Well it’s that time a year again…the holidays are here, and we all know what that means…PIE. And lots of cooking. With lots of yummy Winter comfort food and ingredients, like maple syrup.
Every year I try to make a new pie and experiment away from the traditional pumpkin, cherry and apple pies. I got a new cookbook title The Maple Syrup Cookbook with some awesome recipes in it and was inspired to make some of them for Thanksgiving this year with the family.
This French Canadian Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie is super delicious and was a hit at the table this year!
It’s similar to Pecan pie but has a touch of maple syrup and apple cider vinegar along with a big mess of chopped walnuts, brown sugar, brewed tea, and eggs all baked in a lovely crust. It has a nice balance of sweetness and tartness with lots of crunch and a gooey filling – super #delish!
I always make Brussels sprouts for the holidays, but this year I made Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts from the cookbook, using a touch of maple syrup for sweetness to the recipe instead of the balsamic drizzle I normally use with the bacon, shallots and vinegar.
They both went great with our Thanksgiving dinner and were absolutely divine with some lovely Riesling wine to go with.
I’m definitely a big fan of this cookbook and these new recipes and I hope you try them too – I’m thinking I’ll make the Maple-Bacon Bread Pudding that’s in the book this year for Christmas Brunch! Stay tuned for that one on the blog soon!
Holiday Recipes: Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie & Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts
Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie
1 9-inch pie crust (homemade or frozen)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup brewed tea
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts:
4 slices bacon
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup finely chopped sweet onion (or substitute shallots)
1-1 1/4 pounds Brussels Sprouts, halved
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (optional, I did not use)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie
Prepare the pie shell according to the directions and line a 9-inch pie plate with the pie pastry and refrigerate or freeze. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Whisk together eggs and sugar in large mixing bowl. Add maple syrup, butter, tea, vinegar and salt, whisking until smooth. Stir in the walnuts. Place the pie shell on a heavy baking sheet and pour in the filling.
Bake on the center rack of oven for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temp to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for about 25 minutes longer until the center is set. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temp with whipped cream or ice cream. Also good cold.
Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts:
Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Transfer to paper towels and let cool. Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the skillet.
Add the butter and onions to the skillet, and saute over medium heat until translucent, 7-8 minutes. Stir in the Brussels sprouts and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in chicken broth.
Cover and braise the Brussels sprouts until not quite tender, about 3 minutes. Uncover the pan, stir in the mustard, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Continue to cook uncovered, until sprouts are tender and liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the maple syrup just before taking off the heat, and transfer to a serving dish and top with the cooked crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.
I recently had an opportunity to meet an amazing author/chef/blogger/photographer at a recent book launch party at Candle 79, Michael Natkin. If you haven’t checked out Michael’s award-winning vegetarian blog, Herbivoracious, then you absolutely must. His creative vegetarian dishes are colorful, fresh and vibrant, and he recently published his first cookbook named after his blog. I had the opportunity to meet Michael at the party and get a signed copy of his cookbook which I absolutely adore (even though I am not a vegetarian) and loved the recipes so much that I wanted to share a few with you and offer a chance for you to enter to win a copy of the amazing cookbook yourself, giveaway courtesy of Harvard Common Press.
The cookbook is full of 150 recipes and global dishes that he has created based on inspiration from his travels around the world: Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia are some of the main areas of influence on his cooking, which has led to his unique dishes full of taste, texture, aroma and gorgeous presentation. Appetizers and Small Plates, Soups and Salads, Sandwiches and Tacos, Pasta and Noodle DIshes, Side Veggie Dishes and Desserts are all colorfully presented in this beautiful cookbook.
Whether you are an omnivore, herbivore, vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian (or just love fresh veggies, salads and healthy recipes) – I know you’ll love this cookbook as much as I do! Michael has also graciously given me two recipes from his cookbook to share with you: Over The Top Eggplant Parmesan and a cool and refreshing Watermelon, Radish and Watercress Salad (see recipes following). Enjoy!
***THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED! CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER, SHEA ROSS OF ATLANTA GA! STAY TUNED FOR FUTURE COOKBOOK GIVEAWAYS 🙂
Here’s how to enter to win a copy of the cookbook (open to US/Canadian residents only):
Comment on this post: Tell me what is your favorite vegetable or vegetarian dish, or simply why you would like to win the cookbook to receive one (1) entry;
Share this post on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or Pinterest with your followers & get an additional entry for each post;
*** VERY IMPORTANT! ***Leave a separate comment for EACH of your entries or only one entry will be counted.For example, leave your first comment about your favorite vegetable or vegetarian dish and why you want to win the cookbook, then add another comment to say “I follow you on Twitter”, another to say “I follow you on Pinterest”, etc. If you already follow me on Twitter, Pinterest and/or Facebook let me know as well, since this counts as an entry.
*NOTE: Please make sure to provide your current email address (which won’t be visible) so I can reach you if you win.
I will randomly draw one lucky winner on Sunday, June 10 at 11 pm EST. Good Luck and enjoy the recipes from Michael’s book below!
Over-the-Top Eggplant Parmigiana
SERVES 6 1 HOUR (40 MINUTES ACTIVE)
For this no-holds-barred eggplant parmigiana, the eggplant is breaded with panko and pan-fried, layered with fresh mozzarella and homemade tomato sauce, finished in the oven, and then topped with a dice of fresh heirloom tomatoes. It makes a satisfying entrée, and you need only add a green salad to make a celebratory dinner.
I don’t salt and drain eggplant for most uses, but it is worthwhile in this recipe. Extracting some of the liquid makes the eggplant fry up firm yet fork-tender. You don’t want any mush factor in your parmigiana.
Here’s a great tip for breading. Use one hand to put the eggplant in the flour, egg, and bread crumbs. Use the other hand to toss the eggplant in the bread crumbs and into the skillet. By keeping one hand for the wet stuff and the other for the dry, you avoid getting your hands breaded along with the eggplant!
The finest canned tomatoes for Italian dishes come from the area of San Marzano; look for that name on the can.
3 large or 5 smaller globe eggplants (about 4 pounds total)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups panko bread crumbs
4 large eggs, beaten
Vegetable oil, for pan-frying
12 ounces mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 handfuls fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 1⁄2 cups diced vine-ripened tomatoes (only truly good, ripe tomatoes will do here; don’t use those supermarket ones ripened with ethylene gas)
1 handful fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Peel the eggplants and slice lengthwise into planks a scant 1⁄2 inch thick. Layer in a colander with a heavy sprinkling of kosher salt between each layer, top with a plate, and weight with some cans. Set aside on a plate to drain for at least 30 minutes. Wipe off excess salt with a paper towel.
Heat the olive oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, while you make the rest of the recipe. Don’t add salt, because the eggplant will still have residual salt from the draining process.
Set up a rack or baking sheet covered with paper towels for draining the fried eggplant. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and preheat the oven to 400°F.
Set up for dredging, with plates for the flour and bread crumbs and a shallow bowl for the eggs. Heat a good 1⁄4 inch of vegetable oil in your biggest skillet over high heat. Working with two slices of eggplant at a time, pat them in the flour until they have a dry coating, then drag through the egg, and finally press both sides in the bread crumbs, covering thoroughly. Place them in the skillet, where they should start sizzling immediately. Don’t pack them in too tightly in the skillet; leave yourself some room to work. Flip when brown, about 2 minutes, then brown on the other side. They should be fork-tender at this point (the oven time is just to melt the cheese, not cook the eggplant). Transfer the eggplant to the rack to drain. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, adding more vegetable oil as necessary.
To assemble, set down your first layer of eggplant in the prepared baking dish, and top each slice with a couple tablespoons of tomato sauce, a piece of mozzarella, a bit of Parmigiano, and a bit of basil. Build up three layers, finishing with cheese.
Bake until the cheese is thoroughly melted, about 20 minutes.
To serve: Toss the diced tomatoes with the basil and a pinch of salt. Put an eggplant stack on each plate, and top with 1⁄4 cup of the tomato salad and a grind of fresh black pepper.
Watermelon Radish and Watercress Salad
This delicious salad is driven purely by its beautiful ingredients; all you have to do is take a little care to arrange them nicely.
Watermelon radishes are green on the outside, but when sliced you see that they are intensely red in the middle, looking much like tiny watermelons. If you have a mandoline, use it here: It is excellent for slicing them thinly and evenly.
If you have difficulty finding watercress, check the refrigerated produce section of upscale markets. They often carry hydroponic watercress, making this peppery green, once strictly seasonal, available year-round. Look for bright, fresh leaves with no signs of wilting. The tart cress makes a great foil for the sweet figs and pomegranate seeds (or more technically, arils).
1 large watermelon radish, very thinly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 handfuls watercress, rinsed and dried
4 ripe fresh figs, halved
1⁄4 cup pomegranate seeds
16 shavings Parmigiano-Reggiano or other hard aged cheese
12 toasted walnut halves
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
Arrange a circle of watermelon radish slices on each of four chilled plates. Drizzle with a little olive oil.
Toss the watercress with a bit of the olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Place a fluffy handful on each plate. This is the critical step to making the salad look nice—aim to make a tall, high mound in the center, and don’t let it spread out.
Add 2 fig halves, 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds, 4 cheese shavings, and 3 toasted walnut halves to each plate. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and serve immediately.
Herbivoracious is also available in an enhanced e-book edition, with 25 videos featuring Natkin touring ethnic markets, introducing ingredients and showing how to choose them, and preparing recipes from the book. The e-book will also offer social media functionality for sharing recipes, photos, and video on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs.
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED FOR ENTRIES. CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER,
***(Check back for our next awesome cookbook giveaway in the next week!)***
Enter now for a chance to win a copy of La Tartine Gourmande Cookbook! Starting today (5/3/2012), I am running a giveaway for one (1) La Tartine Gourmande Cookbook, courtesy of Roost Books. The giveaway runs until 5/13/2012 at 12:00 AM EST.
To enter the giveaway (open to US/Canadian residents only):
Comment on this post: Tell me what is your favorite Spring dish or ingredient to cook with, and why you would like to win the cookbook to receive one (1) entry;
Share this post on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest with your followers and get an additional entry for each post;
*** VERY IMPORTANT! ***Leave a separate comment for EACH of your entries or only one entry will be counted.For example, leave your first comment about your Spring dish or ingredient and why you want to win the cookbook, then add another comment to say “I follow you on Twitter”, another to say “I follow you on Pinterest”, etc. If you already follow me on Twitter, Pinterest and/or Facebook let me know as well, since this counts as an entry.
*NOTE:Please make sure to provide your current email address (which won’t be visible on the blog) so I can reach you if you win.
I will randomly draw one lucky winner on Sunday, May 13 at 12AM EST. Good Luck and enjoy the recipes and video from La Tartine Gourmande below!
If you haven’t seen the food blog LaTartineGourmande.com or heard about the author Beatrice Peltre – Chef, Writer, Recipe Developer and Photographer, then you absolutely need to continue reading on! I recently purchased a copy of her new cookbook La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life, which is a delicious, full-color cookbook filled with beautiful, fresh, simple recipes and gorgeous food photography. She has been such an inspiration to me as a Chef, food writer and photographer, and I’ve been following her site for a few years now — I was so excited when her new cookbook came out that I wanted to do a review and giveaway to share her fabulous recipes and photos with my readers.
The cookbook is full of amazing recipes made with whole, fresh ingredients based on French-based techniques. The recipes are beautifully simple and easy enough to make at home or for entertaining friends and family. The book is written in an honest and down-to-earth voice, with stories and recipes based on Bea’s French background and other places she has lived or traveled to such as Denmark, New Zealand and Boston. Bea brings a creative twist to everyday recipes and uses only the freshest ingredients and gluten-free whole grains such as millet, quinoa, buckwheat, and nut flours. She shares stories of cooking with her daughter (Lulu) and takes you inside her kitchen with tales of culinary delight.
Her inspiring recipes are full of bright flavors and colorful fruits and vegetables and tantalizing baked goods. Organized by Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner and Desserts, she offers menus within each category for different occasions: The Picnic, Casual Lunch with Friends, The Party with Small Bites, Sophisticated and Elegant Dinners, etc. You’ll find mouthwatering recipes such as Cherry Tomato Tartlets Tatin, Saffron-flavored Crab and Watercress Souffle, and Tagliatelle with Zucchini, Lime and Parmesan. Her gorgeous desserts include Chocolate and Plum Almond Cake with Cinnamon and Apple and Pear Verrines with Millet Crumble and Vanilla Custard and many more luscious creations. Bea has been generous enough to share two of her recipes from the new cookbook below: her lovely Summer Vegetable Tian, and tantalizing dessert Cardamom Chocolate Creme Caramel. Enjoy!
Summer Vegetable Tian
Oh the joy of a melt-in-the-mouth vegetable tian! I have a true weakness for this dish. Originally from the South of France, a tian is a dish in which summer vegetables —similar to those used in a ratatouille — are layered and baked slowly in a low-heated oven. The result is melting layers of flavors and scents that transport you to the Mediterranean. During the summer, when I can get wonderfully aromatic vegetables at the farmers’ market, this is a meal we enjoy weekly. Also, to simplify dinner when you’re busy, prepare the dish ahead of time, or even the day before.
1 tablespoon chopped lemon thyme or regular thyme
¼ cup chopped basil
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 Italian eggplants (280 g; 10 oz), sliced into thin rounds
2 zucchini (400 g; 14 oz), thinly sliced (use a mandoline if you have one)
3 to 4 ripe tomatoes (550 g; 19 ½ oz), thinly sliced
2 fennel bulbs (280 g; 10 oz), thinly sliced (use a mandolin if you have one)
In a small bowl, combine the chopped herbs and garlic. Place the eggplant slices in a colander and sprinkle them with sea salt. Let them rest for 30 minutes so the moisture releases. Pat dry with paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 320 degrees F (160 degrees C).
Brush a large oven dish with oil and layer your vegetables into it in this order: 1 layer of tomatoes, 2 layers of zucchini, 1 of eggplant, 1 of fennel; repeat this pattern until you run out of vegetables, adding some of the chopped herbs and garlic each time between layers. Season with sea salt and pepper and drizzle generously with oil.
Place the tian in the oven and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork. Check regularly to make sure that they do not brown too quickly, covering the dish with a piece of foil paper if that’s the case. Serve warm with a green salad and grilled meat or fish.
Cardamom Chocolate Crème Caramel
This attractive dessert is made for people like me and Philip who cannot resist anything described with words like “dark chocolate” and “custard.” Maybe you are one of these people too? It offers a rich silky aromatic chocolate flan-like cream balanced by a light caramel sauce that you’ll want to dip your fingers into.
You will need:
Six 6-ounce ramekins
Canola oil, for the ramekins
For the caramel:
½ cup (100 g: 3 ½ oz) fine granulated white sugar
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon hot water
For the chocolate custard:
2 ¼ cups (530 ml) whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split open and seeds scraped out
5 green cardamom pods, crushed
3 oz (90 g) dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons blond cane sugar
Unsweetened cocoa powder, to dust
Oil six 6-ounce ramekins; set aside.
To prepare the caramel: Heat the sugar and cold water in a small pot. Swirl the pot in a circular movement so that the sugar absorbs the water. Bring to a boil, then simmer at a medium heat — do not stir the sugar at this point, although you can swirl the pot occasionally — and watch the caramel develop. It will be ready when it’s golden in color, which takes about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the hot water, and stir quickly. Pour the caramel into the oiled ramekins, making sure to coat the bottom and sides; set aside.
Preheat the oven to 300ºF (150ºC).
To prepare the custard: In a pot, combine the milk with the vanilla bean and seeds and cardamom pods and bring to a boil, making sure that it doesn’t overflow. When it boils, remove from the heat and add the chocolate, whisking quickly so that the chocolate melts evenly. Cover and let infuse for 20 minutes. Discard the vanilla bean and cardamom, and using a fine sieve or chinois, strain the chocolate milk.
In the meantime, using a stand mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar for 1 minute. Pour the chocolate milk in and stir quickly. With a spoon, remove any foam that might have formed at the surface. Divide the chocolate custard among the 6 caramel- filled ramekins and place them in a water bath (see Basic Cooking Techniques, page 27, for instructions). Place the custards in the oven and cook for about 50 minutes. To check if they are ready, jiggle the ramekins a little —the center of the cream should be almost set but not fully (they’ll finish setting once they cool down). Remove the ramekins from the oven and let cool completely. Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight, until the custard is completely set.
To unmold the crème caramel easily, dip the ramekins in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, taking care to not let the water spill in. Run the blade of a knife between the custard and the edge of the ramekins. Turn onto a plate and serve with dusted cocoa on top.
Watch the premiere book trailer for the new La Tartine Gourmande cookbook.Music: “The Winter Song” by the band Au Revoir Simone: www.aurevoirsimone.comVideo: Margaret Singer & Max Freeman of Unusually Fine: www.unusuallyfine.com