A L L  T H E  L O C A L  N E W S,  G O S S I P,  R E C I P E S  &  L O R E  T H A T' S  F I T  T O   P R I N T

H O L I D A Y   2 0 0 7

Apple Galette
The Holidays - "The only thing to do with family skeletons is to take
them out of the closet and dance with them"

In Wickwood's Kitchen ...

When you’ve searched for organic heirloom apples, or even picked them, you want the fruit’s natural qualities to shine. We love galettes --- free form, light and rustic tarts that are oh, so easy to make. Master this and you’ll be making loads of fruit galettes. Serve hot topped with a snazzy ice cream. Serves 8.

Pastry dough or two best quality purchased pie shells
2 tablespoons semolina (semolina flour)
2 lbs Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into 12 wedges
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
¼ cup granulated sugar
1½ tablespoons confectioner's sugar

Golden Delicious Apples

1. Preheat oven to 350° F with rack in middle.
2. Gently piece together dough (using 1½ crusts) and roll out to a 13 inch round on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. Transfer to an ungreased 17 x 14 baking sheet. Sprinkle semolina over dough, leaving a 2 inch border on the circumference.
3. Toss apples with lemon juice and zest in a large bowl, then inside the border, mound on top of semolina. Sprinkle granulated sugar evenly atop. Fold dough border over apples, pleating as necessary to form a 9 to 10 inch round.
4. Bake galette 30 minutes, then loosely cover with foil and continue baking 25-30 minutes longer. Remove from oven and pre-heat broiler.
5. Sprinkle apples with confectioner's sugar and broil 4 to 5 inches from heat until apples are golden. This happens quickly, 1 to 3 minutes at most. Slide galette from baking sheet onto a rack and serve immediately or cooled and reheated at 350° F for 5 minutes before serving.

Long a Silver Palate Cookbook favorite, we’ve made it slightly simpler by using frozen squash which is just fine. A great Holiday first course to sip in a mug. Serves 12.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups finely chopped yellow onions 4 - 5 teaspoons curry powder
4 12 oz packages frozen butternut squash
2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
8 cups Chicken Broth
3 cup apple juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 shredded unpeeled Granny Smith apple for garnish

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

1. Melt the butter in a large heavy pot over low heat. Add the onions and curry powder and cook, covered, until the onions are tender, about 25 minutes.
2. Add the squash, broth, chopped apples, and bring them just to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the squash and apples are very tender, about 25 minutes.
3. Puree the soup in a food processor or with an immersion blender.
4. With the pureed soup in the pot, add the apple juice until the soup is of a desired consistency. Season and heat through. Serve immediately, garnished with shredded apple.

We’ve long loved a grape salad with sour cream, lemon juice, and a little brown sugar, but this tickles our fancy on the Harvest table as a bracing antipasto. It is redolent of herbs, briny, and sparked with hot pepper. Plus local grape varieties are a revelation: tart and sweet, musky and almost overpoweringly fragrant. Concords, Cayuga’s, Niagara’s add a crucial touch of sweetness to savory salads. Surprise your family. Serves 2. Just multiply for more.

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea slat and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup black olives, halved and pitted
1 tablespoon capers
1 anchovy, fillet, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon chopped hot chili pepper
1 cup red grapes, halved and seeded (if desired)
½ cup parsley leaves
1/3 cup cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon chopped chives
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
4 slices proscuitto
½ ball imported buffalo mozzarella, cut into 4 wedges

Grapes Grapes

1. Combine the vinegar, garlic and olive oil in a small bowl and season to taste.
2. Place the olives, capers, anchovy and chili in a larger bowl and add a spoonful of the dressing. Stir well and allow to marinate 30 minutes.
3. When ready to served, stir in the grapes, parsley, cilantro, chives, and onion. Layer the proscuitto and mozzarella with the grape salad on two plates. Drizzle the remaining dressing over and around each salad. Serve immediately.

It’s nice to add a variation to mashed potatoes on the Thanksgiving table. Indulge in gravy atop stuffing and the turkey instead.
Serves 8.

6 large russet potatoes (about 4½ pounds) peeled, and cut into 1½ inch pieces
1 cup pearl onions or cipollini, blanched and peeled
12 medium shallots, peeled
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
24 large garlic cloves

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

1. Preheat oven to 425° F. In a large mixing bowl, combine all but the garlic, and toss until well mixed. Transfer to a large baking sheet and spread into one layer. Bake 30 minutes.
2. Remove pan from oven, add garlic and toss to combine. Bake until potatoes are crisp and fork tender, 30 - 40 minutes more, tossing periodically. Serve immediately.

We’re mad about chocolate covered toffee --- it’s our favorite candy. Be sure and use a great quality of chocolate --- Scharffen Berger, Ghirardelli, Valharona, or El Rey. We make this in small batches, so that it’s always fresh. When we do opt to have in our house, we keep it under lock and key. You’ll love it!

¾ cup finely chopped hazelnuts (or pecans) toasted
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
16 ounces of best quality dark bittersweet chocolate

Hazelnut English Toffee

1. Form a 10 inch square shell out of heavy duty aluminum foil with 1 inch high sides. Place the shell on a baking sheet and set aside.
2. In a heavy saucepan, cook the butter, sugar, water, and salt over medium heat until 305° F on a candy thermometer (hard crack).
3. Stir occasionally until mixture becomes dark golden brown, then immediately remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla. Pour the mixture into the foil shell. Cool 45 minutes or until hard.
4. In a small saucepan or medium low heat, melt the chocolate. Spread over the cooled toffee and lightly press nuts into chocolate. Let chocolate set at least an hour. Break into pieces. Store covered at room temp for up to a month.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop

This has become a real hit when served with hot and crispy tortilla triangles. The pink color is perfect on a Holiday Buffet.

Preheat oven to 350° F

24 oz. cream cheese
½ cup mayonnaise
1½ cups grated Parmesan (the “cheap stuff”)
1½ cups Asiago cheese, grated
½ teaspoon smoky paprika
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup roasted red peppers

Rosy Red Pepper Cream

1. Let cream cheese soften, then thoroughly mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Spread mixture into a 9x13 baking dish.
2. Bake 40 - 45 minutes until bubbly. Transfer to serving dish and surround with tortilla triangles or crustini.

Marrons glaceé have become all the rage – but there’s something very special about roasting chestnuts over an open fire.

Buy or gather chestnuts and with a sharp knife cut an X on the round side of the chestnut (This keeps them from exploding.) A special chestnut roasting pan works well – but if you don’t happen to have a chestnut pan you can still roast chestnuts.

Chestnuts Roasting

To roast chestnuts in the fireplace, put them in a chestnut skillet (a long handled skillet with holes in the bottom, available at kitchenware shops) and put the skillet over hot coals, shaking it occasionally, for one hour.

While a chestnut roasting pan works well – if you don’t happen to have one you can still roast chestnuts. Place them in the oven, cut side up in a baking pan and roast, covered, in a preheated 425° F oven. Sprinkle them with three to four tablespoons of water every fifteen minutes, and roast them for an hour.

"Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody." - Samuel Pepys

From coast to coast most holiday dinners have as their centerpiece – a bird!! The size and origin varies, but the selection has never been broader. If you don’t raise or hunt your own – you can still bring adventure to your Holiday table. And a much more flavorful entrée!!

You’ll find the rare Barred Plymouth Rock Chicken, the exceptional Dark Cornish Chicken, and fresh Bourbon Red or American Bronze Heritage Turkeys at heritagefoodsusa.com.

At d’Artagnan, the selection is exciting and broad – ducks, capon, chicken, organic or wild turkeys, Guinea hens, pheasant, partridge, poussin, quail, Scottish grouse, squab and geese. There’s also whole baby pigs, kid goat, rabbit and wild hare, venison and wild boar. All at dartagnan.com. There’s not a reason in the world for boring Holiday feasts!! go to localharvest.org


We think traditions are better than presents, don’t you?

Before Thanksgiving The Women of Wickwood (plus Bill) have drawn names so we have four full weeks of Secret Santa-ing. One of the best parts of Secret Santa’s is being surprised during your “everyday" chores!! A thoughtful little present will surprise a Housekeeper amidst piles of towels, is found in your purse after you’re home, or is tucked behind the raspberries with your name on it. It makes every day fun – and you’re tickled pink when you least expect it. The intrigue builds as we wait to discover our Santa at the Wickwood Christmas Party!

The week between Christmas and New Year's is a quiet one in the world - a great time to spend time together doing things you never have time to do as a family the rest of the year.

Have a long Sunday dinner mid-afternoon, then a walk.
Go for a winter hike and picnic in the woods.
While away the afternoon, playing Monopoly or Parcheesi.
Go to a concert or the ballet.
Build a snowman.
Make homemade marshmallows for Hot Chocolate.
Make homemade pasta or bread together.
Use your Christmas dishes and best silver for every meal, starting just after Thanksgiving until the Feast of Epiphany (12th day of Christmas). Why not?
Have a Pot Luck supper so you can see friends and not do all of the work! Have each couple bring ornaments for all other couples to exchange. Bring five, come home with five different ones. Make this an annual event – you might even request handmade ornaments. Hmmm, that may be pushing it!
Remember an elderly relative, neighbor, or sick friend. Make batches of soup, stews, pasta sauces, and one-dish meals and freeze them. This will make their life a little easier. You’ll be older, but wiser, one day, too soon.
Bring a sense of secrets and surprises into your house by leaving love notes or tiny surprises under pillows, at the breakfast table, on the steering wheel of the car, or in someone’s pocket or briefcase.

Turkey Stuffing

As I truly never ever measure --- I’ll give you the essence of our Thanksgiving Stuffing and let you pick and choose what you might want to add to your own favorite.

I begin with Pepperidge Farm Seasoned Bread Cubes, or make my own, then sauté lots of onions and hot spicy sausage (adding in some of the fat), add inordinate amounts of dried cherries, apples, celery, toasted pecans or hazelnuts, orange zest and juice, chopped parsley, fresh sage, sea salt and loads of freshly ground black pepper, chicken broth and booze.

This last ingredient began when Pat Wells and I were cooking Thanksgiving Dinner at her home in Provence and I got carried away adding Armagnac. Well, dinner was going to be at 11pm --- how could I not? Now, I add what ever we have that’s really great --- sometimes Cognac, Grand Marnier, Calvados or well, Armagnac.

As I see it, I want a moist stuffing that’s loaded with good stuff. Then I like the underlying pizzazz of spicy sausage and the dazzle of the booze. We always stuff the bird, but my favorite stuffing is baked in a casserole alongside. It has that crunchy top that is irresistible swathed in gravy.

Hot Chocolate

The darkest, deepest most Warming Winter drink was begun by the Mexicans but perfected by the French. Angelina’s in Paris, the City Bakery and La Maison du Chocolate in New York, to our mind, make the very best!! We like it dark, thick and rich – And so our simplified version is:

12 ounces the best Bittersweet Chocolate (70% cocoa or more)
1 cup heavy cream
1-2 cups whole milk (we actually like 1 – but the resulting cocoa is very dark and thick, like pudding – add milk to your taste).

Over medium heat, melt the chocolate and heavy cream stirring regularly not to burn. (We like to stir with a wire whisk to add a little air.) Add milk to taste and bring to the boil for a second. Serves 4-6 small 6 ounce servings. We prefer small tastes – more often than, caloric once-a-year hot chocolate. Serve with real whipped cream atop!

Spiced Hot Chocolate is all the rage – so – be adventurous with smidgens of cinnamon, ground clove, orange zest, black or cayenne pepper, or a sprig of thyme or tarragon. A trick: If you make hot chocolate – refrigerate – and reheat, you’ll always have it at-the-ready and it will be even thicker still!!

"The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit."
- Nelson Henderson




Wickwood Inn   |    510 Butler Street P.O. Box 1019   |   Saugatuck, MI 49453
Tel (800) 385-1174   |   
www.wickwoodinn.com    |    Bill and Julee Rosso Miller, Proprietors