Pecan Pie For A Crowd

Such an easy recipe…

Ingredients:

  • Pre made Pillsbury pie crust.
  • 1 – 16oz bottle dark Karo Syrup
  • 2 cups granulated light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups pecans

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Mix first six ingredients until frothy. Add pecans and stir by hand. Pour in pie shell plate. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and reduce heat to 350• and bake additional 30 minutes. You will notice that there is room in the dish to add whipped cream if you prefer then and you’re done!

 

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Just the BEST Apple Pie

My dad always said that apple pie without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze. And boy, did that cheese vary over the years! The first time my mother made this, she used Velveeta cheese (that was in the ’50s). Over the years, the cheese got progressively more sophisticated and now, a local Cheddar is my cheese of choice. Remember to bake the apple pie long enough— you don’t want the apples to be crunchy. Otherwise, why bother to make a pie? I’ve used a Pillsbury crust before, but the fresh, homemade cheese crust recipe here is best, unless you’re stressed!

PIE DOUGH

2¼ cups all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling)

1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces

1 teaspoon sugar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese

FILLING

2 pounds, or 8 large, Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch wedges

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced into pats

3 tablespoons cream

1 tablespoon granulated sugar, for sprinkling

FOR THE PIE dough, combine the flour, butter, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and give it quick pulses to blend the ingredients, until the mixture looks crumbly (crumbles should be the size of peas). Add the cheese and pulse again until combined and the cheese is worked into the mixture and cut into small chunks. Dump the mixture out into a bowl, drizzle in 6 tablespoons of iced cold water, and mix it in with a fork until the flour is moistened and comes together as a dough. Add another tablespoon of water, if needed, to bring the dough together. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a ball, and flatten to a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. For the filling, combine the Granny Smith apples, granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl and toss to combine. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Adjust the rack to the center of the oven. Roll out 1 disk of the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Add the apples and dot with the butter. Roll out the second dough round. Cover the top of the apples with the second pie round, pressing the edges of the two crust layers to seal. Trim the crust so you are left with a 1-inch overhang. Tuck the crust underneath itself so it’s flush with the edge of the pie plate. Crimp the edges decoratively. Pat the pie with the cream and sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Make 5 air slits in the center of the pie. Bake until the crust is set, about 25 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350°F and bake 50 minutes more, until the crust is golden brown. Cool on a rack before slicing.

Holiday Stuffing with Sausage, Pecans, and Apples

You can use any kind of firm, good bread in this recipe. I like Pepperidge Farm’s sandwich bread. You can even combine a few different kinds if you have some half loaves hanging around in the freezer. Leave the crusts on—it’s less work and gives the stuffing some texture. A tip to prevent soggy stuffing: Let the bread dry out before you cook with it. Either remove the bread from the bag and leave it out all night, or put it in a 325°F oven for a half hour. If you’re cooking for a crowd, make extra stuffing. You’ll be glad you did. This stuffing is versatile and can be used with the holiday recipes in this book or any season throughout the year—it’s great under chicken or fish.

9 tablespoons unsalted butter (plus more for the baking dish)

8 ounces sage pork sausage, removed from casings (a good-quality breakfast sausage will work)

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 medium Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch chunks

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed

1 large egg

½ cup half-and-half

1 loaf day-old Pepperidge Farm sandwich white bread with crust, cut into cubes (about 14 cups)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

PREHEAT THE OVEN to 375°F. Generously butter a shallow 3-quart baking dish. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat, pour off about 3 tablespoons into a small bowl, and set aside. Add the sausage to the skillet and cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is slightly wilted, about 6 minutes. Add the apples, pecans, thyme, and sage and stir to coat everything with the butter. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the apples are just tender, about 8 minutes. Scrape into a large bowl. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the half-and-half. Add the bread to the bowl with the sausage mixture and pour the egg mixture over it. Season with salt and pepper and toss well to moisten all of the bread, adding a little more broth if necessary. Spread in the prepared baking dish, drizzle with the remaining melted butter, and tent with foil (don’t let the foil touch the stuffing). Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top is browned and crisp, about 30 minutes more. (Serves 8 or more).

Toasted Mozzarella & Boundless Bruschetta

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Toasted Mozzarella & Boundless Bruschetta

Ingredients

Steps

  1. Turn on the broiler for your oven.

  2. Slice baguette, or other bread of choice. Arrange slices on sheet pan.

  3. Slice mozzarella. Place mozzarella on top of bread slices.

  4. Broil until mozzarella is melted and toasted on the edges.

  5. Remove from oven, add dollop of Boundless Bruschetta on the mozzarella, and sprinkle a little fresh basil on top!

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Splendid Stuffed Mushrooms

Splendid Stuffed Mushrooms

Years ago, I met a dear friend named Bud (Sydney) Tudge, a former chef at the Waldorf Astoria who found his way to the Hudson Valley. Bud opened a clam stand in a little town and served the best fried clams and coleslaw to ever come down the pike. His clam stand eventually evolved into a full restaurant, which sadly closed after he died. He was a mentor to me for years and it was he who insisted that these stuffed mushrooms would be a boon to my very newly established catering company. He was correct.

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Ingredients:

  • ½ cup walnut pieces
  • 24 large white stuffing mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped scallions
  • ½ cup dried breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup shredded Gruyère cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

PREHEAT THE OVEN to 375°F. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Cool, finely chop, and set aside. Wash the mushrooms with a damp cloth and remove the stems and the dark-colored gills inside if the mushrooms are older. Finely chop the stems. If the mushroom caps are very round, trim a small slice off the tops so they will sit level on the baking sheet.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the sausage and cook and crumble into small pieces with a wooden spoon until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook until tender and no liquid remains in the pan (increase the heat if needed to boil away the excess water that the mushrooms give off), about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and let cool completely. Add the chopped walnuts, scallions, breadcrumbs, Gruyère, Parmesan, and parsley to the sausage mixture and season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss the mushroom caps with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and season with salt. Stuff the mushrooms with the filling, dividing it evenly. Arrange the stuffed mushrooms on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the caps are tender and the filling is crispy, 17 to 18 minutes.

Easy & Cheesy

We all need a little more time in our busy lives. The beauty of this casserole is that it can be made several hours ahead (or even better, the night before), so all you have to do is pop it in the oven when people start arriving. The other great thing about this casserole is that you won’t have to clear any space in your refrigerator for leftovers—it’s that good!

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Ingredients:

  • Unsalted butter, softened, for the baking dish
  • 8 to 10 thick slices day-old country white bread (about ½ inch thick, cut from a long square Pullman loaf)
  • 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2½ cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh
  • Italian parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces mild Swiss cheese, shredded (or Gruyere)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

PREHEAT THE OVEN to 400°F. Grease a shallow 3-quart casserole dish with the softened butter. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cut or tear the bread into bite-size chunks (or cut each slice of bread into 4 squares). Arrange the bread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until the bread dries a bit but hasn’t taken on any color, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, break off the woody ends of the asparagus and discard. Peel the bottom half of the stalks (if you want) and cut the asparagus into 2-inch pieces. Drop into the boiling water and cook until bright green and crisptender, about 3 minutes. Drain under cold running water and pat very dry. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, scallions, parsley, and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Layer half of the bread in the bottom of the buttered casserole. Arrange the asparagus on top and sprinkle with half of the Swiss and Parmesan. Layer the remaining bread over top and pour the custard over. Sprinkle the top with the remaining Swiss and Parmesan. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour so the bread soaks up the custard (overnight is even better). Remove the casserole from the fridge and let sit at room temperature while you preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake until the casserole is cooked through and the top is puffed and golden, about 45 minutes.

Fruited Pork Medley

This is a wonderfully fragrant fall dish. The flavors are complex, so it’s best to keep the side dishes simple. It would be excellent served with basmati rice and a simple green salad. If you have leftovers, it’s even better the next day!

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Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium onions, cut into 1-inch chunks

2 large carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup amber beer

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons grainy mustard

SEASON THE PORK with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss the pork in the flour to lightly coat, tapping off any excess. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add half of the pork and brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate. Use the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to brown the second batch and transfer to the plate. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the flour. When all of the pork is out of the pot, reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and carrots, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to caramelize on the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme, paprika, cumin, coriander, ginger, and cinnamon and sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons reserved flour. Toss to coat the vegetables in the flour and cook, stirring occasionally, until the flour is browned on the surface of the vegetables, about 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium high and pour in the beer and apple cider. Boil until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bay leaves and adjust the heat to a simmer. Add the pork, cover, and simmer until the pork is tender, about 1 hour. Add the apricots, prunes, and raisins. Simmer rapidly, uncovered, until the fruit is plump and tender and the stew is thickened to your liking, about 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Stir in the parsley, whisk in the mustard, and serve.

Veterans Day

 

The table set for the Fallen Soldier has become a tradition in our family.

I’d love to share the significance behind the setting, so that on this Veterans Day you can honor soldiers at home as well. Once your table is set and your candle is lit, hold a moment of silence for our Soldiers who are POW/MIA.

The table cloth is white; symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to serve.
A folded American Flag to represent our nation’s strength and unity.
The single red rose signifies blood shed while protecting our freedom.
A slice of lemon reminds us of their bitter fate.
A pinch of salt symbolizes the fallen tears
The lighted candle reflects our hope for their return; alive or dead.
The glass is inverted, to symbolize their inability to share a toast.
The chair is empty – they are missing.

Thank you to all the men and women who protect our freedom. I honor you.

Spiced Cider not only for Halloween

[fusion_text]In case you didn’t make Spiced Cider for Halloween or already drank what you saved for the day after, this is a great recipe for any occasion and any crowd.  You can always omit the bourbon for a non GG Guice version.  OR double it for a greater GG Guice version!  Don’t forget a great mug to serve Spiced Cider![/fusion_text]