Here are the recipes for the dishes we cooked at the cooking class on Monday. The lasagna and artichokes were wonderful--everything else, I hope was enjoyable as well, but I honestly didn't get a chance to try them! Overall, the class went well, although if we do this again, I will surely plan on small bites or appetizers to start with! Any other feedback is greatly appreciated. Read below for more notes and recipes. My other major regret is not having anyone take any pictures!
Winter Squash Lasagna with Greens & Brown Butter Sauce (Serves 4-6)
1-1/2 cups Winter Squash mashed & drained
1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
3 cloves Garlic, minced & divided
1/4 cup basil, minced
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1 bunch Greens (chard, spinach or beet greens work best, mixed braising greens also work well)
3 Tbs Olive Oil
1/2 cup Parmesan or Asiago cheese, shredded, plus more for topping
1 lb Lasagna noodles
Brown Butter Sauce:
1/4 cup butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
15-20 sage leaves
1 Tbs flour
1/4 cup broth
Cook lasagna noodles with 2 Tbs olive oil until just tender (“al dente”). Remove from heat and add 2 cups cold water to stop the noodles cooking. Drain and carefully toss with a little more oil if they stick together at all. Set aside.
Combine squash puree, ricotta cheese, 1/3 of the garlic, and spices in a bowl. Taste and salt as needed. Zest and juice lemon; add both to the squash mixture along with the egg. Set aside.
In a wide skillet, heat 3 Tbs olive oil over medium-high heat. Add trimmed, chopped greens and stir once or twice until greens start to wilt and coat with oil. Immediately sprinkle in remaining garlic and continue to sauté until greens are cooked, but still bright, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper as needed.
Coat the bottom of a 9x13 sheet pan or lasagna pan with oil. Lay one layer of noodles in the pan. Spread 1/3 of the filling over the noodles. Layer one half of the greens mixture over the squash. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese. Another layer of noodles, 1/3 of squash, remaining greens, 1/3 of cheese. Top the final layer of noodles with the remaining squash. When you’re all done you will have 3 layers of noodles, 3 layers of squash, 3 layers of cheese and 2 layers of greens. Cover with foil or lid and bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until filling is set. Remove foil or lid for the final 5 minutes of cooking, and sprinkle with remaining cheese (this way it doesn't stick to the foil. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes while you prepare the brown butter sauce.
For the sauce:
Melt butter in medium skillet or sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic. Once butter starts to brown, add sage leaves (careful, the butter goes from brown to burnt in a matter of seconds!). Stir quickly then add flour and stir to form a roux. Cook for 1 minute to cook flour and add broth, stirring until mixture is smooth and cooking until mixture is thickened slightly. Add more broth if desired—sauce can be as thin or as thick as you like.
Serve lasagna with sauce spooned on top and sprinkled with additional cheese if desired.
Roasted Baby Artichokes (Serves 2)
6 Baby artichokes
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbs Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Prepare a large bowl or pot with 1 quart of water and place lemon wedges, squeezed, into the water. Trim artichokes by removing the top 1/3 of artichoke and outer leaves. Trim stalk by 1/2-inch. Quarter artichokes and place immediately into lemon-water to prevent them from browning too much. Place olive oil and crushed garlic into baking dish. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Remove artichokes from water and shake excess water from them. Add to prepared dish and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Cover dish with lid or foil and bake for 20-30 minutes, until artichokes are tender. Remove lid or foil for last 10 minutes. Serve with additional lemon wedges if desired.
You can also get more elaborate on this dish and add rosemary, lemon zest, oregano, or any other flavorings that suit you, but the simple salt-garlic-pepper blend leaves the artichoke flavor to shine through.
Vegetarian Tuscan Potato Soup (Serves 2-4)
1 lb Potatoes
2 (small) Turnips
2 cups Greens, chopped (Rapini, Escarole, Kale or Chard work best)
1/4 cup Onions or scallions, chopped (if using scallions, divide greens from bottoms and reserve greens for garnish)
1/4 cup Basil, loosely packed & divided
1 tsp Fennel Seed, crushed
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
3 cloves Garlic or stalks green garlic
1/2 cup Cream or half-and-half
1 quart Vegetable broth
1 cup Garbanzo beans (cooked) or Italian Sausage (cooked, for non-vegetarian version)
Salt & Pepper
Heat 4 Tbs olive oil in soup pot. Add onions, garlic, fennel, red pepper and sauté over medium heat until onions begin to turn transluscent, about 4-5 minutes. Add beans, turnips, and potatoes and sauté 2 minutes more. Add broth, cover and bring to a boil. Cook 10-15 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add greens and half of basil (chopped), stir and bring back to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until greens are tender. Remove from heat, add cream and more broth if needed. Season with salt and pepper. Top with basil chiffonade and green onion tops if desired.
The soup, I thought, was good, but a bit on the bland side--probably a side effect from using beans instead of spicy Italian sausage as the original recipe calls for. It also needed more salt and pepper (remember: potatoes tend to absorb a lot of salt and other spices, so it leaves the remaining broth a bit on the underseasoned side).
Beet Carpaccio Salad with Candied Pecans and Goat Cheese (Serves Two)
1 cup Mixed greens or chopped lettuce
1 Orange or grapefruit, skin removed
3 Beets, cooked
1/2 cup Red Cabbage
1 oz goat cheese (Chevre), crumbled
1 tsp Honey
1 Tbs Red Wine or Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 tsp Prepared, quality mustard (optional)
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup pecans
2 Tbs sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves, allspice, black pepper.
Prepare vinaigrette: combine all ingredients in a small bowl or bottle. Whisk until combined. Set aside.
For candied pecans: heat sugar, water and spices in heavy-bottomed skillet until it boils. Add pecans and stir to coat. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until liquid dissolves and sugar begins to crystallize. Remove from heat and remove nuts to a small piece of parchment or waxed paper. Break apart immediately to cool (Careful! Sugar is very hot!). Set aside
Slice orange or grapefruit cross-wise into 1/4-inch slices. Do the same with the beets. Finely shred carrots and cabbage. Divide lettuce onto two plates. Layer three slices of orange in the middle, in the shape of a flower. Surround by slices of beets. Top with shredded cabbage, carrots, goat cheese and candied pecans. Dress with vinaigrette.
This is really just a fancy name for a relatively basic salad (well, at least it's a standard in our household); tart apples also pair well with the beets if you don't have citrus, and in place of slicing everything up (which requires eating the salad with fork AND knife), you can cut them up into bite-size chunks. You can also substitute any nuts or seeds for the pecans and candying them is completely optional. You can sweeten the candied nuts with honey, maple syrup or agave syrup, but the result will not be crunchy and will be somewhat sticky instead. Any good vinaigrette or poppyseed dressing pairs wonderfully with this salad, just hold the Ranch!
Grapefruit-Pomegranate-Ginger Cocktails (Makes one 8-10-oz drink)
1 Tbs Ginger syrup
4 oz Seltzer water
2 oz Pomegranate Juice
Place ice in 10 oz glass. Add ingredients in order. Serve topped with mint sprigs if desired.
Ginger syrup (Makes 2 cups)
2 Tbs Fresh ginger, minced or grated
1/2 cup Sugar (or substitute 1/4 cup honey)
1/4 cup Honey (or substitute 1/2 cup sugar)
2 cups Water
Heat all ingredients in small pan to boiling. Reduce heat to medium and cook, simmering rapidly, for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. When cool, strain mixture into a clean, sterilized jar. Remaining ginger can be used in tor baking (flavor will be more muted but still present). Ginger syurp can be used to flavor drinks, desserts, teas, fruit salads, etc. Will keep in refrigerator for up to 6 months
I usually freeze my gingerroot to make it easier to grate, and store for longer periods of time, but end up with little knuckle-buster end pieces. So I make this syrup to use them up (or likewise to use up any pieces of ginger that you can't use for something else), but I have also bought and sliced up ginger just to use for this purpose! You can reduce the amount of water in the recipe by half or more to make a thicker syrup if desired. There is no need to peel the ginger for this recipe (I never do anyway), but it should be well-scrubbed but ginger is very easy to peel by simply scraping with the edge of a spoon.
Citrus Olive Oil Cake (Makes 2: 8x2-inch layers or 1: 9x13 sheet)
1-1/2 cups Flour
3/4 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Olive Oil
1 Orange, zested and juiced to make 1/3 cup
2/3 cup Yogurt or buttermilk
1-1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Almonds, slivered
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350 deg F. Whisk eggs, orange zest, orange juice, yogurt and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a mixing bowl. Stir in egg mixture until combined. Fold in oil until thoroughly incorporated. Pour batter into greased pan; sprinkle with almonds and bake 30-40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
We didn't actually make this cake for the class, but I am sharing the recipe because it was an absolutely scrumptious cake, with the perfect texture and not-too-sweet flavor.
Olive Oil Almond Tuiles (Makes 10-12 Tuiles)
1/4 cup Olive oil
1/4 cup Powdered Sugar
2 Tbs Flour
2 Tbs Semolina
1 Egg white
1/2 tsp Lemon or orange zest
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, scraped
Whisk all ingredients until thoroughly combined. Spoon mixture onto parchment-lined baking sheet and spread into thin, rounds (an offset spatula works ideally for this task). Cookies can be made as large or small as you like. Bake at 375 degrees F for 5-10 minutes (depending on size of cookies), until edges are slightly browned--careful, they burn QUICKLY! Remove from oven. Remove cookies from paper immediately and mold if desired (lay over a rolling pin to make traditional tuiles, over inverted muffin tin to make tulips or baskets, over a wooden spoon handle to make cigarettes, etc.). Let cool. Serve as is, or along with other desserts (ice cream, lemon curd, fruit compote, etc.)
These delicate little cookies are so simple it's not even funny. The ONLY fussy part about them is getting the batter thin enough on the cookie sheet to make a delicate, crispy, cookie. If it is too thick, the result will still be tasty, but will not be crispy, more cake-like instead. It is also VERY, VERY important to use a large or extra large egg for the white. We used small-medium (as they were from the farm, and not sized), and the cookies ended up extra sugary, which made them burn quickly and have an odd texture, not conducive to shaping.