Monday, November 7, 2011

Maple Butternut Squash Puree

3 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 tsp salt

Steam butternut squash in a large pot with steamer insert until tender, about 15-17 minutes. Reserve cooking liquid. Transfer squash to food processor, add syrup, butter and salt and blend. This with cooking liquid as desired.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Devon's Cooking...Award-Winning Butternut Squash Chili

Award-winning? What award, Devon? The International Chili Society's Annual Cookoff? The Chili Appreciation Society International Cookoff?

Well, hmmm... no, nothing so elementary as those cookoffs. Today, I placed second (out of two entries, but, hey, I got me a medal!) in the 2nd Annual Grossmont College Chili Cook-off! Kudos to our President for whipping up a mean soy-rizo chili to beat my chili down, but I heard some good thoughts about my Butternut Squash Chili, as well. I also made this for 3 hungry men (and Ronna and Jen and I) on Sunday and made football-watchin' guys pretty happy and satiated... so this chili satisfies!


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped red bell pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 pound) (you can buy this pre-cut at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods...much easier!)
2 16 oz. cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn
1 teaspoon salt
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained
3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled queso fresco

Directions: Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic; cover and cook 5 minutes or until tender. Add chili powder and cumin; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Place onion mixture in a 5-quart electric slow cooker. Add butternut squash and next 6 ingredients (through chiles). Cover and cook on low 8 hours or until vegetables are tender and chili is thick. Sprinkle with cheese.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Devon's Cooking...A Soup-Stravaganza!

We San Diegans are pretty unfamiliar with the wet stuff that comes out of the sky elsewhere around the globe... but every now and again, San Diego gets a deluge of rain that rocks our world a little bit. Last week was our rainy season (one week of rain... I know, I know-- we've lived in Denver, we've lived in Boston, we should be grateful for one week of rain. But we're spoiled now!) and I'm a firm believer that there's nothin' better on a cold and rainy day than a nice hot bowl of soup. So last week was Soup-Stravaganza at the Atchison house. We had Pumpkin Soup (yum!) and grilled veggie panins and then, later in the week, we had Portuguese Caldo Verde soup (potatoes, kale and turkey sausage). These soups hit the spot!

1 spray(s) olive oil cooking spray, or enough to coat pot
1 medium onion(s), coarsely chopped
15 oz canned pumpkin
3 1/2 cup(s) fat-free chicken broth
15 1/2 oz canned white beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 tsp ground oregano
1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste
6 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS: Coat a large soup pot with cooking spray and set over medium-low heat. Add onion, cover and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Stir in pumpkin, broth, beans and oregano; simmer 8 minutes. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth and then season with salt and pepper. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top each with 1 tablespoon of grated cheese. Yields about 1cup per serving.

1/2 pound turkey sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
6 cups water
1 pound kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves very thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS: Heat cooking spray in a 5-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat and brown sausage, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Re-spray the pot with cooking spray and cook onion and garlic with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper over medium heat, stirring often, until browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Add potatoes, water, and 1 teaspoon salt and simmer, covered, until potatoes are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Mash some potatoes into soup to thicken, then add kale and simmer, uncovered, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in sausage and cook until just heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Devon's Cooking...Homemade Ravioli with Ricotta, Sage and Pepper Butter

As you may have read a few blog posts back, my pasta machine was having some issues back in August... such bad issues, in fact, that I had hung my machine up, so to speak (not strung it up, which is what I would've liked to do the night it started acting up!) But I have been feeling that little glimmering under the surface of a desire to bring it back down from its shelf of exile and give it another shot.

The perfect opportunity arose when we had the Davies and the Heavys over for dinner last Friday night. Ronna is a vegetarian (or maybe she's a pescatarian, but I didn't want to screw up and try to feed her something she wouldn't eat?), so I wanted to come up with something delicious and veg.... and thus realized that ravioli would be the perfect way to go. Having failed at homemade pasta before, however, I was reticent to get back on the horse (sorry, this is the blog post of mixed metaphors. I was up at 4:00 this morning making chili-- see the chili blog post above). So I turned to the most trusted Austrian for some advice. Wolfgang, oh slinger of gourmet woodfired pizzas and funny sounding restaurants in Los Angeles, you have never failed me and this was no exception! The ravioli turned out amazing. The secret, as dear Mr. Puck advised, was to run the dough through the machine 3 different times, each time folding it in thirds, crosswise. I shall never fear the pasta machine again!!

1.5 cups flour
1.5 cups semolina flour
8 large egg yolks
1 tsp salt
1 tsp. olive oil
4-6 TBSP water

Directions: In a food processor, mix teh flours, yolks, salt, oil and 2 TBSP of the water. Process until the dough begins to stick together, gradually add 1 TBSP of water at a time, until the dough forms into a moist ball. Move the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rise at room temp for about 1 hour. When dough has rested, cut it into sections (keep unused sections wrapped in plastic wrap) and run through the rollers (about 3 times, folding the dough crosswise into thirds each time). For the ravioli, you'll roll out long strips of pasta that are about 4 feet or so long.


1 cup Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
2 egg yokls
1/2 tsp kosher salt
pinch of pepper
1 cup goat cheese
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp chopped fresh sage (about 8 leaves)
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme

Directions: Mix all ingredients in food processor until well-combined. Cover and refrigerate. To make the tortellini, take your pasta strips, brush with egg wash (2 eggs and 2 TBSP water beaten together), then place a spoonful of the ricotta mixture in the center of the dough. Fold the dough in half to cover the ricotta and push down around each ricotta mound to push out all air bubbles. Cut around the mounds using either a 2-inch cookie cutter or a ravioli stamp. To cook, drop into boiling water for 5 minutes (you'll need to cook this in 3 batches).

For the Sage and Pepper Butter sauce:
1.5 sticks unsalted butter
pinch of salt
freshly ground pepper
2 fresh sage leaves

Directions: In a small saucepan, melt the butter over meidum heat, add salt, pepper and sage and cook until the butter is golden brown. Keep it warm while you finish cooking the tortellini. To serve, drizzle the brown butter over the tortellini, grate fresh parmesan on top and top with a decorative sage leaf. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Devon's Cooking...Turkey with Cranberries and Brussel Sprouts

As I said in an earlier post, it's family-stravaganza for the Hansen clan this week. I saw Heather on Friday and Sunday and this Friday we're making pasta with Tim, Sarah and Josh (recipe to follow) and heading to my mom and dad's house for pre-Thanksgiving dinner, since none of us will be together on the actual holiday. We are going to spend the real Thanksgiving with Dave's grandparents and aunt and uncle... in short, our families might get really sick of us after the holiday season is over! And, as my mom warned me tonight, we might get sick of turkey. Turkey on pre-Thanksgiving, turkey on Thanksgiving, leftover Thanksgiving turkey, turkey sandwiches every day for lunch (that doesn't really have anything to do with Thanksgiving; I just always eat turkey sandwiches for lunch)...and we had turkey tonight! We're crazy for turkey (that's the triptophane talking)!

This was part of the trifecta of deliciousness from Bon Appetit and Dave (strange husband that he is) has been CRAVING brussel sprouts (weirdo)... so it seemed to be a perfect recipe. And, I have to say, it turned out pretty great-- not too brussel-sprouty (actually they tasted really, really good) and otherwise a wonderful homage to Thanksgiving dinner.

1 to 1 1/4 pounds turkey breast cutlets
All purpose flour
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 large shallot, sliced
8 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed, quartered through root end
3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
1/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
11/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon butter

Directions: Place cutlets in a large Ziploc bag and pour in 2 tsp of the olive oil; shake to coat turkey in olive oil. Sprinkle cutlets with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Lightly dredge cutlets with flour, shaking off any excess. Spray a heavy large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add cutlets to skillet and sauté until cooked through and golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to platter; tent with foil to keep warm.

Add remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil to same skillet. Add shallot; stir until beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add brussels sprouts, broth, cranberries, and sage; cover and cook until brussels sprouts are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in vinegar. Add butter; stir until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon brussels sprout mixture over turkey cutlets and serve.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Devon's Cooking...Barley, Mushrooms and Kale Stew

As you know, we went to the Chargers game on Sunday... while it was REALLY warm during the tailgate, it definitely got a little chilly up in our seats (maybe because we're still pretty high up? Closer to the clouds, closer to the cold? Or perhaps it was the chilly attitudes of the Philly fans, bitter that the Chargers were scoring from the red zone for once?). At any rate, by the time we got home, I was sweatshirt-ed and ready for something warm and toasty to enjoy while we watched the Patriots make a terrible 4th quarter, 4th down decision.

Bon Appetit was ON FIRE this month with 3 healthy and delicious-sounding recipes on one page! I decided to make the Barley, Mushroom and Kale stew to warm us up on Sunday night... it was delish!

1 1/2 cups chopped leeks (about 2 small stalks; white and pale green parts only)
1 8-ounce container sliced crimini (baby bella) mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup pearl barley
4 cups (or more) vegetable broth
1 bunch kale (about 8 ounces), trimmed, center stalks removed, leaves coarsely chopped (about 8 cups packed)

Spray cooking spray into a heavy large pot and heat over medium heat. Add leeks; sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until leeks begin to soften, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic, and rosemary; increase heat to medium-high and sauté until mushrooms soften and begin to brown, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice; stir 1 minute. Add barley and 4 cups broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until barley is almost tender, about 20 minutes. Add kale; stir until wilted, about 1 minute. Cover and simmer until kale and barley are tender, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls as needed for desired stew consistency, about 10 minutes.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Devon's Cooking...Carne Asada

Given that the holidays are now just around the corner, it's no surprise that the last week and the coming weeks are going to be family-filled! This past week, Heather and Bubba came down for the day to hang out in San Diego. While Heather got her hair done, I got to hang out with Derek-- we made a pretty amazing obstacle course with bed-jumping, somersaults and adventure rolled into one!

And then, on Sunday, Heather and Jeremy came down with Stacy Coleman (I know it's King now, but she'll always be Stacy Coleman to me!) and her husband James for the Chargers game. While they brought the most important part of any tailgate (beer), and some of Jeremy's DELICIOUS guac (you'll have to ask him for the recipe), Dave and I brought chicken marinated in Uncle Dougie's (the best wing sauce ever) and made carne asada, which turned out pretty amazing (nicely done, Dave!).

3 punds flank steak
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 limes, juiced (you can also use the squeezy lime juice that comes in the squeezy lime-looking bottles full of "fresh" lime juice)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika

Directions: Mix all ingredients together in a large tupperware container. Add in an equal amount of water (this will dilute the marinade, but that's what you want to do!). Score the flank steak (make shallow knife cuts all over the meat) and add into the marinade; marinate overnight. Grill to desired doneness and enjoy!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Devon's Cooking... Healthy Fish & Chips

I think that Dave and I are both fat kids at heart. We love pretty much all food and we often enjoy those delicious, but guilty pleasures like desserts, burgers, pasta, and fried goodness. In particular, we're partial to fish & chips... if I had my way (and a magical metabolism, a heart that could fend off heart disease and arteries that could resist the blocking qualities of fryin' oil) we would eat at Tin Fish (in downtown San Diego) weekly.

But in the absence of a magical metabolism, I always like to look for ways to enjoy our guilty pleasures without suffering from the guilt part (or the fat adult-ness that comes along with the guilt). Accordingly, tonight I made a much healthier version of fish and chips and though it didn't have quite the same crunch of a perfectly-fried piece of fish, it hit the spot!

4 spray(s) olive oil cooking spray
1/4 tsp table salt, or more to taste (enough for potatoes and fish)
1/4 tsp black pepper, or to more taste (enough for potatoes and fish)
1/4 cup(s) fat-free skim milk
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1 cup(s) fresh bread crumbs
20 oz raw tilapia
16 oz potato(es), peeled and cut into 8 wedges each

Directions: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat 2 large baking sheets with cooking spray.
Place potato wedges on one baking sheet and lightly coat with cooking spray; season to taste with salt and pepper. Bake until golden brown and tender, about 45 minutes.
Whisk milk and mustard together in a shallow dish. Place bread crumbs in another shallow dish and put flour in a third shallow dish. Season both sides of fish with salt and pepper. Place fish in flour and turn to coat. Place fish in milk mixture and turn to coat. Place fish in bread crumbs and turn to coat. Transfer fish to second prepared baking sheet and lightly coat with cooking spray. Bake fish until fork-tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve fish and potato wedges with vinegar on the side. Yields 1 fillet, 4 potato wedges and 1 tablespoon of vinegar per serving.

Devon's Cooking...Bridal Shower Apps

It's hard to believe that Ronna and Heav's wedding is almost here! Only 2 more weeks before we all head to Tahoe to celebrate (this will be Dave and my 8th wedding this year, so we'll also be celebrating the end to Wedding Madness 2009!). While the guys were in Newport for Heavy's bachelor party, the gals were a little classier. The FBT crew, Trish (though she's part of the FBT crew now, if you ask me!), Janine, Stephanie, Heavy's mom Nancy and Ronna's mom Lynn all came to Anna's house for a lovely little bridal shower.

I thought this would be a fun time to try my hand at some appetizers and I might have gone overboard a little (we had WAY too much food, between my apps and the amazing stuff that everyone else brought!), but it was fun to put together a few different things! After much thought, and a slight time-crunch (I was in San Jose at a conference until late Friday night), I decided to make Marinated Feta-stuffed Cherry Tomatoes, Black Bean and Corn Salad (1 can of Black Beans, 1 can of corn, 1 red onion chopped, salt and pepper to taste, 1 jar chunky salsa), Avocado, Bacon and Bleu Cheese bites (these didn't taste that good, though, so no recipe will follow on that one), Gorgonzola Bites, Chipotle Cream Cheese-stuffed Endive, and Mini Provolone Popovers. These were all fun and pretty easy to make, though be sure to buy the biggest cherry tomatoes you can find if you decide to make the Feta-Stuffed Tomatoes. My cherry tomatoes were more like grape tomatoes so scooping out the pulp of each one took FOREVER!

Cherry Tomatoes stuffed with marinated feta (double)
1 7- to 8-ounce package feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for drizzling
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 pound large cherry tomatoes
12 pitted Kalamata olives, halved lengthwise

Directions: Toss cubed feta, oil, shallot, and oregano in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Cut 12 tomatoes crosswise in half. Scoop out tomato pulp with melon baller or small spoon. Place tomatoes, cut side up, on serving plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stuff hollowed cherry tomatoes with marinated feta. Slide in olive half alongside cheese. Drizzle with additional olive oil.

1 sheet frozen puff pastry
4 oz. gorgonzola, crumbled
Fresh ground pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Let puff pastry stand at room temp (about 30 mins). Scatter cheese over pastry, grind pepper. Drape plastic wrap over pastry and gently roll over wrap with rolling pin to press cheese into pastry. Peel off wrap and cut into 1-inch squares (40 portions). Transfer to ungreased baking sheets, bake about 25 minutes, let cool before serving.

4 oz fat-free cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup(s) roasted red peppers, water-packed, blotted dry, finely diced
3 Tbsp scallion(s), thinly sliced
3 Tbsp cilantro, fresh, chopped (plus extra leaves for garnish)
2 tsp canned chipotle sauce
1/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
3 small head(s) endive, Belgian (about 24 leaves)

Directions: In a small bowl, stir together cream cheese, roasted peppers, scallions, cilantro, chipotle sauce, salt and cumin until blended. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 1 day). When ready to serve, spoon about 1 teaspoon of chipotle cheese mixture into bottom of each endive leaf; garnish with remaining fresh cilantro leaves. Arrange on a serving platter and serve. Yields 3 leaves per serving.

1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup finely chopped provolone + 1 Tbsp
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped chives

Directions: Whisk together milk, eggs, flour, 1 tablespoon butter, salt, and pepper until smooth, then stir in cheeses and chives. Chill 1 hour to allow batter to rest. Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in upper third. Butter muffin pan with remaining tablespoon butter, then heat in oven until butter sizzles, about 2 minutes. Gently stir batter, then divide among muffin cups (they will be about two-thirds full). Bake until puffed and golden-brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Devon's Cooking...Spicy Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

I've been really good about using all of the vegetables I have and trying to use everything in the refrigerator before it goes bad... so I had to find some way to use up the sweet potatoes I had leftover from the gnocchi. This recipe sounded very strange at first-- cold and spicy chicken salad over a warm sweet potato?!?! But trust me, this tasted amazing! Be sure to have a glass of water and no need to kiss anyone for about 4 hours after eating this, though!

4 medium sweet potato(es)
12 oz cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, shredded
1 medium red onion(s), sliced into thin half moons
1/4 cup(s) cilantro, fresh, chopped
1 Tbsp canned chipotle peppers
1 small garlic clove(s)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp McNeil Nutritionals SPLENDA No Calorie Sweetener

Directions: Preheat oven to 375°F. Place potatoes on rack in middle of oven and bake until tender, about 45 to 50 minutes. Put chicken, onion and cilantro in a medium bowl; set aside. Put remaining ingredients in blender container or bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour dressing over chicken mixture and toss to coat. Cut a slit in each potato and top each with a heaping 3/4 cup of chicken mixture. Yields 1 filled potato per serving.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Devon's Cooking...A Mushroom Extravaganza!

It feels like the first time in a VERY long time, but Dave and I were actually home this weekend! We even had time to go to the Farmer's Market on Sunday morning, something we haven't been able to do in months. Truly, the food tastes so much better when it comes from Farmer's Market-- we bought avocados, apples, lettuce, grape tomatoes (they tasted like candy!), giant squash and beautiful, fresh mushrooms.

I was planning on just reheating left-over sloppy joes for dinner, but the siren call of the mushrooms was too much for me to ignore. Dave was watching football, which usually means he doesn't talk for about 6 hours, so I got to work experimenting in the kitchen. The night before we had a wonderful dinner at Avenue 5 with the Schneiders and I had fish with a light broth around it... and this became my inspiration.

The first thing I did was slice up a bunch of those fresh mushrooms and throw them in a sauce pot with about 4 cups of chicken broth. I added chopped green onions, salt, pepper and herbes de provence...but it still needed something. Luckily I had some dried porcini mushrooms in the fridge, so I reconstituted those and then poured half of the water from the reconstitution into the sauce pot.

In the meantime, I took about 1/2 pound of tilapia, seasoned both sides with salt and pepper, and threw it in the toaster oven to cook for 10 minutes.

While that was cooking, I utilized the 2 leftover russet potatoes I had from making gnocchi the previous week, cooked them in the microwave and then riced the potatoes. I chopped up the reconstituted porcinis and then added them to the potatoes with a little fat-free milk, salt and pepper.

To serve, I put each serving of fish in a small bowl and poured the mushroom broth over the fish. Then I served it with sauteed squash and the mashed potatoes. It was almost like going out to dinner!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Devon's Cooking...Stuffed Acorn Squash

While it might still be in the 70s and 80s in San Diego, Dave and I were just in Buffalo, New York where it was undoubtedly NOT in the 70s and 80s... more like the 50s plus lots of rain. Dave and I-- thin-skinned San Diegans that we are-- shivered and whined our way through Buffalo (perhaps I should say "wined" our way through Buffalo, since we definitely drank our fair share of great vino there). So despite coming home to a promise of rain but a reality of 80 degrees (I LOVE San Diego), we still felt like making something warm, toasty, autumn-like and tasty. This recipe is excellent and it makes a beautiful presentation!

Stuffed Acorn Squash
2 medium acorn squash
Nonstick cooking spray
8 ounces cremini or white button mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
3 medium scallions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp rubbed sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp dry vermouth or dry white wine

Instructions: Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375°F. Split the squash in half, stem to bottom, and scoop out the seeds. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and place the squash on it cut side down. Bake until tender, about 50 minutes. Meanwhile, spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and set over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, scallions and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms give off their liquid, about 4 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, sage, thyme and pepper. Cook 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and stir in the rice, cheese and vermouth or wine. Once the squash are fork-tender, turn them cut side up and fill each with a quarter of the rice mixture. Bake until warmed through, about 10 minutes.

Devon's Cooking...Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Dave and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary last Wednesday and I wanted to make something very special to celebrate. But just as we celebrated our continued union, we heard the sad news that Conde Nast was ending its relationship with Gourmet magazine and ceasing publication after the November issue (a travesty!). So in honor of our healthy marriage, in memory of Gourmet and in the spirit of trying new things by making gnocchi for the first time, I settled on Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Fried Chestnuts and Sage from the penultimate issue of Gourmet. It was amazing, delectable, totally satisfying, perfect... in short, the food version of our marriage (ah, how sweet!). It's a lot of work, but worth the effort (that's sometimes like marriage, too, isn't it?).

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Fried Chestnuts and Sage

1 1/4 lb russet (baking potatoes)
1 (3/4-lb) sweet potato
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano plus more for serving
1 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup sage leaves (from 1 bunch)
1/3 cup bottled roasted chestnuts, very thinly sliced with an adjustable-blade slicer or a sharp vegetable peeler
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS: To make gnocchi, preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle. Pierce russet and sweet potatoes in several places with a fork, then bake in a 4-sided sheet pan until just tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool potatoes slightly, then peel and force through ricer into sheet pan, spreading in an even layer. Cool potatoes completely. Lightly flour 2 or 3 large baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

Beat together egg, nutmeg, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper in a small bowl. Gather potatoes into a mound in sheet pan, using a pastry scraper if you have one, and form a well in center. Pour egg mixture into well, then knead into potatoes. Knead in cheese and 11/2 cups flour, then knead, adding more flour as necessary, until mixture forms a smooth but slightly sticky dough. Dust top lightly with some of flour. Cut dough into 6 pieces. Form 1 piece of dough into a 1/2-inch-thick rope on a lightly floured surface. Cut rope into 1/2-inch pieces. Gently roll each piece into a ball and lightly dust with flour. Repeat with remaining 5 pieces of dough. Turn a fork over and hold at a 45-degree angle, with tips of tines touching work surface. Working with 1 at a time, roll gnocchi down fork tines, pressing with your thumb, to make ridges on 1 side. Transfer gnocchi as formed to baking sheets.

Fry sage leaves and chestnuts: Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Fry sage leaves in 3 batches, stirring, until they turn just a shade lighter and crisp (they will continue to crisp as they cool), about 30 seconds per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Season lightly with salt. Fry chestnuts in 3 batches, stirring, until golden and crisp, about 30 seconds per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Season lightly with salt. Reserve oil in skillet.

Make sauce: Add butter to oil in skillet with 1/2 tsp salt and cook until golden-brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Cook gnocchi: Add half of gnocchi to a pasta pot of well-salted boiling water and stir. Cook until they float to surface, about 3 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to skillet with butter sauce. Cook remaining gnocchi in same manner, transferring to skillet as cooked. Heat gnocchi in skillet over medium heat, stirring to coat. Serve sprinkled with fried sage and chestnuts and grated cheese.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Devon's Cooking...Baked Penne with Sausage

I have been a bad blogger. And a bad home cook. As Dave and I approach our eighth wedding of the year and 20th weekend away from home (!), I am realizing how hard it is to work full time and try to be super wife. So I'm all about easy recipes these days-- particularly those that last a long time (and are healthy, thus reversing the awful eating we undoubtedly have done the weekend prior). This recipe serves 8 (I ate it 4 days in a row!), was super easy, quelled our craving for pasta, and is healthy (although the delicious bottle of Unti Shiraz we polished off Friday night with our pasta probably wasn't the healthiest decision)! Enjoy! p.s. I really did use fat free mozzarella on this-- it didn't melt, though, hence the bizarre white clumps on top. I recommend making this with part-skim mozz instead.

3/4 pound(s) raw turkey sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion(s), chopped
1 medium green pepper(s), chopped
28 oz canned diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp canned tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
12 oz uncooked whole-wheat pasta, ziti, cooked according to package directions
6 oz shredded fat-free mozzarella cheese

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Crumble the sausage meat into a large saucepan and brown over medium heat, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Drain off any fat, then add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, peas, tomato paste, oregano, basil, thyme, fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and cook uncovered 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the pasta and half the grated cheese. Spread evenly into a 9- X 13-inch baking pan. Top evenly with the remaining cheese. Bake until the cheese has melted and the casserole is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes at room temperature before slicing into 8 pieces and then serve.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Devon's Cooking...Fall Veggies, Chicken and Barley

Tuesday was a momentous day. Yes, of course it was my 31st birthday-- a momentous occassion in itself. But I am not that self-serving (wait, I have a blog in which I talk about my life and myself. Maybe I am that self-serving). At any rate, the momentous-ness of Tuesday is really due to it being the first day of FALL. Don't get me wrong...I love summer to pieces. But I really love Fall, as well. The weather gets a little cooler (I am sick of this heat wave!), football season is in full-swing, and there are yummy veggies to make delicious soups and stews with. In celebration of my birthday, I mean, the first day of Fall, I cooked up some butternut squash and onions, and mixed them with chicken, barley and some great spices! Enjoy!

1 1/4 tsp table salt, divided
1 cup(s) uncooked barley
1 spray(s) cooking spray
2 cup(s) butternut squash, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 cup(s) sweet white onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium onion(s), red, cut into 8 wedges
2 tsp olive oil
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp dried currants
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
6 Tbsp almonds, natural, chopped and toasted
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked (I bought the pre-marinated Foster Farms chicken, diced it into 1-inch pieces and baked it in the oven; you could also just buy the pre-cooked chicken breasts that are cut into strips)

DIRECTIONS: Bring 6 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Add barley, cover and simmer until tender, about 55 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F and cook the chicken (about 30 minutes). Turn up temperature to 450°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat foil with cooking spray. Place squash, white onion and red onion on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cayenne pepper; toss to coat. Roast, tossing vegetables once or twice, until lightly charred and tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain barley and return to pot. Stir in currants, cumin, cinnamon, roasted vegetables and chicken. Toss with almonds just before serving. Yields about 1 cup per serving.