Creamy Tomato Soup with Mini Grilled Cheese “Bone” Sandwiches

Creamy Tomato Soup with Mini Grilled Cheese “Bone” Sandwiches

Our “not so scary Blood and Bones” themed Halloween dinner has a delicious bowl of homemade tomato soup served with mini grilled tomato “bone” sandwiches. Quick and easy to make, it’s the perfect festive dinner before heading out to your Halloween celebrations.

Tomato Soup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 carrot, grated
1 large clove garlic, chopped fine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup white wine, we prefer Pinot Grigio
3 cups no salt chicken stock
28-oz. can purée San Marzano tomatoes
1 4-inch fresh rosemary stem
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of cream

Grilled Cheese “Bones”
8 large pieces of country white bread
8 sandwich slices of cheese, fontina, mozzarella, cheddar or your favorite melting cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Bone shaped cookie cutter

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and butter over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic, occasionally stirring, until the vegetables are softened but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat the vegetables and garlic. Add the wine and cook until the wine is almost completely evaporated. Add the stock, tomatoes, rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a strong simmer, stirring, so the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.

While the soup cooks, make the grilled cheese “bones.” Cut 16 bone shapes out of the bread. Cut 8 bone shapes out of the cheese. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Thinly spread the butter over one side of each 16 bone shaped bread. Place 8 in the sauté pan and top with one piece of cheese. Place the other bone shaped piece on top of the cheese, butter side up, as the cheese begins to melt. When browned, turn over and cook the other side until also browned. Remove from the sauté pan and keep warm while you finish the soup.

To finish the soup, discard the rosemary stem and add 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup or use a blender or food processor and puree in two or three batches. Return the soup to the pot, whisk in 1 cup of cream and reheat to warm. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add to 4 warmed bowls. Add two “bones” per bowl of soup.

Make 4 servings.

Bourbon Halloween Candy Bark

Bourbon Halloween Candy Bark

Halloween isn’t just for kids! So we decided to put together a unique bourbon candy bark made only for adults. Perfect for your grown-up party, this sticky, gooey treat is made with popcorn and dark chocolate bark drizzled with bourbon caramel and topped with mixed nuts, white chocolate and topped with festive harvest blend M&M candies.

8 ounces high-quality dark chocolate, chopped
3-4 cups of pre-popped salted popcorn
¼ cup homemade caramel sauce or quality jarred caramel sauce such as Williams-Sonoma, Trader Joes, or Fresh Market
1 tablespoon bourbon, preferably Maker’s Mark
½ cup salted mixed nuts, such as almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, peanuts
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup Harvest Blend M&M’s

Line a sheet tray with parchment paper or a Silicone baking mat. In a metal bowl set over simmering water, (water should not touch the bowl) add the chopped chocolate and stir to melt completely. Spread very thinly over the parchment or mat, and immediately press the popcorn into the chocolate. Refrigerate 15 minutes to set the chocolate bark.

Add the caramel to a saucepan and heat until warm and smooth. Stir in the bourbon and remove from the heat; cool slightly. Drizzle the caramel over the popcorn, immediately top with the nuts over the caramel. Refrigerate 15 minutes to set the caramel.

Set another metal bowl over the simmering water, add the chopped white chocolate and stir to melt completely. Remove from the heat and add to a plastic bag. Cut off a small corner and pipe the white chocolate over the nuts, immediately top with the M&M’s. Refrigerate 1 hour to set then break into large pieces and serve immediately.

Halloween Chicken Pot Pies

Halloween Chicken Pot Pies

Our pot pies have a thick and rich filling – full of chicken, carrots, celery, onions, and seasoned with tarragon and parsley. To top it off in festive style, we used a buttery and crunchy puff pastry pumpkin face.

1 box puff pastry (Dufour or Pepperidge Farm)
2 cups of boxed unsalted chicken stock
½ cup carrots, peeled and diced
½ cup celery, diced
2 cups diced onion
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
2 tablespoons of white wine
2 cups of cooked, cubed chicken breasts
¾ cup of frozen peas
1 ½ tablespoons of fresh tarragon leaves
1 tablespoons of finely chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of freshly ground pepper

To make the pumpkin tops: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the puff pastry out on a floured cutting board. Using a 5″ pumpkin cookie cutter, cut out 4 pumpkins. Lay on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cut out eyes and a mouth. Place in the oven and bake 20-22 minutes until puffed and browned all over. Leave on the sheet pan and set aside to cool slightly while you make the filling.

To make the chicken filling: Heat the stock in a saucepan over medium heat with the carrots, celery, and onions. When simmering, cover and lower the heat, cook for 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender; then keep warm.

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook the flour, constantly stirring until the mixture smells nutty about 2-3 minutes. Whisk in half the stock and vegetables until smooth. Whisk in the balance of the stock until you have a smooth, thick mixture. Add the wine, garlic, chicken, peas, parsley, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Stir in well and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as desired. Transfer the mixture to four 5″x 1-¾ ” individual baking dishes, place on a foil-lined sheet tray and bake in the oven for twenty minutes.

Remove and rest 5 minutes then top each with a puff pastry pumpkin and serve.


Upside Down Gingerbread Cake With Apples & Caramel

Upside Down Gingerbread Cake With Apples & Caramel

The smell and taste of fall – all in a gingerbread cake topped with fresh apples and caramel. This fantastic upside-down cake makes a great addition to any seasonal table with its tasty gingerbread baked over cinnamon caramel sauce and sweet sautéed apples. Removing the cake from the pan, when turned, allows the apple caramel to coat the sides. Delicious served with a dollop of cinnamon whipped cream.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
1 cup jarred caramel sauce, high quality such as Williams Sonoma, Trader Joes, Fresh Market or homemade
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 large, firm cooking apples, such as Honeycrisp, Fuji, or Granny Smith cored, peeled, quartered
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
⅔ cup dark muscovado or dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
⅓ cup molasses
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup buttermilk

Sweeten whipped cream or cinnamon whipped cream for serving

Make the apple topping
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9″ round springform pan lined with parchment in the bottom; butter the parchment.

In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the caramel sauce. When softened, whisk in the cinnamon and keep warm. Slice each apple quarter into three thin slices. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice and zest.

Place a 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat and add the butter. Cook until the butter has a nutty fragrance, about 4 minutes. Then add the apples and toss gently until well coated. Cook, uncovered, stirring gently until some of the apples begin to brown, and all the liquid has evaporated. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Pour the warm cinnamon caramel sauce into the cake pan over the buttered parchment. Starting in the center of the pan, arrange the cooled apple slices on the caramel. Overlap them slightly and keep them close together in tightly packed circles. Set aside.

Make the Cake
Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until well incorporated. Beat in the molasses. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Starting and ending the dry mixture, add ⅓ of the dry ingredients to the butter, sugar and egg mixture. Add ½ the buttermilk, then add the flour in two more batches alternating with the second half of the buttermilk. Mix until the batter is smooth. Carefully pour over the apples. Place the cake on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake until center is firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 40–45 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool in pan 15 minutes. Run a paring knife around the sides of cake to loosen, remove the springform sides of the pan. Using another rack, invert cake onto rack. Carefully remove the pan bottom and slowly peel away parchment working cautiously. If some apples stick to the parchment, just peel off and place back on the cake. Cool completely, cut into wedges and serve with sweetened whipped cream.

You can store covered and at room temperature for one day. Makes 8-10 servings.

Pan Seared Pork Chops with Purple Cauliflower Mash and Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Pan Seared Pork Chops with Purple Cauliflower Mash and Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes

We contrasted our brilliant purple cauliflower mash with bright orange roasted sweet potatoes, coated with buttery maple and pecan syrup. We topped it off with a “seared to perfection” extra thick cut pork chop. Fall never looked or tasted so good. Ask your butcher to remove the meat from the bone and “French” the pork chops for you. Purple cauliflower is in season; you can find it at Whole Foods.

To make the Pork Chops
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, or toasted and ground cumin
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 extra thick bone-in pork chops, about 1 pound per chop
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Heat oven to 400 degrees. If using cumin seeds, in a small skillet over medium heat, toast the cumin seeds. Add to a spice grinder with ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper and grind to a fine powder. If using ground, toasted cumin, combine in a bowl with ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper. With paper towels, dry off the pork chops on all sides; rub with the dry seasoning mixture. Heat a 10” cast iron pan to medium-high; add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the pork chops. Sear until each side is golden, spooning the oil over chops and bone. Sear all sides about 4 minutes total. Place in oven and roast until 135 degrees about 6 minutes. Plate and sprinkle with fresh thyme. Serves 4, ½ pork chop per serving.

To make Purple Cauliflower Mash

1 head purple cauliflower, 2 to 2 1/2 pounds
½ cup cream
2 sprigs thyme, tied together with butcher’s twine.
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Break or cut the cauliflower into small, regular size florets (about 1 1/2 inch). Cut off the stems, using only the purple tops, and add them to a steamer insert. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in the steamer pot, add the insert, cover, and steam for about 15 minutes, or until a small knife passes easily through the thickest part of cauliflower. While the cauliflower steams, in a small saucepan heat the cream and thyme to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes then remove the thyme bundle and discard. Add about 50% of the cauliflower into a food processor. Add 1/4 cup of the warm cream, and purée until smooth. Add the rest of the cauliflower, 1 tablespoon of cream, and purée again. If the mash is still too thick (it should have the consistency of mashed potatoes) add 1 tablespoon of cream at a time and pulse until you achieve the correct consistency. Scrape down the sides of the food processor, add the salt, pepper, and puree briefly to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust with more salt and pepper, if needed, and serve warm. Serves 4.
To make the Maple Sweet Potatoes
3 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into ½” dice
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons toasted pecan pieces

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 8-9 minutes until slightly darkened and nutty smelling. Remove from oven and set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Place cut sweet potatoes in a bowl, drizzle with the oil. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and toss to coat. Place on a baking sheet and roast, turning halfway through, until golden and tender when pierced with a knife, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the maple syrup, cayenne, and pecan pieces; simmer for 2 minutes. Add the hot potatoes into a serving bowl and pour the butter maple nut mixture over; serve warm. Makes 4 servings.