Grilled Apricots (or Plums, Peaches, or Pears) with Burrata, Country Ham, and Arugula

1 1/4 pounds apricots, halved and pitted
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced
5 ounces baby arugula
1/2 pound burrata cheese, shredded
4 ounces shaved country ham 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the apricots with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, cut sides down, just until lightly charred, 5 minutes. Let cool.

In a bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the 1/4 cup of oil and season with salt and pepper. Gently toss in the apricots, radicchio and arugula. Transfer to a platter and top with the burrata, ham and vinegar. Serve.

Pizza with Soppressata and Sweet Potato

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
1 oregano sprig, plus 1 tablespoon leaves
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup prepared mashed sweet potatoes
One 12-inch prebaked pizza crust
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella (7 ounces)
4 ounces thinly sliced soppressata, cut into thin ribbons

Preheat the oven to 450°. Set a pizza stone on the bottom of the oven (alternatively, the pizza can be baked directly on the oven rack).

In a large skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the onion and oregano sprig, cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add 2 tablespoons of water to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until the onion is caramelized, about 10 minutes; add a few tablespoons of water to the skillet if necessary.

Add the balsamic vinegar and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until it has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Discard the oregano sprig and season the onion with salt and pepper.

Spread the sweet potatoes over the pizza crust. Top with the mozzarella, onion and soppressata.

Scatter the oregano leaves on top. Slide the pizza onto the stone and bake for about 10 minutes, until bubbling and golden in spots. Cut into wedges and serve.

Persimmon and Burrata Salad with Sesame Brittle

For sesame brittle:
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
Salt

For salad:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons minced shallot
Pepper
5 ounces baby arugula
1/2 pound burrata cheese (2 small balls), drained and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 firm Fuyu persimmons, cut into 3/4-inch wedges
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

In a medium saucepan, cook the sugar over moderate heat, undisturbed, until melted and light golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in the sesame seeds and a pinch of salt and immediately scrape onto a parchment paper–lined plate. Let cool completely, then break the candy into small pieces.

In a medium bowl, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar, maple syrup and shallot; season with salt and pepper. Mound the arugula on a platter and scatter the burrata, persimmons, sesame candy and pomegranate seeds on top. Drizzle some of the dressing over the salad and serve, passing the remaining dressing at the table.

Sweet and Sour Beets

2 – 3 large beets, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cloves minced garlic
3 tbs Smoked Maple Syrup plus more to drizzle
2 tbs cider vinegar
1 whole star anise
Salt and pepper
1 tb butter
2 tbs chopped chives

Put the peeled, sliced beets in a wide, shallow pan and add the orange juice, garlic, maple syrup, vinegar, star anise and sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Turn on high to bring to a boil then lower to simmer and cover. Let the beets braise for 10 minutes or until tender, turning every so often to coat with the liquid.

When they are done, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a serving plate. Add a pat of butter to the remaining sauce, simmer until thickened and season to taste. Pour the sauce over the beets, sprinkle with the chives and then drizzle with a little extra Smoked maple if desired.

Pork Chops with Caramelized Onions & Smoked Maple

Vegetable oil
2 large onions, any color, peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 – 2 Tbsp Runamok Smoked Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 bone-in pork chops
Salt and pepper

In a large pan, heat several tablespoons of oil on medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions and stir to coat them in the oil. Sauté for a few minutes and then reduce the heat to low. Let the onions brown without disturbing them, only giving them a stir to prevent burning every ten minutes or so. Keep an eye on moisture and if the pan looks too dry, add extra oil. To properly brown onions can take up to half an hour so be patient and wait until they have developed that deep brown color. They will have reduced in size considerably.

When they are just about done, add the balsamic vinegar and smoked maple syrup to taste. Season with salt and pepper.

For the pork chops, preheat a grill or broiler. Generously salt and pepper the chops. Coat with a little vegetable oil and place on the grill or under the broiler.

Broil or grill for approximately five minutes a side on high heat (more for thick chops, less for thin). When fully cooked through, remove from the heat, place on a plate and top with the caramelized onions and a sprinkling of parsley.

Beet, Arugula, Citrus, and Feta Salad with Ginger-Maple Vinaigrette

2 – 3 beets
Bunch of arugula
1 navel orange, peeled and sectioned
2 oz feta cheese

Vinaigrette
1 Tbsp Runamok Ginger Infused Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp walnut oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Salt and fresh ground pepper

Prepare the beets by scrubbing off any dirt and trimming the tops and bottoms but leaving the rest of the skin on. Put them in boiling water for about ten minutes or until fork tender then remove from the water to cool. The skins should come off very easily at this point and once they are peeled, dice them into chunks and set aside.

Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking all of the ingredients together and tasting for salt and pepper.

Toss the arugula and beets in some vinaigrette and arrange on a plate. Top with bite-sized pieces of orange and a sprinkling of crumbled feta.

Fried Brussels Sprouts with Maple-Cider Glaze

3/4 cup Run Amok Sugarmaker’s Cut pure maple syrup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup fresh apple cider
pinch kosher salt
1 lb Brussels’ Sprouts
Vegetable oil for frying

Combine maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, apple cider and salt in a medium sized pot. Reduce by 1/4 over medium heat stirring constantly. Set aside.

De-stem Brussels and cut in half, pulling off any outer leaves that are loose. Fry in 350 degree oil for 1 minute or until brown. If you don’t have a fryer, take the raw cleaned Brussels and toss with oil and salt. Roast in a 375 degree for 20 minutes. Brussels should be tender but still have a bite to them.

Season Brussels immediately with a pinch of salt and toss with one tablespoon of reduction for every cup of Brussels.

Grilled Ham and Cheese with Apple

8 slices of pumpernickel bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup mango chutney
1/2 Granny Smith apple—peeled, cored and coarsely shredded
8 ounces thinly sliced sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces thinly sliced Virginia ham

Spread the bread with the butter and arrange, buttered side down, on a work surface. Spread each slice with the mango chutney. Top half of the slices with the apple, cheddar and ham and close the sandwiches.

Preheat a skillet or panini press. Grill the sandwiches over low heat until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. If using a skillet, press the sandwiches with a spatula and flip them halfway through. Cut in half and serve right away.

Tandoori/Tikka Gobi (Cauliflower Bites)

For the tandoori/tikka gobi,

Cauliflower – 1 large head, washed and cut into medium-sized florets
Yogurt – 1 1/2 cups (must be thick yogurt)
Ginger-garlic paste – 2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder – 1 tsp (reduce for a less spicy version)
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
Amchoor or dry mango powder – 1/4 tsp (simply omit if you don’t have any)
Chickpea flour or besan – 2 tbsp
Lime – 1 small one, juiced
Cilantro leaves – a large handful, chopped
Salt – to taste
Oil – to brush while baking
For the spicy yogurt dip,

Leftover marinade from above – 1 cup
Water and salt – as needed
How to:

Tandoori/Tikka Cauliflower: In a large saucepan, bring some water to a boil. Season with a touch of salt, add cauliflower and cook on low heat for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and allow the cauliflower to remain submerged in the hot water for 8-10 minutes or till they are just tender. Drain completely and set aside.

Meanwhile, lightly roast the chickpea flour in a hot skillet for 2-3 minutes, stirring all the while.

Take all the marinade ingredients in a large mixing bowl (listed from yogurt to salt in the list above). Whisk well, ensuring there are no lumps. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add cauliflower to it and mix well to coat them thoroughly. Let it rest for at least half an hour. You may want to refrigerate it for any duration longer than that.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 deg.F and place a grilling rack over a rimmed baking tray. Arrange the cauliflower florets on it, shaking off excess marinade, and brush lightly with oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes or till cooked thoroughly.. You can also broil them at 450 deg.F for the last 1-2 minutes of baking for lightly charred edges.

Remove from oven and serve warm with lime wedges and your favorite dip.

Spicy yogurt dip: You will have at least a cup of leftover marinade from above. Cook this in a skillet over medium heat, till the raw smell goes away and it turns thick with a deep red-brown color. Add some water to it, whisk well and bring it to a boil. Simmer till it reaches a dip-like consistency. Check seasoning, you may want to add a pinch of salt or dash of lime juice to balance the flavors.

Cool this completely and serve with the tandoori or tikka cauliflower. This can be done on the stove-top while the cauliflower florets are baking and it cools down by the time it is ready to be served.

Pumpkin Raita

2 cups grated pumpkin
1 thai green chili pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 red onion, minced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
3 cups plain non-fat greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2-3 curry leaves, dried or fresh

Place the grated pumpkin in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with a lid and microwave for 3-4 minutes until the pumpkin is completely tender. Keep aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl add the pumpkin, chili pepper, onion, cilantro, mint, yogurt, salt, and pepper. Whisk the ingredients with a fork and taste to make sure the amount of salt and pepper is enough. Transfer the mixture to a clean serving dish. Cover and refrigerate the raita for 1-2 hours until chilled.

Before serving, heat the oil in a saucepan on a medium high flame till it gets slightly smoky. Immediately reduce the flame to low and carefully add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. The seeds will begin to spurt and the leaves will brown in the hot oil. Cook till the seeds stop spurting and pour the entire contents while hot on top of the chilled raita. Serve immediately.

Cauliflower Stir Fry

1 small head Cauliflower, or 1/2 large head
2-3 Tbsp peanut oil
2 slices of ginger
1/4 Tsp sea salt
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup of spring onion, cut to rounds
1 Tbsp of sesame oil

You can see from the ingredient list that it is quite specific. This very simple dish has few factors, therefore the taste quality of each factor becomes important.

Wash and cut cauliflower into florets. Shake as much water as you can from the cauliflower.

Heat wok at medium high until it starts smoking, add oil and swirl to coat wok. Right away add ginger slices and stir briefly to infuse ginger essence into oil.

Add cauliflower (Careful here!: There will be a loud hissing and spitting of oil as any water left on the cauliflower hits the hot oil. Just tip the bowl containing cauliflower into the wok facing away from you and watch out for that spitting oil) and stir to coat all the cauliflower florets with oil.

Add salt. Keep stirring until the florets start to show some brown spots (about 2 minutes), turn down the heat to medium low, add the chicken stock and cover, stirring occassionally.

Let simmer for 2-3 minutes or until only a 1/4 cup of stock is left in wok (this will be the sauce). The cauliflower should be soft, not crisp.

Add spring onions, give everything a toss and turn off the heat. Add sesame oil, mix and serve.

Spinach Salad with Beets and Balsamic Vinaigrette

For the Salad
Optional: pecan halves (or walnuts, toasted)
2 to 3 slices bacon (diced, or about 3 ounces of diced pancetta)
1 pound beets (trimmed, cooked, peeled, and diced)
4 cups spinach
1/4 cup red onion (thinly sliced)
Optional: shredded cheese (or crumbled goat cheese or feta)
For the Dressing
1 clove garlic (crushed and minced)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (or a similar gourmet mustard)
4 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil

Arrange the pecans or walnuts in a dry skillet and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly until the nuts are lightly browned and aromatic.

In a skillet over medium heat, fry the diced bacon until crisp or fry the pancetta until browned.

Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Dice the bacon and set aside.

Arrange spinach leaves on 4 salad plates. Top with diced beets, diced bacon or pancetta, red onion, and pecans or walnuts. If desired, top with cheese.

In a skillet over medium heat, fry the diced bacon until crisp or fry the pancetta until browned.

Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Dice the bacon and set aside.

Arrange spinach leaves on 4 salad plates. Top with diced beets, diced bacon or pancetta, red onion, and pecans or walnuts. If desired, top with cheese.

In a bowl or blender, combine the garlic, salt, pepper, mustard, honey, and balsamic vinegar. Whisk or blend in the olive oil in a steady stream.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad or serve on the side.

Tips
Boiled Beets: To boil beets, first start by washing and trimming the beets, leaving about 2 inches of the stem and root ends. Place the beets in a large saucepan and cover with salted water (about 1 teaspoon of salt per quart). Add a few teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice to the water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook for about 40 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the beets.

Roasted Beets: To roast beets, first wash the beets and trim, leaving an inch or two on the stem and root ends. Rub the beets with a little vegetable oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper; wrap in foil and bake at 375 F for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until tender. The time varies depending on the size of the beets. You can also roast the beets in the slow cooker.

Spinach Salad with Apple Vinaigrette

1 bag/10-12 ounces fresh spinach
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons grated sweet onion (or purple onion)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup apple (finely chopped)
Optional Garnish: crumbled cooked bacon and walnut or pecan halves

Gather the ingredients.

Wash spinach and let dry.

In a bowl whisk together the sugar, vinegar, grated onion, mustard, salt, and vegetable oil. Add the apple.

Refrigerate spinach and dressing separately until serving time.

Pour dressing over spinach just before serving and toss. If desired, sprinkle with crumbled bacon and nuts.

Hot Spinach Salad with Apple

6 bacon strips, diced
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar

9 cups fresh baby spinach
2 unpeeled large red apples, thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)

In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove to paper towels. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings.

In same skillet, combine vinegar, brown sugar and reserved drippings. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in a serving bowl, combine spinach, apples, onion and bacon. Drizzle with warm dressing; toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Spinach Salad with Apples, Pears, and Nuts

8-10 cups baby spinach (or other greens)
1 apple cored and finely chopped
1 pear cored and finely chopped (instead of 1 apple and 1 pear you could 2 apples or 2 pears)
1/2 cup candied pecans (or walnuts, or other nuts)
1/4 lb crumbled feta (or goat cheese, or blue cheese)

Salad dressing:
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a salad bowl, combine greens, fruit, nuts, and cheese.
In a separate bowl (or blender) combine all the salad dressing ingredients (olive oil, vinegar, honey, dry mustard, garlic and salt) and whisk to combine.

Pour dressing over salad and serve.

Apple Pandowdy

1 roll puff pastry thawed

Filling:
5-6 large apples cooking/pie apples, peeled and cored
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp water
6 Tbsp white sugar
6 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Topping:
2 Tbsp white or turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 425F.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature to low to keep warm.

Grease an 8-inch round skillet, pan, pie plate (or equivalent sized) pan. Set on a baking sheet and set aside.

Peel and core apples, then thinly slice. Add to prepared baking pan, filling the pan about 2/3-3/4 full.

Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut thawed puff pastry into irregular, 1-inch-ish shapes. Scatter about 1/3 of the pastry pieces randomly over top of apples. Slowly pour the sugar mixture over-top, pouring all around the pan to make sure the filling reaches all parts of the pan. Pour slowly so it drips down into the apples and not over the side.

Place the remaining pastry pieces on top, overlapping, as necessary and leaving a few small open spots (to allow steam to escape). Sprinkle a bit of sugar on to the top of pastry.

Place into preheated oven (on baking sheet to catch overflowing juices!) and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350F and continue baking for an addition 35-40 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and pastry is golden brown and puffy. Let stand a few minutes before serving.

Lovely served with a dusting of icing sugar and a scoop of ice cream.

Maple-Cider Vinegar Roasted Carrots

2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound medium carrots with green tops, scrubbed well, 2 tablespoons of the greens chopped and reserved for garnish
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 cup chopped roasted cashews

Preheat the oven to 375°.

In a large heatproof skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil over moderately high heat. Add the carrots, salt and pepper and cook until browned all over, turning occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat and add the vinegar and maple syrup. Shake the skillet to coat the carrots.

Transfer to the oven and roast for 6 to 8 minutes, until ?the carrots are just tender but still crisp in the center.

Transfer to a platter, top with the cashews and carrot greens and serve.

Roasted Kabocha with Maple Syrup and Ginger

3 pounds kabocha squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
6 thyme sprigs, plus thyme leaves for garnish
Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 450°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash wedges with the maple syrup, olive oil, ginger, thyme sprigs and salt. Arrange the squash in a single layer and roast for 15 minutes. Flip and roast for 15 minutes longer, until golden and tender. Discard the thyme sprigs. Transfer the squash to a serving platter and garnish with thyme leaves.

The squash can be made up to 6 hours ahead.

Maple Baked Sweet Potatoes

4 medium sweet potatoes (3 pounds), peeled and sliced 1-1/2 inch thick
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup water

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large saucepan, cover the sweet potato slices with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well.

Arrange the sweet potatoes in a large gratin dish. Season with the salt and pepper, then dot with the butter pieces. Drizzle the maple syrup over the sweet potatoes, sprinkle with the water and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the sweet potatoes over and bake for about 25 minutes longer, until they’re tender and lightly browned. If necessary, broil the sweet potatoes for a minute or two before serving.

Roasted Cauliflower, Paneer, and Lentil Salad

For the salad:
1/2 cup green lentils
1/2 cup black lentils
1 small head cauliflower (about 1 pound)
1 10-ounce block paneer, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups total)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced

For the cilantro-oil dressing:
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup tightly packed, fresh cilantro leaves
1 Serrano chile, seeded, if desired
Juice of 1 lime, about 1/4 cup
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Rinse the lentils in a fine-mesh strainer under cold running water and pick out any stones or imperfect beans. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover by about 1 inch. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, turn the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until tender but not mushy, 25 to 60 minutes. The cooking time will vary depending on how old the lentils are, so check them every 5 minutes after the first half hour. When they have reached desired doneness, drain through a fine-mesh strainer and set on a clean kitchen towel to absorb any remaining liquid.

While the lentils are cooking, roast the cauliflower and paneer: Cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets and transfer to a roasting or sheet pan. Add the paneer. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the olive oil, mixing to coat evenly. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the florets and paneer are crispy on the outside and feel tender when pierced with a skewer or knife, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the dressing: Combine all the ingredients in a blender and pulse at medium-high speed until smooth and paste-like.

When the cauliflower and paneer are done, transfer to a large bowl and gently stir in the drained lentils and scallions. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Drizzle with 1/2 to 1/3 cup of the dressing, to taste, and serve warm or at room temperature. (Store the leftover salad and dressing in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to four days. Shake the dressing before using.)