Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce

Serves 8-16

1 1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg white
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
2 large eggs, at room temperature
caramel sauce, to top

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the inside of an 8-10 inch springform pan and line the bottom with buttered parchment paper. Combine cookie crumbs with sugar, butter and egg white, then press into the bottom of the pan. Bake until just set, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly Mix together cream cheese and brown sugar until just barely smooth, then add pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon, and mace and mix on a low speed for about 2 minutes. Add mascarpone cheese and mix 2 more minutes to combine, then add eggs and mix until incorporated, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides after each ingredient is added to ensure even mixing. Pour pumpkin filling over the crust then wrap the outside of the springform pan with foil to ensure no water gets into the cheesecake while baking. Set in a large pan and place in the oven, then fill the baking pan with hot water until it reaches 2/3 of the way up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the center of the cheesecake is lightly set, about 60-75 minutes. Remove and let cool in the refrigerator for 8 hours before unmolding the springform pan. To serve, drizzle slices with caramel sauce.

Copyright 2009 by Cooking with Michele

Sweet Potato Casserole

Serves 6-8

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cooked
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup cream
1 egg
salt, to taste
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1/2 cup maple butter (or maple syrup or brown sugar)
1/4 cup flour

Mash cooked potatoes together with butter, brown sugar, cream and egg. Puree to the consistency desired, then salt to taste. Pour into a casserole dish. Mix together pecans, maple butter and flour and sprinkle over the top. Bake until heated through and pecans are slightly toasted, about 20-30 minutes.

Copyright 2009 by Cooking with Michele

Saffron Seafood Paella

Serves 8

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 chorizo link sausages, diced small
2 medium onions, diced
2 large green or red bell peppers, diced small
2 cups arborio rice
4 cups water
1 pinch saffron
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp (tails on)
3 dozen black mussels, scrubbed
2 cups peas

Heat oil in a very large paella pan or skillet over medium high heat. Add chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and some of the fat has rendered out. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside. Add onion and pepper and cook until slightly softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add rice and cook for 2 minutes, then add water, saffron, cumin, and salt and pepper; bring to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer. When rice is nearly cooked but still wet, add shrimp and mussels on top, cover tightly and allow them to steam for 2 minutes, then stir into paella, cover, and let them continue to cook until shrimp are opaque and mussels have opened. Return chorizo to the pan and stir in along with the peas.

Celeriac Soup

Serves 4-6

Adapted from Bon Appetit

1/2 stick butter
1 cup chopped celery
3 large shallots, chopped
2 lb. celeriac, peeled and cubed
6-8 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 - 1/2 cup heavy cream, optional
minced thyme, for garnish
garlic croutons, for garnish

Heat a large saucepan over medium high heat and melt butter. Add celery and shallots and cook until slightly softened. Add celeriac and stock (less for thicker soup, more for thinner soup) and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables are soft. Puree soup and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add cream if you desire a richer soup. Garnish with minced thyme and croutons. Serves 6

Copyright 2009 by Cooking with Michele

Apple Cider and Herb Brined Turkey

Apple Cider and Herb Brined Turkey
Serves 8

14 pounds turkey
1 brining bag
1 cup Kosher salt
1/2 gallon apple cider
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup rosemary sprigs
1/4 cup black peppercorns
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon chives, minced
1 tablespoon tarragon, minced
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
olive oil

Two days before cooking turkey, place whole turkey (neck and organs removed) into the brining bag. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil and add salt; stir to dissolve. Transfer to a large bowl and add ice cubes, stirring until liquid is cooled. Add the apple cider, salt water, 1/2 gallon additional water, sage, rosemary and peppercorns to the turkey in the brining bag. Press the air out of the bag, seal, place in a large roasting pan, and refrigerate for two days. (The turkey should be fully covered in the brining liquid; add additional water if you have a larger turkey.)

When you are ready to cook the turkey, remove it from the brining bag and discard the liquid. Rinse the turkey under cold running water and pat dry. Place the turkey into a roasting pan, breast side up. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Using a fork, combine the butter with the chives, tarragon and parsley to create a compound herb butter. Using your fingers, gently create a pocket under the breast skin on each side of the breast bone, taking care not to tear the skin. Rub half of the herb butter under the skin on each side, pressing the skin down to distribute the butter under the skin. Brush the skin with olive oil. Roast at 400 degrees for 1 hour, then reduce oven to 325 degrees F and continue to roast until turkey is fully cooked. The thigh should read 180 and the breast should read 165 using an instant read meat thermometer. If the skin is fully browned and the meat is not yet at temperature, tent with foil for the remaining cooking time.

Let meat rest for 20-30 minutes before carving to allow the juices to redistribute.

Copyright 2009 by Cooking with Michele

Wheat-Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yields 3 dozen

Also egg-free

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons milk, any variety
2 cups rice flour, white
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 pinch salt
1 cup oats, rolled (raw - use gluten free if celiac or omit)
1 cup chocolate chips

Beat butter, sugar, molasses, vanilla extract and milk together until smooth. Sift together rice flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt, then add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. When mixed, add in oats and chocolate chips and mix just to incorporate. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool on baking pan before removing.

Copyright 2009 by Cooking with Michele

Chestnut Stuffing

Serves 6

1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced onions
2 large eggs
1/4 cup chicken stock (or water)
1/2 cup milk (or heavy cream)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups cubed Italian bread
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 apple, diced
1 cup chopped chestnuts (peel first)
1 teaspoon fresh sage, minced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced

Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add celery, carrots and onions; cook until softened, about 5-10 minutes. While vegetables are cooking, combine eggs, stock, salt and pepper together and whisk until well combined. In a large bowl, toss together the bread with the vegetable mixture, liquid ingredients, melted butter, apples, chestnuts, sage and rosemary. Put stuffing into an oven safe dish and press down into an even layer. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or stuff into chicken breasts or whole turkey and cook accordingly. (Note: I like to spoon turkey drippings over the top of the dressing before serving to flavor and moisten it.)

Copyright 2009 by Cooking with Michele

Kumquat and Cranberry Relish

Serves 6

1 cup kumquats, quartered
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 whole cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon port wine, optional

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer until the cranberries and kumquats have broken down and relish has thickened, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat, discard cinnamon and star anise, add wine and let cool before serving.

Copyright 2009 by Cooking with Michele

Tri Color Cole Slaw

Serves 6-8

1/4 head green cabbage, shredded
1/4 head purple cabbage, shredded
4 medium carrots, shredded
1/4 to 1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. celery salt
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. poppy seeds, optional

Toss cabbage and carrots together in a large bowl and set aside. In a small container with a tight fitting lid, combine all remaining ingredients, cover, and shake well to combine. Adjust seasoning to taste, adding more vinegar if you desire more tartness. Toss dressing with vegetables, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. May be kept in refrigerator for up to 3 days although the cabbage will soften with time.

Copyright 2009 by Cooking with Michele

Butter Braised Asparagus with Morels

Serves 6

18 asparagus spears, trimmed and sliced into 1" pieces
3 tablespoons butter
1 large shallot, sliced
1 pound mushrooms, morels or variety, sliced
1/4 cup white wine
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter

Heat a large skillet over medium high; add butter and melt. Add shallot and cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally until mushrooms have begun caramelizing. While mushrooms are cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and blanche for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside. When mushrooms are nicely browned, add white wine to deglaze the pan, then add blanched asparagus. Stir together for one minute, then salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and stir in remaining tablespoon of butter. Serve immediately.

Copyright 2009 by Cooking with Michele