Pumpkin French Toast

PUMPKIN FRENCH TOAST

• 1 loaf french bread sliced
• 6 eggs
• 2½ cups milk
• 1 cup pumpkin puree
• ¾ cup sugar
• 2 Tablespoons vanilla
• 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Pecan halves
Bourbon Syrup
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1 cup Makers Mark
• 1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter

 

Combine brown sugar, butter, Makers Mark and light corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until syrup is thickened.

Spray 9×13 inch baking dish.
Sprinkle pecan halves on bottom of pan. Pour syrup on top of pecans. Cut french bread into 1 inch slices spread french bread in bottom of baking dish.
In medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, pumpkin spice. Pour evenly over bread.
Cover with saran wrap and store in refrigerator overnight.
In the morning
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove french toast from refrigerator
Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown. To serve invert pieces so syrup and pecans are on top.

Butternut & Sausage Fondue Dip

Butternut & Sausage Fondue
12 ounces cheese ( be creative with cheeses. Fontina, brie, robiola, pecorino tartufo, gruyere, mozzarella)
2 cups whole milk
¼ cup butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 lb spicy Italian sausage cooked
butternut squash cubed and roasted
chopped fresh kale
Extra Virgin olive oil to garnish
Melt the butter in heavy sauce pan. When it is completely melted add the flour. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the milk and cook until it starts to thicken. Add the cheese, cooked sausage, butternut & kale pour into fondue pot, chafing dish or roasted acorn or pumpkin place in oven until warm and bubbly. Serve with crostini.

 

 

Butternut Squash Bread Pudding

I love savory bread pudding. You can use either butternut squash or pumpkin in this recipe. This is a great winter side dish or alternative to a dressing or stuffing.

Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Bread Pudding

3 pounds butternut squash and or pumpkin—peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 onions
6 large eggs
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
8 ounces baguette, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 cups of baby spinach or kale
4 ounces thinly-sliced pancetta

Preheat the oven to 400° and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking ceramic baking dish. In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the squash on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for about 20 minutes, until tender, tossing once halfway through. Let cool.
Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, melt the butter in the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until tender, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the half-and-half add the cheese, 1 teaspoon of salt and a 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Stir in the bread and let stand for 10 minutes. Fold in the squash & spinach. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish top with grated parmesan & pancetta slices and bake for about 1 hour, until lightly golden on top. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Goat Cheese Ravioli

The flavors in this dish, goat cheese, candied butternut, brown butter, sage just pop in your mouth.

Goat Cheese Ravioli with Butternut Squash & Brown Butter

Pasta Dough
8 ounces all purpose flour
8 ounces semolina flour
4 large eggs
1tbs Olive Oil
1tsp salt
water as needed
Ravioli
15-20 fresh sage leaves
10oz Goat Cheese
1 beaten egg
Approximately ½ stick of butter (salted or unsalted) for cooking ravioli
Butternut Squash
1 smaller Sized butternut squash
½C white wine for deglazing
⅓C brown sugar
1tbs butter
Oil blend for sautéing
Spiced Pecans

  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 pound pecan halves
  • 4tbs butter melted
  • ¼C packed brown sugar

Yield: Approximately 10 large single serving raviolis

Prepare the pasta dough and let rest at least 15 minutes.

1. For the spiced pecans first preheat the oven to 300°F. Mix together all of the ingredients in a large bowl until evenly coated. Spread the pecans evenly on a parchment lined sheet tray and place in the oven. Occasionally check and stir around a little. Approximately 20 minutes. Once fully toasted, set aside to cool until ready to use.
2. Remove the skin from the butternut squash. A good potato peeler works very well, but you can use a knife as well. Remove both ends from the butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise, and then remove seeds.
Cut the butter squash into approximately ¾” cubes, place into a medium sized pot, and then fill with cold water until the squash is at least submerged by 1” or more.
Place the pot over medium high heat until it comes to a boil, then reducing to a simmer.

3. Next divide the pasta dough roughly in half allowing one half to be slightly bigger.
Set rollers of pasta maker on widest setting. Feed rectangle, a short side first, through rollers. Fold rectangle in thirds, like a letter, and feed it, a short side first, through rollers. Turn dial to next (narrower) setting and feed dough through rollers without folding, a short side first. Continue to feed dough through without folding, making space between rollers narrower each time, until the second to narrowest setting is used. (Do not roll too thin or pasta will tear when filled.)
4. Continue to simmer the butternut squash until it starts to slightly soften. Immediately strain when finished until mostly dry while a larger sized sauté pan is heating over medium high heat with oil.
Once the oil in the sauté pan just starts to smoke carefully add the butternut squash, occasionally stirring, and adding more cooking oil if necessary. Continue just until fully cooked, and ideally the squash gets a little color.
5. Deglaze the butternut squash with the white wine, then add the brown sugar, stirring for a few minutes to caramelize, and then finishing with the butter, then cooking for a few more minutes. Remove and place on a sheet tray to cool until ready to use.
6. Next place the thicker rolled pasta sheet on a flat floured surface. Using a 4” cutting ring try to measure out how many raviolis you can cut out of the pasta. Press the ring in just slightly to make an indentation of the area (just for reference), and the then place 1oz of goat cheese in the center of the pre-marked locations. Try to fit as many as you can on the pasta sheet.
7. Once you have all of the cheese laid out on the pasta sheet, use the 1 beaten egg to brush around the locations of the cheese. This will seal the pasta together once the top sheet is laid on top of it.
Carefully lay the top pasta sheet over the prepared bottom pasta sheet. Start with one end to the other to prevent air pockets. Use your fingers to press the sheets together to insure a good seal.
Use a smaller cutting ring around 2.75-3”, but this time with the ring upside down (we aren’t cutting this time) to press the outer diameter of the cheese mixture down a little.
8. Cut the raviolis out of the pasta sheet with the large 4” cutting ring. You can discard the extra pasta or save to roll out another pasta. At this point you can freeze or cook fresh. Please note that cooking frozen will take longer.
9. To cook the ravioli have a pot of boiling water to drop them in, but at the same time have a sauté pan over medium heat with your butter and sage leaves ready off to the side. Drop the pasta in the water until they start to float. You will need to allow more cooking time after floating if cooking from a frozen state due to the size of the ravioli.
10. Add around 1tbs of butter per ravioli to cook to the sauté pan once the raviolis are cooked. Once the butter starts to bubble add the raviolis and sage leaves along with the desired amount of butternut squash to the sauté pan. Heat until hot and butter has browned.
11.Plate and finish with the spiced pecans on top.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding one of my favorite winter desserts. The pudding cake is nice and light & lets be honest the Makers Mark save makes this dessert.

Sticky Toffee Pudding
Ingredients
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup pitted dates
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
TOFFEE SAUCE:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Makers Mark
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream, whipped for garnish
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch round or square baking dish or muffin tins. Sift the flour and baking powder onto a sheet of waxed paper. Chop the dates fine. Place in a small bowl and add the boiling water and baking soda; set aside. In a bowl of electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla; beat until blended. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Add the date mixture to the batter and fold until blended with a rubber spatula. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake until pudding is set and firm on top, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven to a wire rack.
Toffee Sauce: Combine the butter, heavy cream, Makers Mark and brown sugar in a small heavy saucepan; heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil gently over medium low heat until mixture is thickened, about 8 minutes.
Serve warm spooned into dessert bowls. Drizzle with toffee sauce and top with a spoonful of whipped cream. Sprinkle with Heath Bar Toffee Bits

Apple Fritters

I love these Apple Fritters…..they are great for dessert and even better for a Sunday brunch. They are so incredibly easy to make. I used honey crisp apples. The caramel is very tasty made with the sparkling cider. Batter can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to use.

APPLE RICOTTA FRITTERS
Peanut oil, for frying
3 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 pound whole milk ricotta cheese (1 cup)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup diced apples
2 teaspoons baking powder
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

In a large saucepan, heat 2 inches of peanut oil to 375°. Set a large wire rack over a baking sheet, top with paper towels and position it near the saucepan.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, granulated sugar and vanilla. Add the ricotta and beat until smooth. Stir in the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and apples and stir just until blended. The batter will be thick.
Using a very small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, slide a walnut-size portion of batter into the hot oil. Fry  until deep golden all over and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fritters to the rack to drain. Continue frying the remaining fritters in batches of 4 or 5.

Cider Caramel Sauce
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup sparkling cider
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar, cider and corn syrup to a boil over high heat. Cook until the sugar is dissolved, washing down the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush. Continue cooking, without stirring, until an amber caramel forms, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the cream. Let cool for 1 minute. Bring the mixture to a boil over moderate heat and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Let the caramel sauce cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature.

Butternut Squash & Kale Caesar Salad

Yes I love butternut squash, and I think fall is becoming my favorite time of the year. This salad is also great served for a luncheon or dinner with grilled prawns or chicken breast.

Butternut Kale Caesar Salad

Butternut Squash 1 lb peeled and cubed butternut squash
olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
Croutons
4 cups cubed ciabatta or focaccia bread
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
Dressing
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
3 anchovy fillets
2 egg yolks
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Tabasco
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, divided
2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped 1 small package kale
pumpkin seeds

Butternut Heat oven to 400 * Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine squash with oil, tossing to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, place bread cubes in the same bowl, then drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Season lightly with salt, pepper. Toast until brown and crispy.
Dressing: In a blender, combine egg yolks, garlic, anchovies, lemon juice, Dijon, pepper, Worcestershire, tabasco and 3 tbs of the Parmesan. Blend until smooth. Slowly incorporate the olive oil.
Salad Layer romaine, kale, butternut squash, croutons & pumpkin seed either in large serving bowl or individual plates. Sprinkle with parmesan & drizzle with dressing.

SUNDAY BRUNCH bella style….

Most of my creativity for cooking comes on Sunday mornings. It originates from the crazy restaurant days. Saturday evening’s after clean up, I would do what I call grocery shop at Bella. Anything I could use to keep from going to the grocery store I would grab. It would be a zip lock of this, a nine pan of that. Little odds & ends left over that I would use to create my Sunday brunch.

After a busy week of cooking classes, I did the same thing this morning. I am not embarrassed to tell you it was damn deliciousness on a plate.

Let me describe this Brunch Risotto: Butternut Squash with arborio rice and pearled barley (because I did not have enough arborio rice and the rule is…..you do not go to the store!) Crispy brussels sprouts, crispy prosciutto cup, sunny side egg, grated salt cured egg & pumpkin seeds. I will definitely repeat this brunch again. The flavors were amazing….

Crispy Prosciutto Cup – I took a large muffin tin and turned it upside down, strayed with oil and arranged prosciutto slices over to create a bowl. Baked in a 350* oven approximately 10 minutes. You want the prosciutto to keep its shape and be crispy.

Risotto – I think you all have made risotto, what was different this time is I did not have enough arborio rice, but I did have pearled barley. The ratio was probably 50/50. What a delicious flavor. I had leftover roasted butternut squash that I had used in classes this week. I used chicken stock, seasoned with salt & pepper and Oil & Vinegar’s Bruschetta Pomodoro (I use this seasoning probably every which way except for how it was intended …..love it ! )

My little egg pan from King Sooper’s, and the Bruschetta seasoning https://www.oilvinegar.com/en-us/shops/denver-broomfield/

I never have enough kitchen gadgets or tools, and am the biggest sucker for buying them all. I love this little egg pan, because it cooks the egg perfectly in a circle (for photos of course).

Egg – was cooked in this little egg pan, never turning the egg, just basting with the olive oil to cook.

Brussels Sprouts – left over from an event, slice very thin in my food processor with the slicing blade. Sautéed in a pan with olive oil salt & pepper until crispy.

Assemble: Place prosciutto cup on a plate or a bowl, add risotto and let cascade out , top with brussels sprouts, sprinkle with pumpkin seeds (pepita) place your egg on top, garnish with grating of salt cured egg yolk (more information to come so that you can make these).

To be quite honest this dish was so good and satisfying I would eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Pumpkin Biscotti

My first experience of Biscotti was in Assisi, Italy. It was love at first bite. Morning biscotti is for dipping in coffee, evening biscotti is for dipping in Vin Santo. This recipe doubles easily, try different add in ingredients, nuts, dried fruit, toffee bits (one of my faves). Make enough to gift to neighbors and friends.

PUMPKIN SPICE BISCOTTI

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cups optional ingredients : pumpkin seeds, pecans, dried cherries or cranberries, toffee bits
extra virgin olive oil & raw sugar for baking

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, salt, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice until completely combined. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer (with paddle attachment fixed), cream together the pumpkin and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at at time, making sure the first one is completely incorporate before you add the second one. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. In 1/2 cup increments add the flour mixture to the wet mixture until all is incorporated, or until you have a very thick ‘cookie-like’ dough. Gently fold in with a heavy wooden spoon your optional ingredient of choice.
Flour your work surface and dump the dough onto it. Mold into a 12 inch by 4 inch log and transfer to your baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until just hard to the touch.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Transfer the biscotti to a cutting board and cut 1/2 inch slices out of the log. Line your baking sheet with another sheet of parchment paper. Lay out the biscotti slices, cut side down. Bake again for about 15 minutes or until crispy.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.

I like to drizzle with white chocolate.

Bacon Bourbon Caramel

Call me crazy…. but chocolate, caramel, bourbon & bacon are a match made in heaven. Serve with vanilla ice-cream.

Chocolate Brownie’s
4 oz dark chocolate
4 oz unsalted butter
2 eggs
10 oz sugar
6 oz all purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350* Line a square brownie or round cake pan with parchment paper. I prefer the round cake pan and serve in wedges.
Melt the chocolate and butter together on top of a pan of simmering water. Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a mixer or with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Fold the egg mix into the melted chocolate and butter, then add the flour, baking powder, salt and oil.
Pour the mix into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the brownie is setting around the outside and still gooey in the centre. A skewer inserted into the centre of the brownie should come out with a little of the mix on it. Remove the pan from the oven and leave to rest for 20 minutes before cutting and serving.

Bourbon Bacon Caramel
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup bourbon
1/4 cup candied bacon chopped fine
In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar, water and corn syrup to a boil over high heat. Cook until the sugar is dissolved, washing down the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush. Continue cooking, without stirring, until an amber caramel forms, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the cream. Let cool for 1 minute, then stir in the bourbon. Bring the mixture to a boil over moderate heat and cook, stirring, for 1 or 2 minutes, add the bacon and let the caramel sauce cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 8

Candied Bacon Recipe

Candied Bacon