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Cornucopia Recipes

Michael Smith's Mulled Apple Cider


  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 liters of fresh cider
  • 1 orange
  • 24 cloves
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 branches of rosemary
  • 8 star anise pods (or 2 tsp. ground star anise)
  • 1 bottle of Chardonnay or Apple wine

Place the sugar and water in a medium sized sauce, large enough to hold the cider and wine. Bring the sugar mixture to a boil and continue simmering as it forms syrup and the water boils away. Do not stir or shake the pot. When the syrup begins to brown gently swirl the pot until the caramel is a deep golden brown. Working quickly and carefully, add the cider to "shock" the caramel and prevent it from burning. It will splatter, so be careful! Bring the entire mixture to a simmer. Spike the orange with the cloves and add to the cider. Add the remaining ingredients and continue simmering for about 30 minutes until the cider reduces by about a third. Add the wine, bring the mixture back to the simmer and serve immediately in a festive mug. Garnish each serving with a rosemary sprig.

Michael Smith © 2003

Other browning tips from Michael:

Wild Mushroom Hunter's Soup
Serves 6 - 8

This was a soup actually thrown together in camp after a day of wild mushroom hunting. It's very simple and its flavor will vary depending on the type of mushrooms used. If you are lucky enough to have found some other wild edibles such as ramps (wild leeks) or a young cress - - by all means throw them in too!


Garnish: Freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese and chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, chives, basil and/or chervil.

Heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a deep saucepan and cook the onions and garlic over moderate heat until they are golden. While onion mixture is cooking, sauté the mushrooms in remaining olive oil in a separate sauté pan over high heat until they are cooked through and lightly browned. Add mushrooms to onion mixture along with the tomato and stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes. Stir in port and zest and correct seasoning with salt and pepper just before serving. Serve in warm bowls or mugs garnished with a good sprinkling of cheese and chopped fresh herbs.

Serves 8

This is a refreshing salad that takes advantage of produce that is abundant during the holidays. A little do ahead trick I learned from an avocado farmer a long time ago is that you can slice the avocado and you don't need to douse them in lemon juice to keep them from browning. Simply rinse the slices gently in cold tap water and they'll stay bright green for a couple of hours.


Trim the fennel removing any of the stalks along with any brown or bruised spots and the bottom. Rinse well in cold water. Slice vertically into paper thin slices and arrange on chilled plates. Place the grapefruit segments and avocado slices attractively on top and drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of vinaigrette over and around. Garnish with a tuft of daikon sprouts and arugula, if using. Serve immediately.

Citrus Vinaigrette

Makes almost 1 cup

  • 1 teaspoon each grated lemon and orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot or green onion
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • Juice of one large lemon (1/4 cup)
  • Juice of one large orange (1/3 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place all ingredients except oils and salt and pepper in a blender and blend at high speed for 10 seconds. Add oils and pulse 2 or 3 times to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For one 16 pound or so turkey serving 8 - 10

Brining is great way to insure that your turkey is moist throughout, especially the breast which seems to always dry out before the legs and thighs are cooked. Once you do this I swear you'll never roast or grill a turkey (or chicken for that matter) without brining ahead.

For the Brine:

For the Baste:

  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

Mix the brine ingredients together until salt is dissolved. Add turkey and brine refrigerated for 8 hours or overnight. If you don't have room in your refrigerator an alternative is to place turkey and brine in an insulated cooler and add frozen ice packs to keep it chilled. Make sure brine completely covers turkey. Make more if necessary.

Remove turkey from brine, rinse and pat dry. Tie turkey if desired and rub with olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Place turkey breast side down on a rack in a roasting pan in a preheated 475 degree oven for 25 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees and continue to roast for another hour. Mix the butter and syrup together for the baste. Turn turkey breast side up and baste frequently with maple-butter mixture. Roast for another hour or so or until breast temperature reaches 165 degrees when an instant read thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the breast, about 1 hour more.


This makes enough stuffing to fill a 14 - 16 pound turkey. If you're like me, however, I think the stuffing is better when it's cooked separately in a well-buttered baking dish so that you can maximize the crispy, crunchy edges! The type of apple chosen I think is very important. Choose a firm tart-sweet type such as Gala or Fuji. In Sonoma County where I live, there are lots of varieties of apples grown. One of my favorites is from the Walker Apple Ranch in Sebastopol. They grow a late season apple called Arkansas Black which has a dense texture and a sweet-tart, wine-like taste.


Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and lightly toast in a preheated 325º oven for 25 minutes or so (can be made 2 days ahead and stored airtight). Set aside.

Sauté the pancetta in the butter until just beginning to color. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Add the onions and celery and continue to sauté until crisp tender and lightly colored. Add the apple and sauté for 2 minutes longer. Take it off the heat.

In a large bowl, mix together the bread cubes, pancetta, apple mixture, optional giblets, almonds, herbs, zest, egg and enough broth to just moisten the stuffing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Can be made a day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Spoon stuffing into a shallow buttered 4 quart baking dish and bake covered in a preheated 375 degree oven for 40 minutes or until hot in the center. Uncover and bake 15 - 20 minutes or so longer until browned and crispy on top.


Serves 6


Garnish: Sunflower or daikon sprouts if desired.

Cook pancetta until just beginning to color. Remove, coarsely chop and set aside. Reserve the fat and combine in a bowl with the garlic, olive oil, honey, vinegar, salt and pepper. Taste and correct seasoning.

In a large sauté pan over moderate high heat, briefly warm the olive oil mixture, add the cabbage and toss quickly for a minute or two just to warm through. Add chopped pancetta and place on warm plates. Cut goat cheese attractively and arrange on top along with sprouts. Serve immediately.


There is something about roasting Cauliflower in the oven that changes it into a whole "new" vegetable. I like it infinitely better than steamed or boiled Cauliflower and use it as is as an accompaniment to roasted meats and fishes and also use it to toss with pasta and rice. The pecan oil adds a nice rich flavor and finish. I'm especially fond of that produced by California Press Nut Oils: 707.944.0343. www.californiapress.com


  • 1 large head Cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup or so fragrant Pecan oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Remove green leaves from cauliflower and slice vertically into 1/2 inch thick slices. Brush both sides of slices liberally with the pecan oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Lay slices in a single layer on a clean baking sheet and roast in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 - 35 minutes or until top of cauliflower is lightly browned and tender. Bottoms will be a deeper golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with any remaining oil. Serve warm or at room temperature.

For a delicious vegetable side dish, coarsely chop the cauliflower and toss with chopped toasted pecans, fried capers (method follows), slivered meaty olives such as black Cerignola and drops of lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Fried Capers
When capers are fried they take on a different flavor and texture, which I really like. All you need to do is to drain them well, pat dry with paper towels and then fry in small batches in 1/3 inch or so of hot (350 degree) olive oil until the buds begin to open and are lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. As they cool they become crisp. Can be done a few hours in advance.


Serves 6


Halve the endive lengthwise removing any loose or discolored leaves. Blanch in boiling salted water for 30 seconds. Plunge immediately into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain well and pat dry.

Over medium heat sauté the endive halves in the oil and butter until lightly browned. Set aside on paper towels. Meanwhile in a separate saucepan bring the cream, stock and wine to a boil, lower heat and simmer until reduced by half. Off heat, stir half the cheese and zest and stir until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange the endive halves cut side down in a buttered baking dish just large enough to hold them. Pour cream mixture over and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Mix the bread crumbs and zest together and sprinkle over the top. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until nicely browned.


Serves 4 - 6


Add potatoes and parsnips to a saucepan with lightly salted water to cover. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and return to pan over low heat. Mash potatoes adding butter, drops of vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately topped with bacon, onions and chopped chives.


Makes one 9 inch pie serving 6 - 8

My Grandmother always roasted fresh pumpkin for her pies which is better (in my opinion) than canned. You could also substitute freshly roasted butternut squash for the pumpkin.

For the Crust

Mix flour, pecans, sugar and salt together. Cut butter into 1/4 inch bits and with a mixer quickly mix into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Mix in egg yolk and enough water so that dough just begins to come together.

Form into a smooth cake, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface and fit into a 9 inch pie pan. Pinch and flute the edges decoratively. Chill while preparing the filling.

For the Filling

  • 2-1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger (1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 2 tablespoons melted sweet butter
  • 3 large eggs, separated

Mix the pumpkin, sugar, spices, cream, rum and butter together in a bowl. Beat in egg yolks.

Separately beat egg whites until stiff peaks are formed. Carefully fold into pumpkin mixture and pour into prepared shell.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 - 45 minutes or until center is set and puffed. As pie cools it will deflate somewhat. Serve at room temperature garnished with lightly sweetened, lightly whipped cream.

John Ash © 2003

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