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Sunday, November 28

Two-cheese moussaka with sautéed mushrooms & zucchini

Oil, extra virgin olive
½ cup
Onions, large, coarsely chopped
Garlic, large clove
Tomatoes, chopped, juices reserved
28-ounce can
Tomato paste
2 tablespoons
2 cups
Basil, finely chopped
2 tablespoons

Pepper, freshly ground

Mushrooms, cremini, thinly sliced
2 pounds
Wine, dry white
½ cup
Tamari soy sauce
2 tablespoons
Dill, finely chopped
2 tablespoons
Zucchini, sliced crosswise ½-inch thick
2 pounds
Lasagna noodles, dried, uncooked
2/3 pound (about 15)
Eggs, beaten
Feta cheese, crumbled
1 pound
Provolone cheese, shredded
¼ pound
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until it shimmers.
  3. Add ¼ of the onions and the garlic; cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened.
  4. Add tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, and water; bring to a boil.
  5. Simmer over moderate heat until reduced to 4 cups, about 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in basil; season with salt and pepper.
  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat ¼ cup of oil.
  2. Add mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper; cook over high heat until the mushrooms begin to brown, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add remaining onions; cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add wine and tamari; boil until the liquid has reduced, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add dill.
  1. Toss the zucchini with remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Spread zucchini on a baking sheet, and roast for about 10 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom and softened.
  3. Reduce oven to 350°F.
  1. Spread ½ cup tomato sauce in a 10 ½ x 14-inch baking dish.
  2. Arrange 1/3 uncooked noodles on the sauce, overlapping them slightly.
  3. Top with ½ cup sauce, 1/3 of the mushrooms, and ½ of the zucchini; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Repeat with another ½ cup sauce, noodle layer, ½ sauce, 1/3 mushrooms, and remaining zucchini; season again.
  5. Top with ½ cup sauce and remaining noodles, and then cover with remaining sauce and mushrooms.
  6. Press the moussaka down slightly.
  1. In a bowl, whisk eggs with feta, and pour over moussaka.
  2. Season with pepper, and sprinkle with provolone.
  3. Bake the moussake for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden.
  4. Cover with foil, and bake for 25 minutes longer, or until piping hot in the center.
  5. Uncover, and rest for 20 minutes before serving.
Time: 2 hours 45 minutes total (1 hour active) • 12 servings

Yes, this takes some effort, but the first bite will tell you that it's totally worth it!
Recipe by Dave Matthews, posted on Food & Wine.

Saturday, November 27

Chocolate chip cheese cake

Crackers, graham or saltine, crushed
2 cups
¼ cup
Chocolate, mini chips, divided
2 cups
Cream cheese, softened
16 ounces
Sugar, granulated
½ cup
Vanilla extract
1 tablespoon
Flour, all-purpose
2 tablespoons
Evaporated milk
¾ cup
Sour cream
½ cup
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Combine cracker crumbs with butter until moistened; press onto bottom of an ungreased 9-inch springform pan.
  3. Sprinkle with ½ of chocolate chips.
  4. Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth; beat in eggs and flour.
  5. Gradually beat in milk and cream.
  6. Pour over crust.
  7. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate.
  8. Cover loosely with foil, and bake for 25 minutes.
  9. Remove foil, and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, or until edge is set but center still moves slightly.
  10. Turn off the oven, open the door, and let the cheese cake rest in the oven for 30 minutes.
  11. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until firm; remove side of springform pan.
Time: 3 hours 30 minutes total (20 minutes active; 55 minutes baking; 2 hours refrigerating) • 16 servings

Whipped sweet potatoes with brown sugar-pecan topping

Sweet potatoes (yams), red-skinned, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large
(22 ounces)
Butter, unsalted, room temperature
6 tablespoons
6 tablespoons
Pumpkin pie spice
(mix ½ cinnamon, ¼ ginger, ¼ clove)
1 teaspoon
Cornflakes, crushed
1 ½ cups
Brown sugar
½ cup, packed
Pecans, chopped
½ cup
Butter, unsalted, melted
6 tablespoons
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Cook sweet potatoes in a large pot of boiling water until tender; approximately 15 minutes.
  3. Drain and transfer to a large bowl, and add butter.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat until smooth.
  5. Add egg, sugar, spice, and salt; beat to blend.
  6. Transfer mixture to an 8x8-inch baking (casserole) dish. (Up to here may be prepared a day in advance; cover and chill, and then bring to room temperature before continuing.)
  7. Bake potatoes until they begin to brown around the edges, and start to puff slightly; approximately 25 minutes.
  8. While the potatoes bake, mix all topping ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.
  9. Spoon topping mixture evenly over the potatoes.
  10. Bake until golden brown and crisp; approximately 10 minutes longer.
Time: 45 minutes • 6 servings

This is a personal favorite for Thanksgiving dinner; it’s like eating dessert with your meal.

Recipe from Epicurious Foods, but they copied it from Bon Appétit, October 1997; and they appeared to have received it from Mary Dodd in Fort Myers, FL, by way of The Cook's Exchange. I've had this recipe as a website printout since 11/18/2001!

Friday, November 26

Gingered green beans

Beans, asparagus or Chinese long,
cut into 3-inch pieces, or whole
2 pounds
Olive oil, extra virgin
6 tablespoons
Garlic, cloves, thinly sliced
Ginger, ground
½ teaspoon
Red pepper, crushed flakes
1 teaspoon
Salt, sea or kosher
To taste
  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the beans until tender-crisp, about 4 minutes.
  3. Drain the beans, and transfer them to the ice water to cool; drain and pat dry.
  4. In a large skillet, heat the oil; add the garlic, and cook over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Stir in ginger and pepper, and then add the beans.
  6. Season with salt, and stir-fry until the garlic is lightly browned and the beans are tender, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Transfer to a platter, and serve.
Time: 25 minutes • 10 servings
    Recipe from Food & Wine, December 2010.

    Herbs & new potatoes

    Potatoes, red new, scrubbed
    5 pounds
    Rosemary sprigs
    Thyme sprigs
    Garlic cloves, smashed
    Salt, sea or kosher

    Olive oil, extra virgin
    ½ cup
    Red pepper, crushed
    1 teaspoon
    Parsley, flat-leaf, chopped
    1 tablespoon
    1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
    2. Place potatoes in a large pot, and cover with water.
    3. Add half of the rosemary, thyme, and garlic; season generously with salt.
    4. Bring to a boil, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
    5. Drain potatoes, and pat dry; discard herbs and garlic.
    6. Cut the potatoes in half, and transfer to a large bowl.
    7. Add olive oil and red pepper.
    8. Tear the remaining rosemary and thyme sprigs into 1-inch pieces, and add them to the bowl with the remaining garlic.
    9. Season with salt, and toss.
    10. Arrange potatoes, cut side down, on two large baking sheets; sprinkle with any oil and herbs left in the bowl.
    11. Roast for about 25 minutes, until the potatoes are golden and crisp, shifting the pans halfway through baking.
    12. Discard the garlic and herbs; transfer to a platter, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.
    Time: 1 hour total (20 minutes active) • 10 servings
      Recipe from Food & Wine, December 2010.

      Slow-roasted pork loin with molasses & balsamic glaze

      Vinegar, balsamic
      1 cup
      Onion, small, coarsely chopped
      Chicken stock
      2 cups
      Molasses, unsulfured
      1 cup
      Mustard, ground
      2 tablespoons
      Red pepper, crushed
      ¼ teaspoon
      Pork loin roasts, 5-bone
      with chine bones removed
      (6 to 8 pounds)
      Salt, sea or kosher

      Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
      Rosemary sprigs,
      broken into 2-inch pieces
      1. In a medium saucepan, combine balsamic vinegar, onions, and 2 thyme sprigs; boil over moderately high heat, until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 10 minutes.
      2. Transfer the mixture to a heat-proof cup.
      3. Add the stock to the saucepan, and boil over moderately high heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes.
      4. Add the balsamic reduction, and boil until the liquid is thickened and reduced to 2/3 cup, about 15 minutes.
      5. Stain the balsamic sauce; transfer ¼ cup of sauce to a small bowl, and reserve.
      6. Return the remainder to the saucepan, and stir in the molasses, mustard, and red pepper; let the glaze cool.
      1. Place roast on a large, rimmed baking sheet, and season generously with salt.
      2. Coat the roast with the glaze, and let stand for 30 minutes; brush occasionally because the glaze with slide off the meat (and we want that flavor soaking in!).
      3. Preheat oven to 300°F.
      4. Set a rack in a large roasting pan; transfer roast to rack, allowing the glaze drippings to remain on the baking sheet.
      5. Top the roast with the remaining thyme sprigs, garlic, and rosemary sprigs; season with salt.
      6. Add ½ inch of water to the roasting pan, and roast the pork for about 2 ½ hours, until it’s richly glazed, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the roast registers 145°F.
        Note: Add water to the pan as it dries out, and baste the meat with pan juices occasionally during roasting.
      7. Transfer the roast to a cutting board, and cover loosely with foil; let rest 20 minutes.
      8. Carve the roast into chops, and arrange on a platter; drizzle with the reserved balsamic sauce.
      Time: 4 hours total (30 minutes active) • 10 servings
        Recipe from Food & Wine, December 2010.