Sausage Rolls

Sausage Rolls make great bite-sized appetizer servings. Serve them alone or with a bowl of warm marinara sauce for dipping.

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Sausage Rolls
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of The Tucci Table, Stanley Tucci, 2014)

Makes 12 to 16 rolls

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 lb. Italian sausage uncased
Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 package puff pastry, defrosted and kept chilled
Flour for dusting
1 large egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a saute pan, heat oil over low heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until translucent and soft, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Place the sausage meat in a bowl. Add thyme, rosemary, a pinch of salt and pepper, as well as the shallot and garlic. Mix thoroughly with your hands.

Remove the puff pastry from the fridge and place it on a flour dusted surface. Cut in half. Place half of the sausage mixture in a long row down the center of each half of the pastry. Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg and fold the pastry over the sausage and seal the edges. Seal the ends as well. Take a knife and make slashes half deep through the roll making about 8 equal segments in each roll. Brush the pastry all over with egg and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the sausage is cooked and the pastry is fully puffed and golden.

To serve, remove from the oven and cut the rolls all the way through the slashes, forming bite-sized segments. Allow to cool a little before serving.

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Cornish Game Hens

Roasted Cornish Game Hens are a nice alternative to chicken or even the Thanksgiving turkey. They are small, so they, roast quickly. They can be served one per person or served in halves so that each guest gets breast, thigh, leg and wing meat.

The key to roasting Cornish Game Hens is to set them on the bottom of very shallow roasting pan or a rimmed baking sheet with no rack. This allows the heat to get to and caramelize all of the skin. Another trick is to generously salt the skin during the hour while they are coming up to room temperature before roasting. Salting helps draw moisture from the skin so the skin of the birds can get nice and crispy.

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Cornish Game Hens
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

Serves 8

4 Cornish game hens
Kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 heads of garlic
Fresh rosemary
Fresh thyme
Fresh sage
1 small lemon, quartered

Preheat oven to 400F.

Stuff the cavities of each bird with a sprig of rosemary, a sprig of thyme, a sage leave, and a lemon wedge. Truss each bird with cooking twine. Generously salt the birds and place them on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Allow to stand for an hour before roasting.

Finely chop the leaves of two thyme sprigs and two rosemary sprigs and four sage leaves. Just prior to roasting, season the birds with this herb mixture. Slice the top off of each garlic head, place them among the birds and drizzle them with olive oil.

Roast the birds for 1 hour or until juices run clear and the internal temperature of each bird reaches 180F. Remove the birds from the oven and allow them to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

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Roasted Acorn Squash with Sweet and Spicy Red Pepper Jelly

Roasted Acorn Squash with Sweet and Spicy Red Pepper Jelly is a great Fall side dish. Serve it alongside your Thanksgiving turkey, a pork roast, or roast duck.

When preparing the squash you may have to remove the stem and or the pointed end of the squash so the pieces will sit stably in the pan.

Sweet and Spicy Red Pepper Jelly is also an excellent condiment for any roasted meat or poultry. Try it on your post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich or on top of a cream cheese-slathered toasted bagel.

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Roasted Acorn Squash with Sweet and Spicy Red Pepper Jelly
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

2 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 4 pats
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup Sweet and Spicy Red Pepper Jelly (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 375F. Place squash halves, cut side down, in 1/4″ of water in a rimmed pan. Bake for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix brown sugar and Sweet and Spicy Red Pepper Jelly in a small bowl until the brown sugar is completely dissolved.

Remove the squash from the oven and drain the water. Flip the squash pieces over and put a pat of butter in each. Then spoon equal amounts of the brown sugar-pepper mixture into each squash, leaving a rim of the mixture along the cut edges. Bake, cut side up, for an additional 20 minutes, or until tender. Allow to cool a bit before serving. Serve with additional Sweet and Spicy Red Pepper Jelly to garnish.

Sweet and Spicy Red Pepper Jelly
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

Makes about 3 cups

4 red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
4 red chile peppers (such as Fresno), coarsely chopped
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar

Pulse the peppers in a food processor. Transfer to large sauce pan with the sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce to a simmer and continue simmering until the liquid is reduce by about half and thickened, at least one hour.

Divide jelly between jars. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

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Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto

Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto is a rich recipe that can be served as a side dish or entree.

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Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

Serves 4

4 cups seafood stock
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating shrimp
1/2 cup minced shallots
2 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and baked
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine at room temperature
1 bunch asparagus blanched, chilled and cut into 1″ segments
Zest of 1/2 lemon

Preheat oven to 375F. Coat a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp in oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the shrimp on the baking sheet. Bake the shrimp for 5 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the oven and turn them over. Bake for additional 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp to a plate and set aside.

Warm seafood stock over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, then reduce to a simmer. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the oil to a shimmer. Add the shallots and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Deglaze with wine. Add rice and stir until wine is completely absorbed. Add a ladle full of stock to the rice. Stir until absorbed. Repeat until the stock is gone and the rice is fully cooked. Add Parmesan, shrimp, lemon zest, and asparagus and cook until the shrimp is heated through. Garnish with parsley and serve hot.

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Salmon with Brown Sugar Bourbon Glaze

Salmon with Brown Sugar Bourbon Glaze is a variation on previous glazed or marinated salmon recipes Ample Bites has made before. This recipe uses bourbon and a few Asian ingredients to give the dish a different edge. The other element of this recipe is the extended marination time. In most other recipes the glaze is added just before baking or grilling.

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Salmon with Brown Sugar Bourbon Glaze
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Anne Byrn Saves The Day, 2014)

Serves 6 to 8

1 salmon fillet (2 to 3 lbs.)
1/2 cup Jim Beam bourbon
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup chopped scallions, green parts only, plus more for garnish
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
Cooked brown rice

Place salmon, skin-side-down in a 9-by-13 Pyrex baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine bourbon, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, scallions and sesame oil. Stir until the brown sugar is dissolved and the ingredients are well combined. Pierce the salmon with a paring knife to create holes for the marinade to penetrate. Pour the marinade over the salmon, cover and refrigerate for an hour or up to 8 hours.

Remove the salmon from the refrigerator an hour before baking.

Place a rack in the center of the oven; preheat oven to 425F.

Bake salmon until it is cooked through and crisp around the edges but still a little soft in the center, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 – 10 minutes before serving. Serve with rice, garnish with scallions, and drizzle with any sauce remaining in the baking dish.

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Seared Scallops over Potato Cakes with Asparagus

Seared Scallops over Potato Cakes with Asparagus is not one of the simple dishes that Ample Bites normally posts. This dish takes some time and care to prepare but the result is well worth the effort. To save time when serving this dish consider making the garlic oil and potato cakes ahead of time so that you can focus on getting the sauce right and searing the scallops to perfection.

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Seared Scallops over Potato Cakes with Asparagus
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of New Orleans Best Ethnic Restaurants by Ann Benoit, 2014)

Serves 2

6 large scallops
2 lbs. Yukon or Idaho potatoes, peeled
1 garlic head, baked
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup chives, finely snipped
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 egg yolks
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 medium asparagus sprigs, baked to al dente
1/2 cup, plus 2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 oz. wild mushrooms
4 bacon strips, cooked to crisp and chopped
Beurre Blanc Sauce (see recipe below)
Chive sprigs, each about the diameter of a scallop

Preheat oven to 300F. Coat the bottom and sides of a rimmed baking sheet with butter and reserve.

In medium skillet over medium-low heat cook the minced garlic in all of the olive oil for 10 minutes. Take care not to brown the garlic. Using a fine-mesh strainer, separate the garlic from the oil. Reserve the oil, separating in to portions of 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons. Allow to cool.

Marinate the scallops in 1/2 cup of garlic oil for at least 30 minutes.

In a large stockpot of salted water boil the potatoes for 20 minutes, until soft but firm. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, saute the onion and chives in oil for 3 minutes, reserve. Mill the potatoes through a fine food mill into a large mixing bowl. Add butter, egg yolks and squeeze in baked garlic cloves. Combine thoroughly then add the onion and chives to the potato mixture. Spread the potato mixture on the buttered baking sheet into a uniform layer about 3/8-inch-thick. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until top is lightly browned. Allow to cool and cut into planks.

Saute the mushrooms in butter. Season with salt and pepper.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, sear the scallops in batches of three in the marinade oil.

To plate, place three asparagus sprigs on each plate parallel to each other about 2 inches apart. Place a potato cake plank across the thick end of the asparagus sprigs. Top each cake with three scallops. Top the scallops with a sauteed mushrooms and bacon bits. Finish with Beurre Blanc Sauce and garnish with a drizzle of reserved garlic oil and chive sprigs.

Beurre Blanc Sauce

4 Tbsp white wine vinegar
4 Tbsp dry white wine
2 Tbsp finely minced shallots
Kosher salt
White pepper
2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 16 pieces

In a 1 1/2 quart saucepan combine vinegar, wine, shallots, salt and white pepper and bring to a simmer.

Gently simmer liquid until reduced to 1 1/2 tablespoons. Remove from heat and immediately swirl or whisk in 2 pieces of chilled butter. As the butter is incorporated into the liquid add another piece and continue to swirl or whisk. Return pan to low heat and while constantly swirling or whisking add successive pieces of butter. When all of the butter has been added remove from heat. Sauce will be thick and creamy. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve immediately. To hold the sauce, set the pan in a larger pan of lukewarm water. If the sauce separates, transfer a spoonful of the sauce to a cold mixing bowl and gradually whisk the rest of the sauce in by the spoonful. The sauce can be reheated by gradually whisking 2 to 3 tablespoons of hot liquid, i.e. water, cream or stock.

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Crab Fried Rice

Crab Fried Rice uses crab meat to richen a homemade fried rice and create simple, easy to prepare dish that will rival any you can find at the best take-out Chinese food restaurant.

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Crab Fried Rice
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of TastingTable.com, 2014)

Serves 6

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/4 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 cups cooked brown rice, day-old preferred
1 lb. jumbo lump crab meat, picked over for shells
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Freshly ground black pepper
Granulated sugar
3 Tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil, plus more to drizzle
5 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced and divided
1/2 medium cucumber, thinly sliced into rounds
1 medium tomato, halved and thinly sliced

In medium non-stick skillet or wok set over medium-high heat, add the oil and heat until shimmering, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs to the skillet and stir constantly to scramble, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice, crabmeat, salt, garlic powder, and soy sauce. Season to taste with pepper and sugar and mix to thoroughly combine. Add 1/4 cup of the scallions and sesame oil and cook, tossing frequently for 3 minutes until the rice and crab are heated through and the sauce is incorporated.

Divide the fried rice between serving bowls and sprinkle with the remaining scallions. Serve alongside the sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. Drizzle with sesame oil, to taste.

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