It's time for a seasonal post from the Secret Recipe Club! Our theme was Fall Dishes and I was assigned Things I Make (For Dinner). This blog is written by Sarah who, in addition to my name, shares my love of cooking, travel, and sleeping.
Fall means pumpkin for a lot of people, myself included, and I found a Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting that looked yummy. For me, it also means apple; like this Apple Crisp or Apple Fritter Cake. But what about something a little different, like Nutella Ice Cream? Or something savory like Tex-Mex Stuffed Butternut Squash?
In the end, there was one dish that caught my eye the most: Pumpkin Maple Custards.
These custards are made with pumpkin, cream, milk, maple syrup, egg yolks, and spices. Simple and delicious. After the base is made, it is poured into ramekins and baked in a water bath, much like creme brulee.
I have been saving Tasty (Buzzfeed Food) videos on Facebook like crazy. They always look so good! So this week, I declared that I must make one thing from a saved link; and I chose these decadent Chicken Bacon Alfredo Lasagna Roll-ups.
Start by cooking lasagna noodles and filling them with a mixture of cooked chicken, bacon, and Alfredo sauce (made with butter, garlic, cream, cream cheese, and Parmesan). I made some changes to the original, using 12 noodles instead of 8 and more filling per noodle to use up all the filling. I didn't like how, in the video, there was chicken and bacon on the top instead of all contained.
This year for Valentine's Day we decided to stay in, and we both agreed that I should make Beef Wellington - a very special occasion dish of filet mignon and mushrooms wrapped in puff pastry. You can find many recipes out there for this dish, but mine has some secret weapons to keep the puff pastry from getting soggy, the beef from getting overcooked (look at how nice and pink it is, even after 20 minutes in the oven), and to add extra flavor. It is not difficult, but it is time consuming with many steps - which is why it is a special occasion dish (plus it's soooooooo rich). So read on!
First up, sear the filet. (I made 4 servings because it would use a whole package of puff pasty - I have never had good luck with refreezing it.) You want to get a nice sear on all sides, including around the edges, but don't cook the steak all the way. Remove the filets to a plate and allow to cool a bit, then cover and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes. This step is what will keep the beef from overcooking in the oven.
I love to make French Toast this time of year. My husband loves it, too, he says that my French Toast is the best (so sweet <3). I think the secret is to definitely use brioche or challah, that plus a million ingredients in the batter - read on!
In addition to eggs and cream, I use vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange juice, lemon zest, and sherry. So many flavors! It is so worth it. But I'm getting ahead of myself. First, either slice the bread (thickly, 1 inch) the night before and leave it out to get stale, or toast it slightly in the morning. Then make the batter and soak each side of the bread for 10 minutes. Just before you cook the toast (in butter, of course), sprinkle one side with granulated sugar - this will created a yummy bit of caramelization. Do the same to the other side before you flip it over to cook.
Top with lots of butter and some maple syrup. Yum. This is definitely the perfect French Toast - custardy in the middle, little bit of caramelization, lots of flavor.
Corn pudding (or spoonbread) is one of my favorite Thanksgiving sides, and I love this recipe in particular because of how easy it is. There is a little bit of sauteing involved, but then everything goes into a blender, and then directly into the baking dish - easy.
Cream, butter, eggs, corn, sauteed onions, and a bit of flour and sugar - what's not to love?
It is kind of like a corn souffle that's a little bit sweet, and really buttery. It's hot and soft and creamy and kind of melt in your mouth. I made it for a friend that had never had it before and totally made a believer out of her. So let's make this beauty!
Are you looking for a new side for your Thanksgiving dinner? Maybe something a little more grownup and sophisticated? This gratin with sweet potato, chard, Gruyere, fresh herbs, and lots of garlic may be perfect for you. You could certainly make it for a non-holiday dinner as well, though it does take quite a bit of time with pre-cooking, layering, and baking. Luckily, I was with my dear friend Melissa (Smells Like Brownies), who helped with the prep-work.
Start with a big sweet potato (or two smaller ones) and a whole lot of chard (seriously - a lot)
Peel the sweet potato and slice thinly, then set aside.
Remove the stems from the chard, chop, and place in a big pot with some onion that has been sauteing in butter. Look at those colors! Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg; and cook until soft.
Earlier in the month, I helped Melissa of Smells Like Brownies with her Secret Recipe Club recipe - Prosecco Poached Salmon. (My October SRC post is here.) It was so delicate, creamy, and yummy that I wanted to make sure to share it with my readers as well!
First, make sure that you are using good quality salmon. I refuse to eat farmed Atlantic salmon, and wild caught Alaskan can be expensive. So I usually opt for the farmed Norwegian or Icelandic, which never fails to be thick and fatty - yum.
First you will cook shallots in butter, then add Prosecco and thyme to make a poaching broth. Then, you will carefully place the salmon into the broth and spoon hot liquid over the top until cooked to your liking (Melissa and I both prefer medium).
If you've been wondering where I've been for the past 2 weeks, the answer is - vacation! I will be writing about that for sure, but before I get to it I want to talk about this pasta that I made before we left. My friend Melissa (you know her by now) was also going out of town, a little before we were, and gifted me several of her home-grown bell peppers and tomatoes. I wanted to use them to do a take on sausage and peppers in pasta form because I'm, well, me.
So I browned some sliced sausage, and then threw in an onion, the peppers, and the tomatoes to saute. Then I tossed in cooked whole wheat penne along with pasta water, a splash of cream, and some Parmesan to make a sauce. And finally, I topped it with some fresh basil and parsley. Fast, easy, and hearty. Thanks Melissa!
Oh. My. Goodness. This is the most deliciously decadent thing ever. I don't even know whether to call it brunch or dessert, or both. Buttery brioche french toast, sweet pastry cream made with vanilla bean, and crunchy brûléed bananas topped with a drizzle of salted caramel. Total epic ridiculousness.
Step one is to make the vanilla pastry cream. Bring cream to a simmer with a vanilla bean and then let steep before adding to a mixture of egg yolks, sugar, and flour and cooking until thick and creamy. It needs to cool completely and then chill, which is why we make it first.
The next step is to make the salted caramel sauce, which is a bit tricky if you have never made one before (I hadn't). You have to leave the sugar alone while it melts and colors, and watch carefully for the right moment. Then you add butter and cream. The caramel with pop and splutter like crazy, and ball up on the end of your whisk. You just have to keep whisking over low heat until it all comes together. Then add in your sea salt and let it cool.
While that is cooling, make your French toast using big, thick slices of brioche (a little stale is better).
BLOW TORCH TIME. This is seriously so much fun. Sprinkle banana slices with sugar and brown with a blow torch. Easy. If you don't have a blow torch, I'm pretty sure that you can use a broiler.
Here's a quick little semi-homemade cold weather meal, perfect for weeknights. I took some store-bought fresh spinach fettuccine and thick sliced roasted turkey from the deli counter, and tossed them with a homemade pumpkin goat cheese alfredo. It's interesting enough to not be boring, but it's easy enough to not cause a headache.
The homemade part is the decadent sauce, which involves butter, garlic, cream, pumpkin, goat cheese, sage, and pumpkin pie spice. I wanted to do something a little different, which is why I went with turkey, but chicken would work just as well. And I like how the spinach pasta brought a little color to the table.
Pumpkin Goat Cheese Alfredo
adapted from Closet Kitchen
8 oz pasta of choice (I used fresh spinach fettuccine from the refrigerated section), cooked
8 oz cooked turkey or chicken, diced or shredded
1 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
4 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1 tbsp sage, sliced thinly (or dried)
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the cream, pumpkin puree, goat cheese, Parmesan, sage, and pumpkin pie spice and simmer until the cheese has melted.
Add in the poultry and allow to warm through. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
Toss with pasta and serve immediately.