Archive for the ‘Vegetables, Rice & Beans’ Category

Squash Apple Turnovers

December 8, 2010

In my butternut squash risotto recipe, I declared that I can finally and confidently cut a butternut squash. Although after demonstrating my Iron Chef knife skills, I realized that I needed to broaden my squash usage beyond dinner that night because butternut squashes are HUGE. It is such a rich, flavorful and fantastic seasonal ingredient, so I knew I couldn’t let any extra go to waste.

I found this recipe in Cooking Light and thought it was a great alternative to the typical dinner, and also was a great vegetarian option for those who say “no” to meat (like my friend Emily!). Serving with a light salad (and using up the rest of the expensive and yummy goat cheese in it) made a light yet comforting cold weather meal.

So don’t dismay when your butternut squash takes over your Tupperware – this recipe will give you a yummy way to utilize one of my favorite vegetables!

SQUASH-APPLE TURNOVERS
8 Servings

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cups (1/4-inch) diced peeled butternut squash
1 cup (1/4-inch) diced peeled Jonagold apple (about 1/2 pound)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled goat cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 (11.3-ounce) can refrigerated dinner roll dough or pie crust dough
1 tablespoon honey mustard
2 teaspoons water
2 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté for 3 minutes. Add squash; sauté for 5 minutes. Add apple; cook 6 minutes or until squash and apple are tender. Stir in salt and pepper. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature. Gently stir in cheese and thyme.

Separate dough into 8 pieces. Roll each portion into a 5-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Combine mustard and 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl. Lightly brush top sides of dough circles with mustard mixture. Spoon about 2 tablespoons squash mixture onto half of each circle, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Fold dough over filling; press edges together with a fork to seal. Brush milk over dough. Place turnovers 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lightly coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 19 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Sugared Walnuts

November 24, 2010

There are certain foods out there that scare me. The thought that I could prepare those ingredients, master that technique or turn out a complicated dish will sometimes prohibit me from even trying. My mantra as of late is “we can always get take out,” so I have been trying to go outside my comfort zone a bit more than usual.

I am actually embarrassed to say I have never made risotto. Me. Italian my marriage. A love of Italian food. A carbaholic. It is remarkable, really, that a rice could scare me so much. Until, that is, I saw Moreno in Perledo, Italy make it (still working on the Lake Como cooking class blog post, I promise!).

He made it look easy. Truly, the main ingredient you need is a bit of patience. He said you want to “mantecare,” which apparently means to “make creamy.” Add broth. Stir. Add broth. Stir. Seemed simple enough, as long as I could hold off waiting to eat it until it reached perfection.

So, in my seasonal cooking spirit, I tried a roasted butternut squash risotto with sugared walnuts from Cooking Light. Now that I have mastered how to butcher a butternut squash (if you need help, go here! It sure helped me! http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_peel_and_cut_a_butternut_squash/), I thought I would try this, and was anxious to taste the soft, rich risotto paired with sweet and crunchy nuts.

Oh. My. Goodness. This recipe alone is a reason to get over my resistance to risotto. Yes, it takes long, well over an hour, but the wait was worth it. It is so rich and creamy, and the nuts cut the richness with a perfect sweet crunch. I almost felt myself transported back to Italy where I truly fell in love with risotto. I could hear Moreno telling us to “mantecare” while we sipped our wine and watched in awe, all the while breathing in the sweet and salty smells of a strawberry balsamic risotto. Nothing could compare to Moreno’s technique and end result, but this risotto came as close as I have ever been since.

So, be brave, carve out some time, eat a snack to tide you over, then stir away. You will be glad you did!

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH RISOTTO WITH SUGARED WALNUTS
Serves 8

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 ounce pancetta, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/4 cups uncooked Arborio rice
1/2 cup chardonnay
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lemon thyme or 1 1/2 tablespoons thyme plus 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 400°.

Arrange nuts in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 400° for 5 minutes or until toasted, stirring twice. Place nuts in a bowl. Drizzle butter over warm nuts; sprinkle with sugar and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Toss well to coat.

Combine squash and 1 tablespoon oil, tossing to coat. Arrange squash in a single layer on jelly-roll pan. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until squash is just tender. Remove from pan; stir in garlic. Set aside.

Bring broth and 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add pancetta to saucepan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently. Add onion; cook 3 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add rice; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine; cook 1 minute or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next. Continue until the risotto is cooked (hint, you may need more chicken broth like I did!). Stir in squash, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Top with cheese and nuts.

Chicken with Tarragon and Quick Roasted Garlic, and Southwest Rice and Corn Salad with Lemon Dressing

October 23, 2010

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I am just so sick of chicken. It is such an obvious choice – it is healthy, cheap and can be made in a variety of ways. But, the very characteristics that make it so wonderful, also entice the average home cook to put chicken in the meal rotation too many times a week. And that, my friends, results in food boredom.

So, I must admit that when I made this recipe I wasn’t overly excited. It was yet another sauteed chicken breast. But, I was so pleasantly surprised that we declared that this recipe might have resulted our favorite chicken dish in many poultry-filled months.

What makes this dish is surely the salad that goes with it – so I beg you not to omit it. I didn’t have all of the veggies, but it still turned out amazing. The rice combines so well with the acidity of the lemon juice, the richness of the avocado and the sweetness of the corn.

The chicken has such a rich flavor due to the roasted garlic and tarragon. It tastes like something that has been cooking and developing flavors all day long.

So, this recipe has invigorated my love for chicken, and will be my new go-to recipe with my poultry love is diminishing.

Thanks to Bon Appetit for this recipe!

CHICKEN WITH TARRAGON AND QUICK ROASTED GARLIC
4 Servings

3 large unpeeled garlic cloves
4 small skinless boneless chicken breast halves or cutlets
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Heat small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cover and cook until browned in spots and tender when pierced, turning occasionally, 9 to 10 minutes. Transfer to work surface to cool.

Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate (do not clean skillet).

Peel garlic. Add garlic and wine to same skillet; cook until reduced by about half, mashing garlic finely with fork, about 1 minute. Add broth and tarragon; simmer until liquid is reduced by about half, 1 to 2 minutes. Add cream and simmer to sauce consistency, about 1 minute. Return chicken to skillet with any accumulated juices. Simmer to heat through, turning occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate; spoon sauce over.

SOUTHWEST RICE AND CORN SALAD WITH LEMON DRESSING
8 Servings

1 cup long-grain white rice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 2 ears) or frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 cup chopped fresh poblano chiles or green bell pepper
1 cup diced seeded yellow bell pepper
1 cup 1/2-inch cubes yellow zucchini
1 avocado, halved, peeled, diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Cook rice until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Drain again.

Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice and 3 tablespoons oil in small bowl. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add corn, poblanos, yellow bell pepper, and zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until vegetables are just tender, 6 to 7 minutes; scrape into large bowl. Add rice, avocado, green onions, cilantro, and dressing; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Smoke-Roasted Chicken Thighs With Paprika and Creme Fraiche Stuffed Tomatoes

October 4, 2010

As Ohio seems to have gotten a severe fast-forward into fall, I am resigned to the fact that grilling out is going to be few and far between. Although, my parents grill in the dead of winter in Michigan (and shovel a path to their grill!), so I am not saying it cannot be done. But, I will admit our grill gets used a bit less frequently, especially when I would rather cacoon inside and smell up the house with spices and tantalizing goodness.

But, a few more grilling recipes will be showing up as stragglers – ones I really wanted to try this year and just couldn’t bear waiting until next spring. Needless to say, they would become hidden in my folder of “must tries” and then get shoved aside for the new recipes that Bon Appetit or La Cucina Italiana says I must make in spring 2011.

So, this New York Times recipes is one of the last ones standing. My husband requested it when he read it a few Sundays ago, and I make a point to always whip up his requests…

It seems so simple – just smoked paprika, honey, lemon juice, garlic and butter – smothered on some chicken thighs and nestled on a sizzling grill. But, the taste explodes with a sweetness of the honey (and nice caramelizing), the smokiness of the paprika and the punch of the garlic. And, the butter just melts it all together…

The stuffed tomatoes were a far cry from what the original recipe said. I couldn’t find robiola in my local store (although I have run past 2 recipes since then requiring it, so I will need to find a supplier quick!), so I substituted creme fraiche. I am sure another cheese would be better – something less the texture of creme fraiche and more the texture of, well, robiola. But, it turned out really nice and refreshing, and cut the smokiness of the chicken perfectly.

So, don’t give up on your grill quite yet -there is no snow to shovel, just leaves to sweep out of the way. Seems a small price to pay for a fantastic dinner!

SMOKE-ROASTED CHICKEN THIGHS WITH PAPRIKA
Serves 4
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons softened butter
8 bone-in chicken thighs (about 3½ pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Lemon wedges, for garnish
Mint leaves, for garnish.

Build a fire in a grill with a cover, leaving about ⅓ of the grill free of coals. If using a gas grill, make sure one side of the grill is unheated, and either swap out the paprika above for the smoked version known as pimenton de la vera or wrap two small mounds of moistened wood chips in heavy aluminum foil and pierce the tops of the packets with the tines of a fork.

In a bowl, combine the paprikas, honey, lemon juice, garlic and butter and stir to make a paste. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then coat thoroughly by hand with the spice paste.

Place chicken on cooler side of grill and cover. If using wood chips, place the foil packets, pierced side up, on the hotter side of the grill and cover. Roast chicken for 15 minutes, turn, cook for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until cooked through.

Serve hot, warm or at room temperature, with lemon wedges, sprinkled with mint leaves.

ROBIOLA-STUFFED TOMATOES (or CREME FRAICHE-STUFFED TOMATOES)
Serves 4

4 large ripe tomatoes
3½ ounces robiola cheese, rind removed, diced (or creme fraiche or other soft cheese)
2 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or use insides of ripe tomatoes, above
½ teaspoon mild paprika
4 chives, finely diced
2 tablespoons vodka (yes, vodka)

Halve the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds and some of the flesh. Sprinkle the shells with kosher salt and turn them upside down on paper towels to drain for 30 minutes.

Place the robiola, gorgonzola and butter in a bowl, season sparingly with salt and aggressively with pepper, and beat until smooth.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Fill the tomatoes with the mixture. Place on serving dish until ready to serve. Serves 4. Adapted from “Recipes From an Italian Summer,” by the editors of Phaidon Press.

Root Beer Baked Beans

August 22, 2010

I hope I don’t lose credibility by admitting that until this week, I have never made baked beans. It isn’t that I don’t love them, or thought them overly complicated, it just never was top of mind. But, when I was looking for a different side for my whiskey butter steak, this beans recipe just jumped out at me.

After making this recipe, the thought of buying baked beans and heating them in a saucepan won’t cross my mind – in only 45 minutes you can have amazing baked beans that not only have that rustic home-cooked flavor, but also have bacon. And let’s face it, everything is better with bacon.

Thanks to Bon Appetit for this recipe. It will certainly now become my “go to” for beans!

ROOT BEER BAKED BEANS

4 slices applewood-smoked bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
3 1/2 cups chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 15-ounce cans cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained
1 1/2 cups root beer (preferably artisanal)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook bacon in large ovenproof pot over medium heat until crisp, stirring occasionally. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels. Add onions to drippings in pot; cook until beginning to brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add beans, root beer, vinegar, molasses, tomato paste, mustard, chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper; mix. Stir in bacon; bring to boil. Transfer to oven; bake uncovered until liquid thickens, about 30 minutes.

Mexican Feast: Grilled Ancho-Rubbed Pork with Smoky Tomato Salsa, Grilled Corn with Cheese and Lime, and Tangy Cabbage Slaw

July 21, 2010

Sometimes I find myself cooking and grilling in one-offs – I find a great steak recipe then think of a good potato recipe to go with it. I see a kabob recipe that looks good then think of some orzo or rice to go with it. Rarely, I have a cookbook or magazine article that gives me a full menu. And, what I have found is the more I try to cook from full menus, the easier it is to create my own.

This one came from Real Simple on an article about BBQing Beyond the Burger. I like it because it is an unexpected grilling menu, but is a great “theme” dinner and makes a good excuse to have a margarita! It seems like a lot of components, but take the effort to make them all if you can. They all meld together on your plate and complement each other perfectly.

If you haven’t used ancho chile powder, use this as your excuse to buy some. I like to think of it as a milder chili powder that has a bit of smokiness. It is traditional in Mexican cooking, and once you try it you will see why.

I recommend trying this menu on a Sunday night like we did – grill it all outside and enjoy a nice, cold margarita!

GRILLED ANCHO-RUBBED PORK WITH SMOKY TOMATO SALSA
Serves 8

2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons ground ancho chili pepper or regular chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
4 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
3 pork tenderloins (about 3 1⁄2 pounds total)
2 pints grape tomatoes
6 cloves garlic, sliced
2 to 4 jalapeño peppers, seeded and sliced
16 8-inch flour tortillas

Heat grill to medium-high. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, chili pepper, cumin, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and 1½ teaspoons salt. Rub the mixture all over the pork.

Divide the tomatoes, garlic, and jalapeño peppers between 2 large pieces of heavy-duty foil. Dividing evenly, drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and season with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Fold and seal to form 2 pouches.

Divide the tortillas between 2 pieces of heavy-duty foil and wrap.

Grill the pork, turning occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer registers 145º F, 18 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile, grill the tomato pouches, shaking occasionally, for 10 minutes; transfer the contents to a bowl. Grill the foil-wrapped tortillas until heated through, turning once, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve the pork with the tomato salsa and tortillas.

GRILLED CORN WITH CHEESE AND LIME
Serves 8

8 ears corn, shucked
1 tablespoon olive oil
kosher salt
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco (fresh Mexican cheese) or Feta
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 limes, cut into wedges

Heat grill to medium-high. Brush the corn with the oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Grill, turning often, until tender and charred, 5 to 7 minutes.

Sprinkle the corn with the cheese and cayenne. Serve with the lime wedges.

TANGY CABBAGE SLAW
Serves 8

1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 medium red cabbage (about 1 1⁄2 pounds), cored and shredded – one one bag of pre-shredded cabbage
2 large carrots (about 1⁄2 pound), grated
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, whisk together the orange and lime juices, oil, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.

Add the cabbage and carrots and toss to combine. Let sit, tossing occasionally, for at least 45 minutes. Fold in the cilantro before serving.

Curried Vegetable Pot Pies

February 27, 2010

Last week I had the amazing honor of meeting Martha. Yes, the one and only Martha – Martha Stewart. I attended her show, met her briefly (fortunately long enough for a photo) then had meetings in her offices and got the grand tour. I must say, for someone who admires and respects Martha, it was a wonderful business trip!

No, she isn’t the type of person who will come up to you and give you a hug, but heck, would you expect that from Martha?! But what you can expect was that she had the answer to every audience question after the show, from waffle recipes to compost piles. I was in awe.

Her offices are nothing to sneeze at either – they take up a full NYC block and include everything from a craft room to an accessory closet to the infamous “test kitchen,” which you could smell down the hallway.

After my meeting, the execs were nice enough to give me a Martha tote with her latest craft book (which went to my much more talented mother) and her latest cookbook, which I read cover to cover the minute I got home. It is called Martha Stewart’s Dinners at Home, and I would recommend it for any home cook. What I love about the book isn’t just the amazing recipes and beautiful photos, but she organizes the book by season, which is exactly how I love to cook.

When I flipped to the page with the Curried Vegetable Pot Pie recipe, my husband declared he would love to have it on a Friday (since it is Lent, so he wouldn’t be eating meat). I will admit, I had never made pot pies before, and was a bit intimidated. But, Martha makes it sound so doable, so I figured I would give it a whirl.

Only one bite in, both Rob and I declared it “blogworthy,” and halfway through gave it even more praise. The curry truly makes the dish – you could easily put in chicken if you wanted, but I certainly didn’t miss it. So, for all you vegetarians (and even meat eaters), this one is a winner. On a cold winter night, it is the perfect comfort food.

Thanks, Martha, for this recipe! I hope our paths cross again!

CURRIED VEGETABLE POT PIES
Serves 4
(recipe fills 4 10-oz ramekins – I only had 6 oz ones so I made half the recipe and it filled 3 perfectly)

1 package (17.3 ounces) frozen puff pastry dough, thawed according to package instructions
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 leek, white and pale green parts only, cut into 1/2-inch half-moons, washed well by soaking in water
3 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups milk, plus more for brushing
1 russet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 2- by 1/2-inch matchsticks
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon curry powder
1 cup frozen peas (unthawed)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut pastry dough into four squares just larger than the ramekins (I recommend cutting them as a square around the inverted ramekin so you make the right size). Make several slits in the dough for steam vents. Chill squares on baking sheet until firm, 15 to 30 minutes (while you make the rest of the dish).

Meanwhile, melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook leek, parsnips and carrots with 1 teaspoon salt, stirring frequently, until slightly soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add flour, cook, stirring, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes.

Whisking constantly, stir in milk, potato, and curry powder. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer very gently until potato is tender, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide cooked vegetable mixture evenly among baking dishes. Stir 1/4 peas into each dish, then top with a square of puff pastry. Brush pastry lightly with milk. Place on a baking sheet and bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 22 to 25 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Chicken Masala with Cumin Carrots

February 6, 2010

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE traditional Indian food (next to Thai, might actually be my favorite). Tender meat swimming in a think and spicy sauce…yum! But, if you want something a little different from typical Indian fare, this is a good one to try.

We made them with chicken breasts in order to attempt something healthier, but I firmly believe bone-in chicken with skin would have knocked this one out of the park.

Thanks to Bon Appetit for this recipe. It is a good one for a crowd if they aren’t into ethnic foods. The flavors are mild (not lots of spice) without being boring.

Don’t omit the carrots – simple method, sure, but amazing results! Just throw them in the oven with the chicken after the chicken has gotten a bit of a head start.

CHICKEN MASALA
6 Servings

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon garam masala*
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 large garlic clove, pressed
1 4- to 4 1/2-pound roasting chicken, cut into 8 pieces, backbone removed
2 small onions, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Mix yogurt, chopped cilantro, olive oil, garam masala, salt, and garlic in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Add chicken to marinade, 1 piece at a time, coating all sides. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.

Position racks in top third and bottom third of oven; preheat to 400°F. Arrange onions in thin layer on large rimmed baking sheet to form bed for chicken. Top with chicken pieces in single layer, spacing apart for even roasting (chicken will still be coated with marinade). Discard remaining marinade.

Roast chicken on top rack until cooked through and juices run clear when thickest portion of thigh is pierced with knife, about 1 hour. Serve chicken atop onion slices. Spoon pan juices around.

CUMIN ROASTED CARROTS
6 Servings

* Nonstick vegetable oil spray
12 medium to large carrots, peeled, cut on diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick pieces (I actually used baby carrots)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds (or ground cumin)
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray.

Combine carrots and all remaining ingredients in large bowl; toss to coat. Spread in single layer on prepared baking sheet. Roast carrots until tender and lightly caramelized, turning carrots over once, 35 to 40 minutes.

Easter Dinner – Ham with Gingersnap Glaze, Yukon Gold and Fennel Puree with Rosemary Butter and Roasted Asparagus

April 17, 2009

table-with-foodOne of my favorite things is cooking for others. Although I do love cooking for myself and my husband every night, there is nothing like friends and family around the table enjoying a great meal.

I was lucky enough to have my parents come down from Michigan for Easter. Although they had to make the long drive back on Sunday, I couldn’t send them off without a large Easter brunch.

I have to preface this post by saying never will I ever have amazing photos like I do today. My father, lawyer by day and photographer by night (www.robertstonephotography.com) took photos of the food. And, it made me realize that I really need to take some food photography classes!

This meal is so much simpler than it might look. I have prepared this ham two years in a row (based off of Alton Brown’s City Ham with Gingersnaps), but I omit the bourbon. I have no clue if the ham would be better with it, but it sure is great without it. It is easy to cook and requires so little prep time. TIP: If you don’t have an instant thermometer that you can put in the oven with the meat hooked to a temperature timer you set on your counter, get one! It is essential. For just $20 or so, you can say goodbye to the days of opening the oven, poking the meat, closing the oven, repeat!full-ham-cutting10

The potatoes are a bit more work, but it can all be done the day before. I love the rosemary and fennel combination – very earthy and rustic. This time I made my potatoes, I actually used the small Yukon Golds and didn’t even peel them. This recipe, from Bon Appetit, is a great go to for Thanksgiving as well.

The asparagus is so simple, it really needs no recipe. I always take asparagus and coat it with olive oil, salt and pepper (and sometimes herbs and cheese) and roast it. There is something about the roasting of the asparagus that gives it a unique flavor.

As for prep the day before, I made the potatoes. The day of , I put the ham in the oven, then did a quick coating (took about 5 minutes) halfway through, then about 15 minutes before we ate (while the ham was resting) I put in the asparagus. It is a great meal with company because there really is so little time in the kitchen needed.

close-up-hamHAM WITH GINGERSNAPS
1/2 city-style ham
1/8 cup brown mustard
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup crushed gingersnap cookies.

Cook ham according to directions (tented with foil). When ham reaches 350, brush a liberal coat of mustard using a basting brush. Then, sprinkle on brown sugar, packing loosely as you go, until the ham is coated. Then, loosely pack on as much of the crushed cookies as you can. Return to the oven and cook until interior temperature reaches 140. Let the ham rest, then carve and serve.

full-ham2

YUKON GOLD AND FENNEL PUREE WITH ROSEMARY BUTTER

plate-with-food1
8 to 10 servings
2 large fresh fennel bulbs (about 2.5 pounds, trimmed, quartered through core, center core trimmed and discarded, cut into 3/4-inch pieces)
1 medium onion, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 1 3/4 cups)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt, divided (or kosher salt)
3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled (optional), cut into 1.5-inch pieces
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1.5 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup creme fraiche

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line large rimed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine fennel, onion, oil and 1 teaspoon salt in large bow; toss. Spread in single layer on prepared baking sheet; sprinkle with pepper. Roast until fennel and onion are very tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool slightly. Transfer fennel mixture to processor and puree until almost smooth.

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, about 25 minutes. Drain well. Cool slightly. Place in large bowl and mash with potato masher until smooth. Mix in fennel puree.

Melt butter with rosemary and 1 teaspoon salt in small saucepan over medium heat (or in micr0wave). Stir butter mixture into fennel, potato puree. Mix in creme fraiche. Season to taste with more pepper and salt.

ROASTED ASPARAGUSasparagus-on-plate1
1 bunch asparagus
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degree. Snap ends off of asparagus and place on baking sheet lined with tin foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix with your hands to coat every piece. Place into oven for about 13 or so minutes, or until tender.

asparagus1pepper-on-asparagus1


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