Mustard-Maple Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Seeds and Candied Pepitas

Ingredients:

Pepitas
1/2 cup shelled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

1/4 cup maple syrup
generous sprinkle of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 

Dressing
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Remaining Ingredients
1 1/2 lbs trimmed brussels sprouts (trim the bases and peel away the outer, darkest leaves)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/3 cup pomegranate seeds

Directions:

Place a piece of parchment paper on a plate. Place the pepitas and maple syrup in a nonstick skillet and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat and cook for 6-7 minutes. Spoon the pepitas onto the parchment in a single layer and allow to cool. When cool and crisp, break into small pieces.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside.

Using the slicing attachment on a food processor, slice the brussels sprouts (or, thinly slice by hand.)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the brussels sprouts, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes, until browned in spots. Add dressing and toss to coat. Toss in candied pepitas and pomegranate seeds. Adjust seasonings to taste, and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve warm.

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Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Process

  1. Place cauliflower in a steamer basket in a large soup pot, season with salt and pepper, and steam until soft (about 10–12 minutes, test with a fork).
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of pasture butter in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Sauté onion, garlic, and herbs until onion is translucent.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Set aside.
  6. Place steamed cauliflower into a high-speed blender or food processor.
  7. Add the sautéed onion, garlic, and herbs, along with the second tablespoon of butter.
  8. Process until smooth.
  9. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary, or a sprinkling of fresh ground pepper.

Pumpkin Mushroom Stuffing

  • 6 cups cubed pumpkin bread
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped red onion
  • 3 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)

Directions:

Spread bread cubes on a baking sheet, and let dry overnight. Alternatively, heat in a 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) oven until dry, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 2 quart baking dish.
Put oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute celery and onions for about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms, and continue cooking for about 8 minutes, or until tender. Season with rosemary, tarragon, chives, parsley, salt, and pepper. Fold in bread cubes (walnuts and cranberries if desired), and add enough broth to moisten. Transfer to prepared dish, and cover with foil.
Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Remove cover, and bake for 10 minutes, or until top is crisp.

Amazingly Sweet Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

These don’t look like they are going to taste as amazing as they do, and I know it might be asking a lot to have the oven on for 2 hours on a hot summer day. But it’s on low and the end result will be worth it. Lean over the plate when you bite into the tomatoes, as the juice may squirt. You can eat these as a snack or a side dish, or put them through a food mill for an incredibly sweet sauce.

1 pound small plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise

Coarse salt to taste

A tiny amount of sugar

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Put the halved tomatoes in a bowl and toss with the olive oil. Oil a rack that will fit on top of a baking sheet. Place foil on the baking sheet and oil the foil, and place the rack on top. Place the tomatoes, cut side up, on the rack. Sprinkle with coarse salt and a tiny amount of sugar. Place in the oven and roast for 2 hours. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 30 minutes. The tomatoes will look a little dry on the surfaces and the skin will be tough. But when you bite into the tomatoes you’ll experience a rush of incredibly sweet juice and pulp. If you want to use these for a sauce, put through the fine blade of a food mill.

Yield: Serves 4 as a snack, side dish or sauce.

Advance preparation: I keep these out at room temperature for a day, and refrigerate them for up to 3 days. The sauce freezes well.

Tomatillo, Tomato and Avocado Gazpacho

I wanted to make this with tomatillos only, but found that what makes a great salsa doesn’t necessarily make a great gazpacho. So I added tomatoes to the creamy mixture. I don’t like the color as much, but I love the taste. If you can find green zebra tomatoes, use them for the nice green color. Make sure to strain this because the tomatillo seeds won’t blend.

1 pound tomatillos, papery shells removed, rinsed

2 slices red or white onion

2 to 3 garlic cloves, to taste

2 serrano chiles or 1 jalapeño, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (to taste)

1 large ripe avocado

1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus additional cilantro for garnish

1 teaspoon lightly toasted cumin seeds, ground

Salt to taste

Few drops of vinegar

1 pound ripe tomatoes, preferably green zebras

Freshly squeezed lime juice for serving

1. Place the tomatillos in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer 8 to 10 minutes, flipping them over halfway through, until olive green and softened. Drain and transfer to a blender.

2. Meanwhile put the onion slices in a bowl, cover with cold water and add a few drops of vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Drain and rinse with cold water. Cut in half or into smaller pieces.

3. Add the onions and remaining ingredients plus a cup of cold water and blend until smooth. You will probably have to do this in two batches. Strain through a medium strainer, taste and adjust seasonings. Chill for two hours or longer. Garnish each bowl with chopped cilantro and a few drops of lime juice.

Yield: Serves 6

Advance preparation: You should make this a couple of hours before serving so that it has plenty of time to chill. You can make it up to a day ahead. Whisk before serving.

Nutritional information per serving: 152 calories; 12 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 8 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 12 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams dietary fiber; 9 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 2 grams protein

Sweet and Sour Pan-Fried Sea Bass

Total Time: 25 minutes Serves: 4

Ingredients

3 tablespoons dried cranberries

¼ cup Sherry vinegar

Four 5-ounce sea bass fillets

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup olive oil

½ cup thinly sliced shallots

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Good pinch red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted

½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons Italian parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

What to Do

1. Place cranberries and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once vinegar comes to a boil, remove from heat and set aside.

2. Pat fillets dry and season with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow bowl. Dredge fillets through flour and shake off excess. Heat ½ cup oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, fry fillets until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip and fry reverse side until golden, about 3 minutes more. Transfer fish to a plate and discard frying oil.

3. Wipe frying pan and set over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. Once hot, add shallots and sauté until translucent but not browned, 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Stir in pepper flakes, cranberry mixture, pine nuts and orange juice, and cook until reduced by a third, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, season with salt and whisk in remaining oil and parsley. To serve, spoon sauce over fish.