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Wednesday, December 6, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Times Kitchen

Recipes on this page were developed and tested by Kathy Casey

Maple Scalloped Sweet Potatoes with Sage

Serves about 10 to 12

8 cups peeled and thinly sliced ( 1/4-inch) sweet potatoes (about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds)

Maple Cream:

3 cups whipping cream

1/2 cup real maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Topping:

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

3 tablespoons high-quality grated Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves

Fresh sage leaves for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Spray a 3-quart casserole with vegetable cooking spray or lightly butter it. Then arrange sliced sweet potatoes in an even layer. In a large bowl whisk together the cream, maple syrup, nutmeg, thyme, sage, salt and pepper until well combined. Pour the maple cream over the sweet potatoes and push them down a bit to be sure they are coated in liquid.

3. Prepare the topping by combining bread crumbs, Parmesan, thyme, parsley and sage; set aside.

4. Bake casserole for 35 minutes and then sprinkle with topping and bake another 25 to 35 minutes or until topping is browned, potatoes are tender and liquid is thickened.

5. Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh sage leaves.

Copyright, 2000, Kathy Casey Food Studios

Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Walnut Butter

Makes about 12 servings

Butter:

3/4 cup walnut pieces

4 tablespoons salted butter

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced lemon zest

2 tablespoons real maple syrup

6 cups trimmed and halved fresh Brussels sprouts (about 3 pounds)

1. To prepare the compound butter, first preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Spread walnuts in a baking pan and place in preheated oven for about 5 minutes or until nuts are lightly toasted and golden. Let cool.

3. Place butter, salt, pepper, lemon juice, zest and maple syrup in a food processor and process ingredients until smooth. Add cooled walnuts and pulse into butter till almost smooth but small pieces of walnut are still visible.

4. Steam Brussels sprouts in a steaming basket over boiling water and cook until just tender - but not overcooked. Immediately toss with softened walnut butter and serve.

Note: If making butter ahead, it can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Just be sure to bring to room temperature before using.

Copyright, 2000, Kathy Casey Food Studios

Ginger & Orange Glazed Parsnip & Carrot Bake

Makes about 6 to 8 servings

3 cups peeled, 1/4-inch-sliced parsnips

3 cups peeled, 1/4-inch-sliced carrots

Glaze:

3 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons finely minced fresh gingerroot

6 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced fresh sage

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (depending upon spice desired)

1/2 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1. In a large pot bring 2 1/2 quarts water to a boil over high heat.

2. When water is at a rapid boil, quickly add parsnips and carrots and cook for about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Remove from water and drain very well. Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, combine the butter, ginger, brown sugar, sage, salt, chili flakes and half of the orange juice in a small saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. In a small bowl dissolve cornstarch in the remaining orange juice and whisk into the simmering mixture. Increase heat and bring mixture to a boil, whisking to let cornstarch thicken sauce. When sauce is thick, remove from heat. In a large bowl toss the glaze with the blanched carrots and parsnips, coating well. Place vegetables in a lightly buttered or pan-sprayed 11-by-7-inch glass baking dish.

4. Recipe can be made to this point, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days in advance. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before baking to let come to room temperature.

5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly caramelized.

Copyright, 2000, Kathy Casey Food Studios

Brian's Holiday Baked Apples

Makes 8 servings

Honey Butter:

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup butter

1 teaspoon whole anise seed

Apple Stuffing:

2 tablespoons butter

1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped small (about 1 cup)

2 green onions, minced

1/4 cup sliced almonds

1/4 cup of 1/4 inch diced, mixed dried fruit, such as peaches, figs and apricots

1/4 cup oats

3/4 teaspoon whole anise seed

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 large apples, such as Granny Smith or Fuji, prepared as described below.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. To make honey butter: Combine honey, butter and anise seed in saucepan and bring to a simmer slowly, or microwave in a small microwave-safe dish until butter is melted. Set aside.

3. To make the stuffing and stuff the apples: In a medium saute pan melt butter, add chopped apple, green onions, almonds, dried fruit and oats, and cook over medium heat for about five minutes or until well combined. Add anise seed, nutmeg, syrup and salt, and cook, heating through. Set aside.

4. Cut apples in half. (Keep the skin on.) With a spoon or melon baller, scoop out the seeds/core and discard. Place apples, skin-side down, on a pan-sprayed or buttered baking pan. Evenly divide the filling, placing in the center of the apples, pressing down and mounding upward.

5. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and drizzle the apples evenly with the honey butter. Immediately return to the oven for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, until apples are tender and soft and filling is nicely browned.

Copyright, 2000, adapted from Chef Brian Poor.

Gwen's Savory Bread Pudding

Makes about 8 to 10 servings

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter

1 large yellow onion, sliced very thin (about 3 cups)

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

10 eggs

3 cups half & half

3/4 cup chicken stock

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1/2 loaf (about 12 to 14 slices) day-old Grand Central Como bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick

1 pound jack cheese, grated to make about 5 cups (set 1 1/2 cups aside)

1. In a large saute pan melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle in rosemary and then set aside.

2. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, half & half, chicken stock, salt, pepper and Tabasco.

3. Butter or pan spray a 9-inch-by-13-inch ovenproof baking dish. Then start layering, starting with a third of the bread, then half of the onion mixture, about 2 cups of the cheese, another layer of bread, remaining onion, about 2 more cups of the cheese, and ending with another bread layer. (You should have 1 1/2 cups of cheese reserved to put on top.) Pour egg mixture over top. Press bread down into mixture several times to prevent it floating. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight (6 to 8 hours minimum) to soak up egg mixture.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, covered with foil, in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil. Sprinkle top with the reserved 1 1/2 cups of cheese, and continue baking, uncovered, until custard is firm and the top is golden, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Copyright, 2000, recipe adapted from Gwen Bassetti, Grand Central Bakery

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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