Hasselback Butternut Squash with Birch Syrup, Sage, & Pecans

Hasselback Butternut Squash with Birch Syrup, Sage, & Pecans

Always a holiday favorite, Butternut Squash get a new look when being served “hasselback” style. A Swedish technique using thin slices, the squash is baked with birch syrup, butter, and garlic creating a tasty dish that’s as delicious as it is pretty. The finished squash is then topped with parsley, chopped pecans, and freshly ground pink peppercorns.


Birch syrup comes from White Birch Trees and has a delicious earthy flavor. It can be ordered online or substituted with maple syrup.


Olive oil for the pan
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, finely grated
3 tablespoons birch syrup, or substitute preferably grade B maple syrup
Kosher salt
1 butternut squash
2 tablespoons fresh chopped Parsley
¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
Freshly ground pink peppercorns 


Heat oven to 425°F . Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly brush the paper lightly with olive oil.


Melt the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat until it starts to turn golden. Add chopped sage and, allow the sage to “fry” slightly in the hot butter. Remove from the heat and whisk in the grated garlic, birch syrup, and a ¼ teaspoon kosher salt.


Meanwhile, peel butternut squash and halved it lengthwise; scoop out and discard the seeds. Place the squash flat side down. Place a wooden chopstick or thin handled wooden spoon, one on each side, of the squash half. Carefully cut slits ¼ inch apart down the rounded side of squash, using the chopsticks or wooden spoon as a guide so you avoid cutting all the way through squash. Place the 8 small bay leaves in some of the slits.


Season squash the with ½ teaspoon salt and place in the oven. After 20 minutes, remove and lightly brush with the butter/syrup mixture. Continue cooking, brushing with the butter/syrup mixture every 10 minutes, until the squash is tender about 20-30 minutes longer.


When the squash is tender, remove from the oven and carefully move to a serving platter. Arrange tightly together. Pour over the remaining butter mixture and top with fresh chopped parsley, chopped pecans and fresh ground pink peppercorns.

Mushroom & Sausage Skull Calzones

Mushroom & Sausage Skull Calzones

Perfect for a Halloween dinner – not-so-scary meat, veggies, and cheese stuffed inside skull calzones floating in a pool of delicious marinara tomato sauce. These sausage, mushrooms, onion, red pepper, mozzarella, and ricotta Halloween twisted calzones will make a delicious and fun start to your evening festivities.

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the pan
One pound pizza dough, home-made or high-quality store purchased
4 spicy Italian sausages, pork or chicken, casings removed
½  large red bell pepper
1 cup of onion, sliced thin
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cups coarsely grated mozzarella cheese
8 ounces ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons parmesan
Special Equipment – Nordic Ware Halloween Mini Skull Cakelet Pan

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Lightly brush the skull pan with olive oil. Cut the pizza dough into 6 equal pieces. Stretch or roll into 4”x 8” pieces. In a sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the sausage. Cook until slightly brown then add the bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms and cook 10 minutes longer or until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and add the mozzarella, ricotta cheese, and parmesan. Working one at a time, lay dough into a skull cavity. Add one sixth of the mixture. Gently stretch and fold the dough over the fillings and pinch together to seal. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Place in the oven and bake 30- 35 minutes. Rest for 5-10 minutes, remove from molds and place in a shallow bowl of the marinara sauce.

Quick Marinara
16 ounce can chopped Italian tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Combine tomato sauce, olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper in a blender and process to a slightly chunky consistency. Transfer the sauce to a saucepan and heat on the stovetop or in a bowl and microwave until warm. Pour a small amount to just cover the bottom of warmed serving bowls and serve with a skull placed in the center of each bowl.

Maple, Cider & Thyme Glazed Roast Chicken with Chicken Sausage, Potato, Petit Poivrons and Apple Sauté

Maple, Cider & Thyme Glazed Roast Chicken with Chicken Sausage, Potato, Petit Poivrons and Apple Sauté

It’s our Lexington William Sonoma Fall Recipe.  Maple and cider-glazed chicken over chicken sausage, potatoes, peppers, and apples that’s tossed in a sauté with boiled cider and mustard. It’s a delicious addition to your fall menu.

Maple, Cider & Thyme Glazed Roast Chicken
One 3-to 4-lb. whole chicken, cut into 6 pieces – breasts, legs & wings
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
½  cup grade B pure maple syrup
½  cup boiled cider
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
½  teaspoon ground cinnamon
teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Dry the chicken skin. Salt the chicken and season with pepper. Place the chicken in roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375˚F and roast 30 minutes longer until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165˚F. 


While the chicken roasts. in a small sauce pan combine the thyme, maple syrup, cider, sage, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes. Simmer over medium heat until the mixtures reduces in half and become a thick glaze. Remove from the heat but keep warm.


Remove the chicken to a platter and baste with half the maple cider sauce. Let it rest for 15 minutes then baste with the remaining sauce and serve over the sauté.


Chicken Sausage and Potato, Petit Poivrons and Apple Sauté
1-1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
½  large yellow onion, cut into medium dice
6 ounces chicken with sage breakfast sausage, finely chopped
1 large apple
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup boiled cider
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup jarred Petit Poivrons (Sweety Drop Peppers) drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Heat an immersion circulator to 190˚ F. Vacuum seal the potatoes with 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 teaspoon salt. Place in the water bath and cook for 1 hour.


Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch sauté pan. When the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic, and sausage and cook, stirring and breaking up the sausage with the side of a wooden spoon, until the sausage is golden brown and broken into small pieces, 8 to 10  minutes. Scrape the cooked sausage and onions into a medium bowl. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the Sous Vide potatoes, the liquid in the sous vide bag and apple to the skillet; cook, stirring frequently, until the potatoes and apple are golden brown and the apple is tender. In a small bowl, whisk together the boiled cider, mustard, and thyme. Return the sausage and onions to the skillet and stir in the cider mixture. Add the Petit Poivrons, cook, stirring gently, until the hash has browned nicely, about another 2-3 minutes. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh parsley and serve hot under the chicken.

Grilled Halloumi Cheese Skewers with Cherry Tomatoes and Za’atar Spice

Grilled Halloumi Cheese Skewers with Cherry Tomatoes and Za’atar Spice

Nothing beats a grilled cheese sandwich except this skewered, deconstructed sandwich, cooked on a bbq grill. Tossed in olive oil and Za’atar spices, it’s a grilled baguette, halloumi cheese, and cherry tomato delight finished with a sprinkle of olive oil, more Za’atar, and fresh basil leaves. Great as an appetizer for six or dinner for three.

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 tablespoon Za’atar spice plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
18 cherry tomatoes
12 two-inch cubes of baguette
8 ounces of Halloumi Cheese, cut into 12 cubes
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, small leaves or larger torn into smaller pieces

6 metal skewers

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high. Add the olive oil, 1 tablespoon of Za’atar spice, garlic powder and the salt to a large bowl. Whisk the spices and oil together. Add the cherry tomatoes and baguette cubes to the bowl; toss to coat. Make each skewer by alternating two pieces of baguette, three cherry tomatoes, and two pieces of Halloumi per skewer. Brush the remaining oil mixture left in the bowl over the cheese pieces on the skewers.  

Grill, turning frequently, until the cherry tomatoes skins just start to break, the bread is toasted and the cheese is slightly browned. 

Remove from the grill on to a platter. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle over a little more Za’atar spice and top with the fresh basil leaves. Makes 6 skewers.

Grilled Buttermilk Chicken with Peach BBQ Sauce & Smoked Avocado Crema with Zucchini Corn Cakes

Grilled Buttermilk Chicken with Peach BBQ Sauce & Smoked Avocado Crema with Zucchini Corn Cakes

Our Kentucky State Fair menu was a real winner and loaded with farm freshness – corn and zucchini cakes topped with hickory smoked avocado sour cream crema, and buttermilk marinated chicken that was grilled and glazed with a peach barbecue sauce. All served over fresh arugula.

Peach BBQ Sauce
1 cup tomato sauce
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, chopped
½ teaspoon kosher salt
teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup peach preserves

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until thick and coats the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Add to a blender and process until smooth. 

Serve warm or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week.


Grilled Buttermilk Chicken
2 cups buttermilk
1 lime, zest and juiced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoons ancho chili powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
kosher salt
black pepper
8 boneless chicken breasts
Grape seed oil

Whisk together the buttermilk, lime zest and juice, garlic, chili powder, coriander with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour the marinade into a large resealable plastic bag, add the chicken, seal the bag and refrigerate. Marinate the chicken up to 4 hours.

Preheat the grill pan to medium high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Brush with oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Grill until golden brown and charred on both sides and cooked to 165 degrees in the thickest part. Brush with Peach BBQ sauce and serve.


Smoked Avocado Crema 
1 medium avocado, pit removed, cut in chunks
¼ cup sour cream
¼ teaspoon toasted cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Place the avocado in a bowl. Wrap the top of the bowl with plastic wrap. Use a Smoking Gun and trap enough smoke to form a dense cloud under the plastic. Let stand, undisturbed, for 5 minutes.

Release smoke, remove plastic wrap. Taste a small piece. If a stronger smoke flavor is desired, repeat the smoking.

Add the avocado and the remaining ingredients to the work bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Serve over the corn cakes. 


Corn & Zucchini Cakes
1 cup fine yellow cornmeal
½ cup stone ground corn, we prefer 8-row flint corn
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 ½ cups buttermilk
¾ stick unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
2 cups fresh corn kernels with scraped corn milk
1 cup shredded zucchini, squeezed to remove excess moisture
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
4 tablespoons Ghee or clarified butter

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Place the sheet pans in the oven.

In a large bowl, stir together both cornmeals, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs. Stir in the corn, zucchini, and chives. Add to the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until just moistened and all the dry is absorbed. Rest 10 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee or clarified butter on a flat griddle over medium heat until it sizzles. Drop ¼ cups of batter into the griddle leaving space between them to spread. Cook for 2-3 minutes, turn, and cook for 2 minutes more or until both sides are browned and the center of the pancake is firm. Keep the cakes warm in the oven on the parchment lined sheet trays. Continue cooking the rest of the batter by adding more clarified butter as needed. Serve topped with Smoked Avocado Crema.


2 cups fresh arugula
Olive oil
Kosher salt

Toss the arugula in a small amount of olive oil to just coat. Add a pinch of salt and toss. Place on each plate a small amount of arugula. Top with a corn & zucchini cake, topped with avocado crema. Then top with a chicken breast and more Peach BBQ sauce.

Grilled Chorizo and Cheese Stuffed Anaheim Peppers

Grilled Chorizo and Cheese Stuffed Anaheim Peppers

Fresh off the grill, this delicious dish is spicy and cheesy. Seasonal Anaheim peppers are stuffed full of corn, chorizo, and cream cheese, then topped with crispy panko bread crumbs and Mexican cheese before grilling.

6 large Anaheim Green Chiles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
6 ounces Mexican cheese mix, finely shredded
½ pound fresh chorizo
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 green onion, thinly sliced
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup fresh corn
1 tablespoons lime juice
freshly ground black pepper
kosher salt


Prepare an outdoor grill or stove top grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. 


Slice the top off the  Anaheim green chiles, remove the seeds and white membrane inside the chilies; set aside. Chop the chili tops into small pieces and set aside.


In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat; add the garlic and breadcrumbs, cook 2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove from the heat and add to a small bowl; add ½ the cheese mixture and toss; set aside. 


Put the sauté pan back on the heat and add the remaining olive oil then the chopped pepper pieces and chorizo, cook 4-5 minutes until browned. Stir in cilantro, green onion, cream cheese, the remaining cheddar, corn, and lime juice; add black pepper and salt to taste. Fill pepper halves with chorizo cheese mixture; sprinkle with the bread crumb cheese mixture.


Place peppers, skin side down, on hot grill rack; cover and cook 5 minutes or until grill marks appear and cheese melts. Make six servings.