Cookbook makes gourmet cooking easier for the holidays

By Kaylene Morrill Wheeler

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 10 2013 5:24 p.m. MST

The word “gourmet” probably brings to mind complicated, expensive and time-consuming recipes, but a new cookbook redefines the word by showing how anyone can create gourmet dishes this holiday season.

This time of year often brings with it festive parties and the chance to flex culinary muscles and get a little fancier in the kitchen. “Everyday Gourmet Cookbook” (Covenant Communications, $21), by Alice Osborn, Jeanne Wolfley and Kaycee Leishman, provides straightforward recipes, utilizes accessible ingredients and offers helpful tips to make gourmet cooking easier during the holidays and throughout the year.

“Everyday Gourmet Cookbook” gives recipes a gourmet taste with a little something the authors call putting “new twists on familiar themes.”

One example is a recipe in the book called “Cloud Nine Frosting.” It has all the normal ingredients one would expect to see in a frosting recipe with the exception of one: brown sugar.

“People mix white sugar and powdered sugar into cream cheese, but you never have really seen brown sugar mixed into it,” Osborne said. “We wondered, what would that taste like?”

While their findings are implied in the name of the frosting — Cloud Nine Frosting — Osborne also deemed the frosting to be “amazing.”

“It’s just using normal, everyday ingredients people have, but it’s just kind of giving them a new twist. And that’s what this cookbook is all about.”

While “Everyday Gourmet Cookbook” isn’t a holiday-focused recipe book per se, it does have many recipes with holiday-appropriate spins, such as the recipe for Cinnamon Syrup — another instance where a single spice elevates an ordinary breakfast staple to the gourmet status.

Taste plays a critical role in a gourmet dish, but visual presentation plays a key part, too.

“When you look at (food), you want it to look appetizing, even as much as it tastes good,” said Leishman.

This is something Leishman said she and the other authors tried to capture in the images of the cookbook because if a recipe doesn’t look appealing, then few will want to make it.

“We knew with our cookbook that we wanted an image for every recipe and that we wanted it to look good.”

It turns out that gourmet recipes often have visual twists, too. The cookbook offers ideas for presenting dishes attractively, such as adding garnishes or plating in unique ways.

One of these is the recipe for Lasagna Cupcakes. Instead of serving the lasagna in one large pan, the lasagna is made into individual servings that are baked in a muffin tin. The result is a classy version of a common dinner.

It is typically a cook’s goal to create food that is pleasing to both guests’ eyes and guests’ taste buds, but ideally, the prepping and cooking part should be easy and stress-free. “Everyday Gourmet Cookbook” emphasizes that anyone can cook like a gourmet each and every day of the year, and it provides 52 tips at the end of the book for cooking smarter and not harder in the kitchen.

Even the recipes in the book are catered toward an easier time in the kitchen.

The Quick Crescent Rolls in the cookbook freeze really well, which can be very convenient for those who want to have homemade, ready-to-bake rolls on hand for holiday gatherings.

“Those kinds of things just make for a more enjoyable holiday because you’re not trying to do everything last minute, and it gives you time for the things that need to be fresh right then like the meat and potatoes, and stuff like that,” said Wolfley.

“Everyday Gourmet Cookbook” can be purchased at Deseret Book, Seagull Book, Costco, the BYU Bookstore and Amazon.com.

Stuffed Turkey Breast

Yield: 8–10 servings

Prep time: 35 minutes

Bake time: 65 minutes

Rest time: 10 minutes

When a whole turkey is too much but turkey at the table is a must, this moist stuffed turkey breast meets the need. Its presentation is as lovely as its taste is superb.

8 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large yellow onion, diced

2 cups diced celery

1 fennel bulb, trimmed and diced (approximately 1½ cups)

2 tablespoons minced mixed fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, and thyme are a perfect combination)

⅓ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

1½ teaspoons salt

¾ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 box stuffing mix

3–3 ½ cups chicken stock, warmed, plus more if needed

2 4-pound boneless turkey breast halves, butterflied by your butcher and pounded to ½-inch thickness

Kitchen twine, for tying rolled roasts

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided between the 2 roasts

1 jar turkey gravy base, prepared according to package directions, for serving (or use homemade gravy)

Preheat oven to 425 F. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, celery, and fennel; sautee, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes.

Add mixed fresh herbs, parsley, salt, and pepper; stir to combine. Transfer ingredients to a large bowl. Add stuffing mix and 3 cups of stock; stir to combine. Add more stock if needed to form a moist stuffing. Set aside.

Place 1 butterflied turkey breast on a work surface with long side nearest you. Season with salt and pepper. Mound 3 cups of stuffing running down center of breast, leaving a 1-inch border on each long side.

Roll the long side nearest you over the stuffing to enclose, gently pressing on the filling, and roll to form a cylinder; do not roll too tightly or the filling will slip out through the ends. Using kitchen twine, tie the rolled turkey breast crosswise at 1-inch intervals.

Rub the outside of the breast with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place roast, rolled edge down, in large turkey roasting pan. Repeat process with the other turkey breast half. (You may have some leftover stuffing.) Place remaining roast alongside first roast, also with rolled edge down. Roast turkey for 25 minutes at 425 F, then reduce oven temperature to 350 F. Continue roasting for about 40 minutes or until the skin is crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breasts registers 165 F.

Transfer turkey breasts to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5–10 minutes. Slice into ½-inch slices, removing twine as you go. Serve immediately with your family’s favorite gravy.

— "Everyday Gourmet Cookbook," Alice Osborne, Jeanne Wolfley and Kaycee Leishman

Raspberry Custard Tart

Yield: 4 servings

Prep time: 52 minutes plus 2 hours chill time

Bake time: 25 minutes

This easy and versatile dessert can be made as one 9- or 10-inch tart or 4 individual tarts.

SUGAR COOKIE CRUST

½ cup sugar

½ cup butter, softened to room temperature

1¼ cups flour

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter until light. Add flour, salt, milk, and vanilla; beat until mixture is moist and crumbly (it should clump together when pressed between fingers). Place dough into a 9- or 10-inch tart pan and press it evenly across the bottom and up the sides.

To use with a no-bake filling: Bake 25 minutes or until crust is golden. Cool. To use with a baked filling: Fill with desired filling and bake for 25 minutes or until crust edges are golden.

HOMEMADE VANILLA CUSTARD

Prep time: 22 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

½ cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

½ teaspoon salt

4 egg yolks

3 cups milk

2 tablespoons butter

2½ teaspoons vanilla extract

In a heavy saucepan, bring sugar, cornstarch, salt, egg yolks, and milk to a boil over medium heat (approximately 20 minutes), whisking constantly. The mixture will thicken more as it cools.

Remove from heat and transfer to a medium bowl; add butter and vanilla. Stir well. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of custard to prevent “skin” from forming. Chill 2 hours, removing plastic and stirring occasionally. When custard mixture is completely cooled, spoon into sugar cookie crust.

RASPBERRY WHIPPED CREAM

½ cup fresh raspberries

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 cup heavy cream, chilled well

Mash raspberries lightly with a fork until saucy but still chunky. In a medium bowl, whip cream and powdered sugar to form stiff peaks. Gently fold mashed raspberries into whipped cream. Spoon or pipe whipped cream on top of custard.

— "Everyday Gourmet Cookbook," Alice Osborne, Jeanne Wolfley and Kaycee Leishman

Kaylene Morrill Wheeler is a freelance writer. Email: kmorril07@gmail.com

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