Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna

Adapted from a Gourmet magazine recipe

Serves 6

 

Ingredients

3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 9½ cups)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cups milk
2 tablespoons dried rosemary, crumbled
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ stick (¼ cup) unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Nine 7- by 1½-inch sheets dried no-boil lasagna
1-1/3 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh rosemary sprigs, for garnish

Photo by Catherine Murray

Photo by Catherine Murray

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 450°, and oil 2 large shallow baking pans.

In a large bowl, toss squash with oil and salt until well coated, spread in one layer in the baking pans. Roast squash about 20 minutes, or until soft and golden, stir after 10 minutes.

While squash is roasting, bring milk and rosemary to a simmer in saucepan. Cook milk mixture over low heat 10 minutes. Cool in pan until needed for sauce, then strain through sieve.

In a large heavy saucepan, cook garlic in butter over low heat, stirring until soft—but not colored. Stir in flour and cook roux, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add milk mixture in a stream, whisking until smooth. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until thick—about 10 minutes. Stir in squash. Salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce oven temperature to 375°.

Pour 1 cup sauce into baking dish (sauce may not cover completely) and cover with 3 lasagna sheets, making sure they do not touch. Spread half of remaining sauce over pasta and sprinkle with ½ cup Parmesan. Make 1 more layer in same manner with 3 lasagna sheets, remaining sauce, and ½ cup Parmesan. Top with remaining 3 lasagna sheets.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream with salt until it holds stiff peaks. Spread cream evenly over lasagna, making sure pasta is completely covered. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan over cream. Bake, covered with foil in middle of oven, 30 minutes. Remove foil; push edge of lasagna noodles under topping, if necessary, and bake 10 minutes more, or until bubbling and golden. Let lasagna stand 5 minutes. Cut into squares and garnish with fresh rosemary.

Sweet Potato Butter

Recipe by Tricia Wheeler

Ingredients

4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into slices about ¼ inch thick
2 cups apples, cored, chopped and peeled
¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup water

Photo by Catherine Murray

Photo by Catherine Murray

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and stir. Cook on high until sweet potatoes and apples are soft (about 4–6 hours). Put in a blender or food processor and mix until well blended. The mixture will be a little thicker than apple butter.

This recipe cans well. Put sweet potato butter in hot jars, seal with fresh lids and process for 10 minutes in boiling water. You can keep canned sweet potato butter in your pantry, or if not canned it will hold in the refrigerator for several weeks. 

Mom's Apple Dumplings

Recipe by Mary Wheeler, mother of Tricia Wheeler

Serves 6

Ingredients

1½ cups sugar
1½ cups water
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
5–10 drops red food coloring, if desired
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups shortening
½ cup milk
6 medium whole apples, pared and cored
Extra sugar, spices and butter for topping apples

 

Photo by Catherine Murray

Photo by Catherine Murray

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°.

For syrup, mix first 5 ingredients together in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; add butter. Set aside to cool.

Stir together dry ingredients; cut in shortening till mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk all at once; stir just till flour is moistened. Scrape dough onto a lightly floured surface, knead 3–4 times and form into a rough square. Lightly flour surface with a rolling pin roll into 18- by 12-inch rectangle

Cut rolled dough into six 6-inch squares. Place apple on each square. Sprinkle apples generously with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; dot with butter. Moisten edges of pastry and bring opposite corners to center and pinch together. Repeat with other 2 corners, and make sure all edges are sealed. Repeat with other 5 apples.

Place dumplings 1 inch apart in ungreased 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Pour syrup over dumplings; sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes, or until apples are tender. Add whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.

Pumpkin Soup

Inspired by Hubert Seifert’s recipe at Spagio, adapted by Tricia Wheeler

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 pumpkins, about 4 pounds (or one large can of pumpkin purée)
¼ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon cinnamon
¼ tablespoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
2½ cups heavy cream, ½ cup reserved
2 cups chicken stock

Photo by Catherine Murray

Photo by Catherine Murray

 

Directions

If using whole pumpkins, preheat oven to 375°. Cut each pumpkin in half, remove seeds. Place the halves, skin side down, in a shallow roasting pan; add ¼ cup water. Cover with foil and bake until tender, about one hour and 15 minutes. When pumpkin is cool, scrape out pulp.

Place pulp into a pot and toss with butter, sugar and spices. Add the chicken stock and heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Purée the soup in a food processor until smooth. (If using canned pumpkin, you do not need to purée in a food processor.) Use ½ cup reserved heavy cream to make whipped cream, add a pinch of salt and whip until soft peak stage in an electric mixer. Garnish warm soup with the whipped cream, run a toothpick through to make a design. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, or a star anise.

Goat Cheese in Olive Oil with Mixed Herbs & Spices

Ingredients:

Shallow jar with tight-fitting lid
Fresh goat cheese
Good-quality olive oil
Peppercorns
Dried hot pepper
Bay leaf
Garlic clove
Fresh rosemary

Photo by Catherine Murray

Photo by Catherine Murray

Directions:

Slice goat cheese into rounds, or shape into balls. Place in bottom of jar; add herbs and spices; cover with oil. Let marinate at room temperature for 24 hours, then store in the refrigerator. Use in 3–4 days. Remove from the refrigerator 1–2 hours before serving, as oil will set in refrigerator. Use the cheese as an appetizer with toasted baguette; it’s great crumbled on salads or scrambled eggs, or add it to a cheese board. Use leftover oil to sauté vegetables, or make into a salad dressing. 

Cranberry Spiced Cheese Cake

Recipe from Southern Living, adapted by Tricia Wheeler

Serves 8–10

2½ cups vanilla wafers, crushed fine
¼ cup butter, melted
3 8-ounce packages of Neufchatel cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 large eggs
2 tablespoon vanilla extract

Photo by Catherine Murray

Photo by Catherine Murray

Cranberry Sauce

1 14-ounce can of whole-berry cranberry sauce
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cloves

Combine cookie crumbs and butter, stir well. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and 1 inch up sides of lightly greased 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

In a blender or food processor, combine cranberry sauce, spices and brown sugar; process until smooth. Set aside.

Beat cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Add sugar and cornstarch; beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating each until just blended. Stir in vanilla.

Pour half of batter into cookie crust; spoon ½ cranberry mixture over batter. Swirl gently with a knife tip. Top with remaining batter, then cranberry mixture and swirl. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 225°; bake 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and immediately run a knife around sides of cheesecake to loosen it from pan. Turn oven off and return cheesecake to oven and let cool for 1 hour. Remove from oven, and let cool on a wire rack. Chill, uncovered, until ready to serve. Remove sides of pan. Garnish with fresh cranberries or sprigs of holly.

Suggested Wine Pairing by Janine Aquino: A French dessert wine called Sauternes


Sea Salt Caramels

Ingredients:

vegetable oil
1 c sugar
1⁄4 c water
1⁄4 c light corn syrup
1 1⁄4 c heavy cream
4 T unsalted butter
1 t sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1 t vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly brush the paper with the vegetable oil.

2. In a small pot, bring the cream, butter, and one teaspoon of the sea salt to a simmer, over medium heat. Do not let it boil. Once it has reached a simmer, turn off the heat, and set it aside.

3. In a deep saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar. Over medium-high heat, stir only until the sugar has dissolved. Then allow the mixture to boil, without stirring, until the mixture is a warm, golden brown. Watch very carefully, as the caramel can burn quickly toward the end. (It can be helpful to use a wooden spoon and drip some of the caramel onto a white plate to gauge the exact color.)

4. When the sugar mixture is done, remove it from the heat and slowly add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Be careful because it will bubble up violently. Stir in the vanilla.

5. Return the mixture to the heat and cook over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 244 degrees, about 10-15 minutes. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan. (Don’t scrape the pot.) Refrigerate for a few hours, until firm.

6. Remove the caramel from the refrigerator and allow it to come close to room temperature. Pry the caramel from the pan. On a cutting board, cut the square in half. Using parchment paper, roll each piece of caramels into a tight 8 to 10 inch log. Sprinkle the logs with sea salt. Cut each log into 3⁄4 inch or 1 inch pieces. Individually wrap each caramel in glassine or parchment paper, twisting the ends. Store in the refrigerator or in an air-tight container.

 

Creamy Pesto Lasagne

Recipe by Alice Waters, Adapted by Tricia Wheeler

Pesto:

5-6 cloves young garlic or 3-4 cloves mature garlic
Coarse Salt
Whole Black Peppercorns
4 cups roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
¾ cup virgin olive oil
1 1/3 cups lightly toasted pine nuts
2/3 cups Parmesan

Bechamel Sauce:

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoon all purpose flour
3 cups half and half
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and Pepper
Nutmeg
Bouquet Garni –thyme, parsley, baby leaf, black peppercorns, onion and garlic
2 Egg Pasta Dough (see spring pasta recipe or use store-bought noodles)
½ Cup Parmesan Cheese
2 tablespoons butter

Make the pesto in a mortar & pestle or food processor, blending all ingredients but oil to a coarse chop, then drizzling in oil at end. To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan, and when it is gently foaming add the flour and whisk together. Cook the roux over low heat for 5 minutes or so, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Be careful not to let the flour brown. Turn off the heat and let it cool a little. Combine the half and half and cream and heat them almost to the boiling point. Pour them into the roux, in a steady stream whisking all the while until the mixture is smooth. Season with salt and pepper and a subtle amount of nutmeg.

Make a bouquet garni of a few sprigs each of thyme and parsley, a bay leaf, a few black peppercorns, a slice or two of onion and 3-4 cloves of garlic. Wrap these ingredients in a piece of cheesecloth and tie it with a string. Put the boquet garni and béchamel in the top of a double boiler, cover, and let it simmer for an hour or so, stirring occasionally as it cooks. Remove it from the heat and let it cool while you roll and cook the pasta.

Remove the boquet garni from the béchamel and blend the two sauces together. Layer the thin sheets of pasta, with a light, even coating of the sauce; repeat with layers of pasta and sauce until the dish is filled. These quantities will fill a dish approximately 12 by 9 by 2 inches. Finish the lasagna, folding the last sheets together like a package. Cover the top with a layer of freshly grated Parmesan and fresh bread crumbs and dot with butter. Cover with foil and bake in a 350-degree oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake another 15 minutes, or until the cheese and bead crumbs top is golden brown. Let the lasagna cool just a little before serving. The aroma is irresistible. 

Sweet & Salty Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Ingredients:
Servings: 16

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 cup sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
1 cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt

 

Preparation

Special Equipment:
A candy thermometer

Instructions:

Spray a parchment-lined baking sheet with nonstick spray; set aside. Bring sugar, corn syrup, and 3 Tbsp. water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Fit saucepan with thermometer and cook until thermometer registers 290°, 3–4 minutes.

Stir in pumpkin seeds, butter, and kosher salt and cook, stirring often, until pale brown and thermometer registers 305°, 3–4 minutes.

Stir in baking soda and cinnamon (mixture will bubble vigorously), then immediately pour caramel onto prepared sheet. Using a heatproof spatula, quickly spread out and sprinkle with sea salt; let cool. Break brittle into pieces.

Do Ahead: Brittle can be made 1 week ahead. Store airtight, layered between sheets of parchment paper, at room temperature.

Caramel Apple Tart

Salted Caramel Apple Tart
By Tricia Wheeler, The Seasoned Farmhouse

Tart base

14-ounce package puff pastry, defrosted
3 large or 4 medium apples (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into small bits

Salted caramel glaze:

1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or salted, but then ease up on the sea salt)
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt (or half as much table salt)
2 tablespoons heavy cream

 

Heat your oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper, or a silpat.

Lightly flour your counter and lay out your pastry. Flour the top and gently roll it until it fits inside your baking sheet, and transfer it there.

Peel the apples and cut them in half top-to-bottom. Remove the cores and stems (I like to use a melon baller and/or a pairing knife). Slice the apples halves crosswise as thinly as you can with a knife, or to about 1/16-inch thickness with a mandolin. Leaving a 1/2-inch border, fan the apples around the tart in slightly overlapping concentric rectangles — each apple should overlap the one before so that only about 3/4-inch of the previous apple will be visible — until you reach the middle. Sprinkle the apples evenly with the first two tablespoons of sugar then dot with the first two tablespoons butter.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges of the tart are brown and the edges of the apples begin to take on some color. If you sliced your apples by hand and they were on the thicker side, you might need a little more baking time to cook them through. The apples should feel soft, but dry to the touch. If you puffed pastry bubbles dramatically in any place during the baking time, simply poke it with a knife or skewer so that it deflates.

Meanwhile, about 20 minutes into the baking time, make your glaze. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt your last 1/4 cup sugar; this will take about 3 minutes. Cook the liquefied sugar to a nice copper color, another minute or two. Off the heat, add the sea salt and butter and stir until the butter melts and is incorporated. Add the heavy cream and return to the stove over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until you have a lovely, bronzed caramel syrup, just another minute, two, tops. Set aside until needed. You may need to briefly rewarm it to thin the caramel before brushing it over the tart.

After the tart has baked, Pull out and put on glaze. Using very short, gentle strokes, and brushing in the direction that the apples fan to mess up their design as little as possible, brush the entire tart, including the exposed pastry, with the salted caramel glaze.

Return the apple tart to the oven for 5 to 10 more minutes, until the caramel glaze bubbles. Let tart cool complete before cutting into 12 squares. Serve plain, with coffee or tea if you’re feeling grown-up or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if you’re feeling particularly indulgent.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Gratin

Adapted by Tricia Wheeler from a recipe by Bobby Flay

Serves 6–8

I was looking for a way to change up my traditional Thanksgiving side dishes when I came across this recipe by Bobby Flay for a spicy sweet potato gratin. I have made it many times since – guests always like the unexpected smokiness paired with the sweet potatoes.

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
2 cups heavy cream (I prefer Snowville heavy whipping cream.)
1 smoked chipotle pepper in adobo sauce* and some juice from can
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Mix heavy cream, chipotle pepper and salt in a food processor until just blended.

3. In a 9- by 9-inch casserole dish, arrange the potatoes in even layers. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the cream mixture and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining potatoes, cream and salt to form layers.

4. Cover and bake for 30 minutes; remove cover and continue baking for 45–60 minutes, or until the cream is absorbed and the potatoes are cooked through and the top is browned.

* Found in the Mexican section of most grocery stores 

 

Cider-Glazed Butternut Squash with Rosemary and Sage

Adapted from The Herbfarm Cookbook, by Jerry Trundled

This is one of those dishes that reminds me again how easy and delicious local can be.  The squash?  Elizabeth Telling.  The cider?  Thomas Family Orchards.  The herbs?  Back yard.  Local?  And then some.

Butternut is particularly easy to handle, but two delicata squash are equally wonderful, here.  If using the latter, halve lengthwise and slice into ½” rings.  To peel either squash, use a Y-peeler if you have one.  Otherwise, use a sharp standard vegetable peeler.  I go over the squash twice, to get the firm under-layer.  This is the work of two minutes, max.

Fresh herbs shine here; do not substitute dried. I have, however, had good results generously doubling the rosemary, when our fresh sage withered. Sherry vinegar has a wonderful mellow sweetness. Apple cider vinegar makes a fine substitute.

 

Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash (around 2 pounds)
3 tablespoons butter
¼ cup fresh sage, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 cups fresh apple cider
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions:

Peel your squash by going over the exterior twice with a Y-peeler or standard, sharp vegetable peeler.  This goes quite quickly, two minutes, tops. Top and tail the ends with a sharp chef’s knife, then halve squash lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds. Cut into ½” cubes.

Melt butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over low. Add chopped sage and rosemary, and stew slowly in the butter, cooking 3-5 minutes until butter becomes golden, leaves soften, and the kitchen is fragrant with their scent. Do not brown the herbs.

Add cubed squash to skillet, then apple cider, water, vinegar and salt. Bring to a gentle boil, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 20 to 30 minutes, until the squash is fork-tender and the liquid has reduced to a syrupy glaze. Taste for seasoning (I usually add a touch more salt here, and sometimes a pinch of sugar), and add freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.

Champagne Truffles

Recipe by Stacy Peters
Makes roughly 40 truffles.

Ingredients:

Ganache:
16 ounces dark fair trade/organic chocolate chips
8 ounces cream
½ cup of your favorite champagne
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons organic blue agave nectar

Topping:
½ cup cocoa powder
½ organic pomegranate powder

Directions:

Weigh 16 ounces of chocolate chips and set aside in a large bowl. Next, slowly heat cream and sea salt in a pot until it comes to a boil. Stir often to prevent burning it. Cream will start to boil and when it begins to rise and almost overflow the pot, pour the cream over the chocolate chips.

At this point, add the agave nectar and champagne to the chocolate/cream mixture. Stir just a little bit and cover for 5 minutes. This will allow the cream to melt the chocolate chips.

Uncover and use an immersion blender (makes ganache far better) to blend the entire mixture until it is silky and smooth. Voila…ganache.

Cover bowl and place in the refrigerator overnight.

After ganache is firm, remove from refrigerator and set on the counter. (if it is too firm to dip a spoon into, allow it to warm for about an hour at room temperature; this makes scooping it out easier). Next, scoop out small balls of ganache with a tiny scoop or spoon. Place onto a cookie tray.

Once the ganache is scooped out, mix the cocoa powder and pomegranate powder in a bowl. You are now ready to hand roll each scoop of ganache into a perfect ball and then roll it in the cocoa mixture.