Chipotle Maple Sauce

Chipotle sauce

Makes 1 cup

2 chipotles in adobo, seeded
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, non-fish
2 tablespoons margarine, softened

In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients and puree until smooth. Scrape into a small saucepan and simmer for 2 minutes, until glossy. Use on chicken, turkey and beef.

Honey Mustard Sauce

bbq

Makes 1 cup

1 cup prepared yellow mustard
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the mustard, honey, brown sugar and vinegar. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, and let simmer for 5 minutes. Use as a marinade or dipping sauce for chicken, meat or fish. .

Spicy Peanut Sauce

photo © John Kernick

photo © John Kernick

Makes 1 cup

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup coconut water
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove

In a food processor or blender, combine all of the ingredients and puree until smooth. Use on noodles, chicken, fish or tofu.

Southwest Corn Guacamole


Serves 4-6

1 ear of corn

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 plum tomatoes, chopped

3 scallions, chopped

3 avocados, diced

2 minced jalapenos, seeded, diced (optional)

¼ cup cilantro, diced

Juice of 1 lime

Sprinkle the corn with chili powder, coriander and salt. Broil the corn for 2 minutes. Remove kernels from cobb when cool enough to handle. Add the rest of the ingredients and season with more chili powder, coriander and salt.

Indian Guacamole

indian-guacamole

Serves 6 – 8

2 ripe large avocados, halved and pitted
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 to 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno or serrano chile
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
½ teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Tortilla chips

Scoop avocados into a bowl. Add juice, chile, salt, and garlic. Coarsely mash with a fork.
Stir in remaining spices, and let stand 2 minutes. Stir cilantro into guacamole. Serve with tortilla chips.

Steak Salad with Horseradish Dressing

horseradish-steak-salad
Serves 4 – 6

This is a great appetizer salad. Horseradish is perfect with steak and the honey mellows it out a bit. This is a GKC remake of a recipe from Keens Steakhouse in NYC.

I love grilled meat salads, especially in the summer time. They are not a heavy appetizer and showcase all sorts of great grilled items. This salad incorporates a favorite flavor combination; steak and horseradish. I like to gill the meat but I keep it simple by just using olive oil and salt and pepper on the steak. The dressing has some zesty white horseradish in it. The honey mellows the spice and the tofutti sour cream gives it creaminess. The result is a great grilled salad with bold flavor and lots of great color. All can be prepared ahead of time, so that makes it a winner for me too! It also works great with any leftover grilled steak that you have in your refrigerator. This is a perfect Shabbos day first course or a star at any summer BBQ!

Horseradish Dressing
1/2 cup tofutti sour cream
3 tablespoons prepared white horseradish
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives or scallions
1 ½ teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Steak Salad
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1-pound flank, skirt steak, or other thin grilling steak
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
12 ounces fingerling potatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 English hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced
6 radishes, cut into thin wedges
2 cups greens (such as arugula or torn Bibb lettuce leaves)

For the dressing:
Whisk tofutti sour cream, horseradish, chives, honey, and vinegar in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.

For the Steak Salad:
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet or grill pan, over medium-high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until cooked to desired doneness, 5-8 minutes per side for medium-rare, about 4 minutes per side for flank steak, or 3 minutes per side for skirt steak. Transfer meat to a plate and let rest for 10 minutes.

While steak rests, wipe out skillet and heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add potatoes, season with salt, and cook, tossing occasionally, until tender, 8-10 minutes.

On a large platter, scatter the salad greens. Top with potatoes, cucumber, and radishes. Slice steak and place on top. Drizzle with horseradish dressing.

Papaya Guacamole


Serves 4

1 small diced papaya

Juice of a lime

½ chopped, seeded jalapeno pepper (mashed in a mortar with a pestle with salt into a paste)

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup cilantro, chopped fine

2 avocados, diced

½ cup red onion, chopped fine

Combine all ingredients together. Let flavors blend for 20 minutes.

Minda’s Best Biscotti

mindas-biscotti1
Makes about 60 small biscotti

My daughter’s piano teacher Minda, has become my friend. We connect over parenting, fashion, music, and mostly food! She spent years in Italy while her husband did his medical residency there and mastered both the language and the cooking. She stocks up on cookbooks and looks forward to making new recipes just like I do. And best of all we always share our favorites with each other. This biscotti came from her and she knows biscotti! I’ve been making it all week with different additions like dried fruit, white chocolate, and other types of nuts. It’s definitely a classic and one you cannot tire of.

1 ¾ cup flour (plus a little more for using on the work surface)
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar (the original recipe calls for 1 cup sugar but Minda suggests the lesser amount)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
8 ounces slivered almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped (I suggest Trader Joe’s brand)
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)

biscotti batter tray

biscotti batter tray


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet or prepare it with parchment paper or silpat mats.
In a bowl, combine 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk with sugar. Add vanilla extract and mix well.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture and mix until blended. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.
Flour a flat surface to work on, and transfer dough to the work surface. Knead the dough into a ball. If it is too sticky, add about 2 tablespoons more flour.
Separate the dough into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a log, about 14 inches long. Flatten the top a bit so that they are about 2 inches wide.
Brush top with beaten egg. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes before cutting into slices about 1/3-1/2 inch thick.
Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. Put cookies back in oven cut side down for 15 additional minutes.

Coffee Rubbed Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce

Food and Wine

Serves 8

This was a big hit over Yom Tov. You can use the chimichurri sauce below or a standard honey-mustard sauce. Any type of grilling steak works. I used a filet steak and a minute steak, but skirt steak and thin cut London broil works well too.

Steak
2 tablespoons finely ground coffee beans
1 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoons smoked paprika or regular paprika
1 ½ teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 (10-ounce) filet steaks or 1 3 lb. minute steak, split into two pieces

Chimichurri Sauce
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 shallot, minced
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

For the steak: In a small bowl, mix the coffee beans, cocoa, chile powder, brown sugar, paprika, cumin and salt. Pat the steaks all over with the coffee-chile rub and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Light a grill or heat a grill pan. Grill over moderate heat, turning once, until they are nicely charred and medium-rare, about 11-13 minutes. Let it rest for 10 minutes and slice.

For the chimichurri sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegars with the olive oiland sugar. Stir in the shallot, parsley, cilantro, chives and oregano and season with salt and pepper.

Serve the steak warm or at room temperature with sauce.

Olive Pesto Smashed Potatoes

photo by Christina Holmes

photo by Christina Holmes

Serves 4

2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 cup kalamata olives, pitted and patted dry
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
12 small red or Yukon Gold potatoes (2 to 3 in. diameter), well-scrubbed
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley

Make pesto: Purée garlic and basil in a food processor. Add olives and oil and pulse to a smooth, thick paste. Turn into a bowl and stir in cheese.

Put potatoes in a large pot on the stove with generously salted water to cover. Bring almost to a boil and cook until easily pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain. When cool enough to handle, press each between your hands until about 3/4 in. thick but still in one piece.

Spread each potato with 1 heaping tablespoon pesto and press to compact it. Heat a cast-iron skillet, then add potatoes. Pan-roast until crisp underneath, 5 minutes. Turn pesto side down and let roast and crisp up. Put on a platter, pesto side up, and sprinkle with parsley.

Pecan Streusel Bars

photo by Christina Holmes

photo by Christina Holmes


Makes 18 bars

SHORTBREAD DOUGH
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

FILLING
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt

For the dough:
In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons of butter with the sugar and egg yolk until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and beat at low speed until evenly moistened, about 2 minutes. Using your hands, knead once or twice to bring the dough together.

For the filling:
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9-inch square metal baking pan. Pat three-fourths of the dough into the baking pan in an even layer. In a bowl, beat the pecans into the remaining dough. Crumble the pecan streusel on a plate. Refrigerate the crust and streusel for 10 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, combine the chocolate and condensed milk and stir over low heat until melted and very thick, about 3 minutes. Scrape into a bowl. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface and let cool slightly.

Spread the fudgy filling evenly on the dough in the pan and sprinkle with the coarse salt. Scatter the pecan streusel on top. Bake in the lower third of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden. Let cool completely.Run the tip of a knife around the edge of the pan. Cut the square into 18 bars and serve.

Chilled Strawberry Sour Cream Soup

This is a recipe from my great Aunt Thelma. All of her recipes were quick and easy but people loved them and this one got passed down to me through my grandmother’s old recipe file.

Serves 5

4 cups (1 quart) strawberries, cleaned and hulled
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
4 cups cold water
½ cup Rose Wine

In a blender or food processor, whirl all the ingredients together until smooth. Refrigerate overnight. Garnish with mint and extra whole or cut strawberries.

Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese Gratin

photo by Thomas J. Story

photo by Thomas J. Story

Serves 8-10

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons honey
1 small garlic clove, minced
8 ounces fresh goat cheese, softened
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced lengthwise 1/8 inch thick
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 275° and brush a large baking dish with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream, honey and garlic and bring just to a simmer. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the goat cheese and season generously with salt and pepper.

Line the bottom of the baking dish with a slightly overlapping layer of sweet potatoes. Top with 1/4 cup of the goat cheese cream and spread evenly. Repeat the layering with the remaining sweet potatoes and cream, pouring any excess cream on top; you should have about 5 layers.

In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter and scatter over the sweet potatoes. Cover the casserole with a sheet of buttered foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake for 1 hour longer, until the sweet potatoes are tender and the top is golden. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Poblano Peppers Stuffed with Imitation Mexican Crab Salad

mexican-crab-salad

Serves 6

1 jar (12 ounces) roasted red peppers, drained
1 can (14.5 ounces) fire-roasted tomatoes
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
6 medium poblano chiles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed with a pan
1 pound imitation crab meat, chopped in ½ inch to 1 inch pieces
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup shredded jack cheese
1/2 cup crumbled Mexican-style crumbled cheese or any basil or herb crumbled cheese or goat cheese
1 cup cilantro sprigs

Preheat oven to 350°. Whirl red peppers, tomatoes, and 1/2 tsp. salt together in a food processor until puréed. Pour into a wide 4-qt. shallow baking dish or 6 shallow 1-cup baking dishes. Set aside.

Set poblanos over flames on a gas range (or set on a baking sheet and broil). Cook, turning often, until starting to turn black in spots, 8 minutes total. Let cool.

Slit poblanos and remove seeds.

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, jalapeño, and coriander. Cook until softened, 4 minutes. Add imitation crab and remaining 1 tsp. salt. Cook until it starts to turn pink, 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Stir cream and jack cheeses into crab mixture. Spoon into poblanos, dividing evenly. Set chiles in dish with sauce. Bake until filling is oozing and hot, 40 minutes. Top with crumbled Mexican cheese and cilantro.

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

roasted-cauliflower

Serves 4

1 head cauliflower
1 onion, sliced
4 thyme sprigs, or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425°. Cut cauliflower into florets and toss with onions and place them on a large rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with thyme, garlic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Roast, tossing occasionally, until almost tender, 35-40 minutes. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan, toss to combine, and roast until cauliflower is tender, 10-12 minutes longer.

Three Cheese Unbaked Cheesecake

unbaked-cheesecake

Serves 10

This is a light and airy cheesecake. The ricotta adds lightness, the cream cheese and mascarpone are super rich and the crunchy crust with amaretti cookies is delicious with it.

Amaretti Crust
3 ounces amaretti cookies (about 20) (or any crunchy cookie)
2 ounces honey graham crackers (about 4 whole crackers), coarsely crushed
Pinch of kosher salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake
1 teaspoon kosher unflavored powdered gelatin
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese or sour cream
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Caramel sauce, blueberries or whipped cream to top it

MAKE THE CRUST
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a food processor, pulse the amaretti with the graham crackers and salt until finely ground. Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and stir in the butter. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and halfway up the side of an 8-inch springform pan. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the crust is set. Cool on a rack.

MAKE THE CHEESECAKE
In a microwave-safe dish, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of cold water; let stand until the gelatin is softened, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form; refrigerate.

In a bowl, beat the cream cheese, ricotta, sugar and salt with an electric mixer at high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the mascarpone and lemon juice.

Microwave the gelatin until melted, 5 seconds; scrape into the cream cheese mixture and beat until incorporated. Fold in the whipped cream. Pour the mixture into the cooled crust and smooth the surface. Refrigerate the cake until firm and set, 3 hours.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

creamytomato

Makes 8 cups

2 stalks celery
1 small onion
2 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 cup butter, cubed and divided
2 (28 ounces) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounces) can pareve chicken broth
1/2 cup – fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 (8 ounces) package low-fat cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons Agave Nectar or 4 tablespoons sugar
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, add celery, onion and garlic, pulse on high 10 to 15 seconds until puréed. Pour purée into large saucepan. Set aside, but do not rinse food processor. 

Add half the butter to vegetables. Sauté over medium heat, about 10 minutes, until fragrant. Add tomatoes, broth and half the chopped basil; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover pot; reduce heat to medium/low; allow to simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Cut cream cheese into 1/2” cubes and place in food processor along with 1 cup of the hot soup. Process on high until cream cheese is dissolved, about 1 minute. Add cream cheese mixture, Agave Nectar and remaining basil and butter to hot soup; stir until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Shredded Caesar Salad on Toasts

Spiced Nuts A120914 Food & Wine Bronson Van Wyck Dec 2012

I saw this recipe in a magazine and thought it was a great twist on Caesar salad and makes a terrific presentation.

Serves 8
1 medium oval country loafor baguette, sliced 1/2 inch thick
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 garlic cloves—1 minced and 1 halved
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste or 2 anchovies mashed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon capers—rinsed, drained and minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 romaine hearts (1-1/2 pounds), finely chopped
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

Preheat the broiler. Brush both sides of the bread slices with olive oil and arrange on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil the slices 6 inches from the heat for about 3 minutes, turning once, until crisp and golden on the outside but still slightly soft in the center. Rub one side of each slice with the halved garlic.
In a medium bowl, whisk the minced garlic with the lemon juice, anchovy paste, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and capers. Gradually whisk in the 3/4 cup of olive oil and season the dressing with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss the romaine with the Parmesan and the dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Mound the salad on the toasts, garnished with shaved cheese.

Roasted Tomatoes with Bread Crumbs and Parmesan

6 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Non-stick cooking spray
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
1 teaspoon paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup parmesan cheese (optional)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the tomato halves in a lightly greased baking dish, cut-side up. In a small dish, mix olive oil and garlic. Spoon garlic oil on top of tomatoes. Drizzle honey, and sprinkle with panko bread crumbs and paprika. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan (if using). Roast for 20 minutes. 

Remove the tomatoes from the oven and sprinkle with parsley. Drizzle with olive oil.

Notes: This is a terrific side dish anytime of year because good tomatoes are always available. You can omit the cheese if you do not eat dairy. I like to serve them aside a grilled steak or topping my spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce. Readers told me they used them in omelettes and as a pizza topping too. These roasted tomatoes with bread crumbs are good to have around all the time.
roasted-tomatoes-parmesan-s

Roasted Asparagus and Arugula Salad with Shallots and Parmesan

Serves 6

1/3 cup minced shallots (about 2 large)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound slender asparagus, tough ends trimmed
6 cups (lightly packed) arugula (about 5 ounces)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)

Whisk first 5 in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in oil. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place asparagus spears on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 1/4 cup vinaigrette over and turn to coat, then spread in single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast asparagus until just crisp-tender, about 12 minutes.

Combine arugula, chives, and asparagus in large bowl. Add remaining vinaigrette and toss to coat. Transfer salad to platter; sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cheese. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Magic Bars with Dulce De Leche, Coconut, and Chocolate Chips

201011-r-magic-bars

Makes 18 bars

1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut (6 1/2 ounces)
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup salted roasted almonds, chopped
One 16-ounce jar dulce de leche
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper, leaving up to 1 inch of overhang. Spray the paper with vegetable oil spray.

In a medium saucepan, cook the butter over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and browned, about 4 minutes. Scrape the butter into a large bowl and freeze just until solid, about 15 minutes.

Using a handheld electric mixer, beat the sugar, vanilla seeds and egg yolk into the butter at medium speed until blended. Add the flour and salt and beat until moistened crumbs form. Press the crumbs into the prepared baking pan and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 25 minutes, until the crust is set and lightly browned.

In the bowl, toss the coconut with the chocolate chips, and almonds.

In another bowl, whisk the dulce de leche with the condensed milk; pour two-thirds of it in the crust. Lightly press the coconut mixture over the dulce de leche. Drizzle the remaining dulce de leche mixture on top.

Bake the bars for 35 to 40 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the bars cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Carefully remove the bars from the pan and peel off the paper. Cut into bars and serve.

Creamy Roasted Broccoli Soup

creamybroccoli

This soup can be made pareve by using tofutti cream cheese in place of the cream cheese. You can also substitute the butter with margarine. I like it both ways but its fun to make it dairy for Shavuos and its extra creamy because of the real cream cheese.

Serves 6

5 unpeeled garlic cloves
2 pounds broccoli—cut into 1-inch florets, stems reserved for another use
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
4 ounces cream cheese
3 cups low-sodium pareve chicken broth
Croutons, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400°. Wrap the garlic in a foil packet and roast for 50 minutes, until softened. Meanwhile, in a small roasting pan, toss the broccoli with the olive oil and butter and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, or until tender.

Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins into a blender. Add the roasted broccoli, cream cheese and broth and puree until smooth. Transfer the soup to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper and serve with croutons.

Caramel and Pear Cheesecake Trifle

caramel-cheesecake

Serves 10-12
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 large slightly underripe Bartlett pears—peeled, cored and diced
1 cup store-bought caramel sauce (or salty caramel sauce)
1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups cold heavy cream
8 ounces crunchy cookies (like gingersnaps or sandwich cookies), plus crushed cookies for garnish

In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the diced pears. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 8 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the caramel sauce, cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the pears are tender, 5 minutes. Scrape the pears onto a plate and refrigerate until cool.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of water. Let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Microwave at high power for 5 seconds, just until the gelatin is melted. Transfer the gelatin mixture to a bowl and add the cream cheese and the remaining 1/2 cup of caramel sauce. Using an electric mixer, beat at medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.

In another bowl, whip 1-1/2 cups of the cream until firm peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

Spoon one-fourth of the mousse into a medium trifle bowl. Top with one-fourth of the cookies and one-fourth of the pears. Repeat the layering, ending with a layer of pears. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cream until soft peaks form. Dollop the cream over the trifle and garnish with crushed gingersnaps.

Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms

stuffed-mushroom

Makes 24

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
24 large white button mushrooms (about 2-1/2 inches wide; 2-1/2 lb. total), stemmed; stems finely chopped and caps wiped clean
Kosher salt
¾ cup shredded or grated Parmesan (3 ounces)
3/4 cup panko
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.

Melt the butter in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Set aside 2 Tbs. of the melted butter in a small bowl. Add the mushroom stems and 1/4 tsp. salt to the skillet and cook, stirring often with a wooden spatula, until tender, about 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, add 2 Tbs. of the Parmesan and the panko to the reserved melted butter and mix thoroughly; set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining Parmesan, the mayonnaise, parsley, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Add the mushroom stems and mix until well combined.

In a large bowl, toss the mushroom caps with the oil. Fill each mushroom cap with a rounded teaspoon of the filling and top each with about 1 tsp. of the panko mixture. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet with space in between. Bake until tender and the topping is golden-brown, about 25 minutes. Cool briefly before serving.

Spinach Puffs

spinach-puffs

Makes 6 large or 12 mini

These are cute and really tasty.

1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup minced onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped dill
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (from a 17.3-ounce package), thawed, rolled out to a 12-inch square, kept chilled

Using your hands, squeeze spinach until dry, forcing out as much water as possible (too much water will make for a soggy filling; you should have about 2/3 cup well-drained spinach). Mix spinach and next 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, beat 1 egg to blend; fold into spinach mixture.

Cut puff pastry into 3 equal strips. Reserve 1 strip for another use. Cut each remaining strip into 3 squares for a total of 6. Place a square in each muffin cup, pressing into bottom and up sides and leaving corners pointing up. Divide filling among cups. Fold pastry over filling, pressing corners together to meet in center. DO AHEAD Spinach puffs can be assembled 3 hours ahead. Cover puffs and chill.

Preheat oven to 400°. Beat remaining egg to blend in a small bowl. Brush pastry with egg wash (this will give the pastry a nice sheen). Bake until pastry is golden brown and puffed, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let puffs cool in pan for 10 minutes. Run a sharp paring knife around pan edges to loosen; turn out puffs onto rack to cool slightly before serving.