Don’t freak out. Yes, there is truffle in this dish. No, it’s not scary. Just trust me……
Continuing with my full-on fall obsession, I have a delicious apple-themed dessert for you today.
This ice cream…. gah, it’s so good! Sweet, spicy, creamy. While brainstorming this recipe, I knew I wanted to do something apple-y and definitely spiced up…and I wanted to do an ice cream… somehow, I managed to make it work!
I was nervous at first about this idea. Most people associate cider with being cozy. It’s usually served warm, infused with spices, and sometimes spiked with something more devious. Ice cream isn’t really cozy, per se… But that’s the fun part of cooking! Pushing past the expectations and creating something new. While ice cream may be something that you only want to eat on a hot day (you, crazy person, you), this one conjures up yummy fall food memories. If you really want to keep it cozy, serve this over some hot apple pie or in a glass with some bourbon poured over top. I haven’t actually tried either option, but I’m fairly confident that they would be pretty great. Ice cream and apple pie go together like…well, ice cream and apple pie…duh. And bourbon…well that goes with…er…everything.
I kid, I kid (except not really).
(PS – how many times did I just use the word “cozy”? Five too many? Love me anyway?)
Spiced Apple Cider Ice Cream (makes 1 quart)
2 cups apple cider
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
6 egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of fine salt
2 teaspoons bourbon (or other hard alcohol – it helps keep the ice cream from getting too hard. Alcohol doesn’t fully freeze!)
1. In a medium sauce pot, combine the apple cider, brown sugar, and cinnamon stick. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the apple cider is reduced by roughly half. Remove from heat and discard the cinnamon stick.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Very slowly add about ½ cup of the hot cider mixture to the egg yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. This will temper the yolks and help prevent them from scrambling. Whisk in the milk and heavy cream.
3. Pour the mixture back into the pot and return to medium-low heat, constantly whisking and stirring the mixture. The custard is done once it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon or spatula.
4. Place a heatproof bowl inside a larger bowl filled with ice. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh strainer and into the smaller bowl over ice. Whisk in the vanilla, spices, salt, and bourbon until fully blended.
5. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and then cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep ice cream in an airtight container in the freezer.
Optional Serving Ideas:
- Serve in glasses topped off with chilled bourbon
- Drown in a cup of hot coffee for a delicious morning treat
- Whip it up with some milk and make a delicious milkshake
- Serve à la mode with apple pie
This weekend, Dan and I had some friends over for dinner. It’s not something we do often, but when we do, I want to impress! When trying to come up with the menu, I knew I wanted to do something cozy and comforting. After all, the temperatures are finally starting to drop around here.
I wanted to do a first course of pasta. Something decadent without being so heavy that we couldn’t eat the next course. Then, I remembered these ravioli. I made them last year and we DEVOURED them. I can’t even take how good they are.
They are incredibly easy to make, thanks to the use of wonton wrappers. I have tried my hand at fresh pasta a few times, and while I love it, I definitely think that wonton wrappers are easier to work with for stuffed pastas like ravioli or tortellini. The best part: these can be stuffed and assembled completely ahead. I make them, line them up on a sheet tray, and freeze them. Once frozen, I transfer them to a plastic freezer bag for use whenever! You cook them off and douse them in the amazing butter sauce before serving. OK, maybe “douse” isn’t the right word. DROWN them in the butter sauce, people. I mean, it’s brown butter. I don’t think I can ever get enough of the stuff – clearly, considering that my handful of posts already feature it twice. It’s just so dang good. If you haven’t tried it yet, you absolutely should. It’s good on and in so many things. Especially when tinged with fresh sage and served over SQUASH-FILLED PASTA. To die for.
Hopefully I’m not sounding redundant with all my “yay fall flavors” stuff on the blog so far, but really, that’s just where I am right now. This is the food that I want to eat during this time of year. Sage. Squash. Butter.
OK, so maybe I want to eat those things all the time…but right now is the most acceptable time to do so.
The dinner went off without a hitch, and I think these ravioli may have been the star of the show. Give ‘em a try and you’ll understand why.
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce, Cranberries, & Walnuts
(makes 6 servings)
For the Squash Ravioli:
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
Olive oil, for roasting
Salt and pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon butter
2 large shallots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15-oz) container of whole milk ricotta cheese
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 package wonton wrappers
Egg wash, for sealing the ravioli
For the Brown Butter Sauce:
1 stick of unsalted butter
6-8 sage leaves, left whole
½ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
½ cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. On a foil-lined baking sheet toss together the butternut squash and olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Roast in the oven until soft and golden, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
2. While squash is roasting in oven, heat butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
3. In a food processor, combine the butternut squash, shallot mixture, and ricotta cheese and pulse a few times to blend. Add the spices and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth.
4. To make the ravioli, lay out a few wonton wrappers at a time. Place 1 tablespoon of the squash mixture in the middle of each wrapper. Dip a pastry brush in a little egg wash and wet the edges. Seal the edges and fold over the corners to make more decorative (if desired). Place the formed ravioli on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap until ready to use (or place in freezer and package up in plastic bags once firm).
5. To serve: bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the sage, walnuts and cranberries and let cook until the butter starts to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and allow it to cook for another minute. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper.
6. Gently place the ravioli in the boiling water. Cook until they float to the top, about 3 minutes. Gently spoon the ravioli onto serving dishes and top with the brown butter sauce. Grate fresh Parmesan cheese over the top and serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from here.
I am what one might call a hoarder. A hoarder of recipes, that is. I have hundreds (literally, hundreds) of recipes saved to try “someday.” Many I’ve made, many I’ve not. For some reason, I keep adding onto my collection, rather than working my way through what I already have. I blame my large collection of cookbooks, Pinterest, the Food Network, and my obsession with food blogs. Not that I’m REALLY complaining about having too many food ideas in my head, but sometimes it’s hard to narrow down exactly what you want to try in real life.
This salad is one of the recipes I’ve had saved for a few years now. It’s been on the imaginary “make next” list for MONTHS. And now that I’ve finally made it, I can’t believe I waited this long.
Pears roasted in apple cider? OMG so good. Stuffed with CHEESE? Holy crap. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why I didn’t make these sooner…
Just look at the cheese. Looks kinda like cheese frosting, doesn’t it? Um, ew. Let’s just pretend I didn’t say that.
Anyone else want to eat ONLY that particular piece of the pear? I may have sampled a few of the cheese-only parts….don’t judge me.
The apple cider is mixed with some brown sugar and used as a braising liquid for the pears as they roast. It gets sticky and sweet and almost caramel-y. The cheese filling is a mix of gorgonzola and feta cheeses. If you don’t care for either of them, feel free to swap with something else, but make sure you are using a SHARP cheese for this recipe. The pears and apple cider mixture tend to be very sweet, so you definitely need something sharp and salty to counterbalance it.
Then, serve it over greens! Because greens totally make this healthy, right? That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
RECIPE: (lightly adapted from here)
Roasted Cheese-Stuffed Pears with Arugula, Cranberries, & Walnuts (makes 6 servings)
For the Pears:
3 ripe but firm Bosc pears
Juice of 1 lemon
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 oz gorgonzola cheese
2 oz feta cheese
¼ cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
¼ cup dried cranberries
½ cup apple cider
2 tablespoons brown sugar
For the Dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon
½ cup of the pear basting liquid
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
¼ cup extra-virgin olive-oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Salad:
½ cup toasted walnut halves
½ cup dried cranberries
For the Pears:
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Slice the pears lengthwise into halves and remove the core and seeds from each pear. I used a melon baller to make this easier. Place them in a baking dish and squeeze the lemon juice over top so they do not brown.
2. In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, gorgonzola, and feta, whipping until smooth. Fold in the walnuts and cranberries and season the mixture with salt and pepper. Spoon the filling into each of the wells in the pears, generously filling each one.
3. Whisk together the apple cider and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the mixture over and around the pears and place the baking dish in the oven for 25-35 minutes. Baste the pears with the cider mixture a couple times throughout the baking process. The pears are done when they are fork tender and the filling is lightly brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
For the Dressing:
Whisk together the ingredients until well combined.
Toss the arugula with the dressing and then transfer to a large serving platter. Sprinkle on the walnuts and cranberries and top with the roasted pears. Drizzle more dressing over the top and enjoy!
Hmm. I wonder what other gems I can find in my recipe archives….
In my opinion, pizza is one of the best culinary creations out there. I love the stuff. Thin crust, deep dish, round, square, plain cheese, margherita, pepperoni, Hawaiian, or those even more jacked up than that (one of my current favs: brussel sprout and bacon. Say whaaaaat?). The pizza I’m sharing today is a spin on classic white pizza. It’s cheesy and garlicky, just like one might expect…but I put a twist on it by adding the tang of goat cheese and the sweetness of balsamic vinegar. It’s savory, salty, slightly sweet, and most definitely addicting.
There is a perception out there that pizza dough is difficult to make. I’m here to tell you that it is SO EASY, people. It DOES take some time, and you DO have to invest (cheaply) in a bottle or box of active dry yeast, but once you mix it all together, you can leave it alone and go about your day. It’s a low-maintenance relationship. The yeast does all the work.
Now, I know YEAST may sound like a strange ingredient to a lot of people…but really, it’s essential to tons of common dough recipes: breads, pizza, rolls, coffee cakes, pretzels, and even cinnamon buns. Yup. All yeasty. All delicious.
So, once you’ve gotten over the fact that I just said “yeasty,” try your hand at making pizza dough. The basic gist is that you add the yeast to some warm water sweetened with honey or sugar, allow it to sit until foamy (see above), and then mix it with flour, salt, and olive oil. A little bit of kneading and resting, and you’re done! You’ve got fresh pizza dough! Piece of cake….or…better yet…a piece of pizza!
(To make my life even easier, I use my stand mixer to make pizza dough. It does almost all the mixing and kneading for me.)
Basic Pizza Dough (makes enough for 2 medium pizzas)
2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons honey (or sugar)
1 cup warm water
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups whole-wheat flour*
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for bowl
1. Mix the warm water, honey, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow to sit until foamy and bubbly, about 5 minutes. If this doesn’t happen, you’ve got some bad or “dead” yeast. You’ll have to start over with a fresh container of yeast.
2. In another bowl, whisk together the flours and salt. Turn on the mixer (fitted with the dough hook attachment) and slowly add the flour to the yeast mixture. Keep going until everything is added and then let the mixer run for a few minutes (the dough will be thick).
3. Slowly stream in the olive oil and keep mixing. The dough is ready when it forms a slightly sticky ball and is pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
4. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth, about 30 seconds. Lightly oil the mixer bowl and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and keep in a non-drafty place (I place it in my unheated oven) for 1 hour. The dough will double in volume during this time.
5. Punch down the dough and form into a smooth ball. Divide it in half and place the two pieces of dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover again with a towel. Let rest for another hour.
*You can definitely make this with all white flour, if desired. I choose to add the whole-wheat flour for the added nutrition and nutty flavor it imparts. No matter what you decide, the method is the same.
White Pizza with Goat Cheese, Fresh Mozzarella & Balsamic Glaze
2 balls of pizza dough
6 oz goat cheese, softened
2 oz cream cheese, softened (I use the reduced-fat kind)
3 garlic cloves, grated or pressed (or very finely minced)
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh thyme, for garnish
For the Balsamic Glaze:
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1. For the Pizza: Preheat the oven to 475°F. If using a pizza stone, place in the oven and line a pizza peel with parchment paper or sprinkle with cornmeal. If using baking sheets, lightly oil them. Roll out the dough to your desired thickness. Transfer the dough to the prepared pizza peel or baking sheets by rolling it up on your rolling pin and then unrolling it onto the peel/baking sheets. Drizzle the dough with olive oil. If using the pizza peel/stone method, you will work with one piece of dough at a time. If using the baking sheet method, you can roll them both out simultaneously and put them on separate baking sheets to bake at the same time.
2. In a small bowl, thoroughly mix together the goat cheese, cream cheese, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Add a pinch of salt and freshly grated black pepper. Spread the mixture in a thin layer on the dough, reserving half for the second pizza. Top the goat cheese layer with half of the mozzarella and freshly grated Parmesan and Asiago cheeses. Drizzle everything with a little olive oil.
3. Place the baking sheets in the oven (or using the pizza peel, slide the first pizza onto the preheated pizza stone in the oven). Bake for 15-20 minutes, checking often, or until the pizza crust is crispy and golden on the bottom and the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. Remove from oven and allow to rest for a few minutes.
4. While the pizza is baking, make the balsamic glaze: in a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the balsamic vinegar and sugar together, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes. The vinegar will reduce, thicken, and become syrupy. It should coat the back of a spoon.
5. Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the pizza and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves, as desired. Slice and serve.
This is my very first post (eek!), and it seems apropos to start off with a soup recipe. Soup is one of my most favorite, go-to meals. I make a pot of soup at least once a week. It’s easy. It’s comforting. It can be totally satisfying. AND, in most cases, it requires a bunch of chopping! OK, so that last characteristic is probably only a positive for me…I find chopping vegetables somewhat therapeutic. I know. It’s weird….