From Wickwood's Kitchen
Clearly this is the season of sugar,
spice, everything nice and a house filled with friends and family. We
wish you love
and laughter every time you're cooking.
Sweet and Spicy Bacon
This is equally dangerous as an hor’s d’oeuvres or for
a holiday breakfast. It’s best to over-estimate how much you’ll need as
they disappear quickly. They can be made in advance, refrigerated, and
reheated. Serves 4, if you’re lucky.
• 1½ tablespoons packed brown sugar
• ¼ teaspoon cayenne, rounded
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper (or use pepper bacon)
• 1 lb thick-cut bacon (12 slices), halved
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir
together brown sugar, cayenne, and pepper (if being used) in a small
2. Arrange bacon slices in 1 layer on a large broiler pan and bake
in middle of oven for 20 minutes. Turn slices over and sprinkle evenly
with spiced sugar. Continue baking until bacon is crisp and brown, 15-20
minutes more. Transfer to a rack over paper towels to drain. Serve
immediately or reheat.
This is a classic French Lyonnaise salad that never fails to
satisfy. The interplay between the bacon, croutons and mustard
vinaigrette is wonderful. Top it off with a poached egg.
• 12 thick slices bacon, cut into 1-inch
• 4 slices day-old bread, cut into 1-inch squares
• 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
• 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 1½ tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
• 1½ tablespoons salad herbs (parsley, chives, tarragon or chervil)
• 1 cup olive oil
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 9 cups torn salad greens (leafy lettuces and frisee)
• 1½ cups crumbled Roquefort cheese
• 6 eggs poached
1. Fry the bacon pieces in a
medium-sized skillet until crisp. Drain on paper towels and reserve the
fat from the skillet.
2. Sauté the bread slowly in the hot bacon fat until crisp and
3. Whisk the garlic, vinegar, lemon juice and mustard together in
a mixing bowl. Whisk in the herbs. Very gradually drizzle in the oil,
whisking continually. Season.
4. Combine the salad greens, bacon, and croutons in a salad bowl.
Slowly add the dressing until greens are tossed and just coated. Reserve
the remaining dressing. Sprinkle each portion with Roquefort cheese and
top each with a poached egg.
Carlos' Black Bean Soup
A terrific side to our Roast Pig, this recipe, taught
to us by a Brazilian friend is beloved and is often the basis for many
variations in our kitchen. We sometimes add chunks of sautéed hot and
sweet Italian sausage links, steak, or venison and it becomes an
entrée which we serve over rice. Serves 8-10.
• 1 cup olive oil
• 3 cups diced yellow onions
• 8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
• 2 pounds black beans, soaked in water overnight
• 1 meaty ham bone or smoked ham hock (or 8 slices of bacon)
• 6 quarts water 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 tablespoon dried oregano
• 3 bay leaves
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
• Pinch of cayenne pepper
• 6 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
• 2 medium-sized red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and diced
• ¼ cup dry sherry
• 1 tablespoon brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• Sour cream
1. Heat the oil in a soup pot over
medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook over low heat until
the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Drain the beans and add them, the pork, and the 6 quarts of
water to the pot. Stir in the 2 tablespoons of cumin, the oregano, bay
leaves, salt, pepper, cayenne and 2 tablespoons or the parsley. Bring to
a boil, reduce the heat, and cook, uncovered until the beans are very
tender and the liquid is reduced by about three quarters (about 1½-2
3. If you’ve used a ham bone or hock, transfer it to a plate,
cool slightly and pull off any remaining meat, shred finely and return
it to the pot.
4. Stir in the remaining parsley, bell pepper, cumin, the sherry,
brown sugar and lemon juice. Simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring
frequently. Taste, correct the seasoning and serve very hot, garnished
with a dollop of the sour cream.
Christmas Roast Suckling Pig
Years ago, when I first moved to Michigan, roasting a
small pig became our Christmas Eve Dinner. It’s my favorite night of
the year and this tradition seems to add to its magic. The recipe is so simple,
the only trick is to measure your oven, and tell the butcher the maximum
size you can accommodate. It’s far less fun to have to do this in two
pieces, although we once belted the pig back together and hid it with
fresh bay leaves. It worked. Serves 8-10
1. Rub the lime halves all over the
body of the pig, squeezing the juice liberally; rub the cavity as well.
2. With the tip of a sharp knife, cut slits ¾ inch deep all over
the body of the pig (not the head). Cut 5 of the garlic cloves into
slivers and stuff the pieces into the slits.
3. Finely mince the remaining 13 garlic cloves and place them in
a medium-size bowl, with the oregano, capers, brine, olive oil, salt,
pepper and curry powder. Stuff half this mixture into the cavity of the
pig and rub the remainder all over the outside. Place the cilantro
inside the cavity. Let the pig rest, covered, in the refrigerator for 24
4. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the pig on a rack in a large
roasting pan and bake 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F and roast
until the juices run clear when the meat is pricked with a knife,
5. Place the apple in the pig’s mouth, and serve on a large
platter, garnished with the greens and fruit. Enjoy immensely.
Parslied Rack of Lamb
This elegant cut of lamb cooks quickly, and
multiplies easily making it ideal for crowds. Keep the cooked racks warm
in a 200°F oven or covered on the top of the stove. Each rack serves 4.
• 2 trimmed racks of lamb (about 1¾
• Good olive oil
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley
• 4 cloves of chopped garlic
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
• 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place
both racks of lamb in a roasting pan, fat side up. Rub the tops lightly
with olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Roast the lamb in
the upper third of the oven until browned 10-12 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine the parsley, garlic, breadcrumbs and lemon
zest. Turn the rack, meat side up and pat the parsley mixture evenly
over the meat. Drizzle with the butter, then return to the oven and
roast for another 12 minutes for medium rare meat. Carve the racks and
Chili For A Crowd
Even though everyone has their own special chili
recipe, this Silver Palate classic has clearly stood the test of time.
We love to hear that it’s become a family’s favorite and we think that
it’s an especially smart cook who has a batch of this on hand during the
holidays to serve spontaneously. We like to serve it surrounded by
bowls of sour cream, chopped white onions, minced Jalapenos, and grated
British Cheddar to serve as garnishes. Of course, you can reduce this.
• ½ cup best-quality olive oil
• 1¾ pounds yellow onions, coarsely chopped
• 1 pound sweet Italian sausage meat, removed from its casings
• 1 pound hot Italian sausage meat, removed from its casings
• 8 pounds beef chuck, ground
• 1½ tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
• 2 cans (12 ounces each) tomato paste
• 3 tablespoons minced garlic
• 3 ounces ground cumin
• 4 ounces chili powder
• ½ cup Dijon mustard
• 4 tablespoons salt
• 4 tablespoons dried basil
• 4 tablespoons dried oregano
• 6 pounds canned Italian plum tomatoes, drained (about 5 cans, each
2 pounds, 3 ounces)
• ½ cup Burgundy wine
• 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
• ½ cup chopped fresh dill
• ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
• 6 cans (16 ounces each) dark red kidney or black beans, drained
• 4 cans (5½ ounces each) pitted black olives
1. Heat the olive oil in a very large
heavy pot. Add the onions and cook over low heat, covered, until tender,
about 10 minutes.
2. Crumble the sausage meat and ground chuck into the pot and
cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the meats are well
browned. Spoon out as much excess fat as possible.
3. Turn the heat to medium-low and stir in the black pepper,
tomato paste, garlic, cumin, chili powder, mustard, salt, basil, and
4. Add the drained tomatoes, Burgundy, lemon juice, dill,
parsley, and kidney beans. Stir well and simmer, uncovered, for another
5. Taste and correct the seasoning. Add the olives, simmer for
another 5 minutes to heat through, and serve immediately.
Mom's Whipped Cream Cake
This is one of those sweet recipes that when
resurrected, makes everyone happy. We never have the heart to tell
anyone how easy it is. The trick is to start with great crisp chocolate
wafers, chocolate chip cookies, or almost any crisp cookie such as
gingersnaps, either those you buy or your favorite recipe. Flavorings
for the whipped cream and mascarpone are unlimited...try coffee or mint,
raspberry, banana, almond, hazelnut or a myriad of liquors. We’ve loved
them all. From there, it’s a cinch. Serves 8.
• 2 cups heavy cream, cold
• 12 ounces mascarpone cheese
• ¾ cup Kahlua liquer (Frangelico if using gingersnaps)
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 3-9 ounce packages of chocolate wafers, or your favorite thin
crisp chocolate chip or ginger cookie
• Shaved semisweet chocolate, to garnish
1. In a medium sized bowl, using an
electric mixer on low combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, Kahlua and vanilla. Combine well and then slowly
increase the speed until it forms firm peaks.
2. Arrange 8-20 (depending on size) cookies in a single layer on
a 12-14 inch plate, in a 7-8 inch circle covering the bottom as much as
possible breaking cookies to fill in any gaps. Spread 20% of the whipped
cream evenly over the cookies. Repeat the layering of cookies and cream
until there are five layers, ending with a layer of cream. Smooth the
top and cover with plastic wrap, refrigerating overnight.
3. When ready to serve sprinkle the top with the chocolate
shavings and cut into thin wedges, as it’s very rich. Serve cold.
Susie's Scrumptious Ice Cream Pie
My friend Susie makes a wonderful ice cream
pie with a chocolate wafer crust and four layers of her family's favorite
It's another simple dessert to have on hand
during the holidays. An 8” pie should serve 8-12 people.
For the crust, she uses 2 cups of crushed
chocolate wafers (or Oreo Thin Crisps) mixed with 1 stick melted butter
and two tablespoons sugar pressed evenly into a pie plate.
She then takes 4 different ice creams (we
used Chocolate, Coffee, Dulche de Leche and Rocky Road, 1 pint of each,
soften one at a time for 10 minutes (just so it’s manageable), and
spread it evenly over the crust. With each layer she re-freezes it for
about 30 minutes. Repeat this softening, layering and refreezing process
with each ice cream, three more times. She tops it all off with crushed
Heath bars sprinkled on top. Freeze the entire pie for 4-6 hours until
very firm. Cut into thin portions using a sharp knife, dipped into hot
water. This is very rich, but heavenly.
HOLIDAY PARTY TIPS
Every now and then during the Holidays, it's fun to invite almost everyone you know and toss them together
all over your house. Jim Beard's advice was to always invite more than you
can accommodate. Go to extremes. Have hordes of people piled up to the
rafters. The quintessential Open House. They'll have a great time! And so
will you! More tips:
• The party’s fun begins with the invitation.
• Carefully plan who to invite before you plan what to serve.
• The host’s mood sets the tone of the party. Have one drink before the
first guest arrives.
• Greet each guest at the door. Make them their first drink and show them
the bar for the next.
• Don’t make the party formal - it’s such a snooze.
• Squeeze your guests into a room or at the table. There will be much more
• Set tables in unexpected places … in the kitchen, near a fireplace, in
the library or in the barn.
• Show your wit with music loud enough to talk over, and lighting soft
enough to compliment all.
• Keep the rooms cool.
• Keep the food light and simple.
• Never, never run out of ice.
• Don’t over-extend the cocktail hour before dinner. Booze needs food.
• Always have chilled champagne on hand.
• Always do favors. Everyone loves a surprise.
• Light up the outside to extend the party.
• Don’t try and impress. It’s all about fun!
• Candles insure flirting which insures sizzle.
• Salty and crunchy always works with drinks.
• Separate couples when seating a dinner
• Listen to your guests.
• A guest should arrive ready to entertain too.
• Keep the food light and serve an amazing dessert. It is what will be
• Never run out of anything mid-party.
• Don’t do a buffet unless its just a cocktail party with heavy hor’s
d’ouevres. If it’s dinner, everyone will end up eating at a different
time. Set up tables of 4 or 6 and pass food family style.
• Don’t use assigned seating - allow guests to mingle and let the evening
• Mix and match everything … people, dress, plates, chairs and ethnic
foods. It all works.
• Always say goodbye to your hosts and always hand-write a thank you note.
Wickwood’s Brussels Sprouts
Recently we’ve converted many guests to
become Brussels sprouts lovers who would previously never touch them.
These are just great served with toothpicks for hor’s d’ouevres or as a
vegetable side dish. Serves 4.
• 24 Brussels’s sprouts
• 2 tablespoons good olive oil
• 2 tablespoons maple syrup
• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
Clip the ends of the Brussels sprouts and remove any tough outer leaves.
Halve the smaller and quarter the larger sprouts and place in a roasting
pan or on a baking sheet. Toss the sprouts with the olive oil. Roast for
30-minutes until tender and browning. Meanwhile combine the syrup and
vinegar in a small dish. Sprinkle the sauce over the sprouts a little at a
time, tossing them to just coat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve
We began sautéing radishes
long before two veggies were de rigor for a meal. They add brilliant color,
but best of all are delicious. Serves 8
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 3 bunches red radishes (about 24), leaves and stems trimmed, rinsed and
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
• 1½ tablespoons snipped fresh dill
• Freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste.
1. Melt the butter in a
medium-size skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the radishes and
toss to coat with the butter. Cover the pan and cook for 4 minutes,
2. Add the sugar and vinegar and toss over medium heat for 1
minute. Sprinkle with dill and season to taste with pepper. Serve
Parsnip and Pear Puree
The elusive flavor of parsnips
melts with buttery pears in this ultra-smooth puree. Serves 8.
6 cups coarsely chopped
parsnips (3-4 large)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Anjou pears, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons Cognac
½ cup sour cream
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, taste
1. Place the parsnips
in a medium-size saucepan and add water to cover. Heat to boiling. Reduce
heat and simmer covered until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat.
Add the pears and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the Cognac and cook, stirring
frequently, for 15 minutes.
3. Process the parsnips and pears in a food processor, fitted with
a steel blade until smooth. Add the sour cream, allspice, and salt and
pepper to taste and process just to blend. Serve immediately or warm
gently over low heat just before serving.
Maple Roasted Butternut Squash
Roasting squash is wonderful at this time
of year. We
also like to roast a medley of root vegetables including parsnips, sweet
potatoes, red potatoes, garlic cloves, onions, rutabaga, apples and turnips tossed
with only enough olive oil to lightly coat them, sea salt and ground pepper. Each bite tastes heavenly. Serves
• 1 large butternut squash
• 1 head garlic, separated
• 2 tablespoons good olive oil
• 2½ tablespoons pure maple syrup
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 2 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
• 16 whole fresh sage leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Peel
and seed the squash and then cut it into ¾ to 1 inch cubes. Place the
squash and the whole garlic cloves on a sheet pan in one layer. Toss with
the olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper and bake for 30 minutes until
the squash begins to brown, turning once during baking.
2. Sprinkle the pancetta and the sage leaves evenly over the squash
and continue to bake for another 20-30 minutes until the squash and garlic
are tender. Serve immediately.
Very Chocolate Mousse
The holidays are a prefect time to serve
this deepest, darkest, richest chocolate mousse we’ve ever met. Please
serve with a dollop of whipped cream. Serves 8.
• 1½ pounds semisweet chocolate chips
• ½ cup prepared espresso coffee
• ½ cup Grand Marnier
• 4 egg yolks
• 3 cups heavy cream, chilled
• ¼ cup sugar
• 8 egg whites
• Pinch of salt
• ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Melt the chocolate chips in a
heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring; add the espresso coffee, then
stir in the Grand Marnier. Let cool to room temperature
2. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each
3. Whip 1 cup of the cream until thickened, and then gradually beat
in the sugar, beating until stiff. Beat the egg whites with salt until
stiff. Gently fold the egg whites into the cream.
4. Stir about one third of the cream and egg mixture thoroughly
into the chocolate mixture. Then scrape the remaining cream and egg
mixture over the lightened chocolate base and fold together gently. Pour
into 8 individual dessert cups, wine glasses or a serving bowl.
Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until set.
5. Meanwhile, whip the remaining 2 cups of cream until thickened,
add the vanilla, and whip to soft peaks. Top each serving, generously.