8-1/2 x 10 in; 272 pp ; 40 color photographs
Published in April, 2003
A taste of recipes from the book:
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Crème Heart Swirls
As Mary’s son Jackson says, “This soup is sweet like candy.” Our autumns revolve around hard-shelled squashes, especially the smooth and shapely butternut variety. After all, who doesn’t love smooth and shapely? Butternut squash for a hardy soup, sure to spread warmth on a brisk, wind-whirring, teeth-chattering night. Swirl small hearts on top of this soup for your sweetheart, and away you’ll go…
- 1 2 ½ – pound butternut squash (3 cups, cooked)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for brushing
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons calvados or brandy
- 3 ½ cups homemade chicken stock, vegetable stock, or two 14-ounce cans chicken or vegetable broth, plus more as needed
- ¾ cup evaporated milk
- Fresh grated nutmeg, or pinch of ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cut the squash in half, lengthwise. Brush the squash flesh with olive oil, and place face-down on a roasting pan. Check the squash after 34 to 45 minutes, though it could take over an hour. When the squash is very soft and yields to the touch, remove from the oven and let cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the olive oil and butter to a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Be careful that the onion does not color at all. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the Calvados and cook until the liquid evaporates. Remove from heat.
Once the squash has cooled, remove the seeds, and scoop out the squash flesh, discarding the skin. Place in a small bowl. You will need 3 cups of butternut squash for this recipe. Reserve an extra for later use.
Combine half of the cooked squash, half of the onion, half of the chicken stock, and half of the evaporated milk in a blender, and blend until smooth. Pour back into a medium heavy-bottomed pot. Repeat, blending the second half of the squash, onion, chicken broth, and evaporated milk. Once blended, pour into the pot with the first batch. Season with kosher salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. (Adjust consistency, if necessary, with more chicken stock or water.)
Place the sour cream in a small bowl and stir using a spoon, until silky smooth. Thin slightly by stirring in 2 teaspoons of warm water. Divide the soup among the number of bowls to be served. With a small spoon, drop 5 small, pea-size dots, in a circle, on top of the soup. Take a sharp knife, and run the knife straight through the dot, creating a heart shape. Serve immediately.
Red Leaf Lettuce with Grapes, Blue Cheese, Pecans, and Balsamic Vinaigrette
We think this is the perfect “wine-country” salad, as it stands as a veritable tribute to wine, with its sweet grapes, red wine—loving blue cheese, and sweet balsamic vinegar. This lovely combination is reminiscent of a salad Sara and Erik shared on their first anniversary dinner at Tra Vigne, Michael Chiarello’s celebrated restaurant in St. Helena, in the Napa Valley. Every time they taste the salad, they remember that romantic night and the sweetness of their first year of marriage. We love to transform this first-course salad into a full meal by adding deli-roasted chicken to the mix.
- ¼ cup pecans
- 4 cups lightly packed torn red leaf lettuce leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup halved red seedless grapes
- ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
- Scant ¼ cup paper-thin red onion slices
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette, or as needed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the pecans on a baking sheet and roast until aromatic and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. (After 6 to 8 minutes, shake the pan and rotate if necessary to ensure even browning.) Let cool, then roughly chop the pecans or break into pieces by hand.
Put the lettuce in a large bowl and season with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Add the grapes, blue cheese, pecans, and red onion and toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Serve immediately.
Note: The balsamic vinaigrette recipe yields 1 ½ cups. Use as a staple dressing for salads, steamed vegetables, and grains throughout the week.
Wild Rice with Dried Cranberries, Green Onions, and Pecans
This snazzy, earthy pilaf plots the tartness of dried cranberries against the nuttiness of pecans and the dense, rustic flavor of wild rice. It is rich, healthful fare, perfect for autumnal entertaining. For a lighter pilaf, combine wild rice with brown rice, or experiment with other grains, such as quinoa or bulgur. Grains are delicious tossed with dried fruits, toasted nuts, and a drizzle of high-quality oil. If there are leftovers, add them to a handful of dressed baby greens for a sumptuous salad.
- 1/3 cup (1 ounce) pecans
- 1 cup wild rice
- 1 tablespoon high-quality extra-virgin olive oil or nut oil, such as pecan, hazelnut, or walnut
- 1/3 heaping cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons sliced green onion, both white and green parts
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Put the pecans on a baking sheet and roast until aromatic and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. (After 6 to 8 minutes, shake the pan and rotate, if necessary to ensure even baking.) Let cool, then roughly chop the pecans or break into pieces by hand.
Cook the wild rice according to the package directions. (Most recipes do not call for salted water, but we recommend adding ½ teaspoon kosher salt per 2 cups of water.) When the rice is tender, drain and transform to a medium bowl. Add the olive oil, dried cranberries, pecans, and green onion. Season with kosher salt and pepper to taste.
Roast Chicken and Vegetables for Two
Nothing says “home, sweet home” like the inviting aroma of a chicken roasting in the oven. We roast a chicken once a week because it’s incredible easy to prepare, inexpensive, and great for leftovers. Whether you’re home together or hosting friends for a casual dinner, this recipe works wonders. Few “full-meal deals” come easier or tastier. Because we roast a chicken so frequently, we often add an herb mixture, a rub, or a glaze to this classic recipe, to jazz things up a bit.
The variations are limitless… experiment by rubbing the bird with jerk or Cajun seasoning, a cumin and coriander spice mixture, or coarse lavender salt (there are so many great spice rubs out in the marketplace to try). Brushing with a mixture of warm honey, rosemary, and cayenne is over the top, and basting with bacon grease and maple syrup is sweet home Carolina (tent with foil midway through roasting if using sweet glazes, to avoid burning). Regardless of which variation tickles your fancy, make this dish a part of your life.
- 3 carrots, cut into thirds
- 6 small red mew potatoes, quartered if large
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 6 wedges
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, or olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 chicken (3 to 4 pounds)
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Put the carrots, potatoes, and onion in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Toss the vegetables with 1 tablespoon of butter. Season with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Spread the vegetables to the edges of the baking dish, making room for the chicken.
Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity of the chicken and discard. Rinse the bird under cold running water and pat dry. Put the chicken, breast-side up, in the center of the baking dish. Brush the chicken with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Season the cavity and skin generously with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Put the lemon quarters and rosemary sprigs inside the cavity. Put the garlic cloves under the chicken to prevent them from burning.
Roast for 45 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven. Using tongs, tilt the chicken, pouring the juices from the cavity onto the vegetables, and shake to coat. Baste the chicken with the pan juices. If the bird is browning too quickly, cover with aluminum foil. Continue roasting until the chicken is a deep golden brown and the juices run clear when the tip of a knife is inserted into the thigh joint, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh, away from the bone, registers 170 to 175 degrees F, 25 to 30 minutes more.
Transfer the chicken to a platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before carving. Using the back or a spoon, mash the garlic and squeeze some lemon into the pan juices. Toss the juices with the vegetables. Carve the chicken and serve the vegetables alongside. Drizzle any remaining juices over the chicken.
Note: Our favorite way to serve roasted chicken to our families is to carve all the meat from the bones after the meat has rested and chop it into bite-sized pieces. We then return the meat to the garlicky, lemony pan juices, re-season it with more salt and pepper, and toss with the vegetables. This way, every last bit of chicken is well seasoned and moist throughout (breasts included).
Carving a Chicken or Turkey
- Anchor the breast of the bird with a carving fork and, using a boning or carving knife, cut through the skin between the thigh and the breast. Pull the leg and second joint outward. This exposes the joint at the bottom of the thigh, which is easily cut through.
- Detach the leg and cut the thigh away from the drumstick. Turn the bird around and repeat with the other leg.
- If serving the wings separately, pull the wing out from the breast and cut through the joint that connects with wing to the breast. Repeat with the other wing.
- For chicken, you may opt to serve the breasts whole. To do this, cut between the meat and the bone, angling the knife toward the bone. Otherwise, cut thin slices of the breast meat on a diagonal to the breastbone, including a little skin with each slice.
Puckery Lemon Parfaits with Summer Berries
This puckery lemon parfait is as good as a first kiss! Fresh, beautiful, and a cinch to make in advance, these classy little parfaits can be served straight out of the refrigerator when entertaining. Presented in your favorite glassware (look for fun, old-fashioned parfait glasses in antique stores), they are oh-so-pleasing to the eye. Using a double boiler is a foolproof way prepare lemon curd with a minimal risk of curdling. If you don’t own a double boiler, nestle a stainless-steel mixing bowl of snugly on top of a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan filled with a couple of inches in simmering water.
- 5 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup fresh lemon juice
- Pinch of kosher salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ – inch cubes
- 1 cup cold heavy cream
- 2 ½ cups fresh blueberries, picked over
- 2 ½ cups fresh raspberries
- 3 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 6 mint leaves
TO MAKE THE LEMON CURD:
Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and granulated sugar in the top pan of a double boiler or in a medium metal bowl until well mixed. Set over a saucepan filled with 2 inches of simmering water over medium heat. Add the lemon juice and kosher salt. Cooker, whisking constantly, until thickened, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until smooth.
Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into a medium-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Strain the mixture into the bowl, pressing the back of the spatula. Cool slightly at room temperature, then refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
Combine the cream and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. The cream should slowly fall forward when lifted with a whisk. Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer. Fold half of the whipped cream into the chilled lemon curd, then fold in the remaining cream. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
TO PREPARE THE BERRIES:
Just before assembling the parfaits, gently toss the blueberries, raspberries, and 3 tablespoons of the granulated sugar in a medium bowl. Add the remaining tablespoon sugar if necessary, depending on the sweetness of the berries.
TO ASSEMBLE THE PARFAITS:
Fill six 8- to 10-ounce parfait glasses, wineglasses, or other decorative glasses with ¼ cup of the berries, followed by a heaping 1/3 cup of the lemon mousse. Repeat the layering process. Distribute the remaining berries on top of the parfaits. Garnish each with a mint leaf just before serving.
Do Ahead: The lemon curd can be prepared in advance (without the addition of whipped cream) and refrigerated for up to 1 week. Parfaits can be assembled 3 to 5 hours ahead of time, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated.