We thought it would be fun this month to revisit some of our favorite recipes from the cooking classes Tracey used to teach at The Panhandler, which some of you may remember at Citiplace. The classes were a fun, hands-on experience filled with useful kitchen tips and original recipes that are quite easy to make—and still just as delicious. It has been many years since Tracey taught these classes, so we decided it was time to resurrect some of these fall-inspired recipes and tips and share them with our Dining In readers.
ON THE MENU
• Mixed Fall Greens and Apples with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
• Chicken Grillades
• Pumpkin Apple Strudel
Recipes by Tracey Koch
MIXED FALL GREENS AND APPLES WITH POMEGRANATE VINAIGRETTE
This salad is one of our favorites to make in the fall. It is full of wonderful flavors and textures and is always a crowd pleaser. The addition of the fresh pomegranate seeds gives it a nice tang and crunch along with adding a healthy boost of nutrients. Pomegranates are seasonal fall fruit, available from September through December. It can be difficult to determine when your pomegranate is ripe, so look for one that is not perfectly round, but angular on the sides. The skin needs to be smooth and taut. Also, a ripe pomegranate will be heavy for its size. You can store ripe pomegranates in the refrigerator for up to a couple of weeks to help extend their shelf life.
FOR THE DRESSING
½ cup pomegranate juice
½ cup apple jelly
1⁄3 cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1. In a small pot, whisk together the pomegranate juice and apple jelly. Simmer over low heat until smooth and the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
2. Take the mixture off the heat and allow it to cool completely.
3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the pomegranate mixture and vinegar until combined.
4. Slowly whisk in the oil until everything is incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Set the dressing aside.
FOR THE SALAD
1 bag of mixed salad greens
1 Granny Smith apple, chopped or sliced
1 Honeycrisp apple, chopped or sliced
1 fresh pomegranate
¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
¼ cup toasted sunflower seeds
1⁄3 cup blue cheese crumbles
1. Place the mixed greens and apples in a large mixing bowl.
2. Cut the pomegranate in half and carefully peel back some of the membrane to expose the seeds. Turn the pomegranate over and gently tap the outside of the pomegranate with the back of a wooden spoon to release the seeds into the salad.
3. Sprinkle in the pumpkin and sunflower seeds along with the crumbled blue cheese. Add in the dressing and toss well. Serve immediately.
(From editor Jennifer Tormo)
Toasting trial and error: I’ve had trouble evenly toasting pumpkin seeds on the stove in the past, so I had to do a little research here. Turns out oven roasting the seeds is best! Most recipes I found suggested coating the pumpkin seeds in oil and salt. You can just let the sunflower seed kernels roast on their own; they’ll develop their own natural oils. Roast together on a sheet pan until lightly browned.
Feel free to swap cheeses: I can’t resist goat cheese, so I used that instead of blue cheese. And if blue is too pungent for you, I’m sure feta would work just fine, as well.
Keep your apples bright, not brown: Soak them for 5 minutes in a bath of water and citrus juice. This will keep your salad looking and tasting fresh and pretty, right up until the moment you’re ready to devour it.
We love making grillades in the fall and winter. It is an easy dish to prepare for a crowd, and it’s always versatile and budget friendly. We lightened this recipe up a bit by using chicken in place of veal or beef. We wrote the recipe for chicken breasts, but adding in some thigh meat will make for a richer flavor. We like to double this recipe and freeze half to use on a night when we don’t have time to cook. This dish is perfect comfort food to serve on a chilly fall night but can make for a great holiday brunch, as well.
½ cup vegetable oil
2½ to 3 pounds boneless chicken breasts cut into strips
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon ground thyme
½ cup flour
½ cup chopped onion
1⁄3 cup chopped bell pepper
1⁄3 cup chopped celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
2 can stewed tomatoes with green chilies
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Steamed rice, mashed potatoes or grits for serving
1. In a large deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil. Brown the chicken until it is no longer pink in the middle.
2. Remove the chicken onto a plate. Sprinkle it with the salt, pepper and thyme. Set aside.
3. Add the flour to the drippings in the skillet and place it back over medium heat. Stir the flour mixture until it becomes light brown in color.
4. Add in the chopped onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic and continue cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes.
5. Carefully stir in the broth and keep stirring until the mixture is smooth. Add in the stewed tomatoes, tomato paste and cooked chicken.
6. Allow the grillades to come up to a simmer, stir it well and cover.
7. Set the heat on low and let the grillades simmer for an hour. Stir occasionally to prevent the chicken from sticking to the bottom.
8. Serve the chicken grillades over steamed rice, mashed potatoes or grits. (We used corn grits for our photos.)
(From managing editor Benjamin Leger)
About that roux: I’m a Cajun who isn’t a very good Cajun cook, so I was nervous about burning the roux. While adding the flour to the hot oil, I kept some of the chicken broth on hand. A couple of splashes and a quick stir kept the mixture from getting too dry once the flour started soaking up all the oil.
You say tomato: I messed up my grocery shopping list and bought tomato sauce instead of paste. My on-the-spot fix was a couple of squirts of ketchup to add that sweet, concentrated tomato flavor. That combined with the tomato sauce gave my grillades a more red than brown color, but it was still just as delicious and creamy.
PUMPKIN APPLE STRUDEL
This easy strudel recipe is a wonderful fall treat and is a delicious way to cap off this cool weather meal. It provides a nice combination of apple and pumpkin pie all rolled into a flaky crust. This is an extremely easy dessert to throw together because it uses frozen puff pastry dough. The tangy Granny Smith apples balance well with the creamy pumpkin. This strudel can be put together ahead of time and baked right before serving. We like dusting it with powdered sugar and cinnamon right before serving, along with a little fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
2 Granny Smith apples,
peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 egg, slightly beaten
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons flour, plus a little more for rolling out the dough
¼ teaspoon salt
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Coat the apple slices in the lemon juice to keep them from browning.
2. In a medium skillet, melt the butter. Add in the sliced apples, ¼ cup of the brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Sauté until the apples are tender but still hold their shape.
3. Remove the apples from the heat and allow to cool.
4. Heat the oven to 375 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment.
5. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin puree with the beaten egg and remaining spices. Sift in the flour and salt. Mix until everything is combined.
6. Fold the cooled apples into the pumpkin mixture and set it aside.
7. Sprinkle a little extra flour on a work surface and roll the puff pastry out to a 9-by-13-inch rectangle.
8. Place the dough onto the prepared baking sheet.
9. Spoon the pumpkin apple mixture down the center of the puff pastry.
10. Fold the two ends at the top and bottom up over the filling. Next fold one of the sides over to completely cover the filling in the center followed by the other side.
11. Carefully roll the strudel over placing it seam-side down. The strudel should now resemble a large egg roll.
12. Use a sharp knife to cut a couple of slits in the top of the strudel to help vent it as it bakes.
13. Bake the strudel for 30 to 40 minutes or until puffed and golden. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes before serving.
14. Sift the powdered sugar and the remaining teaspoon of cinnamon over the strudel before slicing.
(From staff writer Cynthea Corfah)
Look out for a thinning pastry: If your pastry looks like it has been overstretched or thinning when you roll it out, consider adding more dough or less contents. A thin pastry can result in the apple and pumpkin mixture spilling out while baking.
Vegan and gluten-free alternatives are welcome: I used gluten-free powder and vegan butter to make this recipe. You can swap out the eggs for applesauce, bananas or pumpkin puree and exchange the store-bought puff pastry for a homemade vegan puff pastry.
This article was originally published in the October 2020 issue of 225 Magazine.