Off the Shelf: December Magazines

I (Alaina) was beginning to think we would never get this post up! It’s been just a  little crazy but here it is! We decided to do a cookie theme magazine review and so we each chose a cookie recipe from a few of the December issues. Really most of them had some great ideas for baking and entertaining with the exception of Cooking Light – sadly, it was a disappointing December issue. It lacked the festive inspiration that the other magazines achieved.

Food Network Magazine (Stephanie): This month’s Food Network Magazine is filled with lots of tasty looking recipes! There were several cookie recipes I hope to try like Cappuccino Pinwheels, Double Chocolate Crackles, and Golden Sesame Roll-ups. But I decided to try the Thumbprints. I adapted them very successfully to be gluten-free by using my favorite gf all-purpose flour mix and adding 1/2 tsp xanthan gum. They are like tiny butter cookies with a jam center.

THUMBPRINTS
(from Food Network Magazine, Dec. 2010)
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2 c. all-purpose flour (for gf: use scant 2 c. gf all-purpose mix + 1/2 tsp xanthan gum)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Assorted jams (orange, raspberry, strawberry, apricot), for filling
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add half the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Knead a few times by hand to bring the dough together.

Roll teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and place about 1/2 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Make an indentation in the center of each ball with a small measuring spoon or the back of a pen. Fill each indentation with jam (a scant 1/8 tsp).

Bake until the edges of the cookies are goldent, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool 2 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioner’s sugar, if desired. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

 

 Saveur (Stephanie): These naturally gluten-free cookies, with the intriguing name of Basler Brunsli, are delicious! A specialty Christmas cookie from Northern Switzerland that apparently date from as far back as the Medieval times.  They reminded me of chocolate gingerbread or chocolate molasses cookies, though they have neither ginger nor molasses. I imagine these might become a Christmas tradition at our house!

BASLER BRUNSLI (Chocolate Almond Spice)
(from Saveur Magazine, Dec. 2010)
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8 oz whole blanched almonds
1 1/2 c. sugar, plus more for rolling
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cloves
2 egg whites, lightly beaten

Combine almonds and sugar in food processor and pulse to grind.  Add chocolate and pulse. Add spices and egg whites and pulse to form a dough.

Place dough between two pieces of parchment paper sprinkled with sugar. Roll to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out into desired shape. Place 1-inch apart on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Dry for 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Bake for 12-15 minutes until slightly puffed.

Everday Food (Alaina) – This is just such a great little magazine and the December issue is no exception. They had many tasty recipes and on the cookie recipe, I would love to try the Gingerbread Trees w/Lemon Icing (I was out of molasses and thus didn’t get them made!). Spiced Cupcakes w/Citrus Glaze, Moroccan Chicken and Rice w/Chickpeas, Baked Tortellini w/Bacon, Grapefruit-White Wine Sparkler and Antipasti Pizza are a few of the other recipes that looked delicious!

I finally settled on the Holiday Shortbread Cookies – the chocolate variety. They were quite good and a little different. The coarse salt definitely goes with the popular salted chocolate (and caramel) flavors. Personally, I would have decreased the salt by 1/2 tsp. and added 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract. That aside, these were buttery, chocolatey, and addictive. They were perfectly crisp and looked pretty – I dusted them with powdered sugar for serving.

HOLIDAY SHORTBREAD COOKIES – Everyday Food, December 2010
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1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
2 c. flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
6 oz. finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/3 c. coarse or sanding sugar (optional), for decorating

In food processor, combine butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt. Process until smooth. Add flour and cocoa and pulse just until combined. Add chocolate and process until combined. From dough into an 8-inch round or square log; wrap tightly in plastic and freeze until firm, 30 minutes (or up to 1 month).

Preheat oven to 350 with racks in upper and lower thirds. Cut dough into 1/4 inch thick slices. Dip edges in sugar if desired and transfer to two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges. 15-18 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cookies cool 5 minutes on sheets. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Wrap cookies tightly with plastic and keep at room temperature up to 1 week.

Bon Appetit (Alaina) – It should come as no suprise that I really like this issue. I recently renewed by subscription to Bon Appetit for the next three years – it was a great deal and I have loved pretty much all of the recipes we’ve tried! I would love to tell you that I made the cake on the cover  (it’s gorgeous!) but alas, it has not made it’s way into my kitchen yet. 🙂 I did try the Curried Lentil Soup which will post about next week – yum!

This issue has some great looking recipes like Beet & Tangerine Salad w/Cranberry Dressing, Spinach Parmesan Souffle, Spicy Shrimp Quesadilla, Lamb Pita Sandwiches w/Kiwi Yogurt, & Double Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies. I made the Lemon Sugar Cookies and they are super easy, pretty, and absolutely delicious! They will definitely be made again. I was impressed with the simplicity of the ingredients and yet each ingredient adds so much flavor and texture. If you like lemon, you will really enjoy these!

LEMON SUGAR COOKIES – Bon Appetit, December 2010
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3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
Colored sugar crystals or nonpareils

Using electric mixer, beat first 6 ingredients in large bowl. Beat in flour. Cover; chill dough until firm but not hard, about 2 hours (I actually made them right away and they worked just fine!).

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 2 large rimmed baking sheets with nonstick spray. Pour sugars or nonpareils into separate bowls. Working with moistened hands and 1 level tablespoon at a time, shape dough into balls. Roll balls in colored sugars to coat; arrange on sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Using bottom of glass or measuring cup, flatten each cookie to 2-inch round.

Bake cookies until golden on bottom, about 14 minutes. Cool on rack. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight.

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Baker’s Delight: Pie

(Alaina) This past week, my November Martha Stewart Living arrived – it’s a new subscription for me. The cover had delicious looking pies. So when I wanted to try a new pie to suggest for the blog, I turned to this issue. I selected the Pear Streusel which is actually a pear and cranberry pie. It is fabulous. Perfect balance of flavors – sweet and tart.

PEAR STREUSEL PIE
(Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, November 2010)
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1 recipe single pie crust

FOR THE CRANBERRY SAUCE
6 oz. fresh or thawed frozen cranberries (1 1/2 cups )
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

FOR THE STREUSEL TOPPING
1 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. packed light-brown sugar (I did a little less)
3/4 c. old-fashioned oats
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Coarse salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

FOR THE FILLING
1 1/2 lb. firm, ripe pears, such as Bosc or Bartlett, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1/4 c. granulated sugar
Coarse salt
2 Tb. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Make the crust: Roll out dough to a 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Crimp edges. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the cranberry sauce: Bring cranberries, granulated sugar, water, and cinnamon to a simmer in a pot. Cook until cranberries are tender and start to burst and sauce is thick, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make the streusel: Whisk together flour, brown sugar, oats, ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until combined and mixture resembles coarse meal with some large pieces remaining. Refrigerate.

Make the filling: Mix together pears, granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, the flour, and lemon juice. Stir in cooled cranberry sauce.

Transfer filling to crust; top with streusel. Bake until filling is bubbling in the center and top is golden, about 1 hour and 10-20 minutes. Let cool.

(Stephanie) As requested, I’m sharing my pumpkin pie recipe,which is actually my mom’s recipe. When I made this pie, I made a gluten-free pie crust. This was my first venture into gluten-free pies and I was happy with the recipe I found in The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook by Annalise Roberts.

MOM’S PUMPKIN PIE
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1 9-inch pie crust (unbaked)
16-oz can pumpkin
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1-1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2-1 tsp ginger
1/4-1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4-1/2 tsp cloves
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 c. evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 425°. Prepare pie crust and set aside.

Thoroughly combine pumpkin, sugar, salt, and spices. Blend the eggs and evaporated milk into the pumpkin mixture.

Pour into pie shell. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes.  Then decrease oven to 350° and bake for 35-45 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

TRADITIONAL PIE CRUST
(from The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook)
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1 c. + 2 Tbsp Brown Rice Flour Mix*
2 Tbsp sweet rice flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces (don’t use margarine)
1 large egg
2 tsp orange juice or lemon juice

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the flours, sugar, xanthan gum and salt. Add the butter and mix until the mixture is crumbly and resembles a coarse meal.

Add the egg and orange juice. Mix on low speed until the dough holds together; it should not be sticky. Form the dough into a ball using your hands and place on a sheet of wax paper. Top with a second sheet of wax paper and flatten the dough into a 1-inch thickness. Roll out the dough (if it seems tacky, refrigerate for 15 minutes). Remove top wax paper and invert into 9-inch pie pan. Remove second sheet of wax paper and crimp the edges. Fill with desired filling.

Makes 1 9-inch pie crust.

*Brown Rice Flour Mix: 2 c. Brown rice flour; 2/3 c. Potato starch (not potato flour!); 1/3 c. Tapioca flour.

Here are some previous ideas!
Rustic Apple Tart
Cranberry Blueberry Pie
French Silk Pie
Cranberry Chess Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin White Chocolate Cheesecake

Gluten-free Walnut & Pecan Tart

Thanksgiving Sides: Part 2

(Alaina) This potato side dish is decadent and rich. Definitely a recipe that is reserved for special occasions and holidays but totally worth the caloric splurge! This is also adapted from Bon Appetit (can you see a theme this week – AWESOME recipes in the November issue!). Mmmm, delicious.

POTATO GRATIN w/MUSHROOMS
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1/4 c. olive oil
2 c. finely chopped leeks (white and green parts only; about 2 large)
1  lb. 1/2-inch cubes assorted mushrooms (I used shitake and baby bellas)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 c. coarsely grated Gruyère or Swiss cheese

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks; sauté until soft and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté until soft and liquid evaporates, 7 to 8 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Pat potato slices dry with kitchen towel. Combine cream, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in large pot. Add potatoes. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid; simmer until cream is reduced by about half and potatoes are partially cooked, stirring often and watching closely to prevent mixture from burning, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Brush 13x9x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with oil. Transfer half of potato mixture to dish, spreading out in even layer. Spoon mushroom mixture over in even layer. Spoon remaining potato mixture over, spreading in even layer. Sprinkle cheese over. Cover with foil, tenting in center to prevent cheese from sticking to foil. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until potatoes are tender and top is brown, 20 to 25 minutes longer. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

(Stephanie) I had a half a loaf of gluten-free bread on hand, so I decided to try out a stuffing recipe from the November issue of Everyday Food. The nuts and mushrooms added a subtle, but pleasing taste and texture.

MUSHROOM AND WALNUT STUFFING
(from Everyday Food, November 2010)
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2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large yellow onions, diced small
3 celery stalks, diced medium (about 2 c.)
salt and pepper
10 oz cremini or button mushrooms, diced small
2 Tbsp fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1/2 c. dry white wine
1 c. toasted walnuts, roughly chopped (I used pecans)
1 loaf crusty white bread, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (8 c.), left uncovered overnight or toasted (can use gf bread)
1- 1 1/2 c. chicken broth
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and celery; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, 5-7 minutes; transfer to a large bowl. Add 1 Tbsp oil, mushrooms, and sage to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, until wine is almost evaporated. Transfer to bowl with vegetables; add walnuts, cubed bread, and enough chicken broth to moisten (stuffing should feel moist, not soggy). Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.

Add eggs to bread mixture and toss well to combine. Reserve up to 4 c. for stuffing turkey, if desired.  Spoon mixture into lightly oiled baking dish.  Preheat oven to 400°, with rack in upper third. Bake uncovered, until golden brown on top, about 30 minutes.

Here are some ideas from previous posts!
Sweet Potato & Cranberry Stuffing
Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish
Cranberry Sauce
Gluten-free Cornbread Sausage Stuffing

Market Fresh: Sweet Potatoes

Well, this post will kick-off a week full of Thanksgiving recipes. We will be providing a couple of new recipes each day as well as linking back to other great ideas from last year! All of the posts will be collaborative. We are so excited!

Sweet Potatoes are so versatile. They have good nutritional value and our whole family enjoys them! We eat them all fall and winter but we especially like them around the holidays. Today we are offering three different types of recipes.

Both of my (Alaina) recipes are from this month’s Bon Appetit. They were both fabulous. The first is Sweet Potato Biscuits. These were only sweetened with maple syrup and the recipe is actually gluten free. I did not have gluten free flour so I used regular which worked just fine. The pecans were a wonderful addition – the texture and the flavor.

GLUTEN-FREE SWEET POTATO BISCUITS
(Bon Appetit, November 2010)
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1 large red-skinned sweet potato (yam; about 1 1/4 pounds), pierced with fork
1 1/3 cups gluten-free flour plus additional
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup Grade B maple syrup
1/2 cup pecans, toasted, chopped

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line baking sheet with parchment. Microwave potato until tender, about 6 minutes per side. Halve; scoop out 1 cup flesh. Cool. Blend 1 1/3 cups flour and next 3 ingredients in processor. Add butter; pulse to coarse meal. Add potato, buttermilk, and syrup; process to blend. Add nuts; pulse to blend.

Sprinkle dough with flour. Pat into 8 1/2-inch square. Cut into 16 biscuits. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes.

This next recipe is a Sweet Potato Pudding – perfect for your Thanksgiving celebration! The gingersnap, pecan topping provides a wonderful balance of crunch and sweet. I would have added just a little more half and half or milk to make this slightly creamier. Overall, we loved this!

SWEET POTATO PUDDING w/GINGERSNAP & PECAN TOPPING
(Bon Appetit, November 2010)
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Topping:
3/4 cup coarsely chopped gingersnaps
1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

Pudding:
3 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams; about 3 large), scrubbed
3/4 cup half and half
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
4 large egg yolks
5 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Toss first 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Add butter; using fingertips, rub in until well blended. Cover; chill. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.Preheat oven to 400°F. Roast potatoes on baking sheet until tender, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool. Cut in half lengthwise. Scoop flesh into bowl; mash. Transfer 4 cups potatoes to large bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature before continuing.Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Add half and half and next 5 ingredients to potatoes. Using mixer, beat on low speed until blended. Season with salt and pepper. Add yolks 1 at a time, blending after each addition. Using clean dry beaters, beat whites in another large bowl until foamy. Add salt and cream of tartar. Beat until peaks form. Fold whites into potatoes; spoon into dish. Sprinkle with topping.

Bake pudding until puffed and brown, about 45 minutes. Serve immediately.

The other evening I (Stephanie) realized I needed to make something for Jeremy to take to work the next day and I need to use ingredients I had on hand, chicken and sweet potatoes.  Browsing online I found a chicken and sweet potato stew recipe from a blog.  I adapted the recipe significantly, but the result was a deliciously spiced and warming stew.  Jeremy, not always a sweet potato lover, happily ate leftovers the following day.

CHICKEN SWEET POTATO STEW
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1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-in. cubes
2 slices bacon
1 Tbsp butter
olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried sage
1 bay leaf
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-in cubes
3 carrots sliced in 1/4-in rounds
2 ribs of celery, diced
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
3 c. chicken broth
1 c. milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat and brown the chicken with the bacon. Remove the chicken and set aside. Remove the bacon and dice.

Add a little more olive oil along with the onion, celery, thyme, sage, and diced bacon. Saute until the onion and celery are tender. Add garlic and saute until fragrant.

Add the chicken, sweet potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, chicken broth, milk, bay leaf, salt and pepper.

Simmer for 20-25 minutes until vegetables are cooked and fork tender. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed. Remove the bay leaf. Enjoy.

Off the Shelf: November Magazines

It’s that time again – the holiday magazines are arriving packed with recipes and ideas! I’ve browsed my issues several times – folded the corners down, made shopping lists, and decided which recipes to try. My favorite of all the magazines – by far – Bon Appetit. I have many recipes that I want to try and it was tough narrowing it down. You will definitely be seeing more recipes from this issue here on TCND before Thanksgiving. Of note – Midwest Living, Saveur, Everyday Food, & Cook’s Illustrated were also lovely issues this month!

Bon Appetit (Alaina) – Like last year, this issue provides several variations of things like potatoes, cranberries, stuffing, turkey and more. They provide menu ideas for various types of Thanksgivings and even include a vegetarian menu. I especially like (it is perhaps my favorite feature) the helpful tips on what can be prepared ahead and how to time your meal. Ths issue boasts 115 recipes and techniques. You are sure to find dishes to suit your menu and palate.

With recipes like Sweet & Spicy Cranberry Sauce, Vanilla-Spiced Caramel & Pear Tart, Roast Turkey Breast w/Potatoes, Green Beans & Mustard Pan Sauce (Thanksgiving all in on dish!), Maple-Braised Butternut Squash w/Fresh Thyme, and Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges w/Smoked Chile Cream, it was a tough choice. I decided on Sauteed Shredded Brussels Sprouts w/Smoked Ham & Toasted Pecans. I picked it partly because I have a mostly negative relationship with brussels sprouts – something about the texture and so I was eager to try them shredded. They were quite good and I would actually make them again. The smoky flavor of the ham was a wonderful addition and the texture was entirely different. Next week I’m going to share another recipe from this issue that I loved even more!

Sauteed Shredded Brussels Sprouts w/Smoked Ham & Toasted Pecans
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2 pounds brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/4-inch-thick slices smoked ham (about 6 ounces), coarsely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
2/3 cup low-salt chicken broth
Coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup pecans, toasted, chopped

Trim root ends from brussels sprouts. Using sharp knife or processor fitted with coarse shredding disk, thinly slice brussels sprouts into shreds. DO AHEAD Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.Melt butter with olive oil in large deep skillet over medium heat. Add ham; sauté until golden, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds. Add brussels sprouts and broth; sauté until crisp-tender but still bright green, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with coarse salt and black pepper. Transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle with pecans.

Food Network Magazine (Alaina) – This issue is also quite festive and is packed with lots of recipes. The pull-out section is 50 different stuffing variations which include traditional stuffing, cornbread stuffing, and rice stuffing. They look so good and I plan to pick one to try for our Thanksgiving (did I mention that I will be hosting my very first full Thanksgiving meal?). Food Network does a great job of including side dish ideas and quick dinners in every issue and this one is no exception. The pooled talents of so many great chefs makes for an interesting and diverse magazine.

There were many recipes that sounded wonderful – some holiday and some every day – Chocolate-Toffee Pecan Tart, Endive & Blue Cheese Salad, Parker House Rolls, Butternut, Arugula, & Pine Nut Salad, Spicy Cumin Fries, and Thai Chicken Soup are just a few. Bobby Flay shares a Macaroni & Cheese that I’m pretty sure is amazing. 🙂

I made the Stuffed Baby Bellas. These are great appetizers – the recipe says it will serve 4 but I’m pretty sure 2/person would be an appropriate starter size so you can count on it feeding at least 8. The recipe made too much filling so you can either halve it, make meatballs with the leftover (that’s what I did), or buy more mushroom caps. The lemon zest and fennel made for a bright and flavorful filling. Overall, we really liked these.

STUFFED BABY BELLAS
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16 baby portabella mushrooms (creminis)
1 pound ground chicken or turkey breast
1 teaspoon fennel seed, 1/3 palmful
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
1 lemon, zested
1 cup shredded asiago cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, a couple handfuls
1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and wrung dry in a clean kitchen towel
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
1/4 cup pine nuts or chopped almonds

Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth. Remove the stems and finely chop them. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, fennel seed, onion, garlic, lemon zest, half of the cheese, the chopped mushroom stems, breadcrumbs and spinach and season with salt and pepper. Brush lightly with EVOO and stuff the mixture into the caps.

Arrange the caps on a rimmed baking sheet or in a baking dish. Leave some room around each mushroom to prevent the caps from getting steamy. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and the nuts on the caps and transfer to the oven. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.

Every Day with Rachael Ray (Stephanie) – This issue was, in my very humble opinion, quite a disappointment. There were a few recipes that sounded promising, like Potato Cake with Bacon, Sour Cream and Apples or Penne with Bacon, Butternut Squash and Spinach. And I even tried a couple recipes, Roast Mushrooms and Kale over Mashed Sweet Potatoes (not worth making!) and Chipotle-Barbecue Chicken. But, if you’re looking for good Thanksgiving ideas, look somewhere else. Other than four different ways to cook a turkey and small section of unusual side dishes, this issue evokes little Thanksgiving cheer.


CHIPOTLE BARBEQUE CHICKEN
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Serves 4

6 Tbsp butter
6 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
¼ c. chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
¼ c. ketchup
3 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
8 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)

Preheat the oven to 425°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

In a deep skillet, heat 3 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a small bowl. Add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the chipotle chiles in a adobo sauce to the skillet. Add the ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Using tongs, coat the chicken in the sauce and place skin side up on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Cooking Light (Stephanie) — This issue was packed with lots of yummy looking recipes Broccoli Slaw with Oranges and Crunch Noodles, Apple and Cranberry Turkey Roulade (which I hope to try!), Egg Nog, Pecan Spice Cake with ample Frosting. There is also a 50-page holiday cooking section divided up by appetizers, sides, main dishes, desserts, etc. 

Although there were many recipes I considered making, I decided on Apple Kuchen. I thought it was a bit of work for the result, but my husband declared them delicious. I altered the recipe to make it gluten free, as well as cut back the sugar by about a 1/3 of a cup.

APPLE KUCHEN
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3 Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 c. sugar, divided
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt, divided
6.75 ounces (about 1 1/2 c.) all-purpose flour or all-purpose gluten free + 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 c. butter, softened and divided
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 c. nonfat buttermilk
1/2 c. chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 c. apricot preserves
2 tsp apple juice

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine apples and lemon juice, toss. Add 1/4 c. sugar, cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp salt. Toss to combine.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, the remaining 1/4 tsp salt, and baking powder in a bowl, stirring well (if making gf, add xanthan gum here). Place remaining 3/4 c. sugar, 6 Tbsp butter, and cream cheese in a bowl; beat with a mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating well. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined. Stir in walnuts.

Scrape batter into a greased 13×9-inch metal baking pan. Arrange apples over the batter. Melt remaining butter; brush over apples. Bake for 45 minutes until set.

Combine apricot preserves and apple juice; microwave on high for 30 seconds or until meltd, stirring once. Brush over apples; cool. Cut into 15 squares.