Honey-Roasted Squash with Crumbled Feta and Walnuts
This is a wonderful autumn salad that's a snap to put together. If I roast the squash a day ahead I can assemble the salad in 10 minutes - the time it takes to warm the squash in a 350°F oven. I like to serve Devin's grilled shrimp next and finish with an almond tart .
Don't overdress the mâche. It is very delicate and wilts easily.
1 lb (500 g) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut in 5-inch slices (about 12 oz/375 g after seeding and peeling)
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp liquid honey, warm, divided
5 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp walnut oil
5 tsp kosher salt
4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 to 8 oz (175 to 250 g) mâche or baby mixed greens (about 6 cups lightly packed)
5 cup crumbled feta (about 3 oz/90 g)
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Toss the squash and olive oil in a large bowl. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and lightly brush with half the honey. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn and brush with the remaining honey. Bake for another 15 minutes, or until the squash is cooked through.
While the squash is baking, place the walnuts in a small ovenproof dish and bake for about 5 minutes, or until lightly toasted.
Whisk together the lemon juice, walnut oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Toss the mâche with the vinaigrette in a large bowl and place on serving plates. Top with 3 to 5 slices of squash. Sprinkle with walnuts and feta and a touch more salt and pepper. Serve while the squash is still warm. Turkey Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potato Crust
You might think that the words "comfort food" and "healthy" don't belong in the same recipe, but here they certainly do. I am such a sucker for shepherd's pie, but sometimes find that its heavy richness can be a bit much - at least after my third serving. So this recipe uses ground turkey, skim milk and low-fat yogurt, reducing the fat but none of the flavor. The sweet potato crust is a great alternative to your typical white potato and really adds a punch when perked up with cayenne pepper and cinnamon.
2 large sweet potatoes (about 15 lbs/750 g total), peeled and cut in 2-inch chunks
2 baking potatoes (about 15 lbs/750 g total), peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup coarsely chopped cooking onion (about 1 medium)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 cup diced carrot
2 stalks celery, diced
1 cup frozen peas
2½ lbs (1.25 kg) ground turkey
1 tsp grated gingerroot
2 tsp kosher salt, divided
5 tsp cayenne, divided
5 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
6 cup skim milk, warm
5 cup low-fat yogurt, at room temperature
Place the sweet potatoes, potatoes and whole garlic clove in a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain, return to the pot and set aside.
While the potatoes are cooking, heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, or until transparent and soft.
Add the chopped garlic, carrot and celery. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté for 5 minutes.
Stir in the peas and cook for 1 minute.
Remove the vegetables from the skillet, transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel and return to medium-high heat. Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp oil.
Add the ground turkey, ginger, 1 tsp salt, 4 tsp cayenne, cumin and cinnamon and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle on the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until the turkey is cooked through and the juices have thickened.
Return the vegetables to the skillet, combine with the turkey and remove the pan from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Place the pot of drained potatoes over low heat. Add the warm milk, yogurt, the remaining 5 tsp salt and 4 tsp cayenne. Mash together with a hand masher or hand-held mixer.
Spoon the turkey mixture into a 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Spread the potato mixture on top in an even layer.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Baby Pumpkin Puddings with Cinnamon Whipped Cream and Pecan Brittle
I have a confession to make. These delicate baby puddings scented with a touch of rum and orange zest started life as the filling for my mother's pumpkin pie. But since I don't have Devin's deft hand in the pastry department, I decided to skip the crust and make these sweet little desserts instead. (Though for Thanksgiving dinner Devin and I work in tandem and turn out a pie that would make Mom proud.)
The puddings can be made a day ahead and refrigerated, but bring them to room temperature before serving.
15 cups granulated sugar
6 cup pecan halves (about 3 oz/90 g), broken in rough quarters
Pinch of kosher salt
14-oz (398 mL) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling), about 16 cups
6 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
6 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
5 tsp ground ginger
5 tsp ground nutmeg
4 tsp ground mace
2 large eggs
15 cups evaporated milk (not condensed) or 18% cream
2 Tbsp dark rum
5 tsp lightly packed grated orange zest, preferably organic
Cinnamon Whipped Cream
5 cup 35% (whipping) cream
5 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
For the brittle, melt half the sugar in a small heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the sugar starts to melt around the edge of the pan, stir until all the sugar has melted. Add the remaining sugar and stir until it has turned a caramel color. This could take up to 15 minutes. If you have a candy thermometer, it should register 250°F (120°C), just below hard boil.
Stir in the pecans and salt and quickly pour the mixture onto a lightly buttered counter or baking sheet. Use a lightly oiled spatula to smooth the brittle into a thin layer (about ¼ inch thick). Allow to cool and then break into shards. Extra brittle will keep in a closed container for a few days.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
For the puddings, combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and mace in a large bowl.
Whisk together the eggs, evaporated milk, rum and orange zest in a separate bowl. Stir the egg mixture into the puree.
Divide the custard among six 6-cup ovenproof ramekins and place in a roasting pan. If there are any small bubbles on top of the custards, draw the tip of a small knife across the top to break them.
Make a bain marie
by pouring warm water into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Place a piece of foil lightly over the top and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the puddings are barely quivering in the middle.
Remove the ramekins from the oven, cool on a rack and refrigerate, covered, until an hour before serving.
For the whipped cream, combine the cream and vanilla in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and cinnamon. Whip until the cream is soft and billowy. Refrigerate.
Garnish the flans with a dollop of whipped cream and a shard of pecan brittle.
Excerpted from Two Dishes by Linda Haynes and Devin Connell. Copyright © 2009 by Linda Haynes and Devin Connell. Excerpted by permission of McClelland & Stewart, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.