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Posts Tagged ‘Butter’

 

Cucurbita moschata 'Butternut'. Original descr...

Butternut Squash

Some where between Sweet Potatoes  and White Potatoes lie the winter squashes and many people prefer squash dishes on their Thanksgiving Day menu.  There are numerous varieties to choose from:  I like Butternut Squash, Acorn Squash and Hubbard Squash.  I have served Butternut Squash Bisque as a first course at a few Thanksgiving Dinners.  You might enjoy including this tasty side dish this year at your annual Turkey Day feast.

WINTER SQUASH BRAISED IN CIDER

1 # delicata or butternut squash

2TBS butter

3 TBS finely chopped rosemary

3 cups unfiltered apple or pear cider

Salt

1 tsp balsamic or apple cider vinegar to taste

Freshly ground pepper

You could peel the squash, halve in lengthwise and slice into half moons OR you could buy butternut squash already peeled and cubed and if you’re like me, there is s a point where my time is worth more than the extra 50 cents  spent in taking the easy way out!!

Melt butter in a 12″ skillet over low heat until foamy.  Add rosemary, and cook over medium heat to flavor butter, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes.  Add squash, cider, and 1 tsp salt.  If squash is not covered by cider, add water to cover.

Bring to a simmer, and cook until squash is tender and cider has reduced to a glaze, stirring frequently, 30 to 40.  Sprinkle with vinegar and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to warm serving bowl and serve immediately.

Serves: 6-8 – recipe courtesy of New York Times (November 19, 2003

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Sweet potatoes Ελληνικά: Γλυκοπατάτες

Sweet potatoes Ελληνικά: Γλυκοπατάτες (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well it’s a week away and I still don’t know what I’m bringing as an hors d’ouevres since that is my assignment for Thanksgiving dinner.  This year we will be sharing the annual feast  with my daughter’s in-laws and other relatives of her husband.  It’s seems like there will be  a lot of famiglia!

But I digress, this post is about delicious and not quite ordinary side dishes.  I really wish I was supposed to bring one of them instead because most appetizers don’t travel well and it’s a 2 1/2 hour trip!

Since oven space is always at a premium Thanksgiving Day, you can make this dish ahead of time and reheat covered in microwave at dinner time.  

SWEET POTATOES with HONEY and LIME

Preheat oven 450 degrees

1 TBS plus 1 tsp coarse salt

6 sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered lengthwise

6 TBS honey

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1 small fresh red chile pepper, thinly sliced

2 TBS unsalted butter, melted

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

2 TBS fresh cilantro leaves

Bring a large sauce-pot of water to a boil, add 1 TBS salt.  Add sweet potatoes and boil 4 minutes.  Drain and set aside.  

In a bowl combien honey, lime juice, chile, butter and remaining teaspoon of salt and the pepper.  Add the sweet potatoes and coat with the marinade.  Put potatoes and any excess marinade in a 17″x12″ roasting pan.  Roast in oven 20-30 minutes, turning occasionally, till tender and caramelized.  Garnish with cilantro. 

Serves: 6-8  – Recipe from Martha Stewart Living

 

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With only 8 days left to Thanksgiving, I hope you have ordered your turkey already, made out your grocery lists and then gone over them again because running out on Thanksgiving morning for an ingredient is usually a good way to start a fight with your husband!

Today’s side dish is again an old favorite – like anyone would want to have Thanksgiving dinner without Mashed Potatoes! So of course we are having some and believe me no one savours the flavors of butter and cream more than me (and I have the hips to prove it) so when I found this recipe and tried it, I knew it was going to be a hit with everyone at the table including those who are always on a diet  or watching their cholesterol.  AND read the recipe thoroughly because I’m going to also list the ingredients that make it NOT SO HEALTHY and where to substitute them.  Either way, these are delicious mashed potatoes and actually I think the techniques used are probably what makes the potatoes even better than the recipe ingredients themselves.  And the best part is you can make them a day ahead!!!!

GARLIC-AND-CHIVE MASHED POTATOES

1  1/2  cups skim milk  (1  3/4 cup half & half)

2 garlic cloves smashed   (omit)

3 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes  (4 lbs )

3 TBS unsalted butter (4 TBS-1/2 stick)

1/4 cup 2% or 0% Greek yogurt (omit)

1 TBS chopped fresh chives (I always use more)  (2 TBS chopped chives) and (2 TBS chopped parsley)

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Garnish: 2 tsp chopped fresh chives  (and 2 tsp chopped parsley)

Bring milk and garlic to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat and let stand.  Meanwhile, place potatoes in a medium pot, and cover with water by 2 inches.  Bring to a boil.  Cook until tender, 10-12 minutes.  Drain, and pass through a ricer or food mill.  Return to pot.

Heat potatoes over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until slightly dried out, about 2 minutes or less.  Strain milk mixture into pot .  Discard garlic.  Stir in butter.  Remove from heat.  Stir in yogurt, chives and 1 tsp salt;  season with pepper.  Garnish with chives. Do NOT garnish if you are storing for a day.

Serves 8 – recipe from Martha Stewart Living

Cook potatoes in cold salted water, bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer till potatoes are tender 15-18 minutes. Drain, return potatoes to pot.

Stir potatoes over medium heat until dry, a film of starch will form on bottom of pot. Remove from heat.

In small saucepan, combine half & half and butter;  bring to a simmer over medium.  Pour half of hot liquid over potatoes.  Mash just until smooth, adding more liquid to reach desired consistency.  Stir in parsley and chives.  Season with salt and pepper. Garnish.  Do NOT garnish if you are storing for a day. 

Serves: 8 – recipe from Martha Stewart Every Day Food

NOW here’s the good part.  Put your mashed potatoes into a bowl that you know will sit in large pot as if it were a double boiler.  The bowl must be able to withstand some heat although it will not be in boiling water.  Cover your potatoes tightly with Saran wrap and refrigerate overnight.   On Thanksgiving Day, place the unwrapped bowl of potatoes over a pot of soft-boiling water.  Do not rush the process. Let the potatoes warm through while you go about the other hundred details of a Thanksgiving Dinner.

Martha Stewart, Whole Living, Thanksgiving dinner, mashed potatoes, garnish

Heart Healthy Mashed Potatoes

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Fennel CDC

Fennel CDC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OMG! This dish is so simple yet the flavors were deliciously complex.  I could not stop eating it last night and I will be making it again soon.  I think it’s  a dish to serve to company, Peter thought otherwise.  He said he loved the taste but felt it didn’t have enough substance. MMMMmmmm I thought about that and then decided he wasn’t the person to judge a pasta dish like this one because he would never order a pasta with an alfredo sauce, or spaghetti carbonara, or linguine aglio e olio.      For him, pasta has sausage, meatballs or vegetables or clams or mussels.

My cousin Janet (I like to call her Janie)  gave me this recipe.  When I was making it, I realized that the directions mentioned butter but I hadn’t written butter in the ingredient list – what to do?  I went online of course and found a recipe that was almost identical to hers minus the native seasoning, which is a blend of herbs produced by a company founded by  her sister (my cousin) and her husband.

Thanks Janet.

Here it is:

1 lb of Farfalle or Penne

A slab of pancetta about 3″ by 1/2″ – diced – you can also buy pancetta already diced in a package

1 bulb of fennel – chopped including fronds

1 TBS dried fennel seeds

1/2 cup of cream or half & half – I used about 3/4 cup

1-2 minced garlic cloves

1/2 onion chopped – I used a whole small one

3 TBS unsalted butter

grated Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Saute pancetta in sweet butter till crisp, add garlic, onion, fennel, fennel seeds to pan.  I used a braising pan.  Stir frequently till all is soft .  Cover pan.  

Add cooked pasta to the pan and toss with mixture.  Add the cream.  Sprinkle liberally with grated cheese.

Enjoy!

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I wish I were a better cookie baker but I’m not!   Luckily I have two friends who are fantastic cookie makers/bakers!  My friend Susan in CT brought a large plate of assorted delicious cookies last week.   I had to finally put the last of them in the freezer because I was eating Ginger Snaps for breakfast, Christmas trees for lunch, Milk chocolate and white chocolate chip cookies and Pfferneuse for late night noshing! And my friend Dorothy brought me a plate of cookies ostensibly for Finley, however, I don’t think Finny even got one – they were yum yummy!

Christmas cookies, doves, holiday cookies

Sugar Cookie Doves

Makes 18 cookies| Hands-On Time: 25m | Total Time: 1hr 25m

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.
  3. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated (the dough will be stiff). Shape into a disk and (unless otherwise specified in an individual recipe) refrigerate, wrapped, for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. 

Recipe from Real Simple

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Gifts to buy, presents to wrap, groceries to buy, decorate the house, buy stocking-stuffers, get the Secret Santa gift, send out Christmas cards, go to the office holiday party and on and on and on….

Here’s one holiday preparation that is truly quick and easy and yummy too.  Check it out.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the brown sugar, cream, and cocoa, then boil for 1 minute.
  2. Remove the saucepan from heat, add the peanut butter and vanilla, and stir until smooth. Stir in the oats and peanuts.
  3. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the batter onto wax paper–lined baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart, and let cool until set, about 20 minutes.
  4. Storage suggestion: Keep the cookies at room temperature, between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.

*** This recipe from Gina Maria Miraglia Enriquez to REAL SIMPLE magazine

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Littleneck clams, small hard clams, species Me...

Little Neck Clams

You know I LOVE shopping at Wegman’s and one the best features of the store is that fact that often when you walk in, you see Gus over to the left and you know to make a bee line directly to him to see what he is cooking up!  Well the other day it was clams!  Gus was grilling some Little Neck clams and preparing them in a way that never occurred to me.  He handed me a warm little half clam shell with the clam and a tiny piece of steamed asparagus in it and it was drizzled with Wegman’s  Garlic Cheese Finishing Butter.

If you recall my very long Memorial Day blog, you know that I served these clams as an appetizer.  They were different, delicious and fairly easy to make.  Of course it is easier to do when you have the ingredients available the way Wegman’s does;  The clams were in a net bag, the asparagus were a gorgeous green, uniform in size and packaged in a micro-wavable pouch and Wegman’s carries a line of finishing butters which come in small round containers, slightly bigger than a disk of cream cheese you might get at a restaurant.

Steam or grill the clams till they open.

Steam your asparagus for a couple of minutes in the microwave.

Melt a container of Wegman’s Garlic Cheese Finishing Butter.

I put the clams on the stove to steam open.   I put the asparagus in the microwave and then put the finishing butter in the microwave to melt.

With slotted spoon, I removed the clams to a colander in the sink and proceed to remove one half of the shells.   I quickly sliced a few asparagus into tiny pieces and put one piece on each clam and then just drizzled the melted butter on each.  It was a great presentation to bring a platter of these to the table

Here’s what I learned – I should have used just the tips of the asparagus because it would have looked nicer and you can always serve the rest of the asparagus minus the tips as a side dish later.  The clams didn’t stay hot while I went through the process of opening and discarding one shell and then topping with asparagus and butter.  A good chef has every component prepped so he or she can just add the ingredients as needed.  I thought I had but I found myself cutting up asparagus or trimming pieces to make them smaller because the clams are tiny.  Next time I will put the finished clams on a baking sheet and warm them up a bit before putting them on the platter.  I was using my Melmac so that wasn’t going in the oven and was too large for the microwave.    To improvise if you can’t find finishing butter, for this dish, I believe melted butter with some garlic powder or garlic salt in it and maybe some finely chopped Italian parsley would be fine.

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