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Recipe: Pumpkin Pecan Gingersnap Ice Cream

Pumpkin Pecan Gingersnap Ice Cream

Adapted from Saveur Magazine

Yields: 1 quart


3/4 c packed dark brown sugar (light will work equally as well)

1/2 t ground cinnamon

1/2 t ground ginger

1/4 t ground cloves

1/4 t freshly ground nutmeg

1/4 kosher salt

5 egg yolks

1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved (or 1 t vanilla extract)

2 c heavy cream

1 c fresh or canned pumpkin puree

1/2 c finely chopped gingersnap cookies

1/2 c finely chopped pecans


Whisk together sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, salt, yolks and vanilla seeds (or extract) in a 4 quart saucepan until smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 c cream. Place over medium heat and cook stirring often until mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula.* Pour through a fine strainer into a bowl and whisk in remaining cream and pumpkin until smooth.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold. Transfer to an ice cream machine and freeze it in your ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.

After churning, alternate layers of ice cream, gingersnap cookies and pecans in a resealable container. Cover and freeze until firm.

*When first learning to make ice cream, it can be a little nerve-wracking to figure out when the custard is "done". (You don't want to boil the custard, or you will end up with scrambled eggs.) Don't fret. There are two ways to test the custard:

1. You will can test if your custard is done by running your finger across the coated spatula. It will be done when your finger leaves a trail that doesn't flow back together. 

2. You can also use a candy thermometer (or quick-read thermometer) to test for doneness. The custard is ready when it reaches a temperature of between 170 - 175 degrees F. 


Recipe: Apple and Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Apple and Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Adapted from Every Day Food Magazine, October 2010

Yield: 2 large loaf pans or one 14 c bundt pan


For the Crumb Topping

1/4 c (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/2 c packed light-brown sugar

1/2 c toasted pecan or walnuts, chopped

1/4 c old-fashion rolled oats

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 t salt

For the Batter

1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for the cake pan

2 c all-purpose flour, plus more for the cake

1 t baking soda

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t salt

1/2 c packed light-brown sugar

4 large eggs

1 c sour cream

2 Winesap or Granny Smith apples (about 1 lb), peeled, cored and diced medium

1 c toasted pecans or walnuts, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Make topping 

In a medium bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, nuts, oats, cinnamon and salt. With a pastry cutter or your hands, blend until butter is incorporated and mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Make batter

Butter and flour an angle-food cake pan or 14 c Bundt cake pan.  

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on high, scraping down bowl as needed, until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl after each addition. Add sour cream and beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat until just combined. With a rubber spatula, fold in apples and nuts; transfer batter to pan. Top with crumb topping.

Bake until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes. Let pan cool on a wire rack 15 minutes, then turn onto rack and let cool. 


Recipe: Parisienne Gnocchi with Spinach, Onions and Poached Eggs

Parisienne Gnocchi with Spinach, Onions and Poached Eggs

Adapted from Michael Ruhlman's The Book of Schmaltz

Yields: 4 servings




1 c chicken stock or water

1/2 c schmaltz or butter

1 t kosher salt

1 c all-purpose flour

4  eggs

1/4 c chopped fresh, soft herbs (such as parsley, chives, tarragon or chervil)

To Finish the Dish

2 Tbsp schmaltz or butter

1 Spanish onion, diced

1 1/2 lbs fresh spinach, stems removed

4 large eggs

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


To Make the Gnocchi

Combine the stock, schmaltz and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. When the liquid reaches a simmer, lower the heat to medium and add the flour. Stir continuously until all the liquid has been absorbed and a uniform paste has formed. Continue to cook, stirring, for another minute or two. Set the pot to cool for 5 minutes, so that the eggs don't cook when you add them.

Crack an egg into the pan and quickly stir it to combine. It will be slick at first, but the paste will soon embrace the egg. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Stir in the herb.  This step takes some muscle power, but persevere, it is worth it! 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Fill a large pastry bag, fitted with a coupler, with the pate a choux. Pipe the dough into the simmering water, cutting the gnocchi off at 1 1/2 inches. (Hold the pastry bag in one hand, and a knife in the other; it goes really quickly when you get the hang of it.)  When the gnocchi float to the surface, they are done.

Transfer the cooked gnocchi to a plate lined with paper towel. Set them aside; toss with a little oil or schmaltz to prevent them from sticking together. Precede with the rest of the dish immediately, or chill or freeze the gnocchi until you are ready to use them.

To Finish the Dish

In a large sauté pan, melt the schmaltz over medium hear, and sauté the onion until completely cooked through, but not brown.  Add the gnocchi to the pan, along with more schmaltz if needed to help them brown. They should turn an appealing golden brown, after 4 or 5 minutes. When they are finished browning, add the spinach and toss. The spinach will wilt quickly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Drop the eggs into simmering water (which has a splash of vinegar) and reduce the heat to low. The eggs are poached when the white has completely solidified and the yolk is still fluid. This does not take long, so do not step away.

Divide the gnocchi and spinach among 4 warm plates, and top each with a poached egg. Give the eggs one last pinch of salt and a grind of pepper before serving.


Recipe: Mushroom Lasagna

Mushroom Lasagna

Adapted from Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome

Yield: 9 x 13 pan


2 lbs of mixed mushroom

1 medium onion, chopped

olive oil

2 pounds no-cook lasagna noodles

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Bechamel Sauce

8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter

1/2 c flour

4 c whole milk, heated (do not boil)*


approximately 1/2 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Clean the mushrooms with a brush and trim stems. Cut into bite-size pieces.

Heat approximately 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the mushrooms, spreading them out in one layer. Let the mushrooms cook on medium high heat without stirring. When the mushrooms start to brown, shake the pan around (to avoid sticking and to brown mushrooms on other side).  Cook the mushrooms until they are deeply brown and almost crispy. When completely browned, transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Heat another Tbsp of olive oil in the same pan. Add the chopped onions, season with salt and cook until softened. When onions are fully cooked, add them to the mushroom mixture and stir to combine. (If there are any brown bits left in the pan, be sure to scrape them into the mixture as well.)

To make the bechamel sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Continue to cook the mixture over medium high heat until it turns a light, golden sandy color, about 5 minutes. 

Gradually add the warm milk to the butter-flour mixture, one cup at a time, whisking vigorously to avoid lumps. Bring it to a boil. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for  approximately 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Season with salt and fresh nutmeg.

To assemble: Cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of bechamel sauce. Place a layer of pasta sheets on top of the bechamel. Ladle more bechemel on top and then place 1/3 of the mushroom mixture and 1/4 c parmesan cheese. 

Repeat this step two more times, finishing with a layer of pasta, beschamel and grated cheese.

Place in a preheat oven and let cook until the pasta is cooked through, and the top is brown and bubbling. approximately 45 minutes. Ovens vary, so start checking after 35 minutes.

Let lasagna rest for approximately 20 minutes before serving.

*Elizabeth recommends 4 cups of milk when using fresh lasagna sheets; 5 cups when using no-boil sheets. Adding the additional cup of milk makes the sauce a bit thinner, but the added liquid is quickly absorbed by the dry lasagna noodles. 


Recipe: Leeks Vinaigrette {Poireaux Vinaigrette}

Poireaux Vinaigrette

Adapted from David Lebovitz's My Paris Kitchen

Yield: 4-6 servings



1 Tbsp sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Sea Salt or Kosher Salt

3 Tbsp neutral-tasting vegetable oil

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 c thick-cut smoked bacon, cut into lardons


5 large or 10 small leeks, cleaned

2 hard-cooked eggs 


To make the vinaigrette:  Cook the bacon over medium heat in a skillet until nearly crisp. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel to drain. When cool, chop the bacon into pieces the size of tiny peas.

Whisk together the vinegar, mustard and salt. Whisk in the oils, one tablespoon at a time (the sauce may emulsify, which is fine), them stir in 1 tablespoon of the parsley and two-thirds of the bacon. Set aside.

To prepare the leeks: Fill a large pot, fitted with a steamer, with a couple of inches of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and add the leeks. Cook the leeks until tender (when you poke them with a sharp knife, there should be no resistance at the root ends). Smaller leeks will take approximately 15 minutes; larger leeks will take approximately 30 minutes.

Remove the leeks and let drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Cut the leeks in half crosswise, and arrange on a serving platter, alternating them head to tail.

Peel and dice the hard-cooked eggs and scatter them over the leeks. Pour the vinaigrette over the leeks and toss them and the pieces of egg in the dressing so they are thoroughly coated. Scatter the remaining bacon pieces and parsley over the salad.