I met Dana Slatkin on a recent trip to LA through our children who go to summer camp together. I soon learned that Dana was a well-known chef in LA and her family owned a posh boutique hotel called Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, CA. Shutters is one of my all time favorite luxury hotels known for its low-key atmosphere and delicious farmer’s market-fresh meals. Dana was inspired to write her first cookbook, Summertime Anytime, by requests for the recipes from friends, family and guests. I love her cookbook so much and asked Dana if I could share some of her holiday dishes. Here are some festive Fall recipes below that are perfect for Thanksgiving or a holiday soiree:
Pumpkin Pie Champagne Cocktails with Toasted Marshmallows: (6 cocktails)
1 wedge of orange
1 bottle of dry champagne or California sparkling wine
6 ounces Monin Pumpkin Spice or Gingerbread Spice Syrup
6 large marshmallows (I love the handmade, cubical ones from Little Flower Baking Company)
1. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of cinnamon sugar onto a small plate. Rim a chilled champagne flute with the orange wedge. Then dip the flute into the cinnamon sugar to coat the rim.
2. Pour up to 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of syrup into each of the flutes. Fill with champagne.
3. Toast marshmallows over an open flame to desired doneness. Place on skewers and garnish each cocktail.
Sauteed Spinach with Porcini-Truffle Powder: (Serves 6)
1 cup dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms
1 teaspoon truffle salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1-1/2 pounds fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried well
A few drops of truffle oil
1. Place the dried mushrooms in a spice grinder or blender and process to the consistency of coarse dust (you will get about 1/2 cup of mushroom powder). Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the truffle salt.
2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant and just beginning to brown (a minute or two). Add the spinach and stir until coated.
3. Cover the pot and cook for 2 minutes, or until the spinach has wilted. Remove the cover and continue cooking until the liquid has mostly evaporated.
4. Sprinkle the spinach lightly with mushroom-truffle powder. Mound onto a serving platter, drizzle with the truffle oil, and dust again with additional mushroom-truffle powder. Store the leftover powder in an air-tight container for the next time (It will hold for months).
French Apple Pie: (Serves 8 )
1 prepared frozen pie crust, preferably whole-wheat
8 large Granny Smith apples (or combination of Granny Smith plus McIntosh or Gala), peeled, cored (I use a melon baler for this), and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 lemon (squeeze over the apples as you slice them)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup melted butter (optional)
1 generous teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold butter or margarine, cut into small cubes
Vanilla ice cream for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
2. Prepare the apple or blueberry filling: In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and allow to macerate for 15 minutes.
3. Prepare the streusel: In a food processor, mix the dry ingredients. Add the butter and pulse the machine to incorporate. The texture should be like coarse crumbs.
4. Fill the prepared pie crust with the fruit and juices, pressing down gently to accommodate all the filling (it will cook down during baking). Spread the streusel over the entire pie.
5. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350° F and continue baking for another 60 minutes, until the filling bubbles and the streusel is golden brown. If necessary, cover the crust and pie loosely with foil to prevent over-browning.
6. Remove the pie from the oven and cool on a rack for at least two hours before serving. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Image Credit: mamiofmultiples.com