Cheese sticks

Makes about 60


2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 pound (or one package) frozen puff pastry, defrosted


1.  Toss: In a small bowl, toss together cheese, red pepper and cumin seeds. Set aside.

2.  Roll: On a lightly floured work surface, roll out puff pastry into a large rectangle. Position the rectangle vertically. Scatter the bottom two-thirds with half the cheese mixture. Cover with wax paper and press in cheese by rolling gently with rolling pin. Set aside wax paper.

3.  Fold: Fold the blank top third down and the embossed bottom third up, like a cheesy love letter.

4.  Repeat: Roll out into a big rectangle again. Scatter the remaining cheese across the bottom two-thirds. Press in cheese, as before. Fold, as before. Roll into a big rectangle again.

5.  Cut: Using a pizza cutter, cut the rectangle in half lengthwise. Set one half on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Turn it lengthwise. Starting at the bottom, cut the dough into 1/2-inch thick strips, stopping 1 inch short of the top edge. All the strips will remain attached to this top border, fringe style. Repeat with remaining dough.

6.  Twist: Grasp each strip at the free end and twist. Rest the handle of a wooden spoon on the finished free ends, to prevent untwisting.

7.  Freeze: Slide the pans of twisted cheese sticks into the freezer. Freeze at least 1 hour (or, later secured in a plastic container, up to 1 month).

8.  Bake: Snap the frozen cheese twists off the backbone. Separate slightly on the parchment-lined pans and bake at 375 degrees until just crisp, 14-15 minutes. Cool on a rack. These make wonderfully crunchy hors d’oeuvres and get along well with soup.


Makes: 2 8-inch pans, enough for stuffing for 12

Let’s make x2 Can make ahead and freeze


3  cups fine-grind cornmeal

1 cup flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 teaspoons kosher salt

A few grinds of pepper

2 ½ cups milk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 eggs

2 2-teaspoon pats salted butter


1. Heat: Set 2 8-inch cast-iron skillets in a cold oven. Heat to 400 degrees.

2. Whisk: In a large bowl whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper.

3. Mix: In a large glass measuring cup whisk together milk, melted butter, and egg. Pour liquid over dry ingredients and stir with a fork. Don’t fret over lumps.

4. Bake: Pull on reliable oven mitts and pull hot pan out of oven. Drop in butter and swirl to coat bottom of pan. Scrape in batter and smooth. Return to oven and bake until a toothpick poked in the middle comes out clean, about 18 – 20 minutes.

5. Store: Invert onto a rack. Cool. If working ahead, wrap and freeze. Break up for stuffing.


Carrot puree

Serves 12


4 pounds sweet potatoes

2 pounds carrots

5 cups water

2 tablespoons sugar

1 stick unsalted butter

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup plain yogurt

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper


1. Bake: Scrub potatoes. Cut a slit in each. Set on the center rack of 375-degree oven. Bake until tender when squeezed, about 1 hour.

2. Boil: Peel and trim carrots. Cut into 1-inch lengths. Tumble into a big saucepan. Pour in water, sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, salt and pepper. Set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, cook uncovered until water has evaporated and carrots begin to sizzle in the butter, about 30 minutes.

3. Swirl: Scrape out flesh of sweet potatoes and combine with carrots in food processor. Add remaining butter, the crème fraiche, nutmeg and cayenne. Process very smooth.


Provenance: Adapted from The Silver Palate

Mashed potatoes


Prep: 30 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Serves: 12


10 Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 ½ cups whole milk

4 tablespoons butter, cut up

1 bulb garlic, optional

Kosher salt


1. Boil: Settle potatoes in a large pot. Fill with cold water to cover by 1 inch. Sprinkle in 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil, lower to simmer and cook until fork-tender, 15 minutes. Drain. Return potatoes to pot and pot to stove. Shake gently over medium heat until potatoes look dry, 1 minute.

2. Warm: Heat milk and butter until hot. (if you like, add a bulb of garlic, cut in half and let steep 15 minutes.) Strain into a big serving bowl.

3. Fluff: Set a potato ricer over the bowl. Run potatoes through ricer into bowl. Fluff with a fork. Immediately serve big scoops topped with butter.