When we thought about featuring recipes from home chefs, our minds immediately went to the incredible cadre of talent on the web; who better to help us set our holiday table than North Metro food bloggers? Check out their websites for even more recipes and holiday goodness.
by Laura Hobbs, pranaandpie.com
A good-for-you green veggie masked with almonds and cranberries—and, of course, mouthwatering pancetta. Allowing the Brussels sprouts to gently brown in the pan before adding the other ingredients mellows their flavor and gives them a subtle sweetness that’s hard to beat.
• 1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
• 1/2 lb thick sliced pancetta, cubed
• 1/3 C blanched almonds
• 1/3 C dried cranberries
• 1 T balsamic vinegar
olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Dump the trimmed Brussels sprouts in the boiling water and cook for about three minutes, until they’re bright green and just beginning to soften. Remove them from the boiling water and immediately place them in the ice bath, allowing them to cool completely. Drain them thoroughly and set them aside.
2. In a large sauté pan, fry the cubed pancetta over medium-low heat until crispy and beginning to brown. Remove the pancetta and drain on a paper towel. Discard all but a tablespoon of the pancetta grease and wipe out the pan.
3. Place the pan back on the stove and combine the reserved tablespoon of pancetta grease with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the drained Brussels sprouts and cook, stirring occasionally, until they just begin to brown. Add the almonds, cranberries and pancetta, and cook for 2–3 minutes longer, careful not to overbrown the sprouts. Turn off the heat and add the vinegar, stirring to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Butternut Squash with Applesauce and Sausage
by Wendy Petty, hungerandthirstforlife.blogspot.com
This dish makes a great weeknight meal or a perfect holiday side, as all three components of the dish may be prepared up to two days ahead of time.
• 1 large or 2 small butternut squash, approximately 5 lbs
• 8 oz butter
• 3/4 tsp salt
• 1-1/2 lbs tart apples
• 1/4 C sugar
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
1. Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Lightly oil the cut halves and place them face-down on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet. Roast them in a 350-degree oven for an hour or until they are very tender when pierced with a knife.
2. Let the squash cool for 15 minutes, then scoop the roasted flesh from the skin with a spoon and place it into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and salt. Mash until smooth.
3. While the squash is roasting, prepare the applesauce and sausage meatballs. Peel, core and roughly chop the apples. Place them in a pot with enough water to just barely cover the bottom (this will prevent scorching). Slowly simmer the apples over medium low heat until they release all of their juices and become soft, about 20 minutes. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon.
4. Roll the sausage into small meatballs (this goes faster if you first break the entire mass of meat into equal sized chunks, then go back and roll them all into balls). Cook the meatballs in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat until they are cooked through and browned, about 20 minutes.
5. Lay down a bed of mashed butternut squash, spoon on a generous amount of applesauce, then dot it with sausage meatballs.
By Toni Dash, boulderlocavore.com
A beautiful, seasonal dish featuring the tartness of cranberries, tamed a bit with some sugar, salt and lime, but with perky heat from the jalapeno pepper and made “salsa-familiar” with the cilantro. It’s great for holiday cocktail parties, keeping a holiday flavor profile afoot but with a different (and less filling) spin.
• 12 oz fresh cranberries
• 1 medium garlic clove, minced
• 1-2 jalapeno chile peppers, cored, seeded and minced
• 4 T cilantro, finely chopped
• 3 scallions, thinly sliced
• Juice of 3 fresh limes (approximately 1/3 C)
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• Salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine cranberries and 1 quart of water in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and boil for one minute. Cranberries will begin to pop. Drain.
2. In a mixing bowl combine the garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, scallions and cranberries. Mix by hand, squeezing some of the berries to a pulp and leaving the rest whole.
3. Add lime juice, sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with colorful tortilla chips or thin slices of peeled jicama.