Thankful

Lots to be thankful for this year… including these delicious Thanksgiving recipes! Here’s what I made this year.

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Cape Cod Chopped Salad (Barefoot Contessa)

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Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Salt Pork (Bon Appétit)

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Cornbread, Sausage, and Pecan Dressing (Bon Appétit)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter plus more for baking dish
  • 1 pound day-old cornbread, broken into 1 1/2-inch–2-inch pieces (9 cups)
  • 1 pound breakfast sausage links, casings removed
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 1/2 cups 1/4-inch slices celery
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped toasted pecans (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs

Preparation

  • Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 250°. Butter a 13x9x2-inch baking dish; set aside. Scatter cornbread in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake, stirring often and rotating sheets halfway through, until dried out, about 1 hour. Let cool. Transfer to a very large mixing bowl.
  • Meanwhile, cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up into 1/2-inch–1-inch pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to bowl with cornbread but do not stir.
  • Heat 3/4 cup butter in same skillet; add onions and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add to cornbread in bowl.
  • Return skillet to heat. Add vinegar; cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan, for 1 minute. Pour into bowl with cornbread. Gently fold in 1 1/2 cups broth, pecans, if using, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Add salt and pepper. Let cool.
  • Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk 1 1/2 cups broth and eggs in a small bowl. Fold gently into cornbread until thoroughly combined, taking care not to mash cornbread (mixture will look wet). Transfer to prepared dish, cover with foil, and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of dressing registers 160°, about 40 minutes. DO AHEAD Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Uncover; let cool. Cover and chill.
  • Bake dressing, uncovered, until set and top is browned and crisp, 40-45 minutes longer (if chilled, add 10-15 minutes).

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Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp (Barefoot Contessa Parties!)

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds McIntosh or Macoun apples
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 14 by 2-inch oval baking dish.

Peel, core, and cut the apples into large wedges. Combine the apples with the zests, juices, sugar, and spices. Pour into the dish.

To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Scatter evenly over the apples.

Place the crisp on a sheet pan and bake for 1 hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm.

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And, of course, the Attractive Nuisance’s family recipe: Chocolate Pecan Pie

The Week Ahead

We are trying to be good. Translation? We made a TON of quinoa, farro, and lentils for the week. And we were covered for much of Sunday through Saturday. It works! Basic recipes below, but ones I at least will want access to again. (Although maybe we’ll take a week or so off.)

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One of the many iterations.

Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or salted water)

Directions

  • Store quinoa in freezer.
  • Rinse/soak for 10 minutes.
  • Sautee onion and garlic in olive oil.
  • Toast quinoa for 1 minute.
  • Bring to a boil, stir once.
  • Cover with lid, lower heat and bring to a simmer.
  • Cook for 15 minutes, covered.
  • Fluff with a fork.

Lentils

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried green, brown, or French lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf, 1 garlic clove, or other seasonings (optional)
  • 1/4 – 3/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Any amount of lentils can be cooked in this manner. Just maintain the 2:1 ratio of water to lentils described below.

1. Wash Lentils: Measure the lentils into a strainer or colander. Pick over and remove any shriveled lentils, debris, or rocks. Thoroughly rinse under running water.

2. Combine Lentils and Water: Transfer the rinsed lentils to a saucepan and pour in the water. Add any seasonings being used, reserving the salt.

4. Cook the Lentils: Bring the water to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. You should only see a few small bubble and some slight movement in the lentils. Cook, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes. Add water as needed to make sure the lentils are just barely covered.

5. Salt the Lentils: Lentils are cooked as soon as they are tender and no longer crunchy. Older lentils may take longer to cook and shed their outer skins as they cook. Strain the lentils and remove any seasonings. Return the lentils to the pan and stir in 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Taste and add additional salt as needed.

6. Seasoning and Using Cooked Lentils: Cooked lentils will keep refrigerated for about a week. Season them with olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, fresh herbs, and eat them on their own. Lentils can also be added to soups, salads, or other recipes.

Farro

Used on this day to make: Farro Salad with Tomatoes and Herbs (Giada De Laurentiis)

  • 4 cups water
  • 10 ounces farro (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste

Combine the water and farro in a medium saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the farro is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain well, and then transfer to a large bowl to cool.

Fagioli

Another one of our faves from our Italian eating vacation. (Not the prettiest picture, but super tasty.) You might find that you need to add more chicken stock — we did.

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Tuscan White Beans (from Barefoot Contessa, How Easy Is That?)

  • 1 pound dried white cannellini beans
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cups chopped fennel, stalks, fronds and core removed (2 large)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 cup chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

The night before, soak dried beans in a large bowl with water to cover by at least 2 inches. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, drain the beans, rinse them well, and place them in a large stockpot. Add twice as much water as you have beans, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes, until beans are very tender. Skim off any foam that accumulates.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the fennel and carrots and saute for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Drain the beans and add them to the vegetables. Add the chicken stock, sage, rosemary, salt, and pepper and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 12 to 15 minutes, until creamy. Stir in the Pecorino, season to taste, and serve hot.

Pappa

One of our favorite soups from our trip to Italy.

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Pappa al Pomodoro (Barefoot Contessa)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
  • 1 cup medium-diced carrots, unpeeled (3 carrots)
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and medium-diced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 3 cups (1-inch) diced ciabatta cubes, crusts removed
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans good Italian plum tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

For the topping:

  • 3 cups (1-inch) diced ciabatta cubes
  • 2 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, chopped
  • 24 to 30 whole fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus more for serving
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, fennel, and garlic and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until tender. Add the ciabatta cubes and cook for 5 more minutes. Place the tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process just until coarsely chopped. Add the tomatoes to the pot along with the chicken stock, red wine, basil, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and allow to simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the topping, place the ciabatta cubes, pancetta, and basil on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss well. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes, until all the ingredients are crisp. The basil leaves will turn dark and crisp, which is perfectly fine. Reheat the soup, if necessary, beat with a wire whisk until the bread is broken up. Stir in the Parmesan and taste for seasoning. Serve hot sprinkled with the topping and drizzled with additional olive oil.

 

It’s Just Over

There’s been a bit of cheating recently. It’s over. It’s just over.

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Sautéed Baby Zucchini with Squash Blossoms and Lemon Basil

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 pound baby zucchini, halved lengthwise, each half cut lengthwise into 3 wedges
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh lemon basil or regular basil
  • Fleur de sel (fine French sea salt)
  • 18 zucchini squash blossoms
  • Market tip: Buy a small pot of lemon basil at a nursery if it’s not available at farmers’ markets.

Preparation

  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini; sauté until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in basil. Season with fleur de sel. Transfer to plate. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in skillet. Add squash blossoms and cook until barely wilted and still bright orange, about 2 seconds per side. Arrange atop zucchini and serve.

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Flat Beans With Pecorino

Ingredients
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh Romano or flat beans, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt or fleur de sel
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 to 5 ounces shaved aged Pecorino Romano cheese

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt and the flat beans, and cook for 3 minutes, or until the beans are just tender. Drain immediately and place the beans on a platter. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the sea salt and pepper. Toss with the Pecorino and serve hot or warm.

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Corn on the Cob With Cayenne and Lime

Ingredients

  • 6 ears corn, husked and cleaned of silk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • Juice of 2 limes (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the corn and cook just 4 minutes, no longer.

Meanwhile, melt the butter with the cayenne. Add the lime juice and salt. Drain the corn, brush generously with the flavored butter and serve immediately.

America’s Birthday

The sister: It’s America’s Birthday.

The niece: Where is she?

Over on the left coast, we celebrated with a parade with friends, lobster tails, peach cobbler, and a rooftop view of dozens of fireworks shows. Happy Birthday, America!

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Lobster Tails with Clarified Butter (Giada De Laurentiis)

Ingredients

  • 4 (each 1/2 to 3/4-pound) lobster tails, thawed if frozen
  • 1/4 cup Clarified Lemon Butter, plus 1 cup, recipe follows
  • Special Equipment: 4 metal skewers or 4 wooden skewers soaked in water for 30 minutes

Directions

Light the coals in a fire pit 1 hour before cooking or preheat a gas or charcoal grill.

Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut through the top shell lengthwise. Cut a slit through the meat lengthwise taking care not to cut through the bottom shell. Gently pull the shells apart. Thread a skewer, starting at the underside base of the tail, along the inside of the bottom shell. Brush the meat with 1/4 cup of the clarified butter. Wrap the lobster tails in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the lobster meat is opaque.

Place the remaining clarified butter in a butter warmer or dipping bowl. Remove the meat from the lobster shells and dip in the Clarified Butter.

Clarified Lemon Butter:

  • 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 lemons, zested

In a small, heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat. Pour the mixture into a 2-cup glass measuring jug. Let the melted butter stand for 5 minutes. Using a spoon, remove the foam from the top of the butter. Place the lemon zest in small bowl. Pour the clarified butter over the lemon zest and discard the milk solids left in the bottom of the jug.

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Peach Cobbler (Epicurious)

Ingredients

  • 6 large peaches, cut into thin wedges
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

For biscuit topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup boiling water

Preparation

Cook peaches:
Preheat oven to 425°F.

Toss peaches with sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch in a 2-qt. nonreactive baking dish and bake in middle of oven 10 minutes.

Make topping while peaches bake:
Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.

Remove peaches from oven and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Bake in middle of oven until topping is golden, about 25 minutes. (Topping will spread as it bakes.)

Asparagus to the rescue

Seems like the answer to an easy weeknight dinner is asparagus. As long as you don’t mind the dreaded asparagus pee that results, this is another quick and tasty dinner. Or brunch — thanks Mops!

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Frittata with Asparagus, Tomato, and Fontina (Giada De Laurentiis)

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 12 ounces asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tomato, seeded, diced
  • Salt
  • 3 ounces Fontina, diced

Directions

Preheat the broiler. Whisk the eggs, cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend. Set aside. Heat the oil and butter in a 9 1/2-inch-diameter nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the asparagus and saute until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the tomato and a pinch of salt and saute 2 minutes longer. Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus mixture and cook for a few minutes until the eggs start to set. Sprinkle with cheese. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the frittata is almost set but the top is still runny, about 2 minutes. Place the skillet under the broiler. Broil until the top is set and golden brown on top, about 5 minutes. Let the frittata stand 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, loosen the frittata from skillet and slide the frittata onto a plate.