Thanks-Giving Parmesan Polenta Madeleines with Fresh Sage & Butternut Squash

DSC_2228

Thanksgiving….giving thanks.

Thanksgiving is upon us and in my life there is so much to be thankful for that my mind reels. The list is long and I try to keep it in the front of my mind most days whether it is a holiday or not. It is not always easy but I try. Do you have a mental list of things you are thankful for?

For these savory “Parmesan-Polenta Madeleines with Fresh Sage and Butternut-Squash”, if you do not have a classic French madeleine pan, use a cast iron corn stick pan. I bought my pans at Amazon but recently picked up a few more at TJMaxx. You can find a previous madeleine post I did for “Chocolate  Black-Peppercorn Orange Madeleines” here as well. Madeleines are traditionally sweet and originated from the Lorraine region in France. My Southern, seasonal twist uses yellow polenta, sage and butternut squash as well as parmesan cheese and will be a wonderful addition to any Thanksgiving meal. Also great with chili or soups.

DSC_2197

Fresh sage leaves in the bottom of the pan….batter spread on top…..

DSC_2199

…baked for 15 minutes until golden brown…..

DSC_2200

…flipped out onto a cooling rack and while hot I shredded more Parmesan over the top.

DSC_2208

I made this recipe earlier in the year for a project I was working on with a friend. In that recipe I did not use butternut-squash, but I had some left from a photo shoot and did not want to let it go to waste so shredded it and tossed into the batter for a more seasonal twist!

Be Thankful. Be Kind and Share.

DSC_2226

Parmesan-Polenta Madeleines with Fresh Sage and Butternut Squash

DSC_2209

Ingredients:

  • coconut oil spray
  • 1 bunch fresh sage leaves
  • 2/3 cup instant polenta
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese + extra for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded butternut squash
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • special equipment: 2 madeleine pans

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray madeleine pans with coconut spray.
  3. Place one or two fresh sage leaves in the bottom of each “madeleine” space. Press down into the molds using your fingers. Respray with coconut oil. The oil will secure the sage leaves to bottom of the pan.
  4. In a mixing bowl blend together instant polenta, flour, baking soda, Parmesan cheese, sea salt & black pepper.
  5. Stir in the melted butter, eggs, butternut squash & buttermilk. Blend well. Spoon batter into the pan over the sage leaves just to batter being level. Pat into mold with you fingers. If batter gets too dry then add a bit more buttermilk. This batter is thicker than your regular cornbread batter.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes or until madeleines are golden brown and puffy. Remove pans from oven and cool for a few minutes. Turn pans upside down to release madeleines from pan. While they are still hot sprinkle more Parmesan on top. It will slightly melt into the surface. Serve immediately or keep in a warm oven until ready to serve. Can be reheated as well. Store any leftovers in a plastic bag for a few days.

Teresa Blackburn      www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com      www.foodonfifth.com

Plum Yum Almond Cake

long plum yum

Every summer as The Plum Tree on my street becomes laden with ripening fruit it looks like it is about to topple over. The owner is clever in using large sticks and boards to prop up the limbs that without some intervention would no doubt break off. The Plum Tree needs a bit of trimming here and there, a little bit of pruning love, but, alas, it is not my tree.

DSC_0677

On the other hand, I have been enjoying the fruit of this tree for 10 years this summer. This year has a wonderful crop. I picked a small boxful this weekend…many from the ground and a few from the tree. It is never good to be greedy with another’s fruit!  Here is what they looked like when I got them home…..

DSC_0569

DSC_0557

….rinsed & drained…..

DSC_0577

,,,,cut in half & cored….

DSC_0589

….topping off my easy-to-make almond cake batter….

DSC_0598

….Plum Yum…..

DSC_0632

Plum Yum Almond Cake

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: plum easy
  • Print

DSC_0632

Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe, but firm plums, cut in half & cored
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond flour mixed with 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps almond extract
  • 1/2 cup almonds , slivered or sliced
  • powdered sugar for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a 9″ deep dish pie pan or cake pan melt the 1 stick of butter.
  3. Whisk together eggs, sugar, flours & extract just until blended. Do not over whisk. Scrape batter into pie pan with melted butter.
  4. Arrange the plum halves, cut side down, on top of the batter & scatter the almonds over all.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes until cake is a light golden brown. It is okay if the very center is a bit jiggly. Cool on a wire rack. Serve dusted with powdered sugar.

Notes: This cake is a dense moist cake and best eaten the day it is made. I did heat a slice in the oven the day after I made it and it was delicious with a cup of coffee.

If you prefer you can use more plums to cover the top of the batter more.

Recipe by: Teresa Blackburn         http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

“Sunday Morning Spring Strawberries, Butter & Sugar on Bread…Breakfast”

It is so fine to have a special seasonal treat on a lazy Spring Sunday morning while working on the New York Times Crossword puzzle with a friend. This was one such morning and Wouter made us a favorite treat that his mother made for him using sweet, small strawberries as they come into season.

At first I thought “how fattening”, “how decadent”, but I, in my infinite quest to try new combinations of familiar foods, succumbed and had one of the most deliciously indulgent breakfasts. My crossword working buddy Terry Martin and I gobbled up these little treats on bread as it might be our last meal.


Wouter’s Quick and Easy Recipe for “SMSSBSB” Breakfast

1. Cut up fresh, small strawberries into thick slices. (Don’t even try this with the strawberries from the supermarket with the white centers! It will not taste the same.)

2. Take slices of a good whole grain or white bread and smear each slice lavishly with softened butter such as Kerrygold.

3. Cover butter with slices of berries and then using a fork slightly mash to gently release juices.

4. Sprinkle teaspoons of raw or turbinado sugar over berries and eat.

During local strawberry season, wherever you live, treat yourself and try this regardless of any diet or food issues you might have. This is Dutch Soul Food and should be enjoyed at least once by all.

As an afterthought I do think next time I will have a glass of chilled Prosecco, Cava or Champagne while gobbling these little open-faced berry sandwiches.

  

Yum!

Stormy Turnips and Twisting Tornadoes

This time of year here in Tennessee it starts to warm up, the Daffodils pop up, the Forsythia bushes are ready to bloom, buds are on the trees and tornado season starts. It seems to have started earlier than usual this year. A week or so ago it was one of those late winter, sultry evenings that make me want to sit out on the porch and pretend its Spring. But it was a night of  severe tornado warnings, high winds, brutal rains…a night to stay inside. Wouter was away which made it more eerie to be in the house with the lights flickering, the winds beating against the house & not much to eat in the pantry.

A few days before this evening I purchased these exotic California Black Turnips along with some Black Snow Peas. I had not really thought about what to do with them cuisine-wise, just that I thought they were very beautiful & wanted to photograph them. But there was no way I was going to venture out to a restaurant or  market to procure dinner so I studied them for a while and this is what I came up with.

“Black Turnip-Apple Mash-up with Snow Peas & Asparagus”

For this you will need: 6 turnips (Black or regular type); 1 crispy apple (Braeburn or Pink Lady are great); good butter, kosher salt & black pepper to taste and a good grating of  Parmesan.

To Make:

1. Peel Turnips (Black Turnips are a beautiful white inside), trim & rinse. Cut turnips into chunks and put in a pan of water over medium high heat.  Peel, core & chop apple into chunks and add to turnips in pan. Add a bit of salt to the water. Cook until turnips are soft enough to mash like potatoes.  Mash using a fork or potato masher, adding as much butter, salt & pepper to mixture as you like. Mash until fluffy like mashed potatoes. Set aside. The apple adds just enough natural sweetener to offset the bitter taste turnips can have. A good combination.

2. Next the Black Snow-Peas (I have searched the internet and cannot find any photographs of these beauties. If you read this & know anything about them I would love to hear it.) They are beautiful with mostly dark skins with hints of green. I just popped them into a ziploc bag with a bit of water and cooked them in the microwave until crispy soft and cooked.

2. The Asparagus spears I cooked the same way.

3. To serve I put some of the Black Turnip mash into a shallow bowl & topped with the steamed Asparagus spears & Black Snow Peas adding a bit of sea salt & freshly grated Parmesan.  Surprisingly delicious the mash had a wonderful taste, the snow peas & asparagus were cooked al dente and were the perfect sides. With a glass of wine, I savored my “dry” dinner.

While preparing the Turnips for cooking my mind was wandering and I realized that if you turn a Black Turnip upside down it resembles a tornado funnel! As the Turnips cooked I did this sketch on my kitchen blackboard.

“eat your vegetables”