Talking Turkey (continued) 

The Indy presents its annual heaping helping of holiday food recipes

Photo by Chad Harder
Warm lentil salad

Abe Risho
Caffè Dolce, 2901 Brooks St.

Food for thought: Missoula’s new Caffè Dolce, located in the decadent digs on Brooks Street, recently added this salad to its menu. “It’s a good seasonal selection with the lentils,” says Risho. “It makes me think of fall and the holidays.”

What you’ll need:
1 cup beluga (black) lentils
1 carrot
1 onion
1 rib celery
3 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
4 ounces pancetta
8 ounces chanterelle (or other wild mushroom)
1 pint grape tomatoes (split)
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 pound arugula
3 scallions (thinly sliced)
6 ounces goat cheese
Salt and pepper (to taste)

How to make it:
1. Split carrot, onion and celery in half. Combine in a sauce pan with lentils, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper and enough water to cover.

2. Simmer covered for 30 minutes or until lentils are al dente.  Remove vegetables and drain the liquid.

3. Split the grape tomatoes in half lengthwise and lay on an oiled sheet pan or a silicon mat skin, cut side down, and bake at 175 degrees for one to two hours until most of the moisture has evaporated. Toss with just enough olive oil to coat.

4. Sauté pancetta in 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-low heat until it starts to crisp. Add mushrooms and continue sautéing until mushrooms are slightly cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. For the vinaigrette, blend remaining garlic with red wine vinegar.  Add salt and pepper and, while motor is running, slowly drizzle in remaining olive oil. 

6. While lentils are still warm toss them with pancetta mushroom mixture. Add half of the dressing to the lentil mixture and toss.

7. Add the tomatoes and thinly sliced scallions to the arugula and add remaining dressing. Combine with the warm lentil mixture and gently toss. 

8. Top with crumbled goat cheese and serve immediately as the lettuce will wilt quickly.

Photo by Chad Harder
Elk and spinach ravioli

Connie Poten and Andy Sponseller
Ten Spoon Vineyard and Winery, 4175 Rattlesnake Drive
(with an assist from retired chef and neighbor Susan Blair, pictured with Sponseller at left)

Food for thought: We asked the owners of Ten Spoon to provide a recipe that could either be paired with or made with one of their wines. Sponseller kicked around a number of chili options that included red wine before settling on this recipe, which he says fits well with Montana’s fall hunting season and is a lot of fun to prepare with a group of friends.  “It’s perfect for a holiday party,” he says. As for the wine: “I’d definitely pair it with our Range Rider Red,” says Sponseller.

What you’ll need:
For the pasta dough:
2 pounds unbleached flour
2 large eggs
1 cup and 2 tablespoons of water

For the filling:
1/2 pound ground elk
1/2 pound ground pork (should be fatty)
2 packages of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, with all the water squeezed out
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 cup grated Romano cheese
Salt and pepper (to taste)

How to make it:
1. Start the dough by beating the eggs.

2. Add the water. Mix thoroughly and knead for several minutes until smooth and silky, adding flour as needed.

3. Cover with bowl and let rest.

4. Start the filling by mixing meat together and browning in a hot skillet.

5. Allow to cool 10 minutes before mixing with the other ingredients.

6. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

7. On a floured surface, roll dough about 1/16-inch thick and into one 15-by-20 rectangular piece. Cut that piece into three strips, each 5-by-20. The desired size of each finished raviolo is about 2 inches square.

8. Place eight 1-teaspoon dots of filling evenly spaced along lower half of dough. Fold top of dough over bottom, pressing dough to dough around the filling. (Note: If they don’t adhere, they’ll open up. So moisten the dough along the edges in between the filling before folding.)

9. Cut off any extra dough and cut to separate.

10. Put ravioli aside in a single layer on a floured surface or dishtowel before filling other two strips. Repeat until all the dough has been used.

11. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add enough salt to make it taste like salty soup. Gently add half the ravioli. When the ravioli come to the top of the water, let them cook another minute or two until the folded-together edges are al dente.

12. Scoop from the water with a large slotted spoon onto a heated platter and mix with a little meat sauce to prevent sticking. Repeat process with additional ravioli.


Spiced apples with gingerbread baby cakes and caramel-mascarpone mousse

Jill Schweder
Pastry chef
The Pearl Café and Bakery, 231 E. Front St.

Food for thought: This is a daunting project, but Schweder offers some sage advice for tackling the dish. “The great thing about this dessert is that the components need to be assembled at least three days prior to the dinner party,” she explains. “That way it is less overwhelming and you can focus on the recipes individually.” We tried it and can confirm it’s worth the time.

What you’ll need:
For the caramel sauce:
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup, aka Karo syrup
8 ounces water
2 cups heavy cream
Spray bottle filled with water (I prefer to use this to wash down the sides of the saucepan rather than a pastry brush dipped in water)
Metal whisk (the longer the better)

Photo by Chad Harder
For the caramel-mascarpone mousse:
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon powdered plain gelatin
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup caramel sauce (from recipe)

For the diced apples with cinnamon:
6 large Honeycrisp apples or 7 medium Honeycrisp apples (I really think the Honeycrisp apples are tasty, but Fuji apples will work)
2 cups sugar
1 lemon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

For the gingerbread baby cakes:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 ounces melted butter
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg

How to make it:
The caramel sauce:
1. Make the caramel sauce three days prior to the party. It will need to be chilled before using in the other recipe. It also keeps for three weeks so any extra can be used as an ice cream topping.

2. Combine sugar, corn syrup and water in saucepan. Stir gently to mix. Place saucepan on stove and turn on to medium-high. Using the spray bottle, wash any sugar particles back down into the saucepan. Look for sugar crystallizing on the side of the pan as it cooks. Spray any spots that you see.

3. As the mixture boils it will begin to thicken and start turning beige in color. When it turns a nice light to medium brown turn off the heat and give the pan a swirl.

4. Carefully whisk in a small amount of the heavy cream. The sugar is extremely hot and will spatter. Be careful. Add more cream as the bubbling subsides.

5. After all the cream has been incorporated, strain into a heat-proof container to cool to room temperature. Stir occasionally and then store covered in refrigerator.

6. If all this seems like way too much work, a store-bought caramel sauce can work, but the homemade caramel is far superior in flavor.

The caramel-mascarpone mousse:
1. Make the caramel-mascarpone mousse two days prior to the party. This will need to chill before serving—for at least three hours—so it is better to make sooner rather than later.

2. In a microwave safe ramekin or small cup, measure the water. Sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the top. Let stand for 3 minutes to absorb water.

3. In a large bowl use a spatula to fold together the caramel sauce and the mascarpone cheese. If lumpy, gently fold with a whisk.

4. Meanwhile, whip the heavy cream on medium speed until it has thickened slightly.

5. Microwave the gelatin mixture for 10 to 15 seconds, stir to blend. It should be without lumps and all the gelatin dissolved. If not, zap for 10 more seconds. Slowly add dissolved gelatin to the thickened heavy cream with the mixer on medium speed. Whip to firm peaks.

6. Fold whipped cream into the caramel mixture and cover and chill until firm—about three hours.

The diced apples with cinnamon:
1. Assemble the diced apples with cinnamon two days prior to the party. These will keep nicely for about five days.

2. Peel and dice apples, place in bowl and toss with 2 cups of sugar and juice from half a lemon.

3. Place in saucepan and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves and the apples are tender but not mushy.

4. Strain apples and discard liquid. Place hot apples back into a bowl, toss with 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, pinch of salt and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon.

5. Let cool to room temperature before covering and storing in fridge.

The gingerbread baby cakes:
1. Bake the gingerbread baby cakes one day before the party. These stay fresh for two days if they are wrapped well and kept at room temperature.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-serving, standard size silicone cupcake pan lightly with vegetable spray or grease and flour a 9-inch square pan if you wish to make a whole cake.

3. Whisk together 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice and 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg in a large bowl. Set aside.

4. Add 4 ounces melted butter, 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, 3/4 cup molasses, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup buttermilk and 1 egg. Mix to blend until incorporated.

5. Fill cupcake slots 2/3 full and bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (If using the 9-inch pan bake about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.)

6. Let cool before unmolding. Store wrapped in plastic at room temperature for two days.

To finish:
1. Bring caramel to room temperature to drizzle on plate.

2. Microwave apples to warm and then stir well.

3. Place a gingerbread baby cake, top side down, on the plate and drizzle caramel sauce on top of the cake.

4. Arrange apples around cake, top with the caramel-mascarpone mousse and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

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