November 2010 Archives
When it finally grows cold enough for a blazing fire in the hearth, I crave roasted chestnuts. They are essential to my Thanksgiving feast, and this year they will star in the stuffing- a sourdough bread mixture that is studded with toasty, slightly sweet chestnuts, tart apples, and spicy sausage. I created this recipe for my Thanksgiving book, and it also appears in the new Williams-Sonoma Cooking at Home.
It is time to plan our Thanksgiving feast. I have been looking through cookbooks and my recipe files, choosing favorite preparations. The turkey was the first decision, and the choice was easy: The Cider-Glazed Turkey with Cider Gravy, found in Williams-Sonoma Cooking at Home. I developed this recipe for the Thanksgiving cookbook I wrote years ago, and it was reprinted in this big, new collection of recipes.
Williams-Sonoma Cooking at Home is a big, beautiful cookbook, filled with timeless recipes for classic dishes seasoned with modern flavors, food that is perfect for weeknight cooking and entertaining. The book is packed with helpful tips, hints, and charts too. Many of the recipes in the book were developed by excellent writers I worked with during my long tenure as food editor for Bon Appetit magazine, so I feel comfortable saying the recipes in the book are really good.
Fig and Anise Quick Bread.
I couldn’t resist the gorgeous chanterelle mushrooms at the farmers’ market last week. The cool, crisp days and the wild mushrooms signal it is time to return to heartier cooking. In fall, I love to sauté earthy chanterelles, and then add them to soups, heap them on toasted rustic bread or sautéed chicken breasts, or fold them into a risotto. But a favorite preparation is a topping for pizza.
Caramelized onions, chunks of ripe Brie cheese, and the lush mushrooms, baked atop a simple crust turn into an irresistibly fragrant pizza. It was a perfect Friday night, end of the week celebration dinner. For a very satisfying, but less luxurious version, shiitake mushrooms, crimini, or even button mushrooms can replace the chanterelles.
Comforting mashed potatoes are accented with tender fish, formed into rounds, and then sautéed until golden and crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside. I understand why fish cakes are a favorite way to use leftover cod in Nova Scotia. I was introduced to these marvelous treats on a trip to Halifax Canada earlier this fall, and ever since have been recreating them at home the evening after fish dinners.
I made them this week with salmon, but almost any fish would be good. To enhance the basic formula, I added a few spoonfuls of leftover basil and mint salsa verde and a few gratings of lemon peel. Dipped in panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), and then cooked in just a little olive oil until a crunchy crust forms, these are most agreeable.
Tender, fresh lima beans are available right now at the McGrath Family Farms stand at several farmers’ markets. Because the beans are already removed from their pods, it takes only a few minutes to get them ready to use, and I am having fun fooling around with them. I have braised them with peppers, zucchini, and green beans; tossed them with spaghetti and fresh pesto; created a fresh succotash; and fashioned a hearty soup with the limas, fingerling potatoes, winter squash, and greens.
I discovered that the fresh limas develop a rich, earthy flavor and silky texture when simmered with sautéed shallot or onion and a few herbs until tender, and then left to cool in the salted liquid for at least 20 minutes. The first time I prepared the fresh limas, the process felt a little awkward, because I am accustomed to simply boiling frozen limas in water for about 15 minutes. Now I cook the limas when I get them home from the market, and store them in the refrigerator to use over the next few days.