, Spinach & Tomato Gratin. If you follow her advice and just put the f*cking turkey in the oven I guarantee it will be delicious! (just make sure the oven is on!) Happy Thanksgiving!

Morning Glory Cranberry and Orange Scones

I was in the mood for some baked goodness this weekend and the best baked goods always come from Morning Glory Farm. So I took out my favorite cookbook for some Vineyard scrumptiousness. Scones are kind of intimidating, you’ve got to get the butter nice and cold and work the rock hard butter into the dough with out over work the dough… My mom has a great way for cutting the butter into scones which makes the whole process a breeze! The fresh cranberries and orange zest give the scones a wonderful tart flavor and are a perfect fall treat. Enjoy!

Cranberry Orange Scones

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter (put in the freezer for 1 hour)
  • 2 cups fresh chopped cranberries (ruffly chop berries- do not cut too small)
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 eggs
  • Milk and sugar for top of scones

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two regular sized cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
Now for my moms trick… using a grater/zester or box grater, grate 1 1/2 sticks of butter into flour, cut in cold butter until flour mixture seems mealy and resembles small peas.

Once butter is well incorporated stir in fresh chopped cranberries and orange zest. In a separate small bowl, stir heavy cream, orange juice and eggs until well blended. Using a pastry cutter or large fork mix the egg, cream and juice mixutre into the dry ingredients just until a rough dough has formed.

Flour the surface of a wooden cutting board and turn the dough out on it, gently shaping the dough into a ball and flattening slightly. 

Using a dough cutter or knife, cut the dough into 10 equal triangles. Place triangles evenly spaced about 2 or more inches apart on the parchment paper on the prepared pans and flatten slightly.

Using a pastry brush, brush lightly with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

I added an extra 1/4 cup of flour to the recipe since I live above 6,000 feet (they also required extra time in the oven at altitude, about 10min. Keep checking them to make sure they are golden brown and do not burn if you leave them in longer!) Enjoy with fresh jam, honey or as they are!

Makes 10 very large scones. Recipe from Morning Glory Farm.

Sweet Avocado Pie and Coconut Whipped Cream

Looking to have a little fun with your desserts this Thanksgiving? This is not your typical pie, I was skeptical at first but after tasting it, I was hooked. It only has 3 ingredients and it doesn’t require baking! I normally serve the pie with homemade whipped cream but I wanted to try a dairy free option. I found myself eating the coconut whipped cream by the spoon full (I didn’t just admit that)… I also tried it over strawberry rhubarb pie and brownies (wow). I definitely prefer it over classic whipped cream. Try both these easy 3 ingredient recipes… I promise you won’t be disappointed. Enjoy!

Avocado Pie

Filling:

  • 2 ripe avocados, flesh scooped out
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • 1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 graham cracker crumbs (or ginger snaps)
  • 5-6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake in oven for about 8- 10 minutes, don’t allow it to get too brown. Let cool completely.

With a hand mixer combine avocado, lemon juice and sweetened condensed milk. Pour filling into pie crust and press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and chill for 2- 4 hours. (Note: Avocados oxidize when they are exposed to air (which makes them turn brown) by pressing the plastic wrap tightly to the surface of the pie it will prevent the pie from turning brown! Now for the coconut whipped cream…

This whipped cream is so delicious and creamy, its hard to believe its dairy free! Its a great option if you’re lactose intolerant or vegan or if you love whipped toppings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat, do not buy ‘light’ it will not work!)
  • 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place can of coconut milk in the fridge over night (if you forget ahead of time put in freezer for 1 hour) put bowl and hand mixing blades in freezer for 10-15 minutes before whipping the coconut- this really helps with the process.

I placed this whole bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes to make sure everything was super cold. Without shaking the can of coconut, open can and remove solid white coconut leaving the remaining coconut water at the bottom of the can. (you can discard the remaining coconut water- you do not want to mix the water with the coconut cream!) Mix cream in chilled bowl with chilled mixers until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.

Coconut whipped cream does not break down the way dairy whipped cream does and can be stored in the fridge for a few days without separation. Place whipped cream over the avocado pie or your favorite dessert and ENJOY!!!

Cornbread, Sausage and Pecan Stuffing

Another very important part of Thanksgiving day… Stuffing. For years I have subscribed to the ultimate food lovers guide (food porn) magazine… Bon Appetit. Nothing compares to opening my mail box and finding it waiting with wonderful recipes, restaurants and ideas. But I am guilty… after drooling over every amazing (and complicated) recipe, I revert back to my collection of familiar cook books and my unused Bon Appetit stack grows. So I’ve vowed not to be intimidated by the long lists of ingredients or seemingly complicated recipes and try to cook at least ONE (I know its not a lot but its better than NONE) recipe each month. So in honor of my commitment… this stuffing recipe is from the November Bon Appetit Thankgiving Issue, it turned out not to be as complicated as I though and its absolutely delicious! This can be made 1 day ahead too, which makes it even better. Enjoy!

Cornbread, Sausage and Pecan ‘Dressing’

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter plus more for baking dish
  • 1 lb. day-old cornbread, Broken into 1 1/2″-2″ Pieces (two boxes of Jiffy Mix)
  • 1 lb. breakfast sausage links, casings removed (I used maple sausage)
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 cups slices celery
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped toasted pecans (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • (I added 2 leeks because I love them! roots and green stems removed, white part cut into thin rounds)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Butter a 13x9x2″ baking dish; set aside. Scatter cornbread in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake until dried out, about 1 hour, stirring often. Transfer to very large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up into 1″ pieces with a wooden spoon until browned, about 8-10 minutes. Drain fat and transfer to bowl with cornbread but do not stir.

Heat 3/4 cup butter in same skillet; add onions and celery (and leeks if you choose to add them) and saute for 10 minutes or until soft and they begin to brown. Add to bowl with cornbread.

Return skillet to heat. Add vinegar and cook for 1 minute scraping up browned bits from the pan. Add to cornbread mixture. Gently fold in 1 1/2 cups broth, pecans, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Let cool.

Turn oven up to 350 degrees. In a small bowl whisk 1 1/2 cups broth and eggs together. Fold gently into cornbread until thoroughly combined taking care not to mash cornbread (mixture will look wet). Transfer to buttered baking dish, cover with foil, and bake about 40 minutes or when a thermometer inserted into the center of the stuffing reads 160 degrees. If making a day ahead, remove foil after baking and let cool. Cover and chill. Reheat for 15-20 minutes or until stuffing is warm all the way through.

Turns out stuffing is really difficult to photograph and still look appealing (Even though the magazines picture is perfect, go figure). While this looks like a bowl of mush…It tasted AMAZING and looks much prettier in person.

Thanksgiving Recipe Guide: Fresh Cranberry Sauce

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner- like next Thursday around the corner. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays- tons of delicious food (like Christmas) but no pressure to buy gifts (like Christmas)! There are always a few recipes that you only pull out for special occasions, Thanksgiving, Christmas or the like (My mom always does stuffed beef tenderloin with shiitake  mushrooms, spinach and shallots for Christmas Eve- Don’t worry I will blog on that closer to Christmas) Staple recipes. They bring back memories and in someways define that holiday for you. But every once in while its nice to spice things up with something new. So for the next few blog entries I will pull out some old favorites and some fresh new inspiration for your big Turkey day. I couldn’t help but start with a dish that is practically as important as the turkey on Thanksgiving… Cranberry Sauce. Enjoy!

Fresh Cranberry-Orange Sauce: Many fresh cranberry sauce recipes call for granulated sugar (the bad stuff)- Agave Nectar is a great alternative to white sugar. Agave, as compared to other sweeteners, has a low-glycemic index, which means it won’t cause a sharp rise or fall in blood sugar. We don’t want anyone going into a sugar coma over cranberry sauce…especially before dessert!

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz fresh cranberries
  • 1 navel orange, zest cut into strips and juiced
  • 1/3 to 2/3 cup Agave Nectar (depending on how sweat you like it)
  • dash or two of cinnamon

Using a vegetable peeler, peel zest from orange and cut into strips. Juice orange.

Combine cranberries, 1/2 the orange zest, juice, agave nectar and cinnamon in sauce pan over medium heat.Simmer until cranberries begin to burst and the sauce thickens, usually about 15-20 minutes.

Serve at room temperature or cool and refrigerate. Can be made a few days in advance. For sauce that is more tart, start with 1/3 cup of agave nectar and gradually add more to reach desired sweetness.

*Snow Day* Simple Squash Bisque

It’s finally dumping that light fluffy powder outside my window and there are only 8 days till the chair lifts start turning up on the mountain! I know all my friends back East are getting pummeled with snow too – So whats better than a bowl of hot soup to warm you up on a cold snowy weekend? I have so much Acorn Squash in the fridge right now with all the recipes I’ve been cooking I needed to use them up! You probably don’t even need to go to the store for this simple acorn squash bisque, which is why its the perfect snow day soup. I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart’s – Instead of half-and-half I used Greek Yogurt. Hope you enjoy and stay warm!

Its accumulating quickly outside!

Ingredients for Acorn Squash Bisque:

  • 2-3 acorn squashes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or about 1 teaspoon dried if you don’t have fresh)
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup Greek Yogurt

Preheat oven to 450

Halve squash lengthwise; scoop out and discard seeds. Place squash cut side down on a baking sheet and roast until almost tender when pierced with a knife (about 30 min). When cool enough, scrape out flesh of the squash with a spoon and discard the skins. Set remaining squash aside.

In large saucepan, heat butter over medium. Add onion, season with salt and pepper and cook until onion has become translucent about 3-5 minutes. Add squash, thyme, broth and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce to medium and cook until squash is very tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and add Greek Yogurt.

Working in batches, puree mixture in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Return to pan and season generously with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with fresh thyme (if you have it on hand).

 

Morning Glory Farm – Baked Stuffed Winter Squash

Last weekend I was longing for a little piece of home, so I decided to open one of my favorite cook books from Morning Glory Farm on Martha’s Vineyard. This is the ultimate cook book- every recipe looks/is amazing. It’s the perfect collection of recipes for every season from restaurants and locals all over the island. I had some delicious looking acorn squash from the market in the fridge and this recipe seemed perfect! Its vegetarian (and vegan) but the hearty wheat berries fill you up and it makes great leftovers the next day! It makes enough for 8 people but you could easily cut the recipe in half or cook less squash and save the rice salad for another meal (that’s what I did!) Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 4 acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice
  • 1 cup cooked wheat berries
  • 1 cup roasted pears
  • 1/4 cup canola oil, divided
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 1/3 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roast seeded and halved squash cut side down for 30-40 minutes.

While squash is roasting cook wild rice and wheat berries according to package directions. I got the wheat berries from the bulk section at whole foods which is the easiest way to find wheat berries. I brought a pot of salted water to boil and put the rinsed wheat berries in to cook for 1 hour or until tender.

Once squash is soft, cut pears into large dice and toss with 1/8 cup canola oil. Roast on a sheet tray about 20 minutes. (I didn’t add cinnamon to the pears but I think it would be a great addition and add some flavor- just a dash or two).

Saute shallot in rest of oil over medium heat. Pour apple cider in with shallots, cooking and stirring to deglaze pan.

Mix rice, berries, roasted pears and cranberries into shallot mix. Salt and pepper to taste.

Stuff each squash with filling and serve.

I served the stuffed squash with a simple salad of arugula, toasted almonds, blue cheese crumbs and apple slices tossed with balsamic dressing.

Sunflowers make everything better!

The Perfect Fall Cocktail- Rum and Cider

Nothing says fall like a fresh glass of apple cider. Nothing says Saturday like a cocktail made with Myers’s Rum. I normally enjoy my Myers’s rum in the summer with tonic and a slice of lime (preferably on the Shepard’s back porch watching the Sunset on East Chop). This delicious drink is perfect to get you in the fall spirit! You will need:

  • Ice
  • 2oz rum
  • 8oz apple cider

Lets be real- you’re not going to measure out ingredients… So add ice to glass first and then rum then pour cider on top and stir. Enjoy with your favorite cocktail napkin.

I would say, yes…