Tag Archives: sage

Butternut Squash & Sage Risotto

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Squash and sage are a perfect flavor combination.  When cut into small pieces, the squash cooks quickly and you can even reduce the preparation time if you buy pre-cut squash from your grocer’s fresh food case.  If you can’t find butternut squash you can easily substitute any firm fleshed winter squash or even pumpkin.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH & SAGE RISOTTO

1 cup butternut squash cut into 1/2 inch dice

3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, minced

1 ½ cups risotto rice

½ cup grated Asiago cheese

2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced

  • Place the squash in a small saucepan adding enough water to just barely cover the squash.  Bring to a boil and steam until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.  Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth and white wine in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium-high heat.  Adjust the heat to keep the broth mixture at a low simmer.
  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, approximately 5-6 minutes.
  • Add the rice to the onions and stir to combine.  Add one ladle of the broth to the pot and stir well.  Stirring occasionally, continue cooking the rice until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding additional broth.
  • Repeat this process until the rice is al dente.  You may not need to use all of the broth.
  • Add the reserved squash and gently fold to incorporate.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated Asiago cheese and minced sage.  Serve immediately.

Serves:  4 as an entree or 6 as a side dish

Bacon & Sage Yorkshire Pudding

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Yorkshire pudding is essentially a giant popover that can turn even the simplest of meals into something special.  The ingredients are quite simple–flour, milk, and eggs–but the results are impressive.  And this version from Epicurious includes bacon and sage which makes it especially decadent.  So go ahead and impress your guests, or yourself, and make this tonight.  I’ve served it alongside everything from a herb crusted prime rib to simple grilled steaks.  Either way, the old adage of everything being better with bacon is true; you just can’t go wrong with this dish.

BACON & SAGE YORKSHIRE PUDDING

6 ounces bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons fresh minced sage, divided

1 tablespoon salt

1 1/2 cups whole milk

3 eggs

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Saute the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  • Pour the bacon drippings and the butter into a 12 x 9 x 2 inch glass or ceramic baking dish.  Place the dish in the oven for 10 minutes in order to heat the drippings.
  • Whisk together the flour, 2 tablespoons of the sage, and the salt in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Whisk together the eggs and milk in a separate bowl then add the flour mixture.  Whisk until the batter is smooth.
  • Whisk in 2/3 of the bacon.
  • Remove the hot baking dish from the oven and quickly pour the batter into the hot dish.
  • Return the dish to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Without opening the oven door, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for another 12 minutes or until the pudding is puffed and golden.
  • Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining bacon and sage.

Serves 8

Goat Cheese & Green Onion Stuffed Chicken Breasts

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If you love goat cheese and are of the mindset that everything tastes better with bacon, then these chicken breasts are for you. A simple filling of goat cheese and green onions turns ordinary chicken breasts into a fancy, yet fast and easy, week night dinner.  Yes, that’s right. You can have stuffed chicken breasts that seem fancy in the middle of the week.

I do love goat cheese but not all goat cheese is created equally.  Because the goat cheese really makes this dish, be sure to find one you like for this recipe. I prefer one from my local market that has a soft texture and is mild yet tangy. I did taste a lot before happening on this perfect variety though so don’t hesitate to do the same. But once you have your goat cheese, this recipe really comes together in a snap. And the results? Well, everything really is better with bacon so it’s sure to be a hit.

GOAT CHEESE & GREEN ONION STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

8 slices thick cut bacon

4 sage leaves

1/2 cup softened goat cheese

1 bunch green onions, minced

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut a slip into the center of each chicken breast in order to form a pocket. Do not cut all the way through the meat.
  • In a small bowl, combined the goat cheese, green onions, Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper. Mix well.
  • Place a quarter of the goat cheese mixture into each chicken breast. The cheese may over fill the pocket but that is alright.
  • Place two sage leaves on the to of each chicken breast then wrap each breast with two slices of bacon.
  • Move the wrapped breasts to the prepared baking sheet then sprinkle with the garlic powder, remaining salt and remaining pepper.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and an instant read thermometer reads 170 degrees.
  • Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4

Gorgonzola & Ricotta Risotto w/ Crisp Sage Leaves

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

What better way to wrap up a long and cold week than with a warm and comforting bowl of risotto? For me, this risotto, from Maxine Clark’s Risotto epitomizes what comfort food means. The combination of gorgonzola and ricotta cheeses ensures that the dish is creamy and cheesy without being overpowering. Be sure to taste and buy a gorgonzola cheese you like. Not all are created equal and you want to be sure that the cheese you choose isn’t overpowering or two pungent. The cheeses are only complemented by the earthy fried sage leaves. Some people look at risotto as a side dish. But for me, this dish is so satisfying that it is a meal unto itself.

GORGONZOLA & RICOTTA RISOTTO w/ CRISPY SAGE LEAVES

30 sage leaves with stems

Sea salt

1/2 cup vegetable, for frying

6 cups hot vegetable broth

8 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cups risotto rice

1/3 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, chopped

3/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese

Salt & pepper for seasoning

For the fried sage leaves:

  • Throughly dry the sage leaves.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed skillet until it reaches 350 degrees on a thermometer.
  • When the oil is hot, drop in the sage leaves and fry until crisp; it should only take a few minutes.
  • Remove the leaves from the oil using a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Season with sea salt and set aside.

For the risotto:

  • Keep the broth at a low simmer in a saucepan set over medium-low heat.
  • Melt half of the butter in a large, heavy stock pot set over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and cook until soft and golden, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the rice and stir well until coated with the melted butter.
  • Pour in the wine and boil hard until the liquid has reduced and has almost disappeared. Stir in the chopped fresh sage.
  • Begin adding the broth, by the ladle full, stirring gently with each addition and cooking until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice before adding more. Do not let the rice dry out.
  • When half of the broth has been absorbed, add in the gorgonzola cheese and stir until it has completely melted.
  • Continue adding the broth and cooking until the rice is creamy and tender but the grains are still firm. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Season well with salt and pepper and stir in the ricotta cheese and remaining butter.
  • Remove from the heat and let sit for two minutes. Add additional broth if necessary to loosen the rice.
  • Serve topped with the crispy sage leaves.
  • Serves 4

 

Browned Butter & Sage Gnocchi

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Gnocchi are the perfect end of the week dinner. They cook up fast–in just a few minutes and they are incredibly satisfying. While this butter sauce is completely decadent the combination of the browned butter and sage make this simple dish feel gourmet. And since I’m a firm believer in everything being acceptable to eat in moderation, go ahead and enjoy these buttery little bits of pasta. You won’t be disappointed.

BROWNED BUTTER & SAGE GNOCCHI

1 13 ounce package prepared gnocchi

1/3 cup unsalted butter

2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, minced

Salt & pepper to taste

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

  • Place a large pot of salted water over high heat. Bring to a boil.
  • While the water heats, slowly melt the butter in a large skillet set over medium high heat. Once the butter has melted and is slightly foamy, reduce the heat to medium and add the sage leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally until the butter is browned and nutty and the sage leaves are slightly crispy.
  • When the water is boiling add the gnocchi and cook for 3-4 minutes. You will know the gnocchi are done with they float to the surface of the water.
  • Use a slotted spoon to skim the gnocchi from the top of the water and add them to the skillet with the butter and sage mixture.
  • Gently fold the gnocchi into the butter to coat complete.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
  • Divide the gnocchi among four shallow pasta bowls, drizzling with any remaining butter.
  • Sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese over the top and serve immediately.

Serves 4

 

Bacon & Sage Yorkshire Pudding

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Yorkshire pudding is essentially a giant popover that can turn even the simplest of meals into something special.  The ingredients are quite simple–flour, milk, and eggs–but the results are impressive.  And this version from Epicurious includes bacon and sage which makes it especially decadent.  So go ahead and impress your guests, or yourself, and make this tonight.  I’ve served it alongside everything from a herb crusted prime rib to simple grilled steaks.  Either way, the old adage of everything being better with bacon is true; you just can’t go wrong with this dish.

BACON & SAGE YORKSHIRE PUDDING

6 ounces bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons fresh minced sage, divided

1 tablespoon salt

1 1/2 cups whole milk

3 eggs

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Saute the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  • Pour the bacon drippings and the butter into a 12 x 9 x 2 inch glass or ceramic baking dish.  Place the dish in the oven for 10 minutes in order to heat the drippings.
  • Whisk together the flour, 2 tablespoons of the sage, and the salt in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Whisk together the eggs and milk in a separate bowl then add the flour mixture.  Whisk until the batter is smooth.
  • Whisk in 2/3 of the bacon.
  • Remove the hot baking dish from the oven and quickly pour the batter into the hot dish.
  • Return the dish to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Without opening the oven door, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for another 12 minutes or until the pudding is puffed and golden.
  • Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining bacon and sage.

Serves 8

Sweet Potato Latkes w/ Sage Cream

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Traditional potato latkes are nice but if you like sweet potatoes as much as I do, you’re going to love these latkes.  Made with sweet potatoes and just a hint of sage, they are earthy and satisfying making them the perfect accompaniment for grilled meat.  I love to serve these with a dollop of sage cream sauce on top.  However, when I serve them with my Bourbon & Brown Sugar Marinated Flank Steak, I omit the cream and let the potatoes soak up the steak sauce.

SWEET POTATO LATKES w/ SAGE CREAM

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and grated

4 scallions, chopped

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs, lightly beaten

6 sprigs fresh sage, 3 chopped and 3 whole

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup sour cream or creme fraiche

Salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Combine the sweet potato, scallions, flour, eggs, 2 chopped sage leaves, and salt and pepper in a medium sized bowl.
  • Use you hands to form the mixture into 2 inch patties.
  • Arrange the patties on the baking sheet.  Brush the olive oil over the top of each patty.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until the bottoms have browned.
  • Flip the latkes and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine the sour cream or creme fraiche and the remaining sage in a small bowl.  Using a stick blender puree until smooth.
  • Season the latkes with salt and pepper and serve topped with the sour cream and sage mixture.

Serves 4

Butternut Squash & Sage Risotto

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Squash and sage are a perfect flavor combination.  When cut into small pieces, the squash cooks quickly and you can even reduce the preparation time if you buy pre-cut squash from your grocer’s fresh food case.  If you can’t find butternut squash you can easily substitute any firm fleshed winter squash or even pumpkin.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH & SAGE RISOTTO

1 cup butternut squash cut into 1/2 inch dice

3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, minced

1 ½ cups risotto rice

½ cup grated Asiago cheese

2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced

  • Place the squash in a small saucepan adding enough water to just barely cover the squash.  Bring to a boil and steam until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.  Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth and white wine in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium-high heat.  Adjust the heat to keep the broth mixture at a low simmer.
  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, approximately 5-6 minutes.
  • Add the rice to the onions and stir to combine.  Add one ladle of the broth to the pot and stir well.  Stirring occasionally, continue cooking the rice until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding additional broth.
  • Repeat this process until the rice is al dente.  You may not need to use all of the broth.
  • Add the reserved squash and gently fold to incorporate.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated Asiago cheese and minced sage.  Serve immediately.

Serves:  4 as an entree or 6 as a side dish

Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Pears

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In preparation for Thanksgiving, I’m showcasing some of my favorite holiday recipes this month.  Some of them are family recipes while others are my own creations but each of them always has a place on my dining room table.  This fall I had the opportunity to be profiled by Albanian Living magazine as a part of their “traditional American Thanksgiving” article.  All of the recipes I’m sharing were a part of that Thanksgiving table.

For me, sweet potatoes are a classic fall dish and are a must for any Thanksgiving dinner table.  Much to my horror fresh sweet potatoes were impossible to find in Albania when we first moved here two plus years ago.  (In my opinion, canned ones are simply not an acceptable substitute).  A trip to the U.S. Navy commissary in Naples, Italy solved my problem but two overnight ferries make for an inconvenient shopping trip.  Fortunately times have changed here and although expensive, sweet potatoes are now readily available in the larger grocery stores in Tirana.

This roasted dish is a sophisticated take on the classic sweet potato casserole that is ubiquitous with so many Thanksgiving dinners.  Pears add a sweet surprise while sage adds a savory touch.  The potatoes are good hot from the oven but taste even better when served at room temperature which makes this the perfect dish for those of us trying to make too many dishes with limited oven space.

ROASTED SWEET POTATOES & PEARS

1 pound sweet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 shallot, minced

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoons fresh minced sage

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place the potatoes,pears, and shallot in a large bowl.
  • Drizzle with the olive oil then add the sage, salt, and pepper.  Toss to coat.
  • Pour the mixture into a large rimmed baking sheet.
  • Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes stirring the mixture once or twice.  Roast until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

Serves 4

Brown Butter Sage Risotto

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion.  If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries and allow you to put a real meal on the table in less than half an hour.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

From basic to fancy, I love risotto.  I can eat it as a meal unto itself and often do.  This dish came together as a last-minute side to accompany grilled chicken after I had neglected to grocery shop all week.  Much to any worth while cook’s horror, I was out of my usual risotto starter of fresh onions. I did have a bag of fresh sage on hand so decided to use that as an aromatic for the rice.  Browned butter adds a nuttiness while addition of half wine into the broth provides flavor and depth to the dish without adding the additional sodium that accompanies most chicken broths.

Do not overcook the rice or it will be mushy.  I prefer my risotto to be on the looser side so usually use the full four cups of liquid when cooking.  You can use less depending upon your personal preference but remember that an additional small amount of liquid will be absorbed as the rice sits.

BROWN BUTTER SAGE RISOTTO

1/3 cup unsalted butter

6 fresh sage leaves

1 1/2 cup risotto rice

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 cups dry white wine

2 Tablespoons fresh sage leaves, minced

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

  • Melt the butter in a large-sized sauce pan over medium-high heat.  
  • When the butter has completely melted, add the whole sage leaves, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the leaves are fragrant and the butter has browned.  Watch carefully so the butter does not burn.
  • Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan bring the chicken broth and wine to a simmer.  Reduced the temperature to low to keep the broth mixture warm.
  • Remove the sage leaves from the butter and set aside on paper towels to drain.
  • Add the rice to the melted butter and stir to combine.  Continue cooking over medium heat.
  • Add the broth-wine mixture one ladle at a time.  Slowly stir the rice after each addition and keep stirring until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding more.
  • Continue adding the broth until the rice is cooked through but not mushy. The entire process should take approximately 20 minutes.
  • Off the heat; stir in the minced sage and Parmesan cheese.  
  • Garnish with the reserved crispy sage leaves if desired.
  • For best results, serve immediately.
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