Friday, November 17, 2017

With Thanksgiving coming in a week, it's time to start thinking about pumpkin pie.  And this being Tonia's Kitchen, you know we couldn't leave a tradition well enough alone.  Famed Food Network chef Bobby Flay stopped by to tell Tonia about his delicious take on the pie, specifically Pumpkin Pie with cinnamon crunch, with bourbon-added whipped cream and maple syrup.  It's enough to make me very hungry!

Bobby, who wrote Bobby Flay's Throwdown says he starts the pie with a crust made out of graham cracker crumbs, butter, cinnamon and eggs.  He then fills the pie with pumpkin puree, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, sugar, eggs and cream.  Chef Bobby bakes it slowly, then adds the crunch.  That's made out of flour, rolled oats, cinnamon sugar and butter.  That goes on top of the pie filling.  Then take whipped cream mixed with bourbon and maple syrup and top it all off!   The pie could make you scream Hey Bobby Flay!

Cinnamon Crunch
Bourbon-Maple Whipped Cream

Bourbon-Maple Whipped Cream

Combine the cream, vanilla seeds, maple syrup, and bourbon, to taste, in a large chilled bowl, and whip until soft peaks form.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Homemade, No-Can Green Bean Casserole!


It's probably everyone's favorite part of the Thanksgiving feast (except for the turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce of course!).  We're talking about the Green Bean Casserole.  Ellie Krieger with the Food Network says you can take it to the next level though , but not using anything canned.  Ellie came by Tonia's Kitchen to say you don't need anything canned!  She says use fresh mushrooms that have been sautéed, lowfat milk instead of cream to make it healthier and crispy shallots.  She says making it fresh will make your casserole taste so much better, you won't go back to the can.

1/4 cup olive oil

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
    Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking.
    Add 1/4 cup shallots and cook, stirring, until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes.
    Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
    Repeat with the remaining shallots, cooking 1/4 cup at a time.
    Reserve the oil in the skillet.

    Place the green beans in a steamer basket fitted over a pot of boiling water.
    Cover and steam until bright green and still crisp, about 3 minutes.
    Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved shallot oil in a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushroom liquid is evaporated and they begin to brown, about 12 minutes.
    Add the garlic and thyme and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
    Transfer the mushroom mixture to a bowl.
    Whisk together the milk and flour until the flour is dissolved.
    Add the mixture to the skillet and, whisking constantly, bring to a simmer.
    Reduce the heat to medium low, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
    Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the green beans, mushroom mixture, 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, the parsley, nutmeg, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
    Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
    Spoon the green bean mixture into the prepared dish and sprinkle the top with the crispy shallots and the remaining 2 tablespoons cheese.
    Bake until golden on top and bubbling, about 20 minutes.

    Wednesday, November 15, 2017

    A Spirited Pie

    And by spirited, we mean classic spirits like Vodka and Bourbon.  Both are represented in this pie that's perfect for Thanksgiving!  Senior Food Editor Amy Traverso stopped by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about her Bourbon Walnut Pecan Pie that has vodka in the crust!  Amy told Tonia when you make a
    pie crust, you typically use water.  Here use a half-water, half-bourbon mix to create a crust that's far more moist than anything you've tried.  Amy says not to worry about getting drunk off the pie, as most of it will burn off during the cooking (that's what pre-dinner cocktails are for, right?)

    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
    • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and chilled
    • 3 tablespoons ice water
    • 2 tablespoons vodka


    First, make the crust: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Sprinkle the butter over the flour mixture. Use a pastry cutter to break the butter into smaller pieces, then use your fingers to smear the butter into the flour. Stop when the mixture looks like cornmeal, with pea-size bits of butter remaining.

    Sprinkle the ice water and vodka over the mixture and stir with a fork until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter, knead once or twice to form a ball, then press the ball into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to two days.

    Preheat oven to 400° and set a rack to the lower position. Unwrap the dough and place it in the center of a large sheet of parchment paper. Cover with a second piece of parchment. Roll out, working from the center, to a 12-inch circle. Peel off the top sheet of parchment paper and transfer dough, peeled side down, into a 9-inch pie plate, pressing it into the sides. Peel off the remaining parchment and fold under and crimp the edges. Line dough with a piece of parchment paper or large coffee filter and fill with beans. Set the pie plate on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then take the crust from the oven, remove the beans and liner, and reduce oven temperature to 325°. Set crust aside.

    For the filling


    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
    • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
    • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 3 tablespoons bourbon
    • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
    • 1 cup chopped pecans
    • 1/2  cup chopped walnuts


    In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter, corn syrups, sugar, bourbon, and salt until smooth. Spread the nuts in an even layer in the bottom of the prepared crust, then pour the egg mixture over the top. Set the pie on the baking sheet and bake until set, 30 to 40 minutes.

    Tuesday, November 14, 2017

    A Sour Stuffing!

    And when I say sour, I'm actually talking about sourdough, as in the bread.  Amy Traverso, who's the Senior Food Editor at Yankee Magazine came by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about a recipe from Justin Walker for Sourdough Stuffing.  Amy told Tonia you don't have to make the bread, you can buy high quality sourdough loaves.  Combine that with Butternut Squash, sausage and other seasonal items to create a unique stuffing that might just replace traditional cornbread stuffing on your table!  Make it an adventurous Thanksgiving with this side.


    • 2 loaves (about 1 pound each) sourdough bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    • 3 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for baking dish
    • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from its casing
    • 2 medium leeks, white parts only, cleaned and thinly sliced crosswise
    • 2 stalks celery, diced
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
    • 1 1/2–2 cups turkey or chicken stock


    Preheat oven to 250° and set racks to the upper middle and lower middle positions. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with butter and set aside.

    Arrange bread cubes on the sheets and bake until lightly toasted but not completely dry, 45 to 60 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 375°.

    In a large bowl, toss squash with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread it out on the baking sheets and roast until just tender, about 30 minutes.

    Set a 3- or 4-quart pot over medium heat and melt the butter. Add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until no longer pink. Add the leeks, celery, and thyme and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

    Put the bread cubes into a large bowl and pour the sausage mixture and 1 1/2 cups stock over all. Add the squash. Gently toss the mixture together, making sure the cubes are all moistened. Taste and add stock, salt, and pepper as needed.

    Pour dressing into the prepared baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake on the lower middle rack (at 375°) for 15 minutes, then remove foil and bake until golden brown on top, 15 to 20 minutes  more. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

    Monday, November 13, 2017

    The Why on the Turkey Brine

    Almost time for Thanksgiving and one way to ensure that you have a perfect roasted turkey: brine it.  And don't way until Turkey Day to baste that bird!  Amy Traverso with Yankee Magazine stopped by Tonia's Kitchen to talk turkey.  Specifically how to cook one that could be the best you've ever had! Amy told Tonia the secret to a crispy delicious skin is in the brine. In fact, Amy says you might never go back to an unbrined bird. She says the ideal is to start two days before Thanksgiving, and leave the turkey in the fridge, uncovered.  One more tip, Amy says you can use bacon while the bird is cooking.   Place the bacon on top of the bird and it's fat will render itself on the turkey.  Simply but, that's terrific!

    Brined Bourbon–Pecan Turkey & Gravy

    Total Time: About 3.5 hours, plus at least 8 hours brining
    Hands On Time: 45 minutes
    Yield: About 12 servings turkey, with 5 cups gravy

    For the Brine:


        1 12- to 15-pound natural turkey (see “Note,” below)
        2 ½ gallons cold water
        2 ¼ cups kosher salt
        1 ¼ cups bourbon
        1 cup granulated sugar
        3 cloves garlic, crushed
        3 bay leaves


    Remove the giblets and neck from the bird, saving the neck if you plan to make stock (for a recipe, go to: Set aside.

    The evening before you roast the turkey, mix the water, salt, bourbon, sugar, garlic, and bay leaves in a lobster pot or other container large enough to accommodate the bird; stir until the salt and sugar have completely

    Place the whole turkey in the brine, breast side down, and move it around a bit to expel air from the cavity. Place the container in the refrigerator (if brining outside, remember to add ice and secure the lid). Let the turkey rest in the brine 12 hours.

    Remove the bird from the brine, and drain and pat dry. Let the turkey sit, uncovered, 30 minutes at room temperature before roasting. Discard the brine. Preheat your oven to 400° and set a rack to the lowest position.

    Additional Notes:
    This recipe works best with a natural, untreated turkey. If you’re using a kosher or pre-brined turkey, skip the brining step.

    For the Basting sauce:

        ½ cup salted butter
        ½ cup bourbon
        ¼ cup chopped pecans
        1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
        4 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock or turkey stock, divided


    In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Put bourbon and pecans in a blender; blend until smooth. Add to the saucepan, along with the maple syrup. Do not boil.

    Tie the turkey’s legs together with butcher’s twine. Place the turkey, breast side down, on a rack in a large roasting pan and brush the cavity with half of the Basting Sauce. Pour 2 cups of chicken or turkey stock into the bottom of the pan. Cover the turkey with tented aluminum foil; just pat it down over the meat (no need to seal).

    Transfer to the oven and reduce the heat to 325°. Roast 1½ hours; then remove the foil and flip the bird breast side up and baste. Return it to the oven and roast, uncovered, basting with Basting Sauce every 30 minutes or so—and adding stock to the pan as needed to keep the drippings from burning—until the skin is golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast to the bone registers 160°, another 1½ to 2 hours, depending on the size of your bird. Remove from the oven and transfer the bird to a carving board; tent it with foil. Reserve the drippings in the roasting pan. Let the turkey rest 20 minutes before carving.

    For the Gravy:


        Drippings from the roasting pan
        Remaining Basting Sauce
        ½ cup all-purpose flour
        4 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock or turkey stock
        Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
        1 tablespoon bourbon


    While the turkey is resting, make the gravy: Set the roasting pan with the drippings over two burners on your stove and set both to medium heat. Add the remaining Basting Sauce and whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking continuously to pick up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the stock and cook, stirring, until the gravy is thickened and smooth (if needed, run it through a strainer). Season with salt, pepper, and bourbon. Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy.

    Friday, November 10, 2017

    French Fried Potatoes...Without the Potatoes


    You won’t miss the potatoes with this next recipe!  Chef Jeffery Nathan stopped by Tonia’s Kitchen to talk about his take of Parsnip Fries.  Chef Jeffery toald Tonia they’re very easy to make, and they aren’t even fried!  He takes parsnips and cuts them a 1/4 –inch thick Julienne style, and coats them with extra-virgin olive oil.  He then roasts them in a 400-degree oven until some are golden brown, and others not.  He tells Tonia they make a great accompaniment to any dish, and they even taste good at room temperature stopped by Tonia’s Kitchen to talk about his take of Parsnip Fries.  Chef Jeffery told Tonia they’re very easy to make, and they aren’t even fried!  He takes parsnips and cuts them a 1/4 –inch thick Julienne style, and coats them with extra-virgin olive oil.  He then roasts them in a 400-degree oven until some are golden brown, and others not.  He tells Tonia they make a great accompaniment to any dish, and they even taste good at room temperature

    Thursday, November 9, 2017

    An Asian Twist on a Fall Classic


    Nothing like warm soup on a cold day. Tonia's Kitchen recently talked with someone from Moosewood Favorites about their Thai Butternut Squash soup. The author of Moosewood Restaurant Favorites told Tonia one of the more visually attractive things about this soup is it's vibrant orange color, that's flecked with green. The recipe includes a number of flavors, including garlic, curry, ginger and of course, fresh squash.  It's a delicious, seasonal soup that will help keep both you and your tastebuds warm!

    Thai Butternut Squash Soup   

    Yields 9 cups
    Time: 55 minutes
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    2 cups chopped onions
    2 garlic cloves, chopped
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
    1 teaspoon Thai curry paste, or more later to taste
    1 butternut squash (about 212 pounds), peeled, seeded, and chopped (6 cups)
    3 cups water
    1 lime
    one 14- ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
    2 cups baby spinach, cut into chiffonade (see page 374)
    sugar as needed
    14 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

    Warm the oil in a covered soup pot on medium- low heat. Add the onions, garlic, and salt and cook until the onions have softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the ginger and curry paste and cook for a minute or two more. Add the squash and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the squash is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

    While the squash is cooking, zest and juice the lime. Add about a teaspoon of zest and 1 tablespoon of the juice to the pot. When the squash is tender, stir in half of the coconut milk. In a blender or food processor, purée the soup. Be careful, hot soup can erupt!
    Return the puréed soup to the pot and reheat.

    Taste for sweetness, spice, salt, and tang. Depending on the sweetness of your squash, a spoonful of sugar may bring the soup to life. Add more lime juice and/or curry paste to taste. Stir in the chiffonade of spinach and the cilantro, if using, and cook just until the spinach has wilted.

    Add 1 or 2 keiffir lime leaves to the pot while the squash is simmering. Remove and discard before puréeing.
    Substitute lemon zest and juice for the lime.
    Although butternut is the easiest winter squash to peel, other winter squashes can be used. Or, to save time, substitute three 12- ounce packages of frozen winter squash for the fresh, or use the precut fresh squash cubes that many supermarkets offer.

    Replace the squash with sweet potatoes.