Sponsored Post: Asiago Apple Galette with Pazazz Apples

Pazazz apples, Asiago cheese, thyme, and the most incredible crust make this the apple dessert of your dreams.
Pazazz apples, Asiago cheese, thyme, and the most incredible crust make this the apple dessert of your dreams.

Few things bring a smile in fall and winter like a bountiful slice of fresh-baked apple pie.

With cheddar cheese, though? Not so much.

At least, in my humble opinion.

But add Asiago and a pinch of thyme in its place, and apple pie soars to newfound heights.

New Englanders and Midwesterners may have an affinity for that sharp orange cheese married with apple pie. Yet, I’ve never been keen on the combination because I think it overwhelms the apples.

Instead, reach for Asiago, the Italian cow’s milk cheese full of buttery nuttiness for a true complementary addition in this superlative “Asiago Apple Galette (or Pie).”

That’s exactly what I did when I got my hands on some Pazazz apples.

Beautiful, delicious Pazazz apples are available now through June.
Beautiful, delicious Pazazz apples are available now through June.

This late-season variety sports gorgeous red skin with yellow-green striations. These apples are snappy and full of sweet, tangy juice. Best yet, when baked, they keep their shape, making them ideal to spotlight in pies, crisps, and crumbles, and in savory dishes such as roasted alongside duck, chicken, or pork sausages.

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Ottolenghi Test Kitchen’s 2-Scalloped Potatoes with Chimichurri

All eyes will be on this potato dish at your holiday table.
All eyes will be on this potato dish at your holiday table.

Why have just one type of potato when you can have two?

After all, the holidays were made for going big on excess.

Even so, I’m sure I’m not alone in trying to shave a calorie or two here and there wherever it won’t be missed.

So, while I swoon over decadent scalloped potatoes with all that heavy cream and oodles of cheese, sometimes it’s a bit much even for me.

That’s why I was thrilled to discover “2-Scalloped Potatoes with Chimichurri,” a dazzling spiral of Yukon Gold and sweet potato slices cooked not with cream, but chicken or vegetable stock instead that gets finished with a drizzle of bright, garlicky Argentinian chimichurri sauce.

The recipe is from the new “Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Extra Good Things” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy.

It’s the newest Ottolenghi Test Kitchen cookbook by Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi. The latter, of course, is the acclaimed London restaurateur and best-selling cookbook author; and the former is the head of his Ottolenghi Test Kitchen.

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Dining Outside at iChina

The Crispy Dim Sum platter at iChina/JiuBa.
The Crispy Dim Sum platter at iChina/JiuBa.

It’s rare that a restaurant invites me in as a guest twice in less than three months. And even rarer that I find a reason to accept a second invitation like that.

In August, I dined outside at JiuBa, the bar-lounge that’s part of the opulent iChina restaurant that opened last year Westfield Valley Fair. Executive Chef Eddie Lam, former corporate executive chef at Straits Management Group, oversaw the expansive high-end Chinese menu at the restaurant and the much smaller menu at the bar-lounge.

However, a month later, he departed and a new culinary team took over: Chef Zhineng Chen, former North America corporate chef for the Hakkasan Group, whose forte is Cantonese cuisine; Chef Xia An He, who specializes in dim sum; and consulting Pastry Chef Graham Hornigold, who has worked at the Mandarin Oriental and the Lanesborough hotels in London.

Now, there’s a brand new menu. And it’s the same one whether you dine at iChina or at JiuBa. So, last week, I again dined outside at JiuBa, but on dishes that were all new for the most part.

There are no heaters here, so dress warmly when dining outside at this time of year.
There are no heaters here, so dress warmly when dining outside at this time of year.

With the evenings turning chilly now, just note that the outdoor dining area is not equipped with heaters. So, you’ll definitely want to dress in warm layers. There are lights on the building that shine down on the outside tables, so you won’t be dining in the dark. The tables are quite small, though, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself balancing a dish or two on the planter wall, as we resorted to at times.

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Shaking Up Shakshuka

Shakshuka -- with a twist.
Shakshuka — with a twist.

Whether for brunch or dinner, many of us have eagerly spooned up the delectable Middle Eastern dish of whole eggs cracked open and cooked gently in a chunky, bubbling sauce of tomatoes and peppers.

Now, this one-pot dish known as shakshuka gets turned on its head in this clever take that swaps out the eggs for fresh fish and shrimp instead.

“Seafood Shakshuka” is from “The Mediterranean Dish” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy.

Egypt-born Suzy Karadsheh, founder of The Mediterranean Dish blog, who now makes her home in Atlanta, offers up 120 sunny recipes that draw from her heritage, as well as from the flavors of neighboring Greece, Italy and Morocco.

Loaded with beautiful color photos, the book tempts with recipes that include “Anytime Falafel,” “Harissa, Red Lentil, and Tomato Soup,” “Braised Chicken, Mushrooms, and Poblano Peppers with Pomegranate Molasses,” and “No-Churn Tahini and Hazelnut Ice Cream.”

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What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 22

Meaty ribs and Malbec are a pairing made in heaven.
Meaty ribs and Malbec are a pairing made in heaven.

2019 Secret Ingredient Malbec

Years ago, I remember reading an article in a wine magazine that mentioned how sommeliers could always spot an industry person dining in their restaurant: The tell was that they were the ones who were likely to order the Gruner Veltliner or Malbec on the wine list.

In a world where so many people stick to Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, these two varietals definitely deserve a whole lot more love.

As someone married to a man whose nickname is Meat Boy for his carnivore leanings, Malbec has truly become a favorite in our household.

So, when I received a sample of the 2019 Secret Ingredient Malbec ($70), my husband was all too happy to fire up the smoker for a batch of beef ribs to accompany them. And it proved a perfect pairing.

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