Thursday, November 27, 2008


For hours we toil
Roasting; Slicing autumn's feast
With a prayer lets eat

Cranberry Relish – yields about 1 quart
3/4 -pound fresh cranberries
1 orange - zested
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup water
large pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black

In a 3 cup sauce pan heat all the ingredients over a medium heat, and cook for 30 minutes covered. Stir the mixture every so often to prevent scorching. Serve warm to cold.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cooking up a plan

The countdown is upon those of us who will be laying out the Thanksgiving spread next week. The pleasure of the day is easy, eating way too much and then napping before going in for another round. My favorite memory is the midnight picking by my cousin and me that rendered the turkey carcass useless the following day. But before you can get to that level of relaxing you need a plan. De-stressing the cooking is paramount to enjoying the day, and in truth, enjoying the process of cooking.

Start by writing out a menu. I like to have my menu balance hot, cold and room temperature items this way I am not pulling my hair out trying to fit everything in the oven or juggling pans on the stovetop at the last minute. I want about third of the dishes to be hot allowing me the luxury of conveniently organizing the remaining dishes. I will start as early as Monday by making the cranberry sauce and pie shell: Tuesday will bring the caramelizing of onions and pumpkin soup; Wednesday is all the chopping I made need for Thursday – the celery, herbs, and everything to help alleviate a ton of day of dicing and slicing. Of course, it is also the day I rub the bird with some scently pleasure.

So, as you prepare take a breath and remember don’t start drinking until you have handed over the carving knife.

Ginger Sweet Potato Pie
3/4-cup ground macadamia nuts
3/4-cup breadcrumbs
1 egg white
2-1/2 pounds sweets potatoes
1 tablespoon minced crystallized ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 whole eggs
1-1/4 cup cream

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl mix the macadamia, bread crumbs and egg white together to thoroughly combine. Distribute the nut mixture evenly in a 10-inch pie pan. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and cool the crust.

Peel and roughly chop the potatoes, and boil until fork tender. Drain the potatoes, and then mash the potatoes smoothly. Mix the ginger, nutmeg, cayenne, brown sugar, and salt into the sweet potatoes.

In a small bowl mix the whole eggs and cream together to completely combine. Incorporate the cream mixture in the sweet potatoes and then pour into the prepared nut crust. Place the pie into the oven and cook for 45 minutes. Cool and serve.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A new day

Here's to the moment
that brings a tear and a smile
a bowl full of hope

Autumn Market Vegetable Stew – serves 6 to 8
2 pounds winter squash – such as acorn or butternut
2-tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion – roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves – peeled and chopped
1 chipolte chili
2 carrots – peeled and cut into approx. 1-inch pieces
2-pound celery root – peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
1/2-pound turnip – peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
1/2-pound Jerusalem artichoke – cut into 1-inch pieces
1 golden delicious apple – cored and quartered
1 quince – peeled, cored and quartered
2-tablespoons thyme leaves – roughly chopped
1-tablespoon sage leaves – roughly chopped
1-cup apple cider
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Peel the squash of your choice, and discard the seeds. Then cut the meat of the squash into approximately 2-inch pieces, and hold to the side.

Heat an eight-quart casserole dish over a medium heat and add the oil and onions. Cook the onions to lightly browned, and then add in all the other ingredients. Turn the heat to low, and allow the stew the simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Correct seasoning.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Vote for change

Where is the tipping point? How many more articles, recalls or cautionary bands do we need to suffer? Just yesterday, the NYTimes had another disturbing report regarding tainted foods coming out of China.

I am not so naïve that I believe it is happening only overseas we have to re-figure the path the majority of our foods come to us. As winter prepares its bed for another season of rest we need to have some foresight and start planning for the season of renewal .It is an ideal time to seek out perhaps a community supported agriculture, CSA, to participate in. These farming coops are a great way to get local bounty on your table, but you must be prepared for six weeks of asparagus; beets that will require eating, pickling, storing and other foods as they come and go. Most farms will give CSA participants an idea of what they are planting in their fields.

Regional perspective is where it is out for me. This will allow you to know your farmer and how the land is treated to alleviate the sheer powerless one feels when blanket alerts are put on foodstuffs. From a purely selfish, food snob’s, point-of-view I get product that can peak of the vine and then be whisked off to market and my anxious hands. Become familiar with where a local farmer’s market is, and its philosophy -- don’t just assume everything sold is locally grown and personally cared for.

I just can’t stand being told that I cannot eat because I have chosen not to eat locally -- intimately – conscientiously. Let this monumental moment of change that we are on the cusp of let it trickle down to the very plate you eat from.

Chicken Fillet with Roasted Peppers, Rosemary and Chili - yields 4 servings

1-pound chicken breast - boneless and skinless
1-tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves (2 teaspoons dried rosemary)
4 red peppers - roasted and sliced into 1/4" strips
1/8 teaspoon chili flakes
5 scallions - sliced on an angle
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

Cut the chicken breasts into 1/3's. Heat a 10-inch sauté pan over a high flame, and add the oil. Then add the chicken and chili, and sauté until golden brown. Add peppers and toss to incorporate with the chicken. Continue cooking until the chicken is done (approximately 10 minutes), and immediately add the balsamic vinegar, rosemary and scallions. Season with black pepper and serve.