Cranberry Sauce with Red Wine and Figs
1 C fruity red wine
1 C diced dried figs, hard stems removed
12 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 C diced candied orange
3/4 C sugar
1/8 tsp powdered allspice or cinnamon
2 tsp apple cider or red wine vinegar
In a non-reactive saucepan, heat the red wine and diced figs together until the wine is hot. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand 30 minutes, to soften the figs.
Drain the figs then add the wine back to the saucepan along with the cranberries, candied orange, sugar, and allspice or cinnamon and cook, covered, over medium heat until the cranberries have burst and are softened, about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir the figs and the vinegar into the cranberries.
Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Hazelnuts
Adapted from Cooking Light, November 2004
2 lb Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
1/2 C chopped bacon (about 3 slices)
1/2 C chicken stock or water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp chopped hazelnuts, toasted
Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat 4 minutes or until crisp. Remove the bacon from pan, reserving 1 1/2 teaspoons drippings in pan; set bacon aside. Add stock or water to pan; bring to a simmer. Add sliced Brussels sprouts; cook 4 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper, tossing gently to combine. Sprinkle evenly with bacon and hazelnuts. Serve immediately.
Tip: Use a food processor's thin slicing blade attachment to prepare the Brussels sprouts.
Kabocha Pumpkin Buttermilk Pie with a Crème Fraîche Swirl
1 (9″) par-baked pie crust
1 1/2 C kabocha squash puree
3/4 C maple sugar or brown sugar
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
2 tbsp rice flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp packed finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 C crème fraîche or sour cream, plus 2 more tablespoons for swirling on top
1 1/4 C well-shaken buttermilk
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 325ºF. Place the par-baked pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet optionally lined with parchment paper for easy clean-up. When you’re nearly finished making the filling, heat the pie shell in the oven for 5-10 minutes to get it really hot; this helps keep the dough crisp in the face of wet filling.
Meanwhile, drain the kabocha squash puree by spreading it into a 1/4″ thick layer on top of four paper towels. Top with four more paper towels and let stand 15 minutes; excess moisture will drain out of the squash.
Make the filling:
Place the maple sugar and vanilla bean seeds in a large bowl and rub the vanilla seeds into the sugar. Whisk in the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. Whisk in the eggs and yolks until smooth. Peel the top layer of paper towels off of the kabocha puree, then lift up the bottom layers and let the puree peel off and into the bowl. Whisk in the kabocha puree until smooth. Whisk in the grated ginger and crème fraîche, and lastly the buttermilk. Whisk smooth, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve and into a bowl or measuring cup, pressing on the solids to extract all the good stuff.
Pour the filling into the hot pie crust. Dollop small dots of crème fraîche gently all over the top of the filling, placing it carefully so that it floats. Run a chopstick or skewer through the topping to swirl the crème fraîche.
Bake the pie at 325º until the edges are set and gently puffed and the inner 4 inches of pie wobble like jello, 50-60 minutes.
Let the pie cool completely, at least 2-4 hours. It will keep at cool room temperature for up to a day, or refrigerated for up to 5 days (though the crust will be crispest on the day of baking). Serve chilled or at room temperature.