Category Archives: Food Network

walnut wimpy balls

growing up, december was a magical month filled with preparation and anticipation for christmas. once the tree was decorated, the house was decked out in pine boughs and christmas lights, and the carols were playing on the radio, we could turn our attention to the food. more specifically, the cookies. standard on the list were decorated gingerbread and sugar cookies, gingersnaps, kourabiedes, and walnut wimpy balls. but while these are all delicious, wimpy balls hold a special place in our hearts.

these cookies, inspired by a recipe found in yankee magazine years ago, and tinkered with for years after that, will melt in your mouth. the icing, straight from my great-grandmother’s kitchen, is a burst of deep, thick chocolate. when smooshed together, these sandwiches will have you hooked at the first bite. just don’t forget to handle the cookies gently while you are assembling the finished product. they can crumble if pressed too hard, and then you’ll have to eat the ones you break!

walnut wimpy balls

(makes 50 bite-sized cookies)


2 cups whole walnuts

2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups flour

chocolate icing

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. preheat oven to 350°f.

2. in a food processor, grind walnuts with 2 tbsp of confectioner’s sugar until finely ground. set aside.

3. in an electric mixer, cream butter and remaining sugar until pale and fluffy. beat in the vanilla. then add flour and 3/4 cup of the ground walnuts and mix well.

4. roll balls of dough, about the diameter of a nickel, and bake on cookie sheets covered with non-greased parchment paper at 350°F for 10-12 minutes, until just barely golden. cool on a rack.

5. while the cookies are baking and cooling, prepare the chocolate icing. first add all ingredients together in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water. then stir until chocolate is melted and all ingredients are fully combined. set aside.

6. when the cookies are cool, sandwich the flat sides together using 1/2 teaspoon chocolate icing. roll the sides in the remaining ground walnuts.

what’s your favorite holiday cookie? and do you want some new ideas?…

What’s Gaby Cooking: Peppermint Bark Chocolate Cookies

And Love It Too: Snowball Cookies (Grain-Free, Dairy-Free and Vegan)

Taste With The Eyes: Olive Oil Oatmeal Cookies

Jones Is Hungry: A Cookie for Chocolate Lovers

From My Corner of Saratoga: Gooey Butter Cookies

The Sensitive Epicure: Speculaas Dutch Windmill Cookies

Napa Farmhouse 1885: Salted Chocolate & Dulce de Leche Fudge

Virtually Homemade: Chocolate Mint Snowballs

Sweet Life Bake: Polvorones de Chocolate

Daily*Dishin: Cherry Topped Cream-Drop Cookies

FN Dish: Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip-Bacon Cookies

Thursday Night Dinner: Peppermint Bark Cookies

Dishin and Dishes: Pecan Sandie Thumbprints With Cherry Frosting

Mooshu Jenne: Biscotti

Cooking With Elise: Sweet and Salty White Chocolate Cranberry Oat Cookies


spiced stuffed winter squash

although the weather around new york city can’t seem to decide what month we’re in, the produce in the markets these days makes sure you know it’s winter. how can you tell? by the piles of colorful winter squash! winter squash is the food network’s fall fest ingredient of the week, and i happen to love it. let me pause at this point to mention that the term winter squash refers to a wide variety of squashes such as acorn, spaghetti, kuri, kabocha, buttercup, delicata, butternut, and hokkaido. they come in reds, oranges, yellows, and greens. when cooked, some are soft and taste like a mix between pumpkin and sweet potato. others come out with a mild savory flavor and a texture like spaghetti–bet you can’t guess which one that is! but the point is that winter squash is a very versatile ingredient, and all of them lend themselves to being stuffed with delicious ingredients.

this week i was in the mood for something a little spicy, so i returned to a previous success i had in the kitchen with my turkey chorizo, taken from rick bayless’s authentic mexican. i was also trying to work my way through some of the grains in my pantry, so i added some pearl barley. finally, kale joined the mix to add color and excellent health benefits. what’s great about this dish is that with a little advance preparation the night before, you can make the stuffing while the squash is cooking, and be ready to stuff it by the time it’s done. not only does this recipe look beautiful at the table, but it also has a wonderful combination of sweet and spicy flavors to add a little zing to your winter dinner!

pearl barley

spiced stuffed winter squash

1 4-lb kabocha squash (or equal quantity of your favorite winter squash such as delicata or butternut)

1 bunch lacinato kale, stemmed and cut into thin ribbons (red or green kale would work as well)

1 medium onion, thinly sliced into half-moons

1 cup pearl barley (soaked for 8 hours or overnight in cold water)

1 lb ground turkey

2 medium dried ancho chiles

2 medium dried pasilla chiles

1/4 tsp whole coriander seeds

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp whole cloves

3/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground ginger

2 tbsp sweet paprika

1 tsp salt

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

4 tbsp olive oil

1. prepare the turkey chorizo the day before to allow the meat time to marinate in the seasoning.

  • Seed and de-vein the dried chiles, then heat a pan over medium-high heat and cook the chiles by pressing them flat in the pan until they begin to color and blister. remove and allow to cool until crumbly, then tear into small bits.
  • in a spice grinder combine the chiles, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, oregano, and peppercorns. grind until as smooth as possible. sift into a large metal bowl. the add the nutmeg, ginger, paprika, salt, garlic, and vinegar.
  • add the ground turkey and stir until well combined. allow to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

2. the next day, preheat the oven to 350°f.

3. cut a hole in the top of the kabocha squash in a 2-inch radius around the stem. (if you’re using an oblong squash such as a delicata or butternut, simply cut the squash in half lengthwise.) remove all the seeds and scrape out the strings from the inside of the squash.

4. roast the squash, open side down, on a lightly oiled baking sheet for approximately 1 hour, or until it’s soft all the way through. remove and set aside.

4. while the squash is cooking, bring the pearl barley and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a small pot. reduce heat and simmer until al dente, about 8 minutes. drain and set aside.

5. heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. brown the seasoned turkey, stirring occasionally to expose all the turkey to the heat, about 10 minutes. remove from the pot and set aside.

5. add another 2 tbsp olive oil to the pot. then add the onion and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. add the kale and cook until slightly wilted, about 8 minutes. remove from the heat.

6. thoroughly combine the barley, chorizo, and kale mixture in a large bowl. then spoon the mixture into the squash, pressing with the back of a large spoon to make sure the stuffing is densely packed.

7. return the stuffed squash to the oven for about 15 minutes, or until heated through. serve in slices if using a kabocha-shaped squash or in halves if using an oblong squash.

For more ways to try all the different kinds of winter squash, check out:

And Love It Too: Warm Winter Chili

Bay Area Foodie: Delicata Squash Soup

The Sensitive Epicure: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Cooking Channel: Kabocha Squash Pasta

What’s Gaby Cooking: Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Thursday Night Dinner: Butternut Squash Gnocchi With Sage Brown Butter

Dishin and Dishes: Butternut Squash Bisque With Sage Cream

FN Dish: Simply Roasted Winter Squash

turkey and stuffing roulades with squash mash

thanksgiving is absolutely, positively my favorite holiday of the year. it brings together my love of cooking, spending time with my family, and eating ridiculously delicious foods. over the years, my family and i have created what we think is the perfect thanksgiving spread (i know many people think the same about theirs!). we have a secret binder with reams of recipes, and we start planning weeks in advance for our huge array of dishes–from stuffing to sprouts to our spectacular pumpkin pie. not to mention the turkey, of course.

last year, during the intense run-up to this headiest of holidays, i couldn’t bear the anticipation any longer. i needed some turkey, stat! i thought carefully about how to make a small thanksgiving dinner for my husband and me, one that wouldn’t take a whole day (or more) of cooking but would provide the deep, satisfying flavors everyone craves. i settled on turkey cutlets since they’re convenient and quick to cook. (i enjoyed them so much this year, in fact, that i decided to make more, in a spicy southern style, later in the week. stay tuned this weekend for the recipe!). i also had to include stuffing and gravy, because otherwise it’s just not thanksgiving, and i decided to throw some squash into the oven for a sweet and savory side (check out the recipe below).

putting all this together, i decided to make roulades–stuffed cutlets rolled and tied into perfect little packages. a classic technique suitable for any thin cut of meat, roulades make an elegant way to wrap up all your favorite flavors, including, of course, my family’s fantastic cornbread stuffing. they may take a little practice, but they come out delicious even when rough around the edges. the pan drippings also make a rich gravy in no time. altogether, these express roulades deliver the gratifying goodness of thanksgiving anytime the irresistible urge strikes!

express turkey and stuffing roulades

serves 4

2 tsp + 2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp butter, melted + 1 tbsp butter, cold

10 pieces turkey bacon (or pork or duck if you prefer)

1/2 medium onion, cut into small dice

1 tbsp thinly sliced fresh sage

1 tbsp minced fresh thyme, rosemary, and savory (or any combination thereof)

1/3 cup minced curly parsley

3/4 cup roughly chopped roasted chestnuts (minerve chestnuts are delicious and hassle-free)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2 cups cubed cornbread

1/4 cup + 1/2 cup chicken or turkey stock, preferably homemade

4 large turkey cutlets, pounded thin

1 cup verjus or apple cider

1 tbsp flour

1. heat 2 tsp olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat. once it ripples, add the diced onion and sauté until just beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. remove to a large bowl.

2. while the onion is cooking, cook 2 pieces of the bacon in a large dutch oven until crispy. turn off the heat and slice the bacon into thin strips, then place in the bowl with the onion.

3. add to the bowl the sage, mixed herbs, parsley, cranberries, chestnuts, and cornbread. add the melted butter and the 1/4 cup of stock and stir gently to combine all the ingredients.

4. to assemble the roulades, first cut four 18″ lengths of kitchen twine. lay each turkey cutlet flat on a board and top with about 1/2-3/4 cup of the stuffing. gently press the stuffing with your hand to spread it evenly over the cutlet, and be careful not to overstuff. roll the cutlet the long way, taking care not to lose too much stuffing out the sides (just stuff it back in if any falls out). place two pieces of raw bacon on the board so they overlap like a plus sign, then place the rolled-up cutlet in the middle. bring the four sides of the bacon over the top of the roulade. finally, place one length of twine on the board and place the roulade on top, so the twine goes along the long side of the roulade. wrap the two ends of the twine over the top of the roulade, then twist them 90° and wrap them down the short way (think of this as practice for future present wrapping). flip the roulade, cinch the twine tightly, and tie a double knot against the bottom of the roulade. cut the excess twine. then assemble the rest of the roulades.

5. heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in the dutch oven over medium-low heat. once it ripples, add the roulades and cook until well-browned on the bottom, about 10 minutes. flip and repeat on the top. then flip the roulades onto their sides and cook until each is well-browned, about 5 minutes per side.

6. while the roulades are cooking, make a buerre manié by combining the flour and 1 tbsp butter with a fork in a small bowl. set aside.

7. once all sides are brown, return the roulades to their original position, add the verjus and the 1/2 cup of stock, cover, and let simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes. remove the roulades to a platter and let rest.

8. in the dutch oven, still over medium heat, add the buerre manié to the pan juices while whisking constantly to avoid lumps. continue whisking while simmering the gravy until it thickens enough to coat a spoon.

9. place each roulade on a plate, top with a generous pour of the gravy, and enjoy your express thanksgiving!

for a delicious, healthy, and easy to make side dish, winter squash is the way to go. there are so many varieties and each offers a slightly different flavor, so you won’t get bored. also, while they are excellent in soups, sautés, and other preparations, they are equally tasty simply roasted in their skins, then mashed with a little butter or olive oil and some salt and pepper. with this method the sweet and intricate flavors of the squash are really allowed to shine.

buttercup squash mash

1 small buttercup squash (my other favorite varieties are butternut, orange hokkaido, kabocha, and delicata)

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil

salt and white pepper to taste

1. preheat the oven to 350°f.

2. wash the outside of the squash so it is free of dirt or debris. cut the squash in half from top to bottom and scoop out the seeds* with a spoon.

3. place the two halves open side down on lightly oiled aluminum foil on a baking sheet. roast for about 1 hour, or until the flesh is soft all the way through (test with a fork).

4. allow the squash to cool for about 10 minutes, then scoop the flesh into a metal bowl. stir in the butter or olive oil and salt and pepper until the mixture is mostly smooth. then serve!

*some squash seeds can be cooked like pumpkin seeds, and they make a delicious snack. just do a little “googling” to find out which squash seeds work the best.

and as you know, every family has their own cherished thanksgiving traditions. for more ideas to add to your holiday feast, check out the following blogs:

Cocktails, Appetizers, Soups and Salads:

Sweet Life Bake: Pumpkin Margarita

Easy Peasy Organic: Thanksgiving Ginger Cocktail

Dishin and Dishes: Butternut Squash Bruschetta With Sage Pesto

Mooshu Jenne: Green Salad

Two Peas and Their Pod: Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash Apple Salad

Jones is Hungry: Roasted Vegetable Salad

Purple Cook: Pasta and Bean Stew With Tomatoes and Broccoli Rabe

From My Corner of Saratoga: Curried Pumpkin Soup


FN Dish: Alton Brown’s Good Eats Roast Turkey

My Angel’s Allergies: Cranberry-Glazed Cornish Hens


Cafe Terra Blog: Cranberry Pumpkin Stuffing

Virtually Homemade: Twice-Baked Cheddar and Chive Potatoes

Easy Eats Magazine: Sausage and Dried Cranberry-Walnut Stuffing

The Sensitive Epicure: Oyster Dressing and Gravy

Daily*Dishin: Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes Supreme

What’s Gaby Cooking: Rustic Herb Skillet Stuffing

Family Fresh Cooking: Coconut Brown-Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Silvana’s Kitchen: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Mushroom-Rye Stuffing

The Cultural Dish: Cranberry Sauce


I Am Baker: Pumpkin Cake

Heather Christo: Pumpkin Vanilla Ice Cream Pie

And Love It Too: Pumpkin Custard (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

Haute Apple Pie Girls: Double Pumpkin Mini Pies With Candied Pecans

Ladles and Jelly Spoons: Not Your Same Old Pumpkin Pie

Daydreamer Desserts: Cuban Diplomatic Pudding

Thursday Night Dinner: Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Napa Farmhouse 1885: Caramel Apple Pie

cauliflower-squash soup with crème fraîche

the cold weather that blew in over the weekend had me looking for every possible way to keep warm. and what better way than soup? with a hearty soup you can get all your vegetables in one bowl and keep yourself warm and satisfied. plus, soups are excellent for experimenting. once you have the general technique down for various styles of soup, you can mix and match ingredients to your taste buds’ content.

take cauliflower, for example, which is the fn dish ingredient of the week. disguised in its seemingly bland appearance is a deep flavor and some wonderful health benefits. in fact, 1 cup of cauliflower contains about 90% of your recommended daily value of vitamin c. think about all that cold-fighting power!

but flavor is the thing that really gets me excited when i sit down to a steaming bowl of soup. the delicious taste of cauliflower mixes well with many other ingredients, from aged cheddar to currants and capers. this time i picked a partner that would complement the caulfilower’s smooth flavor and spice up the color palette – orange hokkaido squash. this gourd has a rich, bold flavor and it’s not very stringy, which makes it great for pureeing. the structure of the soup, with sauteed aromatics, vegetables, and broth, makes it easy to substitute your favorite winter vegetables. but i highly recommend giving this version a try. with the accompanying garnishes – bacon, crème fraîche, and parsley – this cauliflower concoction is not to be missed!

cauliflower-squash soup

3 lb cauliflower, stemmed and cut into large sections

3 lb winter squash, peeled and cut into 1” cubes

1 large onion, cut into medium dice

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

6 slices turkey or pork bacon, cooked until crisp and diced (optional)

6 cups vegetable or chicken stock

8 tbsp. crème fraîche

1 cup minced parsley

1 tbsp. olive oil

salt and freshly ground white pepper

1. in a soup pot, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until soft and translucent, 8-10 minutes.

2. add the squash and stock and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

3. add the cauliflower and return to a boil. then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the squash and cauliflower are cooked through.

4. remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

5. in a food processor or blender, purée all the solids in batches until very smooth, using just as much of the liquid as needed. then strain the remaining liquid to remove any sediment and add the puréed soup.

6. to serve, return the soup to medium heat until warmed through and season with salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste. garnish bowls with 1 tablespoon each of crème fraîche, bacon, and parsley.

take a look at the following blogs for more delicious cauliflower recipes:

The Sensitive Epicure: Cauliflower Souffle

Haute Apple Pie: Cauliflower and Chicken Gratin

CIA Dropout: Cauliflower Squash Soup With Creme Fraiche

Daily*Dishin: Tender Roasted Cauliflower

Virtually Homemade: Cumin Crusted Beef Tenderloin With Cauliflower Puree

What’s Gaby Cooking: Cumin Roasted Cauliflower

Thursday Night Dinner: Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower

Cooking Channel: 4 Ways to Cook Cauliflower

Napa Farmhouse 1885: Painted Cauliflower

FN Dish: Roasted Cauliflower 5 Ways

Big Girls Small Kitchen: Cauliflower Soup With Sharp Cheddar and Thyme

Dishin & Dishes: Cauliflower Gratin

pumpkin panna cotta with gingerbread

in a post this summer, when sweet juicy peaches were abundant, i offered a recipe for peach panna cotta. it proved to be my most popular post so far. apparently i am not the only person who loves panna cotta! i discovered this dessert several years ago in a restaurant whose name i unfortunately can’t remember. but i can assure you that i haven’t stopped experimenting with panna cotta recipes since then. and my family hasn’t complained yet.

it so happens that this week the food network’s fn dish is featuring another ingredient just begging to be made into a panna cotta – pumpkin! pumpkin is a fantastic item. first of all, it’s a beautiful vegetable that embodies the essence of fall – the bright colors, the rich flavors, and the fun of halloween. secondly, its depth of flavor makes it delicious in soup, roasted with root vegetables, or baked into pie. even the salted and toasted seeds (often called pepitas) make an excellent snack.

but i wanted to make something a little more adventurous and refined this week. so i turned to my old favorite, panna cotta. i added pumpkin puree and a hint of additional spice, borrowed from my usual pumpkin pie recipe. and since cooking with pumpkins put me in a holiday sort of mood, i decided that gingerbread would be the perfect accompaniment. the end result was a creamy, pumpkin-y, sweet, and spiced dessert. it can be beautifully perched on a gingerbread cookie or just eaten with a spoon in one hand and a cookie in the other. either way, you will be happy with these creamy flavors of the fall!

pumpkin panna cotta

serves 8

1 cup whole milk

2 1/3 tsp powdered gelatin

3 cups heavy cream

2 tsp vanilla extract

6 tbsp granulated sugar

2 tsp coarse mulling spice mix (cloves, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, mace, nutmeg, or any combination thereof)

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup pumpkin purée (if using homemade, be sure to simmer the roasted purée until most of the moisture has been cooked out)

1. place the milk in a medium saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin over the surface. set aside for about 10 minutes.

2. in a small bowl, combine the heavy cream, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and the mulling spices. set aside.

3. in another small bowl, combine the pumpkin purée, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and the cinnamon. set aside.

4. over medium heat, warm the milk, stirring constantly, until it reaches 135° f on a candy thermometer. remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 4 tbsp sugar until dissolved. then slowly pour in the cream mixture, using a strainer to remove the mulling spices.

5. place the pot in an ice bath and stir constantly until the mixture cools to 50° f and becomes a bit thicker than heavy cream. stir in the pumpkin mixture.

6. using a ladle, distribute the mixture into 8 ramekins (you may have some left over for a 9th!). place the ramekins on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap does not touch the surface of the mixture. refrigerate for at least 4 hours until fully set.

7. to serve, hold each ramekin in a small bowl of hot water for about 10 seconds, then invert onto a plate or a gingerbread cookie (see below).

gingerbread cookies

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup dark molasses

1/4 cup water

2 3/4 cups flour

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground allspice

1. cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer on medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until pale and fluffy. add the molasses, water, flour, salt, baking soda, and spices and mix on medium-low until combined. gather into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

2. heat the oven to 375° f.

3. roll the dough to 1/4 inch think on a lightly floured surface. using a round cookie cutter than matches the size of your ramekins, cut cookies and place on un-greased baking sheets.

4. bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

for more pumpkin fun, check out these blogs:

What’s Gaby Cooking: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

The Cultural Dish: Pumpkin Waffles

Cooking With Elise: Pumpkin Chip Scones

And Love It Too: Creamy Pumpkin Fruit Dip

Haute Apple Pie Girls: Pumpkin Bread Parfait

I Am Mommy: Pumpkin Pancakes

Dishin and Dishes: Maple Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Virtually Homemade: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins With Pumpkin Seed Streusel

Napa Farmhouse 1885: Pumpkin Pizza

Daydreamer Desserts: Pumpkin Fattigman

From My Corner of Saratoga: Baking Pie In The Pumpkin

FN Dish: The Ultimate Pumpkin Soup

Cooking Channel: Pumpkin Risotto

The Sensitive Epicure: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies With Molasses Marshmallows

Daily*Dishin: Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake

ZaikaZabardast: Pumpkin Jalebi

Mooshu Jenne: Pumpkin Nutella Bread

Big Girls Small Kitchen: Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Loaf

truffle-roasted corn and kohlrabi soup

with all the rainy days that have been sneaking into our summer this year, i’ve been feeling the need for something warm and comforting. but i didn’t want something heavy; it’s still summer after all! the perfect ingredient for such a meal is now piling up at your local farmer’s markets and grocery stores, and it’s the food network’s summerfest ingredient of the week… sweet corn!

sweet corn is hands down one of my favorite ingredients. it is crisp and juicy eaten raw on the cob (don’t eat too much or you’ll get a stomach ache) and it melts in your mouth with sweetness when you boil it, roast it, grill it, saute it, or make it into soup, which is exactly what i did. i love corn chowder because it allows me to fully savor this wonderful ingredient in a slightly more civilized manner. (my usual approach is to gnaw through several ears of corn on the cob in a matter of minutes.) and this week, i decided to see just how sophisticated corn chowder can be. the answer is, very!

the following recipe was inspired by a temporary vegetarian column i read last year and a similar recipe in sustainably delicious, an amazing cookbook i came across at a blow-out sale at borders. the soup starts with the simple combination of corn and onions, with a just a bit of fat-free greek yogurt, which adds creaminess without the fat. if you like a little extra tanginess, try using goat’s milk yogurt instead. from there i decided to leave the well-trodden path with the addition of a garnish made from roasted corn and kohlrabi and crisped kohlrabi greens tossed with truffle oil. the wonderfully earthy flavors of kohlrabi and truffle oil blended so well with the corn that i couldn’t believe it had taken me this long to combine these ingredients. this soup is a perfect combination of fresh-from-the-garden, summer cooking, with a hint of classy complexity. serve it at your next summer soiree and your guests will swoon!

truffle-roasted corn and kohlrabi chowder

serves 6

2 onions, diced

4 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil

9 ears of corn

2 kohlrabi, medium-small diced

Greens from 2 kohlrabi, stemmed and thinly sliced

1/2 cup goat’s milk yogurt (or plain yogurt)

2 teaspoons salt

freshly ground white pepper

2 tablespoons truffle oil

1 tablespoon olive oil

1. preheat oven to 350°f.

2. cut the kernels off 6 ears of corn and set aside, reserving the cobs. in a large saucepan, combine the cobs, 1 of the diced onions, and 8 cups of water.

3. place over high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. cover and cook for 20 minutes. turn off the heat and leave covered for an additional 30 minutes.

4. while the corncobs are cooking, coat the diced kohlrabi and 3 whole ears of corn with 1 tablespoon of truffle oil and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. spread out on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally until evenly brown. remove from oven and cool slightly. cut the kernels off the cobs, toss with the kohlrabi in an additional ½ tablespoon of truffle oil, lightly season with salt and pepper, and set aside. discard the cobs.

5. place a large saucepan over medium-low heat and add the butter or olive oil. add the remaining diced onion and sauté until soft and translucent, but not browned, about 20 minutes. add raw corn kernels and sauté until slightly translucent, about 5 minutes. remove from heat and set aside.

6. when stock has finished steeping, strain it, discarding the cobs and onions. add 6 cups of stock to the pot of corn kernels. return to medium heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.

7. allow the soup to cool. working in batches, blend the soup in a food processor or blender until the soup is smooth*. return to pot and reheat on medium until hot. then turn heat to low, stir in the yogurt, and season with salt and pepper.

8. In a small saute pan, heat a small amount of olive oil over medium-low heat. add the sliced kohlrabi greens and allow them to cook, stirring infrequently, for about 5 minutes, or until crisp and bright green. add the greens to the roast kohlrabi and corn.

9. garnish each bowl with a large spoonful of the roasted kohlrabi, corn, and greens mixture and a few drops of additional truffle oil before serving.

*when blending soup in a food processor or blender, it helps to start with the solid ingredients, and slowly add in small amounts of liquid. this helps ensure that all the solids are pureed.

feel like husking more corn? check these fabulous recipes out:

Dishin and Dishes: Kicked Up Creamed Corn From Scratch
Big Girls Small Kitchen: Fresh Corn Salsa with Basil and Mint
Zaika Zabardast: Fresh Corn Risotto
What’s Gaby Cooking: Spicy Corn Salsa
CICooking Channel: Fresh Corn Muffins
Food for 7 Stages of Life: Corn on the Cob Korma
FN Dish: Southwest Corn Recipes
Daily*Dishin: Sweet Corn and Couscous Main Dish Salad
Pinch My Salt: Peter Reinhart’s Fresh Cut Corn Bread with Bacon
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Corn & Watermelon Salad
Virtually Homemade: Summer Corn Salad
Food2: Creamed Corn Cornbread
Virtually Vegan Mama: Thai Corn Soup
Sunshine and Smile: Scallops with Corn and Pepper Sauce
Spices N Aroma: Corn Pilaf
The Sensitive Epicure: Fresh Corn Fritters with Chive Lemon Chipotle Yogurt (Gluten-Free)
Dixie Chick Cooks: Fresh Corn with Basil Slaw and Feta
Cooking With Books: Corn Favorites
Purple Cook: Corn on the Cob with Cilantro

Glory Foods: Skillet Corn Muffins

italian cherry cake

sour cherries came, and we celebrated with a grown-up crumble. then they were gone, and we mourned. the sorrow of not having bought enough of these tangy jewels could only be assuaged with the arrival of mounds of dark, juicy, sweet cherries. i spent the weekend with a big bowl of fresh cherries on the counter, popping a few in my mouth every time i walked by. and in between grazing i pondered how best to share these succulent little fruits with you. this week we are halfway through the food network’s summerfest, so i wanted a suitably enticing dish.

in the end, i was inspired as much by the cherries as by the hot summer air filled with the scent of flowers and herbs and everything in bloom. a late dinner outside of pesto and wine (until the mosquitoes chased us in) reminded me of italy. and this line of thinking brought me quickly to some of the wonderful olive oil cakes i have tasted over the years. one of my favorites is a blood orange olive oil cake recipe from the new york times, which is often requested for family gatherings. i was also inspired by a sneak peek at mario batali’s new cookbook, which also includes a recipe for a citrus- and olive oil-based cake. cakes made with olive oil are dense and moist, with a slightly savory note that balances well with citrus. cherries, in fresh and dried form, go well with everything from pies to roast lamb, so i figured, why not combine them with olive oil as well? i was very glad i did. i also moistened things up with some local vermont honey and some smooth swiss kirschwasser. the olive oil tempered the sweetness of the honey while lending a luscious texture to the cake, and the cherries held their shape, offering firm, sweet accents to every bite.

someday i will enjoy this cake with a glass of moscato d’asti while sitting at a wooden table, outside, shaded by a grapevine-covered trellis, overlooking sweeping vineyards and stone chateaux in the tuscan countryside. but until we all find ourselves in similarly perfect surroundings, i suggest you create your own escape by savoring this heavenly cake for breakfast, lunch, dessert, or whenever the mood strikes!

italian cherry cake

serves 8 to 10

3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup cornmeal

2 1/4 cups sweet cherries, pitted and halved

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1/4 cup kirschwasser

1/4 cup olive oil

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey

1 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1. preheat the oven to 350°f. grease a 9-inch round cake pan and coat evenly with the 3 tablespoons cornmeal.

2. in a medium bowl combine the cherries and lemon juice and macerate, using a fork or potato masher to extract juice from the cherries, until you have about 1/2 cup liquid (you can add more lemon juice if necessary). then add the kirschwasser, lemon zest, and olive oil and set aside.

3. in another medium bowl, sift together the flour, 1/4 cup cornmeal, and baking powder and set aside.

4. in a large bowl, beat the eggs and salt until light and frothy. slowly mix in the sugar and honey, beating until pale and thick, about 2 minutes.

5. gradually mix the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until fully incorporated. then fold in the cherry mixture until just combined.

6. pour the batter into the greased and cornmealed cake pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (if the top of the cake looks in danger of burning before the cake is fully cooked, simply cover with a sheet of tinfoil.)

7. remove the cake from the oven and cool on a rack for about 20 minutes. then remove the cake from the pan and let cool to room temperature. serve with a scoop of ice cream for maximum satisfaction!

kirschwasser: a strong, clear liquor made from cherries, most famously in the german-speaking part of switzerland. it can be sipped during or after a hearty meal, or used in making cakes, fondues, and other delicacies.

moscato d’asti: a sparkling, sweet wine with a low alcohol content, made from the moscato bianco grape in the piedmont region of italy.

macerate: in food preparation, to soften or break an ingredient into pieces using liquid.

for some more ways to enjoy cherries, check out the following blogs:

What’s Gaby Cooking: Cherry Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream

Big Girls Small Kitchen: Cherry Cornmeal Cake

Cooking With Elise: Roasted Cherries with Lavender and Almond Panna Cotta

Daydreamer Desserts: Cherry Crumble Cake

Ingredient Challenge Monday: Black Forest Ice Cream Done Two Ways

Spices and Aroma: Dilkush with Cherries

And Love It Too: Cherry-Pecan Chicken Salad

FN Dish: The Ultimate Cherry Pie

Daily*Dishin: Simple French Cherry Clafouti

Glory Foods: Collard Greens and Cherry Reduction

Chez Us: Gluten-Free Cherry Clafoutis

Food for 7 Stages of Life: South Indian Hot and Sour Soup

Virtually Homemade: Dark Chocolate Cherry Kuchen

In Jennie’s Kitchen: Cherry Conserves

The Sensitive Epicure: Gluten-Free Cherry Almond Clafouti

Cooking Channel: Very Cherry Sangria

Napa Farmhouse 1885: Cherry Balsamic Vinegar

Zaika Zabardast: Balsamic Cherry and Peach Crisp

Mooshu Jenne: Rainier Cherry Panna Cotta

Food2: A Very Cherry Recipe Round-Up

Virtually Vegan Mamma: Fresh Cherry and Almond Scones

Sweet Life Bake: Honey-Tequila Pickled Cherries

Cooking With Books: Cherry Cooler 

Recipe Girl: Cherry Limeade Pound Cake