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 Rhubarb-Blueberry Clafoutis

 2 Cups Whole Milk
 1 Cup Sugar, divided
 1/2 Vanilla Bean or 1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
 1 Pinch Fine Kosher Salt
 3 Large Eggs
 2 Tbsp Brandy or Cognac
 1/2 Cup All-purpose Flour
 1 Cup Rhubarb, Thinly Sliced
 1 Cup Blueberries
 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, Softened
 Powdered Sugar, for Garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 425F, with rack in center position.
  2. Grease a 10" ceramic quiche dish, pie dish, or cast-iron skillet with softened butter. Put 1/4 cup sugar in the center of your baking dish and rotate to coat across the bottom and sides. Knock out excess. Place blueberries and rhubarb in an even layer across the bottom of the prepared dish. Set aside.
  3. Place the milk and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla and place in the saucepan along with the vanilla pod. Add the pinch of salt. Heat over medium, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. While the milk mixture is heating, combine the eggs and 1/4 cup sugar. Whisk until lightened in color and near ribbon stage. Add in the flour and whisk until smooth.
  4. When the milk mixture has just nearly boiled, remove it from the heat and slowly pour into the egg mixture while whisking constantly. Whisk in the brandy. Remove the vanilla pod.
  5. Pour the clafoutis batter over fruit in your prepared baking dish. Bake until just set in the center and slightly puffed and browned around the perimeter of the dish, 35-45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 15-30 minutes. Dust clafoutis with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream if desired. It's even better the next day for breakfast served straight from the fridge!


 French Yogurt Cake

 1 (5.3 ounces) container of whole fat, plain yogurt
 2 containers of sugar
 3 containers of all-purpose flour
 1 container of vegetable oil
 3 large eggs
 1 tablespoon baking powder
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 Mixed berries, for serving 


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9-inch spring form.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, pour the plain yogurt. Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and oil. Whisk until combined.
  3. Wash the yogurt container and dry it. Add all-purpose flour, baking powder, and mix well.
  4. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving. The cake will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

 Chantilly Cream

 1 cup heavy cream
 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

 Using electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes.
 Serve cake with Chantilly cream and berries.


 Sausage & New Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

 Ripe cherry tomatoes and arugula would not be a bad idea.
 2 pounds (small) red new potatoes, quartered
 1 pound smoked sausage, such as Conecuh, cut into half moons
 Canola oil, or other neutral oil
 2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
 4 stalks celery, finely diced
 Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
 For the dressing:
 ½ cup apple cider vinegar
 3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
 2 tablespoons honey
 Olive oil, as needed
 Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Add potatoes to a large stock pot and cover with cool water. Add plenty of salt (3 to 4 tablespoons—it should taste like ocean water.) Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to keep the water simmering. Cook until potatoes are tender when poked with a sharp knife, but be careful not to overcook, or the potatoes will fall apart when mixing. Drain the potatoes and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, add sausage to a large skillet with a big glug of canola oil, about ¼ cup. (The residual oil gets used for the dressing.) Heat over medium heat until sausage is golden brown and erring on the crisp side. Remove using a spider or slotted spoon and transfer to the same bowl as the cooked potatoes. Pour the residual oil into a small mixing bowl or liquid measuring cup to be used for the vinaigrette. Add the bell peppers to the skillet and cook for a minute or so, just to soften up slightly. (They can also go into the salad raw.)
  3. Add the bell peppers, green onions, and celery to the bowl with the potatoes.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk the cider vinegar, whole grain mustard, and honey to the bowl with the canola oil. Add some olive oil if it seems like it needs some more fat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the potato mixture and gently fold until well combined.
  5. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes. Taste and adjust flavors as needed. (It can drink up the dressing, so don’t be afraid to whisk up a little more dressing.) Serve at room temperature. It just keeps getting better as it sits!


 Summer Red Sangria

 2 bottles of fruity red wine
 1 cup brandy
 ¼ cup simple syrup
 4-6 cups mixed berries, fresh or frozen (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
 Oranges and lemons, sliced into wheels
 1-2 cinnamon sticks 
 Soda water, for topping if desired

  1. Combine all the ingredients except soda water in a large pot and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours, but preferably overnight. Transfer to pitcher or punch bowl. Serve chilled with lots of fruit. Top with a splash of soda if you prefer some effervescence.


 Key Lime Pie

 Graham Cracker Crust:
 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from 12 whole graham crackers)
 1/3 cup granulated sugar
 6 tablespoons butter melted

 Key Lime Filling:
 Two 14-oz cans sweetened condensed milk
 1/2 cup full fat sour cream
 3/4 cup key lime juice
 Zest from 2 regular limes or 4 key limes

 Whipped Cream:
 1 cup heavy whipping cream
 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, or more to taste
 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. For the graham cracker crust: Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a small bowl. Transfer mixture to pie pan and press into bottom and up sides with a flat-bottomed measuring cup. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes. Cool for at least 30 minutes.
  3. For the filling: Whisk together sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, lime juice, and lime zest in a medium bowl. Pour into prepared graham cracker crust. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the filling is almost set; it should wobble a bit. Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then place in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly, at least 3 hours.
  4. For the whipped cream: Beat heavy cream and sugar together in a mixer until heavy peaks form. Beat in vanilla. Spread or pipe the whipped cream on top of the cooled pie. Top with additional lime zest and thinly sliced limes, if desired.


 Savory Breakfast Strata

 1 (16 ounce) Italian bread, cut into 1-1/2 to 2 inch cubes (I like larger pieces)
 Extra virgin olive oil
 2 leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced (or sub shallots)
 2 – 3 large sprigs thyme
 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
 2 bunches Swiss chard, stripped, chopped, and rinsed but not dried
 1 pound bella mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
 2 pints cherry tomatoes
 Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


 2 cups heavy cream
 2 cups whole milk
 6 tablespoon dry white wine (use a mini bottle if you don’t have a large bottle on hand)
 8 large eggs
 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
 Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
 8 ounces Gruyere, grated on large holes of box grater

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Transfer bread cubes to sheet pan and cook until toasty and dry, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, heat a glug of olive oil over medium heat. Add leeks, thyme springs, and a big pinch of salt and sauté until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so. Remove thyme springs and transfer to a separate bowl.
  3. Add the greens to the skillet and a big pinch of salt and cook, tossing occasionally, until wilted but still bright, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the leeks.
  4. Add another splash of olive oil to the skillet and add the mushrooms and a big pinch of salt. Cook until golden brown, about 5 – 7 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the vegetables.
  5. Add a big glug of olive oil to the skillet and add the whole cherry tomatoes and a big pinch of salt. Cook until the tomatoes just start to burst, about 5 – 7 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the other vegetables.
  6. In a very large mixing bowl, combine cream, milk, wine, eggs, Dijon, and plenty of salt and pepper. Whisk until mixture is very well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning. You want to it to be very well seasoned. If this mixture is bland, the whole dish will be bland. (Yes, I taste my raw egg mixture. It’s the only way to know if it is good. Use pasteurized eggs if this makes you nervous.)
  7. Add the bread cubes, sauteed vegetables, and grated Gruyere to the egg mixture and carefully mix until everything is evenly and very well combined.
  8. Pour the mixture into a buttered 9 x 13 casserole dish. It’s okay if some of the bread edges poke out. Loosely cover with plastic wrap (don’t smoosh it) and transfer to the refrigerator to chill overnight.
  9. When ready to bake, turn oven on 350 degrees F and remove strata from the fridge to warm up a bit. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue cooking until puffed and golden brown, about 35 to 40 more minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.


 Oven Roasted Grapes on the Vine with Ricotta

 2-3 Clusters of Red Seedless Grapes, washed and dried
 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
 5 Springs Thyme or Rosemary
 Salt and freshly ground pepper

 8 oz Quality Ricotta, strained
 2 Tbsp Honey



  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F with the rack in the middle.
  2. Arrange your clusters of grapes on a baking sheet. Drizzle the grapes with olive oil then season with salt and pepper. Turn clusters of grapes around on the pan to coat evenly with seasonings. Arrange thyme around the clusters.
  3. Roast in the oven for 45-60 minutes. The skins should be slightly blistered and reduced in size by one-third.
  4. Place ricotta on a platter and spoon honey over top. Arrange grapes around the ricotta. Serve with focaccia, crackers or crostini.


 Waffle Iron Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup

 For the sandwich:
 1 tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature
 2 pieces hearty bakery-style bread, such as Italian loaf or sourdough
 2 to 3 ounces fontina, Gruyère, sliced or grated
 Sea salt

  1. Heat a waffle iron.
  2. Butter both slices of bread on 1 side. Place 1 bread slice, butter side down, on the waffle iron. Layer on the cheese and top with the second slice of bread, butter side up. (You may need to slice the bread in half depending on the size of your waffle maker.)
  3. Close the waffle iron, but don't press it down, and let the sandwich cook for about 2 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and crisp at the edges. If you like your grilled cheese bordering on burnt, leave it in for up to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, if desired.

 For the soup:
 3 tablespoons olive oil
 1 medium onion, chopped
 4 cloves garlic, chopped
 1 (28 ounce) can good quality whole peeled tomatoes in juice, cut with scissors in can or chopped
 1 cup chicken stock (can sub veggie stock to make vegetarian)
 1/2 teaspoon sugar, plus more to taste
 Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
 1/4 cup heavy cream, or more to taste

  1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 7-8 minutes until translucent and slightly golden. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute.
  2. Add the tomatoes, including the juice, along with the broth, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently until liquid reduces slightly, 12-13 minutes. Remove from stove and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  3. Transfer to a blender, working in two batches if necessary, and puree until very smooth. Pour back into pot and stir in ¼ cup cream. Simmer soup until flavors meld, 10–15 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt, and pepper. Add more cream, if desired. Serve with waffle iron grilled cheese.


 Baked Beans

 8 slices bacon, cut into ¼ inch strips
 2 onions, chopped
 4 large cloves garlic, minced
 1/3 cup molasses
 1/3 cup maple syrup
 1/2 cup brown sugar
 2 tablespoons Dijon
 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
 2 tablespoons ketchup
 2 pounds par-cooked navy beans (see recipe note below)
 Red pepper flakes, to taste
 Salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium low to medium heat until almost crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a separate bowl. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat. Add onion and a big pinch of salt to the skillet and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so. Transfer to the bowl with bacon.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk molasses, maple, brown sugar, Dijon, vinegar, ketchup until combined. Season generously with salt and pepper. Fold in the cooked bacon, onions, and cooked navy beans and stir until combined. Taste and adjust flavor profiles as needed. (I usually do a lot of tasting and tweaking here to get it where I want it. Lots of salt, lots of pepper.) This recipe is never the same twice.)
  4. Transfer mixture to your favorite casserole dish (9 x 13 ish) and bake until golden and bubbly, about 2 hours. (Start checking earlier to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Depending on the texture of your beans after pressure cooking, they could be done sooner or later. TASTE TO KNOW! Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
  5. **To pressure cook the navy beans, cover beans with 2 inches of water and a few big pinches of salt. Add 1 onion, peeled and halved, a few cloves of peeled garlic, and a ham hock if you’ve got it. Pressure cook on HIGH for 15 minutes. (You are only trying to par cook the beans and want them to still be al dente.) Release pressure and allow to cool. Once the ham hock is cool enough to handle, pull the meat off the bone and finely chop. Add back to the beans.


 Rigatoni Macaroni & Cheese

 1 (16-ounce) box rigatoni noodles
 8 ounces grated gruyere (or Monterey Jack)
 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
 4 ounces grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
 2 cups heavy cream (do not sub milk)
 Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil and season generously with salt. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, about 12 minutes or according to package instructions. Drain in a colander without rinsing and return the pasta to the pot.
  2. Add the gruyere, half of the cheddar, half the Parmesan, and the heavy cream to the still-warm noodles and stir until combined and the cheese starts to melt. Season generously with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour the noodle mixture into a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining half of cheddar and Parmesan over the top and bake until bubbly and golden, about 30 - 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
  3. Serve, eat copious amounts, and then retreat for a long afternoon slumber.
  4. The version comes from Community Q Barbecue in Decatur, and it really is close to perfect. Not only is it delicious, it’s the word’s easiest recipe. And as for calorie content, don’t even attempt to look it up. For a recipe this good, calories don’t matter.


 Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

 3/4 cup liquified extra-virgin coconut oil
 ¾ cup sugar (can go up to 1 ¼ cup for a more cake like experience)
 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
 2 large eggs
 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (I use whole fat)
 4 cups shredded zucchini, about 2 large, see note
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 2 cups white whole-wheat flour (all-purpose yields a cakier texture)
 3/4 cup high quality cocoa powder (I use Valrhona)
 1 teaspoon baking powder
 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
 1 cup semi chocolate chips (we used Lily’s brand for these)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F convection or 350 F standard. Spray two regular muffin pans with a flour-oil spray, such as Baker’s Joy.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil, syrup, salt, eggs, yogurt, zucchini, and vanilla.

  3. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda into the bowl with wet ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, mix just until combined and stir in chopped chocolate.

  4. Fill muffin pans about ¾ full. (I use the blue 2-ounce spring form disher.) Bake both pans, rotating once if cooking standard temperature, for about 20 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. (Just don’t overbake. They will finish cooking outside of the oven.) Cool for 5 minutes and remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

  5. These keep fresh for about three days or freeze well for up to a month.

  6. Note: I shred the zucchini using the grater attachment on my food processor, but you can use a box grater if you want smaller pieces. You can also add a carrot or two to the mix.


 Tempura Fried Okra

 1 pound okra, preferably small pods, whole or sliced into rounds
 Buttermilk, enough to cover okra
 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
 3/4 cup cornstarch
 Kosher salt and pepper
 Cayenne pepper, to taste
 Hot pepper vinegar or pique sauce, for serving



  1. Pour a few inches of peanut oil into a heavy-bottomed pot, preferably cast iron. Heat oil to 350°, using a fry/candy thermometer to make sure the temperature stays consistent.
  2. Meanwhile, soak the okra in enough buttermilk to completely cover and season with salt. In another bowl, stir together flour, cornstarch, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper, and a pinch of cayenne. Dredge the okra in the dry mixture until well-coated.
  3. Working in a few batches, cook the okra in the hot oil until crispy and light golden brown. Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the oil at 350°. Remove the fried okra from the oil with a spider or slotted spoon and allow to drain on a wire rack over a sheet pan. While still hot, season the okra with additional kosher salt and a generous splash of hot pepper vinegar. Serve immediately.


 Crunchy Cabbage & Ramen Noodle Slaw

 1 small red or green cabbage, outer leaves removed, core removed, and very thinly sliced
 2 large carrots, julienned or grated
 1 to 2 bunches scallions, thinly sliced
 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
 2 garlic cloves, minced
 1/2 cup rice vinegar
 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
 1/4 cup neutral oil, such as canola or safflower
 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar or honey
 1 (3-ounce) package ramen noodles, toasted and crushed (discard the seasoning packet)
 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
 Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste 

  1. In a very large mixing bowl, combine cabbage, carrots, scallions, ginger, and garlic and toss to combine. Generously season produce with salt and pepper.
  2. In a smaller bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine vinegar, sesame oil, canola, and sugar. Generously season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust to get it where you like it.
  3. Pour about half the dressing over the cabbage mix and toss to mix well. Refrigerate for at least one hour (or overnight) to allow flavors to mingle.
  4. Taste and adjust any seasonings as desired. Pour over additional dressing to brighten the flavors. Fold in the crushed ramen noodles and almonds right and serve.


 Swordfish & Zucchini Spiedini

 For the Marinade:
 2 cups flat leaf parsley
 1 cup olive oil
 8-10 garlic cloves, peeled
 1⁄2 tsp red chili flakes
 For the Spiedini:
 1 1⁄2 pounds zucchini
 24-30 fresh bay leaves
 3 1⁄2 pounds swordfish, cut into 1 1⁄2” to 2” cubes
 4 lemons
 Oil for brushing lemons
 2 teaspoons kosher salt
 Freshly ground black pepper
 Finishing sea salt, like Maldon
 Olive oil, for finishing
 Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped, for finishing

 Equipment: 8-10 (12 inch) Skewers (If using wooden skewers soak in water for a minimum of 30 minutes)

  1. In the bowl of a small food processor, combine 2 cups of parsley, 1 cup of EVOO, garlic, and red chili flakes. Process until pesto-like consistency. Set aside.
  2. Using a mandoline, slice the zucchini lengthwise into planks 1/8” in thickness. Start assembling the skewers by putting a bay leaf on the skewer. Stack two zucchini planks on top of each other and roll them up. Thread the zucchini roll onto the skewer followed by a cube of swordfish. Repeat that process two more times and then top the skewer off with a bay leaf. One skewer down! Continue building the skewers until all your fish is used.
  3. Place the skewers in a 9”x13” glass dish or small stainless roasting pan. Pour the parsley-garlic mixture over the skewers, turning them to coat completely in the marinade. Marinate on the counter for up to 30 minutes or in the fridge for up to 2 hours.
  4. Get your grill set up for high heat. Remove the skewers from the marinade and season with salt and black pepper. Discard remaining marinade. Grill the skewers for 7 minutes. Flip them and cook another 7 minutes.
  5. Arrange the skewers on a platter. Garnish with minced parsley, finishing salt, and a drizzle of quality olive oil. Serve with grilled lemon halves and a summery side salad.


 Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
 1 1/2 pounds whole baby bella mushrooms (about 36 mushrooms)
 1 pound uncooked mild Italian sausage
 2 large shallots, minced
 2 large garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
 1/4 cup dry sherry, marsala, vermouth, or white wine (I used sherry)
 1 large egg
 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
 1/4 cup heavy cream
 1/4 cup packed finely minced Italian parsley, divided
 Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
 Red pepper flakes (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Place a baking sheet near your work surface.
  2. Place a mushroom in your palm, cap side down. Use your other hand to snap the stem off, leaving a well in the cap for stuffing. Mince the stems and set aside.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove any casings from the sausage, add to the skillet, cook until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes, using a wooden spoon to crumble into small pieces. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a large mixing bowl. Do not drain the fat from the skillet.
  4. Reduce heat to medium. Add the shallots to the sausage fat and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sherry and let simmer for a minute or so. Add the minced mushroom stems and cook until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the shallot mixture to the mixing bowl with the sausage.
  5. Stir the egg into the shallot-sausage mixture, then add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, cream, and 3 tablespoons of parsley to the bowl. Stir until well combined. Season filling generously with salt, freshly ground pepper, and red pepper flakes if using. You want the mixture to be a little saltier than you think necessary, because the mushroom caps will mellow out the flavor.
  6. Place the mushroom caps on the large baking sheet and toss with remaining olive oil. Flip them so the well-side is facing up and stuff each one with a generous amount of filling using a spoon.
  7. Bake the mushrooms for 22 to 25 minutes, until hot and golden. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with the remaining parsley and additional Parmesan. Serve while warm.
  8. Make-Ahead Steps: The filling can be made up to 3 days in advance. The stuffed mushrooms can be cooked up to 4 hours in advance and held at room temperature. Warm in the oven before serving.


 Sausage & Sage Orecchiette with Butternut Squash (RECIPE PROVIDED BY GARNISH & GATHER)

 Thank you to Garnish & Gather for kindly letting me share the recipe! I am offering it here in the same format as the meal kit, so you can see what it would be like to cook it just as I did.

 In the kit:
 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
 2 lemons
 1 pound Italian sausage
 12 ounces diced butternut squash
 ½ cup chopped onion
 2 tablespoons sage
 12 ounces orecchiette
 ½ cup grated Parmesan
 2 apples
 8 ounces kale
 2 honey sticks

 Need at home:
 Olive oil
 Salt and pepper
 White wine

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for pasta
  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large saute pan over medium high.
  • Add sausage and cook, stirring to break up for 6-8 minutes, until cooked through, then remove from pan
  • Thinly slice apples
  • Chop sage
  • Remove large stems from kale and roughly chop
  • To the same pan used for the sausage, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, butternut squash, salt & pepper, then cook over medium 8-12 minutes, or until squash is browned and tender, stirring occasionally.
  • Add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente, 5-8 minutes.
  • Juice lemons
  • In a large bowl, whisk together Dijon, HALF of lemon juice, ¼ cup olive oil, honey, salt and pepper to taste, then set aside
  • Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water, then set aside.
  • To squash, add onion & sage then cook 2 minutes
  • Add 1/2 cup white wine and cook 1-3 minutes until reduced, scraping up browned bits
  • Add sausage & remaining lemon juice, stir to combine, then remove from heat.
  • Add pasta, HALF of parmesan & pasta water as needed, 2 tablespoons at a time, then toss for about a minute to fully coat pasta
  • Add a drizzle of olive oil as desired and adjust seasoning to taste
  • Toss together apples and kale with dressing
  • Serve kale salad alongside pasta and garnish everything with remaining Parmesan


 Cast Iron Apple Tarte Tatin with Bourbon Whipped Cream

 For the tarte tatin:
 5 large apples, peeled, cored, and cut into thick wedges
 2 - 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed and kept chilled
 For the bourbon whipped cream:
 1 cup heavy cream
 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
 1 tablespoon bourbon, such as Bulleit or Maker’s Mark
 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

  1. For the tarte tatin: Trim the apple wedges so they each have a flat inner surface. Place the apples, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl and toss to combine. Set aside for 20 to 30 minutes so the apples can release some excess liquid.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Melt the butter in a 9-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining cup of sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture becomes a pale caramel shade, about 10 minutes. Arrange the apples flat side up in the skillet, working in circles from the outside in, stacking and nestling as you go. (You want to have a taller mound in the center since the apples will shrink down as they cook.) Continue cooking until the sauce becomes a deep golden amber and the apples are tender when pierced, approximately 25 to 35 minutes, occasionally spooning sauce over the apples while they cook.
  3. Remove the puff pastry from the refrigerator. If necessary, roll the sheet on a lightly floured surface so it is at least 1 inch larger than the skillet. (I prefer to keep it a rectangular shape.) Place the pastry sheet over the cast iron skillet and tuck the edges over the sides. Place the skillet on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and transfer to the oven. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Place a large, heatproof serving plate upside down over the skillet. Working quickly and carefully (obviously oven mitts are required), invert the skillet onto the plate. Rearrange any apple slices that may have moved around. To serve, cut into wedges and serve with bourbon whipped cream.
  5. For the bourbon whipped cream: whisk the heavy cream in a mixing bowl (or on the lowest setting in a stand mixer) for 30 seconds or so. Add the confectioners' sugar, bourbon, and vanilla and continue to whisk until soft peaks just begin to form.


 Mizz Frost's Pumpkin Spice Cake

 For the cake:
 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting pan
 2 tsp. baking powder
 1 tsp. baking soda
 2 tsp. cinnamon
 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
 1/4 tsp. ground cloves (optional)
 1/2 tsp. salt
 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
 1 tsp. vanilla extract
 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
 3 large eggs
 For the cream cheese glaze:
 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
 1 cup powdered sugar (plus extra if needed)
 1-2 Tbsp. milk (or liquor - I suggest Bourbon)
 1/8 tsp almond extract
 Optional additions:
 Crushed Walnuts or Macadamia Nuts
 Candied Ginger

  1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a bundt pan with cooking spray or butter, then sprinkle the entire surface with flour (or granulated sugar) and shake off the excess.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt until combined. Then in a separate bowl, stir together pumpkin, buttermilk, and vanilla until combined.
  3. It's best to use a stand mixer. Beat butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and beat 1 minute, using a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl so that everything is combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour and pumpkin mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until batter is just smooth. Do not overbeat.
  4. Transfer batter into pan, and smooth the top of the batter with a spatula so that it is smooth. I put in pieces of candied ginger. (Add half of your batter, sprinkle ginger. Add the rest of the batter then push some more ginger just below the surface. Smooth the top, make sure they are covered.) 
  5. Bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a cooling rack for at least 20 minutes. Then invert cake onto a cooling rack or a cake platter. Top with cream cheese glaze when cooled, or dust with powdered sugar. 
  6. For the cream cheese glaze: I beat all ingredients in a mixer till smooth, then drizzle over the top while the cake is still warm so it runs. But not too hot or it will melt and make a mess. 


 Wassail (Spiced Apple Cider)

 1 gallon apple cider (preferably from the refrigerated section)
 Sugar, to taste (about 1/4 cup give or take)
 3-4 oranges, freshly squeezed
 1-2 lemons, freshly squeezed
 3-4 cinnamon sticks
 5-6 cloves
 4-5 star anise

  1. Simmer all the ingredients in a large pot for a couple of hours. Serve with a heavy splash of bourbon!


 Snickers Peanut Butter Caramel Pie

 4 ounces whole pretzel sticks, finely ground in food processor or blender
 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
 1/2 cup store-bought caramel sauce (I like Trader Joe's Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce)
 1 (11 ounce) bag fun-size Snickers bars (about 16 to 20 minis or 6 full-size bars), chopped
 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
 1 tablespoon canola or safflower oil



  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine ground pretzels, melted butter, and a pinch of salt. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan and bake 8 minutes. Refrigerate 45 minutes.
  2. Heat peanut butter in a small skillet or microwave until warm and spreadable. Carefully smooth warmed peanut butter evenly over bottom of pretzel crust. Refrigerate pie 30 minutes to set.
  3. Meanwhile, warm caramel sauce in a medium saucepan and allow to cool a few minutes. Remove pie from refrigerator, then sprinkle chopped Snickers over peanut butter layer and drizzle caramel sauce over top. Refrigerate pie an additional 10 minutes to set.
  4. Heat chocolate in microwave in 20-second increments until almost completely melted, about 1 minute. Stir in oil until combined. Drizzle chocolate over caramel layer. Refrigerate pie until chocolate is firm, about 1 hour. Before serving, remove pie from refrigerator and bring to room temperature.


 Wiener Schnitzel

 6 veal or pork cutlets, 5 to 6 ounces each
 2 cups all-purpose flour
 3 eggs, beaten
 2 cups homemade fine breadcrumbs
 4 cups peanut oil or canola oil
 1/4 cup minced fresh at-leaf parsley
 3 tbsp unsalted buter, melted
 3 lemons, halved
 Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. If your butcher hasn't pounded the meat for you, cover a chopping board with plastic wrap. Lay the veal down, then cover with another sheet of plastic. Use a meat mallet to pound the meat slices to a thickness of 1/4 inch (6cmm). Transfer the meat to a large tray. Season both sides of each slice with salt and pepper.
  2. Set up a breading station with three cake pans or pie plates: one with flour, one with eggs, and one with breadcrumbs. Season the flour, bread, and eggs each very generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Preheat the oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with a layer of paper towels. Pour the oil into a large flat sided skillet - the oil level should be about 3/4 inch deep. Slowly warm the oil over low heat to 320F on an instant read thermometer. 
  4. Meanwhile, working with one slice at a time, dredge the meat in flour to coat completely, then shake off any excess. Next, dip the meat through the egg until well coated, then, with a fork, lift, allowing any excess egg wash to drip back into the bowl. Transfer to the breadcrumbs, flipping to coat well on both sides, then shake off any extra crumbs. Place the breaded slice on the platter. Repeat with the remaining slices.
  5. Working with tongs, slip one piece of meat into the hot oil and cook until golden brown and crisp. Keep an eye on the oil temperature, adjusting the heat regularly to keep the oil between 315 and 325F. Use a large spoon to baste oil over the top while the meat is cooking, otherwise, leave untouched and unflipped to avoid puncturing the coating and releasing the valuable steam that creates the souffleed effect. Using a large spatula (AVOID TONGS), transfer the schnitzel to the prepared baking sheet and season immediately with salt and pepper. Hold in the oven to keep warm. Adjust your oil temperature before frying each new slice. 
  6. Transfer the schnitzels to individual plates, then drizzle 1/2 tablespoon melted butter across each and garnish with a sprinkle of parsley. Serve with the lemon halves for squeezing.



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