Monthly Archives: November 2010

Well, it’s official…

…I’m in business! 

My good friend and amazing photographer, Annie and I have been hard at work creating my new website…and I’m stoked to be able to share it with you all!

Check it out…Chef Natalie Lewis

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Filed under All Posts, New Jersey, Personal, Uncategorized

Holiday Spiced Pecans

We’re starting off the Thanksgiving week on the right foot with this next little number.  Spice, spice, spice!  If the holiday season had a flavor, this would be it.  I make these every year for Thanksgiving,  just to have something to snack on — you know, in between snacks — and each time they go into the oven I fall in love all over again.   If only you could have smelled the heavenly aroma’s filling my kitchen this weekend, oh me.

Spiced Pecans

  • 1 egg white + 1 tbsp water
  • 3 cups pecans
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of cayenne

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with foil.  In a large bowl beat the egg white and water together with a fork and add the pecans, and all spices.  Toss to moisten pecans completely.  Spread pecans on the baking sheet and bake for about 25-30 minutes stirring frequently throughout the baking time (important to prevent burning and even cooking).  Remove from oven, cool and serve.

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Filed under All Posts, Appetizers and the likes, Holidays - Thanksgiving, Recipes, Seasonal - Fall, Sweet Treats

Old Fashioned Pancakes with Caramelized Apples

Sometimes it’s the simple recipes that steal my heart.  The ones that are so classic, so familiar, just so…..right.  It’s a given that everyone loves pancakes (well, everyone who’s anyone).  And if you don’t, this is your chance.  For the love of breakfast! 

These pancakes are derived from one of my favorite pancake recipes from a gal named Dakota Kelly. 

Old Fashioned Pancakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Caramelized Apples

  • 4 apples peeled and cored, such as golden delicious
  • 1/4 cup butter, unsalted
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar

 For Pancakes: In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cinnamon. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg, vanilla and melted butter; mix until smooth.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

For Apples: Slices apples and melt butter in sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add apples and saute for about 4 minutes. Add sugar and cook until they are golden brown and tender.

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Filed under All Posts, Breakfast; the most important meal of the day, Fruity Flavors, Recipes, Seasonal - Fall, Sweet Treats

Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Maple Brown Butter and Bacon

 A little sweet, a little salty and all around scrumptious, this dish was the perfect remedy to get me through the mid-week, time-changing, coat-wearing-weather blues.  Taking only minutes to cook, I make these delightful little dumplings often — usually with county ham & peas and a quick parmesan cream sauce — however, the delicate flavors of sweet potato and pure sweet maple beautifully captured the essence of this splendid fall season!

Gnocchi is not difficult to make and depending on your choice of sauce and accompaniments, it doesn’t take too long either.  Instead of rolling out your dough and cutting each dumpling, you can save time by placing the prepared dough into a pastry bag and squeeze directly into the boiling water, as pictured below. 

This is great when served as a starter or an accompanying side to the main course.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com

  • 1 1/4 pounds russet (baking potatoes)
  • 1 (3/4-pound) sweet potato
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano plus more for serving
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup sage leaves (from 1 bunch)
  • 3-4 slices of bacon
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons maple

For gnocchi:
Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle.

Pierce potatoes with a fork, then bake until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Cool potatoes slightly, then peel and force through mill and onto sheet pan, spreading in an even layer. Cool potatoes completely  

Beat together egg, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon 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 1 ½ to 2 cups flour, then knead, adding more flour as necessary, until mixture forms a smooth but slightly sticky dough.  Place dough in a pastry bag and cut the tip to about ½ inch thick. Set aside and made the sauce and bacon.

*To test the flavor and texture of the gnocchi, take a small portion of the dough with floured hands, form into a ball, and blanch in boiling salted water. When it floats, remove, taste, and adjust seasoning and flour.

Fry bacon:
Fry bacon until crisp and transfer to paper towels to drain. Set aside

Make sauce:
Add butter to skillet and melt over medium heat. When the butter has melted add the sage leaves. Continue to cook, swirling the butter occasionally, until the foam subsides and the milk solids begin to brown. Remove the pan from the heat and add the maple syrup (The mixture will bubble up). Season with salt and pepper.

Cook gnocchi:
Boil a large pot of salted water.  Hold the pastry bag over the water and with a pairing knife cut off 1 inch sections of dough while squeezing into the water (as pictured below).  Continue to work through half of the bag.  Cook until they float to surface and become tender, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to skillet with butter sauce. Cook remaining gnocchi in same manner, transferring to skillet as cooked.

Saute gnocchi in skillet over medium heat, stirring to coat in the sauce.

Serve sprinkled with sage and bacon.

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Filed under All Posts, Appetizers and the likes, Holidays - Thanksgiving, Pasta!, Recipes, Seasonal - Fall, Side Dishes

Roasted Carrots & Parsnips w/ Toasted Pine Nuts and Goat Cheese

Roasting a carrot is what differentiates a good carrot from a great carrot.  Wait a minute, who am I kidding?  What I’m really trying to say is roasting a carrot is what distinguishes ill-mannered acts of neglect and crunchy aversions from an overwhelming amount of carrot lovin’ affection.  There’s really nothing else on earth like the magical transformation that takes place behind those closed oven doors.  Natural caramelized goodness!  (Yes people, I’m talking about carrots here.)

  • 8 carrots, peeled
  • 2 parsnips, peeled
  • 4 garlic cloves, whole and peeled
  • 1 small goat cheese log
  • about 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • chopped parsley, optional for garnish

Preheat oven to 400F.  Chop carrots and parsnips into same size one-inch pieces.  Place carrots, parsnips and garlic on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil to coat, and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes (flipping once halfway through) or until carrots become a nice golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool slightly before adding pine nuts and goat cheese crumbles.  In the meantime, spread the pine nuts out onto a baking pan and place in oven for a few minutes to toast. 

Add toasted pine nuts and goat cheese, toss with parsley and serve.

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Filed under All Posts, Goat Cheese, Healthy Options, Holidays - Thanksgiving, Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegetables

Apple-Cranberry Herbed Stuffing

As a home cook, there is one skill in the kitchen that I hold high above all the rest: resourcefulness.  Especially because I am from the Midwest, and I’ve been jaded by the significant difference in price at grocery stores. I cringe every time I hesitantly push my buggy through the checkout line of a New Jersey supermarket to once again be reminded — food is expensive!  And food in New Jersey is more expensive! 

So, it’s no surprise that I will wring out every penny that’s left in a half-used can of pumpkin, or the perfectly usable chicken carcass…or in this case leftover potato hamburger buns (which below I replaced with French bread).  Sometimes the results are better than the real thing (this stuffing is De-licious!).  And other times – well, you can ask my fearless food tester (aka husband) what he thought of the pumpkin meatloaf.  Oops!

(This recipe is for a smaller dish. Double the recipe for a 9×13 baking dish)

  • About 7-8 cups of French bread, cubed
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 apple, diced small
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp thyme, chopped fine
  • 2 stalks of rosemary, leaves removed and chopped fine
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock, (or 1 can)
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400F and place cubed bread on a foiled baking sheet.  Bake for a few minutes until bread becomes dried out and crunchy.

In sauté pan with a tbsp of butter, add onions, celery and apple. Season with salt and pepper and cook until onions are translucent (about 7 minutes or so).  Add garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.

In large bowl combine, bread, apple-onion mixture, cranberries, herbs, chicken broth, and egg.  Season with salt and pepper as needed.  Transfer to buttered baking dish and cover with foil (butter the top of foil to ensure it does not stick).  Bake for 20 minutes.  Reduce heat to 375F and remove foil.  Bake for another 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

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Filed under All Posts, Holidays - Thanksgiving, Recipes, Seasonal - Fall, Side Dishes

Sweet Potato Pie with Toasted Marshmellow Meringue

With the closing of October and the opening of life’s most mouth-watering chapter, I’ve got one thing — and one thing only — on my mind.  Roasted turkey,  herbed stuffing, tangy cranberry relish, sweet potato pie, and lots of creamy casseroles (one — it can be so relative sometimes, gah).  I don’t know about your family, but in mine, it doesn’t end on Thursday.  Nor does it begin.  We actually pride ourselves on how many pies we can demolish over a three-day period.  “Wow, all ten of us ate 22 cookies, 15 cupcakes,  3 pumpkin pies, 3 apple pies, 3 apple-raspberry pies and a cranberry pound cake.  And it’s only Tuesday.  Beat that!” 

Last year, we even had to make an emergency run for pumpkin pie supplies after we ran out before the turkey was even served.  And the fact that the only thing left on the near-empty supermarket shelves was an ice-hard frozen pie didn’t stop a single one of us from taking one more slice for the team.  But only one.  You know, depending on how you look at it.

Sweet Potato Pie with Toasted Marshmallow Meringue

This is one of my favorite holiday pies. The creamy, spiced sweet potato surrounded by a sensational toasted marshmallow topping is a huge hit with all!

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 ¼ cup crushed graham crackers
  • 1.3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted

Sweet Potato Pie Filling

  • 2 ½ cup cooked sweet potato, mashed
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Marshmallow Meringue

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream tartar
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1-2 cups mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prepare crust by mixing graham crackers, sugar and butter.  Press into 9 inch pie pan and bake for 10 minutes.

Prepare pie filling by mixing together sweet potato, sugar, eggs, flour, cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger and vanilla.  Whisk together until smooth and transfer to baked crust.  Bake for 40 minutes or until filling begins to set.  Remove from oven and cool before topping with meringue (at least 30 minutes).  

To make the Meringue topping, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks start to form (on high-speed with your mixer for several minutes). Slowly add the sugar while beating constantly. Beat until stiff peaks form and glossy.  Cover the top of the pie with meringue and then smash marshmallows down into meringue, covering completely. Broil on high just to melt and char the marshmallows (will only take about a minute or so. insure not to burn).  Best when served immediately.  Or, pop it under the broiler to reheat the topping prior to serving.

 

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Filed under All Posts, Holidays - Thanksgiving, Recipes, Seasonal - Fall, Sweet Treats, Uncategorized