What To Do With Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

by Katherine Danesi

Let’s face it.  We all hope that whoever was in charge of our Thanksgiving feast had the foresight to prepare more than enough so that there are leftovers to see you through Friday, at least.  It’s either that or we’re ordering pizza.  Nobody wants to cook (again).  We’re too busy shopping or watching football or playing Scrabble.

Everyone in their right mind knows this.  As a result, there are leftover tips flowing forth from a variety of sources.  Here’s a roundup courtesy of Twitter.

Eat up.  Then go for a walk.

Bert Greene’s Potato Scallion Cakes (Fritterra)

Nicole Gulotta’s Pumpkin Hummus

Eat This Poem_Nicole Gulotta's Pumpkin Hummus

Image Source: Eat This Poem

Marla Meredith’s Thanksgiving Leftovers Nachos

Wylie Dufresne’s Turkey Hash

Mark Bittiman_Wylie Dufresne's Turkey Hash

Image Source: MarkBittman.com

Daily Candy’s Give Thanks for Leftover Recipes

Daily Candy_Give Thanks for Leftover Recipes_Sweet Potato Ravioli

Image Source: DailyCandy.com


On TODAY – Giada Puts a New Twist on Traditional Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Giada De Laurentiis Thanksgiving Sides on the Today  Show

Chef, author & television personality Giada De Laurentiis made a pre-Thanksgiving appearance on this morning’s Today Show.  Her contribution to the Thanksgiving meal was a novel take on a few classic side dishes: Bacon bourbon Brussels sprout skewers; Sweet potato salad with maple syrup dressing; and Cranberry soup with curried breadcrumbs.

I always love her seemingly casual recipes that result in deceptively delicious dishes.  Not to mention the bonus of being reminded how to properly pronounce “mascarpone” (and other Italian ingredients).

It might be time to change things up.  Give at least one of them a try.  Put a little Italian into the classic American Thanksgiving meal.

The recipes for the Brussels sprouts and Sweet potato salad are included below.

Buon appetito!

Giada De Laurentiis_Bacon bourbon Brussels sprout skewers

Image Source: Today.com

Recipe: Bacon bourbon Brussels sprout skewers

Courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound slab bacon, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 1 pound small Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved if needed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 15 to 20 (8-inch) bamboo skewers
Preparation

Heat a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the butter and allow it to cook until the butter begins to brown and starts to smells nutty, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the brown sugar and cayenne and cook another 2 minutes stirring regularly. Remove the pan from the heat and add the bourbon. Be careful as it will splatter. Place the pan back on the heat and ignite if desired. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until a smooth caramel has formed, another 3 minutes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Spread the bacon on a small baking sheet and bake in the oven for 8 minutes, just to begin to render the fat. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the sprouts and simmer for

3 to 4 minutes or until just barely tender and still bright green. Spread on a sheet tray to cool slightly. Toss with the olive oil and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt.

Preheat the grill pan over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Begin to assemble the skewers starting with a Brussels Sprout, then a piece of bacon, another sprout, another piece of bacon and finishing with a sprout. Continue until all of the skewers are assembled.  Brush the glaze lightly over the skewers. Place them on the prepared grill pan and grill, brushing them with glaze with every turn, until the bacon is beginning to crisp and the Brussels sprouts are starting to char, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove and serve warm drizzled with any remaining glaze.

Tips

Cooks Note: It may sound crazy, but the glaze for these Brussels sprouts also works well over chocolate ice cream with toasted pecans.

Serving Size: Makes 15 to 20 skewers

Recipe: Sweet potato salad with maple syrup dressing

Courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 2 1/2 pounds (about 3 large) sweet potatoes or red garnet yams, peeled and diced into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • For dressing:
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted (see Cook
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Preparation

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a heavy baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray.

Toss together the sweet potatoes, olive oil and salt on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes until golden and tender.

For the dressing:

In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mascarpone cheese, maple syrup, mustard, salt, and pepper until smooth.

Pour the dressing over the potatoes. Add the apple, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and parsley. Toss until all the ingredients are coated. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Cook’s Note:

To toast the pumpkin seeds, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 6 to 8 minutes until lightly toasted. Cool completely before using.

Serving Size:  Makes 4 to 6 servings

A Sandra Lee Specialty – Cream Cheese and Cranberry Bars

Sandra Lee_White Chocolate Cranberry Cream Cheese Bars with Cheesecake Icing Drizzle Recipe

Image Source: Sandra Lee Recipes

The lead-up to Thanksgiving continues, with each live television show inviting a variety of cooks to show us their best for this holiday meal.

On this morning’s Today Show, it was chef and author Sandra Lee.  I missed the first bit of the segment, when she prepared Baked Turkey Tetrazzini (which was okay, as it would not likely make it onto my “must-make” list of recipes), but I did manage to catch her putting the final touches on her Cream Cheese and Cranberry Bars.

While Ms. Lee was drizzling icing over the top, Matt Lauer took a bite (or two), during which he proceeded to ooh and aah.  And he continued to do so at the start of the next segment, saying that the bars should not be legal.  Okay, I’ll bite.  Plus, it appears that they probably could not be easier to make.  Perhaps you create a Thanksgiving dessert menu.  Give that pumpkin pie some company.

Good eating!

Recipe: Cream cheese and cranberry bars

Courtesy of Sandra Lee

Ingredients

Bars

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 1/2 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 4 packages (8 ounces each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 package (12-ounce) white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries

Icing

  • 4 ounces Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl combine crushed graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into the bottom of prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

3. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. In a very large bowl combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy using an electric mixer on medium. Beat in eggs, one at a time, just until blended. Pour half of the white chocolate chips and half of the dried cranberries into batter. Combine. Pour over prepared crust.

4. Sprinkle remaining white chocolate chips and remaining dried cranberries over batter. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until edges are set but center still jiggles slightly. Cool completely in pan on cooling rack, about 1 hour.

5. For cheesecake icing, beat cream cheese until creamy. Beat in powdered sugar. Stir in vanilla. Add 3 tablespoons milk and stir to thoroughly combine. Add milk as needed to get desired consistency. Drizzle over cooled bars. Refrigerate baking cookies & cakes at least 2 hours before serving.

6. Cut into 12 square bars (approximately 3×3 inches).

Serving Size: Makes 12 bars

Five-Ingredient Fall Salads Food – Courtesy of Self.com

by Katherine Danesi

Self.com_Food and Diet_Beets and Herbs Salad

Image Source: Self.com

I don’t know about you, but I am always on the hunt for a fantastic salad recipe, one that works with the season when it comes to ingredients, taste and consistency.

Today, I discovered the utterly appetizing recipe for a Fig and Arugula Wheatberry Salad via a tweet from @SELFmagazine and bit, only to discover another nine fabulous, hearty fall salad recipes in a slide show: Kale Salad with Apples and Hazelnuts; Caramelized Root Veggies and Grain Mustard Vinaigrette (topped with a fried egg); Corn, Chard and Bacon Salad; and more.

Eat well!

Self.com_Food and Diet_Corn, Chard and Bacon Salad

Image Source: Self.com

Self.com_Food and Diet_Caramelized Root Veggies and Grain Mustard Vinaigrette (topped with a fried egg)

Image Source: Self.com

 


A Pumpkin Pie Alternative – Thanksgiving Cake from OddFellows Ice Cream Co.

By Katherine Danesi

OddFellows Ice Cream Co_Thanksgiving Cake

Image Source: DailyCandy

Yesterday, I wrote about a turkey-less, un-Thanksgiving dinner menu created by Chef Todd English.  In his version of the un-holiday menu, dessert was Spiced Pumpkin Custard.  I thought it sounded great.

Although I did not include it on my list of Thanksgiving dishes I could do without, Pumpkin Pie is one of them.  It’s not the “pumpkin” I have an issue with; it’s more the consistency and so-so-ness of the pie itself.  Custard, on the other hand, sounded perfect.

And then I received my DailyCandy email today and discovered a whole other world of pumpkin goodness in the form of dessert. Called simply Thanksgiving Cake, it comes into this world courtesy of Williamsburg, Brooklyn-based OddFellows Ice Cream Co.  It is 8 inches of deliciousness: “spiced pumpkin ice cream layered with brown butter cake, pumpkin cheesecake, and graham crackers, finished with a coat of chocolate, and garnished with seasoned pumpkin seeds .”  Uh – yum.

Alas, one needs to live in the New York area to indulge.  Orders for the cake must be placed by phone (347-599-0556) and picked up at the store (175 Kent Ave., b/t N. 3rd & N. 4th Sts., Williamsburg) between November 25 and 27.

It may be back to Todd English’s Spiced Pumpkin Custard, or perhaps it’s worth giving Warren Brown’s Pumpkin Cheesecake a try.

What are you cooking?  Let me know!


Todd English Cooks Up A Turkey-less Thanksgiving Feast

By Katherine Danesi

Today Show_Todd English Ham with ginger-maple glaze

Image Source: Today.com

I know this is sacrilege, but I am not a fan of the classic Thanksgiving dinner.  Never have been. Turkey – meh.  Stuffing – really, what purpose?  Cranberry sauce – um, no.  Mashed potatoes – only if prepared to perfection.  Brussels sprouts – yes, bring them on (but I say that everyday).

So, when chef and restauranteur Todd English arrived on this morning’s Today Show with a turkey-less, un-Thanksgiving dinner menu, he had my attention.  His menu?  Holiday ham with gingered-maple pineapple and jalapeño glaze; Roasted carrots in carrot juice with feta; Warm spinach salad with bacon, tofu and sherry vinaigrette; and Spiced pumpkin custard.  You even get to start with a pre-cooked, bone-in, spiral-cut ham.

No need to dig around and remove those nasty giblets, no endless mashing, no trying to pass off the canned cranberry sauce as homemade.  Try it, you might like it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Recipe: Holiday ham with gingered-maple pineapple and jalapeño glaze

Todd English

Ingredients
  • 12 to 15 lb. bone-in ham (spiral cut)
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 3 cups fresh pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 shallots, small dice
  • 1/2 pineapple, small diced (to be roasted for glaze)
  • 1/2 pineapple, thinly sliced in rounds, core removed (10 to 12 thin rounds)
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1 bunch green onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
Preparation

Position a rack in the lower third of oven and preheat to 325 degrees.

Place the ham in a 10-by-14-inch roasting pan and add 1 cup water. Roast the ham uncovered for 2 hours.

Place diced pineapple in a small baking dish and roast in oven about 20 minutes. Remove and reserve for glaze.

While the ham is roasting, prepare the glaze:

In a medium saucepan over moderately low heat, combine maple syrup, pineapple juice, brown sugar and butter. Bring to a simmer and continue simmering for 10 minutes. Add shallots, minced ginger, jalapeno, and green onion. Continue simmering until mixture has slightly reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the round pineapple slices and chopped roasted pineapple and cook until the pineapple slices are tender, about 2 minutes.

Once the ham has been in the oven for two hours, drape the glazed pineapple rounds over the ham, covering completely, then brush the ham with about ½ of the glaze, reserving the remainder for serving. Continue roasting the ham until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 145 degrees (about 30 to 40 more minutes).

To serve, drizzle remaining glaze over ham and enjoy!

Recipe: Roasted carrots in carrot juice with feta

Todd English

Ingredients
  • 1 cup carrot juice
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 5 cups carrots, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • Garnish: 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese.
Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan; reduce heat to medium, and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes or until reduced to 2/3 cup. Remove from heat.

2. Meanwhile, toss together carrots and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Spread carrot mixture on a large baking sheet. Bake at 500 degrees for 20 minutes or until carrots are tender and beginning to brown, stirring twice. Place carrot mixture in a large bowl.

3. Remove cinnamon sticks from syrup. Bring syrup to a simmer over medium heat; add butter, stirring until melted. Pour over carrot mixture; toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasonings. Finish with crumbled feta cheese.

Serving Size

Makes 6 servings

Recipe: Warm spinach salad with bacon, tofu and sherry vinaigrette

Todd English

Ingredients
  • For vinaigrette:
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. shallots, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • For salad:
  • 1 1/2 bunch of spinach leaves
  • 8 oz. bacon, thinly sliced (can substitute turkey bacon)
  • 1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz. soft tofu, sliced in 1/2- inch chunks
Preparation

Prepare vinaigrette: 

Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and chill.

For salad:

Clean spinach, remove stems, and place in large mixing bowl. Rough chop the bacon and add to a sauté pan, cooking over medium-heat. Render the bacon and remove from heat. Pour off half the fat then add shallots and cook until translucent (about 2 minutes). Add sherry vinaigrette, simmer one more minute to heat and incorporate all ingredients. Pour contents of sauté pan over spinach salad and toss together. Top with raw tofu slices and serve immediately.

Serving Size

Makes 8 servings

Recipe: Spiced pumpkin custard

Todd English

Ingredients
  • 6 mini decorative pumpkins
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1/2 can pumpkin puree (about 8 oz.)
Preparation

1. Cut the lids off of your pumpkins. Keep the tops.

2. Scoop out the insides of the pumpkins, leaving about a ¼-inch wall around the sides.

3. Mix together 1/8 cup of sugar with 1/8 teaspoon of the allspice and cinnamon. Sprinkle inside the pumpkins. Roll the sugar around to coat, then pour off the excess.

4. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Wrap each pumpkin individually in foil, leaving off the tops, and bake for 40 minutes.

5. In a saucepot, warm the cream, salt, cinnamon stick, and vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer, remove from heat, then add the remaining cream to cool.

6. In a bowl, whisk together remaining cup of sugar and yolks.

7. Temper the cream mixture into the yolks; whisk until smooth, strain the mixture through a fine sieve.

8. Add the remaining spices into the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine.

9. Whisk the cream mixture into the pumpkin puree.

10. Unwrap pumpkins and lay them out onto a cookie sheet, fill the pumpkins with the custard slightly below the rim.

11. Return to oven and Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

12. Check for the sides to be set (the center should have a slight jiggle), then remove from oven and allow the residual heat to finish off the cooking.

13. Cool at room temp, and then refrigerate 3 hours to set.

14. To serve, top with whipped cream and crumbled amoretti cookies.

Serving Size

Makes 6 servings


Taking “No Bags” One Step Further – in.gredients in Austin

 Every day 1.4 billion pounds of waste is deposited into America’s landfills; 40 percent of that is packaging that is only used once. If you do the math, that adds up to 560 million pounds of pure, unadulterated garbage being deposited into the soil…

Read the rest of this entry »


Chef Jeff Henderson – Friendly Fried Chicken As Fodder For Change

Chef Jeff Anderson

Image Source: ChefJeffLive.com

Each week, CBS This Morning: Saturday hosts a food segment called “The Dish.”  It’s not the standard, rushed cooking segment.  The food has already been prepared by the featured chef and it set out on a table at which he or she sits with the program’s co-hosts.  The three of them proceed to have a conversation — about food, how the chef came to cooking, why this is their favorite meal. And, at the end, each chef signs a plate, the dish.  In recent months, the show has hosted Gail Simmons, Rocco DiSpirito, Elizabeth Falkner and Frank Stitt.

This past Saturday, it was Chef Jeff Henderson.  I was not familiar with him, his cooking, or his story.  I am now and you should be too.  If there was ever an example of one’s ability to change his life for the better, it would be Jeff Anderson.  He is the embodiment of  the power of  transformation. As he told the hosts on This Morning, he spent almost 10 years on federal prison for drug trafficking. In business, we often talk about transferrable skills.  With some guidance, Chef Jeff was able to see that he had business skills that could be put to good use in areas other than the drug trade.  And he used his time in the prison kitchen to develop his cooking skills.  Once out, he searched for that first kitchen job and eventually “worked himself to the top of his industry as the first African-American executive chef at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.”  I like this man.

On the show, Chef Jeff prepared an early holiday feast that centered around his Friendly fried chicken (named after Friendly Womack, who was great mentor to Chef Jeff while he was in prison).  I’ve included that recipe, along with those for Blue cheese mashed potatoes, Sauteed kale with applewood smoked bacon and Chocolate s’more bread pudding.  On the CBS site you’ll find recipes for the rest of  dishes on his holiday menu: Cake-like cornbread, Jalapeno creamed corn, Fried greens and apple salad and Strawberry vodka-lemonade.

Enjoy!

CBS Saturday Morning_The Dish_Chef Jeff Henderson's friendly fried chicken

Image Source: CBSNews.com

Friendly fried chicken

3/4 cup ground black pepper

1/3 cup kosher salt

3 tablespoons garlic powder

3 tablespoons onion powder

4 tablespoons cayenne pepper

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 pound chicken cut into pieces

1/4 cup of buttermilk

5 cups canola oil

1. To make the spice mix, whisk together the pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne. Divide it in half and add one-half to the flour. Mix well with and set aside.

2. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Season with the second half of the spice mix. Place chicken in a medium bowl. Coat with the buttermilk. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

3. When ready to fry, remove the chicken from refrigerator and coat well with the seasoned flour. Heat the oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet to about 375 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, test the heat by dipping one end of the chicken in the hot oil. If the oil starts boiling heavily, it’s too hot. The oil should have a medium boil when the chicken is put in the pan.

4. Place chicken in the oil and fry. Turn two or three times, until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the skillet to a large plate lined with paper towels.

Blue cheese mashed potatoes

5 or 6 medium potatoes, peeled, washed and cut into quarters

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

3 tablespoons of blue cheese

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Place the potatoes in a medium to large pot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Reduce the heat to a medium simmer. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 to 25 minutes

2. Drain the potatoes and place them in a large bowl.

3. Meanwhile, heat the buttermilk in a small saucepan.

4. Mash potatoes with a potato masher. Slowly add hot milk, butter and work in blue cheese.

5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sauteed kale with apple-wood smoked bacon

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup of red onions

4 slices of apple wood bacon, diced

2 tablespoons of fresh garlic, minced

1 1/2 pounds of kale, washed, stems removed and blanched

Kosher salt and black pepper

1. Heat olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Add onions and bacon to pan. Cook until caramelized.

3. Add garlic to pan and saute until soft.

4. Add kale and season with salt and pepper.

5. Cook for about 5 minutes or until kale is tender.

Chocolate s’more bread pudding

3 large eggs

4 cups milk

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon molasses

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 cup small marshmallows

1/2 cup small bittersweet chocolate chips

10 slices of pecan-raisin bread

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and molasses. Stir in pecans, marshmallows and chocolate chips.

3. Cut the bread into small cubes and place into a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Pour egg mixture over bread cubes and push down until bread has soaked up the mixture.

4. Bake until the center is set, about 30 minutes. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream.


Chef John Besh – An Early Holiday Cooking Lesson

Today Show_Kevin Kline_Robert DeNiro_Matt Lauer_Cook with Chef John Nash

Image Source: Today Show, Peter Kramer / NBC

It was raining this morning, not cold, but still, it was the kind of weather that made one think (well, me at least) of cooking tasty, hearty food.  As luck would have it, the Today Show served up exactly that courtesy of New Orleans-based Chef John Besh.

It was a long cooking segment, likely due in no small part to his team of sous chefs, expanded to include the hour’s four additional co-hosts: Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline.  Kudos to him for managing to keep them all in line. Chef Besh has a new cookbook that’s just been released, “Cooking from the Heart.”

He recently returned to the places where he first learned to cook, Germany and Provence.  Taking inspiration and instruction from these locales, he’s created recipes that are perfect for the imminent holiday season.

On the show, he successfully wrangled the the team to whip through the preparation of  Pumpkin tian and Saddle of Beef Wrapped in Salt Pastry.  To my delight, the pastry was for cooking purposes only (it infuses the beef with flavor and helps steam it in the cooking process); it’s not meant to be eaten.  With the assistance of Morgan Freeman, he also attempted to prepare caramelized figs – an uncooperative burner hampered the effort during the segment.  This leaves me on the hunt for the recipe, which will likely lead me to purchase his the new cookbook, which is no doubt the point.  Yet, it all looked so satisfyingly delicious, I can’t help myself.

Bon Appetit!

Today Show_Chef John Nesh_Saddle of Beef Cooked in Salt Pastry_Caramelized Figs

Image Source: Today Show Video

Recipe: Saddle of Beef Wrapped in Salt Pastry

“Cooking From the Heart” by John Besh

Baking meat wrapped in a salt pastry is an old, time-tested technique. We’re really steaming the loin of beef and infusing it with the flavor of the herbs that grow wild in the hills all over Provence. Since we’re not eating the pastry, don’t worry about the amount of salt used in the crust. I love the ceremony of breaking into the crust in front of my guests, with the fragrant herby steam escaping. It’s quite a show.
Ingredients
  • 3 egg whites
  • Couple handfuls fresh herbs such as thyme, marjoram, sage, or savory
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 branches fresh rosemary
  • 2 pounds beef tenderloin
  • 1 pint black mission figs, halved
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
Preparation
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. For the dough, whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until frothy. Add the herbs, salt, and 1/2 cup cold water. Stir in the flour and knead until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. 2. Roll the dough out on a well-floured surface until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper and lay the rosemary branches over the dough. Fold the dough around the beef and pinch the seams together. Trim off the excess pastry. Place on a baking pan and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove to a cutting board. 3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the figs with the sugar. Put the figs, cut-side down, in the skillet and sear until caramelized, about 2 minutes. 4. To serve the beef, bring the cutting board to the table, cut through the pastry, and slice the beef, discarding the pastry and rosemary.
Serves 6
Today Show_Chef John Nesh_Saddle of Beef Wrapped in Salt Pastry

Image Source: Today Show Video

Recipe: Pumpkin tian

“Cooking From the Heart” by John Besh

I’m so pleased by the presentation of this tian, where the shell of the squash becomes the baking and serving vessel that you bring to the table. If you don’t want to bother with the shell, you can bake the scooped out pumpkin and custard in a shallow casserole.
Ingredients
  • 1 4-5-pound sweet pumpkin or Kabocha squash
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preparation
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cut the top off the pumpkin, about 3 inches below the stem, and reserve to serve with the squash. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds. (You can roast the pumpkin seeds for a nice snack: toss the cleaned seeds in olive oil and a pinch of salt, spread on a baking pan, and roast in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.) Use a spoon to scrape out as much of the pumpkin as you can, leaving the shell intact. Chop the flesh. 2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the garlic and pumpkin flesh and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pumpkin is tender, about 10 minutes. Add the thyme, cayenne, and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the saut.ed pumpkin back into the shell. 3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, and Parmesan and pour into the pumpkin shell. Place on a baking pan and bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is set, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve right from the pumpkin while it’s still hot.
Serves 6

Today Show_Pumpkin tian_Chef John Besh

Image Source: Today Show Video


Gnocchi (or Noqui) Day – Maybe South Americans Are On To Something

Cooking With Daisy_Noqui Diaries

Photo Credit: JD Urban

In Argentina and Uruguay, there is gnocchi day once-a-month, on the 29th to be exact (although one wonders what happens in those February’s that are not in a leap year).  While originating in Italy, it seems the South American countries have staked their own claim to the potato dumpling, where they are known as “noquis.”  I learned this fascinating piece of information a couple of years ago when I came across a piece penned by Katy McLaughlin in the Wall Street Journal Weekend edition.

If you’re not familiar with the dish, gnocchi (the “g” is silent, as in lasagna) are little potato dumplings served with sauce –  red, white, pesto –  and are often a substitute for pasta.  According to Wikipedia, the origin of “[t]he word gnocchi may derive from the Italian word nocchio, meaning a knot in wood, or from nocca (meaning knuckle),” which is exactly what they look like.

I grew up eating gnocchi.  My mother, while not Italian, perfected them – not too heavy, lest they sit in your stomach like a block of lead, and not to too light, lest they fall apart in the minute or two that they are cooking in the boiling water.  Ms. McLaughin attributes these culinary mishaps to the amount of flour added to the potato mixture (too much or too little, respectively).

Cooking WIth Daisy_Noqui With Beurre Noisette With Sage

Photo Credit: JD Urban

Fast forward two years, at which point I became familiar with Chef Daisy Martinez and her unique combination of Latin sensibility and serious culinary chops.  I fell in love with her web series, “Daisy,” in particular, Episode 3: The Noqui Diaries.  Which reminded me of the article I’d read.

Daisy is a noqui master who developed a passion for the potato dumpling in Argentina.  When Daisy visited the country, Noqui Day was once-a-week (Sunday), not once-a-month … all the better!  Her recipe and her techniques (potato cooking time, handling them while they’re still hot, using a ricer, the need for speed, how to “press and push”) are posted on her website, and the (highly instructive and entertaining) video is included below.

Who doesn’t want to pull out the potato peeler when your video cooking class begins in a kitchen full of wannabe cooks who, along with the chef, are dancing and singing The Doobie Brothers classic, “Black Water“?  Daisy leads the class, preparing her Argentinian noqui and three fabulous sauces – Bolognese, pesto and beurre noisette with sage.  Throughout the process, she explains each step and the reason for the specific instruction, so that her students understand why they’re doing something and can take this knowledge home with them.  Daisy makes it seem easy.  Daisy makes it seem fun.  These are two adjectives not typically associated with cooking gnocchi.

So, get ready.  Stock up on Russet potatoes, choose your sauce, ready your iPad and make your plan for Sunday – it’s Gnocchi Day.

Buon Appetito!


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