ROASTED POTATOES WITH FIGS AND THYME
Recipe courteous of the New York Times
½ pound dried black mission figs or other dried figs
1 ½ cups brewed black tea, more if necessary
2 pounds fingerling potatoes
1 head garlic
5 sprigs of thyme
⅓ cup olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Place figs in a bowl, cover with hot black tea and let cool. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours or overnight, depending on initial softness of figs.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash potatoes well and trim any bad parts. Separate garlic head into individual cloves but do not remove outer skin.
Drain figs. In a bowl, combine garlic, thyme, figs, potatoes and olive oil; toss. Place on roasting pan and bake until potatoes are tender enough to pierce with a fork, about 30 minutes. Remove and season immediately with salt and pepper. Serve. Diners may remove skin from garlic at the table and eat along with the potatoes, if they wish.
ROASTED CARROTS WITH TURMERIC AND CUMIN
Recipe courteous of the New York Times
10 medium carrots, peeled
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
½ teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted
½ teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper or mild chili powder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the carrots in half lengthwise and crosswise. If the carrots are fat at one end, cut the fat half in half again lengthwise, so that the pieces are more or less equal in thickness. Place in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper, and thyme leaves.
Heat a heavy baking sheet in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the carrots on it in one layer. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring the carrots every 10 minutes. They should be slightly caramelized and tender.
While the carrots are in the oven place the cumin and coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle and grind. Add the soft butter, turmeric and Aleppo pepper or chili powder and stir with the pestle until well amalgamated. Transfer to a large pan.
Remove the carrots from the oven when done and add to the pan with the spice butter and the mint. Toss together, taste and adjust salt and pepper. Serve from the pan or transfer to a platter.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH PEANUT VINAIGRETTE
Recipe courteous of Karen Van Guilder Little
2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved and rinsed in cold water
¼ cup peanut oil
4 teaspoons champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsweetened peanut butter, creamy or chunky
Hot sauce or chile oil (optional)
1 large navel orange
3 tablespoons dried tart cherries or cranberries, plumped in warm water, drained and coarsely chopped
Crispy fried shallots, for garnish (optional)
Chopped fresh mint, for garnish (optional)
Heat oven to 400 degrees and place a pan of hot water in the bottom, to help prevent the sprouts from becoming tough. Turn on convection if you have it.
Toss sprouts with peanut oil, sprinkle with salt, and spread out on one or two baking sheets. Roast 15 minutes. Stir and continue cooking 10 to 20 minutes more, until browned and crisp. Check sprouts every 5 minutes or so; if they are browning too fast, reduce heat by 25 degrees and turn off convection.
Meanwhile, make the dressing: In a bowl, whisk together vinegar and honey. Whisk in peanut butter until thick and creamy. Add water until consistency is like creamy salad dressing. Season to taste with hot sauce, if using.
When sprouts are tender and browned, remove from oven, transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Add half the dressing and toss well.
Take orange and cut a thick slice off the bottom and the top to make flat surfaces. Rest bottom on a cutting board and use a small, sharp knife to carve off all the peel and pith, cutting from top to bottom and following the curve of the fruit. When all the orange flesh is exposed, cut out each segment by slicing along the white membranes. Gently loosen from the orange and set aside.
Add half the orange and half the cherries to bowl and toss. Taste. Adjust with more dressing, orange and cherries until flavors are balanced. Serve warm or at room temperature, topped with fried shallots or fresh mint, or both, if using.
SWEET POTATO PECAN CASSEROLE
Recipe courteous of Food Network
– 5 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
– 1/3 C. honey
– 1 large egg
– 1 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
– 1/8 tsp ground ginger
– 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
– 1 Tbsp packed dark brown sugar
– 1/3 C. finely chopped pecans
– Cooking spray
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mist an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a pot with a large steamer basket in place. Put the sweet potatoes in the basket, cover, and steam until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl, and let cool slightly. Add the honey, egg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the nutmeg, ginger and 1/2 teaspoon salt; whip with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread the sweet potato mixture in the prepared baking dish.
4. Mix the brown sugar, pecans, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl; sprinkle over the potatoes.
5. Bake until hot and beginning to brown around the edges, 40 to 45 minutes.
WILD MUSHROOMS AND BRUSSELS SPROUTS
Recipe courteous of Melissa Clark
1 pound wild mushrooms, cut into large bite-size pieces (a mix of chanterelles, oyster mushrooms and maitake is nice)
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
½ teaspoon black pepper, as needed
1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
6 ounces roasted and peeled chestnuts (1 cup; jarred, vacuum packed or freshly roasted), crumbled
¼ cup brandy
1 ½ tablespoons cider vinegar, more as needed
¼ cup chopped soft herbs, such as dill, tarragon, chives and parsley
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spread mushrooms on one rimmed baking sheet; toss with 1/4 cup oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. On a separate rimmed baking sheet, toss brussels sprouts with 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
Roast both pans of vegetables, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes. (The mushrooms may be done first, so keep an eye on them.)
While the vegetables cook, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, cinnamon stick and a pinch of salt; cook, tossing occasionally, until shallots are caramelized and tender, 5 to 10 minutes.
Toss chestnuts into pan and brown lightly, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in brandy. Return pan to medium-high heat and cook until liquid has evaporated. Discard cinnamon stick.
In a large bowl, toss together vegetables, chestnut mixture and vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Toss in herbs and serve at once.