Monday, November 30, 2009

Post-Thanksgiving Round of Recipes

Better late than never! I decided to test a new round of recipes this Thanksgiving, and I can happily say that they were mighty tasty and didn't last long on the holiday table. Here's a smattering of the dishes I contributed to the meal -- in addition to my mother's infamous stuffing and roast turkey *(which by the way, she did something different this year and roasted the turkey at a super high temp - 450 degrees. the birdie took half the time, about 2.5 hours and was perfectly golden crisp and moist).

Simple Pear and Pecorino Salad
We had so much food this year at the table, but my cousin still insisted I prepare her favorite holiday salad. So, of course, I obliged. Can never go wrong with a few extra greens. I decided to keep things simple though and pared down my standard Thanksgiving salad. Quick and easy, this is a great way to get some fall flavor into a starter salad.

Serves 8

1 1/2 bags mixed greens or baby spinach
2 bosc pears, stemmed and cut into thin slices
Pecorino romano shavings *use a vegetable peeler
for nice thick shavings -- about 3/4 cup worth or enough to sprinkle throughout the salad
1/2 tsp minced shallot
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp Champagne vinegar
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Whisk dressing ingredients all, pouring olive oil in a slow drizzle until well blended.
2. Arrange salad and drizzle dressing over as needed.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic-Glazed Pecans

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed (cut the sprouts in half if they’re medium to large or leave whole if they’re small)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

salt to taste

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

¼ cup chopped toasted pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

2. Place the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl. Toss with the olive oil and season with salt.

3. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until the leaves are browned. Shake the pan to keep the sprouts from sticking about halfway through.

4. In a small saucepan, simmer the balsamic vinegar with the honey for about 5 minutes to reduce a little. Pour the reduction over the pecans and stir to coat. Toss the glazed pecans with the sprouts.

Pear Tart with Spiced Caramel Sauce
Ask any of my family members, and they'd likely say that this was the best creation of the holiday. Pretty on the table, it's a light dessert that will go super fast (I almost didn't get a slice myself!). I crafted the recipe from two different recipes off of (I know, it was a pear-heavy holiday for some reason). Acclaimed pastry chef (and James Beard award winner), Karen DeMasco's sable` tart crust might just be the perfect crust with the inclusion of almond flour. I'll definitely be making this one again.

Tart crust:
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • In a bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, and salt.

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and confectioners' sugar. Mix on medium-low speed until well combined, about 4 minutes. You can also use a food processor to mix the dough, pulsing on and off for about 2 minutes.

    Mix in the egg and then the yolk, allowing each to be incorporated before adding the next. In two additions, add the flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

    Turn out the dough onto a clean lightly floured work surface. Divide it in half, shape into flattened disks, and wrap each one in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight. (The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before using.)

    Poached pear topping:

    3 ripe red D'Anjou pears, peeled and left whole

    3 cups water

    1 cup white wine

    Place pears in a large pot with water and wine and simmer at a medium-low heat. Poach for about 20 to 25 minutes until soft.

    Allow pears to cool, stem and slice thinly

    Spiced caramel sauce:

    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
    • 1 whole clove
    • 5 cardamom pods
    • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
    • 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
    • 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks

    Put granulated sugar in a 2-quart heavy saucepan and crumble brown sugar over. Melt sugars, undisturbed, over moderate heat until granulated sugar is mostly melted. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until a deep golden caramel. Carefully pour in cream (**note that the mixture will bubble up and caramel will harden slightly**) and stir in clove, cardamom pods, fennel, peppercorns, and cinnamon sticks. Simmer, stirring, until caramel is dissolved and sauce is reduced to about 1‚ cups, about 10 minutes. Pour sauce through a sieve into a 2-cup measure and cool to just warm.


    Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Roll out one disc of dough onto a 12" tart pan with removable bottom. Fork a few holes in the crust and spoon a thin layer of the caramel sauce onto the dough. Arrange the pear slices, fanning them in a circle as in the photo. Drizzle additional caramel over top of the pears. Bake the tart for about 35 to 45 minutes until golden brown. Garnish with a few fresh cranberries or crushed almonds.

1 comment:

VeggieGirl said...

Such delectable recipes!! I'm especial partial to the brussels sprouts one - yum :)