Archives for the month of: November, 2014

Tangy Roasted Beets & Carrots
piles of carrots Web

I love to prepare roasted roots throughout the fall and winter. While their sweetness adds enough flavor,  the addition of several savory spices in this recipe works really well and takes this traditional side dish up a level.

1 large bunch of beets (approx. 4) – trimmed, halved and/quartered if very large
1 large bunch of carrots – peeled, cut into 1/2 inch coins
3 TB. lemon juice
1 TB. olive oil
3/4 ts. sweet paprika
1/4 ts. cumin

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread beets in a cake pan and cover with foil. Toss carrot coins with olive oil on a baking sheet. Place both beets and carrots into oven and roast for approx. 30 minutes. Remove beets, let cool and then peel and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Remove carrots when tender.

In a large bowl, combine lemon juice, paprika, cumin olive oil and salt and toss with roasted beets and carrots.

Maple Sriracha Brussels Sprouts
Maple Sriracha Brussels Sprouts

I’m always looking for new ways to make Brussels Sprouts. As much as I love them roasted with some olive oil, salt and pepper a little twist is always welcome. When I saw this recipe from the blog So Let’s Hang Out on Pinterest I knew I had to try it. I was excited about the sweetness of the maple syrup and the spice of the sriracha.  Sriracha can be quite spicy so feel free to use a little less.

1 pound of Brussels Sprouts (about 20 sprouts), sliced in half or quartered if large
3 TB. maple syrup
1 TB. sriracha

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray it with a little bit of olive oil spray (or other cooking spray you have on hand) then set it aside.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the syrup and sriracha. Place sprouts in the same bowl and toss thoroughly to coat.

Pour sprouts onto the lined baking sheet and spread them out evenly. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the sprouts are tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.


Way back in July, when it was warm and sunny, I shared four great summer side dishes, and as those of us in the Northeast brace for a Thanksgiving Eve Nor’easter I’m here today with some favorite autumn side dishes. We’ve said goodbye not only to 80 degree beach days, but also tomatoes and corn on the cob, but there are still a lot of great vegetables to enjoy this time of year, and many, such as Brussels sprouts and kale, are at their best after the first frost of the season.

I like these side dishes any night during the fall, but they would also be perfect for your Thanksgiving table. Just add turkey and cranberry sauce!

A pile of cranberries ready for Thanksgiving!

A pile of cranberries ready for Thanksgiving!

Tangy Roasted Beets and Carrots
Butternut Squash Gratin with Blue Cheese and Sage
Sicilian Cauliflower and Black Olive Gratin
Maple Sriracha Brussels Sprouts

Sicilian Cauliflower and Black Olive Gratin
Cauliflower Gratin with Black Olives

So many gratins are heavy – weighed down with cream and cheese, but this recipe adapted from The New York Times’s “Recipes for Health” series is light and flavorful.  The addition of Kalamata olives is a nice surprise and makes it a great side for many Italian dishes.

1 generous head green or white cauliflower (2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 TB. extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
16 Kalamata olives, pitted and cut in half
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan, or a combination

Break up the cauliflower into small florets while you bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water generously and drop in the cauliflower. Boil 5 minutes while you fill a bowl with ice and water. Transfer the cauliflower to the ice water, let sit for a couple of minutes, then drain and place on paper towels.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 2-quart baking dish or gratin dish. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 3 minutes, and add a pinch of salt and the garlic. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds, until fragrant and translucent. Remove from the heat and stir in the olives.

Toss the cauliflower into the skillet with the onion and olive mixture, add the remaining olive oil, and half the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir together well. Pour into baking dish, spread it out evenly and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until the cheese is nicely browned. Serve hot or warm.


Butternut Squash Gratin with Blue Cheese and Sage
Butternut Squash Gratin with Blue Cheese and Sage

This is such an awesome side dish. I LOVE the combination of the sweetness of the winter squash and the saltiness of the blue cheese. And while you get a little cheese to enjoy it is still a relatively light and healthy dish. We love blue cheese in our house, but if you don’t I bet you could substitute it with another strong cheese such as gruyere or fontina.

5 cups (approx. 2 lbs.) butternut squash – peeled, and cubed (3/4 inch)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 TB. olive oil
1 large onion – thinly sliced (approx. 2 cups)
1 TB. chopped fresh sage
1/2 ts. salt
1/4 ts. pepper
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Steam butternut squash, covered for 10 minutes or until tender.
Butternut Squash Steaming

Mix bread crumbs with 2 ts. oil and toss with a fork to combine.

Heat remaining 2 ts. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion to pan; saute 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.

Transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl. Add squash, sage, salt and pepper to bowl, and toss gently to combine. Spoon mixture into a 11×7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
Butternut Squash Gratin Pre-Cooked

Sprinkle crumbled blue cheese evenly over squash mixture, and sprinkle evenly with bread crumb mixture. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and crumbs are golden brown.

Beer Braised Chicken

If this recipe doesn’t sound perfect for a Sunday dinner in November than I don’t know what does. Adapted from a Food Network recipe, we tried this Sunday night and we weren’t disappointed. The potatoes took a lot longer to cook for me than the original recipe said they would, but I also think that extra braising time is needed gave the dish depth.

Beer Braised Chicken

1/4 pound slab or thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup flour, for dredging
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer (I used Newcastle Ale, but Bass Ale would work too)
1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed
1/2 pound small red-skinned new potatoes, halved
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1/2 ts. dried thyme

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in flour, shaking off the excess. Add the olive oil to the drippings in the pot. Add the chicken in batches and cook over medium-high heat until golden on the bottom, 6 to 7 minutes, then flip and sear the other side, about 1 minute.

Add the beer, onions, potatoes, mustard, sugar, thyme and 1 cup water to the pot and stir, making sure the chicken is fully submerged. Bring to a boil and then simmer, partially covered, until the chicken and potatoes are cooked through, about 30-40 minutes. Stir in the bacon and serve.

Pan-Seared Scallops with Apple Cider Brown Butter and Brussels Sprouts Apple Slaw

This dinner is a great celebration of fall fruits and vegetables. Featured in The New Greenmarket Cookbook, this recipe is from Union Square Cafe, which is one of my favorite restaurants in New York. Sadly, Danny Meyer’s first restaurant is slated to close at the end of 2014, but fortunately we have recipes such as this one to keep us going…

This recipe serves four as an appetizer, and two as a main dish.
Scallops w Brussels sprouts and apple slaw


1 small to medium-sized cored Honeycrisp apple
7 large Brussels sprouts
1 TB. fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
1 ts. apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper
2 TB. olive oil

Using a mandolin or sharp knife, shave or finely-slice the apple into short matchsticks. Shave or thinly sliced the Brussels sprouts and toss with the apples in a bowl. Dress with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil, and toss to coat. Set aside.


16 large scallops, abductor muscles removed
salt and pepper
2 TB. vegetable oil
5 TB. unsalted butter
6 torn sage leaves
1 TB. fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
6 TB. apple cider

Pat the scallops very dry with a paper towel. Season both sides of each scallop with salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a 10-inch saute pan over medium-high heat, until wavy but not smoking. Remove the pan from the heat to add the scallops, then return to medium-low heat. Cook until the scallops are nicely browned on one side, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the scallops over and cook the other side for another minute – they might not be as brown as the first side, but that’s okay. Transfer to a plate, dark side up.

Pour out the oil or blot the pan with a paper towel. Add the butter and return the pan to medium heat. When the butter is bubbly and golden brown, remove from heat and add the sage leaves to sizzle. Then add the lemon juice, apple cider, and pinch of salt. Swirl all ingredients together and return the pan to the heat, bringing to a full boil while scraping the browned bits off the bottom. Once the liquid boils, reduce heat to low and add the scallops, dark side up, and any juices that may have gathered on their plate. Lightly simmer until the sauce is smooth and thickened, swirling occasionally to keep combined, about 1 minute.

Place the scallops on individual plates with a couple of spoonfuls of apple cider-brown butter over each. Add a bundle the slaw to each and serve.

Maple Pork Tenderloin
Maple Pork Tenderloin

This is another great fall recipe that doesn’t take too much time or effort. We had some leftover polenta which went really nicely with the pork, especially the maple glaze, which is delish!

Roasted Roots
Roasted Roots

When I was at the Farm School this was one of our favorite side dishes. So hearty and healthy. It is perfect in the fall when beets, carrots and potatoes are in their prime. You could substitute in parsnips, celery root or turnip. The bunches of carrots and beets caught my eye at the market, and I had a few extra fingerling potatoes in my pantry so that’s what I made, but try whatever you like!

4 beets, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 lb. potatoes, halved or quartered
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, toss vegetables with olive oil, enough to coat, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 45-60 minutes – toss about halfway through.



One of the best things about the local food movement is that it has brought to light so many underused vegetables and fruits. If it weren’t for farmers markets I wouldn’t know about or have gotten a chance to eat fennel, celeriac, or romanesco. Before the proliferation of farmers markets I bet many of you had never seen or eaten a heirloom tomato. Whether you get them now from a farmers market or your local grocery store, the demand for these special, and dare I say better tomatoes, stems from the growth and ubiquity of farmers markets.

It isn’t just brand new foods that markets introduce us to; markets provide a retail space for farmers to try out different versions of some tried and true favorites without the worry that a grocery store will reject them because they aren’t the right shape or color. That’s how I encountered these beautiful carrots seen below. While shopping at my local Greenmarket I stumbled upon a big bunch of carrots in shades of orange, yellow and purple. They were majestic and I had to have them! So, get a little adventurous and try a new vegetable or fruit this week. We are so lucky to live in an age when hard, pink tomatoes are no longer acceptable.

Meal #1: Pork Tenderloin with Maple Glaze + Roasted Roots
Meal #2: Penne alla Vodka + Green Salad
Meal #3: Pan-Seared Scallops with Apple Cider Brown Butter and Brussels Sprouts Apple Slaw
Meal #4: Lemon and Olive Chicken + Red Roasted Carrots

Your grocery list, excluding the usual pantry items:
Honeycrisp apple – 1
Brussels sprouts – 7 large
lemon – 2
onion – 1
beets  – 4 medium to large
carrots  – 1 large bunch (8 or so)
potatoes -1/2 lb.
crumbled dried sage leaves – 2 ts.
sage – 1 bundle
green olives – 1/2 cup
chicken stock – 1 cup
large (28 oz) and small (14 oz) can Italian plum tomatoes – 1 each
penne – 1 box
heavy cream – 1/2 cup
Parmesan cheese – (if don’t already have it)
dried thyme – (if don’t already have it)
crushed red pepper – (if don’t already have it)
maple syrup – (if don’t already have it)
apple cider vinegar – (if don’t already have it)
apple cider – (if don’t already have it)
Dijon mustard – (if don’t already have it)
cinnamon – (if don’t already have it)
paprika – (if don’t already have it)
chili powder – (if don’t already have it)
garlic powder – (if don’t already have it)
pork tenderloins – 2, 12- to 14-ounce
bone-in chicken breast halves – 4
scallops – 16 large
vodka – 1/4 cup