Archive for the 'Main Dishes' Category

Thanksgiving Dinner Alternative? Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

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That is the actual name of the recipe, and it is the truth.

It’s already, like, cute and genius to bake a whole pumpkin, but then to stuff it with crusty bread, copious amounts of melty cheese, crispy bacon, savory sausage, sage, thyme, kale, apple chunks and toasted walnuts??

Literally GET OUT.

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You pluck off the top of the wobbly pumpkin, and it’s just like, “Who cares about anything other than this right now? My troubles have flown.”

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And then you dig into it, and everyone just sits in silence because the emotions are profound and overwhelming.

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Also, my friend made a deliciously sweet, smoky butternut squash soup, and it was divine.

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Consider making this gluten free, replacing the bread for lentils, as I did. You can use any combination of stuffing ingredients, too. They are all magic! An alternative to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner?

May you heartily enjoy.

Thankfully,

Lauren

Find the recipe here.

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Pipe Dream #301: To Holiday – Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole

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I had this moment in October wherein I said to myself, “Wow, I really want to eat sweet potato casserole. With marshmallows. That sounds reallll good. Too bad I’ll have to wait until Thanksgiving. I’ll make a big 9×13 for the fam.”

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And then I realized, beautifully: I don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to eat this. Eating sweet potato casserole does not have to be limited to large family gatherings filled with traditional foods. It can be like, a normal food that I make myself and reheat for lunch. It has sweet potatoes in it, heaven knows.

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So I set out to create a fairly simple recipe that I could throw together on a Sunday night. Sweet potatoes, eggs, spices, not too hard. I intended to make a sweet potato casserole. What I actually made was a sliceable sweet potato bar with pecan streusel topping (read: YUM CROSSWAYS). Next time, I’m going to leave out the eggs in the hopes that the texture will be more scoopable, less sliceable. Also, I will take more time to make sure the potatoes are really soft, so I don’t get chunks. Score one for impatience.

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Here’s the thing. I can’t tell if this casserole/bar is a dessert recipe or just a normal side dish recipe. It’s definitely got less sugar/butter/marshmallows than some desserts, but it isn’t just, like, boiled sweet potatoes. Maybe that is the beauty of holiday foods: no one can really tell if they’re eating healthy or not, but it is ok not to care for a day. The desserts can masquerade as sides and no one rings the alarm.

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There is protein in chocolate cake, there is calcium in cream cheese frosting, and there is Vitamin A in this sweet potato bar. Some nutrition gets through. I think.

Permissions aside, I remain

Lauren

P.S. Updated the recipes page of the blog–should be a little bit easier to navigate now. Enjoy the archives.

Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole

An LH Original

2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup maple syrup

3 T butter, melted

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger + a sprinkle of clove

topping:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped pecans (50 g)

Chop the peeled potatoes into large chunks and microwave in batches until tender. I had to do three batches in a Pyrex measuring cup covered with a paper towel for about five minutes. It would probably be better for you to bake or boil the potatoes to ensure they are quite soft–my casserole had chunks.
Place potatoes in the bowl or a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add maple syrup, milk, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, spices and vanilla. Beat at medium speed until smooth. Add eggs; beat well. Pour potato mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking pan coated with cooking spray and spread evenly.
Combine flour, sugar and chilled butter in a medium bowl, cutting in the butter with two knives until crumbly. Cut in the pecans, and give the streusel a few good stirs until evenly combined. Sprinkle on top of the potato mixture.
Cover the pan with foil. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Uncover the pan and bake another 15 minutes or until the topping is browned.

Pipe Dream #246: To Master Comfort – Chicken Pot Pie with Cheddar Drop Biscuits

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One of the perks of going to an English boarding school is that you don’t have to make your own meals. If I were a Baudelaire, this would be awful, but I’m not, and the school food I experienced was highly superior to dorm food, not to mention high school caf chicken patties. Now that I think of it, some days in England we did have chicken patties (aka Chick-wich), which were awful.

Besides the days when we had Chickwich or lamb curry, which, for reasons unknown to me, made me gag, I relished the experience of being served. It was a real time-saver, and I could focus on things like how Jesus actually loved people practically and how the book of Hebrews is so worth delving into.

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The meals were on a loose rotation, and every month we would get some form of biscuit-topped pot pie. Often it was chicken and mushroom with these individual biscuits atop it, but the very first pot pie I had at school was a traditional chicken and vegetable pot pie, with the most pillow-y biscuits. I cannot tell you enough what a homemade pot pie will do for a jet-lagged human overwhelmed by a sea of foreign people in a foreign country. Comfort food to the max.

Real pipe dream: to recreate this masterpiece of glorious comfort. Anyway, the biscuits. They were so fluffy and pillow-y. There is no other way to describe. I think this is because they had been baked atop the pie, soaking up some of the moisture from the filling and squishing together, rather than being baked on a separate pan and dropped on the pie later so their bottoms got crispy.

Soft vs. crispy biscuit bottoms are, of course, a matter of personal preference. I prefer soft, which you may have guessed given my chronic under-baking issues. This pot pie recipe is the nearest I could come to re-creating that very first pot pie. For variation, I added cheese to the biscuits, and I did not regret it for even one second.

You may not live in a foreign country, but nothing beats this on an Average Joe snowy day. Use a rotisserie chicken, and it comes together in a flash on a weeknight.

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Chicken Pot Pie with Cheddar Drop Biscuits

Adapted from Alaska From Scratch

For the pot pie:

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk
2 cups leftover roasted chicken, light and dark meat, shredded (from a rotisserie chicken, if you wish)
1 3/4 cups diced carrots and broccoli florets
1 tablespoon dried thyme
salt and pepper

For the biscuits:

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 12 pieces
1 cup medium cheddar cheese, grated + half a bunch of diced green onions
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
black pepper

For the filling:
Heat a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter and add the onions, stirring and sautéing until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour, stirring constantly, for a couple minutes more, allowing the flour to cook a bit. Pour in the stock and the milk, stirring until combined. Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to a low and let simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally as the mixture thickens. Add the chicken, peas & carrots, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Preheat oven to 425.
To make the biscuits:
In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter using two knives until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the cheddar cheese, followed by the buttermilk, until it all just comes together and forms a thick, sticky dough. Try to handle the dough as little as possible.
To assemble the pie:
Drop the biscuit dough in 1/4 cup sized dollops onto the top of the pot pie filling (about five biscuits total). Sprinkle the biscuits with black pepper. Place the skillet into the preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, until the biscuits are golden. Serve promptly.

One Great Reason to Remain Single: Caramelized Garlic and Goat Cheese Tart

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I could go on and on about how flavorful, rich and savory this birthday tart was (for my dear mum, as it were), but before I do so, I would like to issue a warning.

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This tart includes three whole heads of garlic. 40 CLOVES. You may have seen other recipes including this level of flavor, like this Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic or this Garlic Soup. Having made a few of these before, I wasn’t worried about 40 cloves. Small stuff, really.

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But let me tell you. I have never experienced the direct consequences of this level of garlic in my life before. I was waking up in night sweats reeking of garlic. It meant spending the next day nearly doubled up in my desk chair with insides squeaking and popping, threatening to unleash their tumultuous wrath. It was coming home after work, walking in my room and still smelling the effects.

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But also let me tell you, this far after the incident, I am not experiencing any kind of regret. It was one of the most delicious things I have ever made, and I count it among my Top 10 Best Reasons To Be Single.

That’s right,

L

Caramelized Garlic and Goat Cheese Tart

You can find the recipe on marthastewart.com. I used dried rosemary and thyme instead of fresh, sour cream instead of creme fraiche and used Manchego, a hard sheep cheese, in place of the hard goat cheese.

Pipe Dream #177: To Find It Easy To Be Green – Deep Dish Tomato and Spinach Pizza

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Oooooh-kay. I realize that this picture has been tantalizing you on the side of my blog for weeks without a link. It has been tantalizing me for weeks. Except, I had the link, and I ate this pizza, so I can’t tell if the tantalization of this savory delight was worse or better for you than it was for me.

My father made a decent deep-dish frozen pizza and asked me, “Why is this so addicting?”

I replied that it hits his fat and salt spots, and everyone in the room nodded sagely, because obviously I am sage (not). Being that your salts spots are not hit too often on this blog, and being that that is the weirdest phrase ever, I would like to present you with this deep dish pan pizza, including homemade sauce, spinach for iron and much, much cheese.

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Oh, and speaking of being wise (not), there is fresh sage in this recipe. You just don’t see that in dessert recipes all too often. Or do you?

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If I were to do this again, I would have used less dough. The dish was quite deep enough, when all was said and done, and let’s be real, I could have made another dessert pizza with half the dough. I also would have made the sauce a little less runny. Somehow. Maybe I would have drained the tomatoes a little better.

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I only put spinach on half the pizza. It was for the sake of my sister, who loves pizza, but has an aversion to the green things on her life’s plate. You can have an aversion, too, I guess. I’ll judge you a little, but just a little, since most of my diet is frosting. Kidding. Except for #saturdays. Am I allowed to hashtag like that? Whatever, doing it.

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Get your health kicks, friends. It’s all about the green.

So easy being green,

L

Deep Dish Tomato and Spinach Pizza

Adapted from Girl Versus Dough and my friend, Chrissy

Boughten pizza dough (enough for a 12 inch pizza)

8 ounces (1 cup) canned crushed tomatoes

1 teaspoon sugar

salt and pepper, to taste

fresh thyme, sage, oregano and bay leaf

garlic paste or crushed garlic, to taste

olive oil (or truffle oil)

8 ounces provolone cheese

5 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and thoroughly drained

Let pizza dough rise according to package directions. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil, spreading around with a paper towel.

Combine tomatoes, salt, pepper, chopped herbs, bay leaf, sugar and garlic in a small saucepan, simmering over low heat while you prep the pizza.

When the dough has risen, press into the prepared skillet halfway up the sides of the skillet. Bake four 9-10 minutes until crust has just set. Remove from the oven and top with 4 ounces provolone cheese. Remove the bay leaf from the simmered sauce, then spread the sauce over the cheese. Top sauce with the spinach, then the other 4 ounces of cheese. Drizzle with a bit more oil.

Bake for another 15-20 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and crust is golden. In a perfect world, I would have used less dough, so that things weren’t spilling over the edge. Let cool 15 minutes before cutting.

Pipe Dream #140: To Feed Families Everywhere – Three Cheese, Potato & Carameli(s)ed Onion Pie

Well. Isn’t that luscious.

That was literally my first thought on seeing this picture, and this pie is not even full of whipped cream.

This is the kind of savory pie that will feed a crowd. This is the kind of pie that hits the spot on those chilly fall nights. This is the kind of pie that you eat for Sunday lunch because you know you can take a 3-hour nap afterward. What, you never do that? Ok, whatever. But still, this could feed your family for a week, probably.

The preparation process was fairly involved given the amount of chopping and grating required. (Luckily, no incidents occurred.) Read the recipe carefully, and do all possible prep a day ahead if you can.

I didn’t use the Stilton or Gruyère cheese called for in the recipe because I had an abundance of other random cheeses in the fridge. Cheese freaks, we are. However, I think this pie really would have benefited from the flavor of a stronger cheese; it was a bit bland with the Swiss I used. If you make this, try it with the Stilton. Or maybe a bleu?

Also, this is a real English pie! I felt a little bit like James Herriot digging into it. Not that there were any bovine hindquarters anywhere near, but he does have a way with describing the different English fare he experiences. The pastry itself was a little finnicky to make (most pastry is save these), but it was well worth the effort. Super flaky and delicious.

I had a bit of leftover pastry, so I cut it up and made little flowers for the top. This is actually the reason I am even qualifying this recipe for my blog. If it had been less cutesy, probably all of my baking followers would have written me off and never visited again. Probably.

Like I said, super flaky.

Feeding families errwhere,

L

Three Cheese, Potato & Caramelised Onion Pie

Adapted from The Great British Bakeoff

For the pastry:
150 g/5 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
200 g/7 oz all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ tbsp white vinegar
about 150 ml/5 fl oz cold water

For the filling:
30 g/1 oz butter
280 g/10 oz onions, peeled, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp white sugar
930 g/2 lb 1 oz potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced
140 g/5 oz crème fraîche (or sour cream)
4 tbsp heavy cream
100 g/3½ oz mature cheddar, grated
100 g/3½ oz Stilton, crumbled*
100 g/3½ oz Gruyère, grated*
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 large egg, beaten

*Note that I used Swiss and what I think was a Pecorino Romano in place of the Stilton and Gruyère. It would have been more flavorful with the Stilton.
Preparation method:
1. To make the pastry, place the butter into a bowl and mash with a fork until soft and creamy. Divide the mixture into four equal portions.
2. Place the flour into a bowl and add the salt. Take one portion of the butter mixture and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the vinegar and mix it in using a blunt
knife. Add just enough cold water to form a dough then turn it out onto a floured work surface.
3. Shape the dough into a rectangle and roll it out to a thickness of about 1 cm/½ in. Gently lift the pastry with your fingers and allow it to shrink back a little.
4. Cut another portion of the butter mixture into small pieces using a palette knife and dot it over the pastry, being careful not to get it too close to the edges. Fold the pastry into thirds, rubbing off any excess flour as you do so, cover in cling film and place in the fridge for five minutes.
5. Take the pastry from the fridge. Repeat steps 3 and 4 using the remaining butter. If any fat shows through the pastry, scatter over a little more flour.
6. Remove the pastry from the fridge, roll once more into a rectangle about 1 cm/½ in thick, fold into thirds and return to the fridge for 30 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, make the filling. Heat the butter in a wide pan and add the onions, salt and sugar. Fry over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes, or until the onions are lightly caramelised. Remove
the pan from the heat and set aside.
8. Cook the potatoes in a large pan of boiling, salted water for eight minutes, drain well then set aside.
9. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7, with a rack is just above the middle of the oven and a baking tray underneath to catch any filling that might escape during cooking.
10. Mix the crème fraîche, cream and cheddar in a small bowl. Mix together the Stilton and Gruyère in a separate bowl.
11. Layer one quarter of the potatoes, a third of the onions and a third of the Stilton/Gruyère mixture in the bottom of a large pie dish. Sprinkle with a little freshly ground black pepper and grated
nutmeg.
12. Repeat step 11, working from the outside of the pie dish into the middle to achieve a domed effect, seasoning as you go, then pour over half the cream/cheddar mixture. Repeat this step then cover
the filling with the remaining potato, ensuring none of the cream mixture is visible.
13. Take the pastry from the fridge and place on a floured work surface. Roll out in one direction only, turn 45 degrees and roll again until you have a piece of pastry that is a little larger than the pie dish. Lift
the pastry with your fingers to allow it to shrink back a little.
14. Cut thin strips from each edge of the pastry and use a little egg wash to stick each one to the rim of the pie dish. Brush each strip with beaten egg and carefully place the pastry over the filling, pressing it down on the pastry strips to make a good seal.
15. Take a fork and press down gently around the edges of the pie. Use any off-cuts of pastry to decorate the pie then brush the top with the remaining egg wash. Cut a small cross in the top of the pie
to let the steam escape.
16. Transfer the pie to the oven and bake for 30 minutes then reduce the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and bake the pie for one hour or until golden-brown.

Pipe Dream #129: To Psychiatrize Yeast – Brioche Hamburger Buns

My mum has this thing about yeast. They’re not friends. I mean, they’ve had a few interactions over the years, but it’s always been at arms’ length, really, and it hasn’t always been the most positive of experiences. I’m just an outside observer, so I don’t know all the emotional ins-and-outs and finger-pointing that has gone on, but I don’t really get it.

Since the day I made a brioche at age 12, we’ve gotten along fine. There have only been a couple of instances where yeast has flaked on me, but it was probably just a passive aggressive reaction to me putting the heat on. It takes two to tango, they say.

As it happens, my mother is a pretty competitive person, especially when it comes to burgers. She learned how to make them in the Old Country, er, Canada. When the neighbors announced that they were having a burger competition, she jumped at the chance to show off her skills.

But what to pair with a beautiful BLT turkey burger with homemade ranch? Heaven knows she wasn’t going to buy your average white hamburger buns from Cub, not with me in the house. So after wheedling her way into my affections (Our conversation: “Hey Lo, wanna make some hamburger buns for me?” “Sure!”), I became an enabler once more. That is, I enabled her to produce an outstanding burger while also enabling her to avoid her yeast pseudo-friend once again.

I’m calling it baby steps. Someday she will see that yeast is all right. It is not as high maintenance as she makes it out to be. Until then, you should make these. They are really tasty.

I’m being repressed,

L

Light Brioche Burger Buns

Adapted from Comme Ça restaurant in Los Angeles, via the New York Times via smitten kitchen

Makes 8 4 to 5-inch burger buns

3 tablespoons warm milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Sesame seeds, dried thyme, poppy seeds or sea salt, for garnish

1. In a glass measuring cup, combine one cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Meanwhile, beat one egg.

2. In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Using a dough scraper, stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape dough onto a floured surface and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. The dough will be sticky, but that is a good thing. Don’t want tough buns.

3. Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, one to two hours.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using dough scraper, divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange two to three inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated in nonstick spray and let buns rise in a warm place for one to two hours. (I needed about one hour, but I let it go a bit longer.)

5. Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with one tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Sprinkle with chosen garnish (I liked the thyme best), if using. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.


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