Are you a baker? Sur la table is having a bake sale and there are some really great prices. I saw a marble pasty board for under $40 and shipping was only $7. Lots of cute cookie cutters too! Sur La Table
I am featuring all my fall favorites this week. Great fall produce in the stores!
Meatless Monday: Butternut Squash Soup and Open face sandwiches
I buy my butternut squash at Costco. It’s organic and it’s already peeled and chopped.
• 2 large butternut squash (about 4 1/2 lbs.) or 4 lbs. peeled and cubed butternut squash
• 2 medium onions
• 3 cloves garlic (optional)
3 Tbs butter
• olive oil
• 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1. Halve, seed, peel, and cube butternut squash. Set aside.
2. Halve, peel, and chop onion. Mince garlic.
Heat over to 450 and drizzle olive oil on a cookie sheet. Roast squash for about 20 minutes till soft and golden.
3. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add butter and onion. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
4. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
5. Add squash and broth. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, about 10 minutes.
6. Transfer small batches to a blender. Hold a kitchen towel over the top (to prevent burns) and whirl until completely and utterly smooth, 2 to 3 minutes per batch. (Or use an emulsion blender)
I like this with an open faced grilled cheese sandwich using Gruyère cheese and pink lady apple slices.
Tuesday: Boef Bourguignon (i just love saying that) Beef Burgundy
- 3 cups dry red wine
- 2 cups strong beef stock
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped into large pieces
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch-long pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 10 black peppercorns
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1/2 pound bacon, cut into thick slices, and then coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon softened butter
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound pearl onions, peeled
- 1 pound white mushrooms, wiped clean and bottoms trimmed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
In a large non-reactive container, gently toss together the red wine, beef stock, onion, carrots, garlic, parsley, thyme, rosemary, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, bay leaf, and beef. Refrigerate and allow the mixture to marinate overnight, or for at least 8 hours.
Preheat an oven to 300F. Remove the beef from the marinade and drain it on a clean kitchen towel. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a bowl and reserve the marinade liquid.
In a large Dutch oven set over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Fry the bacon in the butter until it is crisp. Keeping the fat in the Dutch oven, transfer the cooked bacon to a plate. Add the drained beef to the bacon fat and cook over high heat, turning often, until the beef is browned. Transfer the beef to a plate. Add the marinade vegetables to the fat and sauté them over medium-high heat, stirring often, for about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and allow it to cook for about 30 seconds. Gradually add the all of the reserved marinade liquid, stirring constantly to form a smooth sauce.
Drain the fat and return the beef and bacon to the Dutch oven, and stir a few times to combine the ingredients. Cover with a lid and cook in the preheated oven for 3 hours, until the beef is very tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a clean bowl. Strain and skim the fat from the sauce and pour it back into the Dutch oven, along with the beef.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, sauté the pearl onions for about 10 minutes, until they turn tender. Continue cooking them until most of the cooking liquid evaporates. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper to the pan and sauté them, along with the onions for 5 minutes.
Knead together the reserved tablespoon of softened butter and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour to make a beurre manie. Stir the beurre manie into the simmering onion and mushroom mixture and cook it for 1 minute, until it thickens slightly. Add the thickened vegetable garnish to the Dutch oven and bring the stew to a simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve hot.
Wednesday: Pork chops and potatoes
- 4 pork chops
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 1/2 pounds peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 4 slices bacon
- 1/2 cup white wine, cider or beer
- 1/2 cup beef or chicken stock
Heat the oven to 325 degrees F.,,Cut slivers in the pork chops and slide in slices of garlic. Heat the pork fat or butter in a pan on high heat. Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper and brown them, about 3 minutes per side.
Arrange half the potatoes and onions in a casserole. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and lay the chops on top. Scatter over the bacon. Cover with the remaining potatoes and onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper again. Pour over the wine. Cut a piece of parchment to fit over the potatoes and pork chops and lay it in on top. Bake the dish for about 1 hour 30 minutes, pouring in the stock halfway through baking. Sprinkle with parsley to serve.
Thursday: Anything gratin
I like this with cauliflower, but you could easily substitute pasta.
- 1 large (3 pound) head of fresh cauliflower, cut into florets OR pasta
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups milk
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 1/3 cups grated Gruyere cheese
- 1/3 cup dry, seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat an oven to 375F. Butter a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish and set it aside. Steam the cauliflower in a large pot of boiling water fitted with a steamer basket for 5 to 7 minutes, until the florets are just tender. Rinse them in cold water, drain, and arrange them in a single layer in the buttered dish.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour until it forms a smooth paste. Continue whisking, cook for about 2 minutes, and then gradually – 1/3 cup at a time – add the milk. Continue whisking and cook until the sauce is completely heated through, smooth, and thickened. Remove from the heat and season with the salt, thyme, and nutmeg.
Pour 2 cups of the Béchamel sauce over the steamed cauliflower and gently toss the florets to make sure they are thoroughly coated with the sauce. Bake the gratin, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Stir together the grated Gruyere cheese and breadcrumbs and sprinkle them over the gratin. Bake it for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the gratin is hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted and browned. Sprinkle the surface of the baked gratin with the ground pepper and serve hot.
FRIDAY: pumpkin anything
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup water
- 3 cups white sugar
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans.
- In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
- Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
Pumpkin Spice Latte
- 1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree
- 2 c. whole milk
- 1/2 c. sweetened condensed milk
- 1/3 c. brown sugar
- 2 T. pure vanilla extract
- 1 T. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 tsp. ground dried ginger
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp. allspice
- strong coffee
- slightly sweetened whipped cream
To make the pumpkin spice mixture:
In a blender, combine all the pumpkin spice mixture ingredients. Puree for about 30 seconds.
Pour 1/2 cup (more or less, depending on your preference) of the pumpkin spice mixture into a large mug. Microwave for about 20 seconds, then add 1 cup of hot strong brewed coffee and stir. Top with a nice lofty pile of sweetened whipped cream. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.
Pour the remaining pumpkin spice mixture into a jar and top with a lid. Store in the refrigerator. When ready to make another drink, shake the jar well and repeat the assembly of the pumpkin spice latte. The pumpkin spice mixture will keep well for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
I am not sure what set me off, but I had a taste for creme brulee. When it’s quiet at night, I get the bug to cook and bake. However, as I was desperately waiting for my creme brulee to chill at 10pm I was trying to figure out how I would carmelize the sugar crust. I didn’t want to set the oven to broil for just one little brulee so I tried my lighter. It did NOT work. The next night I ran out to buy a torch. That worked! Now I am torching whatever I can! Cheese toppings! Creme brulee! Meringue!
- 2 cups Heavy Cream
- 1 whole Vanilla Bean OR 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- 5 whole Egg Yolks
- 1/2 cups Sugar
- 3-4 Tablespoons Superfine (Baker’s) Sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pour the cream into the saucepan. Add vanilla and simmer over medium-low heat.
Whip egg yolks with the sugar until pale yellow and thick. Strain cream using a fine mesh strainer.
Temper the eggs- Whip yolks while you very slowly drizzle in 1 cup of warm cream. Careful not to cook the eggs! Once the first cup is added, you can add the rest of the cream slowly.
Place ramekins onto a rimmed baking sheet. Pour custard mixture into ramekins. Pour water in bottom of baking sheet until it comes halfway up the ramekins. Bake for 30 minutes, or until just set. Do not allow to get brown.
Cool ramekins on countertop, then chill for at least 2-3 hours, covered in plastic wrap.
To serve, sprinkle 1 tablespoon over each ramekin of custard. Use a kitchen torch to quickly brown the sugar. There should be a thin, crisp surface of burned sugar on the top.