Fingerling Potatoes with Bacon Cream:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put 4 lbs fingerling potatoes in a pot of salted water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and put in a large bowl. Meanwhile, blanch 12oz Cipollini onions in boiling water for 2 minutes, rinse to cool, then peel and cut into bite sized chunks. Add onions, 2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper to potatoes and stir. Divide between 2 rimmed baking sheets and bake, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender and golden brown with crisp edges, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a shallow serving dish. Beat ¼ cup crème fraiche and ¼ cup heavy cream in a bowl with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Stir in ¼ cup chopped chives, 4 oz bacon, cooked until crisp, then finely chopped, and ¼ tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper. Top potatoes with bacon cream and gently stir to coat. (adapted from a recipe in the November 2011 issue of Sunset Magazine).
Butternut Squash Cheesecake with Chocolate crust and Salted Caramel:
Make crust: Preheat oven to 350. Whirl 9oz of chocolate wafer cookies in a food processor until finely ground. Whirl in ½ cup melted unsalted butter just until incorporated. Pour crumbs intp a 9-inch springform pan and press over bottom and about 1inch up the sides of the pan. Bake 7 min, then let cool on a rack. Reduce heat to 300. Make filling: In a large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat 3 8oz pkg cream cheese, at room temp, ¾ cup sugar, and ½ cup light brown sugar, and 1 tbsp flour until smooth. Beat in 4 large eggs, one at a time. Add in 1 cup of cooked, pureed, butternut squash, ¼ cup each heavy cream, sour cream, and maple syrup, the zest of 2 medium oranges, 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice. Beat until just blended. Wrap the bottom of your pan with foil, pressing it up the outside. Set the springform pan in a roasting pan and pour filling into the crust. Pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come about halfway up the side of the sringform pan. Bake until the cheesecake barely jiggles in the center when gently shaken, about 1 ¼ hours. Let cheesecake cool on a rack 1 hour, then chill until cold, at least 5 hours. Whisk 6 tbsp store-bought caramel topping with 1/8 tsp table salt in a bowl and spoon over the cheesecake. Arrange ½ cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans around the rim and sprinkle flaked sea salt over pecans for garnish. (adapted from a recipe in the November 2011 issue of Sunset Magazine.)
Roasted Carrots and Parsnips:
Preheat oven to 450. Toss 1 lb carrots, sliced on an angle, with 1 lb parsnips, sliced on an angle; 1 shallot, chopped; 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp melted butter; 1 tsp oil; 1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper; and ¼ tsp salt. Arrange in a single layer on a foil-lined jelly roll pan. Roast 15 minutes or until tender.
Quick Pickled Beets:
Combine 4 medium beets, scrubbed, trimmed, halved, and cut into ¼ inch slices. 1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced. ¾ cup apple juice or water, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, 1/8 tsp ground allspice, and a pinch of sea salt in a pressure cooker. Lock the lid into place and over high heat bring to high pressure. Lower the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 4 minutes. Reduce the heat by running cold water over the cooker in your sink. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow any excess steam to escape. To serve, lift the beets out of the liquid with a slotted spoon. Serve warm or chilled. (from Recipes from an Ecological Kitchen by Lorna Sass).
Chilled Wilted Tatsoi Salad with Sesame-Ginger Dressing:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and fill another bowl with cold water and a handful of ice cubes. Wash 10 to 12 oz Tatsoi leaves and cut into thick strips. Dump Tatsoi into the boiling water, time for exactly 1 minute, then drain immediately into colander and sump into a bowl with ice water. While Tatsoi is cooling in ice water, get a plastic bowl with a tight fitting lid that’s large enough to hold all the Tatsoi. Mix dressing ingredients in this bowl; 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp grated fresh ginger, 1 tsp sugar, ½ tsp Asian hot chili sauce, and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Drain the Tatsoi well, and add to the dressing. Mix well, and chill in the refrigerator an hour or more, turning bowl over a few times to recoat with the dressing. To serve, arrange the salad on plates, toast sesame seeds for 1-2 minutes in a dry pan and sprinkle over the salad. Serve immediately. (from a NY Times recipe).
Maple-Braised Butternut Squash with Fresh Thyme: Melt 6 tbsp butter in a heavy large deep skillet over high heat. Add 1 3 to 3 1/2 lb butternut squash, halved lengthwise, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch cubes, sauté 1 minute. Add 1 ¼ cups low-salt chicken broth, 1/3 cup pure maple syrup. 1 tbsp minced fresh thyme, 1 tsp coarse sea salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer, to cook squash until almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer squash to a large bowl. Boil liquid in skillet until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Return squash to skillet. Cook until tender, turning occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with more pepper, if desired. (From Bon appétit.)