Rejuvenating Winter Broccoli Salad

Rejuvenating Winter Broccoli Salad
  1. 3 heads broccoli, roughly chopped
  2. ½ bunch Tuscan kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
  3. 1/3 cup good olive oil
  4. 1 clove garlic, minced
  5. 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  6. 1-2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  7. 1 tablespoon chile oil
  8. zest and juice of 1 lemon
  9. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  10. 1 tablespoon honey
  11. 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  12. 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  13. 3 large carrots, peeled and shaved into ribbons
  14. 2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
  15. ¼ cup each fresh cilantro and basil, chopped
  16. arils from 1 pomegranate (about ½ c.)
  17. 1 blood orange or grapefruit, supremes
  18. 1 avocado, sliced
  19. 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  1. In a large bowl, toss together the broccoli and kale.
  2. In a medium skillet, combine the olive oil, garlic, and ginger over medium heat. Simmer 5 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant. Remove from the heat and add the sesame oil, chile oil, lemon juice and zest, soy sauce, honey, salt, and a large pinch of red pepper flakes, if using.
  3. Pour the warm dressing over the broccoli and kale, massaging it into the greens. Add the carrots, bell peppers, cilantro, basil, and pomegranate arils, and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt.
  4. If possible, let the salad sit 3 minutes or up to overnight in the refrigerator to allow the salad to marinate.
  5. Just before serving, add the orange and avocado. Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seed.
  1. By Half Baked Harvest
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Snow Day Ragu Stew by Brandy Fernow

 It’s January. It’s cold. It’s damp. It’s the time of year I start googling beach vacations and destinations in the sun. One thing that does bring warmth when I can’t get away on vacation is savoring a hearty winter stew. Stews can give us warmth on the coldest of days and are generally simple to make, a one-pot dish that can utilize leftover produce hanging around the fridge and can be left simmering on its own for hours.

A favorite in our house is “snow day stew”, a cross between a ragu and stew that I make on snow days off from school. I love coming into the house after hours of sledding and snow-fort building to the aroma of slow-simmered lamb, herbs and tomatoes. I use lamb which is packed with healthy vitamins and minerals, that is ground so it doesn’t have to “stew” for long. Ladled over buttery noodles, it may not warm me up like a sun-drenched sandy beach, but this warm ragu stew will get me through.

Rosemary Lamb Ragu Stew
Serves 4
  1. ½ pound bacon, cut in1/2 inch pieces
  2. 2 carrots, peeled and diced small
  3. 1 red bell pepper, diced small
  4. 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  5. 1 pound ground lamb
  6. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 2 teaspoons fresh chopped oregano
  8. 2 teaspoons fresh minced rosemary
  9. ½ teaspoon red chile flake
  10. 1 teaspoon salt
  11. ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  12. ½ cup red wine
  13. 24 ounces chopped canned tomatoes
  14. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  15. 2 cups chicken stock
  16. 1 bay leaf
  17. 1 pound egg noodles
  18. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  1. Heat a large heavy dutch oven pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel lined plate.
  2. Add the carrot, bell pepper and shallot; cook for about 5 minutes or until veggies are softened. Add the lamb, garlic, oregano, rosemary, chile flake and salt. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat, until the lamb is cooked through.
  3. Pour in the wine and deglaze, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the brown bits and incorporate. Cook just until wine is evaporated.
  4. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken stock and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have combined, at least 20 minutes, or up to two hours.
  5. Meanwhile, cook egg noodles in a large pot of salted water according to directions. Drain and toss with the 2 tablespoons of butter.
  6. Add noodles to a bowl and top with ragu stew. Garnish with fresh rosemary.
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Cookie Memories by Lauren Miller

 It always amazes me how the aroma or taste of something from the kitchen can bring back so many memories. For me, one bite of our homemade Christmas cookies and I am transported back to my childhood. Christmas wasn’t complete without a batch of my mom’s homemade Old Fashioned Butter Cookies.

These cookies were different from others I’d see in the store or bakeries, as my mom rolled them out very thin, almost thinner than a pie crust. They were then baked until just a bit golden and had a satisfying, buttery crunch when bitten into. And everyone seemed to have their favorite cookie shape. Mine was always the snowman, with red sugar sprinkles.

My mom got this family recipe from her neighbor and friend while living in their 1st home with their young family. I remember coming home from school in December with a fresh batch of cookies spread out on the counter. I also remember begging to make them with a friend when I was in grade school, and boy, did we make a mess in the kitchen, with flour and sprinkles everywhere!

I now roll out these cookies in my own kitchen for my family, using the very same cookie cutouts from my childhood. Yes, they can be a lot of work and yes, they create a mess with sugar crystals and flour everywhere. But if my family remembers these cookies when they are grown, then the mess in the kitchen will all be worth it.

Old Fashioned Butter Cookies
  1. 1 cup butter
  2. 2 cups sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 3 eggs, well beaten
  5. 4 cups sifted flour
  6. ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Cream butter; add sugar and vanilla and continue creaming until light. Beat eggs and add to butter mixture. Blend well. Sift flour, measure, sift with salt and add to dough, using more flour if necessary, to make dough stiff. Chill 30 minutes (or longer).
  2. Roll out thinner than ¼” thickness. Cut with cookie cutter and sprinkle with colored sugar. Bake on cookie sheet at 400 degrees. Start watching cookies at 5 minutes, as baking time will vary depending on thickness of cookies.
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  1. ¼ teaspoon black pepper (from whole peppercorns, if possible)
  2. ¼ teaspoon cloves (from whole cloves, if possible)
  3. ¼ teaspoon cardamom (from whole cardamom seeds, if possible)
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon (from a cinnamon stick, if possible)
  5. 2 cups flour
  6. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  7. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  8. ½ teaspoon salt
  9. 3 large eggs
  10. 1 egg yolk
  11. 1 cup sour cream
  12. 1 ½ sticks (6 oz.) butter, room temperature
  13. 1 cup sugar
  14. ¼ cup tightly packed, finely grated fresh ginger (1-2 large pieces)
  15. 1 ½ teaspoon orange zest (1-2 oranges)
  16. ½ cup bourbon
  17. 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  18. ¾ cup powdered sugar
  19. 5 teaspoons orange juice (from zested oranges above)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 6-cup Bundt pan.
  2. If using whole spices, grind and measure out specified amounts.
  3. Whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a small bowl. In another small bowl, whisk the 3 eggs, one yolk and sour cream together. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the ginger and the orange zest. Beat the flour and egg mixture, alternating between the two, into the butter mixture. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan (about ¾ way up the sides). Bake for about 40 min, until a tester comes out clean. Remove to rack and cool in the pan for 10 min.
  4. While the cake cools, simmer the bourbon and 1 ½ tablespoons of sugar in a small pot for about 4 min. It should reduce to about 1/3 cup.
  5. While the cake is still in the pan, brush half the bourbon mixture onto the exposed surface with a pastry brush. Let the syrup soak in for a few min. Turn the cake out onto a rack. Gently brush the remaining mixture all over the cake.
  6. Once the cake is cooled, mix the sugar with the orange juice and drizzle randomly over the cake.
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A Toast To All by Kelly Sears

At this hectic holiday time of the year, we all tend to keep our heads down, focused on the task at hand and the next task on our list. Is the turkey thawed, the gravy silky, the mashed potatoes lump free, the linens pressed, and the table set? But, if you’ve taken a class with me before, or you know me well, you know my thought is, it’s not what’s on your table, it’s who’s around it that should keep our focus.

But what about those not around your table? How do we keep them present this holiday?

Perhaps the hole in your heart is fresh, maybe still aching, or now a brief tug, but the absence is present, the chair once filled, empty. We can choose to be sad or we can choose to celebrate, in some way, somehow, what they would have shared at the table.

For the nine that gather around our table this Thanksgiving, more than half that number that don’t.

Bud, Dan’s dad, creator of “Bud’s secret spice” seasons our bird. We still have a jar with his special label and handwriting. He preached the importance of great stock as the foundation to any great gravy; ours is silky smooth for this reason. The apple trees on the Northern Michigan property where he chose to retire, still bear fruits and fills our apple pies.

It’s Eileen’s (Dan’s mom) stuffing that fills the big bird’s cavity. We always laugh that ours doesn’t taste quite the same. We’re convinced her secret ingredient was the ash that fell from her cigarette while she chain smoked her prep! The kid’s split up her dishes so we would all have a few. Our table-setting is mismatched to include some of hers and some of Grandma Wilma’s.

Yep. Grandma Wilma, not the least bit warm and fuzzy, but she brought the shrimp each year, and we shared a slice of mincemeat pie since we were the only two that liked it. We keep the coffee hot since she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Aunt Helen didn’t make it often but when she did, we would always play cards after dinner. She taught us a game called hand and foot and we usually played while eating dessert. I laminated the rules she wrote out to make sure her instructions never faded away.  Aunt Helen was the most giving person I have ever known. When I shop for our meal, I shop for someone else’s too.

Barton, my mom’s husband, Warren’s brother, was an artist in New York. His art fills our walls. It’s edgy, thought provoking, and opinionated. It makes for great conversation.

Warren’s mom Marie, was a woman of modest means with a rich heart. She was a linen maker in her younger years. We try and keep the cranberry sauce from spilling and the gravy from dribbling on her work, but the stains just end up being covered with filled dishes instead. We fill our plates with her serving spoons and our pie with her servers.

And he hasn’t been seated at my table in over 35 years, but I mentally set a chair for him. My dad used to tilt his head back and laugh deep from his belly. Every time I set the table, I set it for people who gather around it to do the very same. My dad was a lover of bread. Rolls are never missing from the table.

Set the table for those who can come, toast those who can’t make it, honor those missing from yours by folding them into the day.

Happy Thanksgiving to all~

Here’s a little something to toast those, no matter how they are present.

Pomegranate Sparklers
  1. 1 ounce vodka
  2. 1 ounce house-made pomegranate grenadine (equal parts sugar to pomegranate juice)
  3. 1 ounce fresh orange juice
  4. Splash of lemon juice
  5. 4 ounces Prosecco
  6. Pomegranate arils and lemon zest for garnish
  1. In a mixing glass, add vodka, pomegranate grenadine, orange juice, and splash of lemon juice. Add ice and shake. Strain into a glass over ice and top with prosecco. Garnish with some fresh arils and lemon zest.
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Cheddar Beer Soup with Black Pepper Croutons

Cheddar Beer Soup with Black Pepper Croutons
Black Pepper Croutons
  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 4 cups rustic bread cubes
  3. ½ cup finely shredded Pecorino Romano
  4. Salt and pepper
  5. Cheddar Beer Soup
  6. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  7. 1 medium onion, chopped
  8. 1 clove garlic, minced
  9. 1 pound red skinned potatoes, peeled and chopped into ½” cubes
  10. 1 c beer
  11. 4 cups vegetable stock
  12. ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
  13. Several dashes Tabasco sauce
  14. Several dashes of Worcestershire
  15. 6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar
  16. Salt and pepper
  1. Toss the bread cubes in olive oil and season with salt. Spill the coated cubes on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until golden brown. Remove from heat and immediately toss with cheese and black pepper. Cool until ready to use.
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté until onions begin to sweat, about five minutes; add the potatoes and continue sautéing another 10 minutes; add garlic and sauté until flavor is released, about 2 minutes. Add the beer and the stock, increase heat to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes until potatoes and vegetables are very soft.
  2. Remove from heat and puree the soup in either a blender or use an immersion blender depending on desired consistency. Return the soup to the pot and place over low heat. Add the mustard, Worcestershire and Tabasco. Add the cheese a handful at a time, stirring between each addition (do not bring to a boil). Simmer until the cheese is melted and smooth. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper. Garnish with croutons.
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Vegetable and Fontina Frittata

Vegetable and Fontina Frittata
Serves 8
  1. 8 large eggs
  2. 4 tablespoons whipping cream
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch more
  4. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  5. 2 tablespoon butter
  6. 2 tablespoon olive oil
  7. 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces
  8. 2 tomato, seeded, diced; or canned diced-drained
  9. 6 ounces Fontina Cheese, diced
  1. Preheat oven to broil. Whisk the eggs, cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend. Set aside.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a 12” Toughened Non Stick or 10.25” Cast Iron skillet over medium heat. Add the asparagus and sauté until crisp tender, about 2 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the tomato and a pinch of salt and sauté 2 minutes longer.
  3. Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus mixture and cook for a few minutes until the eggs start to set. Sprinkle with cheese. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the frittata is almost set but the top is still runny, about 2 minutes. Place under the broiler & broil until the top is set and golden brown on top, about 5 minutes.
  4. Let the frittata stand 2 minutes. Using a spatula, loosen the frittata from the skillet and slide it onto a plate.
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Mixed Berry or Peach Clafoutis

Mixed Berry or Peach Clafoutis
Serves 4
  1. 3 large eggs
  2. 1 cup milk
  3. ¼ cup heavy cream
  4. ½ cup flour
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  6. ½ cup granulated sugar
  7. 1 teaspoon butter
  8. 2 cups mixed berries or 2 medium peaches, peeled and thinly sliced
  1. In a blender or with a mixer, combine the first 6 ingredients on high speed for 30 seconds
  2. Butter 10.25” cast iron skillet. Pour 1 cup of batter into the skillet and bake 7 minutes.
  3. Remove from the oven and carefully arrange the berries or peaches on top. Gently pour the remaining batter over the fruit.
  4. Return to the oven and bake 45 minutes more, or until golden and puffy on top. A testing knife should come out clean.
  5. Let cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
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Orange Pecan Wild Rice

Orange Pecan Wild Rice
  1. 1 cup wild rice
  2. 1 1/4 cup chicken stock
  3. 1 1/4 cup water
  4. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  5. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  6. 1 cup seedless green grapes, halved
  7. 1/2 cup scallions, sliced in rounds, white and light green parts (2 scallions)
  8. 1 cup pecan halves, toasted and coarsely chopped
  9. 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  10. 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  11. 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Place the rice, chicken stock, 1 ¼ cups water, 1 tablespoon of the butter, and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover the pot and lower the heat to a simmer (pull the pan halfway off the burner) and cook for about 1 hour, until the rice is tender and the grains begin to burst open.
  2. Stir the rice occasionally while it’s cooking, scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent it from sticking. Turn off the heat and allow the rice to steam for about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir the remaining tablespoon of butter into the rice, then add the grapes, scallions, pecans, orange zest, orange juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper and toss well. Taste for seasonings and serve hot.
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Kids Crew Chef Club

Marcel’s membership only kids club designed to foster a love of cooking, baking and all things kitchen related for our blossoming chefs (ages 6-12 years). For more information and to register a child, click here.