Potato Latkes with Sauteed Caramelized Apples with Honey and Cinnamon Sour Cream

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Potato Latkes with Caramelized Honey Apples & Cinnamon Sour Cream
Potato Latkes with Caramelized Honey Apples & Cinnamon Sour Cream

In the spirit of the Jewish New Year holiday Rosh Hashana, I created a delicious dish for my client miditto, to pair with some of their late Summer and early Fall wine selections for our September photo shoot. Apples and honey are often eaten together to celebrate the New Year, and are typical symbols of hope for sweet and healthy new beginnings.  What better way to serve them than with classic Potato Latkes? I used a traditional latke recipe with shredded onions and potatoes mixed with flour and egg and seasonings, then fried in oil into crispy potato cakes. Rather than serving them with traditional applesauce, I thought it would be a tasty variation to caramelize the apples in butter and brown sugar and top the latkes with the apples and a drizzle of honey and cinnamon sour cream. Delicious, heartwarming, and definitely something to celebrate! Shanah Tova. Happy New Year! 

Potato Latkes with Cinnamon Sour Cream

3 1/2 cups shredded peeled baking potato (about 1 ½ pounds)
1 1/4 cups grated onion
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon onion sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
Sour cream (for serving)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine potato and onion in a colander. Drain 30 minutes, pressing with the back of a spoon until barely moist. Combine potato mixture, flour, and next 4 ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl; toss well.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Spoon 1/4 cup potato mixture loosely into a dry measuring cup. Pour mixture into pan, and flatten slightly. Repeat to form 6 latkes. Cook in batches by sautéing them 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove latkes from pan, and keep warm in an oven on low heat.

Repeat procedure with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and potato mixture to yield 12 latkes total. Combine sour cream and cinnamon in a bowl. Serve with Sauteed Caramelized Apples over the latkes. (recipe follows)

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe adapted from myrecipes.com

—–

Sauteed Caramelized Apples with Honey

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large red or green apples
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or fresh chopped parsley
2 tablespoons honey

Preparation

Peel and core apples and cut into thin wedges.

Melt butter over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet.

Add apples, brown sugar and cinnamon to pan and sauté apples about 10 minutes until lightly caramelized.

Sprinkle with chopped fresh thyme or parsley leaves and let cool. Serve over latkes with a drizzle of honey and a side of sour cream mixed with cinnamon and additional parsley or chives.

Serves 4-6.

Pair the Latkes and Caramelized Apples with a full-bodied Pinot Noir or smooth Cabernet Sauvignon. See Miditto.com for more great organic and vegan wine recommendations and selections!

 

 

Amazing Macaroni + Cheese > There’s No Place Like Home

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Mac and Cheese

So here is my award winning Mac and Cheese recipe that I am proud to share with all of you! I was awarded as a Grand Prize Winner in the Challenge Dairy Real Heritage Recipe Contest for my Amazing Macaroni and Cheese! Although this was a few years ago, I am still so grateful for this opportunity to submit my winning recipe and to be a part of this amazing recipe contest. Check out the story I wrote and winning recipe below, and more contest winners on Challenge Dairy’s website.

There’s No Place Like Home

Growing up I always associated food with a sense of comfort, warmth, fulfillment and stability. This is something I attribute to my Mom’s home-cooked meals and nights around the dinner table with my family as we discussed the events of our day, bonded through sharing the heartwarming, delicious meals together and after the meal was done, cleaned the kitchen with our Mom and bonded by watching a television show together before going to bed and getting ready for school the next day. Mom would make Pot Roast with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans, homemade Lasagna with a salad and garlic bread, Grandma’s Beet Soup with homemade Polish potato noodles, or a yummy, savory Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy – these were all of our favorites and also heirloom recipes that were handed down from my grandparents and generations past.

That was a long time ago, or so it seems, and since those days I have lived in numerous cities and another country, and still cherish enjoying good food with good people. But nothing compares to those home cooked meals and the sense of comfort they gave me when I was young – those days gave me a solid ground to stand on for life.

One gloomy, dark day last January, I was cooped up in my tiny New York studio apartment feeling completely miserable from the freezing cold weather and had a serious case of the Winter blues. I felt an undying urge to make a home-cooked meal like Mom used to make to cheer me up and get me out of the dismal mood I couldn’t seem to shake. New York can do that to you sometimes – it is one of the greatest cities in the world, but can also take you to the depths of darkness on those dark, freezing, nasty days in the middle of Winter. That day I decided to go on a quest for comfort. Something warm. Something cozy. Something heartwarming. Something that would fill my soul and renew my spirit.

My head started spinning, and I immediately felt energized and motivated with this new task at hand. What would cheer me up and transport me back in time? After furiously searching through all of my recipes, I found the perfect remedy to ail my blues – a big whopping batch of luscious Macaroni and Cheese. Not just an ordinary one (like the kind you get in a blue box with packets of dried chemical-laden cheese dust), but one that called for some delicious gourmet ingredients to take this kid-friendly recipe and turn it into
a serious pot of adult-sized comfort.

I hopped in a cab to Zabar’s (my favorite gourmet store on the Upper West Side) with thrill and anticipation. The freezing rain was coming down sideways and beat against the windows. Once I arrived, I headed straight for the cheese department and was in my glory with their selection of international cheeses that pierce your nose as soon as you walk in the door. I picked up a creamy Italian Mascarpone, some fresh grated Parmesan Reggiano, a chunk of Gruyere and a block of Fontina. Then I found some fresh garlic, heavy cream, premium real butter, smoked thick cut bacon and of course, imported Italian pasta – this was a recipe for a mean Mac and Cheese. Definitely not your Mama’s.

I prepped my ingredients and carefully crafted my dish of gourmet deliciousness. The pot was brimming with a melted creamy cheese concoction and I poured the luscious ingredients into my baking dish, watching with anticipation as the warm, savory smells filled my kitchen. After an hour of waiting anxiously to savor my creation, I scooped up the bubbly goodness into a bowl and upon tasting the first bite with its brown crispy crust and tangy creamy cheese, was transported back to a time of comfort and bliss, when I didn’t have a care in the world, a simpler time and place that seemed long gone from today in my stressful, fast-paced city life.

Who cares about the weather, I thought – I had arrived. I was home.

Amazing Macaroni + Cheese > There’s No Place Like Home

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: Yields 6-8 servings.

Serving Size: 1 cup

This is a super luscious and decadent grown up Mac and Cheese! Filled with Gruyere, Fontina and Mascarpone for extra creaminess, a little cooked bacon and a Parmesan buttery bread crumb topping for extra crunch. Definitely worthy of a special occasion or the holidays to impress your guests!

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon or pancetta, cooked and crumbled
  • 5 ½ tablespoons Challenge European Style Butter (salted), divided
  • ¾ cup Japanese Panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • dash of nutmeg (? teaspoon)
  • dash of ground cayenne pepper (? teaspoon)
  • 1 ½ cups Gruyere or Comte cheese, grated (3 oz.)
  • 1 cup Fontina cheese, chopped into small pieces (5¼ oz.)
  • 1/2 cup Mascarpone cheese
  • 1 ½ cups dry elbow macaroni (6 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine, plus extra for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Cook the bacon or pancetta, drain and crumble and set aside.
  3. In a small sauce pan, melt 2½ tablespoons of the butter over low heat. Add the bread crumbs and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, toss well, and set aside.
  4. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a 2-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, do not let the flour burn. Pour in the milk and cream; cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne, Gruyère, Fontina , Mascarpone. Continue to stir until the cheese is melted and incorporated. Remove the pot from the heat.
  5. Prepare pasta according to package directions for al dente (7 - 8 minutes). Drain the macaroni and combine with the cheese sauce. Add crumbled bacon and parsley; mix well.
  6. Pour the macaroni mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. Serve hot immediately and garnish with additional fresh parsley, if desired.

Notes

You can also substitute the meat using some baked ham or prosciutto, or make it vegetarian and just add extra cheese or some veggies like zucchini, squash, brussels sprouts or mushrooms.

This recipe is also delicious with a little drizzle of truffle oil in the cheese sauce or topped with white or black truffle salt as a garnish.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/03/08/amazing-macaroni-and-cheese-theres-no-place-like-home/

Luscious Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Spicy Seafood Risotto w/ Shrimp + Steamed Mussels

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Spicy Seafood Risotto
Spicy Seafood Risotto

In the spirit of Mardi Gras, I was in the mood to make something spicy with seafood and rice and thought I would do something different than make the typical Jambalaya or Shrimp Etoufee dish. In one of my Italian Cooking classes at The Institute of Culinary Education, we made a Shrimp Risotto which is a typical Italian-style rice dish. Delicious as it is, I wanted to make it with a twist, by adding some Creole seasoning, lemon, red pepper and mussels steamed in white wine to the recipe. It’s super creamy and flavorful, and takes a little bit of time and patience to make. But one taste of the savory shrimp mixed with mussels, lemon and wine with a spicy kick of Creole makes it all worth the effort.

The mussels take about 10-15 minutes to make, so you’ll want to get started on these when you have about 10-15 minutes left to cook the rice in the broth (or you can make them ahead of time and keep them on the burner on low to keep them warm so you can add the mussels to the risotto at the end). If you want to just eat the Shrimp Risotto with the Mussels in wine sauce on the side, you can do that too! Just add some crusty bread, a green salad and a glass of white wine and you’ve got yourself a big, fat, happy meal to celebrate Mardi Gras. Enjoy =)

Spicy Seafood Risotto w/ Shrimp and Steamed Mussels

Shell and devein the shrimp (reserve the shells). Cut each shrimp into thirds. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until pink 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and reserve.

In a medium saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add half of the garlic and the shrimp shells and saute until the garlic is fragrant and the shells turn pink, about 2 minutes. Add the parsley sprigs and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 6 cups of water, lemon juice and zest and the saffron; bring to a boil, reduce to heat and simmer 15 minutes.

Strain the broth and return it to the pan. Add the pureed tomatoes and season with red pepper flakes, Creole seasoning and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 15 minutes. Strain and reserve over low heat.

In a large casserole or skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium heat. Add the onion and remaining garlic and cook until it begins to get golden, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook until it’s slightly translucent.

Add the wine and cook until absorbed. Add a 4 ounce ladle of the shrimp stock and cook, stirring until the liquid is almost absorbed.

Continue adding broth and cooking until the rice is on the firm side of al dente, 25 to 30 minutes.

Add the shrimp and cook until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes.

To prepare the mussels for cooking, sort through them and throw out any that are open or don’t close when tapped. Be sure to rinse and swirl mussels in a basin of cold water to rinse out any dirt or debris trapped inside them, but don’t let them soak too long or you’ll lose the natural sea flavor. With a brush, scrub the outsides well under running water, and pry off any barnacles with the back of a knife. Twist or cut off any beards or hair-like tufts and rinse again, keeping the mussels cold until ready to use.

Steamed Mussels

Prepare and shell the steamed mussels (see recipe following) and add to the risotto. Sprinkle with minced parsley and serve immediately. Sooo delicious and great with a glass of crisp white wine and crusty bread to mop up the buttery wine sauce!

Spicy Seafood Risotto w/ Shrimp + Steamed Mussels

Yield: Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • RISOTTO:
  • 1/2 lb medium shrimp
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 parsley stems
  • 2 tbsp parsley leaves, minced fine
  • 6 cups of water
  • juice of 1/2 of a lemon, plus 1 tsp lemon zest
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 cup canned San Marzano tomatoes, drained and pureed
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp Creole seasoning (Tony Chacere's Creole Seasoning or Emeril's Essence is great)
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup Italian short-grain rice (Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Steamed Mussels (see recipe following)
  • MUSSELS:
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 pounds fresh mussels

Instructions

  1. PREPARE THE SHRIMP RISOTTO:
  2. Shell and devein the shrimp (reserve the shells). Cut each shrimp into thirds. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until pink 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and reserve.
  3. In a medium saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add half of the garlic and the shrimp shells and saute until the garlic is fragrant and the shells turn pink, about 2 minutes. Add the parsley sprigs and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 6 cups of water, lemon juice and zest and the saffron; bring to a boil, reduce to heat and simmer 15 minutes.
  4. Strain the broth and return it to the pan. Add the pureed tomatoes and season with red pepper flakes, Creole seasoning and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 15 minutes. Strain and reserve over low heat.
  5. In a large casserole or skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium heat. Add the onion and remaining garlic and cook until it begins to get golden, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook until it's slightly translucent.
  6. Add the wine and cook until absorbed. Add a 4 ounce ladle of the shrimp stock and cook, stirring until the liquid is almost absorbed.
  7. Continue adding broth and cooking until the rice is on the firm side of al dente, 25 to 30 minutes.
  8. Add the shrimp and cook until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Shell the steamed mussels (see recipe following) and add to the risotto. Sprinkle with minced parsley and serve.
  9. PREPARE THE MUSSELS:
  10. In a large saucepan or pasta pot, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 2-3 minutes.
  11. Add the wine, chicken stock and lemon juice, and season with saffron, salt and black pepper. Add the red pepper flakes to taste, depending on desired heat (if using). Add the mussels to the pot and cover with a lid; increase the heat to medium-high. Steam the mussels, until they open, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  12. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon. Remove mussels from the shell (or add them whole) to the shrimp risotto. You can also serve them in a big bowl in the wine sauce separately as an accompaniment to the risotto.
  13. Serve the with some crusty garlic bread and a green salad, along with a glass of crisp white wine (Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc is great!)

Notes

Recipes adapted from The Institute of Culinary Education, Techniques of Italian Cooking 

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/02/23/mardi-gras-spicy-seafood-risotto/

Other Risotto Recipes you may enjoy:

CD Kitchen’s Cajun Risotto

Jamie Oliver’s Seafood Risotto (Risotto ai Frutti di Mare)

Emeril Lagasse’s Seafood Risotto

Anthony Bourdain – Seafood Risotto in Venice Video

A Sinfully Delicious Valentine’s Day Dinner

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It’s that time of year again when love is in the air and we’re looking for a romantic dinner to make at home for Valentine’s Day. This is a sinfully delicious dinner menu that will surely impress your loved one – it’s fairly easy and quick to make too. After all, who wants to be slaving away in the kitchen when your sweetie’s in the other room?

You’ll love this savory steak recipe – sauteed and served with a cognac, cream and mustard sauce with a side of roasted garlic and roasted potatoes with garlic and herbs. The mixed greens salad is topped with a creamy shallot vinaigrette dressing and for dessert I’ve included a recipe for a sinfully delicious Chocolate Souffle with Grand Marnier, which can also be made with a splash of dark rum or raspberry Frambois liqueur. Who needs to go out in the cold when you can make a yummy dinner at home? Simply LOVE-LY.

Steak with Cognac Mustard Cream Sauce
Steak with Cognac Mustard Cream Sauce

Sauteed Steak with Cognac Mustard Cream 

Two 3/4 lb steaks (3/4 inch thick) – Delmonico, T-bone, Porterhouse, Sirloin, Strip
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 tbsp cognac
4 tbsp heavy cream
1 1/2 tbsp plus 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Cut excess fat from the steaks and make small incisions around the outside where there is gristle to prevent steaks from curling.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, and season steak on both sides with salt and pepper. When oil is hot, add the steaks and saute 2-3 minutes per side (rare) or 4 minutes per side (medium) and remove steaks to a platter, tenting with foil to keep warm.

Remove pan from the heat and discard any fat. Add the cognac, stirring with the juices and scraping brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Return the pan to high heat and reduce the pan juices and cognac by half, about 3-5 minutes. Add the cream and continue to boil sauce until reduced by half again, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the mustard and remove from the heat. Slice the steak and pour the mustard cream sauce over the steak. Serve with roasted potatoes, garlic and mixed greens salad. A hearty bold red would be delicious to sip along with it!!

Roasted Potatoes with Garlic and Herbs
Roasted Potatoes with Garlic and Herbs

Roasted Potatoes with Garlic and Herbs

8-10 medium potatoes (Yukon Gold, Fingerlings or New Potatoes)
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 tbsp chopped herbs (parsley, chervil, tarragon, chives or rosemary)
Kosher salt

Cut potatoes in quarters or eighths and drizzle them with olive oil. Sprinkle them with chopped garlic and herbs and some kosher salt. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown about 45 minutes.

Roasted Garlic
Roasted Garlic

Roasted Garlic

1-2 heads of garlic
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

If you want to roast some garlic along with the steak and potatoes, simply chop up the top of the garlic head to expose the cloves, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle some salt over them. Wrap in aluminum foil and roast until soft, about 40 minutes. Squeeze the garlic from the skin and mix in with the roasted potatoes and sauteed steak (or rub over toasted crusty French bread as a creamy garlic topping – YUM!)

Mixed Greens Salad
Mixed Greens Salad

Mixed Greens with Creamy Shallot Vinaigrette

1 egg yolk
2 tbsp wine vinegar (red, white or champagne)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp minced shallots
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
4-6 cups mixed greens (arugula, endive, escarole or chicory)

In a small bowl, beat 1 egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and minced shallot. Add olive oil in a slow and steady stream to the mixture and blend well with a whisk to emulsify into a vinaigrette. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add some fresh chopped herbs to the dressing if desired.

Note: Vinaigrette can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week in an airtight container. Makes 8 servings.

Chocolate Souffle
Chocolate Souffle

Chocolate Souffle

7 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 tbsp Grand Marnier (can substitute Raspberry Framboise liqueur or Dark Rum)
4 egg yolks
1/4 c sugar
8 egg whites, room temp

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter 6 individual souffle molds and coat with sugar.

Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a medium saucepan and remove from the heat. Place chocolate and liqueur in a heatproof bowl and set it on top of the saucepan. Stir occassionally to melt the chocolate evenly. When the chocolate has melted, remove the pan and cool the chocolate mixture to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, beat the yolks to break up and add 2 tablespoons of the sugar gradually, and beat until the ribbon is formed. Add to the chocolate and blend. (Reserve some of the chocolate sauce for pouring into the center before serving).

Beat the egg whites with a whisk, adding the remaining sugar by tablespoons, to the stiff peak stage. Fold into the chocolate mixture and fill the molds 2/3 of the way full.

Place the molds on a baking sheet and bake until well puffed, 15 to 20 minutes. Crack the centers of the souffles and pour additional chocolate sauce into the center. Serve immediately while still warm.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipes from the Institute of Culinary Education, Techniques of Fine Cooking.

Luscious Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie

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Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie

This is a delicious, luscious custard pie that I made over Thanksgiving holiday, and it was so easy to make. Made with buttermilk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter; it has a creamy consistency similar to pumpkin pie but without the pumpkin. It includes a simple recipe for homemade pie crust, but you can also use a pre-made or refrigerated crust to save some time and effort (Pillsbury is great). Another option is to make the pie crust with whole wheat or rye flour. Throw in a tablespoon of maple syrup and a dash of sea salt to the filling and sprinkle the pie with some large grain sugar to bring out the flavors even more. Enjoy 🙂

For the crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3-5 tbsp ice cold water

For the filling:
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
zest of half a lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
large grain sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Make the crust: 

In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 3 tbsp ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (you can add additional ice water if necessary, up to 2 tbsp, 1 at a time); do not overmix. Form dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out the dough

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12 inch round.

Prick the dough in a pie plate

Place in a 9 inch pie plate, fold overhang under, and crimp edges. Prick dough all over with a fork. Place a sheet of parchment paper over dough and fill with pie weights or dried beans.

Bake pie crust until golden brown

Bake until edge is light golden brown about 15 minutes; remove parchment and weights.

Make the filling:

Whisk together the pie filling ingredients

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk, lemon zest, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon until combined. In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown and most of the foam has subsided, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately whisk into buttermilk mixture.

Pour pie filling into baked pie shell

Pour filling into pie shell and bake until set but still wobbly in center, 25-35 minutes. Sprinkle pie with sugar (if desired) and let cool completely on a wire rack, 2 hours before serving. Can be refrigerated and wrapped in plastic for up to 3 days.

Serves 8.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food, November 2011

Braised Swedish Meatballs

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Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs are one of our family traditions for the holiday dinner table – not only are they easy to make but a great dish for a buffet dinner or cocktail party. There are many variations to the recipe you can make: a white sauce with dill and sour cream, a red wine or tomato sauce, or a brown beef gravy sauce with allspice and sour cream which is my Grandmother’s recipe that my Mom always used to make.

You can also substitute frozen or pre-made meatballs (Swedish meatballs or plain, not Italian-style) if you don’t feel like making your own, but either way they are delicious and a surefire hit at the dinner table.

The meatballs are great served over hot buttered egg noodles or mashed potatoes with a side of Lingonberry or Cloudberry sauce, which you can find online at Swedish and Finnish grocery sites and Amazon.com. Saute some julienned veggies such as carrots and zucchini and squash to serve on the side along with a glass of crisp white wine or Glogg, a Swedish mulled wine that is a traditional drink served at Christmas.

Happy Holidays!

Braised Swedish Meatballs

Yield: Makes approx. 50 meatballs. 

Ingredients

  • 2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 lb lean ground pork
  • 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced parsley, plus 1 tbsp for garnish
  • 1/8 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • dash of celery salt
  • dash of allspice or nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 jar beef gravy (or homemade gravy if you prefer)
  • 1-2 tbsp sherry (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp allspice or nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • hot buttered noodles or mashed potatoes
  • Lingonberry sauce or Cloudberry sauce

Instructions

  1. Combine first eleven ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and shape into 1 1/2 inch meatballs.  In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown meatballs in 2 tbsp oil; pour off fat. Alternatively, you can bake the meatballs on a cookie sheet for 15 mins on 350 degrees F., drain grease and then bake another 10 mins. and pour into a large dutch oven or casserole on the stovetop.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients (gravy, sherry, allspice or nutmeg) except for the sour cream; pour over meatballs. Simmer 20 minutes. If the gravy seems too thick, you can thin it with a bit of water to the desired consistency. Remove from heat and blend in sour cream; continue cooking until heated through. Do not boil. Serve over noodles or mashed potatoes, garnish with additional parsley and a side of Lingonberry or Cloudberry sauce. Goes great with a crisp, Alsatian white wine such as Riesling or Gerwurstraminer, and a side of sauteed veggies.
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http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2011/12/28/braised-swedish-meatballs/

 

Spezzatino D’Agnello E Finnoccio (Lamb and Fennel Stew)

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Lamb and Fennel Stew

 

In the dead of Winter, there’s something comforting about cooking on those cold, dreary days. One-pot dishes are ideal when you don’t want all the fuss and they’re easy to make too. Just throw all your ingredients in a big pot on the stove, and then cook slow and low… the end result is a big pot ‘o goodness to warm up your toes. This lovely dish is a slowly cooked Italian stew made with lamb and fennel, onions, garlic and wine – it’s also perfect for the holidays to feed a big crowd..enjoy!

Spezzatino D’Agnello E Finnoccio (Lamb Stew with Fennel)

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 to 3 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 2 inch pieces (can substitute beef if desired)
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup dry white wine
3 fennel bulbs, quartered
2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a heavy casserole, heat ¼ cup of the oil over high heat. Add the lamb and brown on all sides, 5-7 minutes. Transfer lamb to a bowl.

Add onion to casserole, reduce heat to medium and sauté onion until softened, 7-10 minutes. Return lamb and its juices to the casserole, add the wine and deglaze until reduced. Season the meat and onion with salt and pepper, transfer casserole to the oven, cover and braise for 1 hour.

Meanwhile in a large skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium-high heat. Add fennel and sauté until browned, 10-15 minutes. Transfer fennel to a plate, add the garlic to the skillet and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the vinegar and mix well.

After meat has braised 1 hour, add the fennel mixture to the casserole. Cover and braise until meat is tender, about 2 hours.

Serves 6. 

Recipe by Institute of Culinary Education, NYC



Italian Free-Form Apple Tart (Crostata Di Mele Alla Romana)

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Freeform-Apple-Crostata

I have been taking an Italian cooking series at the Institute of Culinary Education and it’s been an amazing opportunity to make fresh pastas, risottos, sauces and classic Italian dishes and desserts. I’ve decided I want to start baking more and was thrilled to learn how to make a lovely free-form apple tart called Crostata Di Mele Alla Romana. This delicious dessert is basically an Italian version of an apple pie but without a pie dish, made on a baking sheet. Super easy and super delicious, and perfect for the holidays.

The handmade dough is rolled out on to a sheet pan, with a delicious warm apple, rum, butter and cinnamon filling, then topped with a lattice crust and sealed together around the edges with rolled dough. The crusty is golden and flaky, with a buttery cake-like texture and is topped off with sprinkled confectioner’s sugar. You won’t be able to resist the smell of warm apples and cinnamon that permeate the kitchen making this the ultimate comfort food for your friends and family. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Pasta frolla:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter
3 large eggs

Apple filling:

3 lbs. tart apples, such as Granny Smith
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp dark rum
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Egg wash:

1 egg well-beaten, with a pinch of salt

For the dough, combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse until finely mixed in. Add the eggs and continue to pulse until the dough forms a ball. Shape into a disk, wrap the dough and chill it for at least 1/2 an hour.

For the filling, peel, core and slice the apples thinly. In a medium saute pan, combine the apples with the sugar, butter, rum and cinnamon and simmer uncovered, over low heat until the apples exude their juices, about 10 minutes. Continue to simmer until the filling is fairly dry, about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and set a rack in the lower third of the oven. Cover a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment or foil.

making the crostata

Divide the dough in half, roll half into a 12 inch disk and transfer it to the pan. Using a plate or platter as a pattern, cut the dough into a perfect 11-inch circle. Spread the filling to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the dough.

Cut rolled pasta dough

Roll 2/3 of the remaining dough into an 8 by 12-inch rectangle and cut into sixteen 1/2-inch wide strips.

Making the lattice crust

Brush the strips with egg wash and arrange them on the filling in a diagonal lattice. Use the remaining dough and scraps to make a long cylinder.

Making the tart dough edge

Egg wash the edge of the tart and apply the cylinder. With the back of a knife, make diagonal impressions in the cylinder.

Bake the tart until the dough is nicely colored, about 30 minutes.

Italian Free Form Apple Tart

Top with powdered confectioner’s sugar, let cool slightly and slice. Serve with French vanilla ice cream.

*Note: You can also substitute 2 1/2 lbs pitted sour cherries or blueberries, (fresh or frozen) for the apples.

Sinfully Good: Pierogi Casserole

Pierogie Casserole
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Pierogie Casserole

Today is one of those dreary Fall days where it’s cold and rainy and I’m in need of a little pick me up from some classic comfort food. One that involves BACON. And CHEESE. And PASTA. And all those yummy yums that aren’t that good for you. I was looking through some of my family recipes and this one came up that looked perfect for the mood I’m in today. It’s a sinfully good baked Pierogi casserole that my family used to make around the holidays – I remember sitting around the table with my family devouring this tasty dish with absolutely no shame. It’s not fancy. It’s easy to make. Has layers of flavor from the crispy bacon, earthy mushrooms, creamy sauce and tangy sauerkraut. And it’s so darn GOOD.

Traditional Pierogies are like Polish or Ukrainian Ravioli, made with fresh made dough that is filled with potatoes and cheese, meat or sauerkraut, and usually boiled or sauteed in butter with golden brown fried onions. This recipe takes the main ingredients of Pierogi (butter, mushrooms, sauerkraut, bacon, pasta and cheese) and blends them together into a bubbling baked one-pot dish you’re gonna die for. It’s the ultimate comfort food perfect for a chilly dreary day that will keep you coming back for more…trust me.

Sinfully Good: Pierogi Casserole

Yield: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. spiral pasta or Girelle (little spiral tops)
  • 6-8 strips bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1 large sweet onion (Vidalia), chopped
  • 1 stick (8 ounces) butter, divided
  • 4 oz. fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1-14 ounce package sauerkraut, rinsed well
  • 2 cans Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Boil pasta 7-9 minutes and drain, set aside.
  3. In a large saute pan, fry bacon over medium heat about 6-8 minutes until crispy, drain and crumble, set aside.
  4. Sauté onions in same saute pan with 1/2 stick of butter for another 7-8 minutes until soft and translucent. Remove from pan and set aside.
  5. Add the other 1/2 stick of butter and and sauté mushrooms about 8 minutes until tender.
  6. Stir all ingredients together in large mixing bowl, adding soup and 2% milk, sauerkraut, sautéed onions and mushrooms, shredded cheese, and fresh ground pepper to taste.
  7. Pour mixture over cooked pasta into a greased rectangle casserole dish, mix thoroughly and cover with foil.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 mins.
  9. Remove foil and turn up oven to 500 degrees, bake for another 5-10 minutes until top gets golden brown.
  10. Let cool before serving.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2011/11/23/sinfully-good-pierogie-casserole/

Bacon

Fry the bacon until crispy.

Saute Mushrooms

Saute the mushrooms in some butter until soft and golden.

Bacon with Mixture

Mix together crumbled bacon, sauteed mushrooms, sauerkraut, mushroom soup, milk and black pepper, stir.

Mixture

Add the shredded cheese and mix together well. Pour over cooked noodles in the casserole dish and stir it all together.

Pierogie Casserole

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes at 375. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes on 500 until it gets crispy and golden on top. Let cool.

Devour.

—–

Other recipes you may enjoy:

All Recipes Pierogi Casserole

How Sweet Eats Pierogi Casserole

Kraft Easy Pierogi Casserole

My Favorite Thanksgiving Sides and Recipes

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Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, one of my favorite holidays of the year. Celebrating thanks with friends and family around the table with a feast of delicious food – it doesn’t get any better. There’s so much for me to be thankful for – my health, my job, my friends, family and the roof over my head, the amazing places I have traveled to and the amazing people and things I have experienced along the way, and the mere fact that every day is a new adventure, with hopefully many more to come.

Throughout the years I have collected my favorite recipes from my family, friends and cookbooks, as well as created a few of my own. I want to share these with you to enjoy just as I have, wishing all my readers a delicious holiday filled with thanks this year..Enjoy and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Soup with Blue Cheese Toasts

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 tbsp minced shallots
3 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
4 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small baguette, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
blue cheese crumbles

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add onions, celery, carrots and shallots. Saute over moderate heat until onions become transparent. Add canned pumpkin, broth and water. Cook until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and puree the mixture in a blender or processor. Return the mixture to saucepan, add chopped thyme and cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reheat over low heat until hot, do not boil. Place baguette slices on baking sheet and broil until golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven and sprinkle the toasts generously with blue cheese crumbles. Serve soup with toasts floating on top as garnish.

Serves 4-6.

Recipe from Whole Foods Market

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Orange-Romaine Salad with Walnuts and Bacon

1 (10 oz.) package of chopped romaine lettuce
6 green onions, sliced
2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
1/4 c. walnut pieces or pine nuts (lightly toasted)
4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled

Orange Vinaigrette
1/3 cup of red wine vinaigrette
1/3 cup of fresh orange juice (from 1 orange)
2 tsp sugar or sweetener

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts in an even layer onto a baking sheet and roast for approx. 15 mins until golden brown. Set aside.

Preheat a saute pan and cook bacon until crispy, crumble and set aside.

Slice green onions, and peel and section oranges.

To make orange vinaigrette, whisk together red wine vinaigrette, fresh orange juice and sugar.

Toss together all ingredients, top with crumbled bacon and toasted nuts.

Serves 8.

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Butternut Squash Puree with Toasted Hazelnuts

3 butternut squash, halved and seeded
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 small shallots, halved
4 tablespoons orange blossom honey
6 sprigs fresh thyme
pinch of ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts

Heat oven to 400° F. Place the squash skin down onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Season with the salt and pepper and top with the shallots, honey, thyme, pinch of cinnamon and butter.

Cover the squash with foil. Roast until softened, 45 to 60 minutes. Uncover and set aside until cool enough to handle. Working in batches, scoop some of the softened squash and shallots from the peels into a mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, toast chopped hazelnuts in a saute pan over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes until nuts are fragrant and golden brown.

Puree the squash mixture with a blender until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl. Repeat with the remaining squash and shallots.

Top with toasted hazelnuts, additional sprigs of thyme, an extra drizzle of honey and serve warm.

Serves 6-8.

Recipe adapted from Real Simple.

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Broccoli Casserole

2 eggs, beaten
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tbsp butter, melted
3 cups of broccoli, chopped (frozen or fresh)
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine first 7 ingredients, fold in the broccoli. Transfer to a greased 1 1/2 quart baking dish.

In a medium saute pan, melt 2 tbsp butter and add bread crumbs, stir. Toast breadcrumbs until lightly golden, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the broccoli mixture and bake for 30-35 minutes until bubbly and heated through.

Serves 8.

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Buttery Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

1 head garlic
drizzle of olive oil
3 lbs. baking potatoes (Russet or Yukon Gold)
Kosher salt and pepper
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole milk
3 tbsp minced chives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the head of garlic in half and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap garlic in foil and place in a small baking dish, bake for 30-45 minutes until the garlic cloves are soft. Set aside.

Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks and bring to boil in a large covered saucepan with salted water. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer about 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender and pierce easily with a knife. Drain the potatoes well and return to the pan, over medium-low heat to remove any excess moisture.

In a large mixing bowl, place potatoes, butter, squeezed roasted garlic bulbs and half of the milk. Whip with a hand blender on high speed, slowly adding in the rest of the milk until potatoes have a creamy consistency.

Mix in the chives, salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with additional butter if desired.

Serves 6.

Recipe from Williams-Sonoma, Comfort Food

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Creamed Corn with Garlic and Bacon

4 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
2 cups of sweet corn (white and yellow mix)
1 tbsp bacon fat or olive oil
2 tsp garlic, chopped
2 tbsp sweet onion, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
sweet paprika, for garnish
2 tbsp chives, chopped fine for garnish (can also substitute fresh mint)

Cook bacon in a pre-heated saute pan over medium-high heat, drain on paper towels and set aside.

Remove all but 2 tbsp of bacon fat in the pan, add the garlic and onions and saute until soft and golden.

Puree 1 cup of corn in a blender, and add with the additional corn kernels into the pan with the onions and garlic, saute for 3-4 minutes.

Chop the bacon into a medium dice and add to the corn, garlic and onions mixture.

Finish the mixture in the pan with heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste, stirring through.

Garnish with paprika and chopped chives or mint.

Serves 4-6.

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Roasted Turkey and Gram’s Sausage Sage Stuffing

Stuffing:

1 c. butter (2 sticks)
¾ c. finely minced onion
12 c. coarse bread, torn into cubes, crusts removed
1 ½ c. chopped celery (stalks and leaves)
1 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. poultry seasoning (to taste)
1/2 tbsp. dried sage or 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped fine
1 can chicken broth
¼ c. hot water
1 lb. pork sausage, browned and crumbled

Turkey:

12 lb turkey
butter, softened
salt
sage, dried
thyme, dried
basil, dried
fresh ground pepper (black and white)
cayenne pepper

Gravy:

1/3 cup of flour
1-2 tbsp of butter
1-2 cups of chicken stock
1 cup white wine or brandy,
1 tbsp of cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

To prep the stuffing: In a large roasting pan, break up bread into coarse cubes (about 2-3 loaves). Heat a large heavy skillet over medium high heat and brown pork sausage until cooked thoroughly. Remove the sausage and pour over the large roasting pan full of bread crumbs.

Next melt 2 sticks of butter in the same skillet that the sausage was browned in and cook onions and celery until soft and lightly browned, stirring often. Add salt and pepper and stir again, remove from heat and pour on top of bread crumb and sausage in the roasting pan.

Add the chicken broth, poultry seasoning, sage, additional salt and pepper to taste and stir thoroughly throughout crumbs and stuffing mixture. Add ¼ c. hot water to stuffing until moist (not wet but not too dry of a texture). Cover roasting pan and let sit in the refrigerator over night.

To roast the turkey and stuffing: The next day, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prep the turkey by rubbing it all over with butter. Wrap ends of legs and wings with aluminum foil to prevent burning while cooking. Sprinkle salt, sage, thyme, basil, and pepper (black, white and cayenne) onto turkey and inside the cavity, and rub in well.

Loosely stuff the turkey with stuffing just before roasting and add any leftover stuffing to a roasting pan. Cook the turkey breast for 45 minutes breast side down, basting occasionally with poultry juices. Place leftover stuffing in a roasting pan, cover with foil and cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, basting with turkey juices to keep it moist. Rotate turkey on its side and cook another 15 minutes, flipping sides and cooking on the other side for another 15 minutes. Flip the bird over breast up and keep basting and roasting the turkey about another 45 minutes until temperature reads 165 degrees in the breast and 170-175 in the deepest part of the thigh and juices run clear between the leg and the thigh. Remove stuffing from the roasting pan and turkey and place in a separate serving bowl. Allow turkey to rest 20-25 minutes on a carving board before serving.

To make a homemade gravy: Scrape up all the crunchy brown bits and pan drippings (skim off the top layer of fat first), then add  1/3 cup of flour and 1-2 tbsp of butter, stirring for a few minutes to make a roux, then slowly add in the liquid (1-2 cups of chicken stock, some brandy or 1 cup white wine, 1 tbsp of cider vinegar and a little salt and pepper to taste). Whisk it into a creamy goodness right in the roasting pan on the stove over medium heat for about 7-8 minutes until it thickens, and serve hot on the side with the turkey and stuffing. My Mom used to add in a little bit of Gravy Master seasoning to darken the gravy and give it some extra flavor – experiment with the gravy’s thickness and seasoning until you get it to the flavor and consistency you desire.

Makes 3 quarts of stuffing for a 12 lb turkey

Note: Gram’s Stuffing recipe adapted from Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cookbook, 1962

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Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie

For the crust:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp fine salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3-5 tbsp ice water

For the filling:
3 tbsp all purpose flour
3 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
zest of one lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 3 tbsp ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (you can add additional ice water if necessary, up to 2 tbsp, 1 at a time); do not overmix. Form dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12 inch round. Place in a 9 inch pie plate, fold overhang under, and crimp edges. Prick dough all over with a fork. Place a sheet of parchment paper over dough and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edge is light golden brown about 15 minutes; remove parchment and weights.

Make the filling: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk, lemon zest, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon until combined. In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown and most of the foam has subsided, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately whisk into buttermilk mixture. Pour filling into pie shell and bake until set but still wobbly in center, 25-35 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack, 2 hours before serving. Can be refrigerated and wrapped in plastic for up to 3 days.

Serves 8.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food, November 2011

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Spiced Mulled Wine

1 bottle medium to full bodied red wine (Merlot or Cabernet)
1 tsp almond extract
2 cinnamon sticks, plus a few extra for garnish
3 whole cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp honey

Pour wine into a double boiler (a metal mixing bowl over boiling water in a saucepan) and warm over medium heat.

Add the almond extract, spices and honey and stir until dissolved. Reduce heat, cover and simmer gently, stirring on occasion.

Serve in heat-resistant glasses or mugs, garnish with additional cinnamon sticks, if desired.

Serves 4-6.

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