Twice-Baked Butternut Squash with Brown Butter and Orange
4 small size Butternut (or other variety) squash, halved and seeded
2 medium sweet potatoes
11/2 sticks unsalted butter
3 tablespoons Molasses
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
11/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
The zest and juice from 1 orange
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Prepare the squash: Arrange the squash halves in a single layer on a baking sheet. In a small saucepan, melt the butter completely over medium heat. Wait until it starts to turn a light brown color. Remove from the heat and immediately pour over the squash sections and drizzle the Molasses. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, salt, dry ginger, fresh ginger, cinnamon and allspice. Fill the bottom of the tray with about ½ inch water to create steam while the squash bakes. Cover the tray with aluminum foil and seal the edges tightly.
3. Cook the squash: Place the sweet potatoes as is and the tray of squash in the center of the oven and bake, undisturbed, for at least 2 hours. To check for doneness, pierce one of the halves with the tip of a small knife. The knife should slide in and out of the squash and potatoes without any resistance. If at all firm, bake them an additional 30-45 minutes. Remove from the oven. Carefully peel back the foil.
4. Season and finish the dish: In a medium pot, simmer the orange zest and juice. Carefully extract the squash from the halves and the flesh from the sweet potatoes leaving the squash skin and the “halves” intact on the baking sheet. Whisk the squash and potato flesh into the orange juice. Taste for seasoning. If the squash lacks sweetness, add a little Molasses. If it lacks salt, add a little salt. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large “star” tip and “pipe” the seasoned squash back into the halves. ( Note: You can also simply spoon the squash) It likely will only fill 6 halves. When almost time to eat, bake squash in the oven until golden brown, 15-18 minutes.
Green Bean Casserole
1 pound string beans, ends trimmed the beans cut in half
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
12 ounces (about 3 cups) white mushrooms, trimmed, washed and cut into half-inch slices
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
¾ cup heavy cream
1 cup sour cream
3 cups sweet potato chips
1. Cook the green beans: Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. When the water boils, add 2 tablespoons salt to the water and add the green beans. Cook for 4 minutes. Prepare an ice bath: Fill a large bowl halfway with ice cubes and add some cold water. Place a colander squarely inside the ice bath. The colander will keep you from having to pick the beans out from amongst the ice cubes in the ice bath. When the beans are cooked, remove them from the hot water with a strainer and transfer them to the colander inside the ice bath. Use a spoon to “swirl” the beans around in the ice bath so they are sure to cool down immediately. Drain and set aside.
2. Make the mushroom base for the casserole: In a 10-inch cast iron skillet, melt the butter and add the mushrooms. Season with salt to taste and add the Cayenne and mustard. Stir to blend and cook until the mushrooms give off most of their liquid, 5-8 minutes. Using a whisk, add the garlic and flour to the mushrooms. When all of the flour has been incorporated, add the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer. Taste for seasoning. Stir in the cream and sour cream and simmer gently. Continue cooking over low heat until the mixture thickens, 12-15 minutes.
3. Assemble the casserole: Stir the green beans and some of the shallots into the mushrooms. Simmer on the stove, over low heat, for 5-8 minutes, until the green beans become tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Transfer the skillet to the oven for 15-20 minutes to give the casserole that “baked” effect. Top the outside of the dish with the chips. Serve.
Pumpkin Pie Sundae
Pralines (Makes about ¾ cup)
¼ cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup walnut halves
Chocolate Sauce (makes about 1 cup)
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup semi sweet chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla
Caramel Sauce (makes about ¾ cup)
½ cup sugar
¼ cup water
½ cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 pints vanilla ice cream
½ cup whipped cream
1. Make the pralines: Coat a baking sheet with a layer of nonstick spray. Set aside. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine ½ cup water with the sugar and cream of tartar. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Using a candy thermometer, bring the mixture to 356 F. Stir in the walnuts. Stir to coat the nuts with the caramel and then immediately turn out the caramel and nuts onto the baking sheet coated with nonstick spray. Allow it to cool completely. Break into pieces.
2. Make the chocolate sauce: In a medium pot, heat the heavy cream. When it simmers gently, remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Keep warm.
3. Make the caramel sauce: in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring the mixture to a simmer and cook over low heat until (light) golden brown, 12-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the cream and salt. Return to the heat and simmer over low heat until all of the ingredients come together, 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Set aside.
4. Assemble the sundae: Spoon the vanilla ice cream into a large bowl and gently mix with the pieces of pumpkin pie. Do not over mix. Spoon the ice cream into individual sundae dishes (or 1 larger one). Serve the chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, pralines and whipped cream on the side. Or pile them on top of the ice cream! You can also sundae bar for the kids (although the adults will enjoy too…)