Buttermilk Corn Muffins √

Makes 12.

Note: These are definitely “Northern” cornbread muffins as they have less cornmeal and more flour than their Southern counterparts. This proportion produces a denser, less crumbly muffin. From “The Soup & Bread Cookbook,” by Beatrice Ojakangas.

• 1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour

• 1 c. yellow cornmeal

• 2 tbsp. sugar

• 1 tsp. baking soda

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1 3/4 c. buttermilk, or 1 3/4 c. milk plus 2 tbsp. white vinegar

• 2 tbsp. vegetable oil

• 1 egg, beaten


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray or grease lightly with shortening.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil and egg. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.

Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake until edges begin to brown, about 15 minutes.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 148 Fat 3 g Sodium 247 mg

Carbohydrates 25 g Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 46 mg

Protein 4 g Cholesterol 17 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1½ bread/starch, ½ fat.


Chestnut, Wild Rice and Pistachio Dressing √

Serves 8.

Note: You can shell the chestnuts yourself or they are available shelled and vacuum-packed; they are sometimes available frozen, too. From “The New Midwestern Table,” by Amy Thielen.

• 8 oz. chestnuts (see Note)

• 1/2 c. natural wild rice

• Fine sea salt

• 1 c. basmati rice

• 6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) salted butter

• 2 c. diced celery

• 2 c. diced yellow onion

• 3 garlic cloves, minced

• 2 tsp. minced fresh thyme

• 1/2 c. shelled salted pistachios, crushed

• 2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley


To prepare chestnuts: Cut an X into the flat side of the chestnuts and then boil them until the skins soften and begin to peel back, about 5 minutes. Drain them, cover with a heavy towel, and peel them one by one. The boiling softens their skins, so it’s more like shucking than peeling. Roughly chop the chestnut meat.

To prepare rice: Put the wild rice in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse it under cold running water, swishing the rice with your hand until the water runs clear. Transfer the rice to a medium bowl and add water to cover. Pour off any black bits or floating kernels, then pour the rice back into the sieve to drain.

Cook the rices separately (wild rice and basmati). Combine the wild rice with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover tightly, reduce heat to low and steam until rice is tender and curling into a C shape, 20 to 25 minutes.

At the same time, combine basmati rice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 3/4 cups water in another small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover tightly, reduce heat to low and steam until rice is tender, 25 minutes.

Combine the rices in a large bowl and cover it tightly.

To prepare vegetable base: Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and onion and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are limp but still bright, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and thyme, and cook for 5 minutes.

Pour celery and onion over the rices, scraping the pan for the juices, and stir to combine. Add the pistachios, chestnuts and parsley, and mix thoroughly. Serve hot.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 266 Fat 13 g Sodium 360 mg

Carbohydrates 33 g Saturated fat 6 g Calcium 50 mg

Protein 5 g Cholesterol 23 mg Dietary fiber 5 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 bread/starch, 2½ fat.



Serves 8 to 10.

Note: Star anise is a spice shaped like a star; it can be found in the spice section of many groceries. Recipe from chef Alex Roberts of Brasa and Restaurant Alma, in “The Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook,” by Tim King and Alice Tanghe.

• 2 1/2 c. heavy cream or half-and-half

• 1 piece star anise (see Note)

• 1 tbsp. fennel seed

• 1/2 yellow onion, rough chopped

• Salt and white pepper to taste

• 3 c. sliced fennel bulb

• 1 1/2 c. leeks, white part only, sliced

• 1 c. diced sweet onion

• 1 1/2 c. coarsely grated Parmesan cheese, divided

• Zest of 1 orange


Preheat oven to 350 to 375 degrees.

To prepare fennel cream, combine cream with star anise, fennel seed, yellow onion, salt and white pepper in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until reduced to 2 cups; strain.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together fennel slices, leeks and sweet onion with salt and pepper. Place half of the vegetable mixture in a lightly greased 9- by 13-inch pan. Top with half of the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle with orange zest. Add remaining leek and fennel mixture.

Pour the fennel cream to almost cover vegetables, and top with other half of cheese. Cover with foil and bake until vegetables soften, about 25 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until lightly browned.

Nutrition information per serving of 10 (using half-and-half):

Calories 170 Fat 11 g Sodium 315 mg

Carbohydrates 9 g Saturated fat 7 g Calcium 290 mg

Protein 9 g Cholesterol 34 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: ½ bread/starch, 1 high-fat meat, ½ fat.

Roasted Baby Carrots with Maple-Mustard Glaze √

Serves 8.

Note: If you can find them, use real baby carrots from your garden or farmers market, not the plastic-bagged grocery store kind, which are really just big carrots whittled down. If you only have larger carrots, no problem: peel them and cut them into sticks 3 to 4 inches long and about 1/2-inch wide. This recipe is easy to increase for those Thanksgiving crowds. Adapted from “Trout Caviar: Recipes From a Northern Forager,” by Brett Laidlaw.

• 2 lb. baby carrots, scrubbed

• 6 tbsp. maple syrup

• 1 tbsp. canola or grapeseed oil

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 4 tsp. grain mustard

• 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, optional

• 4 tsp. red wine vinegar


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine carrots, maple syrup, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a baking dish. Roast, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until brown and glazy.

Remove from oven and stir in the mustard, optional cayenne pepper, vinegar and another grind of pepper. Taste and adjust for salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 103 Fat 2 g Sodium 110 mg

Carbohydrates 21 g Saturated fat 0 g Calcium 54 mg

Protein 1 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch, ½ other carb, ½ fat.


Cranberry-Leek Compote √

Makes 5 to 6 cups.

Note: Can be made up to five days ahead and refrigerated or frozen. From “Savoring the Seasons,” by Beth Dooley and Lucia Watson.

• 1/2 c. currants or dried cranberries

• 1 c. apple cider, divided

• 4 c. cranberries, rinsed and sorted

• 3/4 c. sugar

• 6 tbsp. butter

• 2 1/2 lb. leeks (white and light green parts), rinsed and sliced into rounds

• Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


In a small saucepan, soak the currants or dried cranberries in 1/4 cup cider for 30 minutes to plump; then add the fresh cranberries and the remaining cider and cook over medium heat until the berries pop, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Set aside.

In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter and cook the leeks over low heat until they become very soft and begin to brown, stirring frequently, about 25 minutes. Add the cranberries and liquid to the skillet and cook about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.

Nutrition information per ¼-cup serving:

Calories 99 Fat 3 g Sodium 36 mg

Carbohydrates 18 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 34 mg

Protein 1 g Cholesterol 8 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1 other carb, ½ fat.


Rutabaga Bake √

Serves 6 to 8.

Note: Rutabagas have a sweet, buttery flavor, and they clean up well in this rutagaba soufflé, a traditional recipe popular among Finnish immigrants in the Midwest. The deeply toasted nuts, grated nutmeg and the wrinkled, billowy soufflé top do a lot to make a case for rutabaga’s decadence. From “The New Midwestern Table,” by Amy Thielen.

• 2 1/4 lb. (1 extra-large or 2 medium) rutabaga, peeled and cut into 2-in. chunks

• 1 medium russet potato, peeled and cut into 2-in. cubes

• Pinch plus 1 tbsp. sugar

• 3 tbsp. salted butter, melted, plus more at room temperature for baking dish

• 1 1/2 c. fresh rye bread crumbs (from 5 slices of rye bread)

• 1/2 c. lightly toasted hazelnuts, skins rubbed off

• 3 eggs

• 1 c. half-and-half or heavy cream

• 2 tbsp. Madeira wine

• 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg

• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• Fine sea salt


Combine the rutabagas and potatoes in a 2-quart pot, add water to cover and add the pinch of sugar. Bring the water to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook until the rutabaga and potato are both very soft when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Drain and transfer to large bowl.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter just the bottom of a medium (2- to 2 1/2-quart) baking dish.

Divide the rye bread crumbs evenly between 2 medium bowls. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and add them, along with the melted butter, to one of the bowls. Toss to combine.

Separate the eggs, and put the whites into a third bowl. Add the yolks to the bowl of plain crumbs along with the half-and-half, Madeira, nutmeg, pepper and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Mix to combine.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk (or using a hand mixer), whip the egg whites and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar until soft peaks form; set aside. Separately, whip the rutabaga mixture until puréed.

Add the egg yolk mixture to the rutabaga mixture and mix well. Gently fold in the whipped egg white with a rubber spatula, mixing until just wisps of egg white remain. Pour the mixture into the buttered dish and top with the reserved hazelnut bread crumbs.

Bake until golden brown on top and set in the middle, 50 to 55 minutes.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 270 Fat 16 g Sodium 155 mg

Carbohydrates 27 g Saturated fat 6 g Calcium 113 mg

Protein 7 g Cholesterol 93 mg Dietary fiber 5 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 bread/starch, 3w fat.