Butternut Squash Lasagna
Green Salad with Watermelon Radishes, Mutsu Apple, Fennel and Vinaigrette
Sweet Italian Sausages and Parmesan Meatballs
Classic Ted Bread
Notes under the cut
Browned butter and dark brown sugar combined equals something delightful. These cookies are pretty sweet yet I’m pretty sure you’ll find yourself reaching for a second one.
We came across the original recipe in Cook’s Illustrated. While we enjoy reading the magazine, and watching the TV programs by the same producers, I think they tend to overwrite their recipes. I’ve tried to simplify the instructions while giving you advance notice that some ingredients are used in different steps.
Brown Sugar Cookies
Servings: ~30 cookies
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 90 minutes
- 14 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups packed dark brown sugar, divided
- 2 cups plus Tbsp. all-purpose flour (~300g)
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. table salt
- 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle of the oven. Line 2 rimmed baking pans with parchment.
- Place 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a the bowl of a stand mixer and set it aside. Heat the remaining butter in a stainless-steel skillet over medium heat until melted. Continue to cook until the butter is dark golden brown and you smell a nutty aroma. You’ll want to swirl the melted butter after it melts to ensure even browning. Add the browned butter to mixer bowl and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
- While the butter cools mix the granulated sugar with 1/4 cup of packed brown sugar in a shallow dish, such as a pie plate, until well combined. In a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, soda, powder and salt). Finally combine the egg, extra yolk and vanilla in a small bowl and beat until blended. All 3 bowls can be set aside.
- When the butter is cooled add the remaining dark brown sugar and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg mixture. Beat again until combined and scrape once more. Finally add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. This is a dense dough so you might want to give your mixer a break if it sounds like it is straining.
- Use a disher to scoop out 12 balls of dough. Roll each between your hands and then toss with the reserved sugar. Place 12 coated dough balls on one of the baking sheets. Bake for 7 minutes, rotate the pan, and finish baking for 6 additional minutes.
- While the first pan of cookies bakes you can scoop up, form and coat the remaining dough. I usually usually end up with about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.
I use a #40 disher to get ~30 cookies. You can tell the disher size by the number stamped into the sweep inside the bowl of the disher. In theory the stamped number indicates the number of scoops necessary to fill a 32 oz. container. Dishers are widely used in food services to control portion size.
The menu for this week’s dinner changed pretty significantly between when I wrote my grocery list on Thursday night and when I started cooking. I originally planned to make a curry, improv some kind of tandoori flavored pork and rice. Then I realized I had some cooked farro slowly wasting away in the fridge and that our vegetarian friend would probably not be coming for dinner. So I shifted plans, still used most of the ingredients from my shopping trip and found a home for the farro.
Mustard-glazed Pork Loin
Za’atar Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans with Red Peppers
Chewy Brownies, Jubliee Roll
Notes under the cut
Every year I try to think of things I can make in advance that will simplify the days leading up to our annual after-the-holidays holiday party. This recipe certainly fits in that category. It can be made up to 6 weeks in advance and stashed in the freezer to unexpected guests or a planned gathering. Plus it includes one of the current “it” ingredients, bacon.
One added bonus of this recipe is that you can substitute to your hearts content and produce a new variant of bacon bites with whatever you have on hand. Replace the cream cheese with any spreadable medium, switch up the cheese, replace the peppers with salami, or black olives, or gummy bears. Well maybe not gummy bears. Make them your own.
Servings: 60 pieces
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- 12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup drained and diced Peppadew peppers
- 3/4 cup sliced scallions, white and green
- 20 slices soft white bread
- 20 pieces uncooked bacon (avoid the temptation of thick-cut)
- Mix together the cheeses until smooth. Stir in the peppers and scallions until evenly distributed; set aside.
- Trim the crusts from the slices of bread. Gently flatten the bread slices with a pastry roller or rolling pin.
- Once the bread is trimmed and flattened, spread the slices with the filling, covering it completely.
- Roll the bread up from the short side, pressing down just enough to make it stick to itself.
- Take a slice of bacon and wrap it around the roll diagonally, overlapping the bacon to cover the bread completely. If you need more than one bacon slice, tuck the end of the second bacon slice under the end of the first. Trim the bacon when you get to the end of the roll.
- Place completed roll on a parchment lined rimmed baking pan. When all rolls are completed freeze them for 30 minutes to firm them up.
- If making for consumption at this time then preheat the oven to 350°F and line a second rimmed baking pan with parchment. If making for later enjoyment, transfer to a large ziptop bag and return to the freezer.
- When ready to enjoy, slice the rolls in thirds and place on the baking sheet, cut side down. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the bacon is crisp and the tops are golden brown. If fully frozen bake an extra 5 minutes.
- Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
There’s no need to thaw these if you are pulling them from the freezer after they are fully frozen. Just bake an extra 5 minutes or so and they should be good to go.
I usually bake these in 2 batches so that the folks who come later in the evening are able to enjoy the bacony goodness. You might want to bake them all off at once though to encourage your guests to arrive in a timely manner. 🙂
As best I can remember the original recipe I used came from King Arthur Flour’s website.
It’s been almost 8 weeks since we’ve hosted a Saturday night dinner. Between other commitments and an assortment of holidays we haven’t managed to sit down together for a meal in longer than I like. Today I elected to go back to some tried and true recipes just to get back in the groove.
Chicken Thighs with Baked Onions
Pasta, Pesto and Peas
Balsamic and Soy Braised Red Cabbage
Baked Meringue, Spiced Apples, Chocolate Sauce, Whipped Cream
Notes under the cut
A while back I was lured in by a glossy picture of Parmesan and Herb Potato Stacks in an retailers Instagram post. The recipe seemed straight-forward, the image looked inticing and I’m always seeking a new way to present potatoes at Saturday night dinner.
While the result was good I thought of several ways to improve the recipe. Here’s the result with my update ingredient list and rewritten in my own words. Enjoy.
Potato, Herb and Cheese Stacks
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 45-50 minutes
- 5 Yukon Gold potatoes, very thinly sliced (about 1/16 inch)
- 6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
- 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 12 fresh sage leaves for garnish (optional)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat an oven to 375°F. Coat a 12 cup muffin tin with vegetable oil spray.
- Place the sliced potatoes win a colander set over a bowl and set aside while you melt the butter. Transfer the butter to a large bowl and allow the butter to cool for at least 5 minutes.
- Add the Romano cheese, garlic, thyme and cream to the cooled butter and whisk together until combined.. Season with salt and pepper. Add the potato slices and gently toss to coat evenly.
- Divide the potato slices among the prepared muffin cups, stacking them in layers.
- If using them, arrange a sage leaf on top of each stack.
- Bake for 15 minutes then sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the potato stacks. Bake for another 10 minutes. The potatoes should be tender with crispy edges and the Parmesan should be fully melted. If not cook for another minute or two.
- Let cool slightly, then carefully remove the stacks from the pan and serve warm.
Don’t be tempted by the cheese in a plastic jar which is found in the pasta aisle of your local megamart. You should find a wedge of Romano, and another of Parmesan, in the “fancy” cheese case near the deli counter. Yes, you’ll pay more than you will for that plastic jar however the flavor will far exceed the price difference.
When you are having Christmas Day dinner at your godmother’s, and she asks you to bring “a vegetable for 16”, you kind of freak out. At least I do. I decided on roasted Brussels sprouts because it’s a vegetable I’ve learned to enjoy as an adult. I added a some lucious fatty/salty bacon and a bit of sweet to make it a festive dish.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Dried Cranberries
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
- 2 lbs. Brussels Sprouts, stems trimmed and halved
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1/2 lb. thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4″ strips
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 rimmed baking pans with parchment paper.
- Toss sprouts with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Divide between the 2 baking pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating and swapping the position of the pans halfway through cooking.
- While the sprouts cook add the bacon and 1 cup of water to a non-stick skillet. Heat over medium heat until simmering. Cook for 5 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid/fat and crisp up the bacon to your desired doneness.
- The sprouts are ready when they can be easily pierced with a fork. Toss the sprouts, bacon and cranberries together. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and serve.
This reheats well, either in a low oven or in the microwave.