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Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

by Sarah Steimer

Crispy kale salad with sweet potatoes, apples and cider vinaigrette

This was a very hearty salad and easily filled me up. I love a little crusty bread with my salads, for grabbing any extras at the bottom of the bowl or plate, so these grilled cheese croutons acted as my built-in sponges this time around. It was pretty, pretty great.


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by Sarah Steimer

Why the candles? This was Bill’s choice for a birthday cake this year (back in October) — not a bad choice at all for a fall birthday. I always make single-layer cakes when I’m cooking for a small crowd, but this could clearly be doubled to make a more traditional double-layer cake.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Grease and flour a 9-inch or 8-inch round cake pan (I use butter to grease the pan).

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.

Beat the butter and sugar in a medium bowl with an electric beater until fluffy. Beat the eggs in one at a time. Stir in the vanilla. Alternately at the flour mixture and the buttermilk in three batches, starting and finishing with the flour.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and let finish cooling.

For the icing:

  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • about 1 cup powdered sugar

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and stir continuously for 2 minutes. Stir in the milk. Return to a boil, stirring constantly, and remove from heat. Let the mixture come down to room temperature.

Gradually stir in the powdered sugar until the frosting comes to your desired consistency.

Once the frosting has cooled completely, ice the cake and serve.

Serves 8-10.

Recipe adapted from: Dramatic Pancake

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by Sarah Steimer

This was the first time I ever made a pecan pie, and I had planned to head over to Martha Stewart’s website for the recipe. After talking with my mom, she mentioned my Uncle Steve makes great pecan pie (even though I don’t think she’s ever tried it). I asked him for the recipe and here we have it: The great Stephen Jameson pecan pie. And now I can officially vouch for how good it is.

For the crust:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water

Combine the flour, butter, sugar and salt in a medium bowl, mixing until coarse crumbles appear.

Whisk together the vinegar, egg and cold water in a small bowl. Add the liquids to the dry mix and combine with your hands. Form into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

For the filling

  • 1 1/4 cup Grade A maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans (plus a few halves for garnish, optional)

Whisk all filling ingredients together in a medium bowl.

I plan to freeze this pie (just wrap tightly with plastic wrap and aluminium foil) and take it home for Thanksgiving.

Roll the pie crust dough into about an 11-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate, allowing about 1/2-inch or so to overhang the edges of the dish — the crust WILL shrink a bit. Poke a few holes in the bottom of the crust and bake for about five minutes at 375 degrees. Remove the crust from the oven and carefully arrange the edges in your preferred design. I took a cue from Caitlin and made an easy criss-cross pattern with the back of a knife.

Carefully add the filling so as not to overflow the crust. Return to the oven (still on 375 degrees). Let bake for about 1 hour, checking it about halfway through. If the crust is beginning to brown too quickly, cover it with aluminium foil or a crust shield (cheap and totally worth it). The pie is ready when the center is still slightly jiggly and has puffed up.

Allow the pie to cool completely before serving. The center will mostly level out once cooled.

Recipe adapted from my Uncle Steve.

*This month we’re featuring classic pies that would be a great dessert at any Thanksgiving table. For the full list of pies, click here.

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by Sarah Steimer

This is a gorgeous, gorgeous meal that takes so little effort. What could be better? Totally a show-off meal for a date, your parents or any other person in your life you feel like impressing the socks off. Your pets do count, I suppose.

  • 2 salmon fillets, skin removed (optional if you don’t mind it)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 4 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
  • 2 medium-sized parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used skim)
  • 2 teaspoons horseradish
  • 8-12 Brussels sprouts (depending on their size), stems removed and cut in half
  • 1-2 teaspoons chili powder

    I’m still pretty much a newbie when it comes to fish. The biggest thing to remember about cooking fish is to be gentle — you’re not working with steak here.

Place the salmon fillets in a glass baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with the salt, pepper, thyme and garlic, being sure to cover

both sides of the fish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for a half hour to two hours.

Put the cubed parsnips and sweet potatoes in a small sauce pan. Add the butter, milk, 1 teaspoon of the horseradish and salt and pepper. Simmer on low until the cubes are soft enough to mash. You may need to add a few more tablespoons of milk if it all evaporates. Puree the parsnips and sweet potato in a blender or food processor. Mix in the last teaspoon of horseradish.

In the meantime, place the Brussels sprouts halves on a baking sheet or glass dish. Toss with the salt, pepper, chili powder and a few drizzles of olive oil.

In a 350 degree oven, bake both the Brussels sprouts and fish on the same rack (if

Prep ahead! Get your chopping done in advance so all you have to do is throw things in the oven or let them simmer on the stove.

you can, if not try to keep the racks close and place the Brussels higher). Bake for about 20 minutes, turning the pan once but not flipping the fish. The salmon will be ready when it is opaque and flakes easily.

Layer the puree, Brussels sprouts and fish on two plates. Garnish with additional thyme.

Makes two servings.

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by Sarah Steimer

This was my first attempt at risotto - the trick is to keep stirring constantly and insist to everyone that it's going to be really great.

  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, plus 6 small leaves
  • 1 pound (2 cups) squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes – I went with an acorn squash
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons risotto rice, such as arborio
  • 5 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup tangy blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola, broken into hazelnut-size pieces

Bring the stock to the boil in a pot and keep hot over a low heat. Heat the oil and half the butter in another pan. Add the onion and garlic, cooking over medium heat until soft, but not brown. Add the sage and squash, then sauté for 1 minute.

Add the rice and stir until all the grains are coated in oil and butter. Add a ladleful of hot stock and stir until all the stock has been absorbed before adding another. Continue like this until all the stock has been used, stirring constantly, until the rice is creamy and tender but still has a little bite.

Stir in the Parmesan, blue cheese and the rest of the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Finely shred the 6 sage leaves and stir most of them in. Spoon onto warm plates and serve scattered with the remaining sage.

Serves four.

Recipe adapted from: Delicious Magazine

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by Sarah Steimer

These cookies are basically a cross between gingerbread cookies and chocolate chip-walnut cookies. Perfect in every way.

  • 7 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks (unless you were smart enough to get chips or morsels); set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and cocoa.

Beat butter and grated ginger until combined. Add brown sugar and molasses, again beat until combined.

In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Add in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate.

Place dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1-inch thick; seal with wrap and refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more (I prefer overnight).

Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls. Dip the top half into the chopped walnuts, pressing to make sure they stake in the dough. Place on a cooking sheet with either Silpat or parchment paper, leaving 2 inches between each cookie. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes until the dough firms back up (it is very sticky).

Bake at 325 for about 10 to 12 minutes. The cookies will seem rather soft when you take them out, but they firm up as they cool. DO NOT overbake or else you will be eating hockey pucks for a few days.

Makes 24 cookies.

Recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart

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by Sarah Steimer

I definitely talked this pie up to my family, so let's all hope I don't ruin it for Thanksgiving. Trying to maintain the "best daughter" image I've created.

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin puree,* or canned
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 egg for glaze
  • 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
  • pate brisee pie dough (recipe here)
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream (can use the rest of the carton for whipped topping – just add a little cinnamon!)

*For the pumpkin puree

Use a pie pumpkin – such as a sugar pumpkin or long pie pumpkin – that is about 1 1/2 pounds. Do not use just any pumpkin, as some are stringier than others.

Using a sharp knife, pierce the skin of the pumpkin, going all the way through. Place in a glass baking dish and fill with about 1 inch of water.

Bake at 400 degrees for about an hour, or until a butter knife can be easily inserted into the pumpkin.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Slice in half and remove the seeds. Scoop out the flesh and puree in a blender or food processor. Make sure there are no stringy bits and the puree is the same consistency throughout. Keep refrigerated.

Using my excess dough, I cut out leaf shapes with a cookie cutter. I brushed the leaves with the same egg wash used on the crust, sprinkled them with a little cinnamon and baked them on a cookie sheet for about 10 or so minutes.

For the pie

In a large bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin puree and 3 eggs. Beat well. Add evaporated milk and combine.

Once your pate brisee has set in the refrigerator for a couple of hours (hope you followed directions), roll it out into a 12-inch circle or so. The crust should be about 1/8 of an inch thick. Place the crust in a 9-inch glass pie dish and cut off the excess edges, leaving about 1/2-inch overhang. Pinch edges to form a decorative edge, if you so please.

Beat the remaining egg together with the tablespoon of cream and brush the crust, being sure to get into all the nooks. Fill with the pie mixture.

Place the pie on a baking sheet in the oven (not sure why, but I was afraid to find out). Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 30 minutes more. When I switched the heat, I took the pie out to let the oven lower its temperature and put foil over the crust edges – because you can never be too safe.

When the pie is done, the very center should still be a bit wiggly. Let cool on a wire rack for at least an hour.

Serve with whipped cream.

Recipe: Martha Stewart

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by Sarah Steimer

This is a fantastic recipe - but it does require a couple hours to prep and cook. It pays off, though, when all you have to do is reheat your dinner for a few nights.

  • 3 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, coarsely chopped (2 cups)
  • nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter OR olive oil
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • nine lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 4 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese (1 1/4 cups)

Toss squash, oil and 1 teaspoon salt on a baking sheet. Season with pepper. Bake at 425 degrees until light gold and tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Combine ricotta, cream, yolks, mozzarella and a pinch of nutmeg in a medium bowl. Season with salt.

When I'm cooking for just Bill and I, it's better to use a smaller pan. I go with an 8-by-8-inch pan and make a little more than half the recipe.

Melt butter (or heat olive oil) in a small saute pan over medium-high heat. As soon as it starts to sizzle, add sage and cook until light gold and slightly crisp at edges, 3 to 4 minutes.

Place squash in a medium bowl, and mash 1/2 of it with the back of a wooden spoon, leaving the other 1/2 in whole pieces.  Gently stir in sage-butter mixture and stock.

In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, layer ricotta mixture, noodles, squash, noodles. Repeat – in that order – two more times, ending with the noodles. Top with the Parmesan. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is browned and a little bubbly.

Serves eight.

Recipe: Martha Stewart

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by Sarah Steimer

The flavors are very good, but very intense. This is definitely better as a side dish than a main dish.

  • 3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into   1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • pepper, to taste

Melt butter in a wide-brimmed sauce pan.  Add chopped rosemary and cook on medium-high until butter has slightly browned.

Add chopped butternut squash and toss until thoroughly coated with rosemary butter.  Add apple cider. If the squash is not submerged, add water. Season with salt. Bring to a boil then lower heat to simmer for about 20 minutes or until tender.

I may use a little less cider and a little more water next time. I can get down with cider - but I'm more of a salty/savory gal when it comes to dinner.

When nearly finished cooking, add apple cider vinegar.  If there is too much liquid left in the pan, turn up the heat and cook off remaining liquid quickly until left with an amber glaze.  Add more salt and pepper, to taste.

Serves about four to six as a side dish.

Recipe: Local Flavors

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by Sarah Steimer

I could eat this every week in the fall. These are literally my favorite flavors in the universe.

  • 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
  • about 10 Brussels sprouts, rinsed and quartered
  • handful of pecans
  • handful of dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons blue cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Wash the sweet potatoes and pierce the skin all over with a fork. Bake the potatoes at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a knife can be easily inserted into the potatoes.

When the potatoes have about 15 minutes left in the oven, toss the Brussels sprouts in olive oil, salt and pepper and place in a metal or glass pan. Roast for about 15 minutes or until the leaves begin to brown and crisp.

Once the potatoes have cooled to where you can touch them, slice lengthwise and apply pressure to open. Top with the roasted Brussels sprouts, cranberries, pecans and cheese.

Makes two servings.

Recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart Living

Photo: Sarah Steimer

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