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Archive for Thanksgiving & Fall

TIP OF THE DAY: Individual Squash Bowls For Soup, Grains & More

This make-ahead beauty (photo #1) is a stunning first course or, turns into a dinner with a light saladr. You can make it vegetarian or add meat: chicken, ham, turkey or sausage.

This squash soup is packed with shiitake mushrooms, sausage and red chard, and topped with a fresh sage chiffonade. There are no right or wrong ingredients: Use whatever sounds good to you.

The soup bowl in photo #1 is from Olmsted restaurant in Brooklyn, New York. The photo, along with the availability of so much squash in the markets—had us spending a week trying different recipes that used small squash as individual edible bowls.

The result: delicious baked squash filled with other delicious things, from breakfast eggs to baked fruit sides.

While stuffed squash has served as edible bowls for millennia, our concept was to expand the squash bowl for soup (broccoli soup, butternut squash soup, mushroom soup, etc.) to other uses.

Small acorn squash squash (photo #1) are the most available; but you may be able to find eight-ball zucchini (photo #2), carnival squash (photo #6) or golden nugget pumpkins (photo #5). A farmers market is your best bet.

Use whatever filling you want.

Soup is most popular: not just butternut squash soup, but mushroom and any but that’s because most people haven’t thought further. Here are 20 options, including two for breakfast.

You can serve the squash bowl as a side, or add as a main with a protein (chicken or turkey, sausage, tofu).

  • Baked fruit: apples, cranberries pears, quince, with walnuts and/or raisins
  • Beans or lentils with corn, onions, roasted tomatoes
  • Breakfast hash and a poached egg
  • Buffalo chicken
  • Cheese: a bubbling bowl of fondue
  • Cruciferous bowl: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, rutabaga, turnips
  • Grain salad or hot grains: barley, bulgur, kasha (buckwheat), quinoa, rice, wild rice
  • Greens bowl: broccoli rabe, collards, kale, mustard greens
  • Gratins (anything topped with cheese)
  • Kale, sausage and mushrooms
  • Mushrooms, sausage and quinoa
  • Mac and cheese
  • Pumpkin ravioli topped with fried sage
  • Rice and beans
  • Roast vegetables
  • Sausage, zucchini, rice
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Stuffing
  • Tex-Mex fillings (chicken enchilada, taco, rice and beans
  • Turkey, stuffing and gravy (leftovers!)

  • Fresh herbs, especially sage and thyme
  • Nuts, or nuts and raisins or other dried fruit
  • Seeds: chia, flax, pepitas (pumpkin)

    1. MAKE the soup or other filling ahead of time, and warm it when the squash bowls are ready.

    2. BAKE the squash: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Halve the squash widthwise and scoop out the seeds and any loose fibers. Discard the fibers and reserve the seeds for garnish, if desired.

    3. SLICE a small piece from the bottom halves of the squash, so the “bowls” will sit evenly. You can bake the top halves and serve them as well; or cut the flesh into chunks to use as a filling ingredient or for other purposes.

    4. BRUSH the cut surface of the squash with olive oil and season lightly with salt, pepper and thyme. Place face down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast until golden brown and tender, 20-30 minutes, until you can pierce the rind with a fork or tip of a knife.

    5. REMOVE any additional center of the squash, until the bowl opening is large enough for your purposes (save the cooked squash for another purpose). Add your filling(s) and serve.

    You can also bake the squash in advance and microwave it when ready to serve.


    Squash Bowl With Soup
    [1] A squash bowl with soup and lots of extras, at Olmsted | NYC.

    Soup In Eight Ball Zucchini
    [2] An eight ball zucchini makes an ideal single-portion bowl, at Bittersweet Blog.

    Sausage & Lentils In Squash Bowl
    [3] Curried lentils with onion and carrot at Fried Dandelions.

    Sausage & Apple In A Squash Bowl
    [4] Sausage- and apple-stuffed acorn squash at Cherished Bliss.

    Stuffed Golden Nugget Pumpkin
    [5] A golden nugget pumpkin stuffed with couscous, bacon and sausage, from Good Food | Australia.

    Carnival Squash

    [6] Check farmers markets for squash that work as individual bowls. This is a carnival squash: butternut’s flashier brother (photo courtesy Kitchen Tangents).




    RECIPE: Cranberry-Orange Mold

    Cranberry Orange Mold
    [1] Cranberry-orange mold; the recipe is below (photo courtesy Taste Of Home).

    Cranberry Sauce
    [2] Optional presentation in a glass bowl (photo courtesy Mackenzie Ltd).

    Cranberry Orange Sauce In Turkey Shape
    [3] Mold the sauce in a turkey pan from Nordicware.


    We love cranberry-orange relishes, compotes, molds and sauces. A few years ago we asked: Why do we only make them twice a year, for Thanksgiving and Christmas?

    This side is too tasty to save for one or two holiday dinners. So we started to make them as soon as the fresh cranberries arrive in stores (frozen cranberries also work).

    Enjoy homemade cranberry sauce as often as you like, at any meal of the day: We serve it:

  • With grilled meats and fish.
  • With burgers and sandwiches.
  • With yogurt or cottage cheese.
  • As a dessert with sorbet.
  • With a red-themed Valentine’s dinner.
    Here’s a recipe from Taste Of Home, submitted by Carol Mead of Los Alamos, New Mexico.


    Ingredients For 12 Servings

  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 cup cold water, divided
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 package (3 ounces) raspberry gelatin
  • 3 cups (12 ounces) fresh or thawed frozen cranberries, divided
  • 2 medium apples, cut into wedges
  • 1 medium navel orange, peeled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • Optional center garnish: celery curls (or a mix of celery and carrot curls), shredded lettuce
  • Optional side garnish: sour cream, plain or slightly sweetened with an optional dash of cinnamon or nutmeg

    1. SPRINKLE the unflavored gelatin over 1 tablespoon of cold water; let stand 1 minute. Add boiling water and raspberry gelatin; stir until gelatin is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining cold water. Refrigerate until thickened, about 45 minutes.

    2. PULSE 2-1/3 cups cranberries, the apples and orange in a food processor until chopped. Transfer to a small bowl; stir in the sugar. Stir the fruit mixture into the thickened gelatin. Fold in the walnuts, celery and the remaining whole cranberries.


    3. COAT a 10-in. fluted tube pan, an 8-cup ring mold or two 4-cup molds with cooking spray (you can use a bundt pan in a pinch). Pour in the gelatin mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight or until firm.

    4. UNMOLD onto a platter and fill the center with celery curls. Serve the sour cream in a side dish or ramekins.

    NOTE: Some people call this type of recipe a salad, or a gelatin salad, because it’s filled with raw fruits and vegetables. If you fill the center with raw vegetables—shredded lettuce, carrot curls, celery curls—it makes the recipe a legitimate salad.



    RECIPE: Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

    Got rolls? Here’s the recipe for these typical soft, white dinner rolls from King Arthur Flour.

    For harvest season, add these slightly sweet, light-gold rolls from King Arthur Flour to your bread basket for a tasty change of pace

    And why just dinner? Enjoy them at breakfast and lunch, too.


    There are many different types of rolls, based on regional, national and other preferences–from the crisp French roll with a crisp crust like a baguette, to the hero roll, long and relatively soft for sandwiches.

    The textbook dinner roll is a yeast roll with a soft, pull-apart interior and browned and a crisped exterior. The soft crumb enables sauces and gravies to be sopped up readily. Others enjoy them with butter.

    Here’s an explanation of the differences, and recipes for nine types of dinner rolls, from King Arthur Flour.


    Prep time is 15 minutes to 25 minutes. Bake time is 24-26 minutes.

    Ingredients For 24 Rolls

  • 2-1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice; or substitute 1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon + 3/8 teaspoon ground cloves + 3/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin purée
  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

    1. COMBINE all dough ingredients in a large bowl, mix and knead into a soft, smooth dough. You can use your hands, a stand mixer or a bread machine set on the dough cycle.

    2. PLACE the dough in a lightly greased bowl and allow it to rise for 60 to 75 minutes, until it’s puffy (though not necessarily doubled in bulk). Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.

    3. DIVIDE the dough into 24 equal pieces. Round each piece into a smooth ball.

    4. LIGHTLY GREASE two 9-inch round cake pans. Space 12 rolls in each pan. Alternatively, you can place all 24 rolls on a 9″ x 13″ sheet or baking pan.

    5. COVER the pans and allow the rolls to rise until they’re crowded against one another and quite puffy, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

    6. UNCOVER the rolls and bake them for about 20 minutes. Tent lightly with aluminum foil and bake an additional 5 minutes or so, until the edges of the center bun spring back lightly when you touch it. A digital thermometer inserted into the middle of a center roll should register at least 190°F.

    7. REMOVE the rolls from the oven; brush with melted butter if desired. After a couple of minutes, turn the rolls out of the pan onto a cooling rack.

    8. SERVE warm. Store completely cooled rolls, well-wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.


    Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
    [1] For pumpkin season: pumpkin dinner rolls (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour).

    Classic Dinner Rolls
    [2] Classic dinner rolls. Do you know the 9 different types of dinner rolls? (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour).

    Pumpkin Puree

    [3] Stock up on pumpkin purée: We have a month’s worth of non-pie recipes for it. Here’s more about pumpkin purée from The Kitchn.




    RECIPE: Pumpkin Bacon Grits With Poached Eggs

    Pumpkin Grits
    [1] Fall food: pumpkin grits topped with a poached egg and bacon (photo courtesy Running To The Kitchen).

    Egg Poacher

    Egg Poaching Pan
    [2] What’s your favorite way to poach eggs? We like the evenness that comes from a poaching mold (photo courtesy Home Shopping | IE).

    [3] A poacher for the stovetop (photo courtesy Cooks Standard).


    October marks the beginning of “pumpkin season,” and we’ve got everything from pumpkin milkshakes to pumpkin dinner rolls.

    This recipe, for pumpkin grits, was sent to us by Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs—to whom it was sent by Gina of Running to the Kitchen.

    Says Gina: “These grits are filled with pumpkin spice flavor, studded with salty bacon and topped with a perfectly poached egg. When that runny yolk mixes with the grits, it’s pure fall deliciousness. No syrup is required.”

    Prep time is 5 minutes, total time is 20 minutes.

    If you don’t have grits, substitute Cream Of Wheat or Cream Of Rice.

    Serve your pumpkin grits with an assortment of pumpkin swirl toast, pumpkin English muffins and pumpkin bagels. It’s not too much pumpkin: It’s a pumpkin celebration.

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup grits
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 pasteurized eggs

    1. COMBINE the water, milk, salt, pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium sauce pan. Whisk together and bring to a low boil.

    2. ADD the grits and butter to the boiling mixture, reduce the heat to low, and whisk continuously for about 5-7 minutes, until thickened. While the grits cook, poach the eggs.

    3. TRANSFER the grits to two serving bowls; top with bacon and poached eggs.

    Not everyone has good technique for poaching eggs the classic way: in a pan of simmering water with a spoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to help to keep the whites from spreading.

    Ours spread more than we’d like. So purchased a pan specially fitted with poached egg inserts (photo #3). Works like a charm, although without the silky texture of water-poached eggs.

    We’ve also tried using a microwave poacher (photo #2) and an electric poacher, which creates boiled eggs rather than poached.

    Early on, we tried the individual silicone poaching cups, but found that they tip over too easily.

    What’s your favorite way to poach eggs?



    TIP OF THE DAY: Turkey For July 4th & All Year ‘Round

    Jennie O Oven Ready Turkey

    Jennie-O Oven Ready Turkey

    Sweet Potato Salad

    [1] and [2] Roast turkey is a year-round treat, especially when all you have to do is put a frozen turkey in a bag in the oven (photos courtesy Jennie-O). [3] Sweet potato salad made summery with corn and tomatoes. Here’s the recipe from Averie Cooks.


    June is National Turkey Lover’s Month.

    There are turkey burgers and turkey hot dogs, ground turkey for meatballs or meat loaf, and turkey sandwiches from turkey breast or [far less appealing] turkey roll.

    But the turkey everyone looks forward to is the Thanksgiving turkey (well, except a few folks like our friend Terry’s dad, who doesn’t like poultry).

    So why is a roast turkey on the table only once a year?

    You can have a delicious turkey (photo #1) year-round with very little effort, with an oven-ready frozen turkey from Jennie-O. It’s our best discovery so far this year.

    The turkey comes in a bag with a handle for easy carrying (photo #2). Thanks to whomever thought of this (and other turkey producers, take note).

    Just take the turkey from the freezer, remove the outer bag, and place the frozen turkey, housed in an inner bag, into the oven.

    That’s it: There’s nothing to baste or watch over. It cooks up super-moist and juicy. And clean-up is minimal.

    We received our Jennie-O Oven-Ready Whole Turkey as a sample. We couldn’t believe it would be as easy as described, or produce as good a turkey as the typical frozen turkey, thawed before roasting.

    But it is! Jennie-O has a new customer in us, and we’ll have whole roasted turkey much more often, and soon (see the next section).

    We also will likely forgo our annual heirloom bird at Thanksgiving, because Jennie-O Oven Ready is just too easy to pass up. (And who likes to scrub a roasting pan?)


    We’re having a roast turkey on July 4th. Turkey was almost America’s national bird, after all. As for those burgers, franks, chicken and steaks: We have them all the time. They’re not exactly a celebration.

    There won’t be stuffing or cranberry sauce. We’re making summer sides: sweet potato salad, and a farmers market green salad with a dried cranberry vinaigrette.

    We have three bags of cranberries in the freezer, and are planning cranberry sorbet for dessert.

    Some participants have been asked to bring potluck dishes that complement a summer roast turkey. We know two of them: corn salad and zucchini ribbon “pasta” salad. We can’t wait to see what the others bring!

    Jennie-O Oven Ready Whole Turkey is also available with Cajun seasonings. Both come with a packet of gravy.

    The gravy included with our turkey is not the greatest; but we added Gravy Master, and then bourbon, which helped.

    Truth to tell, the turkey is so moist and flavorful, no gravy is necessary. Or, you can make gravy from the drippings in the bag.

    Don’t like dark meat? Jennie-O offers Oven Ready Turkey Breast options: Bone In, Cajun Bone In, and Boneless.

    Check out the line of Jennie-O turkey products including fresh, natural turkeys; cutlets; franks and brats; burgers and ground meat; tenderloins; sausages; meatballs, bacon; even turkey pot roast!

    Need turkey tips? Visit Jennie-O for:

  • How to Buy a Whole Turkey
  • How to Thaw a Frozen Turkey
  • How to Brine a Turkey
  • How to Marinate a Turkey
  • How to Rub a Turkey
  • How to Cook a Turkey
  • How to Ensure a Juicy Turkey
  • How to Grill a Turkey, Gas Or Charcoal
  • How to Smoke a Turkey
  • How to Carve a Turkey
  • How to Store Leftover Turkey Properly
  • How To Slow Cook A Turkey Breast

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