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Shake up that turkey dinner this holiday season

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Because roasting intensifies the natural sweetness of yams without needing any extra sugar, candied yams can become an easy and satisfying salad ingredient. A shallot Marsala dressing rounds out the dish for an easy holiday winner.

Yield: 4 servings.

Ingredients:

3 cups carrots, peeled (about 4 large), cut into ½ to ¾-inch uniform sized pieces
3 cups yams, washed (about 3 medium), cut into ½ to ¾-inch uniform sized pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 6 tablespoons for dressing
2 teaspoons dried sage leaves, crumbled
2 teaspoons salt
Black pepper, to taste

2 medium shallots, minced
5 tablespoons sweet Marsala or a sweet white wine
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and black pepper, to taste

3 endives, cut into narrow diagonal strips (can substitute spinach or mixed baby greens)

Method:

Preheat oven to 191 Celsius / 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Put carrots and yams in a bowl; toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil, sage, salt then season with pepper. Spread evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, stir, then bake an additional 20 minutes, or until tender and slightly golden. Remove and cool.

Heat 6 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots; cook until beginning to brown, 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, add Marsala, vinegar and thyme; whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper, taste then adjust seasoning as desired.

Put roasted vegetables and endive in a large bowl. Add half the dressing and toss. Add additional dressing as desired. Sprinkle pistachios on top.

Holiday Roast Chicken


Mediterranean herbs and spice dress this bird up. The moist meat and crispy skin meld famously atop buttery Spaetzle, or slathered with Blueberry-Cranberry Chutney.

Yield: 4 servings.

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken (5 to 6 pounds), rinsed and patted dry, giblets discarded
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 lemon, quartered
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped, plus one 4-inch rosemary stalk
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, plus 4 thyme stems, broken into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock

Method:

Preheat oven to 204 Celsius / 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Loosen the skin all around the breast meat with your fingers, being careful to not tear it.

Mix butter with chopped herbs and 1 teaspoon salt. Spread the butter with your fingers under the skin all over the breast meat. Rub any remaining butter over the top of the chicken, legs and thighs. Squeeze lemon juice over the top and into the cavity, then place the lemons inside cavity with rosemary and thyme stalks, and cinnamon. Season with salt and pepper.

Set a V or flat rack in a flameproof roasting pan. Put chicken on top and tie legs together with butcher twine. Cover with foil from end to end, sides open. Roast for 30 minutes.

Remove foil, rotate pan and roast for an additional 30 minutes. Baste chicken with pan drippings and continue to roast until golden brown and internal temperature is 160F in the breast and 175F in the thickest part
of the thigh; about 30 minutes. Transfer to cutting board and loosely cover with foil. Let rest 15 minutes.

Optional sauce: scrape the browned bits from the bottom of roasting pan. Pour liquid into a saucepan and separate fat. Add stock, bring to a boil then turn off heat letting sit. Spoon sauce over chicken.

Note: Serve chicken over noodles with chutney on the side to include in every bite.

Pumpkin and Chocolate Bundt Cake

Love pumpkin pie but want something different? Everyone will savor this luscious marbled cake blanketed with chocolate ganache and a pecan in every bite. Make extra ganache and serve on the side for a dip with each bite.

Yield: 12 to 14 servings.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups butter (3/4 lb), room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups pumpkin, canned or fresh
2 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon each ground cloves and allspice
¾ cup cocoa, unsweetened
2/3 cup buttermilk

¼ cup chopped pecans

Method:

Preheat oven to 176C / 350F.  Butter and flower a 12-cup bundt cake pan.

In large bowl, beat butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Divide mixture in half in two separate bowls.

To make Pumpkin Batter:
Beat pumpkin into half the butter mixture. In another bowl, stir together 1 3/4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and beat on low or alternatively fold in with a flexible spatula just until blended.

To make Chocolate Batter:
In another bowl, mix the remaining 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and the cocoa powder. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk to the other half of the butter mixture (starting and ending with the flour mixture), beating after each addition just until blended.

Spoon half the pumpkin batter into the bundt-cake pan. Drop half the chocolate batter by spoonfuls randomly over the pumpkin batter. Repeat with the remaining pumpkin and chocolate batters. Run a chopstick around the center of the pan several times, then draw it across the width of the pan in multiple places to swirl batters together. This results in
marbling of the cake batters.

Bake until a wooden skewer inserted into center has only a few moist crumbs attached, 55 to 60 minutes.

Let cool 10 minutes in pan, then invert onto a rack, lift pan off and cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache Glaze:

6 ounces (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)
2/3 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup (light or regular)

Put cream and corn syrup in a pan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Add chocolate and let stand 5 to 7 minutes to melt. Using a spatula, stir mixture until combined and smooth.

Spoon warm glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Sprinkle with pecans and let cake stand to set the glaze, about 1 hour.

All recipes inspired and adapted from various sources. Pumpkin Chocolate Bundt Cake adapted from a recipe at Sunset.com

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