Posts Tagged ‘fall’

Less Light – More Color!

October 28, 2011

The days get short, the light's gone from the sky, we wake up and come home to darkness as wintry weather turns the sky gray. This is not a fun time of year in the Northeast. So to cheer things up, here's a recipe that pulls together a variety of foods and textures in a single healthy dish. And it's so bright! Be sure to serve it in a glass dish so you can see the colorful layers.

Warning: this recipe will take time! It's best prepared with leftovers. So go ahead, cook a whole pumpkin. Make soup, pie, toast the seeds, and leave a little for this recipe. Need an excuse to cook cranberries? Make juice! Greens and tempeh can be cooked easily as needed. The measurements are vague estimates since it can all be prepared to taste or ingredient availability. Overall, this turned out to be a wonderful mix of ingredients on hand – both delicious and pretty!

Colorful Harvest Medley

A mixture of colorful fall foods that are good for your body, your palate and pleasing to the eye!

Colorful Harvest Medley

created by Sarah Johnson

  • ½c wild rice
  • ½c brown rice
  • 1c roast pumpkin cubes
  • ½c fresh cranberries
  • ¼c sugar
  • 4 leaves chard
  • 4 slices tempeh
  • 4T olive oil
  1. Cook the rice. For me this means 1c rice, 2c water, bring to a boil, simmer covered for 40min.
  2. If your pumpkin is fresh, cut in half, place face down on a baking sheet, cook at 400F for about 20-40min until just soft.
  3. Place cranberries and ½c water in a small pan, bring to a boil, then simmer covered for at least 5min. Cranberries will turn totally red and taste sweet (add more sugar to taste). Strain and save the juice for drinking!
  4. Chop tempeh into squares and cook in a pan with 2T oil until tempeh browns on both sides.
  5. Layer the ingredients: rice, chard, tempeh, pumpkin, cranberries.
  6. Drizzle olive oil over the mixture and enjoy!

Happy Turkey Day!

November 22, 2010

Are you having turkey cooking anxiety yet? That seems to be the joke of the holiday: fear of cooking the turkey. I have cooked turkey twice and both times it was delicious and done on time. Perhaps I am missing something, but this recipe from Jacques Pépin has not failed me yet. Could it be? Have I discovered the secret to cooking turkey? If so, I figured I’d at least share!

Cider Turkey

turkey à la Jacques Pépin

Roasted Turkey

recipe from Jacques Pépin’s Thanksgiving Celebration


  • 20 lb turkey
  • 1½ c carrots
  • 2 c onion
  • ½ c sweet cider
  • 1 t Tabasco
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 c + 2 T white wine
  • 2 tsp potato starch

large pot (big enough to hold a 20 pound turkey!)
wire rack (to keep the turkey out of the water in the pot)
roasting pan
turkey baster (makes life easier)

  1. Dice the carrots and onion into ½" pieces.
  2. Prepare the turkey: place the innards (neck, gizzard, heart, liver) aside, then cut off the drumstick ends and make a 1" cut at the joint of the drumstick and thigh.
  3. Add 1½ quarts of water to the pot with a wire rack in the bottom.
  4. Place the turkey in the pot and bring the water to a boil.
  5. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low for 45 minutes.
  6. Cool enough to handle and place the turkey in a roasting pan in the oven at 350F for 1 hour.
  7. After 1 hour, add the carrots and onions to the pan.
  8. Combine the cider, tabasco, and salt in a small bowl and baste the turkey.
  9. Continue to cook the turkey 1 hour, until the breast and leg reach 160F. (If the turkey gets too brown, cover with foil while cooking.)
  10. Meanwhile, pour the liquid from steaming the turkey in a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
  11. Skim the fat from the top and discard.
  12. Place the liquid, neck, gizzard, and heart into a saucepan and boil for 1 hour.
  13. Remove the turkey pieces to chop the meat and return to the saucepan.
  14. Once the turkey is done, pull the sinews from the drumsticks and discard (pliers work well).
  15. Keep the turkey warm in a 160F oven.
  16. Add the mixture from the saucepan to the roasting pan and combine.
  17. Return this mixture to a saucepan and let sit for 5 minutes in order to skim the fat.
  18. Dissolve the starch in 2 T wine.
  19. Add the starch and 1 c wine to the pan.
  20. Bring to a boil, salt to taste, and serve this gravy with the turkey.

There are a lot of steps in making this unconventional turkey, but it is not very complicated and turns out juicy and beautiful every time. The hardest part is finding a pot and rack large enough to steam the turkey. I got mine cheaply at a commercial kitchen supply store. Overall it takes 3 hours to cook, which is half the time of simply roasting a turkey. What is not to like about this recipe?!

There is a stuffing recipe that goes with this turkey, but I am not a big fan of stuffing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very tasty. But once I realized it’s just bread with some onions and mushrooms, I stopped making it. I opt for a wild rice alternative which is healthier and tastier, in my opinion.

Savor the Pumpkin!

October 5, 2010

I feel so unoriginal working with pumpkin and apples for Fall, but there’s a reason they’re such popular ingredients – they’re so good! I’m actually quite proud of this recipe because I have not tasted or seen a dish quite like this.

Pumpkin pie and its variations are always popular as the combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and pumpkin is a guaranteed success. Pumpkin soups are also very popular, but that’s just pumpkin, heavy cream, and a few spices (ironically, not so different from what I made!). Chopped pumpkin garnished with nuts and spices and baked as a casserole is good, but simple. I wanted to create something interesting and different for First Friday. I think I succeeded!

savory pumpkin mousse

Savory pumpkin mousse served on pumpkin skin. Yes, it's entirely edible. And yes, it was sitting on my laptop.

Savory Pumpkin Mousse

created on-the-fly by Sarah Johnson


  1. Cut the pumpkin in half and place face down on a baking sheet.
  2. Bake the pumpkin at 400F for about 30 minutes, until you can easily poke through it with a fork.
  3. Scoop out the pulp of the pumpkin, leaving the skin intact.
  4. Chill the pumpkin skin so that it is not soft and flimsy.
  5. Puree the pumpkin pulp.
  6. Simmer the pumpkin in a pot over very low heat.
  7. Chop about 10 sage leaves and grind the coriander seeds (or use powder).
  8. Add the butter, sage, coriander, and ginger to the pumpkin, cover, and simmer until the flavors are blended.
  9. Chill the pumpkin mixture until it is room temperature or colder.
  10. Whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar.
  11. Carefully fold the whipped cream and pumpkin mixture together. Use about a 1:2 ratio of whipped cream to pumpkin.
  12. Slice the pumpkin skin away from large amounts of remaining pulp.
  13. Cut the skin into 1"x1" squares, or slightly larger triangles.
  14. Spoon about 1 T of the pumpkin mixture onto each square or triangle of skin.
  15. Slice the remaining sage leaves into thin ribbons and curl for garnish atop each piece of pumpkin.